We seem to be living in an era where everyone – from fresh graduates to those with some years of work experience – seems to want to earn an MBA degree! Many a times, people make this decision without really knowing how MBA helps or how to go about getting one.
Given all the information available on the internet, the biggest blunder most MBA aspirants make is to start preparing for their MBA application, without answering the basic question – ‘Why MBA?’
‘Why MBA’ may be the shortest question in the professional world you could think of, but the most crucial one, as you will be sacrificing quite a lot at your professional and personal fronts in order to get the MBA tag! It will be a life-changing experience for you; the second most important decision of your life…..I think you can guess the first one!
As a Chinese proverb says, “A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step!” if you belong to the above flock of people, you earnestly need to have a Pre-Application Plan before you Get Set Go to apply at various business schools. Yes, you may have done your bit of research on B-schools or even taken your GMAT, but if you do not have a clear idea about why you want to pursue an MBA, it is going to be a tough journey!
There are basically two categories of MBA aspirants, especially in the Indian context:
- Those who have just completed their under-graduation or are still in their final year. These people typically take the CAT journey.
- Those who have some years of work experience (typically 2 to 6 years) in a good company and their motive is to reach their maximum potential in their professional life. This could entail either career progression or a career shift. These people typically follow the GMAT route.
However much you try to be diplomatic and politically correct in your essays, recommendations and interviews, the truth (that even MBA Admissions Committees are aware of) is that most MBA aspirants want to earn an MBA degree because:
- They want to earn more money
- Their current job sucks
However if these are the only two reasons you wish to do an MBA, then you have a very limited and short-term perspective; because after a point both these aspects will not mean much to you. For instance, if you are a senior manager at a reputed IT company, then according to these two reasons you need not do an MBA at all, as you will be earning well and will be having an envious job profile too. But if you want to enhance your knowledge or perspective, or want a life-time experience, you may still consider doing an MBA.
So, if you present these two reasons to the MBA Admission Committees you will definitely be considered as a misfit to their MBA program. There is such a thing as brutal honesty!
You need to have more value-based and well thought-out reasons to pursue an MBA.
Here are the 7 Real Reasons to do MBA:
1. Career Progression:
Typically a professional begins his/her career with an operational role. Being fairly smart, hardworking and result-oriented, you get promotions and reach a decent position in the management. Now you are not only equipped with great academic profile but also a great work experience. What happens next? After a few years you start feeling stagnated. This could happen after 3 years or it may even take 10 years to reach such a stage. This is because in a realistic world, most of the people around you will be having same qualities that you possess. So, at this point it is crucial for you to ask – what unique traits do you have that will help to differentiate you from the herd?
It is your MBA degree! Actually, not just your MBA degree but an MBA degree from a premium business school! An MBA from a top B-school will help you make a quick transition from being a project manager to a very high level management position. MBA is the ticket to reach a level where you can make strategic decisions and realize your potential, which may take years sans an MBA. If you browse through job openings of very senior positions, MBA is the preferred degree, though it may not be mandatory (Consulting is one profession where MBA is mandatory as you will not be able to grow after a certain point in consulting without an MBA). So, the lack of an MBA degree may not be a show stopper but it will be a huge reason for career stagnation.
2. Career Switch:
What are the chances that with your current education, your current role and your current experience you can actually switch to any other role or industry? Very little! Consider this situation… you are in IT for the past 5 years, and with time you realize that your true calling is marketing; What steps can you take to make a switch?
– You can take up small marketing projects over the weekends
– Read about marketing on the internet and make changes in your resume
– Take an online marketing course
Considering all these, even if you get through the interview, you will be joining at an entry level. Your great IT experience will not help you much to get a management role in marketing. It is here that an MBA program steps in. In fact, one of the most important reasons why professionals choose to do an MBA is to change career tracks smoothly. For instance, if you are from a sales background and do an MBA in finance from a reputed B-school, recruiters will be comfortable with this! This is how MBA helps!
Planning to do an MBA from a top business school? Be ready to spend 50 lakhs for a 10-month course! This works out to about 1.2 lakhs per week. In India, you may end up spending 20 lakhs for a similar MBA program! Imagine spending such a huge sum of money just to gainknowledge!
Wouldn’t it be prudent to quit your job for a year and browse the internet to get all the knowledge in the world?
However the truth is that knowledge that will help you to progress in your career will not be found only in books or on the internet. The interaction and intellectual debates that you will have with your professors and peers will be extremely enriching. Secondly, the pedagogical methods employed in top schools are very innovative and effective – these include case studies, presentations, projects, research papers etc. If you are joining a typical two year MBA program, in the first year you will have the core curriculum consisting of marketing, accounting, finance, statistics, economics, management, organization behavior etc. These lay the foundation of your understanding of business. To be a future CEO, you need to have a 360 degree view of how to run a company and manage people. The language of business is the language of money. Apart from the core subjects, B-schools offer a plethora of electives, usually in the second year, depending on what stream you want to specialize in. It is at this point that you need to have a very good idea of your career path, so that you can make full use of your MBA program.
If I happen to ask you a simple question “What is networking?”what will your answer be? You might say ’knowing people’ or ‘getting contacts’. Yes, knowing people is a big part of networking, but surely it is not just that!
Just think about it. Even with all the social media hype, how many people from your college are you in regular touch with? 20? 50? At most, 100! Even at work, how many people do you know? Your immediate superiors, your team, and the people you meet at the cafeteria. And what happens once you quit your current job and meet your ex-colleague after two years in a mall. You may even find it hard to remember his/her name! So, according to this definition of networking,it means you are ready to spend 1 crore just to know 100 more people!
Nothing could be more foolish.
So, what is networking all about? Networking at business schools means you will be carrying the same tag as thousands of alumni. You may or may not have studied together, but if in your inbox you happen to receive a mail from any Harvard alumnus, you will automatically strike a note with him/her; there will be an immediate bonding, something like an old schoolboys association! We all want to be identified as part of a group of high achievers. Doing an MBA from a reputed B-school gives you a great opportunity to network with people who will be holding the top strategic positions in top companies or will be great business leaders! Again, this is how MBA helps!
5. Brand Equity:
It’s a great feeling to earn an MBA degree. But a greater one, if you earn it from a top B-school! You can feel this difference within India itself. All things being equal, there is a big difference if you do an MBA from a lesser known B-school in your region and if you graduate from ISB for instance. As most recruiters are well aware of how difficult it is to get through a top B-school, an MBA degree from such a school holds a lot of brand value. The employers know what all you must have gone through… a great GPA, GMAT, essays,recommendations, the tough interview itself and on top of it a very rigorous MBA program. Just like gold, an MBA from a reputed B-school gives you a certificated hallmark that you are competent to become a successful leader in near future. As the job of assessing a candidate is already done by the MBA Admissions Committees, the recruiters are well assured of your potential.
What do you actually gain in a B-school?
Most importantly, the confidence to be somebody in your professional life!
The fact that a reputed B-school program gives you the opportunity to think in the direction you want to, the importance of MBA cannot be ruled out! For instance, before an MBA, you may have never thought you could be a project manager, but now with an MBA degree in your hand, it becomes relatively easier to think in that direction. Whatever goals you may have had before joining an MBA program, once you join, you may realize your true calling elsewhere. The entire classroom experience, interaction with faculty and peers, students’ activities, case studies, all these may radically change your perspective towards your professional life. Many MBA students discover a new person in themselves once they graduate from a business school.
The irony of life is that when you were a student, you had no responsibilities, but you also lacked the right perspective. Once you start working, gradually, you learn who you are, what your potentials are, but at this stage you are so burdened with family responsibilities that you don’t get the chance to follow your passion. An MBA gives you a second chance in life to do what you always wanted to do! It gives you the independence of a student’s life as well as the perspective of working for so many years – a beautiful blend!
7. Change of Geography:
There must have been instances when you aspired to move to Australia or Canada or any other foreign country to work there. But given your under-graduation and work experience, you may be able to move to an international market as a C++ coder but definitely not as a project manager. Again, an MBA from a foreign university will be very handy to you, even if you haven’t worked abroad yet. An MBA, say from Stanford or INSEAD can help you know the foreign market well, increase your international network, learn about the requirements for an international career and get exposure to a totally different culture and way of life.
By the end of this write-up you may be able to identify with some of the above reasons to do an MBA, if not all. After all, it’s all about your passion, your career and your long term goals. Before you even think of applying anywhere, analyze why exactly you wish to pursue an MBA and articulate it well in your essays and interviews. A systematic approach following your dreams will make your MBA journey meaningful and certainly a pleasurable one!!!
Source: http://www.crackverbal.com/top-7-reasons-to-do-mba/ (Ckrack verbal)