A very large number of students aspire to join the top B-schools in the country. When you add all the students that write CAT, MAT, XAT and a host of state-level entrance tests, a wannabe MBA could easily be competing with over 400,000 students.
Against this, the top 100 B-Schools in the country admit only a little under 10,000 students. This leaves many aspirants disappointed. This article suggests a more practical approach on how best these students can try and attain their dreams of doing an MBA.
To start with you need to know that there are well over 1,000 B-Schools in India. Even if we write off about 700+ of these as not worth joining, that would still leave us with about 200 B-Schools which an aspirant could bring into his consideration set. This means that there are around 15,000 more MBA seats worth at least considering.
But let’s make no mistake about it – these B-Schools are nowhere comparable to the top-notch ones, and the student is undoubtedly making a compromise by joining one of these schools. But there are a large number of students who really want that “MBA” against their name for a variety of reasons. Many of these students do seriously consider these B-Schools and several even join them. Keep the following criteria in mind when making a decision:
1. PLACEMENT TRACK RECORD: For most students the main reason to join a B-School is that it offers better job prospects than what would be possible without the MBA. Therefore, while deciding whether or not to join an institute, you must make a lot of inquiries about its placement record. Get in touch with your seniors at the institute or alumni, and find out the ground reality.
Many tall and false claims are made about placements and salary figures. You need to make every effort to ask as many questions as you can to find out how good the placements really were.
- How many companies have actually offered jobs to the students last year?
- How many offers were made?
- What percentage of the students was placed?
- What kind of jobs/ salaries did the top 10 students in the institute get?
If you are not convinced of the likely placement prospects at the end of two years at a B-School, then you should think twice before joining it. This rule, of course, does not hold good for those who do not need a job at the end of their postgraduation – like those from business families who are going to go back to their own businesses.
Manek Daruwala, Founder Director, T.I.M.E.
2. VALUE-FOR-MONEY: If you know that you are not joining a really top-grade B-School, then there really isn’t any point in paying a small fortune to get that MBA. B-Schools charge a wide range of fees. Look for an institute that charges a reasonable sum – say Rs. 5 to 7 lakhs for the entire two-year course.
You will find that B-Schools attached to Universities often offer good value for money. The fees are usually reasonable and the overall offering, worthwhile. Look out for opportunities to join such institutes and make the extra effort needed to get selected.
3. CHECK THE FACILITIES FIRST-HAND: Even while we compromise by joining a lower level B-school, we certainly don’t want to be taken for a ride. It would be wise to find out how good the faculty, infrastructure and facilities are, at the institute you are considering joining. It may even be worth making a trip to the institute or asking a friend or relative to go across to the institute and find out.
Check out how many full-time faculty members the B-School employs. Check with your seniors about how satisfied they are. While most institutes will leave some room for dissatisfaction, you should be sure that the faculty scene is not a total wash-out. Similarly, you should find out whether the building in the brochure or the ad actually exists.
4. FIND OUT FROM YOUR SENIORS: While we have already discussed this with reference to placements and infrastructure, it bears repetition because it is so important. You should look to reach out to the seniors on campus at the institutes you are considering seriously. Try and speak to them either directly or through your friends. You could also try and get in touch with them on mail or through groups on social networks like Facebook. Ask them about all your doubts and concerns. You will usually get important tips that will help you make the right decision.
5. DON’T TAKE A LARGE LOAN: Do not make the mistake of taking a large loan to pay for your MBA when you are joining a lower-level B-school. There are enough risks you are taking with regard to the institute – don’t add to the pressure on yourself by living with the prospect of a decent-sized EMI payment as soon as you finish your MBA. Remember that placement prospects are likely to be uncertain and you will feel the heat if you have a large loan to repay. Try and cobble together whatever you need from internal sources. If that does not work out, it might be better to drop the MBA plans for the year and build more savings by working for a year.
There’s no doubt that a top-notch B-School is a clear career-booster. But, not everyone can make it to them. Many aspirants will settle for lesser-known names in the very long list of Indian B-schools. If you are careful and follow some of the advice given in this article, you can ensure that you make the best of the bargain. After all, life is all about making the most of what you have.
The author Manek Daruvala is the Founder Director, T.I.M.E.