Doing MBA: Choice of Programme
After having taken the decision of doing MBA the next step is to decide as to what kind of an MBA one should do.
The choice of the programme will depend on the age, experience, purpose, perspective and resources of the person who has to take this call.
Talking of various kinds of choices available, one may consider two year full time regular residential or non- residential MBA, i.e. a proper post graduate degree programme, or post graduate diploma known by various names like PGDM or PGDBM etc. or executive MBA programme or part time MBA or week end MBA programme or MBA through distance learning.
The right thing and the best thing to do is to do Two Year Full Time Residential MBA ( in case of IIMS and MDI, their PGDM programmes have been declared under UGC Act as equivalent to MBA) programme as any good MBA entails a lot of learning through rigour and from the peer group. Ambience of the campus, library and other facilities and availability of faculty members in the campus compound facilitates 24*7 learning. Next natural choice is full time PGDM programme. These programmes have the advantage of autonomy in syllabus as these are not governed by universities and generally better acceptability in job market particularly non government corporate sector in view of updated syllabus and good quality faculty. The disadvantage is that they are not considered to be equivalent to post graduate degree,therefore, quite often ineligible for registration in Ph.D. Programme and also do not enjoy the marks of PG qualification while applying for migration to other countries and not considered eligible for government jobs. A person who has to live and work in India in corporate sector may prefer to go for a better quality PGDM than to poorly branded MBA.
Executive programmes have started flooding Indian market more recently. Executive MBAs are generally designed for senior managers who had either missed the bus earlier or want to update and upgrade their knowledge or want to make their profile more impressive by adding the name of better know b schools. Time required is normally one year, whether full time or weekend and fees is high. Generally people with less than ten to fifteen years of work experience should not be doing Executive MBA.
Part time MBA in metro cities is a very good idea for middle level managers and officers who can not afford to do two years full time MBA programme. Very often classes, particularly for electives, are common with regular students in the evening hours.
MBA through distance learning is some thing which is better than doing nothing. It is generally cheap and being modular convenient to do. Otherwise management discipline, as a profession, requires lot of interaction with peer group and rigour as mentioned earlier. This is more suitable for lower level supervisor or junior managers working in remote areas who can not afford full time MBA.
Next, should one do a general MBA with one or two specialisations or should one do specific MBA like MBA in Banking or MBA in Insurance or MBA in Retail. Should one do sector specific MBA like Healthcare or Infrastructure.
Functional specialisations like marketing, operations, finance and HR have been available historically. Added to these more recently are strategy, consulting, IT, infrastructure, banking and finance, general management and many others. Some institutions offer dual specialisation without calling them major and minor and some have given them different names including major and minor. Many other institutions give completely open choice to the students from an array of electives to choose from.
As per the normal MBA programme structure, choice of electives or specialisation is to be made after completion of first year MBA programme, where basic common subjects are covered. If that be the case student should find out the basic inclination and interest in the first year and then take the call. Historically the CEOs in business world come from marketing and finance functions as they are perceived to be contributing to and affecting the top line and bottom line of the business. Hence if it is a single specialisation one may, unless there are reasons otherwise, opt for either marketing or finance. In case of two specialisations are permitted one may opt atleast for one of these two. This is more so in the case of younger,aspirants, fresh or with less experience. These are core functions of business and campus placement employability is enhanced. Operations, particularly supply chain area has emerged very strong in recent years. For engineers, particularly those not enthused by marketing or finance, operations in general and supply chain in particular makes good sense. HR is not taken very seriously as there are few examples of people having made their mark in the corporate world. Female students with non engineering, non quant background prefer HR.
In case this choice is to be exercised,at the time of joining the MBA programme, for a person with experience, the decision is not difficult. If the person has clear perspective of ones career, it is easy. If a person has only few months or one or two years of experience one may even change the line in terms of choice of function capitalising on this opportunity. If, however, person has no previous experience or understanding, the choice may depend on the person between marketing and finance based on ones aptitude, educational qualification and career perspective.
As far as possible one should, especially for persons with less or no experience, do general MBA. Persons with specific qualifications like in fashion or hotel industry or experience and inclination to work in a specific sector or industry may choose sector or area specific MBA like MBA in Healthcare or MBA- Services or MBA- Infrastructure.
To sum up choice of programme shall depend on age, qualification, experience, inclination, market conditions and availability of choices available to the person who has to take this decision. As a general rule full time regular MBA with marketing or finance makes better sense.
Doing MBA: Choice of Programme