The First Taste - Introduction to MBA
What is MBA?
MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. But you probably knew that already, didn’t you?
Many students slog for entrance exams, crack them, go through the GD-PI drills, and finally even manage to get into a good B-School, without having any clue whatsoever about what to expect from the next two years of their lives. Of course, they know what they’ll get two years hence – a nice little job from a massive conglomerate, and a big fat paycheck.
Mind you, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that mentality; it’s perfectly normal and perfectly understandable. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get a sneak peek into a two-year journey that you intend to embark upon soon, right?
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) course was introduced in the late 19th century as the USA took its steps towards high-level industrialization and companies sought out scientific approaches to management. Gradually, the course has gained immense popularity the world over, and now attracts a fantastic number of experienced professionals as well as freshers from a wide range of academic disciplines.
The core courses in the MBA program are designed to introduce students to the various areas of business such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations management, etc. Students in MBA programs have the option of taking general business courses throughout the program or can select an area of concentration, though many institutes (especially in India) offer their own specialized courses, which means that the institute itself chooses the specializations for students.
Over the two years of MBA, you’ll study about various factors (laws, trends, markets, economies) that effect businesses and the running of businesses. You’ll also be exposed to ‘real-life situations’ in an attempt to make sure that you don’t crumble under pressure if the going ever gets tough in the future. There are a number of subjects which, more than anything, simply broaden your perspective about everything under the sun.
One must not forget that an MBA (especially in India) is a pretty rigorous program. Kiss goodbye to 10 hours of sleep, and say hello to all-nighters where you have to slog in order to meet deadlines. Ask your friends to bear with (or without) you for two years, since you’re hardly going to have enough time to breathe, never mind socialize.
Don’t get discouraged, though. Some of your best times will be in your B-School, specially if it is one of the higher-ranked ones where the programs are residential. Studying at good MBA institutes actually becomes a pleasure, something to remember. Meeting deadlines and completing projects becomes enjoyable. Most importantly, you make some excellent friends, and develop as an individual on the whole.
Who Should Do an MBA?
MBA is among the most pursued post graduation options in India. Partly responsible for this is the fact that the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs A, B, C, L, I, K)along with other institutes like S.P.Jain, MDI, JBIMS, XLRI etc. have set extremely high standards for management education in India. As a result of this, Multi National Corporations (MNCs) operating in India has never had the need to look for talent elsewhere. They have been the regular visitors to the campuses of the top B-schools, and have offered managerial designations coupled with sky rocketing pay packages to the graduates of these B-Schools. The average salary offered at the top 10 B-schools last year for Indian postings was Rs. 6-7.5 lacs per annum.
Characteristics of ideal B-School candidates:
1. People with a Plan
Business school isn’t for the clueless; it isn’t meant to be a two-year placeholder in your middle or late 20s. Business schools look for people with a career plan that includes a legitimate need for an MBA—so even though it’s okay to go to B-school without being sure what you want to do with your life, you should think about possible career goals, and whether attainment of them would be made easier with an MBA, before applying.
2. Leaders and would-Be Leaders
The MBA is not essential for a leadership role in business—plenty of top executives got where they are by moving up through the ranks—but business school can be a great weigh station on the road to a leadership-oriented career.
By the time you graduate, you’d have spent thousands of hours in class or on group projects reading about, thinking about, and talking about a wide variety of businesses. As a result, you’ll be better equipped than ever to make high-level business decisions.
And you’ll probably spend some time studying “softer,” people-focused coursework and projects, which will give you tools that will help you manage people in the pursuit of business goals.
3. Career Changers
In business school, you’ll get a chance to think through a wide range of business problems in a wide range of industries. You’ll gain the skills needed to perform a variety of specific job functions. Having an MBA can make you attractive to a range of employers no matter what industry you worked in before B-school.
Getting into an MBA Institute
India has over 1800 MBA Colleges. To get into a management institute, one has to go through a selection process which includes most OR all of the following :
1. Written Test
2. Group Discussion
3. Personal Interview
4. Essay Writing
5. Psychometric Test
6. Group Task
7. Management Games
The written exam tests the aptitude of the candidate in a number of areas. It usually consists of questions related to :
1. Quantitative Ability
(Questions in Mathematics mostly from 8-9-10 standard, covering Arithmetic, Geometry, Mensuration, Algebra, Trigonometry and Co-ordinate Geometry)
2. Verbal Section
(Questions in the area cover Grammar, Sentence Correction, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension & Verbal Analogies)
3. Data Interpretation
(Analysis of Data. Usually data is in form of tables, charts, graphs. Students are required to study them and answer the related questions)
4. Logical Reasoning/Ability
(Questions to be solved using Common Logic)
5. General Awareness
(Questions pertaining to current/past issues (national & global), economics, general knowledge etc.
There are a large number of Entrance exams for MBA/PGDM courses in the country. Some of these exams are used by multiple institutes as a part of their admission processes. There are some management institutes which conduct their own entrance exams. Some of the reputed among them are IIFT, IRMA, MICA, Narsee Monjee. Some others like ISB, Hyderabad take GMAT Scores.