Further to my post On IIMs’ high salary: The true story has a twist I wanted to write about my thoughts on MBA and its perception in people’s mind. I could not do that till now; but a couple of things finally pushed me write this post.
Scene 1 A: My colleague at work was talking to another colleague (both work as Software Developers and have been in the UK for a couple of years as ‘On-site coordinators
C1: Arre yaar, mujhe iss saal MBA karna hi hain woh bhi UK sey (I want to pursue MBA this year, from UK)
C2: Haha, aur kya karegaa, waapas yehi ayegaa na? To kyon dene hain 20-25 lakh (And what would you do – join the same place again???)
And then C2 went on to ridicule MBA and how one could easily do without it…etc. etc.
Scene 1 B: Next to my cubicle sit an Account Manager and another Project Manager…
(Background) AM had asked me about my MBA and experience of doing it from the UK and pros and cons etc. (and he had concluded – ‘Arre tum yahaan XYZ company mein kya kar rahe ho?’)
PM: Kya baat hain Sir ji, MBA institute website dekh rahe ho…
AM: Ab mujhe MBA ke liye janaa hain…I want at least 6-digit salary in GBP…to begin with…kab tak yeh roaj ki fight karte rahenge? Ab thoda paisaa bananaa hain…
PM: Arre Sir ji, sirf MBA karane se salary nahin badhegi…and you don’t become millionaire through ‘savings’ – yeh job se kuch nahin ho saktaa…
AM: Arre CEO ban jayenge naa kuch saal baad…CEOs ki salary pataa hain?
PM: Sir ji, phir bhi woh ‘salary’ hi hain naa…kitna save karoge?
Scene 2: My colleague ‘S’ who arrived in the UK about a week back is thinking of getting his own work permit so that he could switch job here. He is checking his eligibility using online points calculator and finds that his MBA institute in India is not recognized here and hence could not claim points for Master’s – and thus could not score required points to be eligible for work permit.
S: #@$£*****, yeh ch**@£% log kya samajhate hain ki meri MBA ki koi value nahin?
I: Where did you do your MBA from? It’s not listed in their database…
S: XYZ Institute…arre bahot famous hain…khud ki building hain 2!
I: Did you write any test, say GMAT or appear for interview?
S: Aise kuch nahin thaa…maine application bheja aur ho gaya…
I: Dost, aise nahin hotaa..you should have checked credentials/ reputation of institute.
S: %£@#, arre us waqt kis ko pataa thaa ki Indian se baahar bhi jaane ka chance milegaa? Apne State mein to sab ko pata hain yeh institute. Iss ka matlab mere Rs. 80,000 doob gaye???
I: What do you want to do with work visa?
S: I want to be a consultant; Consultants get £300-600 per day!!! 2-3 saal raho yahaan pe…aur waapas apane native place jaa kar sarkaari-type ki job karo, bass!
These incidents got me thinking. Because this is something which I have been experiencing during my interactions with prospective MBA students who contact me for advise, queries etc.
Going back to Scene 1 A again – C2 (Colleague 2) represents a category of people who think that MBA (or any higher education) is justified only when it takes you to somewhere else and/or at much higher position. If you are joining the same organization/ position post-MBA you are a fool!
They fail to understand that –
1. MBA is not necessarily for short-term immediate gains, it could also be for long-term growth/ benefits
2. Going one step further, MBA may not be for any gains/ career progression at all!!! Probably I would achieve all things without MBA. But MBA could be for my personal satisfaction, my thirst for understanding (and formally learn) different subjects, ‘be aware’ of what is happening around me, even if it is not part of my job or directly impacting me…(now how much should one spend for this ‘insane thirst’ is personal matter). So it is not necessary to even measure success or effectiveness of MBA or any higher education for that matter by yardstick of ‘gain in salary, designation’
But I don’t even take pain of discussing or explaining this to C2-type of people. Because it is beyond their capacity to understand this. I just ignore such people and avoid interaction on this topic.
Now about Scene 1B: I get irritated with and angry at myself – for having to work with such Account Managers who would, in one way or the other, decide my career growth in that organization. This is for two reasons – first, they have such ludicrous notion of MBA (that it is a ladder to get 6-digit salary or to become CEO eventually) and second (and more importantly for me) they decide how to put my skills/ qualification to the best use and have a say in my career growth. I try to keep distance from such people and looks for ways to get rid of them altogether.
Moving on to Scene 2: I have mixed emotions about this lot represented by ‘S’. Sometimes I pity them – that they are fooled by all glitz and glamor surrounding word MBA and end up spending money and time on any MBA which doesn’t help them in any way. But at times I am irritated by this lot too – that they too want fast growth by only getting a label or a paper-tag called MBA, without understanding what it is, is it required for their kind of profession, are they suitable for this, is the institute credible enough etc.
Although the context of the two is completely different. In the US the discussion was around ‘whether we need so many MBAs, do we have an over-supply?’ Whereas the question in India is ‘How do we maintain the standard of higher-education so that people are employable’
A recent study found that India is suffering from a real shortage of skilled labor, even as number of people graduating (i.e. getting degrees) is on rise. Why this mismatch? Because the quality of higher education is dismal.
And it is difficult to bring about a qualitative improvement in education system for such a vast mass!
I remember an anecdote from my MBA class. I sent email to entire class reg. something and used the phrase ‘Batch of 2008’…and I immediately got whipped by a British class-mate (an experience of typical British sarcastic humor!) who replied… “Do you mean Class of 2008? We only have a batch of chickens!”
I think our 1-billion plus population and factory-approach towards everything is symbolized by the way we call it a ‘Batch’ and not a ‘Class’…so wonder it is often hard to differentiate between umpteen graduate chickens that we churn out every year!