As most coaching classes are busy preparing their call-getters to convert their initial calls, into final admits, news from B-School campuses keeps pouring in. 'Placements take a hit at top B-schools'. 'IIM students look up to PSU's for their placements'. These reports have been raising doubts in the minds of the call-getters, whether it is the right time to quit a secured job and go for something as uncertain as an MBA?
The fact of the matter is that this slowdown is not a recent phenomenon. We saw it coming last year itself, the year in which the IIM's witnessed the highest number of CAT applications - more than 2.80 lakh, about 25% over the CAT 2007 numbers. A similar jump was seen in the number of applications to other institutes as well. So why is an increasing number of students looking to beat the slowdown with an MBA degree?
The reason why most people opt for an MBA is not only because it gives very generous monetary returns, but also because it is important for making a career change. Different people have different reasons for doing an MBA - knowledge, a better position, shift of career and some do it even for status.
But the big question is, what is the right time to do an MBA? With jobs not available, pay-hike being almost negligible, many people believe that this is the right time to spend 2 years doing MBA and upgrade your skills and ability to get employed. If you analyze objectively, by the time you pass out, the business cycle may be on the upturn and you would be ready on time to take advantage of the situation.
Though the atmosphere at business schools may suggest otherwise, a point to be noted here is that it is only the salaries that have taken a hit - not placements. Most of the top B-Schools have recorded 100% placements or close to that. Earlier finance companies used to recruit students in bulk at higher pay packages.
Today, due to the economic downturn, finance companies are making fewer offers with lower pay packages and this in general has plummeted the average salaries at B-schools. But on the positive side, students have garnered the opportunity to work in diversified profiles across sectors and functions, profiles that would help in their career progression.
The two intensive years that you spend at a B-School campus equip you with knowledge in areas like finance, marketing, logistics, personnel and strategy. Also, through case studies you would learn to analyze different business issues faced by the companies.
You also get an opportunity for internship and projects, which help you gain that valuable real life experience. In short, an MBA from a top B-school gives you the flexibility to switch careers and also makes you more employable because of the mental grooming to face the challenges of the real world.
Though this might be the right time to do your MBA, you need to be careful about certain things. Go for the top B-Schools only. An ordinary B-School may not offer you all the benefits that we have discussed earlier.
Since you are trading off an earning opportunity to do your MBA, you should ensure that you get a good return on your investment of time and money. Secondly, in tough times like these, you might look forward to shorter MBA programs. There are a couple of good institutes that are offering a 1-Year MBA program. So, you not only get all the advantages of a good MBA program, but your earning cycle starts a year in advance.
However, whether it is a 1-Year program or a 2-Year program, an MBA degree does have the power to bail you out of the recession.