Every year almost half a million students and working professionals in India appear for MBA Entrance Examinations conducted either individually by MBA Institutes or as a Common Entrance Test whose scores are considered for admissions by these institutes.
The popular Common Entrance Tests include the following: –
- Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted by the IIMs – Last year in 2018, almost 2.41 lakh students registered for CAT. This test has questions on Verbal Ability & Reading comprehension (in English), Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Aptitude. A Student with a CAT Score of 70 or above can get calls from the Top 50 B Schools in the country.
- Management Aptitude Test (MAT) conducted by All India Management Association (AIMA), a federation of Local Management Associations across the Country. This test has questions on Language Comprehension, Data Analysis and Sufficiency, Mathematical Skills, Intelligence, and Critical Reasoning, Indian & Global Environment.
- Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) – This test is globally recognized for admission to management programs. This test includes sections on Analytical Writing, Quantitative, Verbal Skills, and Integrated Reasoning.
The reason why an MBA is relevant and popular is that it equips students to understand almost all the functions and concepts in use in a Business Environment like Business Operations, Business Law, Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, and Information Technology among others. Since the majority of jobs in India come from the Private Sector now, a person equipped with this knowledge is able to function better not only in the function that he/she chooses but is also able to appreciate and understand the interdependencies of various departments and functions as they work together to meet the Organizational Goals.
An MBA is virtually a ticket or a direct entry into the Management Cadre of any organization in the private sector and is also useful for faster career growth. Apart from those looking for managerial jobs in the private sector, it also extremely useful for those who wish to become entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur sometimes starts as a man/woman show who manages and juggles various roles like that of Marketing, Sales, Finance, HR & Operations etc. As the business grows and the entrepreneur hires specialists for each function, its good to have an understanding of all functions so that he/she can monitor as well as understand the challenges and opportunities that each function has which can help the business grow and become successful.
Another thing that we see fairly prevalent is that even those with a work experience of a few years after completing their graduation prefer to go in for an MBA to enhance their skills and knowledge. MBA Institutes also prefer such students with 1- 5 years of experience in the Corporate Sector as having worked in a business environment these students are in a better position to appreciate the nuances of the corporate environment and relate the application of the theoretical concepts taught in an MBA Program with the past experience they had in the workplace.
About the MBA Course
Typically, a 2 year MBA program has a foundation course in year one that familiarizes a student with all the management subjects covering all functions and in the second year, the student gets to choose their majors and minors based on their preference. It’s advisable that students make a correct decision of their majors in year two as it charts their career for the rest of their life for most people. They need to analyze their internal strengths and weaknesses and along with that based on inputs received in year one on the various functions they can decide the function that they feel they have an affinity for and the highest chance to excel in. They should also to some extent factor in opportunities available in the external world for the function chosen. For example, someone who is an introvert by nature may find, human resource or sales challenging. Someone who finds sitting mostly in one place and working monotonous, may not adjust well to finance. Similarly, if someone takes finance, they must also decide which career options would work well for an MBA in finance since if they wish to grow eventually to a CFO role, a Chartered Accountant will have an edge. However, in an Investment Banking role, an MBA may have the upper hand.
An MBA course involves a lot of experiential learning as being in Management an employees task in the Corporate Sector is to solve problems on a day to day basis. In the Corporate world they would be required to overcome challenges, synergize efforts of the team, optimize resources and attain organizational goals. To teach them all these, the MBA courses involve real life case studies, business simulations exercises, public speaking through frequent presentations, and interaction with external business leaders who share their real life experiences. The course itself is fairly high pressure so that students adapt easily to the pressures prevalent in a Corporate setup. Hence an MBA student when he / she passes out and gets placed is well prepared to handle the challenges in a Corporate life.
MBA as a Career Option – By Shantanu Saha (Feb 2019).