Friday, December 30, 2011

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]

Reality:
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. :)

15 comments:

S G Shrinivas said...

Brilliantly said. Why not get PG to publish it man? Will help many aspirants ! :)

Sushmit said...

Well.. u have definitely put some second thoughts in my mind

MonkAvantGarde said...

Thanks for the mention bhai
though i dont quite agree with all the points
its indeed difficult for a student from a rather inglorious backgorund :P
you sir ji are yourself a 9 pointer
and a hardcore hard worker
think about mere mortals too :P

also aspirations are personal and to comment on them would be subjective
it indeed is a passport to great future being in a top notch bschool
but its not the only way and you might already be having a great future ( which i believe you do ) and in that case you might find being in a B school not much of a value add
however for majority of people who actually do MBA from a top b school
it makes a difference :)

Preethi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Preethi said...

Very well-written
Mind switching to Media next year ? :-D

Roohani said...

It's not anyone's fault, really. The myths about B-Schools exist because of their aggressive advertising about these things you have mentioned, which will continue to trap students and "lighten their purses" ;)

I suppose a lot of this is true for many other overhyped misunderstood fields these days, Satwinder. There is no degree which is a short cut to a rich successful life, but if they'll publicly admit that, where would they get their revenue from :P

I agree with the above comment, though. Switch to Media, lol.

Shirsho said...

Totally agree with all the points. One more myth is that you'll become a "decision maker" and will be involved in making strategies for companies after you graduate. But the reality is that you'll need to work for atleast 10-15 years before you even come close to making corporate strategy.
Put up a link to this on PG too. You'll probably reach more people that way

Satwinder Singh said...

@Shrinivas: Thanks buddy. Will think of it. :)

@Sushmit: You will be able to handle it.. ;)

@Monk: Nice point. True, it does make a difference to many people. Esp those who may not be from a financially sound background. An MBA from a top bschool can make you rich, there is no doubt about that. However, a person should have some intrinsic motivation apart from money.[personal opinion]. :)

@Preethi: Na, I will continue with HR soc. But can definitely pitch in for Media too ;)

@Roohani: Agreed. :)

@Shirsho: Thanks for the comment :)

Prateek Wanna be Eloquent!!!!! said...

nice blog sattu :)..
but i hope these realities dont deter MBA aspirants for working hard to thru their respective Dream Bskools ;)

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Amit Dalmia said...

Liked the article and the myths you exploded.
But couldn't understand the part where you trashed the logic - of taking MBA so that one can become an entrepreneur - as you pointed out that one can become an entrepreneur without joining an MBA course. That is all true but should that be the general logic? There are many people who earn crores but don't even have their formal secondary education completed. But they sure can handle people well (HR part) and pitch in their products as well as a MBA grad (Marketing part). But I guess, that doesn't make it a rule that one should not have a formal education. If there is one guy who wants to become an entrepreneur and wants to learn nitty gritty of Marketing or Operations so that he can operate his firm efficiently, how is he wrong in that?

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bachan singh said...

Well said, toally agreed, there are misconceptions about the mba among the aspirants, especially freshers. And reasons are many for the same, but who create this misconception and who is responsible for this crap, its nobody else its only we and we. Actually we are not 100% sure what to do or not. Once we take the 100% responsibility for our every outcome. All myths will vanish once you understand what you really want in your life . Be aware about your potential and do whatever u want to do , that's the truth and rest all is myth,..

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