Rediff News
All News

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp
Rediff.com  » Getahead » 10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

Last updated on: October 24, 2011 16:12 IST
ShareComment
Text size:  A   A   A



 To get such articles in your inbox

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

>

It is easy to get swayed by your peers getting themselves the much hyped business administration degree. But should YOU get one too? Sameer Kamat, author of Beyond the MBA Hype: A Guide to understanding and Surviving B-Schools lists out the questions you must ask yourself before taking the big step.

If you have been seriously thinking about getting an MBA degree, here is a list of general questions that you need to consider, irrespective of the kind of programs and the geography you are targeting.

Many of these might sound like common sense, but it is surprising how many aspirants tend to ignore the basic questions in their quest to gain a shiny new qualification on their CVs.

Sameer Kamat is the founder of MBA Crystal Ball, an admissions consulting venture. He completed his MBA from the University of Cambridge and has authored Beyond the MBA Hype, a book that seeks to bust the myths surrounding a management degree.


Image: Before you take the big plunge and go for an expensive MBA, here are questions you must ask yourself

     Next

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

<

>

Why do I need an MBA?

When all of your friends have been planning for higher studies in India and abroad, it's tough to resist the temptation to just go with the flow.

Take a step back and think of the reasons why you are feeling compelled to go for an MBA. The common reasons include professional growth, career transition, better opportunities, gaining credibility and of course, making lots of money.

Often, folks look at it as an escape route to get away from their current set of issues. What is your rationale?


Image: Don't go for an MBA because everyone around you is studying for one too

Prev     Next

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

<

>

Have I thought about the industry and role I want to work in after graduating?

Ask yourself and some of your friends why they chose a certain graduation stream -- engineering, medicine, commerce, arts -- and many will not have a convincing answer. Most choose the best that their test scores are capable of getting them into or what their parents wanted them to do.

There's hardly any vocational counselling that happens before the choice is made. Which is why there's so much heartburn after graduates join an industry, in a role that they don't enjoy.

Getting back into a post-graduate program (like an MBA) with the same mindset would mean repeating the same mistakes all over again.


Image: Think about what role you hope to play in the industry after graduating

Prev     Next

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

<

>

Am I aware of the various MBA formats?

The array of options available in the market is mind-boggling -- full-time MBA, part-time MBA, executive MBA, correspondence MBA, 1-year MBA, 2-year MBA, Indian MBA, International MBA.

There's no absolute answer to the question 'which is the best format'?

Each option has its pros and cons as it relates to cost, timing, knowledge and skills development and many other factors. Identify which one works best for you based on your personal objectives.


Image: Educate yourself on what is the best option for you

Prev     Next

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

<

>

Should I go for an Indian MBA program or consider international options?

Indian MBA programs are significantly different compared to international MBA programs. So the average applicant profiles that they attract are very different too.

Where you are in your career and where you want to be after completing your MBA will be two primary areas to think about before you choose either of these.

Irrespective of the geography you choose, the quality of programs can vary dramatically.

So once you have decided on the location, dig deeper into school specific information.


Image: Consider a degree from overseas too if you can

Prev     Next

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

<

>

Is this the right time for me to get an MBA?

In India, most two-year full-time MBA programs accept applications from fresh graduates.

In contrast, most international business schools (including several in India), expect their incoming batch to have had a few years of work experience under their belt.

As the age and experience levels of the average student are different, their expectations from the degree also differ.

Think about where you are in your career and the immediate goals on your radar.

If it makes sense to wait for a while to gain more experience and more clarity, then don't rush into the application frenzy.


Image: Having work experience before getting an MBA is often preferred

Prev     Next

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

<

>

Have I gone beyond the brochures and websites to gather information about MBA programs?

Like in the case of any service (and management education is no exception), the primary intention of having content in brochures and on websites is to show the offerings in the best possible light.

And to some degree it is bound to be biased. Do try to gain external perspectives on the program and its track record.

Speak to current students and alumni.

See if you can read some credible and unbiased articles on the program. Form your own opinion before you take a call.


Image: Make sure you speak with alumni and students of an institute before opting for it

Prev     Next

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

<

>

What is the market value of the degree?

Not all MBA degrees are created equal.

A lot has to do with the institution providing it, the level of difficulty of the entrance tests, the rigour of the program, the calibre of your classmates, the credibility of the professors, the original research generated in-house, the resources available on campus, the bschool's relationships with recruiting companies...the list goes on.

A combination of all these parameters will strongly influence the market value of the degree you get.


Image: Some B-schools equip you better, others don't

Prev     Next

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

<

>

Have I thought about the Return on investment (RoI)?

An MBA degree is as much a business investment as it is an education. So think like an entrepreneur and evaluate what you will get back from the programme.

Salary is just one part of the story and a significant one for most MBA students. But also look at the intangibles that you will gain -- the knowledge, the career push, the business contacts and the overall development you can expect.

These are all as important as your post-MBA salary.


Image: Ask yourself what will you get out of your degree

Prev     Next

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

<

>

Have I looked at alternatives to the MBA degree that are cheaper, faster and less risky?

An MBA degree involves a significant amount of time, money and effort. If your goals and expectations are specific and clear, there may be other ways to get there, without spending two years and several lakhs on a formal degree.

Ensure that you have explored all those options first.

Come back to the MBA option, only if you are convinced that the other options will not give you the biggest bang for your buck.


Image: Look out for less expensive options too if you can

Prev     Next

10 questions to ask yourself before you go for an MBA

<

More

What's the best and worst that can happen?

The best case scenario: You get into the best school possible, learn with the best brains, get the highest paying job on campus and live happily ever after.

The worst-case scenario: Use your imagination to answer this part!

In all probability, reality is going to be somewhere between these two extremes. You may get some of your aspirations fulfilled. And you may not. So always have a Plan B in place for the managing the risk.


Image: Be prepared for the worst

Prev     More
ShareComment

More from rediff

>
It's free!

To get such articles in your inbox