Source: E-mail dt. 11 December 2011


Choosing the B-School - and implementing your choice


Mr. Khagesh Agarwal


DE Shaw & Co., Hyderabad, India


This article is in continuation to the earlier one, which tried to define management in a laymanís view, and tried to explain what it really means being an MBA. Having said that, I would now like to put across my thoughts on choosing the right b-school. As we all know that there is no dearth of colleges and institutes in the country, offering a PGDM or an MBA, but when it comes to taking a decision to choose from the list, it becomes a difficult task. One can have a plethora of constraints while choosing a b-school, ranging from its location, campus size, faculty resources, corporate interface, and not to mention the placement scenario which of-course tops the list. However upon giving a deep thought, I came close to reality when I joined a b-school by choice, and graduated with a good placement. Let me share my experienceÖ


I joined a b-school in Delhi which featured in the top 50 b-schools over the country, by choice I say for the reason that I had not applied to any other non-IIM besides this one, and I was lucky enough to get the admission. I always had the feeling that after the completion of my course, I will go back to my hometown, because I had no interest to work for the corporate. However, during the course of my stay at Delhi, I discovered my interest in the field of Research, and I studied more about the statistical tools out of sheer interest. This interest of mine also led to a couple of research papers, which I believe is a much hyped term in the context of a b-school. Then came the placement season and I secured one of the most coveted and sought after jobs, that too during the early phases of the placement season, with the thought that I can make a much better use of my knowledge and further my career aspirations. I would not like to comment on the job satisfaction as that would not be relevant in the present context, but based out of my little experience in the corporate, and the transformation from a student to a corporate professional, I would like to recommend the following:


1.      Before joining an MBA program, be very clear as to why do you want to pursue this course. Answer questions like, what added advantage would I have after I complete this course, and whether the said course will fulfill my goals.


2.      Once you discover the reason for doing an MBA, then you can go ahead to choose the right b-school. For e.g., if you say that you want to study finance, then I believe IIM-C would be the right place, for HR, undoubtedly itís XLRI. For those who aspire to do something of their own, IIM-A would be the right place, as they have designated courses for entrepreneurship and youíll have a strong network which is much required to start up something on your own.I agree most of you would say, not everyone can make it to the colleges they aspire to, including myself, but if your goal is clear, then the path youíd set for yourself would ultimately lead you to success. I still feel I could have made it to the top of the schools, if I had a clear conscience of why I want to do an MBA then, but, as the saying goes, itís never too late. I might someday join a PhD program to further my interest in research.


3.      Most of all MBA is the same, in the sense that the b-schools which fall under a given category have more or less the same standard of teaching and similar faculty resources. What matters more is how much you want to learn, which would come not from the books written by authors years back, but by being updated with the current happenings around you. Reading articles from business magazines like the HBR (from the internet, you may wish to read hbrblog etc.) will help you become an MBA rather than simply doing an MBA.


4.      When you are taking the decision to start your career, more importantly, sitting for companies during the placement process, avoid the herd mentality (seeing others applying, and applying along with, not knowing what the job is going to be like and whether you would be able to meet your career aspirations). Research thoroughly on the job description and job specification from seniors, colleagues, relatives etc. etc. You may use the social media (facebook, linkedin) to interact with professionals from the organization and in the process do something which social media was actually meant for (not merely chatting, commenting on otherís status et al). Making the right choice if important because the cost of mistake would be very high as getting a job off-campus is very tough, given that you are now competing at the national level, with people who have work-ex and a professional background as well.