Get a top-rated Mini-MBA Certificate for $199 $49 (till 29th Feb)

Story of an MBA dropout – An IITian goes Beyond The MBA Hype

Beyond the MBA Hype

This wasn’t meant to be a promotional post for the MBA book. In fact, many of the events in this story happened many years back, before the book was published.

I had almost forgotten about the interactions with our friend, Amit (name changed).

But he got in touch again after reading the book and mentioned that the content and advice in the book resonated with the discussions we had many moons back.

I asked Amit if he’d be willing to share his story with others who might be thinking that a lot of what’s mentioned in the book is pure fiction. And he agreed.

Several names (including the narrator, bschools and his employers) have not been revealed, for reasons that will become apparent once you read his story. And trust us, this post isn’t made up.

Story of an MBA dropout

by Amit


After graduating from college, we usually follow in the footsteps of those that have “done well” in life. Here in India, most of those that have “done well” would have gotten their MBAs right out of college, while some would have gained a couple of years’ work experience and then taken the plunge.

An MBA being a professional degree, sometimes we fail to analyze whether it would really add value to our careers.

Some of it by accident and most of it by design, I have, over time, continually analyzed the value that an MBA would add to my professional life, and have consciously taken the decision to not pursue it.

Through all this time, I have come across people in a similar situation (as mine) falling to peer, parental, or other pressures, and succumbing to the lure of a glittering and shining pot of gold at the end of the MBA road.

I hope my story drives prospective MBAs towards analyzing their situations better, and coming to a decision that is right for their professional lives.

The IIT days

A couple of years before graduating from IIT, in 2002, I started thinking about what I would like to do with my life after the IIT honeymoon was over. Most of my seniors were preparing for GRE, looking forward to heading to the US for their MS+PhDs.

Some of them were preparing for CAT and dreamt of getting into one of the IIMs and finally ending up with the Rs.1 crore+ (INR 10 million) job offers that newspapers and websites were periodically flashing on their front pages. The others opted for campus placements. I knew that I wanted to do something different with my life, but did not know exactly what. One day I somehow strayed on to the “B-Schools” section of

Quite a few clicks later, it slowly dawned on me that doing an MBA at one of the top US B-Schools might also be a viable option. With no seniors to guide me, I got in touch with current students at various schools, and with their help, prepared a list of schools that I would apply to. I then took the GMAT and TOEFL, and sent in my application packets.

By early 2004, I had admits from two top-30 full-time MBA programs. I chose the better ranked one, and after completing VISA formalities, reached the US in Fall 2004.
MBA – the first attempt

Naïve as I was, I had never given much thought to how I would finance my MBA. My seniors (of the MS + PhD variety) assured me that graduate assistantships were very easy to come by. After reaching the US, I realized that there was virtually no financial aid for MBA students (I did not qualify for their fellowships, and they offered only a handful of assistantships for the entire class). Just as my personal funds were about to get over, I was lucky to find myself a graduate assistantship at one of the engineering departments.

Everything went fine till the sixth quarter. Then all of a sudden, my assistantship was cancelled. No amount of running around and begging and pleading helped, and I had to discontinue my MBA. I took up a few part-time jobs to somehow support myself, at the same time hoping against hope that I would be awarded a new assistantship.

One day I received a letter from the office for international students, which stated that I was “out of status” and therefore would need to leave the country immediately. I packed up my bags and came back to India in May 2006. So here I was, 2 years after graduating from IIT, not having gained any work experience, and having dropped out of business school.

By sheer chance I happened to meet with the heir to a well-known business group in my city. He was planning to set up a manufacturing unit for flyash bricks and tiles. After speaking with me for a while, he asked if I would be interested in working with him, and I immediately accepted his offer. This was my first real job – and I was going to help him establish a new company.

I worked for him for a year. Through this short period of time, I gained a lot of knowledge and experience in a wide range of domains. I learnt accounting from the chief accountant of the group, and ended up building a spreadsheet-based financial analysis model with what-if scenario building capability [related post: How to create a business plan]. I liaised with German heavy equipment manufacturers, and was actively involved in negotiating price and other terms of sale of equipment for the factory.

I got to know more about how to secure debt funding. I worked with many civil, mechanical and instrumentation engineers, and oversaw the installation of various types of machinery. In short, this was the most intellectually and professionally stimulating environment that I had ever been exposed to, and I relished every moment of it.

Six months into my new job, one fine day, my parents told me that since everyone they knew had an MBA, I too should write the CAT and get my MBA from one of the IIMs. I explained to them that I was going through one of the best phases of my life, and it would be best not to interrupt it. However, they seemed to have tens of MBA examples to go by. Finally we agreed that I would take a go/no-go decision within a year or two.
Working in analytics and then in consulting

In May 2007, I received a call from a recruiter for an opening in a consulting and analytics division of a big name multinational firm. At the time, I thought that though I had learnt a lot in my job at the manufacturing firm, the learning curve was now straightening out, and if I were to do an MBA in a year or two, it would be better to be associated with a well-known brand.

Also, in the long term, I visualized myself as being in the service industry and not manufacturing. I accepted their offer and joined the MNC in June 2007.

I worked for the MNC for 3 years – June ’07 – May ’10. I joined as a senior analyst, and at the time of leaving, I was a manager leading the forecasting and modeling teams. I had learned the fundamentals of analytics, modeling, data mining, etc., and provided consulting services to quite a few big name clients. Once again, the learning curve was very steep, and I gained hugely from the experience.

From early 2010, I began to realize a things that had changed from the time I had joined the MNC till then – my learning curve was starting to level, my projects were not very different from one another, and I wanted a changed in location. I also wanted to work for a pure-play consulting firm. With no specific outcome in mind, I floated my resume once again, and received a call from a boutique consulting firm. This was for a managerial role, and it sounded very interesting. A few interviews later, I had an offer letter in my hand, which I then accepted. Within a month, I had moved to a new city, and joined the consulting firm.
MBA – A second attempt?

Through my 3 years at the MNC, I gave deep thought to doing an MBA quite a few times. Many of my friends and well-wishers advised me to go back to the US and complete the 2 remaining quarters. My parents advised me to not take any more chances in an unknown and foreign land (USA), write CAT and pursue my MBA at one of the IIMs. In the midst of all this cacophony, I started thinking about what would really make sense for me.

At the MNC all my peers already had MBAs. Not having it did not impede my professional growth or learning in any way. At the consulting firm virtually everyone – peers and subordinates – had an MBA. Most had opted for the CAT / IIM route right after their engineering, some for IIMA PGPX and ISB Hyderabad, while the rest had done their MBAs from US B-Schools. And here I was, at the same level and with similar responsibilities as them, but without the coveted degree.

I thought that if I were to write CAT then (I was 29!), assuming that I would get through, I would end up in the company of students with very little or no real world work experience. I would need to look out for lateral placements since usual placements would be for entry-level positions. In any case, it did not sound like a good idea to try and get into a B-School that I was already visiting as an interview panel member during placement seasons.

The next option was IIMA PGPX. A few other managers at my level had done their PGPX MBA not too long ago. I could see no reason why I should do one, and then get hired at the position that I already was at (or maybe at a level higher), not to mention the investment and lost time in the entire exercise. A similar argument was true for ISB as well.

The last option was US and European B-Schools. For US schools, I was a little too old for their regular full-time MBA programs, and not quite of age for their executive MBA programs. Also, taking on an extra $150k in debt did not seem to be the right thing to do.

For European B-Schools though, since the average age was higher, I was at the sweet spot. Also, there were a few good yearlong full-time programs (for example, INSEAD) that would work really well for me. Both of these options, especially the European one, sounded like viable ones.
The “middleman” argument

When you work in consulting, where virtually everyone has an MBA from a top school, you can’t help but feel that you have a gap that you need to fill. This is when I felt the need to talk to someone who would be able to understand my situation and offer unbiased practical advice.

I got in touch with Sameer Kamat, who helped me see things from a totally different angle. He said that a B-School acts as a “middleman” – an agent that either preps you for a managerial role, or helps you switch between domains (IT to banking, etc.). In my case, I was already in a managerial role, and wasn’t looking to switch domains either. Therefore, bringing a “middleman” into the picture and in the process spending $150k and 2 prime years of life (not to mention the time it would take for me to repay the hefty debt) wasn’t a good idea.

He also told me that if I were to graduate from a top B-School, I would probably get hired at the same or next higher level, which I would anyway reach in a couple of years time – why spend those two years in a B-School and in the process fork out $150k?

It could not have hit me any harder – I realized what a grave mistake I was about to make. I shelved my MBA plans, and haven’t looked back since.
Where I am today

Today, I offer MBA, B-School and career related advice to quite a few of my colleagues. I try my best to be unbiased – in addition to giving them my own example, I also talk about those in the company that have done really well after doing an MBAs. I encourage them to think hard, come up with the right argument(s) for and/or against, and only then take a decision.

Just as Sameer’s “middleman” argument worked for me, anyone wanting to do an MBA needs to find the argument that works for him, which would help him decide whether it makes sense to take the plunge, or wait for some more time, or to not do an MBA at all. I warn them against jumping into the MBA muddle because of peer, parental or other pressures.

Knowing the importance of framing the right argument (such as the “middleman” argument) for important career decisions, I have found Sameer’s book – Beyond the MBA Hype – helpful in assisting me in framing similar arguments for those that I advise, for or against an MBA, as the case may be. My advisees and I have found the book offering very practical perspectives on the various facets of an MBA that everyone should consider when taking the plunge.

It has been more than 18 months since I had the “middleman” discussion with Sameer. During this time, I have grown my team at the consulting firm acquired a large and diverse portfolio of clients, traveled to the US for business development activities, visited top business and technical schools across India for recruitment drives through 2 placement seasons, and recently been promoted.

As of now, and for the foreseeable future, I have shelved my MBA plans. I am greatly enjoying what I am doing, and will continue to do so for some time to come. Looking back, sometimes I feel that maybe I have been very lucky; things have worked out really well for me – an MBA-dropout.

– Amit

This post is longer than usual. But it comes from Amit’s heart, so we were reluctant to edit anything from it (except the names). Also, if it sounds as if this is a sales pitch for our services, it’s not. Though I had many interactions with Amit (over email and phone), he was not a client.

He is a very intelligent and hardworking guy who just got some bad cards dealt out to him by destiny. But he’s used his determination to get his career and life back on track and achieve more than what regular MBA graduates are able to accomplish.

If you found this story useful, check out this post –> how to deal with a mid-life career crisis. It just might save you the money that you were hoping to spend on an expensive MBA.

Read these other informative posts by Amit:
1. What is management consulting?
2. Types of management consulting jobs
3. Top 10 strategy consulting firms
4. Top 10 technology, HR, financial consulting firms

Mini-MBA | Start here | Success stories | Reality check | Knowledgebase | Scholarships | Services

Serious about higher ed? Follow us:


Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

61 thoughts on “Story of an MBA dropout – An IITian goes Beyond The MBA Hype”

  1. Hi Amit,

    A very heart felt and thought provoking story. Congratulations on making peace with your career decision and good luck in your future endeavours!

    However, to play devil’s advocate on behalf of many readers, I have a few questions/ observations –

    1) If you graduated in 2002, and pursued your MBA in 2004 – It would mean that you technically had 2 years of work experience somewhere in between as. It would be great to know the nature of this work experience and how that played out in the long run.

    2) Why would someone with an amazing opportunity to be part of a start up ( Your Manufacturing stint) leave the entrepreneurship path and go back to the corporate rat race – aka consulting firm? What challenges did you face that compelled you to go corporate? Peer pressure of being associated with a “Brand”?, Compensation? This would be very helpful for readers who would like to assess both sides of the coin before – Quitting their jobs and going the entrepreneurship way

    3) Throughout the article, it seems like the decision to not do an MBA was more forced due to circumstances and less by choice – For example dropping out of the first 2 years in the US due to lack of financial aid. Not doing an MBA in the US / Europe was an economic decision considering the prohibitive US$ 150K price tag, Not going to IIM for the difference in Work Experience in the peer group which reflects in on campus placements

    – Does that mean that if you were 5 years younger – and an opportunity to do a MBA was given you would look at this with a different lens?

    4) Credibility to an experienced professional comes from her work experience, credibility of a serial entrepreneur comes from his past ventures so what gives credibility to a young professional – Its the education stamp. With this context, may I ask if your way of looking at this would be any different if you were not from IIT (aka already has one stamp of recognition?).
    Would the route be the same who has no stamp of recognition and will have to fight his/ her way harder to establish this credibility?

    Just to give heads up – I do not have a MBA and nor do I plan to get one in the future. I have worked for a management consulting firm and now work in Private Equity – both places where MBAs are highly regarded and some may argue lack of which may become a glass ceiling for me. Therefore, I have no ulterior motive to encourage or discourage an MBA and these questions purely to help our readers get a better perspective of this rather interesting subject from someone who has been down this path 🙂

  2. Jaineel, thanks for your questions. Below I have attempted to answer them in the same order:

    1) As stated in my post, I started researching business schools in 2002, and after graduating from IIT in 2004, joined the MBA program.

    2) “Brand” was a factor, but a minor one, the major ones being:
(a) Debt – The company was primarily debt-funded. We were sort of cash-strapped, and disbursement of every progressive tranche required substantially more effort. 
(b) Equipment – Unexpectedly, customs levied a sizable duty on clay extruders that we imported from Germany. With banks giving us a tough time, things were not looking that great.
    (c) People – The company had only 6 employees, which meant that everyone had to wear multiple hats. 18-hour workdays were quite common, with no weekends or holidays – it had started taking a toll on all of us.
    (d) Competition – Our competition was catching up fast. Soon after our company was established, 2 other groups also got into the fray. Deals that we took for granted were now proving to be difficult to crack.

    Compensation was not much of a factor – if you are one of the first 6 employees of a startup, it never is.

    3) My US bschool experience was an accident – I did not have a choice. However, subsequently, every time I decided not to pursue my MBA, the reasoning was based on factors such ROI (would it be worthwhile to spend $150k?), fit (average age and years of work experience at IIMs), etc. Each time I considered these factors, the arguments that I came up with were strong enough to convince me to not do an MBA. Therefore, these were conscious decisions based on logical arguments and careful thought.

    If I would have been 5 years younger, I would have followed a similar process – after considering relevant factors that would have prevailed at the time, I would have framed arguments, and then taken a decision based on the strength (and direction) of those arguments. Unfortunately I will never know if my final decision would have been any different.

    4) I don’t think I am qualified or experienced enough to make a generalized statement on whether “education stamp” gives credibility to a young professional. Taking my own example, I think the IIT stamp surely helped – entry into my earlier as well as current company would have been difficult without it.

    If you have worked for a consulting firm in the past and are now employed at a private equity firm, all without an MBA, you obviously have done really well in life. In my experience, while I have seen that without an MBA one might reach a glass ceiling, there are quite a few exceptions.

    I fully understand your intent, and appreciate these questions. I do hope that my answers help readers get a better perspective of my story.

  3. Hi Amit,

    I am also facing the same kind of pressure. I completed by as at a very young age. My interest in commerce arose at a very young age when I got involved in my father’s business. I had people interactions, accounting, inventory management, cash handling and lot of other stuffs which I enjoyed it. I also got interested in Computers. After completing graduation, I got a job in a IT company in my hometown as a Business Analyst. This post has been good and I am enjoying what I do as my past experience has helped me a lot.

    From my parents perspective, seeing everyone having a professional degree..wants me to also go get one. I have been trying for MBA preparing for CAT, XAT but results have not been as expected. I am planning to do from a top bschool itself. As I have been told that chances of growth in a organization are low, if MBA is done from a low ranked bschool. Is this true?

    My friends have become CA, CS, CFA and MBAs. And seeing their degrees, my parents want me to pursue one master degree. Seeing my continuous failures in CAT, they are asking me for next alternative. I dont know what to do. But I want to study further and do my masters, gain knowledge & build skills. But I am a total confused geek who does not know which path to take.

    Adding to the pressure here has been one more factor, my brother, being an Engineer from a top university, got into IIM. The burden for me to do MBA from a top bschool has come onto my shoulders now, if I am going for an MBA. I am totally confused as to what to do. Could you guide me?

  4. Hello Ayush,

    Right after you graduate with an MBA from a big-name school, it would have a lot of value – recruiters would likely give it a lot of weightage when evaluating you. However, every piece of paper warps and loses color with time, and an MBA (or for that matter any degree) is no different. The point that I am trying to make is that while an MBA from a ‘good’ school might open doors, once you are in an organization, your growth is dependent on your performance relative to others at your level. If that had not been the case, using an extreme example, MBA dropouts like me would have been unemployable, and had zero growth. Like all rules, there is an exception though – some opt to do part-time/executive MBAs while holding regular jobs, which gets them a few brownie points that might help them get a little ahead in the race. For this discussion, let us keep things simple and discount this exception.

    Coming to your specific situation, assuming that you probably have around a couple of years of work experience, you have the unique advantage of having time/age on your side. Working off the information you have provided in your post, you have the luxury of giving yourself a couple more years at your current firm, graduate to the level of a senior business analyst, and then opt for an MBA with a specialization in technology/IT (assuming that you would want to continue to work in IT). As a recruiter for my company, I have come across MBAs (with backgrounds similar to yours) from both VGSOM (IIT Kharagpur) and IIT Delhi that had a strong focus on IT/technology. I am sure other IITs, as well as various other bschools offer similar specializations. Alternatively, you can shoot a little higher and look at a few international schools as well. In my experience, Cornell and Purdue fit the above specifications (they have great engineering schools that you can take electives from).

    I can almost ‘feel’ the pressures you are facing – peer, parental, sibling, and other pressures make things very tough. They way I used to deal with them was by concentrating only on the next steps in my professional life and shutting out everything else. Let me explain this in a little more detail. If I were a business analyst, I would look at what a ‘model’ senior business analyst in my company is currently doing. If he is responsible for 5 different workflows, and I am just working on 1, I would set a strict timeline by which I would drive myself to gain a level of expertise that would enable me to take up maybe 3, or 4, or even 5 workflows. If he were mentoring 2 junior analysts, given the knowledge that I would have gained by then, I would ask my manager to ‘buddy’ me up with a new joinee that I can then mentor. In short, I would do all that I possibly could to prove that I am ready for the next level. My manager and the company have a vested interest in promoting/growing those that are doing better than others at the same level. That, in my opinion, is a much better way to look at growth than counting the number of warped pieces of discolored paper that my superiors in the company have.

    In summary, if I were you, I would:
    1. Keep doing what I am doing, and give myself another couple of years,
    2. Keep evaluating various MBA programs (with focus on tech/IT) till it is time, and
    3. Be proactive at my workplace in all possible ways.

    Best of luck!

  5. Hello,

    I have been fighting with myself if I should go for MBA or NOT from quite a few months. I work with a product based company as a firmware design lead. I have about 6 years of experience in Embeded systems. I have been looking for an MBA course in a field that would help be leverage the experience that I have and move ahead. I am not able to link the Objective of MBA courses that exist with what I do or that can accentuate my domain experience. Any advice?

  6. Hello Deepthi,

    First off, let me begin by saying that I am not the best person to offer such advice – Sameer, the moderator of this blog – is the authoritative encyclopedia on this subject. Having said that let me tell you what I know.

    Looks like you are trying to find answers to 2 questions:
    1. Should I do an MBA?
    2. Are there any MBA programs that cater specifically to my experience and area of specialization?

    It also looks like the answer to the second question would lead to the first. Let’s tackle these one by one.

    To put it simply, if you are looking to change your industry/domain/role, or want to gain management skills/knowledge in an experiential/classroom setting, an MBA might be the right option for you. From what you have written, it sounds like you don’t want to change your domain/industry – you are contemplating doing an MBA because you want to gain knowledge and hone your skills that would help you build on the domain experience you have acquired so far.

    Most MBA programs would offer a smattering of subjects such as finance, strategy, accounts, economics, organizational behavior, business statistics, etc., with the option of taking electives from various schools/departments on campus. If the business school also happens to have a good engineering school on campus, then they are usually flexible enough to give you the option of taking a handful of electives (both pure technical, or those with some ‘softer elements’ blended in) from them. If this is what you are looking for, all you need to do is look up top engineering schools and consider the business schools on campus (IITs in India; MIT, Cornell, Michigan, Purdue, etc. in USA). However, I am assuming that that is not what you are after – you seem to be looking for more specialized programs that have more of a technical/engineering bent, with the right amount of ‘softer elements’ baked in. If this is the case, you might want to look at Master of Engineering Management programs. In these programs, candidates have the option to tailor them to their specific needs.

    If you have any further questions on which programs to look at specifically in your line of work (“embedded systems”), Sameer might be able to give you more advice. Sameer, please add/comment.

  7. Amit,
    This is your story, your page and you are doing a good job answering the queries.

    Too many cooks can spoil the broth. So with your permission, I’ll stay out and let you continue the good work.

  8. Hi,

    With all due respect to Sameer, this story is either coocked up or the character in this story is the biggest fool i have heard of. reasons:
    1. If you did not have any idea abt how u will fund ur mba , why the hell u went there in US?!!! I have admit from top 20 college with non cos-igner loan for tuition still i am treading cautiouly and am going to lower ranked college bcoz theere i am 200% surecome what may I will have funds (full tuiion plus living stipend they gave me). I also have all plans chaled up , and evryone does. how can an IITan (unless he is from reserved catagory, again no insult intended,I myself could not clear IIT from general quota) act so so stupid!!
    2. U finished 6 querters , and had te option of finish remaiing 2, that hardly would cost you any money , hy mention $150K again and again !!!??/

  9. Prakash,

    Thanks for sharing your views. I’ll just address the first part (as it’s directed at me) and leave the rest to Amit (if he chooses to answer them).

    If this had been a marketing gimmick or about revenue, then what we make from our admission consulting services far exceeds the royalty that selling a few copies of the book might bring in. So, from a ‘business’ perspective, ideally we should have done what the rest of the MBA industry does – promote the benefits of an MBA over-enthusiastically and attract more clients. In contrast, this article might end up driving away our potential clients.

    If you’ve been following us for a while (on this blog and the rest of the forums), do you think we’d take the risk of cooking up stories and spoiling all the goodwill we’ve built up over the years?

    Of course, you reserve the right to judge the article and the intentions of the guest writer. But I hope you decide to hang around and keep the faith.

    Btw, congrats on getting a full tuition waiver plus stipend. Wondering if you’d like to share your application story in a guest post for us?

  10. I never said the story is surely cooked up one , but my point was if it is a cooked up one, it shold not have loopholes so as to make it exactly like a true one. I believe even cooked up stories can help people especially in some cases where you wnt to get ur point across (like in this case), there is no harm in that. But if the story is real , i feel its a stupid act by he character. And if it is cooked no harm in that bcoz it is trying to put forward a important message and help others, but in that case the nitty gritties are to be taken care of because it is supposed to be atrue story and should sound true.
    Thanks Sameer for offering me the privilage of sharing my story , it would be an honour. I will get in touch.

  11. Prakash,

    It is easy to see mistakes in hindsight, but in general we tend to be optimistic in foresight. Such irrational optimism exists more so in the mind of a freshly-minted 22 year old who is about to graduate.

    I feel what is more important is whether we (1) have learned from our past mistakes, and (2) are making an effort to prevent others from committing them. To the first point, to some extent I think I have – a couple of years ago I stopped myself from making what I believe would have been yet another mistake. On the second point, I hope my story on this page urges people to work out a strong logical personalized argument for/against an MBA before taking the plunge.

    Congrats on your admit.

  12. Amit: Great post. I chanced upon this post a couple of months too late. But with the entire discussion on the “education bubble” currently spawning the US, this couldn’t have been more timely. I have seen the parental /peer pressure that you talk about in action.

    Then again, this pressure to do a MBA is the same push that in the past led students down the rabbit hole of engineering or medicine. It is just that this rabbit hole has now grown deeper and includes higher education. With India churning out anywhere close to 700000 engineers a year, the degree has become cheaper than ever before, don’t you think? Gradually as students in US and Europe wake up to the debt they handle, maybe we will too. This is not to say that Indians were not aware of it. It is just to say that Indians are willing to take on irrational amounts of debt to chase the dollar dream. But with awareness created through posts like yours, I do hope that students who take up loans understand the liability of monthly EMIs of $1200 or more. So, great post. Hope to read more from you!

  13. Bhumi,

    After one enters the corporate world, I think peer pressure is what forces most of us to go for MBAs. Parental pressure remains pretty much constant over time, while peer pressure increases once you see people around you having MBA diplomas bearing names of top US/EU schools. Of course you never get to see their bank statements, and the huge EMIs they have to cough up.

    I think US/EU students have a much better understanding of the concept of ROI. They tend to weigh everything in life against its economic/financial/monetary value. For Indian students, the “dollar dream,” as you have put it, momentarily outshines everything else.

    Of course for a fair number of such Indian MBA prospects, US/EU bschools is the right step forward. The key is to come up with the right argument for/against it.

    Thanks for your comments.

  14. Hi Amit
    I just graduated from IIT Kanpur and I am joining Bank of India as General Banking Officer. I plan to do mba from IIMs may be next year. The reason I want to go for MBA is because I want to join Consulting firm like Mckinsey or BCG thats because of whatever exposure I got during my placements. Another pathway I think of is going into Investment Banking, I have been reading books and case studies regarding this field and especially the US 2008 bubble I read every book or article that I could found . In this case, I can go for MBA finance or One year MS in finance from outside. I am still not sure which path to follow.
    The questions that I have are
    1) What do you suggest to me? As of now that I am not sure which path to take, should I wait? How to move forward in my career to overcome this situation?
    2) If I choose the second one, would two years in MBA finance or One year in MS finance which would be a better option?
    Thank you for such a nice article and all your guidance

  15. Prakash,
    I’m very much interested to know how you secured a non-cosigner loan for an international program. I myself have been trying to figure out ways to fund an MS.

    Can you provide some counseling regarding securing bank loans to study abroad?

  16. Kunal,

    Before pursuing a profession or course of study, or anything at all for that matter, making a solid argument for/against it is essential. Coming to your specific situation, why do you want to get into Investment Banking? Because you have enjoyed reading books, case studies and articles on the financial bubble in the US? Why consulting? Because you have interacted with recruiters from consulting firms at IITK? Are you good at solving unstructured problems? Can you see yourself creating financial models and crunching numbers all day? Would you be fine with long stressful workdays and traveling? It is very important to look beyond the glamour and hype associated with these professions and answer these hard but critical questions before taking the plunge.

    Now to answer your questions:
    1) To extract maximum value out of an MBA, it helps to have at least a couple of years of work experience. That way, you will be able to put learnings in perspective/context. Since MBA programs facilitate experiential learning, you will also be able to share your real world experiences, and therefore contribute to others’ learning, the same way they will contribute to yours. If I were you, I would give it at least two to three more years.

    2) Every academic program has its own merits. An MBA is more rounded and will give you a smattering of a large number of subjects, while MS in finance would be more focussed. I have seen graduates from both types of programs being able to make it into Investment Banking. The choice of pursuing one or the other might determine the type of role at an investment bank though. However, IB isn’t my area of expertise. Therefore I will leave it to Sameer/others who might be able to throw more light.

    Thank you for your comments.


  17. Hi Amit,

    Great post by you and an awesome job by Sameer whose brain child this site is. Keep up the good work man.

    It really felt good to read your story it makes people believe that even without an MBA you can achieve a lot of things.

    I just wanted to ask you both with regards to my future plans. I did a B.Tech in CSE (a shitty college in Andhra Pradesh) where due to my immaturity and laziness I couldn’t graduate in the prescribed 4 yrs. I recently passed my final back log (May 2012) which makes my degree as a 6yr one (Good thing got 1st class with 62%).

    When I look back at my life I just wish I did not do those mistakes which I did. I feel doing an MBA or MS will set things right for my future. Need your advice in this matter.

    I have a feeling that I will not be able to do an MS successfully as it involves technical stuff. MBA seems right for me but this time I want to do it in the top colleges. Top 10 in India or top 50 in the world.

    I worked as a Java programmer for 6 months after which the company was closed. Since Nov 2011 I am working at as Technical Support Associate (7 months exp until now) due to the need to support myself financially.

    Please guide me as to how I can plan my future.

    I will appreciate it if Sameer also answers my question.

  18. Md. Hasan,

    I believe that postmortems don’t really help. It is good to look back at your failures and learn from them, so that you don’t commit them again, but brooding over them is the worst use of your time. So let’s look at the positive side of it – you have secured a first class with 62% marks; now let’s plan forward.

    First, a few questions – why do you want to do an MBA? Why MS? Think about a solid argument/reason why you want to pursue one or the other.

    While you are thinking, a few other thoughts to consider:
    1) Importance of degree, grade, etc. – Your academic degree, GPA/percentage, etc. are given the most weightage when you apply for your first job right after graduation. If you go on to work for let’s say 5 years, and if you’ve done a stellar job at it, no one cares about your degree, specialization, whether you took 4 or 10 years to complete the degree, or if you graduated with a first or sleeper class. When I was interviewing for my current job, I made it very clear to the panel that I was a dropout. By then I had substantial experience, and a professional/career graph that had a strong positive slope. They just brushed it aside saying that they could not care less about it. What I am trying to say here is that at this point in time, you should take up any decent job that comes your way. Since you have stated that you are a Java programmer, you could attend walk-in interviews that are conducted frequently by a good number of prominent IT companies. And once you are in, plan to spend at least a couple of years, go over and above the call of duty – give it your 200%, and ensure that you do a stellar job.

    2) Chances of admission at top b/t-schools for MBA/MS – I think it would be safe to say that if you apply for MBA/MS now, you will not be able to make it to top schools, the reason being the same as what I have stated above. If I were you, I would just park the MBA/MS dream for now and try to find myself a good job, and give it all that I can.

    With 4-5 years of solid experience under your belt, bschools (in the US/EU) aren’t going to bother as much about BTech issues. In those 4-5 years, if you are able to publish let’s say 3 papers and have 2 patents in your name, your MS dreams could also be realized easily. And by then you would get enough time to build the right argument for/against an MBA/MS.

    I will leave it to Sameer to fill gaps that I might have left, and to add his thoughts.

    Thanks for your questions.


  19. Amit’s post has become more popular than we imagined. So rather than continuing to load this page with further comments, we are moving the discussions to the forum.

    Amit would be happy to respond to your questions on the Jobs & Careers advice thread.


  20. Hi Amit,

    I am an engineering graduate (2002-2006) from an engineering college in Karnataka. And before getting into engineering I was pursuing B.Sc, which eventually I quit after completing 2 years to pursue engineering. Since graduation, I am in job and currently work for IBM. I would like to bring forth that I have 2 yrs of gap in my education between 10th and 10+2, as I had to discontinue education to support my family. Now since I am financially stable, I want to go for an MBA to get into managerial role.

    Having described my career in brief, I need your advice so as to know how difficult will it be for me to get in B schools like IIMs/ISB for f1 yr full time EMBA. Since I am already 32 yrs of old and by the time I get in EMBA course I will be 34/35 yr old, will this be an issue while looking for placement?

    Thanks & BR,
    Rajeev R.

  21. Rajeev-ji, kindly post this on the discussion forum. We’ve shared the link in the response just above yours.

    Amit has been continuing the fantastic job of giving useful and practical advice out there.

  22. Hello,

    I have been fighting with myself if I should go for MBA or NOT from quite a few months. I work with a product based company as a Domain Expert. I have about 10+ years of experience in Spatial IT&Testing. I have been looking for an MBA course in a field that would help be leverage the experience that I have and move ahead. I am not able to link the Objective of MBA courses that exist with what I do or that can accentuate my domain experience. Any advice

    Jayashankar K

  23. Hi Amit,

    I had got campus placed with a big MNC company and worked there for 2 years, but later left it for doing MBA but did not choose my mba college wisely. Right now I am unemployed and see no chances of getting back a reputed job. Any advice?

  24. Hi Amit,

    The information provided in this story has changed my perspective looking at the so called MBA tag. Eventually I have been looking to at doing MBA myself in the last few months of so.

    The reasons are the fact that investment in education always worth with the consideration the ROI is acceptable and is aligned with the long term benefits which you gian from the degree.

    Having working in the consulting enviornment for the last 13 yrs, I am now strongly feeling that it is necessary to take a long leap where you will get an opportunity to setup something for yourself after an MBA or work for an organisation which will put in a position where you work at the strategic Business levels. with you have atleast gone to the B-school would know what is the worth of investing $150K in education for MBA in a decent B school. Is is really worth to spent ???

  25. Hi Amit, Congratulations and happy to know that you are leading well over your hard luck. But I agree with you Experience is the most needed thing but education cannot be discouraged however successful we are.

  26. Hi Amit
    I was going through your post quite an interesting perspective. As regards to my perspective I carry about 26 years of work ex. worked in various industry had a stint with textiles, finance, telecom, retail, renewable energy and manufacturing. I am a commerce grad did my MMM from welingkar at 47 I am pursuing EGMP (Executive General Management Program) a one year course from IIM B. My diverse portfolio of sectors gave me an opportunity to PR , sales, marketing, finance, fund raising etc. My question is that I have not able to leverage my experience my organistions call it too blended. This compelled me to do a course from IIIM B. I can also post my CV for a better understanding if you wish. I am contemplating a job change needed your perspective in my case where I feel why organistions do not value diverse exposure. Need your kind coments

  27. Hello Amit,
    I’ve read your entire story and feel that an MBA has no value unless you do it from a top B-school. I have already fell into this trap 2 yrs back by joining a B-school which had nothing at all. I completed MBA this year and somehow got a job in a company through referral irrespective of any help from my college. My current college has committed to give us MBA+PGPM certificate. However, I have no belief that this dual degree will be of any use to me. I wish to do an MBA again from a top notch B-school after a few years of experience. My question to you is whether i should go for another MBA (Full time or part time)??. If not, then what better option can i opt for after this. I wish to go into management consultant field similar to what you did. My MBA specialization is ERP & Supply chain management. Is there SCM management consultant jobs and if it is there, how can i route up my career path in this regard??

  28. Good post content spreading lights on do / not do mba and as they say “if end is good all what happened was good” As you had and have a successful work assignments in hand as and when mba thought came in mind you preferred continuing with whats in hand. But what your take on students, professionals who have been trying to find a successful working path for themselves and inspite of being into profession since 7 to 8 years are unable to taste success for some or other reason. I am one such person who feels doing mba now may help me taste that success which i want. However, i am unable to come at a concrete dicision to pursue mba considering my age i.e., 30 married with a 5 year kid and parents expects a financial support. What to do? Please guide if possible….

  29. Hi Amit,

    I completed my B.TECH. in Computer Science and Engineering from National Institute of Technology in 2003 and I have been in IT since then, mainly as a programmer.

    I am currently in US and I am planning to do MS in Statistics/Predictive Analysis from US so as to get a position of Data Scientist in one of the IT firms. Could you please suggest if I am on right track and if it makes sense to do masters in a different field after 10 years of experience.

    Please suggest. Thanks.

  30. Hi,

    You seem like someone who has done good work and is acclaimed for the same.

    My situation is however a bit different. I am a grad and have been working in Channel Sales teams for multinationals since the past 1 and a half year as an executive.

    I left a my first company as a senior and joined a new company(a bigger name) at an entry level job role. I had been my company’s best performer for the entire time with them. I left the company because of a lot of unhealthy practices that they had and also for the bigger brand name of the next company. I am not too sure which field to take up. Also, I do not have much money in my kitty to do an MBA from a very expensive college.

    The new company requires a lot of patience to grow in it. Atleast 2 years would get me no promotion. I am back to ground one. I am already contemplating leaving this company and applying for a small company at possibly a better role. Again, I really want to do an MBA to understand my area of strength.

    What would you suggest in my case? Do an MBA(again, I can’t afford most of them and CAT has already passed), stick to the current entry Level job or look for a better job role in a smaller company?

    Please help.

  31. Hello,

    I completed my in E.C. in 5 years with 50%,last semester had 70%.Now past is past i want to move on.I want to work hard but not getting any kind of job.I tried for MBA in india but as i told even with good CAT score i wont be able to get into top 20 b school.So i am thinking to go abroad for MBA without ay work experience(I know that wont be good) .But not interested in technical field anymore.As i am told MBA is the only gateway to change your field.Problem is without good college MBA is not worth doing.And there seems no chances of getting me into top 20-30 university of India,UK or USA.I am stuck in all direction.Please help me out

  32. hello sir

    Iam highly ambitious to purse mba in top B school but my past records tenth-75% inter-66% and graduation -60% pls help me out to with good cat score can get into top B school ?

  33. HELLO;





  34. An international degree be it MBA or any other degree if you can afford it is worth taking it the learning is immense and you come out as a mature human being age is not a factor ! I am not sure why people are fussing about 29-30. I am an Indian born national but working across the globe in startups and a future MBA applicant mostly Fall 2014..I hold BS & MS from top US Schools and comes from a very common Indian family. I would emphasize Dream, Discover & Explore..You got one life !

  35. Shared on Facebook, that’s the least I can do for such an informative article. I came searching to find some perspective for my current situation, this article should help me analyze my situation and then choose whether or not to go for an MBA.

  36. Dear Amit,

    I went through your story. Its interesting. One aspect made me wonder whether we give too much weight-age to the certificates/ degrees instead of learning. You had already completed 1.5 years in a Premier Business School in US…so you must have had already learnt most of it that is taught to an MBA. Maybe u did not get the degree. In spite of that also why did you have want for an MBA from anywhere…University of Taxila (The oldest University of the World) never issued Certificates or Degrees those days. They believed that it is not the Degrees but the Grind they provide makes their Graduates stand out in the crowd.

    Sharing my own experience, I did not come out of IIT like you at undergraduate level….But, well from a reputed Engineering College. Worked in diverse fields like Refinery, Nuclear Projects, Bridges, Metro, IT Sector, …have been in various parts of India and also countries like Philippines and Ethiopia. After spending around 7 years in the Industry I felt an urge to learn more in an academic way…I opted for Masters from an IIT… After spending two years over there and then another 7 years in the Industry I feel at the hindsight that …maybe I have not planned my career in a beaten track i.e. IIT followed by IIM followed by blah….blah…. but I never sacrificed my spontaneous pursuits…I am happy that life is allowing me to utilize my learning to the fullest.

  37. Hi Amit,

    First of all thanks for a wonderful and inspiring post.
    I had certain questions in mind as I have also been in the midst of deciding whether an MBA or not.I graduated from engineering in 2011 and worked at an MNC for an year as Subject Matter Expert.But the bug of MBA kept hovering around so i decided to leave my job as I wasnt really enjoying the job even though I was being paid good.I decided to prepare for CAT 2012 and got a decent 93%ile but
    not the top B-school interviews I was aiming for.So I reaccesed my goals and thought about why an MBA.The answer that I derived was that I want to be a business leader.So a masters in management(considering funds and everything else) feels appropriate at this time for me.So I have an year till next to prepare for my GMAT .Since I want to start of my Career in marketing would I be able to get a market research job with a medium sized company.I am working with an NGO and a world peace orgainsation after my CAT results were out.


  38. Hi, Sameer,

    Quite an interesting post. While the author has talked about how he didn’t need the MBA to get ahead, I think some readers need to understand that more often than not, all B-school aspirants look for a good brand name on their resume. Some who haven’t had the drive/opportunity to make it to an IIT for their undergraduate degree see a high-ranking MBA as a good way to step up the ladder.

    An ordinary engineer mucking about

  39. Hi Amit,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.Its simply incredible!!
    I had completed my Computer Engineering in 2011. After that I really struggle for job opportunities.
    Then in 2012, I have done OCA certification and placed in software company as ETL Developer.
    I am really enjoying my work but after six months its my bad luck my contract was over and i leaved that company. I don’t know why management not going to give me single reason.
    Now i am stuck in the situation what can i do? I’ll go for next job opportunity and boost my confidence or go for MBA to change my line. I am really confused .
    Can you please show me a proper way. I really need it.
    Thank You.

  40. hi amit
    I am bba finance from college of business studies, delhi univ. post my grad in 2010, I took the lesser followed path of pusuing ca. till the time of writing this, I have given 4 attempts of ca final, having been able to clear just one grp.. I have also been considering the option of mba since my college times, and have a score of 640 in gmat prep without much preparation. now, since I just flunked ca final for the fourth time, I am really in no mood to give it all over again, as for past 3 yrs, I hav been sitting at home and just studying and writing ca papers… I am really desparate to start a job and prepare properly for gmat, with a view to make it to isb and likes..
    pls. give your opinion about this…
    waiting for ur rply..
    thanks in advance..!

  41. Hi Amit,
    I am Revanth. I was go lucky guy, who has always been content with things that I got. I always wanted to do MBA(Its been like this from childhood). I took up engineering since parents suggested that engineering with MBA will be best option(under parental pressure took up engineering in electronics which I hated to the core,but ended up with mere second class(55%). I scored 80% in SSC and 72% in Intermediate.). I started working with software MNC and in a span of 3 years been promoted to lead(PM unoffically,PL officially). From past 3 years I am a project manager and BA.I simultaneously did MBA regular from nomal college with 65%(I used to accomidate college and office since I work in shifts). Now I reached a slump in my career, I can be Project admin only after getting atleast 9 to 10 years experiance. Thats 3 to 4 years from now. I want to do an MBA now from any reputed institute. I am planning to take GMAT and apply. I am really depressed when I see my engineering score. Could I be eligible for premier institutes in India or abroad. I want to get into regular executive MBA.
    Looking forward for your response.

  42. hi amit ,

    i am a graduate from the background of Bsc.botany and biotechnology and now i am studying MBA and i

    am in second semester of my studies i am confused to take which as my specialization whether to opt

    marketing or f finance ?? please guide me.!!…and what are the opportunists for a graduate of botany

    and biotechnology background from the mba field …which specializations will be best for careers to

    reach heights in career for me as fresher form 2013 and beyond……..

  43. Dear Sir,
    i have completed btech mechanical 2004 after that doing heavy equipment maintenance job 3.5 years after 1 years in ready mix concrete as parallel complete mba from imt gzb correspondence operation and sales doing spare marketing jobs in mnc . But still i am not satis fied my carrier what we can do for high paying jobs. can we do some certification for up gradation my career.

  44. hi amit,
    i completed my 12th nd confised to join iim 5 years integrated programe or dtu automobile which one would u say vl b a better option for my carrier .

  45. Hi Amit
    i did BSc maths in 1999. i have10 yrs experience in teaching in various coaching institutes
    such as Narayana ,Career Point ,Everonn, Hindustan Times (pace) . Now i want to
    change my field by doing mba from ISB. what is the scope for me..please give ur opinion

  46. HI Amit,

    Congrats on your decisions.

    1. What I want to know is specific to landing a consulting role after doing an mba. Are consulting recruiters looking for a solid acad (both before and during mba) as a criteria.
    OR are there any other filtering criterias.

    2. I want to get in touch with people of various industries so that I can discuss what those industries actually are and what do people do in them. Do you know some source material on the internet which actually tells one about the trapis and pitfalls of each.


  47. HIi Amit Sir,,

    I just love when see some blogs and meet people with such mindset of helping people so that they can learn from others mistake inspite of learning from them.There’s a saying ” apne liye jiye to kya jiye,mazza to dusro ke liye jinneme hai” and i support these completely.i was beautiful reading your lines.

    i just have few queries :
    1). i have just completed my graduation this may in civil engineering), and a bit confused of opting for MBA this year only,or should i take a year of experience and then think of it.
    and 2). is that in india Amity university is the one which is providing courses certified by RICS which is not a full time MBA, so am again confused that doing this course in RICS (in contruction project managment) be a worth path to choose or not.ill be obliged if can help me out,am feeling helpless

  48. Bakwas post with full of people who don’t know what to do in life.i’ve completed MBA from iim indore, pgp 07-09,planning for 2nd mba in Europe. Currently working as ea to chairman for a steel company. Responsible for turnover 1000 crs. Cfa level 1, b. tech

  49. Amit, that’s a really wonderful and successful story up there. I’m happy you found a route.
    So my question is that,
    I’m currently in 10th class and I ultimately want to open up a company which is related to finding solutions to problems. I am confuzzled whether to take up IIT coachings and get into IIT or do BBA with Entrepreneurship as a subject in 11th and 12th from a CBSE school. I want my company to get enlarged to a large scale. Almost nearly like an MNC. So which course should I take up? IIT or BBA?

  50. hi,
    well,i am in a situation where i am not able to decide anything.i am a final year engineering student in a university(the university is not well known).i am doing electronics and communication engineering and is in the last semester.i was placed in a core company but the company was againg not a very well known company,so i did not accept its offer letter,hoping that the next big known companies which are going to come,i will be placed in them.but unfortunately i was not placed in any of the big known finally i am i cannot decide what to do….so i thought i would go for an offcampus.but as i am from an electronics baground…but i hav not that depth knowledge of electronics,and i cannot go into an IT company becoz i will not be able to excel in i decided that i will prepare for MBA.but i am not sure whether i will be able to make it to the IIMs or not?bcoz i hav nvr evr cleared any national level competition….though i have 75% throughout in 10th,12th and BTECH.plz advice me what should i do…bcoz may be it will take me more than a year to crack IIMs….that is if i start preparing from june this year,then i will be able to qualify CAT the next year october!!!!….plz help me what should i do…i already have made a mistake by not joining the company in which i was placed.the only reason i rejected that company was “BRAND”.as i have already told you that i am not from a very renowed university…so i wanted to be placed in a renowed company….but now i hve figured it out that i have no technical skills to be stable in them…so its better to prepare for CAT.plz help me and plz tell me what should i which direction i should direct my path?….i am a teenager.i dont want to waste this age by making another wrong decision.HELP PLZ

  51. Hey Amit,
    Really Appreciate the way you picked yourself up and carried through such times.
    I am currently pursuing Masters in Materials Science from US(started in Fall 19). I did not had any concrete plan for the near future when I started my masters but now after completing an year I do not wish to continue being in such a specific and research oriented field which do not have much industry scope. I dont think it makes any sense in wasting money and precious time on studying something I do not wish to do as a carrer. I want to come back to India and start working for some Non Technical Roles like Business Analyst, Decision Analyst and then Pursue MBA. Will it be a good choice to do so? Dropping out of Masters and coming back to India?


Leave a Comment