MBA – Is It Your Inner Calling?

“Why MBA”– an interview question aspirants prepare for religiously, recognising it to be a panellist’s favourite. In the race to achieve higher conversions on their end, the TIMEs and CLs of the country have, over the years turned interview classes into a fad, literally feeding into students the reasons for doing an MBA. Ask any panellist who has ever taken a PGP interview and he/she would describe the pain of hearing the monotonous satiated versions of “to complement my technical skills with managerial skills” and “to set foot on the path towards enterprising”.

Irrespective of the outcome, even if the aspirant converts the call from the b-school of his choice, he definitely would contemplate going back in time, at least once in the two years, to answer that one question. The only difference being, this time he would answer for himself and not the panellist, hitting the right spots and facing the realities to come up with an answer – only if there is one. In many cases, there isn’t. And that is exactly what I seek to narrate to someone who aspires to ever follow the bandwagon.

MBA, for many aspirants, is not what they truly wish for. It’s not the thing– not something they have always wanted to pursue. Rather, it is something they end up preparing for or thinking of because they find themselves in a position wherein nothing else appears to better– whether it be in terms of future prospects, a respectable degree, a fat salary package or anything else for that matter. Unfortunately, the hundred percent campus placement reports help b-schools emerge as a ‘safe option’ to set foot in.

However, as is true for pretty much anything you do in life, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate this programme, unless you really know why you’re here for. While you may go through the programme, whether you would grow through it is questionable. Pursuing an MBA involves making a number of choices everyday. But what if your very first choice – that of joining the programme itself isn’t your inner calling? Doesn’t it make every other choice pointless, to begin with? (or as law enthusiasts would call it, void-ab-initio!)

MBA is about a lot of things, and it isn’t about a lot of them as well. Given its basic nature of being an academic programme, you are expected to attend lectures and complete a certain number of credits, but academics most certainly isn’t all that this programme is about. It’s not a place where you would be overjoyed upon scoring well or too disappointed if you’re at the other end. Yes, that does form part, but a minuscule at the most. Most of the learning happens outside the classroom. There is a lot of ‘gyaan’ on offer and it is up to you to make sure you swallow that which is relevant to you.

And this is where knowing your inner calling comes into the picture again. Only if you know why you are here for will you be able to make the most out of your stay here. If not, even though you might end up with pockets fat and filled but then again, you end up, not necessarily knowing what you actually want.

The purpose of all this storytelling is to point to just one thing-an urge to aspirants to introspect themselves for the reason for which you actually “want” to join this programme and not merely follow the fad. It’s only when you know your purpose that you can weigh your options and decide what’s best for you. Helping you gain perspective on career and life, in my opinion, is the sheer objective of an MBA and in the absence of a clear purpose, this might just get lost.

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