Expert tips to become an MBA graduate by Prof. Mani RSS, Vice President, ITM Group of Institutions
A good management degree, or an MBA, offers one of the most rewarding career avenues in India and abroad. This is because there is not a single area of operation, be it in the private or in government sector that does not require a good manager. When the US investment banker Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 it led to financial crises across nations in 2008-2009. Leading economist even blamed the management courses at top B-schools for this. This is the power of management education. Managers are responsible for the success or failure of a company.
A lot of management colleges, or B-schools, offer a number of MBA courses in India. There are over 4000 B-schools, but you must try to get into an institution which is in the top 100 among them. There are a number of MBA specialisations also. The most popular ones are MBA Finance, MBA Marketing, MBA in HR (Human resources) etc. But nowadays there are a large number of MBA specialisations as well.
A commonly asked question is, “How do I do an MBA?” You can gain an entry to a good B-school by taking a common entrance exam or a specific entrance exam conducted by individual B-schools. One of the most popular entrance examinations for getting admission for MBA is the Common Admission Test, or CAT. There are at least 25 to 30 entrance exams which you can attempt to get an MBA admission in a good institution. Some of them have been listed below
Top MBA Entrance Exams
Why should I do an MBA?
Most of the students in the final year of their undergraduate studies ask themselves, “Why should I do an MBA?” Others who are just out of college also ask this question. The answer is, yes, provided you are interested in doing an MBA.
You should not do an MBA because everybody in your neighbourhood is doing it. Don’t do an MBA because it is the flavour of the season. The number of people who are doing MBA without knowing why they are doing an MBA is on the rise. So, do a soul search, which means introspect. Ask yourself, “Do I wish to do an MBA?” If the answer is a big yes, move on to do an MBA. It is a course that is in greatest demand.
Eligibility criteria for MBA
You are eligible to apply for an MBA if you have an undergraduate degree in any discipline from a recognized institute. For open category candidates, the minimum mark requirement is 55 percent. Reserved category candidates with 45% marks and final-year students are also eligible to apply.
The specialisations in MBA have increased over a period of time. Earlier there was only marketing and finance as specialisations and then Human Resources also came on the scene. Almost all B-schools, including the Indian institutions of Management, or IIMs, which are public institutions and other private universities have multi-specialisations now. But two specialisations have always been in greatest demand. The first is marketing and the second is finance.
Marketing is one of the commonly sought for MBA job profiles. What does an MBA in marketing entail? What a marketing person with an MBA degree does is to take the company’s products to their customer, trying to educate him about a product and trying to woo him to buy that product. He also promises the customer wonderful sales service if he buys the product and create in him a desire to buy that brand over some other brand, and promise him rewards if he is a loyal customer.
Another popular MBA job profile is in the finance domain. Having got the customer, having brought revenue to your organisation, how does one plan the use of these revenues in the organisation? The company has to ensure the financial health of the company. The financial health of the company will depend largely on the ability to use the funds meaningfully, minimise the loans that the company takes from outside, ensure that all the various facilities promised to the employees are given on time, take care of the taxation aspects in terms of keeping all the statutory demands of the government and so on. All this comes under the domain of finance. That is the reason why MBA
MBA in Human Resource
A company needs good support functions in order to have strong marketing and finance departments. These support functions are rendered by the human resource (HR) department, where a team of people recruit employees including young managers, train them, induct them and groom them. The HR department also ensure that rewards are given to the employees and contribute meaningfully to the organisation.
MBA in IT (Information and Technology)
Today’s business organisations survive on good IT infrastructure. Earlier, physical contact was needed to maintain networks across an organisation. That is not the case in today’s interconnected world where everyone is connected by the worldwide web. So, many companies have invested heavily to create a robust IT infrastructure
Sub-specialisations in MBA
Four specialisations, MBA Marketing, MBA Finance, MBA in Human Resource and MBA in IT have been in great demand for a long time. These are the backbone of any organisation and will continue to be so. Under these broad specialisations, many B-schools are offering sub-specialisations. For example, the same institute offering MBA Marketing might also offer a post graduate programme in advertising and mass communication. Another institute might offer a specialised course in financial markets or technical analysis and derivatives. These specialisations are specific to the financial domain.
Some institutions have started offering MBA in Analytics and MBA in Data Science. There are other institutions that offer an MBA in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. These domains are also very critical to the success of any organisation.
The latest in the specialisation’s arena is MBA in Digital Marketing. The world is becoming increasingly digital. We do most of the shopping from home. So, digital marketing is another area which is in huge demand. These eight specialisations mentioned above are in demand across domains
How do I identify a B-School for specialisation in MBA?
In the first place, identify the institutions that offer the specialisation of your choice. Find out which entrance examination you need to write to get into those institutions. Many institutions have their own entrance exam. For example, CAT is mandatory for IIMs. S. P. Jain Institute of Management and Research has its own entrance examination. Symbiosis has its own entrance examination. ITM Group of Institutions accepts the scores of a set of national tests.
MBA selection procedure
Once you have identified the institution or institutions where you would like to join, find out the application procedure. Most of the institutes insist on a good test score. The good news is that you are rarely rejected on your test score. You are usually called for a group discussion (GD) and personal interview (PI). Some of the institutes have a PowerPoint presentation as part of the selection process. So, it is good to use your spare time to develop public speaking skills. You should groom your personality because your confidence during the PI can make or break your chances of getting a seat in an institution of your choice.
Very often, 50 percent of the institutions have a syllabus for the first year which is common. So, if you are unable to decide hundred percent whether you want to do a specialisation in marketing or HR, at least for the sake of the interview, say that you want to do one of these. Don’t go and say that you are confused as it might go against you. At least tell them that at that point you want to join marketing.
Those institutions that have a common syllabus for the first year allow you to change your specialisation before the end of the year. Many institutions start the specialisation courses from term 2, which means you have three to four months after the course has begun to make your choice.
What to do if I am not sure of an MBA specialisation to choose?
If you have any difficulties in deciding which MBA specialisation to choose, go for an aptitude test. Many of them are available online. If required, meet a career counsellor. Sometimes a counsellor can bring more clarity to your thinking process, which an online counselling may not be able to do.
Should I choose only an institution of my liking?
All the aspirants would have an institution of their choice in their mind. Sometimes candidates think that IIMs are the only top MBA institutions and the right ones for them. In case they fail to get an admission, they will think, okay I will try next year. Do that if you are very confident. But very often it happens that you don’t succeed in the second year also. Moreover, the competition also intensifies with the number of candidates going up by thousands every year.
If you give your best and come out with flying colours you can get the job you have been aspiring for. The dream of every MBA aspirant is to get a job in an FMCG or a digital giant or entertainment domain and so on. Getting into an IIM is not the end of the journey. There also you have to prove yourself if you have to get a good job.
Getting the MBA is just the start of the journey. The journey will culminate when you have done a good project and an internship in a good organisation and are able to get good grades and join a company of your choice. Most of the top-notch organisations shortlist based on your academic performance. You should also concentrate on co-curricular and extracurricular activities. Ensure that you are adding value to yourself. Try to give your best and score exceptionally well.