MBA – To Do Or Not To Do?

This article is written from the perspective of aspirants with over 2 years of work-ex and parts of it may not be relevant to freshers. Reader discretion is advised.

During my CAT prep days, I recall some of the directors and faculty of my coaching institute talking about how most aspirants have misguided notions about an MBA and are doing it for all the wrong reasons (read money). A few tough questions they posed were, “Have you really considered the kind of career you want? Are you prepared to put in 80+ hours a week in the investment banking / consulting jobs that you say you want? Do you think everyone gets these coveted profiles? Do you think every MBA even ends up with a decent job?” And then there were the horror stories of how new Sales & Marketing recruits had to go from shop to shop in the interiors of Bihar to meet their sales targets, or how an institute topper with a gold medal was fired from his job in Singapore in less than a year due to underperformance. I, of course, did not let that deter me.

(You may be wondering how the people at the coaching institute could afford to dissuade candidates from writing the CAT, after all, their business did depend on them. The simple reason is- ‘coz they had already taken their money!)

A few months later, however, when the IIM interviews were under way, I started to ponder over the points they had made. To help you understand my position, let me give you a brief background. I was an engineer (obviously), male (duh!), worked in an IT firm (who doesn’t?), and wanted to make a jump ahead in my career. But, and there’s always a ‘but’, unlike most IT professionals, I didn’t hate my job, I actually liked it! My primary motivation to do an MBA was to multiply my CTC a few times over.

But, I had a nagging doubt. What value would an MBA add to my career? Would it really give me the boost I was expecting? Whatever career path I would choose after my MBA (or whatever career path would choose me), would effectively dictate the next 40 years of my life. Making this decision solely on the basis of CTC could prove to be the costliest mistake of my life, as if I didn’t have enough of those already.

After intense deliberation, and discussions with an assortment of people, I decided to go ahead with my MBA at IIM Lucknow.

Fast forward one year, and I think I made the right choice. An MBA from an IIM can offer you a lot more than a hefty package. First, an MBA is a unique opportunity to broaden your horizons or change your career paths. Always wanted to be a Digital Marketing wiz, or a Fin God, or a Supply Chain guru, or an M&A specialist? Knock yourself out! There is no other course in the world which can let you explore such a wide variety of knowledge in so little time. Even if you don’t know what field of business your interest lies in, you will figure it out here in all probability.

Second, for those of you who are working, you get to go back to college life! Need I elaborate? And if you’re the type who’s never had the hostel life- boy, are you in for a treat!

Third, your IIM batch-mates are going to be the best network you can ever build. Keep in mind that most of these people will be going places, and a strong network is a powerful resource that you can leverage in your career.

Fourth, and this may seem trivial, but you get to do some of the things you wanted to do but couldn’t. You will find a lot of like-minded individuals who share the same passions as you. Play a sport, join a club, be a part of a student committee, or work on that arc reactor in your (miserably, little) spare time. This helps you build a well-rounded personality, something that is underrated. In fact, there are a brave few who come to just explore their interests, not looking to find a job at the end of 2 years (read about some of them here http://www.hindustantimes.com/education/meet-idiots-from-iim-lucknow-who-refused-jobs-to-chase-their-dreams/story-jDnB97Pb0Exv6ikHYQuIZJ.html).

All in all, an MBA from an IIM or any other reputed B-school is an unparalleled experience. That’s not to say it’s all hunky-dory. There will be ups and downs, successes and disappointments, but as long as you resonate with at least one of the four reasons above, you will come out better off at the end of it.

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