Why MBA?? Why not Something else?

Why MBA?? Yes the most clichéd question of our generation, but the MOST apt also. You must be thinking why am I asking this question, of course…. most of the people landing on this page have figured out this for themselves. Wait!!! It is not that easy. Lets dig a bit deeper into this question.

This question is the most sacred question across all MBA interview panels. In 1908, the Graduate School of Business Administration (GSBA) at Harvard University was established; it offered the world’s first MBA program, with a faculty of 15 plus 33 regular students and 47 special students. The mission of the program was to produce leaders and ideas that will shape the practice of management in vital organizations of every kind around the globe.  What makes an idea or a leader successful is the clarity. That is why each applicant was asked to write in their SOP [statement of purpose] the answer to the question “Why you want to do MBA?”.  Since many B-schools do not have the concept of SOP, they ask this during the interview.

But as smart we think we are, the people in the interview room sitting across the table are Smarter. Don’t forget these are the people [the Profs] who are taking interviews over the years. Some of them have career span more than the age of the certain candidates. So no prize for guessing that how easy it is for interviewer to catch fake or made up [as spoon fed by the coaching institutes] answers. And  if you are successful in doing that [first give yourself a pat], the story does not end there. Read ahead.

90% of the students who join MBA have no clear idea why they joined this program

The point I am trying to highlight here is that it is really important for any B-school aspirant [for his future career] to figure out the answer to the Holy question “Why MBA??”

I have interacted with students here at IIM L for two years now and it is purely from personal interaction with students here [now across 3 batches my senior, my batch and my junior] I conclude that 90% of the students who join MBA have no clear idea why they joined this program.

Many of them realize that they could have been better somewhere else [in my job or may be pursuing my core field]. Many of them feel two years are wasted here, and they spend 2 yrs [the most crucial phase of their life] just cribbing about system and about their decision [which they realize was due to herd mentality]. Many of them flunk, not being able to cope up with the system, they don’t relate with the studies here [what the hell is Debit and Credit, why I have to read all the maths again ].

This is what my experience at IIM L and I am sure [talking to my friends in other IIMs] the scene is pretty much same everywhere.  Believe my words “Its harder to Pass out from an IIM than getting in“.  The student is not he only one who is at loss here, it is the system. The institute does not get good bunch of students, the companies come for placement complain about quality of talent, the performance of the batch across various competitions throughout the year goes down. And it is all because we [the aspirants] do not get TRUE answer to the question WHY MBA?? What is my take away from MBA program?

I hope I have been able to draw your attention towards the issue in the right way.  I am sure most of you still have not got YOUR answer to THE question. This is fairly okay… it is good if you are searching for your own rather waiting for someone to spoon feed you.The answer has to come from within and believe me it is going to come some day.

To help the readers about being clear about their thoughts and organize them, here are few books I would suggest that will give you fair idea how can live your dream and please appreciate that it’s not going to be MBA for all of you.

  1. Virgin King by Tim Jackson on Richard Branson
  2. Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy by Bill Gates
  3. Snapshots from Hell: Making of an MBA by Peter Robinson
  4. The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo
  5. Jonathan Livingstone Seagul by Richard Bach
  6. Rules of revolutionaries by Guy Kawasaki
  7. Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple by John Sculley

Some of these books will give you good idea to introspect and how managers handle things at work place. In the next article I am going to suggest some more books, which will help you figure out YOUR own answer to WHY MBA??