Friday, December 30, 2011 17 comments

Myths and Realities of an MBA and Bschool Life

Okay, here are some common myths and realities related to an MBA degree and Bschool life. I realize that many MBA aspirants have several misconceptions and preconceived notions about MBA, and hence this effort in getting rid of some of the false inklings which people have in general.

1) Myth: Getting into a Top 15 Bschool is incredibly difficult for an average student[with average background]

Nothing can be further away from the truth. Granted, quite a large chunk of students studying in IIMs, etc are from top engineering colleges with decent acads, but that does not mean an average student can’t make it. If you are willing to work hard and maintain your focus, you can surely make it. To give my own example, I am from one of the third class, unknown private engineering college in India and yet I made it to FMS in my very first attempt.

2) Myth: An MBA is a shortcut ticket to success, fame and money. You shake hands with CEO’s, ride in luxury cars, attend corporate parties, and get to date attractive women.

Reality: Of course it isn’t[this one should be obvious, but unfortunately it isn’t]. Most of the 2000 or so Bschools out there simply exist for the purpose of lightening your purses. If you still haven’t understood what I mean, then I pity you. An MBA, even from an IIM won’t automatically grant you success. You need to keep working hard throughout your life and be prepared for failures.

3) Myth: All MBA graduates from a good Business school end up as millionaires after they pass out/get 7 digit salaries/international placements in USA, Switzerland and Australia

Reality: Just a handful of students actually get a really high pay package, but unfortunately they hog all the spotlight, thanks to our media. What does not actually get highlighted, is that there are quite a few[read:many] students who actually do an internship without a stipend and end up with a pay package[finals] of what many of you may be earning before doing an MBA. This is even true of IIMs and other top bschools.

4) Myth: i) I want to become an Entrepreneur. And with so many Bschools stressing on Entrepreneurship and having courses on the same, I should opt for MBA.
ii) [On similar lines]: I plan to run an NGO. I am very much into Social service. But for this an MBA is a pre-requisite since all Bschools are stressing on rural marketing and CSR.

Reality: Listen people. Grow up. Come on, enough with lame excuses of doing an MBA. If you don’t have any reason to opt for it, be honest and bold enough to say the same. Such lame excuses of being an Entrepreneur or the next Social Activist and then later on safely opting for a high paying corporate job is simply ridiculous. Move on. You can be a decent Entrepreneur and an NGO activist without even thinking of an MBA.

5) Myth: An MBA degree is only meant for Engineers.

Reality: This is one myth which I almost agree with. Especially in the Indian context. But with respect to a global scenario, I would definitely say that your educational background does not matter as long as you are clear with your career goals. Do some research into the course contents of an MBA before you apply. If you have no interest in subjects such as Cost Accouting, Marketing Research, Operations Research or Organizational Behavior, I think you are better off not doing an MBA.

6) Myth: You don’t get any sleep during an MBA course. You keep working 24 x 7, 365 days of the year. All you do is assignments, projects and tests with little time for entertainment.

Reality: This was one thing even I was apprehensive of before joining a Bschool, especially considering the fact that I was used to sleeping 10 hours a day during Engineering. But this of course depends on your time management skills. An MBA course will be hectic and will require a certain amount of commitment, sacrifices and dedication. But that does not mean you will get no free time at all, in fact you can definitely take out time to see movies, hang out with friends and stuff. But yes, considering it’s a Masters course and a highly demanding professional one at it, be prepared for a different kind of lifestyle[especially if you are a fresher, work ex people usually do not have problems in adjusting to this work-life balance].

7) Myth: All Top bschool Faculty members are Gods and everyone gets a chance to intern abroad/apply for a student exchange programme/do an international project

Reality: True, you will certainly come across some brilliant teachers. But the fact remains that majority of the faculty will be average, and in some cases even poor or abysmal. This has more to do with the Indian education scenario than the Bschool itself. Hardly anyone gets into teaching for the love of it. Some do it, in order to network and carry out their research/publications, others do it due to lack of alternate opportunities. So do not expect God level teachers to train you. As for the second point, just a few selected students get to intern abroad or do an international project. Even in the top Bschools. And in many cases the student has to bear his/her own expenses. So just because you got into a Top bschool doesn’t mean you are catching the next month flight to New York in order to do a Customer Behavior survey.

These are some of the few points I came up with. May add more in future.
I would like to thank some of my batchmates who have made Life in FMS ‘indeed’ beautiful. In no particular order:

Mayank, Sheetal, Akhil, Shimona, Abhirup, Divya, Suhail, Preethi, Ankit, Richie, and many more. Thanks a lot guys. :)
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 2 comments

How does one Vote matter?

I was sitting in my room cribbing about reservations[one of my favorite pass time], when suddenly one of my batchmates explained a concept to me, and I was like-‘Why the hell didn’t I think of it before?’

Normally, I was a bit angry about the fact that there were people in my Bschool who had scored half the marks I had, and not only did they manage to get into the college, but they also managed to get a DU hostel seat simply because of the fact that they had a caste category certificate, labeling them as a SC or ST. Whereas I narrowly missed out on getting a hostel, and the guy[nobody in particular] who didn’t even deserve to be here in the first place is now enjoying in the hostel. Then the talks shifted to diluting the brand quality of the college, as such people are used to taking shortcuts in their life, and in majority of the cases they don’t need it. That is they are not from a poor background, and quite a few of them are actually from higher class, upper middle class backgrounds.

Then my friend explained to me the reason for the same. Of course it’s just easy to say-‘Vote bank politics’ and then grumble about it, but why the vote bank politics? He gave me his own life example. He told me that his grandfather had set up a village in Uttar Pradesh and had invited people from backward castes to come and work. Over time they settled there, and their family expanded. Now their descendants blindly go and vote for politicians of the same caste, without even thinking twice. It does not matter if the politician is good or bad, honest or corrupt. Only the caste matters. And these people endure the weather; stand in queues for hours on end to give their votes. Whereas people in middle class such as us don’t bother and make trivial excuses such as ‘Its too hot. Its raining. I wont go and stand in a queue. Whats the point of voting anyways? All of them are corrupt. It doesn’t matter who comes into power. They wont do anything for us.’ Such pre-conceived notions are harmful for our society and nation as a whole.

If ALL of us vote[am mostly referring to the General class here] then the politicians will be bound to take note of it. They will know that even the General class has the power to throw them off their seats. Which will minimize irrelevant reservation in seats. But as long as you or me are lackadaisical about voting, things are not going to improve anytime soon.
P.S.- I don’t even have a voter’s ID card. Its high time I got one. And if you do not vote, please make sure you start doing so. Don’t think that it’s the matter of just one vote. Every person’s contribution is significant.