Ruchi Chopda tells you why it is still the right time to pursue a degree in management studies
No matter the intensity of the debate on the sheen wearing off an MBA degree, B-schools across the country are positive about receiving a stable number of applications to their programmes this year. And this sentiment is corroborated by a recently released survey report ‘Prospective Students Survey’ by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The report includes data collected during 2009, 2010 and 2011 from over 56,000 MBA aspirants. According to the report, “Interest in MBA is strong and steady. Majority of today’s prospective student respondents were only interested in pursuing an MBA degree (55%).” Concurs, VK Menon, senior director – careers, admissions and financial aid, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, “MBA applications were dipping in 2010-11 but everywhere the numbers have started going up in 2011-12 and continue to do so albeit not very strongly. However, the negative trend has gone.” Menon elaborates, “European markets are clouded by the actual recessionary environment. If a market is facing a tremendous recession and people are losing jobs, then the people with secure jobs will think twice about moving. Having said that, people who have lost jobs will actually take this as an opportunity to re-tool and re-skill. So these two categories will even out and there will be a balanced, maybe a small drop in scenario. In India, whether the growth is 8% or 6% it’s a macro scenario, it’s a very large market for MBAs. And the overall demand is far more than the supply of MBAs can be. So the Indian demand is very different from the demand in a smaller market like Europe. Here even if there is a down sentiment in terms of the economy, the premium schools will keep doing better but the pressure will be on the not-so-premium schools because of the hedging on the student’s part who will wonder whether he/she should continue with the job or take on a management degree.”
MBA: A GOOD OPTION? An MBA, be it a full-time, online or executive programme, helps one move up the career ladder as well as facilitate a career change—two things that can take comparatively longer sans the degree. It, of course, also helps one build a strong network of possible business associates and tries to enhance one’s entrepreneurial skills. The rigours of the course and the intensive classroom interaction all contribute towards developing a person’s leadership skills.
However, though an MBA can be a good add-on to one’s resume it has to be a conscious decision. Stephen D’Silva, director, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS), advises, “Today, with various courses being offered and with such a wide choice of electives, greater opportunities to pursue executive education, and the growing number of Bschools in India, it is important to thoroughly analyse these programmes and key take-aways. Some of the most important factors students should consider before applying for a management programme are the courses offered, syllabus and learning. Value from learning should be the key focus and students must also be sure that the course they opt for suits their interests and competencies. The primary objective should be to build capabilities through a course that would help them succeed in the corporate environment.”
GETTING THAT COVETED SEAT With over two lakh students appearing for the Common Admission Test (CAT) each year, securing a seat at reputed B-schools cam be a Herculean task. Recommends Menon, “Beyond their academic quotient, students need to sharpen their analytical abilities, develop their leadership quotient by doing anything out of just the ordinary such as mountaineering, charity drives, etc, add to their breadth of knowledge and widen their outlook by reading newspapers, improving their general knowledge, etc.”
Concludes D’Silva, “Students appearing for their entrance exams should keep thoughts of economic slowdown aside. None of us are in a position to predict the financial scenario two to three years down the line, hence predicting impact on current jobs and future placements is next to impossible. They should focus on their preparation to ensure that they get admission into the B-School of their choice.”