Masters in Business Administration – MBA, the most loved three worded degree of the 21st century is surely the in-thing amongst graduates today. Graduate-level business students in India prefer MBA above any other post graduate course, as per a global survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). India is home to around three thousand institutes offering management education. Of these, only a handful of schools can boast excellent quality education, churn out leaders, and are worth joining. Thus, it becomes imperative for students to be a little careful while picking the right B-school to improve their future career prospects. However, we have seen that even the smart students sometimes err while selecting the right college which in turn makes them regret their decision over the next 2 years. These are some of the common mistakes that students must avoid to have a better experience ahead of them.
Following the crowd
Generally, students and their parents make a colossal mistake of ‘following the crowd or what wed like to call a ‘herd mentality. Amongst a group of friends, if A wants to join a particular college, so will B and C likewise. Unlike their needs, students tend to deviate from the actual cause of joining college due to a lot of influences from their friends, peers and families. Due to such strong influences, one tends to join a college and take up a course which he or she is not really aware of and neither interested in and ends up in a crisis like situation. It is better to reflect upon ones needs and aspirations and accordingly take a sound and pragmatic decision at a young age as you are responsible for your own decisions.
Lack of focus in terms of specialisation
Very few colleges in India actually offer ‘specialisation courses. With majority of the MBA curriculum focusing on general management in the 1st year, it is very important for students to have clarity in terms of which specialisation would suit them the best. Parental pressure clubbed and peer pressure lands one in a situation where the person is not able to think for himself and might in some cases join a specialisation which they are not good at and ruin the initial part of their careers . One needs to sit down and understand which colleges offer great learning and placement opportunities in the respective fields and then select your B-school. Focus on understanding your strengths and accordingly select the right college and education programme for yourself.
Too much emphasis on campus & facilities
While B-schools in India are crowd pullers, it has been seen that majority of the students place too much emphasis on infrastructure, campus and facilities. Students are charged a very high fees not only for the courses but also for several other amenities like a gymnasium, outdoor activities and other co-curricular activities that come as a package. While there is no denying that luxury amenities are great but it should not be the only reason for selecting a college. One needs to seriously look beyond such amenities and focus on a particular colleges corporate tie-ups, faculty experience, study material etc for a greater experience.
Getting swayed by ‘average salary’ placements
The most important thing that students look out and actually care about while choosing an MBA institute is ‘placement. Placement is important as in majority of the cases it is ones 1st job in their careers. Majority of the colleges brochures or advertising material have a term called ‘Average Salary which is an average of the lowest and highest salary that was offered to students in the previous year. Parents and students must also understand what has been the lowest package and the highest package as well to take a proper decision. This will help one understand the risk and reward in store.
‘Higher the fees, better the college’ syndrome
Students nowadays have a notion that colleges with higher fees always provide the best courses and jobs alike. Due to such misconceptions one often falls prey to student loans which puts additional burden on both parents and students. It is important for parents and students to find out the student ROI which is the college fees paid as compared to the minimum placement package that one can achieve during their MBA course. This will help parents and students recover their education investment in a very short span of time.
‘Experienced faculty syndrome
College faculty is one of the most key elements which a college offers. A good B-school is one which has a great mix of teachers with excellent teachers with great experience as well as corporates with strong industry knowledge and practical teaching skills. Students should place a lot of emphasis on a faculty team with a good mix of experienced teachers as well as industry practitioners. If the B-School only has teachers with no industry knowledge, students could struggle to apply those concepts in the practical world.
Internship & industry visits
Almost every B-school today offers foreign trips and industrial visits as a part of the curriculum. While there is no denying that industry visits are necessary but one must question oneself as to what really is one gaining out of these visits. Please remember that one student does not become more superior than the other just because of a foreign industrial visit. Staying abroad for a week and visiting an MNC company will make no sense if you have been placed in a local company in a ‘Sales profile.
A self reflection time is always needed before choosing a college and thinking about the highs and lows attached to doing an MBA. To conclude, a thorough research is always essential before joining the right B-school. Think wisely and practically as this could be a great stepping stone for a very successful career in your bright future.
Dr.Shivakant Upadhyaya-Director-Academics, Fazlani Altius Business School.(www.fabsedu.com)