‘An MBA widens your horizons’ is an oft-heard statement that has degenerated into a truism (pretty much like – ‘A high calorie diet widens your waistline’). Can’t argue with both. But if you have too many options to choose from, wouldn’t that leave you confused? (rhetorical question, you don’t need to answer that) After graduating, everyone may not be interested in the most-sought-after roles in management consulting, corporate finance or investment banking. There may be many who prefer ‘industry’ roles (i.e. clients that consulting firms and I-banks offer services to). But again, ‘industry’ per se doesn’t tell you anything as you would come across a wide variety of roles there as well. Kanphoojan in the mind! Which means, you try to dig deeper and figure out the responsibilities and the scope of work for each of these various roles and whether it would sustain your interest and enthusiasm in the long run. Though an internship gives you this chance, you may wish to explore other options as well. MBA rotational programs may provide an answer to your dilemma.
So what exactly are these MBA rotational programs? (not a rhetorical question) Many companies provide MBA’s an opportunity to work in different departments or different roles within a discipline for varying duration so that you get hands-on experience and a better knowledge of how they function. You can then identify and decide for yourself which of these roles motivates you and suits your long-term goals.
A lot of organisations offer rotational programs that usually span across two years. Candidates get a chance to rotate across multiple roles and learn the ropes across various departments (or sub-depts) within the company.
- United Technologies is into research and manufacturing of high-end products including helicopters, elevators and escalators. However you need not be an expert in this field to qualify for a job with them. They offer multiple rotational programs. One of them is specifically targeted for those interested in operations. It’ll train you across supply management, quality and manufacturing areas. Another one is targeted for HR professionals and covers benefits/compensation, staffing & selection, labour relations and training & development.
- Delphi (it is into automotive technologies), it offers a finance rotational program that enables you to get exposure to various disciplines including financial planning & analysis, treasury, operational finance, budgeting, tax, internal audit and mergers & acquisitions during the program.
- GE also offers a similar two year rotational program across three assignments within the marketing and sales functions. The options available for marketing rotation are as follows: strategic marketing, market analysis, market segmentation, product management, new product introduction (NPI), brand management, advertising. If you opt for sales rotation you may choose among the following specialties: sales force effectiveness (SFE) implementation, business development, national account management, sales operations management.
You need to do the necessary groundwork about the companies offering such programs in the geographical areas of your choice. In addition to giving you the flexibility with respect with your career choice, this is an excellent opportunity to receive on-the-job training. It also enables the candidates to broaden their understanding across various functions within the company. This provides a better perspective to understand the business as a whole. There are mentors assigned to speed up the learning curve. At the end of this whole process, you may land up as a multi-skilled employee with more clarity about your potential, your competencies and better-equipped to make up your mind about your future.