MBA in finance. What value does it add to an MBA aspirant? I'll try to answer the question for three kinds of people.
Commerce students with core finance background i.e. CAs, CFAs, etc.
Commerce students without core finance background. B.Com(H), BBA, BBS, etc.
Engineers (yeah right! the masses)
I had completed CA and CS before I joined IIM Udaipur and this same question plagued my mind for a while. I based my decision on several factors i.e. what value addition will I gain from it regarding academic knowledge? Will it better my placement potential in the long term? If yes, by how much? Apart from finance domain knowledge, what else do I stand to gain from it? The answers to these questions contain my opinion both before joining IIMU and post joining it.
So, first let's talk about the academic perspective of it. Academically, anyone with a finance background does not learn a lot of new concepts per se in the first year. What is different is the perspective. Our education pre-MBA has been primarily very theoretical. But here, the entire medium of instruction is case analysis based. It exposes you to the situations where you have to apply the concepts learned earlier more, and that enables a very practical learning. This approach to education will help you in developing an acumen to deal with real life situations, where you know what concepts should be applied but identifying the pieces of information from the case/real world to be used in the concepts is the real challenge. This analysis in itself is challenging and exciting. Hence, I can safely say after having experienced it that yes academically you learn new things. In the second year, you get into core finance subjects where you dive into the concepts and understand the application of its various components in detail. For engineers, there is a whole sea of new information to learn. It will be the world you might have never seen before. Probably the only exposure to terms like debit and credit you have had is on your debit card slips. Let me tell you; it is way beyond that. Understanding will be slow and arduous but well finance domain makes up for all that hard work you put in by offering you hefty packages at the end of those 18 months.
Better your placement potential? Yes definitely. A friend here at IIMU got placed with one of the best MNCs that is because he too is a CA. There were others too who got placed in good financial roles and were engineers. What all of them had in common was that they understood finance theoretically and practically well. So if hefty packages are what you aim for, finance, sir is the field for you.
By how much. That is interesting because it is subjective. It depends on your knowledge in the domain. There have been instances where I have seen people make a jump of more than 300-400% post joining MBA and somewhere the jump was 20-30%. Hence I would say that given that you are willing to work hard, the payoff is impressive.
Apart from finance domain, I think the knowledge that you gain in other core areas like marketing and operations adds a lot of value to your overall skillset. In today's world, no field can work in isolation. MBA helps you get the basics of everything and turns you into a complete package. You are a finance person who can sell! The essential books that are taught are Kotler and Keller. The book in itself is like a bible to marketing. Coupled with cases, it gets you thinking about every interesting advertisement campaign you have ever seen. And you start looking the world with a different eye. You get exposure to the field of operations and believe me it is fascinating to see that how each and every aspect of a business goes into deciding what value you offer and how you put that into practice through operations. It is also interesting to see that how a customer is made to work for himself to improve his/her experience. The above description of things is just a glimpse of the fascinating things lying in the box for you.
Apart from academic knowledge, what you get here is overall personal development. One of the best thing that happens here is you are made to work in groups. Groups that are designed to consist of people who are different concerning experience, background, region, religion, sex and what not. This immense diversity enables you to grow as an individual, and it exposes you to a different perspective. It provides a tremendous opportunity to meet and do networking with the best of people in various fields. Another thing is the vibrant culture of the MBA institutes where you never feel dull. Something or the other thing will keep you busy and help you grow. Believe me; your life will become as happening as a roller coaster ride for these two years. And amidst all of this, you make the best of friends.
All in all, MBA is an experience. Academics play a huge part in making it successful, but also interaction with colleagues is the other important part. The rich diversity and mix of student enable learning through looking at a thing through different dimensions. I realised how a 25-30% diversity in the batch gives you knowledge about a wide array of industries. Pharma people have an entirely different take on something compared to an EC Engineer. And coupling the entire discussion with opinions from CAs and people from arts background open up the case from every end.
All this is what I have experienced after I took the decision to pursue MBA from IIMU and I enjoy every moment of it.
Good luck for future!
About the Author:
MBA student, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur
Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary