Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why NOT to do an MBA.

I finished my MBA in 2011 from a tier II institute in India - Got a mediocre job for peanuts at a 1500Cr company with 2000+ employees which is run in a non-professional manner. All my dreams of getting a HUGE package post MBA, living in style, being able to afford all sorts of gadgets per month and traveling around the world was shattered.

I adjusted to reality, reset my expectations, reset my goals and carried on with life. Today of course I'm not with the same company (trying my hand at entrepreneurship); I see many people from my institute joining and graduating, struggling to find a job after paying insane amounts of money, and I wonder what was the benefit of doing the course? You spend 2 years away from friends & family, rejecting invaluable corporate experience... but what do you get from it?

I spent 2 years of my life at a hostel, enjoying, having fun and learning a little bit only from the few exceptional teachers we had. Today, 2 yrs post that I often question myself: 

What did I learn from MBA? Did I learn anything? How has MBA shaped my life?
A person with 7-8 years experience would probably not learn anything from an MBA, which is fortunate, as I did learn something. Although nothing spectacular. I delved into the depths (to a certain extent only) of finance and learnt a lot about how the corporate world works from the PoV of money matters.

But did this help me at all? Not really, I'm a finance geek. I understand how investments work, I understand the intrinsic and extrinsic value of things. I understand how companies are valued and some of the factors which are taken into account. I understand the details of mergers & acquisitions. I did my internship in banking and I understand how banks also deal with things.

But ultimately I, a person who studied finance all his life, am now working in marketing and alongside learning product management. This is not a rare occurance. There are many such stories where people have changed functions post an MBA. So its safe to say that most of the time what you study is not what you apply.

Most of the people who apply what they learn especially when it comes to banking or finance have had to do a professional certification like CFA, CA or in Banking to convince the companies that they can be hired. 

This leads us to another question: If we do not apply what we learn why should we do an MBA? If we need another certification, why an MBA to begin with??
I keep asking myself that. The whole point of me doing an MBA was to get focused learning in finance so that I do not have to do a certificate course as a degree would be better than a certification. But, as I discovered later, a certification is more important than a degree called MBA.

Then why-oh-why should we do an MBA? I can become a banker and a finance expert by just doing a certification for 2-3Lacs, why should I spend 10Lacs+ to do an MBA which will take me nowhere??

Where is the benefit of doing an MBA? Just to become a good manager? I can learn that better in the real world by trial and error.

Many people today are still looking to do an MBA thinking it similar to a magic pill which will solve their money & job problems. Get real people! The only thing that will solve your problems is you. An MBA is mostly preferred by engineers who do not want to continue on the tech side and they are whom it is most suited for. Being technical people, they have learnt the depths of their fields and need to broaden their view and diversify into the softer aspects of corporates (management).

The last question that we need to answer is: Is MBA worth it?
Well to be exact, not really. Its better to go do an MS or a course specializing in 1 field- Finance, Economics, Computer Science, Marketing etc. it does not matter. A specialist is what companies want or need. A generalist is a overhead used only to do the dirty work passed on by others.

What I mean to say is that an in-depth knowledge in a certain field is much better than to be a jack of all trades and master of none. It helps us develop a special skill set which is what companies require. Its this skill set which helps us generate value for society.

As an MBA graduate my only advice to people currently pursuing or planning to pursue an MBA is that.. THINK BEYOND AN MBA... don't get fooled, go for a technical degree and specialise, develop a skillset and an intrinsic value rather than do an MBA.

You can learn all that an MBA can teach you on the job but an MBA can not make you into a specialist in a field.

-> SJ

1 comment:

  1. well captured, i tell the same thing to people who are planning to take up MBA.



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