According to many sources including TopMBA. com, the demand for MBAs worldwide has increased many times over in the last few years. In fact, it is the one degree that has become popular with students all across the world. By and large, it is to do with the fact that a management degree not only helps in every walk of life but also catapults one to the mid-management level and helps with salary jumps that are sometimes unheard of. One has to keep in mind though, that an MBA would be challenging, but yet, along the process has to be an enjoyable learning process as well. Before deciding to pursue an MBA, ask yourself if you really need this degree. Make sure you know what your career goals are and examine if this degree will really help you achieve what you want. Once you have your career goals outlined, deciding on the country where you want to pursue your degree will become easier. Remember, self-analysis is the key to making this crucial decision. Most Indian students want to pursue an MBA straight after graduation. The Indian system of education encourages students to complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees before starting work. This may also be due to the fact that we differ from the systems elsewhere in the fact that our parents bear the cost of our education, so it is easier for students to ease into a master’s immediately after undergrad. Also, the system is so designed that it allows for direct entry without requiring any work experience. In fact, in many cases, if you do an MBA post 26 years of age, you are considered to have considerable lagged behind in the rat race.
The rest of the world, however, does not agree with this straightforward policy. The US, UK, Canadian, Australian and European Business schools insist on significant work experience after graduation. Global business schools require a minimum of three years of work experience. Some students view the MBA degree as a way to switch their career paths. Students who have worked in the health care industry, computer or engineering firms, and so on, opt for an MBA degree so that they can achieve a managerial position in their field. For instance, if you are an engineer, and have worked for years in routine hardware tasks and now want a managerial position, then an MBA may be ideal for you. Possession of an MBA degree would tell your prospective employer that you have the skills required to be successful in any business – you would be able to manage and lead teams, have knowledge of business strategies and so on.
Says Gautam Doshi, an alum of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, “I already had a few years of work experience at a top notch company in my kitty before I decided to opt for an MBA. It only made sense to opt for an MBA in the US, since it would do justice to my work experience. Also, the time spent at an international college would enable me to gain fruitful work experience before I came back to India.” He further informs that at the beginning, he was not sure that the idea of giving up his existing job and bang his head over tons of books was the best of ideas.
But, over the years, he has come to realise the value of the lessons learnt. One of the other major factors to consider while choosing to do an MBA is the length of the MBA programme. If you have sufficient years of work experience and wish to get back to your profession or business rather quickly, then you may want to consider a one year MBA programme (there are fewer one-year programmes than there are two-year programmes). Remember that the one-year programme is only a crunched up version of the two-year one, so, the curriculum is extremely demanding and students are expected to work more than 14 hours a day to get through well. On the other hand, if you really want to invest the time in not only learning better from the curriculum but also from the experience of others on the class, not to mention gain an over-all perspective from the country you are studying in, consider a two-year MBA programme. Says Harish Balan, who pursued his MBA from the University of Chicago a few years ago, “I considered the one-year option in several countries including London Business School in the UK and INSEAD in Singapore. After speaking to a few alumni, and learning about the stress of the whirlwind year that the MBA turns out to be, I ‘chickened’ out and opted for a two-year programme.”
It, therefore, makes much more sense that you research extensively about the programmes you are looking at and find a way to marry them to your future goals. Once you have narrowed down the programmes for consideration, to learn more go straight to the horse’s mouth. Query alumni and students currently at your prospective university about the programme you are interested in. They will be able to give you very useful feedback. “I had very specific goals when I decided to get an MBA. I had an engineering degree from India and wanted to set up a manufacturing plant in Gujarat. So, not only did I know what I wanted to do after the MBA, but I also knew where (which country and city) I was going pursue my business in. Therefore, I narrowed my choices accordingly. After looking at programmes with an entrepreneurial edge, I interacted with alumni from several colleges across the globe to understand the nuances of the programme they were in and how the MBA helped them in their professional life,” says Rachit Mankad, who pursued his MBA from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Another thing you can do is narrow
down your career choices and be sure that you know which industry you want to work in. Be practical and ask yourself if you can realistically afford the investment, taking into consideration the fact that you will be losing your current job earnings for the years that you are studying at a B-school. Once you have carefully evaluated all your options, done a thorough research on your career goals and aspirations and looked into your wallet, you are ready to board the MBA train to your dream destination.
Do you really need an MBA? There is no right or wrong answer. There are many factors to consider, but your primary consideration should be how well the programme fits with your needs and aspirations. Don’t just be intrigued by the three mystical letters – M, B and A. Know why you want to pursue it. Your are about to embark on a path which will change your life. Choose your path wisely.
Students who have worked in the health care industry, computer or engineering firms, and so on, opt for an MBA degree so that they can achieve a managerial position
Questions to ask yourself before you think of an MBA
- Where am I in my career right now?
- Where I do I expect an MBA to take me?
- Should I pursue an MBA in India or abroad?
- Do I need a one year or two year MBA?
- What field would I like to specialize in?
- Will an MBA help me achieve my career objectives?
- Can I afford the time and finances required for an MBA?
- Have I spoken to MBA graduates to understand more about the course?
Volume 1 Issue 6