Is it worth it to do an MBA degree?

As a student pursuing graduation or a professional stuck in your mundane job, you must have heard a lot about how MBA is a lucrative field and has immense scope. You must also be 'thinking' of doing an MBA. Many students opt to pursue management programs post their graduation as it enhances their career opportunities, salary packages and job promotions. But, is the picture as rosy as it appears from far?
In this article, we aim to clear the myths related to MBA and to help you make an informed decision about pursuing the degree.
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Overview of MBA Degree
MBA is one of the most popular degrees in India. The top colleges for MBA in India include 20 IIMs, and others (SPJIMR, MDI, JBIMS, XLRI, etc.). Graduates of these B-schools are offered managerial designations and hefty pay packages by top-notch MNCs. The average salary offered at the top 10 B-schools for Indian postings range between Rs. 15-25 Lacs per annum.
MBA admission process begins with shortlisting candidates on the basis of entrance tests like CAT, XAT, SNAP, IIFT, etc. Thereafter, the shortlisted candidates attend the remaining selection process (GD, WAT, interview, etc.). The final admissions are granted as per their profile and performance in all the screening rounds.
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The curriculum of an MBA program is formulated to introduce students to various areas of business such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations management, etc. Most of the core MBA courses teach general management in the first year, and the students can select the specialisation in the second year, while certain institutes also offer specialised courses like MBA HR or MBA IB along with General MBA programs. The teaching methodologies of the best MBA programmes is developed in a way to train students via case studies and other forms of industry exposure.
Overall, MBA is a pretty rigorous program and demands your commitment to invest dedicated effort in completing assignments, presentations, projects, etc. The total cost of a two-year residential MBA programme in a premier institute lies somewhere between Rs. 11-28 Lacs. So, ROI of the programme becomes an important consideration before joining an MBA Program.
Let's look at both sides of the MBA debate:
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How is MBA worth it?
The benefits of pursuing MBA are manifold, such as:
  • It provides you the core knowledge of business and corporate world and helps in developing the relevant skills.
  • It is an opportunity multiplier and opens up pools of opportunities for you.
  • You build a valuable network during the management degree. Alumni, Classmates, juniors, Faculty - all become a part of your network.
  • An MBA degree from a top institute adds credibility and prestige to your profile.
  • It provides a platform through which you can interact with like-minded people from different walks of life and also showcase your skills.
  • The degree is essentially relevant for working professionals aspiring for a career change or progression.

When is MBA not worth it?
It is essential to know when an MBA degree fails to give the expected returns. The following points will address your doubts:
  • When you aren't sure what you want from the experience (Lack of goal clarity).
  • When you want to do an MBA just for the sake of doing an MBA, just because your best friend, elder brother or third cousin did it.
  • When you start looking at B-schools as job placement agencies (they provide much more than just placements).
  • When you settle for a mediocre B-School with mediocre classmates.
  • When the premium you are paying for the B-School brand doesn't justify the value you get from it. (low ROI)
  • When you target institutes that have little or no credibility.
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  • If your aim is to be an Entrepreneur and you have a mature business idea with you, then the opportunity cost may be too high. In other words, you can launch your startup instead of spending two crucial years in doing MBA.
The bottom line
Ultimately, it all depends on you, your professional goals, long-term aims, and skills. An MBA degree is useful if it's from a top B-School and you have beaten competition in entrance exams to get in it. Remember that the degree requires investment in terms of money, time and effort. If you can get a good ROI on this investment, then go for it.
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