ENCHACE YOUR CAREER WITH MBA
M B A
The MBA degree opens up worlds of opportunity for its bearers. Many business positions require an MBA for advancement. For example, investment banking and management consulting firms hire large classes of newly minted MBAs each year at six-figure salaries into the "associate" level -- those without MBAs generally don't advance past the "analyst" level. At major consumer products companies like Procter & Gamble, Kraft and Colgate-Palmolive, MBAs are hired as "assistant brand managers" into the brand management department -- those without MBAs are generally not eligible for the department. And it is from this function that these companies' senior executives are generally drawn.
There are two kinds of MBA institutes in India -- a handful from which you leave with a pedigree and the vast majority which offer just degrees. In the first category lie the IIMs, XLRI and, to a lesser extent, FMS and Bajaj -- the institutions which pioneered the concept of management education at a time when the IAS was a far more wanted career path.
In the second lies a vast array of institutes -- the good, the mediocre and the dubious. Evaluating the value proposition in the latter category is the daunting task faced by the majority of MBA aspirants.
Although numerous B school rankings may be published every year, it rarely if ever alters the recruiter's pecking order. For 'class' or the jobs requiring brainwork, it's a select few institutes. For 'mass' or the groundwork jobs, it's down the B school ladder. And how low down this ladder a company will go depends on how many fresher it requires.
With so many new sectors opening up -- retail, insurance, BPO, telecom -- it would seem the job pie has grown exponentially. True, except that B school you graduate from often still determines whether you eat your slice at the chairman's table. Many companies follow differential recruitment policies. Better salary, designation and job profiles are offered to the more premium grads.
Full-time MBA Program
Full-time programs are traditionally 2 years, or 21 months, long. There are also a number of 1-year programs, mostly in Europe. Two-year program allows for a 10- to 12-week internship period between the first and second year.
Students in full-time programs can concentrate fully on the MBA experience, which can involve significant extracurricular activities, important for developing networks, career, and leadership opportunities.
Full-time programs are typically shorter time than part-time programs. Speaking generally, full-time students may leverage the benefits of the degree faster. The attrition rate for full-time programs is low when compared to part-time and executive programs, mostly because students make a significant commitment to the program.
Most full-time programs assign significant resources to a career management effort. Understanding that their students are using the degree to develop their careers, they provide the network and contacts to interface with potential employers.
The opportunity costs of full-time study are high; you need to consider both the loss of income and giving up a job to participate in the program. These costs are reduced with the one-year model. Full-time students are not typically sponsored by their employers.
One Year or Two Years?
Two-year MBA programs typically offer a core selection of courses in the first year and the opportunity to study electives for the remainder of the program. Some MBA programs allow students to specialize in a particular field, or a major, while pursuing a general management framework. The ability to specialize may be important if you are interested in a particular field.
The major advantage of a 1-year program is its length, which reduces opportunity costs. Two-year programs allow more time for extracurricular experiences and internship opportunities between the first and second years. When considering the choice between the two, see how schools balance these issues and create opportunities. Also make sure you understand how they manage the entire curriculum during 1 year.
One-year programs may be suited for candidates further along their career paths, candidates with business undergraduate degrees, and those who are specializing in a niche, although some of the more prestigious 1-year MBA programs are essentially general management in focus. Two-year programs may be better suited to those looking for a complete MBA experience, including opportunities to get involved outside the classroom, and for those who want to gain experience outside of their current careers.
Also consider the relative prestige of the respective MBA programs. In Europe, 1-year programs have been very successful and include some of the region's most prestigious programs. In the U.S., this is not often the case, although programs may offer the flexibility to finish your academic studies early.