When MBA?

This question is, usually on every MBA aspirants’ mind, “When Should they do an MBA?”.

Should it be after couple of years of work or just after the graduation? But it is important to take this decision in the years of graduation studies, with solid reasons to back your decision. Questions related to this decision come up when interviewed for getting into a Business school. These questions are incidental when someone has work experience of less than one year, or has frequently changed employers/ firms/ job profile, or has a year gap in which no work experience or education is shown. In order to satisfy the above questions and to draw a successful career map, answering the when should one do MBA is a priority.

Even though the composition of work experience and freshers across each Indian Business schools varies, highly, these business schools mainly prefer a higher percentage of students with work experience. An article by Times of India states that nearly 27% on IIM Ahmedabad’s current batch are freshers. Another article on Pagalguy reads IIM Indore and IIM Rohtak’s freshers composition at 65% and 10%. These business schools prefer not to exceed their freshers to work experience ratio from 1:3.

Well, it is crystal clear that business schools reserve large number of their seats for aspirants with work experience than that of freshers. So is it favourable enough to join a business school with a relevant work experience? When an MBA aspirant with work experience is interviewed, the frequently asked questions are: ‘Why MBA now?’, ‘Why leave the job?’, ‘Why change the line?’, ‘What do you look forward to after an MBA?’ and many more. It is crucial to answer these questions, satisfactorily. What is more important is what you did at your work? What did you learn? What did you achieve? How did you come up with innovative solutions? How did you handle a particular situation? Everything that happened on the job, should be at the tip of your fingers. The main reason why these questions are asked is because they prefer students with work experience. All this information is relevant to decide whether the aspirant should be admitted or not?

The management schools’ curriculum is case studies based on which lot of working is required. During in-class discussions, students are expected to give their insights, spot minute discrepancies, relate it to their experience while they were working, express their viewpoints, use reasoning and recommend feasible solutions. As said earlier, the preference given to aspirants with work experience is to facilitate healthy in-class discussions.

Since the cases discussed in the business schools are real time based on organisations, the work experience students have some idea of relating to the problem as they themselves might have faced the problem while working or their colleagues did. They have knowledge regarding the organisations discussed as they have worked in them or with them as their clients or suppliers, or even as they studied them closely while working for their competitors.

Working in an organisation gives hands on experience. You are provided with the resources and information to work your way towards the solution. Check it feasibility and implement them. Even while discussing the cases, one is not required to bring conclusions, but reason and recommend with feasible solutions and logical thinking.

One more advantage to the work experience students is they already have a direction. Their work experience in a particular sector helps them to decide upon their area of specialisation and domain. Another advantage is that a work experienced student has a bird’s eye view regarding the work flow of a normal organisation.

But the business schools do look for freshers. During discussions, freshers are able to bring freshness to the table by bringing in new ideas. The ideas these freshers bring in are innovative and not the old traditional worked out ones. They defy monotonous nature of things happening and challenge them which help in healthy discussions. Another advantage is these students are ready to experience new things.

Most important advantage to the freshers is the recruiters look for them. The recruiters usually prefer freshers or students with less than a year’s work experience, especially during internship recruitments. These students are easy to mould and gel up quickly with the rest as compared to the work experience students.

However, if someone is applying to business schools abroad, a minimum number of years of work experience are required to fulfil the criteria of applying, which is most commonly of two years. Thus, work experience turns out to be a relevant factor. One of the other factors that affect this decision is finances. Students from a weak financial background usually find preferable to work initially to support their family and stable the finances. But few students also opt to work to support their future MBA expenses and fees. Other factors that can be considered is the job market in the future. Is it worth it to leave the job today? What is the Rate of Investment? How will the job scenario be related to the domain and area of specialisation?

Most crucial factor is career mapping. Where do you want to be? What are you supposed to do now? Is this job giving you what you need? Will this job take you where you want to reach? Are there any other opportunities? What was the plan when you applied for this job?

Article by Divyanka Gangurde

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