I am Devendra Sharma and I have been working in Admito. I am glad to invite all of you and hope that you learn much out of today’s session. I know some of you might have started preparing for MBA or have been thinking of opting for MBA, so why this session?
I’ll tell you a surprising fact that explains it better- Every year, around 6 lakh people appear for the MBA Exams and more than 90% don’t even know what an MBA is and how appearing for CAT would help them in their future.
This brings me here to form a concluding statement that people must know what exactly an MBA is? and how would it make a difference in their career lives?
Let’s have a look at what all we will cover in this Webinar-
I would like to invite our guest speaker for tonight- Mr Rahul KM. He’s already here with us.
Devendra: Hello Rahul!
Rahul: Hello Devendra!
IIM B, 2013 Batch
Cairn and OYO Rooms
Co-Founder of Visatte
Devendra: Before we proceed, let me first give you a brief introduction about Rahul- Rahul completed his masters from IIM-Bangalore. He has worked in Cairn India and OYO Rooms and had served at various managerial positions. He is currently working upon his own venture.
Let’s begin our conversation with Rahul!
Rahul! As we all know you have been working upon your own venture, why don’t you tell us something about it? What exactly the idea is?
Rahul: We are working on a very interesting opportunity. The startup’s name is Visatte and it is into beauty and wellness .What we are trying to achieve is digitization of Beauty and Wellness services! What generally happens is that-you call a beautician at your home or go to them. Here,we want to give this process a technological end whereby you open the app and book the salons and avail the services at your ease. You can even check for the salons have been offering the right discounts, the ones that lie in your close vicinity and the reviews of the stylists over there. You can think of it as a “Zomato for Beauty and Wellness”. This is what we have been trying to create,also I would tell you that it is a very important industry at present as it is technologically under served. No innovation has happened in this industry until now!
Devendra: It seems a great initiative and I hope you’ll do well in that. Let us proceed with the questions. Many of our viewers have been preparing for MBA and they look up to you for guidance and want to become like you.
What is your perspective for MBA? What exactly MBA is according to you? Would you please tell us what an MBA is and why we should do it?
Rahul: –What exactly an MBA is – MBA is the degree that gives you the framework to analyse many things. Say you are working in a very limited domain,say you being a commerce graduate and are doing accounting or you being a computer science graduate and are doing coding, so MBA helps you get the bigger picture. MBA helps you get to the managerial side of the things where you not only know what product the company is building but why it has been doing so, what will be the impact of the product on company’s market share and how it will affect the growth standards of the company. These decisions are taken care of by MBA Graduates. There are certain companies where ,in order to get to a certain position, you must possess an MBA degree. There are some students who feel that,in order to go to the higher positions, say from assistant to senior level, you need to do an MBA!
Devendra: Okay. And people wanted to know why one must do an MBA? What’s your take on this?
Rahul: Why someone should go for MBA-See, everyone has different reasons. For me- When I was a college student,why I chose to do MBA- Because I wanted to become an Entrepreneur. Being in a business school where I’ll learn from the best of the faculties, where I’ll get to learn from the case studies from the industrial context and get to meet angel investors and venture capitalists. Nowadays, most of the good B-schools have their own Entrepreneurship Cell wherein they support the startups of their own students. It’s a good starting point for someone who wants to take up entrepreneurship.That’s the thing about MBA. It offers everything for everyone. Not every MBA Graduate wants to become an entrepreneur, so even if you don’t want to become an entrepreneur- Learning in such a holistic environment always benefits you.
Devendra: Proceeding with the next question- What kind of transformation you faced from a Graduate to an MBA Graduate? I would like to take you back to your graduation days and ask- What difference this degree brought to you in your life?
Rahul: A degree, first of all ,is a generalization. Like if you do M.Sc Or M.Tech you become a specialist, but an MBA is a very generalized degree. MBA is that degree which has a lot of glamour associated to it. Even, I’ll tell you, once I got myself done with MBA ,I joined the top Oil India’s company and started living in those fancy hotels, started flying around and got a chance to attend many company’s parties also. My lifestyle suddenly got changed. This is just one part of it. The second part would be the Intellectual aspect- when you graduate from a good B-School and you have a good B-School degree in your resume,you might have just started your corporate career and people who have been leading the organisation from past 9-10 years consider the fact that you are significant for the organisation. When you speak relating something, they listen to you- because you have done your MBA from a Top B-school which might be difficult to get into. Even though you might not have the experience, but still there is a lot of value you get out of the MBA. This is one of the things that became noticeably different.
Devendra: Rightly said. It’s a very good experience relating MBA and I hope our viewers might have got their answers. One more thing- Many people have asked me if there are certain traits for MBA that they should possess and then think of going for an MBA? Who all are the people who tend to plan for an MBA and what personality traits one must have for the same?
Rahul: This perception has been made because in MBA, earlier what happened was that, there was a quantitative based Exam and many engineers could clear it, hence, people thought of MBA from IIMs and other top B-Schools to be only for engineers or those from a quantitative background. But things are now changing- Many of the top B-schools, including the top IIMs, have started taking people from different specializations- one being a commerce graduate, the other one being an arts graduate, etc so that people from different backgrounds can come together and learn from each other. It isn’t like that -you need to have good communication skills or reasonably well quantitative skills to think of MBA. Obviously you have to give CAT and other entrance exams for MBA. Those are the minimum requirements but otherwise, MBA B-Schools have limited seats and they want to take people who are different from each other. They don’t want to take two engineers from the same branch and having the same experience because it will not add much to their institution. They want to create vibrant communities. It isn’t like that MBA is for a particular set of students.It is you who decide that you are somebody who wants to become a management graduate or you are somebody who is at a certain position in your career or just a fresher and where you plan to go ,an MBA would be required. I’ll quote an example- Some of the engineers after completing their four years in electrical engineering, feel that they might want to take up electrical engineering but they want to join an engineering company as a ‘Manager’. This means that you may still not design it or produce it but you might want to be a part of an IT Company and be able to manage the clients effectively while being at the front seat of your company’s driving growth.
Devendra: When people think of MBA, the most important thing becomes money! People , nowadays , spend much on higher education in India or Abroad and then compare it with the benefits of the programme so done. You know- there’s this very fancy term called- ROI. People have started talking about ‘Return on Investments’.What do you have to say about it? They also spend much time analyzing whether it is the right time to take up MBA or not! These are the two questions which create a lot of chaos in the mind of students.What is your take on this?
Rahul: The right time for MBA is when you relate it better to the circumstances or feel a strong need to pursue the same. It comes within you. In my case- To become an Entrepreneur, I thought, I should do a bit of finance along with marketing and accounting and learn other crucial things. That was when I believed that MBA is a better thing for me. For some people, who are already in their jobs, might feel that -‘Okay!This guy who graduated from IIMs is my senior’.Now I want to be at his place. I have been working in this company for 2-3 years’. That is the time when you feel you should go for MBA. It’s more of a personal choice when you feel that whatever dreams you have can’t be achieved in your current situation and current position. That is when you should start considering your options. And the second thing- you talked about ROI .For people, ROI is generally the fees of the college over the average placements that they are getting. MBA is beyond that!
If someone wants to do MBA just considering the money factor, then I don’t think it’s the right option for them because there are many things in an MBA that cannot be quantified (like the networks that you make). I’ll give you an example- when I was in Europe for Cairn India’s project-and when it got over ,I wanted to join a different company. I then switched to OYO Rooms. You see- how different both are in terms of the backgrounds and work, where one is an established manufacturing company and the other one being a startup. Now how could I induce this?
I made many contacts during my MBA. I called up my colleague who helped me get into OYO Rooms. This clearly can’t be quantified in terms of ‘ROI’. In MBA,You get to meet many people. Many events occur due to which CEOs and CTOs of various ‘Top Companies’ come and they directly interact with you. You get to meet them and talk to them, talk to the professors who have worked in various companies. Hence, MBA is just not centered around money and placements, it’s much more beyond that. With MBA you get a lifestyle! Especially in countries like the USA or The Europe, they have this concept of campus placement. They simply invite the companies and make the students talk to the representatives through which they get the offers. That’s how an MBA works. MBA is thus, a style of thinking.
Devendra: As you said that networking is really important for the students and hence a B-School. How important is choosing a right college for the students? How this decision will make a difference in their lives?
Rahul: It’s a very important decision for them because if you see, MBA and Engineering are two such professions in India which are boosting like anything. You start looking anywhere and there are hundreds and thousands of MBA colleges and it is very difficult to know whether a particular MBA college is useful or not. For an individual, it is very difficult to do the research and get the objective analysis that- this college ranks 9 on 10 according to my profile which may not be the case. I think you guys have created a platform like this whereby you submit your profile and can get the colleges list!
Devendra: I would like to tell you what Admito does and how we started!
It indeed is very difficult to identify colleges and you tend to struggle with the data research. Most of the people don’t take up the research part, don’t talk to alumni, experts and don’t spend much time online and offline learning about the colleges. All this gets considered as a “Hassle” by them. Admito helps take up this hassle on its own and does all the research for them and provides them a list of suitable colleges. There is an analytical platform behind our algorithm and everything has been working perfectly until now! We rank the colleges like other platforms do rather, we give the students a list of suitable colleges, according to their preferences, all they have been looking for based on their profiles. Then we give them handy assistance as reading materials, articles relating to colleges and also take up the form filing aspect through which many people struggle. Overall, our aim is to help them in choosing the right college.
Before proceeding with the questions, Rahul, let me tell you this- we have received many requests from our viewers regarding specific queries which they want to ask from you. We’ll take them up in the last fifteen minutes. I’ll just tell our viewers how to open the Q&A link- ‘On the right top of the corner of your screen, you will see a small box. Just click on it and two options would come for Q&A and Showcase. Once you click on the Q&A, a small window would display on the right side of the screen, containing an option of -‘Ask a New Question’. Just click on it for asking your queries. We’ll take them up once we are done with the conversation with our speaker. If you still have any difficulty opening the Q&A session you can always go back to the mail that Admito had sent you yesterday. All the instructions relating the Webinar- as how to ask a question etc. are mentioned therein.
Rahul, you cracked the interview of IIM-B which most people dream about! Why don’t you guide students as to what B-schools look for in MBA aspirants while shortlisting them? What would be your suggestions for the students as to how to prepare in order to get into IIMs and other reputable institutions?
Rahul: Most of the IIMs have done away with the ‘Group Discussion’. They make you write a statement of purpose wherein you write an essay about yourself, all what you have done till now, what have been your life story and significant events in your life.
I have seen many people exaggerating things in it. However, the interviewer gets to know if you have cooked the story up and thus it’s true or not. My first advice would be to write something that really changed your life and is true to you and hence justifiable (if needed). The Agenda of the Interview is to not to know things that you don’t know, but to know, whether the claims that you made in your resume are true or not!
If someone says that he is a Master in Quantitative Aptitude and really likes solving puzzles, then he must be able to do so.Similarly, when asked, some people say that they like singing. Interviewers ask them to sing for them. It isn’t a typical interview happening where you are asked question as -Where you see yourself five years from now,etc., it’s much more than that!.Their main aim is to assess you on whatsoever was claimed by you.They want to know more about you before taking you in their B-school. Because it’s not just about gaining an insight into you, but they can’t just give the chance to anyone like that, Right! They want to give this chance to someone who has been true during his interview and has high standard of ethics. In my case- I was always very much into Entrepreneurship, my statement of purpose was- why I want to become an entrepreneur, why I just don’t straightaway start a company like that and why I want to invest my two years into MBA. I knew it then and had my answers ready.They even asked questions like- If we give you this much funding, would you leave IIM-Bangalore and start your company?or how would being a part of IIM- Ahmedabad help you start your company.Few more things I would like to point out is that, at times, during these interviews they might try to grill you. They might create a pressure on you.One must not give up under such situations.If you know, you have given a wrong answer, then accept it.There is no harm in accepting it.Because the interviewer is much experienced than you people and would like, any other elder of yours, know whether the things you are saying is true to their knowledge or not!
Devendra: I think you have shared much relating MBA and people will definitely learn much out of it!
Let’s begin with the Q&A session.
Ques1: Narendra Kumar asks- Is it better to go for an MBA just after B.tech or after work experience of 2 years? What’s your take on this?
Rahul: This question has multiple answers. If I talk about India, B-Schools take freshers whereas in other countries they ask you to have an experience of 2 years and then take up an MBA programme.
I would say India and these countries are very different in terms of demographics and other things. Why Indian B-Schools take Freshers- because during placements a lot of companies are looking for freshers. I’ll give you an example- Let’s say you are a B.Tech or a Computer Science student and have a work experience of 2 years at Infosys. Now a marketing company will find it very difficult to take you on board.That’s probably because you have developed that kind of thinking process working there and relating many things that way.Personally, I would suggest that the right time to do MBA is now.I’ll quote 2 reasons.First- the Indian economy is growing.I’ll tell you about myself- I graduated in the year 2013 when the economy was not growing due to the previous government. Somehow, the placements were good.But the next year the placements improved dramatically.For instance, IIM-Bangalore in 2013 took 5 days to get all of us placed whereas the next year it just took 4 days for the placement process. I think if you are in the final year of B.Tech and are already preparing for CAT, this would be the right time.
Devendra: I think Narendra has got his answer.
Ques 2: We have another question by Abhishek. He says he just cleared IIM-Calcutta. First of all, Congratulations Abhishek for making it to one of the top B-schools!. He asks how life would be different for freshers in IIM-Calcutta. What kind of life he would experience at the B-School?
I think the life at IIM- Calcutta would be similar to other IIMs. What is your take on this? Surely you might have a better idea about IIM- Bangalore and other IIMs as well!
Rahul: Yes. Life at other IIMs is somewhat similar. I would say IIM-Calcutta is known for its coolest campus and chill college life.
Devendra: Here I would mention that he is concerned about the fact that he’s a Fresher. How different things are for a fresher when compared to a work-ex guy?
Rahul: There’s not much difference in the lifestyle particularly if I talk about IIM-Calcutta. Even if you see- more than 30% of the students over there are freshers. In fact, it is good that he is a Fresher! Now he‘ll not only be able to learn from his professors, but also his peers who might have a work experience. Because, they at that point of time, won’t be his boss but his colleagues. Had they gone to some company to work, the situation would have been different. Now he can sit with them and interact and can ask them as- how an organisation functions, what all roles they played when they worked in that particular company and how was their day-to-day lifestyle,etc. As a fresher, I have always benefited as it was more of like a window to the corporate world. Being a fresher has been always advantageous. So, getting into IIM-Calcutta as a fresher would surely be a good experience.
Abhishek – It seems you would benefit much from your fresher experience in IIM-Calcutta. I think Abhishek has got his answer. Let’s move on to the next question.
Ques 3: We have a question by Rohan wherein he asks- Is executive MBA better than regular MBA programme? He is making a comparison between both the things. He is doubtful whether he should go for a full time MBA or an Executive MBA ,considering the fact that he has a work experience of 2 years at TCS.
Rahul: Executive MBA is for working professionals and it requires a minimum work experience of 4 years(for the famous programme at ISB and IIM-Bangalore). Now there are two types of people- one who want to go for a two year flagship programme and the other who have been sponsored for the executive MBA programme by the companies where they might be working at. He can check his company’s policies and it would be good for him if they provide him such opportunities. Else, I would say, It is not like that. A two year experience for an MBA programme is always better than a one year experiential learning. I would personally say that a Full Time programme is any day better than a one year Executive MBA Programme considering the learning aspect.
Ques 4: The next question we have is from – Shivam Aggarwal where he asks- Is appearing for GMAT and hence doing an MBA from abroad better than that in India? How much different is the MBA programme of Abroad and India? Many people have been asking this- CAT or GMAT? What is your take on this?
Rahul: I would say- that it totally depends upon your personal expectations.MBA from abroad is better when you see yourself as a ‘Noble Executive’ and you want to have a global profile.But one thing needs to be considered is that the fees for the MBA Programme in Global Countries is high.Much research has been done for comparison between MBA from USA or other countries and India.Now even Indian B-schools are having the same standards as the western counterparts. Infact, the top IIMs are at an equal standing when compared with that of abroad.The second reason would be that ,only Indian B-Schools give freshers a chance to do MBA, otherwise at abroad,you need a work experience.Indian B-schools mainly consider your CAT score whereas universities abroad might consider your extra-curricular and a gamut of things. It is at times not easy to develop the kind of profile for the Indian students, that the universities in abroad have been looking for.
Ques 5: The next question we have is from Anshul. He asks what all things must be there in a profile for getting shortlisted from a B-School?
Rahul: He should be equally good in academics-because these days IIMs have been focussing more on the scores. Moreover- He should maintain a decent score in his graduation. I am not saying,he needs to top the college exams, a decent score would do much. He should also take part in extra-curricular activities. I’ll tell you why? Let’s say-you are an Engineering Student. Now taking up extra curricular activities would differentiate you from other engineering MBA aspirants and would give you an edge over them. You can probably show them all what you had done in it. I would suggest Anshul to either join an Ngo or do something that shows that your area of interest lies beyond academics. It should show up like that you are the person who is really driven by passion. You should present yourself like a holistic personality.
These are certain things I might suggest- ‘maintain a decent score and build a holistic resume’.
Ques 6: Another question we have from Preeti. Preeti is a Biotech Engineer. She has an experience of 3 years in research and development. Now, she is confused whether such experience would be taken into consideration for the B-Schools. She has heard that many B-schools take IT students. So would it help for her?
Rahul: I’ll tell you about it- I have a very close friend of mine who is a Bio-Tech engineer and a graduate from IIM-Calcutta. One thing I would make it clear is that- IT experience is not a preferred experience for B-Schools. IT companies prefer IT experience just like finance companies preferring finance experience. It isn’t like IT experience is a much sought after experiences. Second thing would be- there are specific companies that hire Bio-Tech engineers. I remember Dexter came for College placements at IIM-B and took mainly Bio-tech engineers.Also there was this company- Akzo Nobel that specifically hired Bio-Tech engineers. And they were extremely happy that the top IIMs have such a diversity that even Bio-Tech Engineers were a part of the batch. Different kind of companies come for placement! It isn’t that only IT companies visit for Placements. Companies from Power sector, Petroleum etc. also join in. Marketing companies have been coming, e-commerce companies are also there. In E-Commerce also, there are multiple domains- Some belong to hotel industry, some are from education industry.
Again, I would say – Don’t think of an MBA as a place where you get a good placement. Think of it as a place wherein you build your profile, where you can reach out to your dream company!
Devendra: Exactly. Building profile seems to be the key to success.
Rahul: Yes. Exactly! That helps you build your networks and connect with different people.
Ques 7: We have our last question for today. It’s by Deepinder. Deepinder wants to ask whether there is any inherent disadvantage of taking up MBA when being a fresher. And are freshers at par with experienced candidates or at a disadvantageous position? He is a computer science student and recently converted IIT Kanpur for his MBA programme.
Rahul: I would say that even I was a fresher and I did not feel any disadvantage. Most of the times, it is beneficial in case of marketing companies and consultancy companies that come for placements. And it is surely never like that-the freshers or experienced seeking an advantage or a disadvantage. I, being a fresher, never experienced any problem.I am an Electrical Engineer. I got some internship in pharmaceuticals. I got a placement in an Oil and Gas company and my worked in OYO Rooms as well.
Devendra: Seems you have explored the whole world!
Rahul: Yes, and if being freshers were a disadvantage, most of the B-schools would stop the practice. Think it this way-The fact that B-Schools take more freshers means, the companies want freshers and hence tell the B-schools to do so.Otherwise why would they waste their time and seats on taking freshers.
Devendra: Even I believe that being a fresher is the biggest advantage. Companies want people who are fresh minded and are ready to adapt to the work culture.
Rahul: A company looks at all kinds of profiles. Let’s say if a company offers two profiles- one is an entry level and another one being a senior level profile for 4 years of work experience. They would take someone who has worked for a similar profile for the senior position and they will also take the fresher to build their talent pool. I don’t think there is any disadvantage.
Devendra: This was the last question for today. I am sorry for I could not take up all your questions due to limited time. Thank you so much Rahul for joining us and taking up the queries of our viewers.