From the money markets to the marriage market, an MBA spells magic. Gone are the days when earning a bachelor’s degree was the standard-the possession of a bachelor’s degree no longer stands out as boldly as it once did. Today, it is the individual with an MBA degree whose career shines brightly. Graduating with an MBA degree from business school not only sets you apart from job candidates who only have a bachelor’s degree, it also speaks of a certain level of commitment and enthusiasm for gaining knowledge and success in a chosen field, which can be very appealing to potential employers.
In today’s fiercely competitive job market, the one certain way of setting yourself apart is to earn an MBA and use the experiences garnered therein to chart an accelerated path of career growth. The reason completion of MBA programs from a business school is so helpful to career advancement is the knowledge and expertise gained through the coursework and classes. First of all, the MBA graduate already possesses a bachelor degree. Next, he or she has typically spent some time in the “real world” work environment. These two accomplishments, coupled with successfully completing MBA degree programs, sets the MBA degree holder on top of the pack of potential job candidates.
Completing the coursework and classes involved in MBA programs is a huge accomplishment, and the ability to place an MBA degree on one’s resume is one big key to career advancement.
However, many naysayers have been challenging the power of an MBA ever since the recession hit global and domestic markets. There have been fears of on-campus placements taking a hit, placement packages dropping substantially, companies retrenching et al. And given the recent online avtar donned by the benchmark Indian MBA entrance test, the Common Admission Test (CAT), there are many who feel that the MBA is a thing of the past and it is time to head back to the lethargic safety of the governmental sector.
Ironically, a recessionary environment makes an MBA even more attractive. The best evidence for this is to be found in the hordes of youngsters queuing up to take professional coaching to put their best forward for the forthcoming admission season. Far from dampening their spirits, the recession seems to have galvanized to aim for an MBA with more vigour than ever before. The idea behind it all is simple-since the job markets are so badly hit, it makes no sense to look for a job.
Instead, this time can be better utilized to acquire knowledge and upgrade one’s skill sets so that when the markets pick up, you are right at the cusp of things. Beyond the classroom, an MBA also provides opportunities for networking and the chance to learn from people coming from diverse backgrounds. In addition, the choice of focusing on specific areas of a given profession can increase the marketability of students and help them find the perfect fit for their careers.
The only catch here is that while in good time, it would not matter where you did your MBA from, in tough time it becomes essential that to optimize you chances of selection and aim for the best school possible.
Those who feel that they face the hurdles of time or the lack of specialized coaching centres near their place of residence can also consider other, equally beneficial, options such as Distance, Part-time or Online MBA’s. Regardless of the format, an MBA can significantly upgrade one’s career prospects.
Nonetheless, aspiring MBA’s must factor in the expenses they are likely to incur during an MBA as also the opportunity cost of the time spent pursuing the course. Even by the most conservative estimates, an MBA will set you back by a few lakhs. Those who might be deterred by the cost of a full-time MBA should remember that there are many funding options, ranging from educational and career development loans to scholarships and corporate sponsorship. To estimate the “true cost” to complete an MBA, apart from the evident expenses such as tuition costs, living, travel and book costs, and the opportunity cost of salary foregone must also be included in the calculation. But recession or not, an MBA degree does better one’s career prospects. Beyond the constant upward trend of salaries, the phenomenon of sign-on bonuses is also gaining currency in India. And of course, the opportunity to earn a hefty stipend during the summer internship is always a prime motivator.
However, if there is one thing that an MBA aspirant needs to start working on at the earliest, it is his plan of how to crack the MBA entrance exams, each of which is getting tougher with each passing year. The first step is to take stock of one’s current comfort levels with basic high school maths and English. Next comes the issue of sourcing the correct books and practice material to study from because the parameters tested in the exam a well as the orientation of the questions is very different from what schools traditionally teach. And then come the matter of finding the time to study! Although even CAT does not require more than a few hours of study in a day, most students find it difficult to sustain their efforts beyond the first few weeks. And this is probably why seeking professional assistance, even if just for the discipline and exposure to the competition, comes into play.
However, one should be cautious not to fall prey to the fly-by-night operators who barely know the demands of the exam themselves. MBA coaching can be an expensive proposition by itself and one should make the choice only after carefully scrutinizing what each of them has to offer.
Regardless of the costs, the recession, the method adopted and the school that one finally attends, the bottom-line remains that an MBA can lend wings to your career and put it on an accelerated path towards success and fulfillment-both, personal and professional. Of the many options before a student today, an MBA is one of the least time consuming as also the one with a high degree of security. And a certain passport to success.
Contributed By Brijender Singh. Who is a Sr. Faculty-Verbal at Bulls eye, a premier MBA preparatory Institute.