If you ask a graduate student why he wants to do an MBA, it comes as no surprise that very few candidates have the clarity. Most of the times, students form their opinion based on what they see in media and hear from someone who has done an MBA. There is a fundamental difference between why people opt for an MBA, as a fresher or after having work experience. The wisdom learnt through work experience help the candidate to choose MBA for reasons other than money and regular cliches. This is the same reason, globally, B-schools prefer students with different degrees of work experience. Coming to Indian B-Schools, the student mix is more or less in favour of freshers or graduates with less than 1 year experience during 1990s and early 2000s. Slowly, B-schools started giving importance to work experience to move in tandem with global standards. The result, students with different years of experience are more or less equally distributed at top B-schools in India. Irrespective of work experience, let us understand the top 5 reasons or people choosing an MBA:
1) Skill Development
Many a times people find it difficult to comprehend that MBA is not a simple degree but business simulation equipped to train the budding managers on the contours of corporate challenges. MBA helps you in gaining 3 skills:
- Specialized knowledge: MBA from top B-schools is structured in such a way that you will be exposed to a variety of business streams like Finance, HR, Marketing, Strategy, Operations, Systems and General management. This kind of knowledge gaining is not available in any other programme in such a short span of time.
- Team Dynamics and interpersonal skills: Most of the MBA programmes in top B-schools follow flipped classroom pedagogue and make you work in teams. Beside the benefits of combined responsibility in completing the tasks, this is where your understanding of team dynamics and interpersonal skills improve. As an individual you will be much more aware about your capabilities than before.
- Communication skills: Sales and communication gained prominence from second half of last century due to movement of economic activity from industry driven to service oriented. The same are expected to improve in an MBA programme due to its emphasis on continuous communication and working in a team environment.
2) Career Development: Whether you are a fresher or have work experience, you will get an accelerated growth in corporate world if you have an MBA and are up for it. The growth potential is limitless in specific industries. Most companies view MBA graduates as properly trained and well disciplined in business matters.
3) Networking: This is a key ingredient in business success. It helps you to get things done through use of friendship/acquaintance . In a B-school, student has to interact with various stakeholders to get things done. This creates a close bondage with fellow students and others that he/she can use as a leverage in later stages. Research found that people will be more willing to help someone if they know them in person or from same alma meter. This is where networking skills act as a complementary to individual personality.
4) Career change: There are many instances where people moved from Engineering background to Finance and commerce graduates moved to marketing. This can happen only through an MBA. Having been trained in multiple business streams, it provides you the flexibility and necessary skills to enter any field of choice. However there is one drawback with industry change, prior work experience may or maynot be considered depending on the sector one is entering and company specific policies.
Barring few industries, like IT and technology, where idea execution and speed matters, a majority of industries rely on traditional business streams for making a foothold in the market segment. Entrepreneurship can be considered as one of the most driving factors for people choosing an MBA. People rely on connections and networking initially for driving their business. I believe that entrepreneurs having a clear idea on various business streams will be able to take a better call on business decisions than those who are restricted to any single stream. One major counter opinion among junta is why do we need MBA when majority of the successful entreprenuers are not MBA graduates. This question really masks the bitter truth that only 5~10% of all the enterprises succeed and out of those we hear about only 1 or 2% in the media. When the odds are so high it is always advantageous to have extra knowledge and experience. Our past experiences and perceptions should help us move forward than hindering our thinking process.
One would be fooling himself if he never thought about money factor while considering an MBA. On an average, the annual salaries of passouts from top B-schools hover above Rs. 15.0 Lakhs which is 3~4 times of salary offered to Engineering graduate passouts from campus. But taking a decision, relying entirely, on money factor may boomerang. Money should be one of the deciding factors but not the only driving factor for taking an MBA.
Whatever is the reason for you to choose an MBA make sure you understand the purpose and how you want to succeed post MBA. Otherwise, you will be wasting 1 year of preparation, 2 years of MBA and life thereafter.