MBA – Do you need it?


Every year 150,000 plus students in India attempt the various MBA entrance examinations. The more popular ones are CAT, GMAT, MAT and XAT. There is an entire industry that has sprung up to help these students attempt these examinations


But my fundamental question is do you need an MBA?

Before we try to answer those questions, let me tell you candidly that I have an MBA. And I entered an MBA institute with 5 years of work experience in the healthcare services industry. This means I was more or less aware of my strengths and weak nesses, and came with a clear mandate on which areas I wanted to focus on.

90 % of our MBA aspirants in the country come with no or less than 1 year of experience. For most it is an extension of their graduation, where they waltz through the 2 years and focus on the placements and the rupee figures at the end of the term.

Little importance is given to core areas like Industry networking, Industry short term projects and even the academic projects are looked upon as chore rather that something to learn from.

As most Indian B schools promise a summer internship and final placement, students don’t even bother leaving the campus to build their own bridges in the Industry.

In my opinion, most Indian graduates need to put in a few years in the industry before opting for an MBA. This will help them make wise decisions, rather than going through the process and landing up in jobs that they are not passionate about.

The other challenge is the fundamental nature of the B school curriculum in India. Every year the students learn close to 21 subjects and I am not sure if the human brain is built to retain such vast quantities of diverse curriculum in equal proportions.

This brings to my second point, knowing what and where to concentrate is a good thing to have in a B school, but until and unless you have worked and identified your strength in the battle field, it will be difficult to pick and choose your battles.

In conclusion, do you need an MBA?

I don’t think so, unless and until you are sure of what you want to concentrate on, I think, it is more of a social exercise without any industrial value in it. Like others it is just a tick in the box and more a requirement for our marriage market.

But I would like to hear your views. Do you think an MBA without experience has helped you? If yes then how? If not then why not? Do let me know what you think.

  1. Paresh says

    Hello Dr.Vikram

    I think industry experience is required , before any one joins an MBA program.

    1) Theories can be related with what our practical experience during our work.
    2) Can argue when there is a better model to look forward.
    3) When we meet different people with industry experience from different domains, we eventually learn how various vertical works.
    4) Overall in MBA program we work on practical executions and parallely there is platform with ready Database of various influential and powerful people to meet and talk about the interests and opportunities we look forward in future. During the Guest Lectures.

    Please share your views over this.

    1. Dr vikram says

      Hi Paresh

      I think reasons 3 and 4 are very good ones that help in the development of an MBA student.

      I think if you bring something to the table then it becomes an imperatives for others to collaborate with you.

  2. Saurabh Jain says

    Why is MBA essential?
    My Pointers:
    – It gives you wonderful network of friends , friends who would be your career counsellor , advisor for life.
    – It tells you where to look for info. be it anything stats, finance and you have people from the whole batch to look forward to.
    – It makes you competetive. Bet me for this one..
    – It gives you confidence, team skills etc.

    And am not stressing here on things like : alumni network , non-stop 24*7 life at the campus which prepares you for obstacles ahead.

    Out of all this Friends stands apart.


    1. Dr Vikram says

      Agreed but only if know where to concentrate. otherwise its a brilliant joy ride with a confused landing.

  3. tanya says

    i came across ur article which made me to think deeply,,as i m too an mba aspirant i only think that it will help me groom my personality moreover i have been in search of a course which can provide me a good platform to brush up my skills and i dont see mba in any other way..
    what would you like to comment on my perception?? how should i take it?? and what if i dont have experince in industry wont it be that much beneficial for me/.??

    1. Dr Vikram says

      Hi Tanya

      I understand your dilemma, it can work both ways. Some firms like people with no experience as they can shape those selected candidates. The industry that subscribes to this theory the most, is FMCG. Industry experience helps you in two ways. It helps you understand your own strengths and weaknesses. That way you can choose what to do, which course to take and where to specialize.

      Also it helps you project yourself as a management grad in that industry. For example if you have spent time in the airline industry as a graduate, then you can say specialize in finance and go back to the airline, and position your self in the airline as a finance manager.

      does that answer your questions ?

      1. tanya says

        yh!! thankx a lot…n keep posting useful articles …shall be thakful to u..:)

  4. Rashmi Shah says

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  5. Rashmi Shah says

    MBA really helps out…it develops your personality and help you to think beyond the box…

    1. Dr Vikram says

      Hi Rashmi

      I have never heard of the term beyond the box…not sure what it means in this context…

  6. Dipeeka Saboo says

    MBA has helped me for sure, the difference being am able to grasp the true essence as I grow with my work experience. But it is always advisable and better to have some work experience and then go for an MBA.

    1. Dr Vikram says

      Hi Deepika

      I agree and that is the essence of the piece.

  7. Dr Vikram says

    I agree with you Arch. This is a problem that goes on throughout the eduction life cycle in India.
    i wish there was an easier way but unfortunately i think we in India always learn the hard way.

  8. Arch says

    I would like to extend the same argument to higher education in general. We dont spend enough time in school trying to understand what we really like doing and aligning ourself to an industry/ skills. The craze for joining engineering/ medical colleges is so bad that people are willing to pay hefty donations to get their children admitted in tier 2 and 3 colleges, which neither have the faculty not the facilities to drive interest in the student. This results in them being unemployable once they finish their engineering course. Because there is a better chance of employment post MBA, many students join an MBA course. Subsequently, only few actually end up doing the calibre of work that justifies an MBA education. Most of them end up as cyber coolies or management coolies, doing research and back end work seldom using the skills they learnt. No wonder then that people feel an MBA degree is over rated. This is because very few of us actually see MBAs using skills they learnt at BSchool.

  9. Puneet Sharma says

    I don't think one needs an MBA for anything.

    1. Dr Vikram says

      Hi Puneet

      Not sure we need anything for anything, though I get what you are trying to say.

  10. Robinsh says

    Good question as well as solution, and after reading this article I found it more appealing that being experienced before applying for an MBA course would be always better for the career focused students.

    Thanks Vikram – for writing it up here !!

    1. Dr Vikram says

      Hi Robinsh, I am glad you found the piece useful and hopefully it has helped you make a more informed decision.

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