College is a roller coaster experience– one that a major proportion of your personality bases itself on, that ties you to people you would eventually call your own; one that is extremely diverse and imperative in itself. College is the pathway to that extremely proud and overwhelming moment when your Graduation Letter is handed over to you and you are officially deemed a Graduate.
Just like every other course, ‘growing’ in an Engineering college is an experience that is one of its kind. The accomplishment of your degree marks the start of a new life – a new phase you very deftly have to maneuver yourself through. Standing at this diversion, you now have to steer yourself in the direction that suits you best.
If you want to be assured of a wide range of future prospects promising a decent salary, along with an efficient and consolidated business network and related holistic perspective, you may want to realize your thoughts of pursuing an MBA. Also, an added advantage of pursuing an MBA is that most business schools acknowledge the degree as both academic and professional.
Three of the most prominent exams for pursuing an MBA are GMAT, CAT and XAT. With an alumni network as strong as that of MIT, we decided to speak to some of the successful MBA aspirants about their experience while cracking the exam as well as asked them to give us the tips and tricks required to excel in these. Here’s a snippet.
Many students plan on diverting themselves elsewhere after completing their B.Tech. What, according to you, could be some of the options available to them? Also, what could be some of the options for those who do NOT wish to divert?
“Engineers have a plethora of options open to them. Management aspirants may choose to take up Finance, Marketing, Operations, HR Management, or General Management, among others. as their MBA specialization. It typically requires a few years of work experience to get into a business school abroad. However, there is an option for MIM (MS in Management) for students with less than two years of work experience (including freshers), in some very interesting fields like MIS, Financial Engineering, etc. For Finance enthusiasts, CFA is another option. Folks interested in fields like Public Policy or Liberal Arts could look at UPSC and YIF. Students who wish to remain in their engineering specialization may pursue M. Tech (India) or MS (abroad). And then, there is always entrepreneurship. There is a lot of stagnant money lying around in the world, looking for ideas.”
If a student is interested in more fields of higher studies than one, how do you think they should decide? What prospects should they base their decision on, according to you?
“This is a dilemma many face. If you are interested in more than one fields, do a thorough research about all of them. Talk to people working at various levels in every field, and who have worked for various durations of time too. They are the ones who will give you a real sense of what it’s all about instead of some rosy picture you might have had in your mind till now. This, I think, goes for everything you ever plan on doing. We, as students, make a lot of assumptions about how things are, based on how we want to perceive them. It is very important to take advice and know the ground reality.”
“At the same time, it is not the worst idea in the world to take up a job in one of your interest areas, and figure out more about your interests.”
According to you, should students complete their higher studies before getting into a job or is it not a bad idea to gain some job experience (besides internships) and then resume studies?
“It is a great idea to work for a year or two before going for higher studies, particularly for the ones taking up non-technical studies. The management courses are a lot more relevant when you have a fundamental understanding of the sector you want to work for. Higher studies are nothing like undergrad programs; to say that a break in studies makes it difficult to get back isn’t quite true. For people pursuing their streams further, it depends a lot on their priorities.”
“No particular answer can apply to everyone here. Some people realize early in life as to what they want to pursue and where their skills and interests lie, while others take time or just simply want to explore things before settling for something. Both have their own pros and cons. It simply depends on you and how sure you are about something. If you have even a flicker of doubt though, then do wait and make a decision only when you’re absolutely sure about it.”
What do you think are the criteria students should look at/things they should look for, in any job that they are offered?
“Look for a job you’d genuinely be interested in. Students usually make the mistake of going for something their peers are interested in or for one that is highly coveted or for a fat pay check. Do keep in mind that right now when you’re just beginning your career, all you need to care about is your interest, the skill set you have and the one you want to build in the future. Pick a company and job you think will be able to give you all those things. If you’re still exploring avenues and trying to figure out where your interest lies, this point becomes all the more important.”
“Apart from your personal interest, some of the broader factors you should be looking at are CTC, working hours, flexibility, brand of the company, scope of growth, future potential etc.”
India or abroad?
“If you have a plethora of choices and opportunities, but have no future scope of development, those opportunities become redundant there and then, and vice versa. I have known many who have decided to take up a course simply because it sounded interesting to them then, or simply decided to study abroad because it sounded lucrative, which is not something such a big decision should be based on. Making a choice as important requires doing your homework well. Ask around, talk to people who have been in the same shoes as you and make a decision about where and what you want to pursue further. While one place might offer you a very certain specialisation you are looking for, another might not.”
“It is a very personal choice, I believe. If it is an IVY league or a similar university abroad, one should definitely take that up. Opportunities are available across locations and sectors. It depends upon the priority of the individual, and one’s risk appetite.”
“An MBA in India is as good as one abroad; it is all about choices.”
According to you, which could be some of the areas of higher studies where being an Engineer serves a bonus/gives an edge?
“Everywhere, Engineering is considered a respected field.”
“Almost every B-school has a majority of STEM graduates, which makes it evident that students from these backgrounds are particularly good at adapting to new challenges and doing well in almost any field. Consulting and Finance are where we have a clear edge because of our quantitative ability and logical thinking.”
If you’re interested in getting into ISB or pursuing MBA abroad follow this link here exclusively for information regarding GMAT, about the basics as well as Anubhav Shrivastava’s account on it
For CAT, click here for an exclusive interview with Shubham Pansari, our alumni who made it to IIM-Ahmedabad
And here is the link for XAT, with Harleen Dhillon’s expertise as she secured a seat at the much coveted XLRI
These articles are mainly going to be about MBA and the strategies during MBA preparation, coupled with sources and references, to fetch you that seat millions of students are striving for.
-As said to Priyanjali Roychoudhury for MTTN