Hi There! In my previous blog I touched upon the reasons why an engineering graduate should choose Finance as the preferred subject for MBA. Being an engineer myself, I tend to have a biased thinking and seeing from the eye of an engineer. Today let me think through the eye of an employer. Having interviewed various candidates in last few years, I am sure the blog below is going to help you analyze yourself and choose the right path. Most of our career decisions are influenced by our surroundings, social circle, and friend circle – so if a friend or elder brother/sister pursues MBA most of us decide the same, well! I am not saying “all of us”, but certainly “most of us”. It is time that we do a little bit of introspection and understand ourselves better before making a career decision. Each individual has his own strengths, his own weaknesses, all of us work in different environments and face different kind of threats from our competitors. All of us (even if we are brother and sisters or for that matter even twins) are not made out of the same mould, everyone is unique and thus it’s important to identify oneself and do a S.W.O.T analysis before jumping onto a career decision. What worked well for my elder brother/sister may not work at all for me because of multiple reasons, he may be good in his analytical skills and I may be bad in that, I may be good in my persuasive skills and he may not be that good in these skills, when my brother passed out the economic scenario favoured technical knowledge but the scenario today is totally opposite. So? What am I trying to prove here? Well! Nothing to prove as such, but to make you understand the importance of S.W.O.T analysis before going in for “MBA”.
Most of you may already know what SWOT means, but for those who don’t know it yet, S – Strengths, W – Weaknesses, O – Opportunities, T – Threats. Applying SWOT analysis to self needs deep analysis. SWOT analysis covers the inner and outer environment and seeks to establish a balanced approach to help an individual or an organization to progress within an economical environment. The better you understand yourself and the environment around you, the better will be your decision making. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors and they have impact only on you, while Opportunities and threats that are environmental factors under which you are expected to perform. Unless you understand the environment, it does not help if you understand only your strengths and weaknesses. You will be able to make the most of your opportunities if you understand them well and you will be able to progress if you understand the threats. Let’s take a simple example – Four people are given a task to reach from point A to point B in least possible time and you are one of them, the person who takes lesser time Wins. What would you do? You will start running? Well to be very frank, almost everyone would say “yes”. But is that the best thing to do? Answer is a clear ‘No’. If you look at the task carefully – you are not being asked to run but to reach point B in least time. So it’s better to do your analysis before you start running. After analysis you find that You have a bike while others don’t have it (Strength), You don’t know the path from Point A to Point B (weakness), all participants can take a GPS navigator to show you the path (Opportunity), One of your competitor is Usain Bolt (Threat). So does this analysis help you in competing better? Yes, it does, and now you have a fair chance to win the race. Pickup your bike, take the GPS navigator and race towards point B and let the others try to find out their own ways.
Many organizations also use this analysis to choose the right path, product, production techniques, marketing techniques, timing for launch of product, location of factory, location for launch of products and various other things to be successful in the long run.
So, any career decision that you make, it should be well thought of, well analysed and well planned. If you are strong in Persuading and convincing people then consider doing MBA in Marketing, if you are strong in accounts, economics, analytical and mathematical skills then consider MBA Finance as your subject, your choices will also depend on your weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Let me illustrate how the decision making changes when you consider all the factors together and not taking each one in isolation – You are good in understanding accounts and economics (strength), but you are weak in making presentations and building marketing strategies (Weakness), there is a huge demand of Marketing Managers in many Finance companies/Banks (Opportunity), there is a huge number of MBAs in Marketing passing out from institutes across India (Threat). Considering all these points together and doing an analysis, you can make a clear choice of selecting MBA Marketing, and you do that in order to use your strength, overcome your weakness, make the most of the opportunity and counter attack the threat with more confidence. I was just trying to tell you that you should not jump into conclusions without the complete analysis.
Your analysis and strategy needs to be in sync with your vision. If you have decided what you would want to be and what you would want to do then it’s helpful in making decisions, you still need to do the analysis to make a calculated decision. And even if you are not clear on your long term goal as of now, I would strongly recommend that you think of it now and consider doing a SWOT analysis to help you decide.
While doing the analysis, be fair and be true to yourself. Don’t underestimate your strengths – since something that seems unimportant to you may be important for an employer, don’t overestimate the weaknesses as it may be something that can be easily overcome, spend time in finding out the opportunities and threats as there are many of them that may not be visible to you as of now but once you start digging deeper you will be able to see more of them. Also, more importantly, your S.W.O.T should be related to your career objectives and should not be vague and completely unrelated, e.g. While doing a SWOT analysis before going for MBA, someone comes up with an analysis – I am a good runner, I am a emotionally week, there are opportunities in USA for miners and student of IIT are a threat to me – isn’t this completely useless? If you know that it is useless then you must be clear on how your analysis should look like. I have tried to cover a few examples here for your guidance, but if I try to cover all permutations and combinations of Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats then I will end up writing a book rather than writing a blog.
Now you know what you need to do before you choose to pursue MBA. Always use S.W.O.T to guide you in making the right decision.
Always remember “In making a career decision – Reward may not be directly proportional to the risk”
Contributed by DIVIK ( Class of 2004, IBS HYDERABAD )