Is it good to do MBA or PGDM?

Study Time An MBA is a tough programme, making a huge demand on time

BEFORE choosing a career in management, it’s quite usual that an aspirant is in a dilemma over which  programme to select. It could relate to anything - whether to choose general or a specialized MBA or go for PGDM? A part-time or full-time MBA? It is a trend to do MBA post engineering. Does it hold any value? You just name it. You would also like to know the standard of a programme in terms of quality and recognition. Get a holistic view about upcoming programmes, like Luxury Management, Health Management etc.(See subsequent pages ) etc. As a profession, MBA is not a cake walk - know all about its pros and cons. Learn what it takes to produce a qualified MBA – a rigorous curriculum which gives students an opportunity to carry out different assignments and industry projects along with conceptual learning. First-hand accounts of students and professors from diverse MBA fields will explain the current training scenario to you. Identify all your queries which often come up in your mind on why you should opt for a particular MBA.

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Q. Why should I go for an MBA?
A. MBA aspirants are nowadays better informed and take cool-headed decisions. Vyom Mittal, who did his B.Tech (Civil) at IIT Bombay, says, “One does an MBA for career growth, better position, better salary. And after an MBA you get more involved in the business side of things, rather than the technical side.” Vyom is weighing his options to pursue an MBA as he completes two years as an Analyst with Dunnhumby. Tilak Prakash, a commerce graduate working with a start-up, Durha Industries, shares, “MBA is internationally recognized and gives one a chance to specialize in fields such as Finance, Marketing, etc. It finally helps you get a better paying and positioned job.” He adds, “I hope an MBA would help me get a better work profile.”

Q. How does an MBA benefits me?
A. Experts think that an informed decision needs to be taken when it comes to one’s career choice and intended course of study. There are various reasons why one should do an MBA. To put things in perspective, there are broadly three areas, which one can touch upon:

Career Objectives: One may want to be an entrepreneur and wish to set up an independent enterprise or wish to get into the corporate arena in a professionally managed company. An MBA provides the necessary inputs to help run a business enterprise better and to tackle the vagaries of the corporate world.

Value Addition: It is essentially in two aspects: knowledge and skills. From the perspective of knowledge, the takeaway would be from the various functional areas of management e.g. marketing, finance, operations, systems, HRD etc. From the perspective of skills, the takeaway would be analysis, communication and how one presents oneself in the professional work place. Networking is the other major reason to pursue the course wherein one can get in touch with the alumni of the college as well as the stalwarts of the industry. This in turn helps in knowledge sharing.

Opportunities and Rewards: With companies always on the look out for management students round the year, one gets umpteen opportunities to work in the industry through off-summer internships which may last a fortnight to a couple of months. The 2-month internship would give depth to the specialization of an aspirant’s choice. At the end of the day, while monetary rewards are not everything, they are also important and MBAs do get paid well. In a nutshell, the MBA course and its benefits can be best described as an all-round development for a better tomorrow.

Tanmay-AgarwalTanmay Agarwal
Student, MDI Gurgaon

The three reasons that make the most compelling argument for pursuing an MBA programme are: connectivity to a great business network, holistic business perspective and better grooming towards a future leadership role


Prapti-SinghPrapti Singh
B.Com(H) SRCC (Delhi University)
PGP 2014, IIM Kozhikode

The MBA programme gave me an opportunity to share classroom with diverse mind sets that broadened my perspective on professional practices. Thus, it was a means to enhance professional skills and network. 


Prof-Ramesh-AyarProf Ramesh R Ayer
Associate Professor &
Director – ACIL & Executive Education

Today, the preference for MBA’s arises from the need of growing enterprises. There is a constant need to quickly deploy modern management tools to face globalized challenges. The demand will continue to catch up

MBA-after-BBAQ. Is it crucial to do MBA after BBA?
A. Typically, after BBA, MBA is the most preferred course. The focus of BBA is more on clarifying theoretical aspects rather than application of the concepts. The MBA degree helps you to specialize in the area of your choice (IT/Marketing/HR/International Business, etc). “An MBA student applies theory on actual work situations through internships, corporate interface, industry-expert lectures and summer training programmes,” says Ashish Pawaskar, Associate Professor at SIMSREE.

Anush_M_AcharyaAnush M Acharya

Worked with Siemens India. Currently a
PGP (2012-2014)
student at

Q. When is the right time to do MBA, right after UG or after minimum two years of work experience?
A. Anush M Acharya, who worked with
Siemens India, and is currently a PGP (2012-2014) student at IIM-Kozhikode says, “Having work experience gives us an edge over fresh graduates. From the academic perspective, the concepts taught in class are better understood if you have worked previously. You can relate to the concepts better and gauge their relative importance. Also you can participate in the class discussions as you can quote many examples and insights from your work experience.

From the placement point of view, importance given to work experience varies from company to company. Some of them prefer fresh minds with no prior work experience whose energy and enthusiasm they can tap and mould them to fit the company’s culture. There are also companies which specifically look for candidates with relevant work experience so as to reap the benefits of their existing knowledge base and add on to it”.

Prateek Didwania, an IIM-Kozhikode PGP student with no previous work experience says, “I feel that admission and hence placement in an MBA school depends upon at what stage of career we are in. Undoubtedly a person with at least 2 years of prior work experience has an edge. However, keep in mind that work experience should be relevant and reasonable which adds value to one’s professional life.”

supreme-court-museumQ. Any special MBA for Law graduates?
A. Nalsar University of Law Hyderabad has started Master’s of Business Administration for court managers. It is a two-year full-time management programme that specializes in court management, corporate governance and financial services and capital markets. Admission to this course is through entrance exam and the selection is on the basis of Group Discussions and Personal Interviews. Any graduate of any discipline with a minimum of 50% marks in aggregate from a recognized institution or university is eligible for this course. The fee for this programme is Rs 3.25 lakhs per annum.

Q. Should I pursue general MBA or specialized MBA?
A. This is related to one’s career objective. In case you judge yourself as one who has the ability to look at a niche area, dig deeper into the subject domain and like to remain highly focused on what interests you a lot; then a specialized MBA would be apt. According to Dr. Parag Diwan, the founding VC of University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (that offers an MBA in specialised streams such as Oil & Gas, Power, Aviation, Port & Shipping among others), “The very creation of UPES was founded on the percept that industry must get domain-ready people who, if one were to use an American idiom “should hit the road running”. He adds, “Gone is the era when companies used to hire students from regular courses and train them for a year or two to make them productive for their specific domain area of operation. Specialized MBAs, however, provide a wealth of knowledge about one particular industry or sector. So, you are able to meet the demands of a particular market straightaway.”

However, if there is more dynamism in your thinking, and you love to explore different functional areas, not keen at working in a specific sector – then a general MBA would suit you. Garth Saloner, Dean at the Stanford GSB says, “We take a perspective that every student should be exposed to general management education and then they take that to variety of places”. He further states, “At Stanford we only do full-time programmes which are highly immersive programmes, and we do not offer certificates or specialities in specific majors.”

K-T-RavindranProf KT Ravindran
Dean Emeritus, RICS School of Built Environment,
Amity University

Pursuing a specialized MBA always gives students an edge over those pursuing regular MBA. Companies today are on the lookout of hiring students who have done specialized courses,on the industry before-hand


Dr-Seema-singh-ZokarkarDr. Seema Singh Zokarkar
Director, BITM,Pune

Demand for sectoral MBA is very much industry-driven. With fast changing dynamics in the market, organizations do not have enough time to train people, their need is fulfilled by B-Schools offering sectoral MBA



Dr-Hari-Krishna-MaramDr H K Maram,
Founder-CEO, Imperial college,

If you look at the leading B-Schools across the globe, the focus is on General MBA because it is pursued after a few years of work experience. So it’s essential to have the knowledge of all the sectors


Prof.(Dr) Faizan Mustafa
NALSAR University of Law,

Q. How is MBA useful for Law graduates?
A. The age of stereotyped education is over and globally universities of eminence have moved towards integration of knowledge to enhance abilities in individuals. A look at the top Ivy League universities like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, McGill etc provide insights into the same. They are offering 5-year J.D programmes in Law and Management where students study both the areas of knowledge and integrate learning tuned towards the changing business environment. I introduced BBA-LL.B at KIIT Law School and at National Law University, Odisha.

In my view, managers cannot manage effectively without the knowledge of relevant law as it is within law that all businesses operate. A thorough knowledge of relevant law would enable managers to look at things in the right perspective and thus limit the cost to company that might occur due to wrong decisions.

For law students, an MBA would open up many new avenues where they can use their skills of law and become better and most sought- after managers. The opportunities are in areas of court management, corporate governance, and business consulting firms.

DUAL DEGREE is not the same as dual specialization or a joint degree programme

Q. What is a dual degree programme?
A. This one should not be confused with dual specialization (like Marketing and Systems). This should also not be mistaken for a joint degree programme. A dual degree programme is one in which a candidate is required to study first at one institute (could be Indian but largely it is foreign) and then at the home institute for the second year (or vice-versa). They need to fulfil the admission criteria of both the institutes and the students usually get a few months of extra work in the visiting country as compared to ‘single degree’ MBA candidates. When one pursues a dual degree, credit from a course is applied to only one degree whereas in a joint degree programme, credit from a single course usually counts toward both the degrees. An example of a dual degree is Bengaluru-based Christ University’s MBA and MS Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, USA, through credit transfer facility. The joint degree programmes are often known as integrated programmes in India (e.g. B.Com/MBA or B.Tech/MBA) and are of five years’ duration from the same institution. They are not as common at the same degree level such as MA Education/MBA or Master’s in Finance & Accounting/MBA.

Q. Should I go for full-time or part-time MBA?
A. Choosing full-time or part-time MBA depends on different types of commitments. A full-time MBA is directly career-oriented; it’s for those who need exclusive business knowledge, while part-time is for professionals. The duration of part-time programme is three years - the teaching hours are same compared to full-time programme. “If your objective is to break through the glass ceiling at your workplace, rise up the ladder, then part-time MBA is ideal for you,” shares Dr Nilanjan Chattopadhyay, Asso. Professor and Head, New Initiatives IMT Ghaziabad. He adds, “In India, a regular course is more valued than any part-time programme.” As per Ankur Zutshi, an IIM-Kozhikode PGP candidate of the class of 2014, “It’s not just a 2-year classroom programme but the two years of staying among like-minded people and studying, discussing and competing with them that adds more value.” Speaking about the academic curriculum and highly demanding schedule that teaches the students the skills of time and stress management, Anusha Acharya of IIM Kozhikode shares, “One learns to stretch one’s boundaries, work till wee hours in the morning with no sleep or food. This learning experience, which is at the heart of a full-time MBA residency programme is inherently missing in Executive, distance learning and part-time MBA.”

Q. Are dual-country MBAs offered in India?
A. These programmes are comparatively expensive and are more suited for working professionals at the middle/senior level. There are quite a few institutes in India that offer such programmes. The cooperative venture of five leading B-Schools including IIM Bangalore in India and four other countries (UK, Canada, China and Brazil) offers the popular International Master’s Program in Practicing Management (IMPM) which costs US$60,000 per participant and covers all tutoring and inter-modular support during the five modules excluding travel and living expenses.

Christ University, Bangalore and Virginia Commonwealth University offers the MBA-MS programme at a fee of INR 14-15 lakhs. IIM-Udaipur has partnered with three other global B-Schools (Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, USA; Universidad Puebla, Mexico; and Tianjin University, China), to offer a 15-month dual degree executive MBA that focuses on one specialization — global supply chain management. The programme fee for US and India stints are fixed at $20,000 and Rs 5 lakh respectively.

XLRI offers a Global MBA Programme in partnership with Weatherhead School of Management of Case Western University, Cleveland, USA and School of Economics & Management of Tongji University, Shanghai, China. The 60-odd students of the three nationalities commence the 1st term at Tongji University (Shanghai), the 2nd term at XLRI and the 3rd term at Case Western. For the 4th term, each nationality group goes back to home school to complete the local graduation requirements. The programme fee is around Rs. 25 lakhs for two years. Fr. E Abraham S.J, Director of XLRI says, “The programme would help in creating global business leaders who would help in building a sustainable future for the society at large.”

Q. Given that economy is struggling to overcome uncertainties, which business areas should MBAs enter?
A. According to Prof. J. Philip, President, Former Director, XIME, all areas are equally good, provided one is a good student and is from a good B-School. “I don’t see any difference between Marketing, Finance, HR or Operations. As things emerge, I will give a slight edge to Operations Management. Incidentally, 5% GDP growth is not any bad in international comparison. And we are going to scale up soon to 6 or 7. Good times will be here again!”

Raktim-HalderRaktim Halder

MBA (Luxury goods marketing)
Working in the luxury field for 10 years,
based in New Zealand

Q. On the scope in Luxury Management?
A. Even amidst all the recent economic turmoil, the luxury sector has maintained a constant growth bringing in excellent job opportunities. The luxury market moves around $200 billion worldwide annually and growth is now mainly in the Asia-Pacific region.

To succeed in a luxury career, passion is the biggest component. Make luxury your religion. Develop a clear understanding of the goods, identify preferred industry & role (fashion, real estate, travel etc.) and then understand your potential to develop a clear idea about your career path. There are various career options:

  • Retail: the obvious choice for many – store manager, asst. store manager, stockists

  • Product and licenses - product manager, brand management, merchandiser

  • Communications- PR, events management, advertising, media planning


While the luxury industry has typically ranked creative talent over business acumen, lately a number of MBAs have become interested in jobs. But one should realise that this field is not as structured as that of consulting or investment banking. Until a decade ago, most of the big luxury conglomerates, as we see them today, were mere household businesses.

So, an early start helps. With more experience you are more likely to succeed. Of course, it’s also possible to put a spin on whatever position you currently hold, but luxury industry will require a different spin than that of FMCG. For example, one can buy an umbrella for a few dollars but you can also get a Chanel umbrella for a few thousand dollars. As long as you understand this spin, you will always succeed.

Q. Since MBA is a business postgraduation involving courses in economics and accountancy, is it difficult for a B.Tech graduate to cope up?
A. The answer is more towards ‘No’. The concern, however, is nullified if the teaching methodology suits one and all.

Nipun-JainNipun Jain
B.Tech Electrical Engineering (IIT Roorkee),
IIM Calcutta (PGP, 2013-15)

On the relative front, ‘Yes’, when compared with commerce graduates and Chartered Accountants who participate in the same classroom discussions. However, the curriculum is designed to take into consideration the diversity of the students. The education is imparted through case studies, assignments, tutorials that help you imbibe the basics of finance


Bharat-WadhwaBharat Wadhwa
Indian Institute of Management,
Kozhikode (PGP, 2012-14)

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan is an IIT–Delhi graduate. Accountancy is taught only at an elementary level (from an understanding perspective). Rest, Economics, is logical. With
adequate efforts, Economics & Accountancy can be coped up easily

FinanceQ. What areas of specialization (Marketing/Finance) are you likely to take up?
A. Students go for specializations if not by obvious choice, then by process of elimination. It depends largely on the interest you might have developed in any of the functional areas during your first year and also from the experience during 4 to 6 week-long summer internship or in the summer placement process. Anush M Acharya of IIM Kozhikode (PGP 2012-14) solves the specialization puzzle as she sums up, “I feel that in MBA, you can select your specialization in four ways. First could be based on the stream of your previous work experience, if any. And the second way is to choose as per your graduation or previous specialized degree such as Commerce/CFA/CA. Thirdly, you can just select the specialization based on your interest even though it might be totally different from your previous work experience/graduation field. Finally a not so obvious mode could be to tailor your specialization as per the general nature of the companies which come to your institute for placement - for example if your campus has predominantly marketing-based companies which come, then its risky to specialize in other fields such as operations or IT.

Q. As an engineer, how would an MBA degree help you?
A. “An additional MBA degree enhances an engineer’s employability worth,” says Aashish Pawaskar, Associate Professor, SIMSREE. Interestingly, most B-Schools are substantially populated by students with an engineering background.  Anusheel Shrivastava with a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering opted for MBA (HR specialization) at XLRI Jamshedpur, as he desired to augment his skills for a more managerial role. Pawaskar reveals, “Invariably, the batch toppers from good B-Schools are engineers.” Ankur Zutshi, a B.Tech in Electronics & Communications Engineering, currently pursuing PGP at IIM-Kozhikode says, “MBA degree would help me in the same way as it would help anybody else. It equips you with means to think of things from a broader perspective and teaches you how to think long-term over the otherwise short-term approaches. ”

For Anush Acharya who used to work with Siemens as an engineer, the MBA helped her a lot. She puts forth her views: “ During my work experience I realized that although a strong technical base is a must, learning to deal with people is much more important. In MBA, thanks to the numerous group activities both academic and co- curricular, you not only discover a lot about your personality but also learn to shape it as per the group you are in to attain work efficiency”.

Vyom Mittal, an IIT Bombay pass-out and working as an Analyst with Dunnhumby says, “An MBA degree would help me as it will hone my management skills, analytical skills and business concepts. The work which I will get after MBA would be mostly in consulting/finance/marketing. So, it doesn’t make much of a difference whether you are an engineer or not.”

It is true that majority of the students in a class of MBA are engineers. This trend results due to the fact that majority of the CAT or XAT takers are engineers. They get an added advantage in cracking the MBA entrance exams owing to the exam pattern. According to Dr. Debashis Chatterjee, IIM Kozhikode former Director, engineers are better equipped to take the MBA entrance exams than their counterparts. Agreeing with this fact, Dr. Satish Ailawadi, KJSIMSR Mumbai former Director said, “CAT being the qualifying exam which is predominantly oriented towards measuring quantitative aptitude of an individual, engineers do score high.”

However, the B-Schools are taking initiatives to change the trend, by giving more weights on the diversity of profile, sectional cut-off marks, making the exam pattern more conducive for non-engineering candidates. The exam pattern of CAT was changed in 2011 to combine four sections into two so that the candidates can equally focus on preparing for all the areas. According to XLRI Chairperson Dr. Vishwa Ballabh, the question types and difficulty level of the questions are such that they can be answered by engineers as well as students from other backgrounds.

Ansusheel-SrivastavaAnusheel Srivastava
Second year, PGDHRM
XLRI, Jamshedpur

“Transition from engineering to HR space”

I am a qualified B.Tech Mechanical Engineer. While I was working for an on-site project at Engineers India, I got inclined towards HR practices. I used to purchase equipment, hire labourers for construction work. I discovered how HR consultancies work. Later, I felt I have a knack to become a people manager. Hence I opted for an HR course.

Unlike other colleges where students choose HR as an elective in second year, XLRI prepares its students right from the first year. Pedagogy is highly interactive and participation-based. All the subjects have a high group project component. This is aptly supplemented by large number of case studies and presentations.

Summer internship is a college-facilitated programme. I went for a 2-month internship at Amazon India.  It gave me cross-functional exposure to understanding the company’s strategy and overall operations. By the end of internship, I presented a project comprising recommendations. Since Amazon is new in India, it needs ideas for effective processes. I compared the processes of different Indian companies and made recommendations on how Amazon can alter its own processes. For instance – I found how an employee applies for leave of absence in big companies. There are specific software’s to keep a tab.


Final Step A coveted MBA degree opens the gateway to a successful career

Q. How does MBA contribute to self-growth?
A. In addition to providing skills and knowledge essential to securing a job, the two or one year of MBA also provides opportunities to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. Three academics tell you what you may gain.

Dr-Raj-SinghDr. Raj Singh
Vice Chancellor,
GD Goenka University

It makes one aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses. This enables students to develop soft skills necessary for career growth. The maximum contribution to self comes through understanding of nuances of personality


Chowdari-PrasadProf. Chowdari Prasad
Dean (PR) & Chairman-Admissions (former),
TA Pai Management Institute, Manipal

The MBA curriculum is crafted to ensure that students from diverse disciplines and backgrounds sit together in a class. The interaction among heterogeneous group in a class contributes to self growth in a big way


Prof-Ashok-PanjwaniProf. Ashok Panjwani,
Dean – Graduate Programmes,
MDI, Gurgaon

An MBA degree needs to be looked at from a holistic perspective. While the opportunity cost of quitting a job to do an MBA may have gone up, in the long run the value proposition of an MBA degree is extremely compelling

Q. How is Executive MBA helpful for professionals?
A. Prof. MP Gupta at the Department of Management Studies, IIT-Delhi elucidates, “Executive MBA is a special programme designed for working executives, who can enrol for MBA at reputed like IIMs/FMS/IITs. Most IIMs offer full- time executive MBA which is compact and can be finished in one year.  Others like IIML, FMS, IIT-Delhi offer part-time executive MBA (evening classes) which helps to balance both work and studies. The value of such programme is that the groups of working professionals bring diverse experience and enrich knowledge sharing.” According to Abhishek Anand, 28, who did his PGDM-Executive from IMT Ghaziabad, it was a fruitful experience. He shares his story, “After working for five years, I left my company to do an executive MBA. I was Senior Engineer while leaving sales department of Motherson Techno Tools Ltd. I opted for the course because I was looking for better opportunity.” Arjun Mukundan, B.Tech in Electronics & Telecoms who also did his PGDM (Executive) from IMT Ghaziabad, says the programme is for those who miss the bus post their undergraduate education.

Abhishek-AnandAbhishek Anand
PGDM-Ex, IMT Ghaziabad

Q. Why does one  move from engineering to management?
A. After working for 5 years, I left my company to do executive MBA. As a Senior Manager, why did I leave my company? I was looking for better opportunity in terms of new job profile and good earning.  I appeared for all-India entrance test conducted by IMT. Just like CAT, the written paper comprised aptitude, data interpretation and English, followed by GD and interview. For GD, we were given case study which was discussed with the panel.  And interview comprised questions related to job background/job profile and why I joined MBA post my job


Q. What’s the scope & future of Health Management?
A. India needs healthcare managers who understand various domain-specific issues and challenges like public health, hospitals, health insurance and international health. “The demand for healthcare managers is on the rise,” says Harish Sihare, Associate Professor (Healthcare Management), Goa Institute of Management. Presently, all state governments across India are recruiting students from healthcare management. Under NRHM, there are various positions offered for health graduates. “In India, around 49 insurance companies need professionals who understand healthcare, public health and management,” says Harish.

Harish-SihareHarish Sihare
Associate Professor (Healthcare Management),
Goa Institute of Management

The healthcare industry is rapidly evolving and the demand for healthcare managers is on the rise

Q. What are the pros and cons of an MBA career?
A. Generally, MBA is considered as an area that guarantees high salary, managerial and leadership skills. The flexibility of learning has also improved – you can opt for a full-time, part-time or weekend course. Usually, top B-Schools are very expensive, so you must prepare to save for your academics. Remember, not all MBA institute degree holds the same value in the job market.  

Prof-Ashok-SharmaProf. Ashok Sharma
Amity Business School,

MBA is not a cake walk. To rise up the ladder, one has to work hard and build right skills to match the job

First Published On : 04 Oct 2013 11:19 AM IST

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