The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is currently the most popular, prestigious and sought-after professional degree program in the world. Because MBA is relevant to all industries and sectors, it is valuable regardless of the career that is chosen after graduation. What started in the United States as an academic study of the principles of Scientific Management is now the lifeblood of all business organizations.
While most aspirants for MBA understand the indispensability of this program, not many really understand what it entails. So, let us understand what it is (and what it is not).
It is not about the job. It is about the career.
I often tell my students that it is not where and how you start your career; it is where and how you end it that determines your professional success. In matters of career, well begun is less than half-done. An MBA ensures you get the right start, but more importantly, it ensures that you have enough opportunities to do mid-course corrections.
Of course, getting an MBA from a reputed institution helps you attain “job security”. Your first pay cheque will be higher than those with lesser qualifications. Going forward, there will be managerial jobs that will be out of reach for you if you do not have MBA credentials attached to your own resume. In fact, you may be filtered out for certain positions if you don’t have an MBA. But an MBA is not just about getting a high-paying starting job. It is about your career. It is about the real-life, real-business situations which you are thrown into through the case studies and industry internships. The current ruthless competitive corporate setting does not allow you to learn from your mistakes. Through MBA you acquaint yourself with the cutting-edge management practices and make mistakes (and learn from them) on the campus rather than on the job.
In your career, you will have many jobs. So long as you have a long-term vision, your career will move in the right direction. MBA gives you that vision. It expands your imagination and broadens your outlook.
It is not just about the classes. It is also about your class-mates.
It is the ability to apply the best practices of one sector into another that distinguishes a good manager from an ordinary one. In any reputed Business School, you will have an enviable network of professionals with varied experiences as your peer group. The collective educational and professional experience of the group will help you attain cross-discipline, cross-functional and cross-industry knowledge. Your class-mates will be of great help even after graduation to steer you towards better pastures.
It is not “general”. It is very specific.
It is not that an MBA makes you a jack of all trades and a master of none. Most MBA programs include a “core” curriculum of subjects, such as Finance, Marketing, Operations, Human Resource (HR) Management & Information Technology (IT). At a managerial position, you are required to have some knowledge of all these domains. After all, you are going to deal with people from all these fields in your daily work life. Through an MBA, you will be able to (better) understand which are would you want to specialize in. You will realize that Marketing does not mean (only) advertising. You will appreciate that one does not really have to be really good at numbers to be really good at Finance. You will understand that there is more to HR than inter-personal skills. You will recognize that Operations Management is not just for manufacturing and IT is an indispensible part of every business decision. At the end of your MBA, you would have chosen one specialization. So, at the end of it, you would have become a jack of all trades & a master of one!