Why MBA - that’s the biggest question for all MBA applicants. While working on my applications I encountered this question several times. Each time I had a better explanation but still not fully satisfied with my answers somewhere in the back of my mind. The AdComs generally doesn't like a candidate who is not clear about the answer to this question, and that’s justified. Once a candidate starts with the MBA, he/she may not have enough time to change the decision. Like me there would be many other applicants, so I thought if my findings and your feedback could help us all Here I'm not going to answer why MBA is required. The reason would be different from person to person. I have listed a few questions for self-evaluation and I can promise, that by end of this note you would have an answer to convince the AdCom My apologies, but in this post I would be taking example of "Management Consultancy in IT" (one of the hottest job profile today) to justify my points. So get a pen and paper and start answering all the questions one by one. For some of the questions you may need decent amount of time and research. Step 1: Apart from the huge salary packages , what is the main reason for you. It could typically be: 1. Switching career to some other Industry or function 2. Starting ones own business 3. Progressing to a higher responsibility in the same industry or function Step 2: Now once you have answered the above question, take some time and evaluate 1. Which Industry, role and country you are aiming for. I take an example of "Management Consultant in the field of IT in India". 2. What are your target companies. Be clear about this. AdCom may want to understand what kind of companies you are targeting. It should not be list of 100 best IT companies listed on NSE, rather a genuine answer would be a target for 3-4 companies. Also, be realistic and don't try to list top companies like Mckinsey or Booz unless you can justify that. 3. What the new role means. If I'm saying Management Consultancy in IT field, I should be clear about what this role means and what would be the kind of responsibilities. A typical IT management consultant would be doing: • Selling (identifying prospective clients etc) • Research (Gathering requirements, interviewing clients, evaluating existing solutions etc) • Analysis (Gathering data and information) • Reporting (preparing proposals, recommendation to client etc)
Implementation (project management, documenting team work, IT implementation etc) Administration (Expense report, time tracking)
Step 3: Now one need to evaluate himself to answer the big question of why the above role and industry 1. Where do you stand today. I'm already working as an IT consultant for last XX years and have successfully implemented XX projects at various client locations. I have worked close with client and have displayed some of the qualities required by a IT consultant. 2. What kind of role you are looking for in the future. I'm looking for a role of Management Consultancy, continuing in the same IT field but with a higher responsibility (Can use some crap from 3rd question in Step 2 ) 3. What skills you already posses and what new skills are required. A typical way to answer this question would to list all the skills generally required for Management Consultancy and rank myself: Technical knowledge - strong Analytical skills - strong Client skills - basic Leadership skills - basic Business skills - Nil Management skills - Nil Communication skills - good Relationship skills - basic 4. The skills, which hindered your performance in the past, MBA can add. In my past role, there have been various responsibilities I couldn't take because of lack of a particular skill or knowledge of some tools. A simple way to answer this question would be to compare ones skill-set with the skill-set of a role (may be a senior manager) where he see himself after MBA. Example - I lack knowledge in Pricing concepts, Financial analysis, Business strategy, Project Management, Negotiation skills etc etc etc. 5. What have you done so far to prove that you are moving towards your career goal. I have moved from IT Product based company to IT services based company due to this reason. A list of trainings or programs I attended to add a skillset like client negotiation, Project Management etc. I have chosen to work for a client-site role. The list goes on. Step 4: An MBA can just lay a foundation for your career goals, but certainly cannot assure to achieve that goal. In most of the cases, one can still achieve his/her goals even without MBA. Don't forget only 38% of the CEOs in US have an MBA degree. So the most important question
1. If not MBA then what? Surely, MBA is not the end of life. If not MBA, then also I would like to achieve my career goal of IT management consultancy. The way would surely be unorganized and time consuming. A typical example would be attending trainings, gaining experience from current role, reading articles and business publications, and choosing a mentor with the role I'm targeting. Having said that, I would say MBA is just a means to achieve my goals, a bundled package which would provide me with the skill-set required to accelerate towards the career goal. Step 5: To justify ones long-term goals, he need to understand what a typical career path would be starting from the responsibility he is looking immediately after MBA. 1. What is the career progression from the immediate goals? If I start as a Management Consultant in IT, a typical career progression would be: Associate consultant > Senior consultant > Team lead > Manager > Senior Manager > Associate Partner > Senior Partner > Vice-president > President > and so on Step 6: Last, but not the least. If one has chosen a career goal, he should be aware of the future trends and opportunities in the particular field. After all, there may not be a sense to choose a career which doesn't have much of future demands. 1. What are the future prospects of the career goal chosen? For a management consultant in IT, some facts and figures regarding the future demands. For Example, in India IT services industry net revenue for 2008-09 is $58 billion, supposed to be doubled by 2012 and estimated to be $225 billion by 2020. Brief of few prominent projects and government initiatives would also be helpful. By end of Step 4, one would already have a good reason for why MBA. Step 5 and 6 would strengthen the reason and help in getting a more convincing answer if one has chosen a right path for him/her.