The last decade has completely changed the dynamics of the education industry in our country. In the current market scenario, there is clearly a demand-supply mismatch. Placement opportunities for MBAs are insufficient. Organisations are not able to recruit adequate resources.
While the relevance and applicability of the course content can be debated, we need more and more MBA graduates who are employable. Here are the top five areas I would like a postgraduate to focus on after she/he graduates as MBA.
Do not decide your field or industry based on the glamour associated with certain jobs. Almost 100 per cent of Finance MBAs aspire for a career in Investment Banking, Treasury or Corporate Finance.
About 99 per cent of those who opt for the jobs mentioned here do not know what they entail or even why they want to be in that field. Do not take up a job because most of your batch mates want that job or because the pay packet is tempting. While taking up a job evaluate the following:
The role should fit your natural strengths. For example, if you are an extrovert, do not shy away from taking up a sales or relationship management role. If numbers are not your strong point, avoid analytical profiles.
Sector profile and growth: Study and understand the various industries. You may want to rule out certain sectors and prioritise certain sunrise industries.
Company culture: Apart from the brand value of the company, remember to check out its HR and training practices. It is your first job that really moulds you; therefore opt for a company that can provide you good learning environment and where growth is based on your merit.
Summer internships are critical. Put in a lot of effort to get into a good project. But do not be disheartened if you cannot get a good summer placement. You can learn from any assignment. Learn about some good practices of your summer company. Take feedback about yourself.
Seek to learn
Once you have joined, look out for opportunities to learn. Ask questions, read manuals, read policies, read about regulations governing your function.
During time-off, sit with allied departments to learn and understand about their functions too. This will strengthen your background, help you appreciate other functions and also will enable effective decision-making.
The first year in your job, your sole objective should be to perform and to learn. Do not worry about salary increments, supervisor behaviour or visibility in the organisation.
Arrogance in the initial years will only be a stumbling block. Aggression should be channelized to achieve results, without spoiling relationships. While in campus you did not have to worry much about putting people off.
Whereas now, you need others more than they need you. It is these strong relationships that will help you in moving to a department of your choice, in implementing your ideas, in getting your work done through other teams, in short, it will help you in being successful.
Attitude is another key differentiator. Confidence and humility will be your biggest assets.
If you have one at the cost of the other, you will see yourself struggling in the long run. Do not underestimate the power of an experienced colleague.
One reason why a lot of corporates today do not hire MBAs is because they want to do only the ‘thinking’ job and leave the rest to others.
A strategy is as good as its execution. And in order to excel in execution, you must plan well, manage the pitfalls or risks, have an eye for detail, roll up your sleeves and dirty your hands. No job is big or small.
It is very important to know that while an MBA degree can give you a perspective; pragmatism will come with experience on the job. An MBA is not a panacea for all solutions but a starting point. What you do after that will determine your career graph.
This article was published in The Hindu on 16 May 2014.