Why MBA?

Being an alumni of MBA entrance coaching classes and presently a fellow men of MBA student fraternity, I sometimes feel that majority of B-School aspirants and even B-School students are not aware of the reason to pursue an MBA? Cursory glance thrrough the following forum on PagalGuy To Hell with MBA will give you an insight into the veractiy of my statements. Applying 80:20 rule to the number of applicants in CAT, we derive that only 50,000 out of 2,50,000 applicants are aware of their reasons to do an MBA.

A step-wise approach is essential in any decision making procedure and the same implies to the decision making process of pursuing an MBA. The approach consists of three questions “YWH” which need to be asked in the same order as it is mentioned for an effective decision. In case of a decision of pursuing an MBA one needs to ask three questions viz “Why MBA?”,  “When MBA?” and “How MBA?”. The first question shall answer the reason for one to do an MBA and which MBA will suit him the most, the second one answers the best time to do the MBA which he has zeroed in for and the third answers how to go about it.

Though “Why MBA?” is the first and the most important question to be answered, it is the least bothered element in decision making for majority of the MBAs as I have pointed out in the earlier section of the article. Even in a coaching institute, the faculty and students remain confined to the boundaries of how to crack an MBA entrance test and the discussion to answer “Why MBA?” remains at the back burner except during the preparation for GD/PI. The answers prepared during the GD/PI stage are mostly cosmetic and do not represent the real candidates views and thoughts.

Many B-School students pursuing MBA become aimless and hence are not able to reap the best out of MBA course. As per my opinion, this is one of the reason due to which Indian MBA courses create managers not leaders. A Harvard Professor once commented about Indian MBA – Indian managers can keep a ship (business) afloat but cannot salvage out a sinking ship (business)”.

January, Febrauary and March are the seasons of final admission process for majority of B-Schools around India. And a huge chunk of students will be brainstorming on how to get through the last hurdle. Though answer to the question “Why MBA?” is not the sole criteria for ones admit to B-Schools but I would advocate every candidate to do a retrospection before he/she gets into the corridors of B-Schools to reap the best of your MBA. Better late than never!!!

Indian MBA System

Today, MBA degree is undoubtedly the most famous degree in India. Thanks to the obscene packages (as one of my MBA faculty speaks of the packages) offered to most of the B-School graduates. Rising packages of IIMs and international placements constitue the headlines easily during the placement season. Many students are of the opinion that placements are the USPs of an MBA degree.

However, I am of a different opinion. I genuinely feel that the much hullabaloo (created due to placements) around the MBA degree has done much of a disservice to the student community than good to it. Nearly, every Engineer who passes out of E-School even before personally reading about the MBA program details offered by the institutes orients himself to join a B-School, forget about taking an exposure in the industry or understanding the fundamentals of business administration which should form the guideliness to form a decision to go for an MBA. The ultimate result of which is “A dissatisfied MBA graduate in his post-graduation tenure and finally a non-interested and relatively lesser competent manager than expected  passes into industry”.

Majority of the prospective students entering an MBA do it inorder to switch their career. But, as per my observation, these students are not fully aware of what they want to get into and tend to experiment a lot (Probably, I am one of them). One of the incident I would like to quote here is of one of the alumni of my institute who worked in IT industry wanted a switch, came for an MBA but later in the second year realised he wanted to pursue MBA in advertising which was not offered by the institute. I think the indecisiveness manytimes hits such students badly as was the case with my senior and thereby the student is not able to appreciate the program and design his curriculm (choose electives) to get benefitted from it the most.

Moreover, the Indian mentality of judging a students calibre on his ability to score reflects on the selection system of B-Schools. You would rarely find a 90 percentiler or 80 percentiler student making it to IIMs. But, at the same time you may find a 650 score getter making it to Harvard Business School. B-Schools tend to give more weightage to written scores and the underlying concept is to identify the best score not the best learner which is derivative of the Indian mentality of scoring more nor learning more. The same mentality percolates during the post-graduation tenure as well and the MBA graduates slog hard to get a higher score in the examination. According to many of the passed out MBA graduates, higher score does not necessarily reflect in depth subject knowledge and pragmatic approach.

Taking all of these aspects, I do feel Indian MBAs do not make great leaders. One of the Harvard Professors commented once about Indian MBA Managers “Indian MBA Managers can keep a well-doing business afloat or move upwards, however they cannot errect a dying business.

One of the panacea for the flaws in the MBA system of India which have been mentioned above can be pre-requisite work experience before joining MBA. The best B-Schools around the world have such pre-requisites of work experience. Work experience often lets a candidate understand the practical aspects of industry, clears confusion about career path and hence is able to appreciate the MBA program in a much better mode.

With various coaching institutes helping aspiring students to crack the tests and the GD/PIs, I feel somewhere the basic aptitude and intellegence of a candidate is not put into test in the present format of tests. Some of the institutes like ISB, G-LAKES, SPJIMR, SCMHRD, even IIMs have now adopted selection process in which the weightage given to written scores have come down and resume evaluation (background story) is being enforced.

Leadership or life cannot be taught in the class, but surely education system and enterance systems can be altered to help student learn leadership outside the class. The underlying fundamental concept of an enterance system needs to be indentifying the best learners not the best scorers.

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