This post is an entry for the Great Indian B-School debate 2014
Name: Ashwin Sangameswaran.
Team name: Mad Monks
Team mate’s name: Harsh Shukla
B School: IIM Trichy
Article I am refuting: http://insideiim.com/having-prior-work-experience-adds-value-to-your-mba/
Sitting in class, day one of my PGP program. Surrounded for the first time perhaps, by people visibly older than me. Our first professor walks into class, and asks the question I have been dreading, “How many of you have work experience?” I try to count the hands in the air, and quickly realize how futile it was. The discussion turns to work experience and I learn about the people about my batch. Everyone was either already an operations guy, a consulting guy or a finance guru and here I was, the fresher, the nothing guy, wondering where I was headed.
As our days move into this motion blur of quizzes, presentations and case studies. I begin to slowly come to terms with everything happening around me. I realize that almost all of my “experienced” peers, seem to have trouble relating to most things outside the scope of their work experience. Their contributions to the class seem to follow the same monotonous pattern of correlating what was being taught to their experiences at their workplace, and somehow they seemed to be missing out on the larger picture. And I found myself thinking, “Hey maybe I’m not that lost after all”
The week before Midterms and I realize that I’m not lost alone. The “operations guys” have never seen marketing before, the IT guys don’t know operations and absolutely no one has a clue in finance. To top it all they have forgotten what it is like to study for exams. Anyone who claims to know exactly what they want in life, probably has a mask on, and can fool you and me, but not themselves.
Nobody really has a clue where we’re all headed and Billy Joel’s classic lyrics echo in my head “And we will all go down together”
I realize that being the Nothing-guy, gives you the freedom to be anything you want to be.
While your classmates are preoccupied with family pressures, receding hairlines and impending (or rather impeding) nuptials, an MBA fresh out of college gives you the leeway to explore everything that a B school has to offer and not just pick and choose for the sake of your career. B school is like an all you can eat ice cream buffet. Why restrict yourself to a single flavor when there’s whole new flavors that you’ve never seen before. For all you know you may find your passion in Marketing or in Finance. It’s all out there, just waiting for you to find it.
Let’s face it. If you’re from an average engineering college or have a less than stellar academic record, chances are you’re going to end up working in IT. Rather than spend 3+ years at a job you have no inclination of making a career out of, an MBA from a premier institute gives you the time and the opportunity to figure out what really makes you tick.
If you’re looking at entrepreneurship as a career, you want to go out and start your business equipped with all the skills required to manage every aspect of your business. What better way to learn these skills from one of the country’s finest MBA programs. An MBA early in your career gives you the freedom to take risks, and not be weighed down by the pressure to settle down.
A famous finance principle is to “Invest Early”. Making your investments early in life, gives you more time to reap its compounding benefits. The same principle applies when investing in yourself. Give yourself those additional years, to reap the benefits further on in your career.
I find myself writing this article for InsideIIM and it all seems to be coming together. For at the end of the day, an MBA is all about the journey, the people , the experiences and the things you learn, both about the world, and more so, about yourself , in the process. What you did before you got here, hardly matters, compared to where you are going from here.
“And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about.” – Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore