MBA: The Managerial Approach

 | April 10,2010 01:32 pm IST

"I want to be an MBA," is probably one of the most hackneyed and trite sayings of the graduating youth of recent times. Graduates today want to be an MBA but have little idea what is the nature of a manager's job.

Most of the students are attracted towards management education because of the sky-rocketing pay-packages of the top B-schools that resemble a non-terminating number series.


No doubt it is a brilliant career to pursue but if the ultimate aim is to stuff your pockets with those fat pay-packages, then you will cut a real sorry figure in your future lives, or for that matter even in your GDs or interviews.


Most of the students who make it to the best B-schools have a purpose or a firm goal. You will be astonished to know that every year about 6-8% of the graduating managers from top B-schools join start-ups because of the tremendous learning opportunities that a start-up provides, almost an equal percentage of students join NGOs or social service organizations. So the bottom line is if you know your goal, 2 years in a B-school becomes much more objective and the learning becomes much more directed.


I have heard an umpteen number of times that CAT is a test of Quantitative Ability and Verbal Ability. I will not blame students for having such an opinion, but most of the test preparatory institutes inject the same thought in the mind of their students. Moreover, students have a fixed notion that CAT is all about 120-150 questions divided in 3 sections to be tackled in 120 minutes. How many times you have heard that the best of the students in Quantitative and Verbal Ability flunk in CAT badly? So this puts forth the question: -


Are B-schools actually looking after your Quantitative and Verbal skills in the written CAT?
Are B-schools looking after your communication skills in GDs and Interviews?


If your answer to the questions above is yes, this is the time to come out of your hallucination and face the reality.


Most of the test preparatory institutes prepare you for Quantitative and Verbal skills but they forget to put an element of stress that forms the basis of written CAT. Even for most of the students, GDs and interviews mean preparation of certain macro topics and self-awareness issues but interviewers are interested in knowing the very core of your business acumen.


The GDs and interviews preparation is not a 10-12-session programme but it is a year-long process. It is more about sharpening your business acumen. Do you know something about impact of China's deliberate slowdown on Indian economy, consolidation in Indian Telecom Sector, Bharti's deviation from its core competency? If yes, your preparation has a direction; if no, you are too much engrossed in your Mathematics and English that you are ignoring the real facets of CAT preparation.


Just having an MBA degree will not help you in your life. Till the time you don't discover your flair or the reason to be an MBA, it might not help you. If you are good at creativity, then probably advertising schools like MICA are a better option than any other top B-school.


Also, don't get bogged down with the fat pay-packages. A keen observation will tell you that the salary packages are a direct function of economic growth. If in a particular year there is an upward economic swing, the salary packages shoot up, or else in any recession year, even the best of the B-schools in India find it tough to place all of their students on the rolls.


If you will see the placement scenario this year, the IT and ITES companies led the placement scenario followed by finance companies. Old economy companies were almost out of the fray. This tells us the economic growth pattern in the years to come.


Remember, an MBA will provide you with a medium to reach your destination and it is not a destination in itself. In the end, following points will put a strong foundation to your management career: -

• Set a goal for yourself

• Introspect and find out your flair

• Short-list the B-schools or specializations based on your flair

• Start reading about management so as to get an edge over others

• Know how to prepare for CAT. CAT is not only about Mathematics and Verbal.

• Introduce an element of stress and uncertainty at each and every step of your preparation deliberately

• Learn to relax at the end of the day

Prepare for CAT in a smart way, which will set you apart from other hardworking competitor of yours.


Contributed by -
Brijesh Singh is an alumnus of Mumbai's Jamnalal Bajaj institute of Management Studies (Class of 2002). He has written regularly on MBA preparation. He is now Project Head, Top Careers and You (, the leaders in MBA, MCA, GRE & GMAT preparation in Punjab.