Why do an MBA - Master of Business Administration?


Why do an MBA?

Global economic recession in 2008-09 and the aftermath of which reduced job offers to fresh management graduates to a great extent have raised serious concerns about the outlook of management education.  Although the economic scenario changed somewhat and the job market leaped back to normalcy over 2010-11, the scenario is again looking a bit bleak with the crisis in Europe deepening and outlook of Indian investments looking unattractive due to so called policy paralysis, inappropriate legislations and scams.
So the question, “why do an MBA”

MBA is still the most common qualification for a corporate job
MBA is still by far the most common denominator for being qualified for a job in most of the functions in an organization across any industry segment, may be with certain exceptions in case of core sector industries like steel, cement, and infrastructure. But even in these core sector industries, for senior management positions in any function, preference is given to people with MBA degrees. In the rapidly developing service sectors in India like Banking and Financial Services, Retail and Telecommunication, an MBA is a good qualification to get a preference. 

MBAs understand the language of business
MBAs get preferences over other qualifications in corporate jobs across most of the industry domain because MBAs understand the language of business. In most of the functions, which are keys to survival for an organization in any industry domain, understanding of the language of business is very important. Functions like Marketing, Human Resources Management and Finance Management are keys to survival of an organization. This does not mean that production and operations are less important. But at least in Marketing and Human Resources Management, MBA is an essential qualification. Finance functions can do with CAs but then again there are not enough CAs to fill in the huge requirement of finance professionals in the country.

By language of business, I mean certain particular terms and concepts which are essential for one to know in managing a business appropriately. By business here, I mean large scale businesses. A small businessman can do without these business terms and concepts but managers of large scale businesses can’t. Terms and concepts like branding, ROI, marginal cost, value, product life cycle, retention, and net worth are essential in running such businesses and these are not understood well by non-MBAs. 

MBA curricula develop self-belief
An appropriate MBA curriculum also helps develop self-belief in MBAs. Self-belief is key to individual success. Without self-belief, competencies and skills may fail. This is an adage which is true for ages. In the corporate jungle where everyone fights for survival, a large dose of self-belief and self-confidence see one through.  In a good MBA classroom, a student is compelled to compete with one another in a healthy fashion. A student has to make presentations in front of other students and convince them about a concept or solutions to a case study. A student’s communication skills are constantly honed through numerous presentations.

MBA curricula develop abilities to work in a team
Survival in a corporate job also requires one to be able to work in teams. A good MBA curriculum necessitates a student to work in study groups. Study groups typically consist of students from varied background and varied personalities. Working in such study groups for almost two years shapes up a student’s team working abilities. Abilities to work in a team successfully require one to understand others; be sensitive to others’ mindsets and opinion; resolve conflicts without putting anybody down; and overall showing camaraderie to others. A good MBA curriculum helps one to develop these abilities. 

MBA curricula expands horizons
An appropriate MBA curriculum expands a student’s perspectives of socio-economic situations. A good MBA graduate is a person who understands the world’s social, economic and political scenario and understands how all these affect business decisions. MBA curriculum hones one’s analytical and logical deductive abilities. These develop one’s decision making abilities. 

Very few qualifications can develop your abilities like the ones I have written above which an MBA helps to develop. The bottom line is MBA is still by far the best bet for securing a great career. Careers in many other areas could be very lucrative but then every career has a risk, that is, you may become successful or you may not become successful. When you are pursuing a particular career option, you have a risk. So therefore, by pursuing a career, you are taking a risk. The qualification which still minimizes your risk or in which your bet is safer is MBA. Of course the final decision of doing or not doing an MBA should depend mostly upon your interest, aptitudes and personality. MBA is still one of the most coveted and aspired degrees in the world but it is surely not for everyone.