Expert tips for MBA aspirants without work-ex by Prof. Mani RSS, Vice President, ITM Group of Institutions

Expert tips for MBA aspirants without work-ex by Prof. Mani RSS, Vice President, ITM Group of Institutions

A large number of fresh graduates are usually doubtful whether it is a good idea to do an MBA without any prior work experience. As a Master of Business Administration, or MBA, needs a sense of business and management they doubt whether they will be able to complete the programmes successfully. They also feel that some work experience would help them to successfully gain admission at a top-notch university or B-School as the curriculum in Their doubts also arise because of the need for work experience to gain admission in top B-Schools abroad. In the US, the prior work experience required could be anywhere between two to eight years while in Australia it could be between one to three.

There are also a large number of candidates who are doubtful about joining an MBA programme because they already have done a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or Bachelor of Business Management (BBM). Their doubt arises from the fact that they have already done a management course and do not know whether an MBA or Post Graduate Diploma in Management will add value to their careers. They also tend to think that doing some other programme in a related domain might be of more use to them.

Let us dispel these doubts and look at the advantages of doing an MBA without wasting a precious year or two. It is important to do so because the way the career paths of these young graduates are going shape in the next 30 or 40 years will depend entirely on the decision they take now. And the best way to decide is to listen to experts in the management domain.

Should I go for an MBA without prior work experience?

This is a typical doubt of a student who has just finished bachelor’s, has a job in hand and also wants to do an MBA. Should he join an MBA now or later?

As explained above, prior work experience is needed if you want to join an MBA programme in the US or Europe. But there is no point in comparing the situation in the West with that of India. Most of the courses in India are designed in such a manner that fresh students without work experience can also join. So, work experience, or work-ex, is not mandatory for those students who are joining an Indian MBA programme. The syllabus covers a number of academically related courses, project related work, internships, guest faculty, industry seminars etc. So, fresh students will also get exposure to industry interfaces also.

So, in the Indian context, a fresh student does not experience any disadvantage. But, most of the IIMs, most of the top-notch B-Schools, including the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, insist on prior work experience. If you have experience, the probability of getting selection automatically increases. But at the majority of institutions in the country, lack of work experience will not go against you. So, you only have to put in that extra bit of hard work to compete with those who come with some work experience.

Does a year of work experience help in any way?

Let us go into this in detail. A word of caution here. If you choose to work and then do your MBA, at least work for two years. If you work for just a year, a year of work need not translate into a year of solid experience. It might be anywhere between 8 to 10 months. And, in those 8 to10 months most of the time is spent on your induction, your training and you are also required to do routine work. It means you haven’t actually learnt much. And then if you take a break and then say you have one year’s work experience. It doesn’t go in your favour. When you go for campus recruitment, you will say you have one year’s work experience. Again, it doesn’t work. So, you should ideally go for two year’s work experience. At least you would have acquired some experience by then which will look good on your CV. That would go as an advantage when you apply for admission after two years of work experience.

“I have done BBA, why should I go for an MBA?”

A lot of students jump into management education right after Class 12 and do a BBA or BBM. After that they are faced with a peculiar problem that the curriculum of BBA and MBA is very similar. The problem is that many universities do not upgrade the syllabus regularly. “Also, there is a program, Bachelor of Management Studies, or BMS, which is a namesake of BBA and its syllabus is so defined that it covers almost 50 to60 percent of the MBA programme. So, after completing BBA, you should find a good institution where the syllabus is up to date and select a specialisation which you have not studied in BBA.

“What sort of MBA should I choose if I already have done a BBA?”

Suppose you have done a BBA with specialisation in marketing, why not do an MBA with specialisation in Digital Marketing? When the continuity is broken, very often you lose interest. Even if you have done BBA or BMS it means you are already well-versed with management. So, you should do well in your entrance test so that you get into the top-notch schools. About 10 percent of B-schools in India have a dynamically changing syllabus. It is these institutions that you must aspire for. So, set your targets in the right direction and use your BBA of BMS to your advantage.

“Should I go for an MBA after my BA or after MA?

An MBA is also a postgraduate degree. So, if you are interested in an MBA, then you should go for it immediately after graduation. There’s no meaning in going for it after doing another postgraduate degree.

Arts students have a doubt whether an MBA is relevant for them. In fact, MBA is relevant to students of any stream who want to excel in a particular field. Background in psychology, sociology, or economics will actually help in cracking the entrance test. It is wrong to believe that only engineers or science students can crack MBA entrance exams. Sufficient practice and hard work will help you crack the entrance exam. MBA offers many specialisations. So, research well on what specialisation you want to pursue and prepare accordingly.

Which is better? A full-time MBA or a part-time MBA?

You must ideally do a full-time MBA, not a part-time MBA. Part-time MBA is usually for people who are 30-plus and who could not do an MBA earlier because of some circumstances or didn’t realise the value of MBA then and so on. If you are 30-plus, maybe a part-time MBA, or Executive MBA. But if you are just 20 to 22 years old, the best prescription for you is a full-time MBA. An undergraduate degree with at least 50 percent marks is the minimum eligibility to apply for MBA at a good B-school. Even final year students can also apply, provided they score 50 percent marks in the exam. So, why wait? Choose the right entrance exam, target the B-school of your liking, crack the entrance exam and aim for a career which can make you the CEO of a top company or even help you start a company and be your own boss!

Top MBA Entrance Exams

National Level

1

Common Admission Test (CAT)

2

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) Entrance Exam

3

Management Aptitude Test (MAT)

4

Common Management Aptitude Test (CMAT)

5

Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT)

6

Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT)

State MBA Entrance Exams

1

Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test (TANCET)

2

Telangana State Integrated Common Entrance Test (TSICET)

3

Kerala Management Aptitude Test (KMAT)

4

Himachal Pradesh University Management Aptitude Test (HPUMAT)

5

Odisha Joint Entrance Exam MBA (OJEE MBA)

6

Karnataka Post Graduate Common Entrance Test (PGCET)

7

Andhra Pradesh Integrated Common Entrance Test (APICET)

University Entrance Exams

1

TISS National Entrance Test (TISSNET)

2

IRMA Social Awareness Test (IRMASAT)

3

Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP)

4

NMAT by GMAC

5

ICFAI Business School Aptitude Test (IBSAT)

6

UPES Management Entrance Test (UPES MET)

7

S P Jain Aptitude Test (SPJAT)