What should you expect from a B-School?

business management school

Tips to set the right direction for your MBA

M-B-A, Master of Business Administration has become one of the most sought after courses in the recent years. It is because post-graduation in an MBA from a B-School makes us corporate ready (proved by the increasing acceptance for MBA graduates from a variety of corporate fields) regardless of the undergraduate background we may have to our credit.

Thus, the demand is matched with the increase in number of MBA seats in existing Institutes by the increase in number of institutions offering Diploma courses in Management. With more number of Management course offerings (the place and field of study) the prospective candidates now have a plate full of options to choose from. Yet, with these options come confusion and this multiplies, as the selection of the choice is a life changing one.

Such life changing decisions need to be made smartly, so before proceeding on the selection let us fully understand and set the right expectations that guide our selection process, with a little help from your friend, who has successfully crossed the Rubicon (selecting a right B-School) and reaping the benefits (by securing an apt placement) by making the right decision then (by choosing IBS Hyderabad). I would like to discuss few finer tips that would help shape-up your selection process.

  • Diversity- “Making of a multi-faceted personality”

“Management education cannot be taught, it needs to be self-learned and experienced”. To master in this field you should keep your mind open to new experiences and be aware of the differences stemming from a single point. To learn this you should share experiences with a mixed group of people who hail from different age groups, geographies, cultures, languages, academic backgrounds and professions. This experience is an invaluable asset in your life-time as it shapes your decision-making process and Emotional Intelligence to a great extent.

Additionally, having a diverse knowledge helps you grow and progress in your career. Luckily my institute had a planned set of pan-India selection process and a systematic classroom was set up wherein people from different categories (by profession, education, geography, languages, etc) were evenly split among the classes and the classes were shuffled every semester which helped us learn a wide variety of different experiences from different people.

  • Faculty-“A ‘NO’ to teaching!”

You may ask “If Management education cannot be taught, why should we speak of the Faculty?” It is because the right learning can happen only under a right faculty. The faculty discussed here are the people who have the right blend of academic background which is enriched with years of corporate and teaching experiences.

A good MBA institute takes effort in selecting the right faculty and learning from them shapes up an individual’s thinking prowess and introduces them to different ways and dimensions in approaching a particular issue. Such remarkable faculties will also present you with a huge number of high-profile industrial contacts. In order to receive the best from them, you should show your thirst for excellence and knowledge as they would frequently encourage you to participate and raise intelligent and sensible questions from time to time.

  • Curriculum- “Design for Doers”mba graduates

When you have the right mix to discuss and a great faculty to direct you to your cause, the next step is to understand that the essence of right learning happens with the right curriculum, as this is going to be the theme on which the great minds are going to work. An MBA is a real-time course and has one of the most dynamic curriculum which need to be updated every year or even every semester. To ensure this, the top end institutes offer a hands-on-experience to theory oriented program in the ratio of 80:20 ratio. This type of curriculum is brought about by the means of Simulation exercises (offline and online), Summer Internship Projects, Tie-ups with Entrepreneurs and Incubation centers, Case methodology, mini-real time business projects, etc.

They also give a major component of evaluation for the above techniques ahead of theory/ written examinations and most Institutes follow an open-book examination. You should understand that in an MBA curriculum it is not about teaching the right solutions but it is about learning and using the right tools to solve an issue by your analytical, logical and emotional abilities in a proactive way, which premier B-School faculties are known to inculcate in their students.

  • Infrastructure- “The training ground”

There is no exception that the B-School’s infrastructure should also facilitate a flawless functioning of students, faculty and the management. This encompasses uninterrupted power supply, internet and telecommunications connectivity, clean water and a rich, natural environment. This will help the students in campus to be in tandem with the changes happening in the society and economy in real-time and also help them to go ahead with the curriculum in a smooth pace.

A Wi-Fi campus, video-conferencing facilities for placements and lectures, air-conditioned class rooms and the like have become the order of the day in many institutes. A special mention should be made for the libraries which should be well stocked with the proper books. They should also include quality national & international magazines (viz. HBR, TIME, FORTUNE, etc) and newspapers subscriptions (The Wall street Journal, Washington Post, Mint, etc), with online subscriptions to international business and social research databases (like Wharton Research Data Services, Proquest, EBSCO, etc). These are the qualitative resources that an MBA graduate has to rely heavily upon to evaluate his business case inferences.

The institutes should also have a complete refreshment and rejuvenation infrastructure through of games and sports facilities. These would include the availability of board games as well as infrastructure such as indoor stadiums, swimming pool, auditorium, open air theatre and gym, etc as these enhance the quality of study in the institute.

  • Investment-“Nothing comes without a price- better you go higher the price”

Premier institutes offering management education charge considerably higher Tuition Fees/ Education cost, but here I would like you to consider that amount as an investment for your future and not a waste of money. If an institute is able to offer the above said quality atmosphere, then the individual is sure of becoming erudite and thus he would be able the make profits of such investment. It should be considered as “Investment for life” and not as cost for education. I am not trying to justify the fees that these institutes charge you, but they promise to give their heart and soul to kick-start your career. Thus, the fee alone should not hinder your decision making.

  • Placement- “A Cakewalk”

“What is the placement scenario?” This question should be the last question that you should ask if you have selected an institute with above expectations as the core of your selection. An MBA institute which offers the right faculty, a diversified and a deserving student mix, dynamic curriculum, supportive infrastructure is itself a brand (viz. IBS group of Institutes, IIMs, etc). Such brands are meant to attract corporate across the globe for placements, because the global and domestic corporates foresee the graduates from such branded institutes as smart and impeccable.

So friends, all in all, do select an institute which

  • Puts you with the right mix of people
  • Presents to you high quality faculty
  • Does have real time curriculum (enriched with cases and real-time business projects)
  • Encompasses you with reliable infrastructure
  • Charges you the correctly for “Value for Money”
  • Connects you to the proper corporates to fetch an apt placement

It might be hard to appreciate the above mentioned items during the course of study however its benefits would be reaped post MBA.  Steve Jobs famously said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards!”. Thus I am proud to announce that I am able to connect them now and I am thankful to my alma mater- IBS Hyderabad for making me a better professional.

All the best.

Contributed By : L. Gowtham ( Class of 2013, IBS Hyderabad )

Difference between MBA and PGDM.

MBA-VS-PGDM copyFew months back, one of the readers of my blog on this site had asked me about the difference between MBA degree and PGDM degree. I had then responded to him with a short, concise answer. I am sure students aspiring for MBA colleges must have encountered this question somewhere or other during their research. So, in this article, let me discuss this topic in more depth.

Purpose of both MBA and PGDM programs is to shape up your career in the field of management. PGDM or Post Graduate Diploma in Management, as the name says, offers a diploma in management unlike MBA, which gives a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Moment one sees the word ‘diploma’ attached, all hell breaks loose and confusion starts. Thoughts flash. I do not need a diploma degree after a successful Bachelor’s degree or after a corporate stint. A diploma is of lesser value to me. Right? Wrong. This is the most common myth associated in the debate of MBA vs. PGDM.

To give you a clear heads-up, top MBA institutes of India i.e. IIM, IMT, SP Jainand XLRI offer a PGDM degree. And then there are other top institutes like NMIMS, Symbiosis, FMS, and IBS which offer MBA degree. So, where is the difference?

Type of Affiliation – Only Major Difference

In India, a PGDM degree is offered by the autonomous bodies or institutions, which are not affiliated to any university.university is the flagship program across all 13 IIMs. Each IIM is run by an autonomous body and is independent to control its day-to-day operations. However the top management of all IIMs report of the Ministry of HRD in Indian government. XLRI, Jamshedpur is another example which offers the PGDM degree. It is not affiliated to any university but run by an independent board which comprises CXOs of the leading corporate.

Now let us look at MBA degree. MBA degree is offered by universities and its affiliated institutions, and these universities are controlled by University Grants Commission (UGC). For example, ICFAI Business School offers MBA degree and is affiliated to ICFAI University. According to the Indian laws, only a university can offer degrees such as MBA, BBA or BE. Any institution which is not affiliated to university cannot offer these degrees.

Hence, the major difference between MBA and PGDM degree is the type of affiliation of these colleges. Most of the differences between both degrees are in fact spin-offs of this very distinction.

Autonomy Scores Certain Advantages

Since PGDM colleges are autonomous institutions, they enjoy certain operational advantages over MBA colleges. One of the differences is in the kind of curriculum and its design. In PGDM, the curriculum is updated more regularly based on the changes in the environment and requirements of the industry. This makes the PGDM courses more competitive and industry oriented. PGDM courses from institutes like IIM, ISB, SP Jain or such top institutes reflect higher brand value and are readily accepted by the industry.

What about colleges like FMS, Symbiosis, NMIMS, or IBS? They all offer MBA degree. So, does this mean the syllabus of these colleges is outdated? Answer is No. Technically speaking, a university syllabus changes once every 3 to 5 years. This is because there are a number of institutions affiliated to a particular university. So, if there is more frequent change in the syllabus, there will be time and costs associated with the revision of books and upgrading the faculties. Hence, there is a lesser degree of flexibility involved in the curriculum design of an MBA program. Even though the syllabus of a university affiliate MBA college may not be outdated, chances are that their curriculum may not be in tune with the current needs of the industry. In other words, the syllabus is more technical (and not theoretical) in nature, developing better business knowledge and perspective. However, university affiliated colleges with their experienced faculty and better infrastructure can offer better learning experience to students.

This difference in terms of curriculum of both kinds of colleges is a very finer one. It should not be accredited much weightage while choosing a college for yourself.

According to the views of Mr. V. Venkataramana, former Dean, School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad, published in The Hindu, “An MBA is for those who seek a university programme to get a holistic view while the PGDM is for those who seek specialization in the area of their interest.” Therefore, you may find more innovative programs in PGDM colleges. They may offer more choices of innovative electives purely based on a particular industry need.

Being more industry-centric, PGDM colleges have more collaboration with the corporate bodies. There is a greater stress on setting up of industry funded groups like incubation centers or entrepreneurship cells or innovation forums. This often leads to a better funding model for these colleges, resulting in better placement and higher average salaries. However, I believe the worth of a student is more dependent upon his skills, capabilities and experience than MBA or PGDM.

There could be some differences in the duration of course as well. Many PGDM courses follow a trimester system. A year is split in two to four terms, each term of 2-4 months. For an example, in IMT Ghaziabad which offers PGDM program has four terms in its first year and three terms in its second year. On the other hand, a traditional MBA course consists of two terms or semester in a year, each ranging from 4-6 months. IBS Hyderabad has four semesters in its two-year MBA program, each ranging from 4-5 months.

So, Which Carries More Value?

Most points of distinction between MBA and PGDM program discussed above are fast getting obliterated in the race to attract best talent and top recruiters. Today most of them are even inconsequential to think about. What matters ultimately is the brand of the business school which enhances your skills, knowledge and career.

Next time, when you are deciding between MBA and PGDM, focus more on the ranking of the institute, accreditation, alumni network, reviews of college from its students, exposure, industry collaboration and your choices of subjects and electives. Remember, even the best institutes have its share of worst performing students, and even lower ranked colleges have best performing students in life and corporate. So, it’s your passion, hard work and performance which will eventually decide your future. And least MBA or PGDM.

Contributed by Suyash Chopra ( Class of 2010, IBS Hyderabad ) can be contacted atwww.suyashchopra.wordpress.com and twitter: @suyashchopra1

Healthy Regime for an MBA Student

MBA StudentsA time frame of approximately 2 years is a very long time when it comes to a person’s career keeping in mind that many MBA students take a break from their job to inculcate skills and knowledge pertaining to management. Thus, aspirants get petrified by the kind of subjects and variety of tasks they would have to undergo at a management institute. Some programs provide a full time course involving staying at campus or hostels while a few demand fixed hour visit.

Hence, with the increasing complexities, competition, plethora of activities to divert the mind and last few years of education in an individual’s life; it becomes crucial to make best of it in order to contribute massively to one’s personal and professional growth. As an MBA graduate, I would recommend a tool called ‘regime’ for aspirants as well as MBA students.

Now, I would like to take you through each semester of MBA, the ideal attention to be allotted and ideal time to be allotted by an MBA student over listed criterions, to make best of the experience, though one must remember that one size doesn’t fit all.

Healthy Regime for an MBA Student

Good meals: First and for mostly, one must always remember to have a healthy diet plan throughout the program. Falling ill is an unaffordable luxury because illnesses and diseases make you lose your valuable preparation and studying time. Good meals should catch more of your attention over the three semesters and then become a high priority in the final semester. Now the question comes why? The higher concentration must be given in final semester because it is the time for placements when rejections, failures, falls happen and only and only good healthy favorite food helps you keep yourself active, healthy and in a good mood.

Plan Your Day: An unplanned day leaves scope for complaints pertaining to no time for oneself, any time for family or friends, social life or time for daily activities. Hence, time management through a time table or schedule is essential. Also, the planning must be short, precise and help you become organized. Being organized always leaves you with plenty of time for yourself. Planning must take less time but get higher attention. During last semester when there is more time for you to prepare for placements, thus one must plan judiciously. MBA program is meant to make you find solutions to all problems rather than cribbing over them.

Socialization Hours: My main agenda with socialization is to begin with making more friends, reduce to quality friends in the second semester because it is generally the harder semester. Socialization is good up to friendship and company, but harmful when there is waste of time in night-outs, gossips etc. Healthy time should be spent with contacts over dinners etc but must not become a part of your study, preparation or exam time. Teaching others is helpful to revise your lessons, don’t worry about competition because no one can snatch your knowledge, forget the competition.

General Awareness Reading: A lot of rejections come into picture due to lack of general awareness. Have knowledge about not just Bollywood, Hollywood or favorite bands but also the political scenario of the nation, economic state, financial issues, budgets and suggestive reforms for the country, social issues in hype, scams, mergers and acquisitions etc. Being aware takes a little time in the beginning but gradually becomes a habit building your competitive edge. As an MBA you are expected to have an opinion and view on everything. There must be no dieting in this area, over-eating can be dangerous too.

Personality Development Efforts: Confidence, self-assurance, self-awareness, smile, eye contact, clear speech, stress management, time management, pronunciation, perfect dressing, right grooming, body postures and language come with efforts. Nervousness goes with mirror work, practice and knowledge. Understand your weakness whether grammar, pronunciation, tone, grooming, understanding or comprehending etc and read a self help book on the same because this initial worry is better than worrying outside the interview room.

Number of Breaks: We all have brilliantly excelled over years to declare a five minutes break and extend the same for hours. Over time one must inculcate power naps and meditative naps during work to reduce stress and illnesses bearing with fatigue. Breaks are valuable because short breaks empower you to work with greater efficiency. A no break schedule saturates you faster by reducing your marginal effort minute by minute and deducting your efficiency.

MBA Graduation

Chapter and PPT preparation: Never ever under-estimate the reading of chapters from books. Detailed knowledge comes from books while a cursive brief comes from PPT’s. A lot of people stick to PPTs with limited knowledge, argue on their basis and prove a fool of them. PPT’s give an overview and hence are to revise what has been read. Chapter knowledge is really tested during interviews and placements as concepts and generally turns out as weakness of masses.

Reference Reading: Be a hunter, references give you in depth knowledge, ample to make you stand out of masses. As a personal experience, I would like to share that I always found videos and articles on related topics, watch and read the same for my favorite subject i.e. macroeconomics which always made me competent in the class and forced the professor to bring complex questions to me which became my competitive edge due to this heavy referencing and chapter preparation.

Family Time: In a full time residential program one is likely to face home sickness or loneliness which makes one want to stick to video chatting or long phone calls with parents. But as MBA students, one is expected to have certain balance over emotions. Family must not be given utmost importance because the goal here is to learn and not to spend time with family. Also, adequate gaps after each semester ensure ample time to visit one’s family.

Social Media and Entertainment: Social media includes networking sites such as Facebook, etc along with mobile applications like Whatsapp; must be replaced with focused attention in academics and physical play. One must reduce the hours of watching sports and television but not cut them altogether. If one has to do the same things, that one did at home, then what is the rationale of doing an MBA with stay in campus. One has to cultivate creativity at such campus rather than same old age haves.

Sleeping hours: The ideal hours of sleep being 5 and a lot of 5 to 10 minute breaks for power naps should be one’s way of resting. MBA is certainly not to laze around and sleep but a period of 2 years that demands active work and enthusiasm on one’s part. There must be a balance in the sleeping hours, it should neither be too less nor too much. Sleeping limited hours doesn’t mean to cultivate pale skin or dark circles, do take care of your sleeping hours. Dating and dating issues must be taken care of and must not affect your academics at any cost.

Contributed by Chayan Jain (Class of 2011-2013, IBS HYDERABAD)

Five Management Lessons from Mahabharata for MBA Grads

MahabharathaUndoubtedly, Mahabharata is one of the greatest epics mankind has ever heard or read. With so many possible interpretations of its characters’ behavior and the plot, it becomes much more engrossing for the audience. Similar to Bhagvad Gita, which contains meanings to life, and the various facets and nuances to way of life, even Mahabharata should not be just considered as a religious scripture.

According to me, the saga of Mahabharata is a great testament to the management lessons one can derive out of it. Not only for the proficient managers in an organization, but also for the aspiring managers and wannabe MBA grads, this mythology holds lot of relevance and value in terms of parallels that can be drawn from it. Be it in the area of marketing or leadership skills or people management or any other management related aspect, Mahabharata holds key to several work life management problems.

In this article, I have discussed few of the lessons which every MBA grad can derive from Mahabharata by analyzing its events and characters.

  1. Importance of Networking and Relationship Management

Much before the war was fought, Pandavas were hugely outnumbered by Kauravas in terms of the military might. But they built their network with the like-minded kings.  They maintained good relationship with their existing friends and developed new alliances. In professional life too, an MBA grad must build his network and manage relationship with them. After the MBA, most of you will be focused on building your career path in the organization. But you must never lose sight of the role played by your peers of b-school and alumni network. In workplace, you should reach out to as many people as possible. You never know when your network might come to your rescue when need arises. In the function of sales and marketing, bigger your network is and better your relationships are, you stand a better chance to strike good deals. In today’s world, social media platforms like LinkedIn must be leveraged to build your network.

  1. Nurture a pool of Leaders in your Team

Either today or tomorrow, you will be entrusted with greater responsibilities in an organization. This means that as a good manager and leader, you must assume the role of a mentor. It is always good to have a pool of leaders in your team who can take up diverse responsibilities when time comes. A good leader or manager always provides direction to his team members, and is a source of constant motivation to others. Only then the team functions effectively. Being a manager, you must build this culture in your team, irrespective of leading a smaller big team.

In the Mahabharata, army of Kauravas was led by just one general – Bhisma. This followed one-man leadership hierarchy pattern. On the other hand, Pandavas were led by multiple leaders, owning up different battalions of the army and its operations at different periods of the war. This multi-leader strategy proved more effective in winning the war. Similarly, in an organization context, every function or department must develop second line of leaders, which is often termed as succession planning.

  1. It’s about Team Play with Common Objectives

An aspiring MBA grad must understand that he alone cannot shoulder the complete responsibilities of the team, forget achieving the goal. It is the team spirit which wins the war or competition. Kauravas lacked team spirit completely. Every important member in their team had his own personal motives and aspirations with no common objective as a team. Only Duryodhana was in favor of war. Most of the warriors were against the war. But Pandavas were knitted together with one common goal – to win the war and earn back their kingdom – rather than just showcasing their individual prowess.

When a team is confronted with a bigger objective or target, everyone in the team must share the responsibility, and be accountable. Rather than having a centralized decision-making process, the manager must consult peers and other leaders in his team and allocate responsibilities to them. This allows others also to showcase their skills, which is good for the organization in long-term. This leads to maximum contribution from every team member.

MBA Graduates

  1. Seek Mentors in your Career

Even the best managers need mentors who can guide them in time of crisis. Why only crisis, these mentors from their own experience can provide words of wisdom to MBA grads while taking everyday decisions in the workplace. An MBA grad must always look for a mentor in the workplace. It could be a senior manager from within the same organization or another organization. In the b-school, his or her teacher and professor can play this role.

In the great war of Mahabharata, even though Krishna never fought the war, he was the key strategist for the Pandavas, who guided them at each important step of the war. In the workplace, a mentor shows the path, which itself is sufficient for a good manager to understand and make a decision. Having a good mentor is important to grow up professionally. No matter how talented you are, one must seek mentorship. Arjuna, the best warrior in the epic with all kinds of weaponry in his arsenal, also required a mentor in the form of Krishna.

  1. Choose your Resources Wisely

This is so true for HR students and in the case of recruiting managers in an organization. As a manager, irrespective of whether you are in the recruiting team or not, at some point of work life, you will have the opportunity to recruit new team members. At the top level in an organization, board members choose CEOs and CXOs. One must plan properly for the kind of skilled workforce required in the organization. Then engage the right people at the right places. A good manager is one who has an eye for talent. It is up to the acumen of the manager to spot the hidden talent in his team members and provide them opportunities to grow.

In Mahabharata, both Pandavas and Kauravas had the option to choose Krishna for their team. But displaying complete lack of vision and acumen, Kauravas selected Krishna’s army, and hence lost the war. Whereas Yudhishthira made a wise decision and opted for Krishna, who ultimately played a strategic role in their win. This also shows that even one resource can make a difference in an organization. Hence, a manager must never underestimate the power of one.

In conclusion, I must say that Mahabharata is a great source of knowledge and management lessons, which must be well understood and assimilated by every MBA grad.

Contributed by Suyash Chopra ( Class of 2010, IBS HYDERABAD ) can be contacted at www.suyashchopra.wordpress.com and twitter: @suyashchopra1

Why MBA?

MBA Degree.To answer the above question, an analogy between a painters’ painting and a professional’s career has to be understood. A professional can lead his/her career in the same way as an artist can paint his masterpiece but an artist cannot undo what he has done till that time on the same canvas  if he gets some new thoughts during the painting. A professional can do it with the help of a ‘magical stick’ if he wants to change to the business/senior leadership side or if wishes to change the industry. That magical stick is an MBA degree. With this, I have stated one of the most prominent reasons which candidates have with them before applying to b-schools every year. Now, there are various other reasons which the candidate must be able to think through and be absolutely clear before he even thinks of writing competitive exams as to why doing an MBA is such a big deal?

So, what is that itching behind the desire of the candidate to use the magical stick- an MBA degree? Talking about candidates with some work experience, they start to get a feel that they will face a ‘glass-ceiling’ during their growth as a professional may be after 1-2 years or even after 6-7 years depending on the individual. Only an MBA degree will be able to bail them out towards a role which will require more business acumen or senior leadership i.e. a strategic role. Or in other words, to convert them into a more functional and business oriented role from a transactional role in the organization.

In today’s internet age, it would sound utterly illogical if one would say that I want to do an MBA to gain knowledge about managerial concepts when he/she can easily access all the literature for free on web. But having said that, it is the interactions with the faculty, industry champions and people with quintals of work experience and learning from their experience that makes an MBA worth it because one can never have access to that ‘experience’ of having mature business oriented interactions without actually doing them.

For people, who want to have something of their own, an MBA is just what the doctor ordered. Because, when they will be conceiving the idea of their start-up they will be well-versed with the parameters to adjudge the business feasibility of that idea. As a matter of fact, I can comfortably say that the experiences of people who had an MBA degree were much better than those who hadn’t when they tried to get funding for their business. An MBA gives you that ability to see things from different perspectives neutrally before arriving to a workable conclusion.

regular mba degree

‘Connect the dots.’ is ‘the skill’ which one must master before even dreaming of having a more strategic role in an organization. So to master this ‘cutting edge’ skill, candidates look up towards an MBA degree from a premier institute. An MBA trains a candidate to be more of a ‘generalist’ than a ‘specialist’. So, once a candidate is out of the b-school, he remains a ‘generalist’ throughout his life which comes handy when he gets the position of as big as a CEO. For shouldering responsibilities at that level, having an eagle eye view of the business will be the most critical quality that the person must have.

Although till now, I have not talked about the most baseless and the most popular rationale behind candidate’s intent to pursue an MBA which is the carrot of higher salary packages after MBA. So, let’s be very brutally honest about addressing this rational because it is about money….the hardly earned money!!! So, the real picture is that when a firm employs you after your MBA, it pays you on the basis of what value you are bringing to the table. If you have not imbibed those soft or tangible skills in your personality during your MBA, then obviously it will not come out naturally in the job interview and the recruiters, now a days have that acumen to judge your value for the organization near to perfection. So, candidates who just do an MBA for the heck of it only to get hefty packages are doomed to be left disappointed. As a matter of fact, going out of the scope of this piece of text, this must be one of the reasons for candidates to ponder for as in ‘why not to go for an MBA?’.

And last but not the least, apart from giving a candidate an MBA tag, greater career opportunities, exposure and knowledge, an MBA gives you the chance to do a very strong business oriented networking. Simply, because of the nature in which its contents are unfolded and delivered to the candidates in a classroom environment, you get to interact with people from various industries who will bring to the table something different. A strong alumni network, industry contacts through esteemed faculties of the b-school, a chance to avail an internship opportunity with a premier firm to have a feel of the playground before the actual play begins are some of the other aces that an MBA candidate has up his sleeves.

Thus, apart from the above mentioned reasons there can be other reasons too as every single individual in this world is solving a different question paper which is unfolded by life in front of them. An MBA is an experience which might not end up as a pleasant experience for every tom, dick and harry if the individual has not thought through as to why he/she wants to have this experience. Thus, for this experience to turn out as a joy ride which would turn a candidate into a more business oriented professional, the justification must come from within and not cooked up by getting affected from surroundings as to ‘Why MBA?’.

Contributed by Sthita Sahu

Grades aren’t everything in a B-School


ibs bannerI want you to recall the penultimate interview scene of the film ‘3 Idiots’? Remember how incredibly the protagonist cracks the interview with his fearless attitude & soul-stirring honesty despite his consistently declining grades. Branding it as suspension of disbelief in the name of cinematic liberty might be an obvious old-school standpoint. For others like me and hopefully you, there is a more rational alternative reasoning to it. Mull it over or read further!

Ask any old-hand MBA about the importance of grades. He’ll most likely advise that once you are out in the real world, its not so much as your GPA that counts as your white-collar disposition and business acumen. I am not trying to suggest that you should skip classes or that your degree is vain. In fact, I advise you do the exact opposite. Confused? Let me paraphrase.

A typical MBA curriculum comprises presentations, assignments, quizzes, tests etc. And all these fetch you grades. But there are other more important things like industry clubs, student associations, networking etc. They don’t directly contribute to grades but will surely enhance your people-skills, which are undoubtedly vital post-MBA.

A professor once told me that a B-School education is as much about what happens outside the classroom as inside it. You have to manage the trade-off between these inside and outside activities. Inevitably, your grades will suffer. I know intentionally sacrificing grades is not an easy habit to break. Especially for academic high achievers. But you have to look at the bigger  picture. Temporarily, neglect all old-school opinions of your well-wishers.

I reiterate that not studying is not what I mean by the above statement. On the contrary, study hard. Be thoroughly involved. Vigorously interact with you batch-mates. Bounce off questions to the professors. Challenge pre-conceived theoretical notions. Try to gain a practical understanding of the subjects to avoid the highly unproductive last-minute cramming sessions.

I’ll give you an interesting example. When I was in 10th grade, I distinctly remember a class-mate who asked a peculiar question to our science teacher. “How can anything be burned without the presence of oxygen?”, he queried. It was a recurrent statement in the science text-book. The entire class including me was flabbergasted by the astounding simplicity of the question. Even the teacher took her own sweet time to gather her senses.

I was unwittingly introduced to the concept of ‘Out of the box’ thinking. This ingenious catchphrase a.k.a Christopher Columbus’s Egg Puzzle is widely used by Management Consultants globally. Its a quiz where you have to link 9 dots using four straight lines without lifting your pen and without retracing the same line. Try it in case you haven’t. Its a dare. I’ve drawn it for you below. (Hint: Think beyond the box)

During the two years in a B-School, you’ll literally be coerced to deploy lateral thinking and think unconventionally from a fresh perspective. I am re-educating you with these worldly-wise philosophies for a damn good reason. Professional and even scholastic success is a function of several factors and your grade is just a single data-point. Unless you score exceptionally high or abysmally low, your CGPA will just be an arbitrary number post-MBA.

And even if you are a Five-Point-Someone (please disregard any correlation with Chetan Bhagat), be honest and own up to the grades during your placement interview. Never forget that your prospective employer wants to hire intellectually curious, well-rounded people who culturally fit within the organization. As a matter of fact, it’s been proved at a multi-national B-School called INSEAD that there is a negative correlation between high grades and high salaries. Need I say more?

Some MBAs argue that B-School students should take their grades seriously because of the cut-throat competition during placements. More particularly for students applying for Investment Banks and Consulting firms.The very same self-proclaimed Executive Coaches fall flat & go astray when you ask them: “Do good grades guarantee success on the job?”

I recall an unintentionally funny incident concerning one of my MBA batchmates. Unlike me, he was quite good with textbooks and grades. However he struggled a lot while getting a job. If I remember correctly, he was finally selected by some company in his (hold your breath…..) 21st interview (I suppose they have set a threshold limit now). He got it at a substandard CTC.


My friend’s experience compelled me (and hopefully him) to juxtapose two scenarios: (a) A bookworm topper who slogs for 2 years to get good grades and (b) A well-rounded average-scoring student who gives a crack-shot at the final interview and secures a hefty package. Which one would you chose?

Bill Gates once said “I studied everything but never topped….but today the toppers of the best Universities are my employees.” It implies that a stellar student may be a mediocre employee and vice versa. So learn enough in a B-School to make you ‘savvy’. But not a ‘nerd’. Anyway, as a manager or entrepreneur you can always hire lots of nerds (with good grades) to do specific tasks for you. Just don’t fall into that trap yourself.

I am aware that its very convenient to preach while sitting at home. Genuinely following an eccentric advice is the hard part. It requires both trust and courage on the part of the reader. Just contemplate whether cramming the four P’s of Marketing or flawlessly drawing the BCG Growth-Share Matrix would necessarily benefit you in the corporate world. Unfortunately, things don’t happen in the marketplace the way they do in the textbooks.

Because the real world will often surprise you by throwing new variables at you. Be prepared to tackle the disturbances created on your pre-existing theoretical notions. In order to achieve that, first you would have to overcome the orthodox and outdated Socratic way of critical thinking/learning. Discover and adopt more modern ways of assimilating useful knowledge.

Grades are overrated, bigtime! So don’t give too much importance to them. Moreover an MBA student is graded in two phases: (a) Classroom projects, where you are judged on your assignments, presentations, quizzes & soft-skills and (b) Semester Exams where you have to score in traditionally structured written exams. Its noteworthy that Phase (b) judges you at a single point of time unlike Phase (a), where you are judged over a period of time.

Both the components have an equal weightage for the purpose of student evaluation. I strongly believe that the assessment should rely 80% on the former as the appraisal analysis is spread over some period of time. Following this approach would positively make the grading process more transparent and sensible. Unwittingly, it will also benefit MBA students who religiously follow our current grading system.

Takeaway: Grades, according to me, are synonymous with a pat on the back for your good work. That’s why you crave them. Whether they reflect your actual performance to the corporate world outside of your B-School remains a matter of concern. 5 years into your job and they’ll hardly matter to anyone. Including you. Change that traditional frame-of-mind before entering a B-School. You’ll learn to enjoy and enjoy to learn much more!

Contributed by Pranshu Awasthi ( Class of 2007, IBS GURGAON )

Interesting Statistics about MBA Degree Programs

mba degreeIt’s great!!  You’ve finally decided to go for the MBA degree program of your choice and you’re raring to go, that’s a really game changer step for your life!!

Today, we will put you across some of the unknown and very interesting facts about MBA Program!

So let’s get started:

Around 2 year back in Jan 2013…an article appeared on Quartz.com, written by Jay Bhatti, an MBA graduate from Wharton, stating that if a candidate cannot get into a “top five” school, then an MBA is not worth having.

It seems to have caused a bit of a stir

So it is worth taking a closer look to see if claims stack up.

There is a definite doubt, as mentioned in The Economist, that the value proposition of an MBA has changed markedly over the past decade or so. Tuition fees have, in many cases, more than doubled over that time, while the salaries of graduates are virtually unchanged (meaning that, if one bears in mind the rising cost of living, they have actually fallen in real terms). But that is something very different to saying that there is no return on investment.

But do the numbers stack up? The average salary increase an MBA graduate can expect from the “top five” schools—comparing their basic salaries immediately before matriculation and after graduation—is exactly 50%.

In the world of MBAs this is nothing remarkable. The average increase among all of the 120 schools surveyed by The Economist in 2012 is 74%. The basic salary a grad from a “top five” school can expect ranges from $112,000 at Kellogg to $127,000 at Stanford. Impressive, certainly!

But these are not the highest to be found. At IMD in Switzerland, for example, the average basic salary of an MBA who graduated last year is $145,000. At some schools in Australia, a country which has plenty of money sloshing about thanks to its booming mining and energy sectors, salaries can be even higher.

Let’s have some more facts:

One is that the percentage of students from the elite schools with a job lined up when they graduate is low and has been falling for years. Mr Bhatti extrapolates that the situation must be worse at less prestigious institutions. He writes, for example, that 75% of Stanford MBAs graduated with a job last year. This, he says is 19 percentage points down on four years ago.

The Economist found that 95% of Stanford MBAs had a job within three months of graduation. The discrepancy may lie in whether those students who are not actively seeking work are included. Stanford’s 95% figure is down by two points compared with 2008; hardly a collapse.

What Salary Can An MBA Graduate Expect?

In a recent survey, 60% of the students who were questioned about their MBA degree experience reported it as outstanding or excellent. Those who attended a full-time MBA degree program expected their salary to increase by 54%, while those attending a part-time MBA degree program expected a 43% salary increase.

Those who attended an executive MBA degree program reported an expected 33% increase after graduation. Many students, before applying for an MBA degree, spend some time attempting to figure out their return on investment for the time and cost involved.

They almost always find that the benefits, computed over a lifetime of earnings, far outweigh the cost and effort involved and therefore gladly enroll in the program of their choice.

The Economist said that although the average salary for the average MBA degree graduate did decrease during the recent recession, their salaries were still high.

The average 2010 graduate from the top MBA degree programs still pulled in more than $100,000 a year. Though these are figures from the top schools, you can expect to receive a relatively high salary once you have done your MBA degree program pretty much from any school.

And, when this salary difference is calculated over the entirety of your professional life, you will realize millions more dollars.

For many, making more cash is the only motivation they need to do an MBA degree.

Expectations about MBA Degree Programs:

People go to business school with expectations, high expectations. They enroll in MBA degree programs because they want to build fine lives full of gold-leafed happiness.

Much of this is tied to how much students think they will earn once they have done their MBA degrees.

The Graduate Management Admissions Council’s (GMAC) “Global MBA Survey 2002” talked to MBA degree students and learned that on average an MBA degree student expected to earn 56% more after they have earned their MBA degree than they did before.

To most of us, 56% of our salary is a good chunk of change that is definitely worth a few years’ worth of MBA degree studies.

Other expectations that students have are increased prestige and respect; the ability to work overseas and, perhaps the most important, the ability to give their family a better life.

Gender Equality Is Becoming A Reality:

The demographics of MBA degree programs are changing for the better. The Graduate Management Admissions Council reports that 105,900 females took the GMAT (the Graduate Management Admissions Test, the generally accepted standard for MBA degree prospects) last year.

That’s the highest number ever. Of these, the United States had the largest number of exams taken by female citizens, with US women representing nearly 33% of global MBA degree candidates.

Interestingly, the largest representative percentages of female citizens taking the GMAT were from East Asia (54.6%). This suggests that East Asia’s growing corporate gender equality is fast making them a model for the rest of the global community to follow.

MBA Degree Graduate Job Prospects:

According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, more than 86% of last year’s MBA degree graduates had a job at the time they completed their program. Further, nearly 91% of those in part time MBA degree programs had a job at graduation. Most promising, 96% of executive MBA  graduates had jobs at graduation (most of whom already had these jobs during school). These promising statistics are undoubtedly the reason behind the annual increase in MBA degree program enrollments.

Remember one point throughout your life, whether you are a graduate from top-5, top10 or top-50 College…What make the college and program different, are students…i.e. “You”

You have to be completely involved in Cultural diversity, experience levels, industry verticals and global experience…These traits make the program ‘richer’ in experiencing the MBA education.

Hence, MBAs have to be pursued with a goal to make yourself an all rounder at the global platform thru the local way…it’s not necessary that you will go thru the world’s top-5 B-Schools, but you have to choose a B-schools which can be a gate way to the global stage, and all your experience, during the B-school study can help you walk thru the stage proudly…And at IBS, you are already one level above than the rest…

Go, conquer the World!!

Contributed by Himanshu Chaudhary ( Class of 2005, IBS HYDERABAD )