Trishann Henriques uncovers the good, the bad and the ugly of studying one of the most hyped degrees – the MBA
The past decade has seen the influx of a number of MBA students in the Indian and international job markets. However, a recent statistic showed that the number of applications for MBA and MMS courses has in the last year diminished by more than 50%. The reason stated for this sudden and surprising drop is believed to be the emergence of market-centric postgraduate degrees and courses. As the MBA scene in India is going through drastic changes, there are still a number of students who choose the course year after year. While some students believe it is the only degree worth pursuing, there are others who delve into the scene with little knowledge and understanding of what it entails. The grave question amidst the MBA entrance coaching, the spending of huge sums of money on the degree and the quitting of already well-paying jobs to pursue an MBA for better prospects is – is an MBA really worth it?
WHAT AN MBA DOES?
An MBA or a Master of Business Administration degree teaches an individual management skills, increases business and all-round knowledge, allows for market-based thinking, and acts as a CV booster while looking for a job. It is one of the most sought-after degrees across the world. It offers generic management learning in its first year, and specialisations and majors like economics, human resources, finance and marketing in its second.
ARE YOU CUT OUT FOR AN MBA?
The first obstacle of an MBA aspirant would be the entrance test. Once this has been cleared, the rigorous MBA coursework commences. However, clearing the entrance test is not the biggest hurdle; the degree itself is one long obstacle course. Dealing with long college hours, undertaking mandatory apprenticeships, coping with an unending series of assignments and tests, and of course, having a keen interest in the degree to last you two years are some requisites that should be considered before diving head-on into an MBA. Not everyone can cope with the stress than an MBA degree comes with and hence making an informed decision is always recommended.
MISTAKES STUDENTS MAKE
There are a series of mistakes MBA aspirants make. The first is enrolling for an MBA just after graduating. A lot of thought has to go into selecting the right kind of MBA major and the college with future job prospects in mind. Jumping into an MBA without any kind of prior knowledge about what it encompasses can be detrimental as somewhere through the course a sense of boredom in the course or an interest in a field more creative might arise.
* A top management position in the best company and a high salary are reasons most students give for studying an MBA. That said, it is almost impossible to coach a student to be a manager within the confines of a classroom. Being a manager or a leader does not come from theoretical know-how but practical, on-field experience.
* Although extremely expensive, a number of students go through with it in the hope of recovering the money spent by means of a job on its completion. The scope of a good job after an MBA depends on varied factors, some of which include a person’s calibre, performance, competition, the job market and the reputation of the college. However, in a survey handed out to companies that hire MBA students, the skills attained from the MBA degree held a 21% importance, management knowledge learnt from the MBA course weighed 14% and the reputation of the college from where the degree was pursued had a 11% value.
* There are also those who jump into an MBA with the sole purpose of making more money as opposed to being motivated to actually learn about business. At some point the stress of the degree will weigh a person down leaving one utterly disappointed. The best way out is to question what kind of job you would want if it wasn’t for the money.
* Disruption in employment is another drawback of pursuing an MBA. This holds true for the many who quit their jobs to pursue a full-time MBA. On an average, an MBA might amount to either one or two years; having a gap of this duration on a résumé is always a bad idea and questions a person’s willingness and effciency to undertaking a job in managerial positions in top companies.
A MASTER’S DEGREE V/S AN MBA DEGREE
A lot of MBA aspirants who tread the MBA waters go into the course already decided on the specialisation or the subject that they wish to focus on in their second year. In that case, why not consider a master’s degree in the subject instead of an MBA? While an MBA allows for a specialisation in its second or third year, the information learnt in just a year might not be deep or sufficient enough. A master’s degree on the other hand, comprises an in depth, detailed study of a subject and is usually studied over two years.
The choice between a master’s degree and the MBA must be closely associated with a student’s academic background. For a person looking to build on his/her academic subjects, a master’s degree outweighs an MBA. An MBA works for those looking to enhance a professional career or for those who wish to learn business without any kind of prior backing or education in it.
“Recruitment is not a transactional activity; it includes a wide spectrum of business activities and requires a high degree of business acumen that has to be developed over time in order to be a successful recruiter. Given the scope of responsibilities that recruiters commonly deal with, it is imperative to be well-equipped to stand up to the job profile. This empowerment to be able to perform the job better is sometimes attributed to the MBA degree that a candidate possesses.” – A RECRUITER WHO REQUESTED ANONYMITY
“If you go into law or medicine or architecture, you’re expected to go into a residency or apprenticeships before you’re allowed to practice on your own. Unfortunately, business schools pretend that any student with an MBA should be a great manager right out the gate, regardless of realworld experience.” – JEFFREY PFEFFER, STANFORD UNIVERSITY
The trend prevalent in India is to study for an MBA right after a bachelor’s degree. In truth, we think an MBA must be looked at as something that adds to a person’s credentials as opposed to something used to accelerate it. Rightfully, considering an MBA mid-way through your career would be ideal as it broadens knowledge while also accommodating on-the-job learning in the case of executive and part-time MBAs.
Is an MBA worth it?
No holds barred opinions from three individuals about the coveted MBA degree
Uthara Padmanabhan (Marketing intern and MBA aspirant)
“I think an MBA is important because it encourages an individual to think non-linearly, which is great as markets today are extremely volatile. An MBA helps accelerate growth from 8-10 years to 5-7 years to get to a top position. I also think an MBA pushes for a person to think in the manner that the market demands as opposed to an engineering degree that does not support dynamism.”
Swati Singh (Former MBA aspirant)
“An MBA helps when looking for a management position. But, what’s important is the college as only the best ones offer good placements that will ultimately recover the money that you spend on fees. I gave up midway through preparation as I realised I would be paying off the loan taken to take to pay my MBA fees. It would hardly benefit me if my entire salary was going into paying a loan.”
Niharika Gaba (PGDM, HR)
“An MBA helps you get to a top position in a company. With an MBA, companies will hire you almost immediately and that too at high posts. There are times when individuals are denied promotions because of the lack of an MBA. In that regard, I think an MBA accelerates the possibility of getting a promotion. The ays of having no educational backing and still holding a high post are long gone. Today every company looks for MBAs, unless of course, you work in a overnment office or your company lacks governance.”
Volume 3 Issue 9