‘ Why do you want to do an MBA?’A question so commonplace in interviews across B-schools that aspirants spend hours in-front of the mirror practicing a well-rehearsed answer day after day. One should, ideally, ask the question to oneself even before one starts the actual preparations for CAT or the likes. It is the answer to this question that often makes or breaks an interview.

The answer varies according to the functional group one belongs to and of course across individuals within a functional group itself. We will limit ourselves to the group level discussion in this article (assessing individual beings is too complex a task for even psychologists). In all IIMs and almost every other B-school in the country there is reserved a specific quantum of marks for people who come with a work experience and even under that there is a scaled gradation depending on the years of experience. Getting brownie points just by having a work-ex in some firm or the other is too tempting a deal, especially when the competition for getting into premier B-schools is gruelling and, often cruel (read the n number of reservations).

Thus, to meet the goal, a number of people start their preparations while still in college while others do so after they discover the futility of their job, or the stupidity of their boss or the bleak future in their job. What, one might ask, is the point of ‘reserving’ those extra points for people, most of whom want to do an MBA to escape from their job and not because of the real zeal for it? The answer to this question varies from person to person. Some might argue that a person with work experience is much more at ease while joining an MBA college or an organisation after that because he already knows the nitty-gritties of corporate life, work-pressure, etc. Some others may pitch the requirement of maturity to embark on the path of managership. While neither argument can be categorically refuted, both has its loopholes in the absolute assumptions that a) a fresher cannot be matured enough and b) only an experienced person can know about work-pressure or ‘real pressure so to say.

Let us look at the answers to the first question from the perspectives of a fresher (which I am myself). He might want to do an MBA because of the fat pay packages or because of the lack of job opportunities in terms of college placements or because he ‘realizes’ the importance and relevance of an MBA to be relatively immune to job volatility and to lead an enjoyable life. The ‘realization’ part here is common to the answer of both freshers and experienced people, but the only difference is the opportunity cost of time saved for a fresher by taking a decision 2-3 years earlier than the experienced guy. Having entered into an MBA college myself (my reasons would be a mixture of ‘fat package’ and ‘realization’) I can vouch for the fact that the importance of experienced guys in a B-school is grossly overstated and the cost often outweighs the benefits of having a prior experience. People often ridicule freshers and criticize them for being rash and premature in taking the big decision of doing an MBA, but such generalizations lack logic. Our class has a total of 60-65% experienced people and still it is often the freshers who come up with the brighter ideas and the smarter plans. I am in no way demeaning the value of the guys with work-ex but am only suggesting the need to temper one’s judgement of ‘freshers in a B-school’.

It is only at one’s own loss that one decides upon joining a B-school later rather than sooner. Having talked to a number of experienced people in my class (and which is the truth across all the B-schools) I have gathered that 60% of them joined a B-school to get a fresh lease of professional life (post getting the MBA degree) and not because they had it all planned right from the college days. The benefits of making the choice early are many- one doesn’t need to waste 2-3 years of one’s life doing something which one dreads and desperately wants to run away from, one gets the added advantage of having an uncluttered and unprejudiced mind about the various industries and industry practices and one gets 2-3 years more of the ‘fat pay package’.

As far as maturity is concerned one can gain at least 50% of it while preparing for CAT (yes, the cumbersome preparation process actually prepares you for the big world) and the remaining 50% is easily achievable in the 2 years of breathless classes and guest lectures and case studies and live projects. To tackle the second argument of the proponents of experienced guys one can safely comment that some things are best left unlearned till the right moment. The live projects and industry interactions, the peer to peer learning and the internships prepare us for the corporate world pressure anyway. Thus the balance is clearly in favour of ‘do your MBA ASAP’. It is foolish to wait 2-3 more years just because of certain supposed ‘prerequisites’ which can be sufficiently acquired in the 2 years of B-school life anyway. Finally, the most basic advantage of doing an MBA early is the burden of tuition fees, which is ever on the rise.

Balancing the costs and benefits of the two options- early MBA and MBA after experience presents a clear winner. While I am not discounting the skill sets and insight experienced guys bring to the classroom, it is also not sensible to wait for a thing which one is going to do eventually and in the process waste some years in one’s life and carry the weight of increased education loan. So guys pack your thoughts and set afoot on the journey to a B-school ASAP, because, trust me nothing beats the feeling of having a few ‘unwasted years up your sleeve’ and yet getting perks similar to others.

Link to the article I am refuting: http://insideiim.com/delay-your-mba-for-your-own-sake/

Entry for: InsideIIM B School Debate

Team Name: The Intellect Box

Team Members: Sayan Kar, Adarsh K.A.M

Submitted By: Sayan Kar.

College- Indian Institute Of Management Ranchi