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Why do you want an MBA?
Brijesh Singh |
October 26, 2004
Get Ahead has invited readers who have successfully cracked the Common Admission Test to share their tips/mantras for success. Select entries now form a series of reader-driven articles on how to ace CAT.
want to be an MBA," is probably one of the most hackneyed and trite comments of the graduating youth of recent times.
Graduates today want to be an MBA, but have little idea what a manager really does.
Most students are attracted to a management education at top business schools because of the high pay packets they get at the end of it.
Sure, it is a brilliant career to pursue, but if your ultimate aim is to stuff your pockets, you might just cut a sorry figure in your future life or, for that matter, even in your Group Discussions or interviews.
Do you have a goal?
Many students who make it to the best B-Schools do have a purpose or a firm goal.
You will be astonished to know that, every year, about six to eight percent of the graduating managers from top B-Schools join startups because of the tremendous learning opportunities that startups provide.
Almost an equal percentage of students join NGOs or social service organisations.
If you know your goal, two years at a B-School becomes a path to your objective and your learning is more focused.
CAT: some notions
All of us have heard that CAT is a test of Quantitative ability and Verbal ability.
You can't really blame students for thinking so, but this is more because institutes inject this thought into their minds.
Moreover, students believe CAT is all about 150 questions divided into three sections to be tackled in 120 minutes.
Often, we come across examples of class toppers performing badly in CAT, while an average student in the same class would have cracked CAT.
This puts forth a few questions:
1. Are B-Schools actually looking for your Quantitative and Verbal skills in the written CAT?
2. Are B-Schools looking for your communication skills in GDs and interviews?
If your answer to these questions is yes, it is time you snapped out of your hallucination and faced reality.
Most test preparatory institutes prepare you for Quantitative and Verbal skills, but forget to put an element of stress that forms the basis of written CAT.
CAT -- a few home truths
For most students, GDs and interviews mean preparation of certain macro topics and self-awareness issues.
But interviewers want to know the core of your business acumen.
GDs and interviews preparation is not a 10 to 12 session programme, but a year-long process.
They are more about sharpening your business acumen.
- Do you know something about impact of China's deliberate slowdown on Indian economy?
- Why is the Indian prime minister giving top billing to infrastructure?
- What are your thoughts on the consolidation in the Indian telecom sector? etc
If you have an idea of the above, your preparation has direction.
If not, you probably are so engrossed in your Mathematics and English that you are ignoring the real aspects of CAT preparation.
MBA: some facets
-Just having an MBA degree will not help you. Dig into the reason why you want to do an MBA. Discover your core skills.
-If you are good at creativity and have an aptitude for advertising, advertising schools are a better option for you than a B-School.
-Don't get bogged down with the fat pay packages. Salary packages are just a direct function of economic growth.
If in a particular year, there is an upward economic swing, salary packages will shoot. In any recession year, even the best B-Schools in India find it tough to place their students.
Look at the placement scenario this year. The IT and ITES companies led the fray, followed by finance companies.
Old economy companies were almost out of the reckoning.
This tells us the economic growth pattern in the year to come.
Steps to an MBA
Remember, an MBA is a medium to reach your destination. It is not the destination.
The following points might help you build a strong foundation to your management career:
- Set a goal for yourself.
- Introspect and find out your flair.
- Shortlist the B-Schools or specialisations based on your flair.
- Start reading about management so as to get an edge over others.
- Know how to prepare for CAT. CAT is not only about Mathematics and Verbal skills.
- Introduce an element of stress and uncertainty at each and every step of your preparation deliberately.
- Learn to relax at the end of the day.
All the best for your CAT preparation and examination!
Brijesh Singh is an alumnus of Mumbai's Jamnalal Bajaj institute of Management Studies (Class of 2002). He has written regularly on MBA preparation. He is now Project Head, Top Careers and You (www.tcyonline.com), an organisation that prepares students for professional courses.
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