Few months ago, one of my cousins who had recently completed his graduation sought my advice. He was pondering whether to join an MBA course or not. For this purpose, he wanted to discuss with me. After hearing his concerns, I advocated five signs that he must look out for in his life that can help him decide if he must pursue an MBA degree.
If you are on the same boat as my cousin, you should consider the following five signs which might help you reach a decision.
- You are convinced what you want to DO with your MBA
An MBA degree is not a magic wand for success. Add to that, the huge cost of investment. Be it an Indian B-school or the one that you have been eyeing outside the country. They all a require lot of money. And the return on investment? Well, it depends. So, what should you do?
Obviously, you must do an MBA as long as you know what you want from an MBA degree, and why you must study it. Stephen Covey, famous author, puts it like this, “Start with the end in mind”. I know it is a dreaded interview question – where do you want to see yourself in next 5 or 10 years. Only variation this time is, you are asking this question solely for yourself. When you have the clarity of your career goals, evaluate how MBA will help you achieve them.
Many are motivated by the kind of salary MBA graduates earn. Some want to pursue it to change their field or industry. Faster growth in their career is another common reason.
- Do you plan to enroll for MBA because your friends have also joined an MBA program?
- Did some in your family ask you to earn that elusive degree?
- Did you plan for further education as you do not have a job after your bachelor’s degree?
Is your decision influenced by any of the above scenarios? Think over again and again till you find a valid reason. Do not make any hasty decisions. It has to be your reason, not someone else’s. Otherwise MBA will be merely a degree and an investment for you, with no return.
- You dream of an entrepreneurial venture but do not know where to begin from.
Probably you are familiar with the adage – ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. Do you still believe in it? A business, whether small or big, entails many aspects of management, ranging from sales and marketing, finance, human resources, operations to strategy. To quote Henry Mintzberg, an internationally acclaimed academician and author on business and management, “Management is, above all, a practice where art, science and craft meet”. Your journey to become an employer will need a holistic perspective of business. A safe bet for you is to start from MBA.
- Did running a club in college excite you?
- Do you like to lead or follow someone?
The entrepreneurial venture may excite you. You may be just out of your college or have spent years in some job. Whatever is the case, the idea of having-something-of-your–own still glitters in your eyes.This includes the expansion of your family business, which you are expected to join soon. But you do not have the necessary capital to turn your dream into a reality. This is where a B-school can come to your rescue. You can leverage the network of a B-school (Read: venture capitalists, funding agencies) that can help you secure funding.
How many times have you heard that many business stalwarts never went to a B-school? But did you know how many more went to a B-school?
- When your boss hands you more responsibilities of the Project
Well, this can easily turn out to be a double-edged sword. Do you foresee that more responsibilities will pile up your woes? Or, is it the growing recognition of your performance and potential? It depends upon your perspective.
- Are you the one who loves challenges?
- Have you ever turned a seemingly threatening script into an opportunity for yourself?
- Do you manage well in office because you can multi-task?
If you agree and have not joined an MBA course, this is the moment. You have it in you to pursue an MBA degree. Your boss has inconspicuously paved your path. It is time to hone your skills and get a formal degree of management.
You are the person who handles changes dexterously. In a B-school, you will often have to surmount numerous challenges. It could be the last minute assignment submission, the environment around you, priorities for the day or the club meetings.
Many times, working professionals look for a change in their career path. They sense they are stuck in their present role. Promotions or salary increase are hard to come by. Moreover, people in technical or in a specialized area want to make their career in the field of management.
- You are impatient to know how the CEO of your company runs the business.
The moment this question props up in your head, you must contemplate the pace of your career progression. What is it in him that you do not possess? Merely an MBA degree? Think again.
Heading a business organization is predominantly about business skills, business acumen, experience and wisdom.As a potential management member of a company, you need to be open-minded, ready to experiment and most importantly, take risks. In the words of a renowned consultant and speaker, Tom Northup, “No great manager or leader ever fell from heaven; it’s learned, not inherited”.
Hence, now you know more about your CEO. At B-school, you will learn plenty of these skills and add the business models, methods and frameworks. Though your source of inspiration may be your CEO, the road you need to walk is an MBA program.
- You love to have more ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ on your social media platform.
Ah, did I put an extra smile on your face? I bet I did.
- Do you like networking and connecting with people?
- Are you a people-oriented individual with good interpersonal skills?
- Do you understand human relationships and value them?
You must be glad to possess these qualities in you. A B-school is a perfect place to build your own network. Every school has an alumni network which you can tap into for your future. Very often, the alumni network is one of the driving forces behind the successful brand of a B-school. Remember, they can be prospective recruiters too. Networking, thus, assumes a huge significance in your professional career.
According to one survey by Financial Times, networking was the third most important reason why one opted for an MBA. It even surpassed reasons like prospects of promotion and changing jobs or careers. 95% of the respondents who valued networking said that it had worked for them. Not just with the alumni, you can also build excellent rapport with your peers too. All of them have congregated in the school with their own distinct and clear goals. They will be the most important pillars of your network.
Let me add a sixth and a bonus sign here.
Of late, you have developed an aptitude and liking for something called Excel Spreadsheets. Welcome to the league!
Contributed by Suyash Chopra (Batch 2008-2010, IBS HYDERABAD)