Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why MBA?

This is a collection of a few most clichéd statements pertaining to the popular question asked by many interviewers for Bschool aspirants:- ‘Why MBA?’ Many people have asked me the same question as well.

It is an open secret that most of the interviewees have absolutely no idea about the answer. Simply because they don’t have any reason for doing an MBA. They are merely doing so because their friends are doing so, and/or they are being forced by their family members. Or more simply, they are just doing it to get a high paying job and status in society. Of course all those actual reasons are considered taboo during the interviews, so let’s see what kind of answers these smart candidates actually give to hoodwink the interviewers. These are a collection of actual answers given in interviews, collected by me after studying various forum and blog posts in the net. I repeat, they are NOT a work of fiction created by me. People actually give these sort of answers during interviews when asked why they want to do an MBA.

Also, most of the answers have been given by engineers, who believe that MBA is an Official extension of engineering. So without wasting any more time, here I begin:

1) This is the formula used by most engineers-‘If you can’t convince them, then confuse them.’ So the answer is typically this type-‘As you can see, I gained technical insight and foresight into solving industrial and engineering related problems and also the applications pertaining to logical and technical skills which I gained during my engineering course. However, I would like to supplement it by gaining managerial skills at your esteemed ABC institute, to be able to provide in-depth leadership solutions for all esoteric problems.’ In reality what he means is-‘I don’t know why the hell I wasted 4 years doing something which I never understood[engineering] and I have absolutely no idea why I want to do the MBA. I just know that I need that 7 digit salary. But since you[the interviewer] won’t accept a direct answer, I have to go about it in a roundabout manner.’

2) The interviewer asks-‘You are so talented in photography. You have actively worked in an NGO. Your photos and articles have been published in international magazines. Why do you want to do an MBA then?’ Answer-‘This can be defined by Maslow’s theory in his pyramid. Blah blah, degree of self-actualization, needs, defining human psychology, etc etc.’ By now, even the interviewer is struggling to stay awake. Finally the candidate miraculously concludes his discussion by saying that an engineer just cannot stay alive and make a living unless he does an MBA. Defined by Maslow of course.

3) Sometimes the student tries to define a non-existent link between engineering and management. He tries to prove that both are actually quite similar and that one cannot exist without the other. So all engineers should be managers and all managers must have an engineering degree. Otherwise it will create havoc in this world. One guy actually said that just like different organs in our body perform different functions but are all interconnected by nerves, similarly management is largely connected to engineering and that only engineers can be good managers. Some people will go to any length to try to prove something which has no meaning. But after all, too many lies do make a truth.

4) Yet another plan devised by the ubiquitous engineers-‘Technopreneurship. The term stands for entrepreneurs who venture in the technical field. For example, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, or even Akio Morita, founder of SONY. The frustrated interviewer remarks-‘If all engineers rush after MBA, then who will do engineering jobs’. The candidate smartly replies-‘This is an era of technopreneurship. We need capable entrepreneurs who venture into the field of technology to create outstanding products and sell them, blah blah blah.’ The interviewer sighs and gives up.

5) Finally, a person actually remarked- Since I am from IIT, the best engineering college it’s only logical that I go to IIM, the best management Bschool. Only that he forgets to mention WHY that should be so.

You may think that I harbor some kind of grudge against engineers or something. There’s nothing like that, since I am an engineer[about-to-be] aiming for doing MBA myself. It’s just that I do not approve of such shady methods of trying to fool the interviewer. If you have no reason of doing MBA besides money and status, why don’t you have the guts of simply saying so? Be frank and who knows, you can even be selected as the interviewers will definitely appreciate your honesty. In most cases, they are experienced people and will be able to see through your lies. However, with most of the people clearing the cut-offs being engineers, the institutes have no choice but to accept them[they can’t keep all their seats empty, can they?]. This is why many people who have no clue as to why they should pursue an MBA, also do manage to get into a good Bschool. Its only later, after passing out that they realize their mistake and end up suffering in some job which they never actually wanted. They may earn lots of money, but I doubt whether they will ever be satisfied.

It’s not a sin to run after money. In fact, you should learn effective[but legal] ways of generating wealth both for yourself and your company. Subroto Bagchi of Mindtree Tech. says that ‘To build a company, you should learn to love money. If you do not love money, do not build a company.’ Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, also says that its very important to have a good financial understanding of a business. However, that does not mean that your only objective in life should be earning money. Even Chetan Bhagat remarks-‘You should have at least one non-monetary reason of doing an MBA.’ Most engineers have no real interest in business, economics, etc. Its just that MBA has become too much of a fad in India. We should try to relinquish this greed of making quick bucks, and instead do something which really interests us.

After all, before you take the decision of jumping into the MBA bandwagon, ask yourself this question-‘Am I wasting the 4 years I spent doing engineering? Will I actually apply any of my engineering skills after I complete my MBA? Or did I do engineering just for getting an engineering degree[which holds lots of value] and no other purpose’. These questions will help clarify your doubt.


Prerna Munshi said...

I found point number 3 so funny. A candidate with such an illogical answer should be straight away thrashed out :-P

& point number 5 comes a close second regarding it's comical quotient.

When I was preparing for my interview, I had tried to find a convincing answer to the question but failed miserably every time. Even I thought the same.... "Is it that easy to hoodwink the panel?"

Since, I have experienced what the real interview is like, I know that it's not easy to fool them!
Needless to mention, even I had tried to confuse them by bringing in an unusual concept.
I had said "I want to do my research in management, so, I am really interested to know the basic fundamentals of management."
And then, when I realized that they were giving me a wry smile , I sheepishly added :- "MBA gives a good status & also a financial independence."

Sorry, for this long comment but I wanted to share my experience with all of you.

Regarding the post, Satwinder....kudos to you! I had a very good read! :):)

Aphron said...

Great post satwinder :D

Fortunately or unfortunately even i fall into the same category 'Engineer+MBA'. What i do not like about these interviews is that honesty is compromised and even panel has a set of answers which they expect from us! Most of them would give the first reason but i don't know how right or wrong that is.

Being honest does not get you the seat all the time hence people come up with all sorts of answers and even coaching institutes give a list of probable answers!

My answer to the question was and is:
I want a job which gives me more responsibility and MBA will give me that job.

Swathi Pradeep said...

Great Read!
Swathi Pradeep,

Shri Ram Ayyangar said...

Nice post, many students opts for MBA just for good post and money but in doing so land up in a bad institution!

Abhid-d said...

Hi. Satwinder. If I'm not wrong, I can take the liberty of assuming that this post was inspired (atleast in part) by my comment on your previous post about an MBA degree rendering engineering quite useless.

This post made for a very enjoyable read. It also reflects the actual responses one gets to hear as "practice responses" or "recommended" responses.

So, what will YOU say to your interviewer then ?


Satwinder Singh said...

@Prerna: Thanks for the compliment and also sharing your experience. :)

@Aphron: Right on buddy!

@Swathi: Thanks a lot for sparing your time and going through my post. :)

@Ram: Thanks again friend.. :)

@Abhid: Well, not exactly since I was planning to write this post for a long while[over 6 months] but was too lazy to do so. But yes, I did have your comment in mind.

Am glad you liked it. Thanks a lot for going through the humongous post. :)

What I will say is a secret and will not be revealed so soon. :D, jokes apart I will mention my career objectives, goals and the business plan I have in mind, and how an MBA will help me achieve them. Am specifically interested in HR.

Vijeet Rathi said...

My answer to the question "Why do you want to do MBA?" was -

"I come from a non-business family, my father is a doctor.I want to do my business later on, so an MBA degree would give me sufficient knowledge and a job to learn how businesses work which collectively would help me in starting my business"

But interestingly, they didn't ask 'what business?' or 'do you have any business idea or plan?' :)

Sourav C. Pandey said...

Wish I had read this post 3 years back, before going for MBA! :p Though you really have some concrete ideas here! :)

You from Dgp, man I am from Asansol! Small world .. nai?

And btw, I request you to read my post and vote for it, of you like! :)

Anonymous said...

Excellant post satwinder Singh ji, Now u put me in a fix... I was preparing whole heartedly for CAT!!

Like most I am doing it for better profile and ardent desire of mine to be placed high up in the corporate ladder, dont know if this reason would give me a Mba seat :cry:

bindiya said...

hey satwinder...very well written post...i must say....
enggrs not on waste one enggring seat....but also...are spoiling MBA market...too...but alas!!!no other choice coz..the scenario today is that....logo k dimag me koot-koot k bhar gaya hai ki....bina MBA k paise nahi kamaye ja sakte...
being a counselor in an MBA college...i have started feeling..that if graduation would not have been a prerequisite for MBA..people would have skipped dat nd opted straight for MBA........without giving a thought why they want to do it???????

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