MBA or Naukri - Some practical tips to help you clear your confusion
Content Team of Xavier Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship (XIME)
What do TIME magazine and Google have in common? Though the first was launched in 1923 and the second one, 75 years later in 1998, they were both started up by college buddies.
Britton Hadden and Henry Luce were grad students at Yale when they began the world’s first weekly news magazine - which is today the most widely circulated. While Sergei Brin and Larry Page founded Google while at Stanford…and the rest of course, is history.
Both sets of partners were from the US, where the approach to education is explorative, collaborative and with a strong focus on being analytical - precisely the skills that encourage team-building, knowledge-sharing and genuine respect for the unique talents of one’s peers. And these are the skills most required at workplaces.
Breaking the ‘lone warrior’ mould
The very nature of the Indian education system turns students into ‘lone warriors.’ A half-mark difference in the Std 12 exams, for instance, decides whether or not you make the cut-off for your dream college.
So the prep for under-grad degrees often begins years before the +2/PU years. Students slog post-school hours at coaching centres or with tuition teachers. In this quest for marks, students who’re still just in their teens, leave behind hobbies, neglect important character-building friendships, avoid sports and just focus on scoring marks. This is a solo journey. Many reputed coaching centres also offer scholarships based on marks – so even there, you’re striving against your batch mates or friends - as a lone warrior.
There is rarely time for those important collaborative activities like team sports, theatre, debating, etc that build interpersonal skills during the teen years. Or those close friendships that could be the foundation for a more professional partnership in adulthood - the sort that’s launched companies.
But the workplace has no place for loners. Collaboration, team spirit, collective goals, and good interpersonal skills are what get companies better results. There are many case studies of brilliant young founders of startups destroying the very firms they founded because of their lack of interpersonal or collaborative skills.
So if being a ‘lone warrior’ has been your success mantra in school, prior to getting into a good college for your degree, you need to consider an MBA to master the entirely different skills required at work.
Reputed B-Schools prepare students for the real world. And they do so in ways students find liberating! Gone are the days when grades and marks are awarded for just rote learning. At good B-Schools, students discover research skills, and negotiating tactics; most importantly, they find out what their core strengths (and weaknesses are) and form teams with other students who have the talents they lack - the foundation for strong teams!
So working in teams and working against the clock on live projects, transforms lone warriors into team players.
B-Schools like Xavier’s Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship expect students to enroll in every extra-curricular activity – sports, clubs, and volunteer work. Only when students explore ALL aspects of their personalities (as opposed to only their academic capabilities) do they begin to understand their core strengths and focus on building on them.
Wanting to self-fund?
For anyone considering an MBA, begin by answering a few personal questions. In this way, whatever you decide on, will be based on your particular life circumstances. And not a ‘follow the herd’ process.
An MBA degree is a sizeable financial commitment for any family, so consider that aspect. If you would prefer not to burden your parents financially after graduation, then ‘naukri first’ will help you earn and save to fund your own MBA later.
An MBA in what?
In the education system followed in the West, the school and undergrad years offer vast choices. A child interested in computer science could also choose credit-based classes in photography, finance, or alternative energy, while intensely studying the latest developments in the cloud or the newest programming language. So they tend to be quite clear about what their skills and interests are when graduating.
Sadly, the Indian system leaves minimal scope for self-discovery. And often, the high-pressure, campus-recruited, entry-level jobs that students sign up for, don’t help them figure out the answer to that question either. At this stage too, students are either just ‘going with the flow’ like on an assembly line, unable to discover their true interests or strengths.
That’s where a top-tier management degree comes in. Rote learning becomes a thing of the past. Analysis, original ideas, the acceptance of learning by ‘trial and error’, AND learning from your batch-mates opens up one's mind in a truly transformative manner. An MBA from a reputed institution not only helps you discover strengths you didn’t know you possessed and build on them but also works on your weaknesses.
India or abroad?
If you’ve set your sights on doing an MBA abroad, then getting a job after your degree is preferable, since most MBA courses in the West prefer work experience. The average age of students that enrol in the top B-Schools in the US, like Wharton, Kellogg's or MIT Sloan is 28-29 years, which means about 3-4 years of work experience.
And finally, an important factor to consider is that an MBA at a top institute is intense. Are you mentally prepared for it? Students who emerge from a good management institute attest to how transformational the course was. That’s because in those two years they were exposed to so many diverse experiences, discovered new talents and strengths, worked on their weaknesses, and were expected to deliver consistently, throughout a two-year period. If that thought excites you – an MBA is a good choice for you.