With about 5000 B-schools in India operating annually, India has become one of the countries that groom a large number of MBA Graduates. This development has come a very long way from the 1900s when the first Management program was introduced in the Indian Institute of Science, which was aimed at training human resources and imparting skills relating to the management of enterprises. Further to this, the founding of the XLRI and establishment of the IIMs by the Government happened, with a view to bringing professionalism in Management Education.
This major initiative brought in a rush of Multinational Companies to India recruiting the Business Management Graduates who had skills pertaining to Marketing, Operations and Behavioral Science with a lot of domestic companies following suit eventually. From about 12,000 MBA degrees being awarded in the 1990s, the number has risen to more than 350,000 degrees being awarded currently.
With an increased demand for the best of the managers and in a pursuit of overtaking others to making it to the cream, the MBA aspirants are on a desperate look out for that million-dollar idea which would set them apart from others. Here a few factors that an aspirant must consider in order to distinguish his candidacy from the competitive pool:
Research till you drop!
Literally, yes. Do not restrict your knowledge and opinions to B school rankings and insightful articles on getting to an MBA. Having conversations with experienced people, Alumni and Students would open up a lot of perspectives to look out for while selection of the right B-school.
For Example, School X and School Y need to be carefully studied in terms of knowing the differences in Program quality and how effectively it aligns with a candidate’s professional cum personal goals. Generic reasons as to why School X was chosen by you would not help to differentiate yourself in an interview.
Rather by filtering B-schools that fall within the ambit of your entrance examination score, check if these B-schools suit your functional needs and would help you get placed in the desired role.
Entrance Exam Scores
This is the first stepping stone to your destination. If the exam preparation is spot on, and you manage to get a competitive score, you surely stand out from the rest of the competition. However, nothing can get conclusive at this point as the score obtained is but one of the four or five components that would be considered by the B-schools in determining admissions. For example, A competitive CAT percentile being nil in other components is less preferable than one candidate having a decent CAT percentile knowing what to make of his three-lettered degree.
Therefore, aim for the stars in this case here, also do not lose out focus on other aspects that determine your entry to that most sought B-school.
Differentiation – Handling it right!
This topic has been most debated and is rated as that one component, if handled in the right measure, can open the doors of a B-school right away for a deserving candidate. Handling in the right measure is an emphasized aspect here, as any differentiating fact portrayed by you, which does not define your personality can make existing matters worse.
Keep your answers simple and genuine based on personal experiences highlighting challenges faced. Your anecdotes should be adequately supported by reasons and in general, your thinking approach as a whole. Remember, the depth with which you portray one experience matters more than a numerous count of the same presented having no impact on the panel.
Work Experience? Required or Not?
More than the option of choosing to have previous work experience, it is important to know, what you make of the same. By being exposed to a working environment, you are proactive in your approach to things and become a contributor, advancing from the stage of a learner.
You identify skills that need to be worked upon and their application in a practical scenario. Also, your profile seems more attractive to campus recruiters, becoming an important differentiating factor.
While the above identified factors if taken into consideration would definitely make a difference, passion and dedication is what truly helps a candidate achieve his desired goal. So do not get lost in the MBA hype, set forth on a self-thought out path and emerge victorious!