Before you jump into it, it makes sense to get an idea of the sector you want to work in
In my experience of working with a diverse group of professionals, and of being a student, I realised that the student majority is not aware of its reasons for doing an MBA. When I speak with people, I get a feeling that a lot of them are trying to squeeze an MBA into their story without really knowing what it will do to them. Many are frustrated with their current jobs/bosses; some are simply looking for a change.
Many of us want to jump into a business school just to get out of the limbo we are in right now. Jumping from one unknown to another. Will that really help? How would it feel if you spent R80 lakh on an education, and woke up after five years with the same pattern of “I am still not sure what is it that I want.”
The confused candidates belong to two different categories: (1) I have no idea what is it that I want from an MBA. But I want to be a manager and earn more money. (2) I can pinpoint what is it that I want from an MBA, but only I know that I have not explored other industry functions, and if given an opportunity, I would like to find out.
For both these categories, I wish to give a headstart and tell you more about how to really create space for MBA in your lives. Let’s put it this way: Past + MBA = Short Term (5 years) + Long Term (6-15 years).
One should pursue an MBA in order to complement the existing skill sets. During professional experiences, people come across moments that inspire them to build an expertise. That expertise will enable them to fulfil their short-term ambition.
For example, someone working in a supply chain in Maruti realises after three years that supply chains are more complex than the simple procurement systems in these companies. He might want to get exposed to the plethora of parameters that make supply chain optimised. He might even consider starting a career with Walmart, Dell, Nokia, Amazon (some of the world’s most optimised supply chains). To get to this stage, this candidate should explore an MBA. That MBA will make him very conversational in other functions that go into measuring the impact of those supply chains. He might want to get exposed to functions such as finance, marketing and general management. He might even need training on leadership and organisational behaviour.
An MBA programme progresses with the speed of light. Before you jump into it, it makes sense to get an idea of the companies you want to work with. It is also imperative to find out the kind of roles you want to play in those organisations.
An MBA is not about getting a functional understanding of finance, spending time on books, building spreadsheets and showing up somewhere as a manager. These are the necessary tools that are needed to work your way up. However, what an MBA does is much more than what one currently conspires in his or her mind.
The author is founder & CEO, PythaGurus Education