Before you embark on the road to an MBA, you need to be clear whether you really need an MBA and how it can possibly fit into your career and life.

There was a time when a college degree was a sufficient credential to get a good executive job. In the 80s, as more and more people got MBAs, a college degree was no longer enough. Since then, the number of people getting an MBA has increased to the point that simply having the MBA degree is insufficient to get plum jobs; the quality of the MBA program has become the deciding factor.

This craze for more and better degrees has been matched by the recognition that managers now have far more demands placed upon them than in the past. It is no longer enough just to master a super specialized function. In addition to developing strong technical skills, managers were expected to possess a range of soft skills such as the abil­ity to influence people, negotiate effectively, manage interfaces with other departments, negotiate with individuals from all walks of life, manage their own career in the newly complicated job environment, and more.

Managers are now expected to have a broad perspective and must know how each part of the company fits with the other parts, how the company competes, and how it should compete. The disappearance of much of middle management means that, even at what were once junior positions in a company, this sort of knowledge is becoming more and more critical. It is all the more important in smaller organizations, start-ups, and entrepreneurial ventures, which are responsible for more and more employment. This increased complexity has made advanced managerial education much more necessary than it was in the past.

Thus, the educational key to managerial success is getting an MBA that both trains you well in your chosen field and is of the highest possible reputa­tion. This does not mean that everyone needs an MBA, but there are a host of people who sensibly view it as a major stepping stone to career success.

The MBA is a very flexible degree, which can serve either to broaden your knowledge of business or develop your knowledge of a particular function, such as finance, strategy, marketing, operations, etc. Therefore, it is often viewed as having something for everyone. Whatever personality type you have, MBA always has a function or a discipline that you can relate to. Although this may seem to be an overstatement, there are certainly many valid reasons to get an MBA. Some of those most commonly expressed by past MBA students have been given below :

  1. Do you seek an intellectually challenging and interesting career ?
  2. Do you want to advance to the highest level in your field ?
  3. Do you want the power to be free to do what you want ?
  4. Do you want the power to change the world ?
  5. Do you want to learn to manage your technical or artistic field ?
  6. Do you need a professional qualification to obtain a rewarding career ?
  7. Do you want to upgrade weak (undergraduate) academic credentials ?
  8. Do you want to change careers ?
  9. Do you want to stop being ordered around and want the ability to make the world dance on your fingers ?
  10. Do you want sufficient skills to start and run your own organization?
  11. Do you want to take your family business to new heights ?
  12. Do you want to improve your earnings ?

If your answer to any of these questions is a resounding “Yes”, then you need to start working towards an MBA.

The minimum qualification needed to do an MBA is a graduation in any discipline. It is still advised that picking up a work experience of 2 to 3 years after your graduation will help you to benefit from the MBA program better. Doing an MBA after picking up work experience will help you to :

  • appreciate the relevance of subjects and group activities
  • actively participate in and contribute to Case Studies
  • understand your MBA courses better

Moreover, recruiters will respect you more and this will result in steeper growth in your career.

The core courses in an MBA program cover various areas of business such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, and operations management to develop your holistic business sense.

In terms of academics, an MBA can be of two types : General MBA, and Super-Specialized MBA

General MBA programs teach you all management subjects the first year to develop a business foundation and in second year, you can take a few extra courses in one area to specialize in it.

Super Specialized MBA programs may similarly develop a business foundation in first year and later focus on a super-specialization ( Example is Post Graduate Programme in Agribusiness Management /PGP-ABM offered by IIM-Ahmedabad ) or may compromise on business foundation courses and spend an inordinate focus on just the super specialization (Example Post Graduate Diploma in Manufacturing Management / PGDMM offered by NITIE-Mumbai) .

There is no fine dividing line between General MBA programs and Super Specialized MBA programs, except that after General MBA programs, you still have the freedom to change your domain during your career. So Super Specialized MBA programs are recommended only for those students who are passionate about a super specialized domain or for those whose academic background gives them an edge in a related domain, say a Post Graduate Diploma in Manufacturing Management (PGDMM) offered by National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE-Mumbai) is specifically for first class engineers.

Ideally, your personality and interests should match your career direction, but an MBA program has different types of courses, out of which one or more will definitely match your personality and interests. So if you do not know what career will suit you and you are not passionate about any career, then a general MBA fits you like a glove.

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