India, a country where every year thousands of aspirants enroll for CAT, the ultimate test of aptitude and an analytical mind, with a dream to pursue a course in Management from the Ivy leagues of the country. Conducted by the elite IIMs, CAT is not just a gateway for MBA but also an opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds and discrete age groups to contribute to and learn from the developing world. However, amidst the lustre of MBA and its likes, choosing the right B-school remains to be a herculean task for every aspirant.
The fight begins in late October, when the B-school fraternity begins registering the candidates for their management courses. Be it PGP, PGDM or MBA the traffic on analogous forums begins soaring and the B-school rankings become the de’ rigueur conversation on the portals. Is there hard wired algorithm to choose a B- School? How do we find the right one for us? Well, it’s not as intricate as it appears neither is there a metaled road to drive upon. But I can walk you through the steps I followed in my journey of B-School selection.
The first step in B-school selection is to filter them in categories. There are probably zillions of available portals with their own rankings for the B-schools, target the most credible ones, and segregate them into categories. The next step is to filter by location. A B-school, unlike many other genres of educational institutions, needs attention, and tons of it. An average B-school in a flourished economic zone can often be at par with a seasoned one in a desert. Now that you have filtered the list, you should look at the age of the B - school, and yes, they do get better with age. Any B- school has two linchpins; first are the existing students, and second are the ones that have passed out - the Alums, yes they are the roots of a B-school, the deeper they spread, the more minerals ( I mean placement offers) they can draw. Don’t forget to look at the past placement records and the batch strength of the institute. As far as the placement is concerned, go with the age old dictum ‘Money doesn’t always matter, but the profile often does’. When it comes to the batch strength, don’t be intimidated by the numbers, for the bigger they are, the mightier they can fall – find the right trade off. And finally, the most important factor in a B-School selection is the cliche’ for any manager – The return on investment.
A course in management, in its true essence teaches you a lot more than books can. It can be a pragmatic journey towards self realization. An amalgamation of trades, it is an opportunity to learn where, and how the world stands; much more than a two year course, it is a culture, a way of life.
DMS, IIT Delhi