Why (Not) MBA?
I am not a blogger by hobby or profession, yet I can be reasonably certain that this title did raise an eyebrow… and why not? In this time and age, MBA is THE magic potion that your supposedly stunted and dwarfed career can have, to bloom into one of a cool consultant or an impressive investment banker.
Notwithstanding what you may say (or have said) in your interview to answer “Why MBA?” the reasons would most generally be: You did not like your job, boss or salary, or still worse, you were a bubbling engineer all set to make the Iron Man when you were told engineers in India are mere cyber slaves and have a ‘stunted career’ and you NEED an MBA! Here are a few things you are told, but you need to read between the lines:
1. If you want to do an MBA, do it NOW!
As the wise old men said, there’s a right time for everything. One of the major concerns as pointed out by Prof. Harish Chaudhry in his article ( www.bit.ly/1NVWkFZ ) is that the MBA curriculum was designed for participants with sufficient industry experience while about 23 to 40% of candidates pursue the course right after graduation. Yet students and professionals alike are compelled to give the Common Admission Test (CAT) at the earliest because of the slim chances of ‘cracking the CAT’. After all, what are the odds that you will have good academics, score above 99%ile in CAT, score in WAT/GDs, AND give an impressive performance at the Interviews – All in one attempt?
2. Fresher or Work-Ex?
Another doubt in most minds is ‘Who is preferred for the job, a fresher or an experienced candidate?’ This can be debated, and most certainly, there is no rule to it. Relevant experience is always a plus. Nonetheless, a large number of cases will illustrate that candidates fresh out of college have also bagged the top jobs on campus. Loosely speaking, IT consulting and techno-managerial roles would generally (not always) require relevant engineering experience and select roles in financial consulting or auditing would appreciate relevant backgrounds in economics or commerce. For most other roles such as sales & marketing, finance and consulting, it is a level playing field for both parties.
3. If you are creative, go for marketing
Beware! This was perhaps the snare that I fell for. The major is called Sales & Marketing(S&M), in that order, for a reason. There is a lot more to S&M in the form of sales, targets, distribution channels, margins, trade promotions and a goodish deal of perseverance. Those ‘Oh so witty’ advertisements are made by ad agencies and branding, more often than not, is outsourced to brand consulting firms who recruit professional designers to generate those creatives. As an Area Sales Manager (ASM) or even as a Marketing Head, you will most likely watch values and volumes, both of which are represented numerically.
4. You’ll fetch a 20 lac package!
This one is tricky. While there are packages that easily shoot up beyond INR 20,00,000 p.a., that pleasure is for a few. One must know a priori that these packages refer to the CTC (Cost To Company). The CTC includes, apart from your in-hand salary, a fat joining bonus which is given in instalments, variable pay, insurance and other benefits. If you love what you are doing and are switching over to other arenas only for the money, think… and think again. Go where your heart is. Do what you are passionate about.
What an MBA Actually Gives
Aforesaid points notwithstanding, you can certainly look at MBA as a long term investment. You will reach a stage where a more holistic approach will be rewarded rather than a well-written code. An MBA helps you understand an organization right from its inception, vision, mission and branches out to explain the functions of Sales/Marketing team, the HR team, the supply chain, distribution channels, business units and general administration. You start understanding valuation of companies, mergers, acquisitions and functioning of the financial system. You will then have a better understanding of different sectors and industries viz. BFSI, IT, FMCG, retail, real estate, telecom among others.
Not only that, an MBA at a good B School will help you know yourself much better. You will learn to manage time, respect others, be humble and above all, you will meet an extraordinary bunch of people. They will be your most harsh critics and best of friends. MBA could be the best thing that happened to you. But do not let the CAT scare you into a rat race.
If you are interested in finance, go for an MBA.
If you are willing to travel, convince and enjoy with sales, go for an MBA.
If managing a team makes more sense to you than working heads-down, go for an MBA (Don’t forget to bring along work experience here).
If micro and macroeconomics amaze you, go for an MBA.
If you are ready for a roller coaster ride… go for an MBA.
And make the most of it.