With CAT and SNAP results recently declared, a number of MBA aspirants are already beginning the process of shortlisting and selecting the best B-schools which will fit their requirements. There is plenty of advice which is available to guide you for the same and many of you must have already made your mind. As an MBA who was once on the other side and who now has a perspective of the post MBA career, I can only offer the below advice for those who may find it helpful for formulating a good approach about B school admissions.
To make this post more useful, I’ve divided this into two parts-
Part 1 - Shortlisting the list of colleges, and
Part 2 - Figuring out the final college where you’ll get in.
Typically some of you would have completed the part 1 earlier and basis that targeted a score in CAT which will help you apply to the colleges you have shortlisted. For those of you who haven’t and thought that you’ll instead target a college basis your score, please go through the list of factors we think should be considered while shortlisting potential B-schools for oneself-
There is no denying that studying at a B-school which is widely admired in Industry and students not only serves the emotional value of making you feel better and proud of yourself but also adds a lot of credibility to your profile which can give you a great initial boost to your career. For a lot of aspirants however, this is the only filtering criteria which is not the right thing to stop at. There are multiple sources which publish B-school rankings. You can refer to this categorisation done by NIRF https://www.nirfindia.org/mgmt
- Starting salaries and company profiles
For a lot of aspirants, a huge initial and long term jump in financial compensation is the key reason to aspire for an MBA. Also, for those of you who are currently working, it is important that the college you’re planning to join has a high median salary than your current compensation. Though the data presented by MBA colleges in skewed (distorted by international salaries), it is still indicative. For more accurate understanding of average starting salaries that are offered - do ask about the largest employers in the respective campuses and the roles they offered.
- Faculty and teaching methodology
If you’re only getting into for getting a good degree attached to your profile and getting a good job somehow, you might do well in the short term but for those of you who want to be more thorough, do find out about the learning atmosphere and quality of teachers from the past/current students of the business school. If you have an area of expertise in mind, this factor becomes even more important.
- Diversity of the batch
In a typical B-school program, you’ll learning from your batchmates/peers will play a significant role in your overall learning and development during the course. A B-school with intelligent, focused, and diversely experienced candidates can result in much better learning and a more effective long term network for you.
- Relevance of your profile
This is disproportionately important for Indian B-schools. The campus placements that B-schools get in terms of companies/roles/salaries don’t drastically change from year on year (unless there are huge economic/political events like the US Financial crisis of 2008). The campus placements that happen are a result of multiple factors but your academics and pas work experience play a significant role. It is very important that you speak to the people on campus or those who have graduated from there to see what kind of roles and companies would suit your profile. If you have target companies in mind, it’s easier to find out if they recruit from the college you are going to join or not.
Location of the campus plays a key role for B-school education in my opinion. Not from the perspective of the look and feel but more from a point of view of the network and activities you can develop while studying. It is very important during a B-school education to be actively involved in Live industry projects and network with people from industries where you are interested to build a career. Say if you’re in Bangalore/Delhi NCR, it would become far easier for you to meet-up and connect with many tech-start-ups and attend a lot of networking events/conferences.
Finally, not something to think of as less important because your Return-on-Investment from the program can be of importance to you. It is generally not a good idea to get over-burdened with education debt which might prevent you from taking important career risks. If you are planning to start a business on your own or join a start-up which might be a riskier proposition in terms of job stability- Don’t overburden yourself by joining a more expensive college. Or wait till you save more for the same.
Do you think we’ve missed out on something or if you have any further queries, please let us know in comments. For those of you who are more focussed and want to take a more informed decision- please continue reading the Part 2 of this post here - Post 2