About MBA

If you are anywhere close to completing your graduation or have worked in the industry for a few years and are thinking what to do next then MBA from one of the top B-schools in India would definitely have crossed your mind. So, let us cut the chase and come straight to the point. We will talk about 5 reasons why you should do an MBA and 5 reasons why people tend to be afraid of preparing for an MBA:

MBA for financial Independence

MBA for financial Independence:

We hear about the Rs. 1 crore plus salary packages that students from the IIMs get every year. Even beyond those, one can expect a package of 10-20 lakhs post an MBA from one of the top-25 B-schools in India. And mind you, these numbers are for a fresh out of B-school graduate. With a few years of work-experience the salary levels would only go higher. So, for even an average engineering graduate, MBA offers at least a 3 fold jump over his pre-MBA salary levels.

MBA for growth in Career:

MBA for growth in Career

Those of us who have worked for a few years will agree that to grow beyond a certain level in your job, you need an additional degree. Also, even as a fresh graduate you can reasonably expect a saving of 2-3 years in reaching the project manager level of profiles.

MBA for greater Job options:

The sheer diversity of jobs, the extent of responsibility and ownership that you get as an MBA in your job make it worth your while. You get to choose from a range of specialisations such as Marketing, Advertising, Finance, Strategy, Consulting etc. The challenges that you have as an MBA are much higher and so are the rewards for success.

MBA for Job Security:

If you recall the slew of recessions that have hit our country over the past 10 years and how vulnerable every job becomes, it'd help to also remember that your job as an MBA is one of the safest ones as the senior resources are relatively difficult to hire and fire.

MBA for Social respect, Networking and Credibility:

If you want to become an entrepreneur you will need experience in the sector of preference, and financial backing besides others. Your ability to get seed capital for starting a new business improves tremendously if you have done an MBA from one of the top B-schools in the country. You also get to interact with the best minds in the country where you can brainstorm your ideas and get a better handle on things.

Ask yourself, who'd you like to be – one-in-a-hundred graduates working for a company or the one who is overseeing their performance. Let is be said that an MBA definitely provides better recognition, opportunities to network and credibility too. 

Myth Reality
Only students with exceptional academic background can get into the top B-schools Only a few B-schools have more than 10-15% weightage to past acads in the overall selection process.
You need to be super-intelligent to clear CAT Even an average student can manage 92-95% percentile score with proper planning and hard work and that means getting a call from one of the top-15 colleges.
The money needed to get into MBA is very high The government has extensive schemes for Education loans and your MBA dream can not be killed just for the want of money.
I'd first get 3-4 years of experience and then prepare for MBA Your salary post MBA would be a lot higher than before and if we are to look for a job in 3 years time, the work experience as an MBA would be more relevant and get you better jobs. Also, the weightage for work-ex is not very high (only up to 10-15%) and that too in very few B-school entrances.

Difference between PGPM and MBA (also called PGDM*)

When an Institute is an autonomous body (meaning it is not affiliated to any University) and conducts management courses then such Institutes cannot offer MBA degree. Instead, they award a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) or a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGDBA). Only Universities (Foreign or Indian) can grant MBA degrees. The XLRI,SPJIMR etc offer only a diploma!

However, students are advised to bear in mind that the value of the management course pursued by them does not depend on whether it is a 'degree' or a 'diploma'; rather it depends on the 'reputation and standing' of the institute that is offering the degree or diploma. When companies recruit management graduates, they certainly don't worry about the title of the course offered at the particular institute. They look at the intrinsic worth and the reputation of the institute, quality of the course offered, and, of course, the calibre of the students.

*The Programme is called PGPM (Post Graduate Programme in Management) and the degree offered is PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management)

Choosing MBA Specialisation(s)

As per the syllabi, most management institutes offer General Management courses. In this kind of a course, a student learns the basics of all functional areas, viz. Marketing, Finance, Human Resources, Systems, and Operations, during the first year, and during the second year (or, say final year) there is an option of choosing subjects depending on one's interest area.

It should be noted that in most cases, the student need not decide on the functional area he/she is interested in at the time of seeking admission. The key benefits of this system as as follows:

  • At the time of seeking admission into a b-school, most students do not have the requisite clarity on various specialisation as to be be able to take an informed decision. Having studied the courses for an year and having gained experience into a field through the summer internship, the student can then take a better informed decision.
  • In the long term, an MBA professional is more likely to grow into a generalist requiring an understanding of more than one aspects of a business. The 'General Managemet' programme gives the candidate an option to choose the mix of courses that suits his interest. For e.g. One may wish to pick 15 credits in Finance, 10 in Marketing, 5 in Systems and IT and another 5 in Human Resource Management. This way he is better prepared to get into a sector of his preference post MBA.

However, there are exceptions to this as few management institutes admit students with the specialisation clearly specified by the candidate before the beginning of the programme like SPJIMR, Mumbai. A lot of institutes also offer dual specialisation programmes.

Advantages of Sectoral MBA over General MBA

Also, there are a few management institutes that offer specialised courses in certain functional areas/fields. Here are some of the better-known institutes in this category:

  1. Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA)
  2. MICA, Ahmedabad
  3. Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi
  4. Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai

These institutes do not offer a general MBA like the other institutes. Rather, they offer a specialisation in a particular functional area. However, quite a few graduates from these institutes also get absorbed in regular MBA jobs.

To get a clearer perspective into the kind of companies that visit a campus and the specilalisations opted by the students, you should go to the websites of a few of these colleges and go through their placement reports.

What is Summer Internship / Winter Internship in MBA?

Almost all management institutes have a two-month summer internship programme after the first year. During this internship, typically of two-month duration, they are given a project by the organisation, which they are expected to complete during this period.

The following are the key aspects of a Summer Internship programme at the B-schools in India:

  1. The internships follow a similar structure for company allocation/selection as during the final placements. This way the students get a good idea of what to expect during their final placements.
  2. Implementation of the projects offered by the companies gives a student first-hand perspective into the functioning of a corporate organization. An internship is an opportunity to experience a sector/vertical of preference. This way the student knows if he would like to pursue a career in that sector/vertical. Thereby saving a lot of effort during the second year of MBA.
  3. A student returns from an internship knowing well how to put the concepts he learnt/learns at the b-school are to be applied to use. This helps build a more practical perspective during the second year of MBA.
  4. It is an added benefit that at the end of the internship, a student has the chance of getting a Pre Placement Offer (PPO) or a Pre Placement Interview (PPI) offer from the company and thereby secure a job right after the first year of his MBA.

The structure of winter-internships would be similar to the summer internships. But these are not very common in the Indian B-schools.

Is it really better to first get a few years of work experience and then prepare for CAT?

Sample a scenario: Ram is an engineering student in the final year of college and who has been placed with a leading IT firm in the country. He is really confused if he should write CAT now or first get two years of experience and then write CAT. Now consider the following:

  1. Assuming the fee of the college he would get into two years later does not go up, he is effectively choosing between making Rs. 8.4 lakhs in 2 years and then doing MBA or doing an MBA first, making Rs. 25.2 lakhs in two years. Clearly he will have earned Rs. 16.8 Lakhs more if he first went for an MBA.
  2. Preference Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
    Workex & then MBA Rs. 4 L Rs. 4.4 L* - Rs. 7 L - Rs. 7 L
    MBA & then Workex - Rs. 7 L - Rs. 7 L Rs. 12 L Rs. 13.2 L*
  3. For a job promotion, his work-ex as an MBA would be more relevant and valuable.
  4. If he wrote CAT as a fresher and things did not go his way, he can always write CAT a second time.
  5. With a job, it would be difficult for him to start his preparation for an entrance test when his job would not really leave him with as much time. If he has prepared earlier, he can definitely find time to brush up his concepts but not otherwise.
  6. If we look at the weightage to work-experience in the IIMs, its not more than 10% for most of the IIMs. So, it is not really as much an edge as it is made out to be.
  7. Even during the placements at a B-school, the added incentive for every year of work-experience is not much in monetary terms.

Click here for the details of the IIM Selection process including

  • The weightage of past academic record in IIMs
  • The weightage of CAT in the IIM selection process
  • Minimum CAT percentiles for an IIM call
  • Importance of Work Experience for the IIMs