Jeffrey just got ‘Bangalored’ and he’s lovin’ it. Most Indian MBA applicants are keen to leave the country in pursuit of their MBA dreams. Jeffrey’s story goes the other way around – starting off in Europe and ending in India. He was only looking at 1 year MBA programs in India (read this related post first: Executive MBA vs MBA for Executives – The Big Indian Confusion).
After spending more than a decade in Europe, Jeffrey chose an Indian MBA. He focussed on IIMA Ahmedabad PGPX, IIM Bangalore IIMB EPGP, IIM Calcutta IIMC PGPex and ISB Hyderabad. He chose to skip the other Indian 1-year MBA programs like XLRI GMP and Great Lakes Chennai
So after about 13.5 years of fulltime work, I’m all set to give up a good job and an “easy” life in Europe and get back into the rigour of doing a fulltime MBA at IIM Bangalore when Sameer Kamat (author of the highly recommended Beyond The MBA Hype) asked me if I could share my thought process and background behind this decision.
I’ve worked primarily in the IT products sector (mobile telecoms domain), having been based in Europe for the past 11 years. Like a typical Indian Male IT Engineer, I have a Bachelors in Engineering and also spent some time in a part-time Masters degree complemented by a couple of professional certifications. In my current role I am responsible for leading all Test Engineering activities.
I had taken the GMAT exam in June 2009 and got a decent (but not great) score of 710/5.5 so I applied to my target schools in 2010.
While my dream of doing an MBA dates back about 15 years, I never seriously invested the time and effort needed to crack the CAT and other B-school exams when I had just completed my graduation. Consequently I stuck with my IT job and when an opportunity presented itself for an on-site assignment in Europe I took it up.
Over the past few years I have found myself increasingly being “pigeon-holed” in a technical management role with very limited exposure to the business side of things. I see a full-time MBA as an opportunity to get that kind of exposure and open a few more doors for me career-wise.
Why not a part-time MBA? A part-time MBA can help from a knowledge point of view, but as far as career advancement is concerned I feel that a person will be able to get value out of a part-time MBA only if their current employer recognises such a qualification and will be in a position to provide the growth opportunities which an MBA grad will expect. Unfortunately for me I work in a setup where such opportunities would not have been available to me.
Based on my research on MBA admission consultants in India and abroad, I took the help of MBA Crystal Ball as I thought it was the best in class for Indian applicants.
After completing the MBA Mock Application Process (MBA MAP) with Sameer, my application strategy and my post MBA goals were clear.
ISB Hyderabad was my last option and I would have applied to ISB only if I did not make it to the previous three.
US B-schools were out of my list primarily due to:
a. The 2-year full-time MBA means a significant opportunity cost.
b. I didn’t see myself working in the US.
My reasoning for pursuing the Indian B-Schools
1. Career direction – with a significant baggage of work ex I am not looking for a complete career change. I don’t intend to change my industry. I will be sticking to the IT industry and preferably to the telecom sector. Here I feel that the Indian B-schools have more to offer for IT people who want to remain in IT.
2. MBA Cost – With a family to take care of, I could not afford taking a huge loan and spend the next few years on repayments.
3. MBA Placements – With the European economic crisis, growth in Europe will continue to be sluggish at best for the next few years at least. Based on my experience in the IT industry in Europe an MBA has very limited weightage (compared to the work experience you have). With the Indian economy growing at a steady rate there will be no shortage of opportunities in the IT sector. Additionally MBAs have always been rated highly by the Indian industry.
I got a ding from IIM-A PGPX after interview, but got through IIM-B EPGP and IIM-C PGPex. Between IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta I chose IIMB due to location reasons for an IT professional.
My ISB application form was incomplete when I got the results from IIM-B and IIM-C, so I did not pursue ISB further.
I’m quite optimistic about the opportunities that will be open to me in the next year and hope that I can translate a good few of these into long-term gains!