MBA is a lifestyle” – A few actually realize this, but when they do, they know how it truly is. One of the most prestigious courses in the world, and probably the dream three alphabets of over a million candidates in the world every year, what makes the Master of Business Administration degree all so special? With the existence of a few top-notch B-Schools and the tremendous rise in the number of other institutes competing with those, how do students live up to their “MBA dream” ?

To some, it may be just the charm of a Post-Graduation, a proud accolade one can carry around affixing the three prestigious alphabets behind their name. A proof to the world of the candidate’s academic prowess and his degree of achievement, a merit nonetheless. This candidate would have toiled hard to clear his entrances, practiced harder to be heard over a hundred other competitors in the rounds of Group Discussions followed, and may even have aced his Interviews by portraying his academic achievements & interests. Once into the institute, his next target would undoubtedly be academic excellence. He would spend sleepless nights at the library and pore through scholarly articles. He would gather knowledge more than what would be sufficient to get him through the course and would master the curriculum. Out of academic interest he may even end up opting for extra courses in order to gain more knowledge. To this person, MBA is a stepping stone to become a respected scholar.

To others, the MBA degree does not mean learning or books. These are the “high grossers”, or in the words of Mr. Chetan Bhagat (whose books make no sense if given a second thought), “they would go for WPM – Whoever Pays More”. Placements, Packages, Profiles are all that matters to this class of people. And why not? Isn’t that what feeds you and your family? Isn’t that the single most important thing in life?  It is for such candidates that B-Schools take extra care in decorating (and sometimes over-decorating) their “Placements” web-page. Such candidates would have waged war with the college representatives based on their placement facts and figures before even applying for it. They always are impressed/concerned about the highest package an ex-student has grossed (because they would be aspiring for the same job next year) and criticizing the lowest package that has been offered (because it is a crime by the college to let its students end up in such lowly conditions). For such candidates, the whole and sole duty of a B-School upon which they grace their presence is to provide them a superior job in a top grossing company. Failure to do so would deem their two years to be a wasted investment.

Jokes apart, the reason behind certain candidates carrying such an attitude is not entirely wrong. Today’s industry is flooded with Undergraduates. To stand apart, to strive at a different level and to end up at a higher rung of the corporate ladder, the industry DEMANDS that a candidate complete his MBA. And after years of hard-work put into completing his UG (and maybe a few years of battling it out at the industry as well), when the candidate enters a B-School, the only thing that would be on his mind is a better job. It would be a dream-come-true for any MBA if the first job he lands gives him a designation of “manager” (And this would be why companies come up with the most innovative designations possible).

So we have seen knowledge and we have seen wealth. But is this what MBA really gives us? Where is the much hyped “lifestyle” these lunatics keep mentioning? Where is the experience? I mean, knowledge is something anyone can get at a library and wealth or jobs would better over years of experience and shifting companies. Why does one have to strive for an MBA if this is what he gets?

An MBA gives you a lot apart from these. It gives you clarity of thought, a better way to express, rather PRESENT yourself, it makes you complete. An MBA degree isn’t all about the knowledge you gain in class or from books. It is about the people you meet, the professors you tutor under, the conversations you have. This is where certain B-Schools excel over a majority of others. This is the reason B-Schools are ranked. It is because the top notch ones have something more to offer to their students than mere information. They impart wisdom. The end products of these B-Schools, in addition to their MBA taglines, are wise. They have a different way of looking at things, they have a distinct thought process which helps them analyze and calculate better. These young and enterprising management grads are better at making friends, meeting people and talking to them.. in short, “networking”. And they would have an innate trait of believing that a person known is a resource gained.

How is all this possible? How does a successful B-School craft its students? Why don’t other institutes offering MBA degrees manage to excel and rise as much as these select few institutes do? The questions can merely be answered in a simple word – “Students”. The students form the strength of top notch institutes. The institutes strive to provide the best for their students. When a B-School is branded top notch, every single parameter is taken into consideration – curriculum, course structure, faculty, infrastructure, facilities and last but not the least, student involvement. The students here are given responsibilities and are allowed a free reign on major activities.

The responsibility of an aspiring Management graduate does not end at attending lectures, cramming notes and acing exams. There’s a lot more to this than being a successful and holistic person. Events, forums, corporate interfacing and even social responsibilities are handled by students. Students form teams, organize themselves into efficient groups, perform tasks. They are always guided and supported by their faculty but seldom supervised and controlled. In short, the institute treats these students well and so the thankful students wish to contribute back to the institute. In spite of their severely hectic academic schedule which involves endless assignments, presentations, tests, quizzes and examinations, they are enthusiastic to get involved and actively participate towards the upbringing of their institute. This is what actually crafts a complete management graduate. They develop management skills not in theory, but by practice. They work on deadlines, they think out of the box, they compete, they work in teams and adapt themselves, they meet others and build networks. Ultimately, they manage themselves and the tasks taken up by them.  These are the attributes any organization would look for in a manager and a successful MBA would have all these skills imbibed in him/her.

A management graduate would have an aura around him/her. He would come across as a confident person who is ready to take on the world. Well, it’s true. With a die-hard attitude and the completion of a memorable journey full of challenges, why wouldn’t they? Yes, MBA is a lifestyle and these young minds are living the dream.

Sharendran – SCIT Alumni

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