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Why MBA after Engineering ? - Srijan Sanket, IIM Calcutta

Srijan Sanket did his PGDM from IIM Calcutta after a Bachelors in Computer Science from IIT Delhi. He is currently working with McKinsey & Company. He is also pursuing CEMS Master's in International Management (CEMS MIM) program which is rated amongst the very best in the world by The Financial Times.

No matter what people say, the truth is that most of the people joining IIT have almost no idea what engineering would entail and even lesser idea as to what would be taught in their respective departments. That said, a lot of people still manage to find the stuff that is taught to be absolutely amazing and "worth knowing". Many others don't... Moreover, the reason why people want to come to IITs are varied. These reasons play a key role in determining the decision that an IIT grad takes regarding his/her future. Then there is the chunk of people who simply realize that they like other things more than engineering.
 

The Answer:

This brings us to various reasons why people from IIT may choose to go for MBA in particular after graduation.. Note that the categories are not mutually exclusive but it is rather the combination of

1) "The Job wasn't good enough" or "The job wasn't something I wanted to do long term"

This category contains two type of people:

  • Those who primarily wanted a good job (read a big pay package) but were unable to find it (or they didn't think it was good enough)
  • Those who are not satisfied by the kind of work that was offered and felt that roles offered after an MBA provide more freedom/better job satisfaction/more meaningful work.
    In effect they want a "more managerial job" rather than a tech. job.

2) I cannot go for my dream job from IIT but I can after an MBA

Contrary to the hoopla about banks and other non-tech firms coming to IITs, the truth is that they mainly recruit for tech/quant roles. Many kind of profiles (like Investment Banking, Trading, Sales and Marketing, General management) are only offered to MBA grads. Then there are firms (for eg. consultancies, top-tier FMCGs, Microsoft PM profile) which are easier to get into after MBA compared to without one.

3) It will help me in future when I open my own venture

MBA will NOT teach you to open and manage your new venture at the scale you envision.
However, you will definitely learn things that will come in handy:

  • Cases about various firms around the world. The problems they faced, and the particular circumstances and decisions that helped them succeed.
  • B-plan and other competitions which help you learn about the gap between an idea and its execution.
  • Networking with your classmates and professionals who will teach you loads of stuff and help you in times of need.
  • To lend credibility and a safety net (though your startup experience would help you much more than that)

4) My parents/friends/seniors told me to

Though less frequent than in case of undergrad, a few people end up coming simply because someone told them to...

5) I am not ready to take a job but I don't want to do an MS or a PhD

In this case, MBA is simply a way to delay your interaction with the real world when you don't want to pursue higher education in technology/engineering.

Epilogue:

Usually this question is asked from the viewpoint that MBA is a waste of the  resources that the govt. invested in you during undergraduate studies. Indeed, a  similar question was put forward to me during my interview at IIMC as  well. According to me, the resources invested in us are only wasted if we do not  use the things we learn at IIT in our career after MBA. The mistake most people make is to assume that these things are limited to technical knowledge. We  learn analytical skills and problem solving, social skills, workload  management, teamwork and humility over and above the tech. stuff. My  peers at IIT are some of the best people I have known and have played a  crucial role in shaping my ambitions and expanding the boundaries of my  thoughts.

So, would doing an MBA without going to IIT been the same as now?
DEFINITELY NOT! I cannot even imagine the scenario. However, as they say, we shall never know.