A career in management is a lucrative one. It is hardly surprising that students from all fields—science, engineering, architecture—are attracted to it. Many young people are attracted because of the glamour and reports of high salaries associated with the MBA degree. Sometimes they do not know what the career entails and how best to prepare for it.

In colleges and institutes across the country, the MBA is taken as a means to quick and easy money. It would seem that multinational companies are falling over each other to hire young people to “manage” them. If you ask them how they will manage, the answers are simple: we will have people reporting to us and they will do the job. The term “manage” to many youngsters means sitting in a comfortable office, giving orders to people and getting things done. The common definition of management that is parroted by students is that “it is the art of getting things done from others”, which is quite silly coming from a fresh graduate, to say the least.

A whole generation is thus opting for MBA because it means a comfortable life. Perhaps too comfortable. For instance, why should people listen to a young, inexperienced person and do things for him? Would it not be necessary to earn some skills, knowledge or respect first? The inability to face these questions causes many young people to opt for a management career for the wrong reasons. They end up doing a course from a little known institute at a huge fees but the job is not as comfortable as they had thought. Frustrations arise when “getting things done” is not as easy as it seems, nor are the salaries as high as they were reported.

As a result, young people flirt from job to job, hoping to find the perfect one, which of course, may not exist. It is, thus, very important to understand the career and to prepare oneself for what lies ahead to avoid frustrations later on. 

Interviewing people who want to do MBA is quite interesting, simply because many students have no idea why they have chosen the course,  except for the fact that they want to make money. The motivations for doing an MBA are obvious enough. The degree is a passport for jobs in the corporate sector. MBA as a career offers an excellent avenue to achieve your professional as well as personal goals: challenge at the work place, money and status. The number of doors that can open for a good MBA is unlimited. All those challenging and rewarding opportunities that were near impossible to get, become possible now.

However, these motivations are external. They answer the question, what I should get and not what I can do. Recruiters find it horrifying that the only thing that motivates young people these days is money and status. Extending this further, if money is the only thing that you look for in life, what prevents you from doing a bad or an illegal thing if your company so desires it? In the light of several corporate scandals that have emerged in recent years, companies are justifiably wary of people who do an MBA just for money. It is therefore important to discover your real motivations for choosing a particular career. Look at yourself and ask the question, why should anyone hire you and pay you a high salary. Spend some time with yourself thinking about:  

  • What can I do? 
  • What value can I add to my employer?  
  • What are the skills I possess? 
  • What are my achievements? 
  • Why should the company hire me? 

Answer the above questions with as much honesty as possible, and be specific. For example, the answer to the first question should not be “I can manage” which is too general. Instead, list down the tasks that you may have done in the past, in which you think you are good at. Similarly, answer all the questions specifically to be able to discover  yourself. Once you know what you are good at, you can discover what kind of job is suitable for you. You are then able to understand your motivations to do MBA or maybe any other course. 

The first step is really to discover your own self. Once your mind is clear you can convince any company to hire you. The mistake committed by many young people is to choose a career without knowing themselves, which results in frustrations later on.What lies ahead When money is the sole motivator, people are unable to see the challenges that lie ahead. They become too focused on narrow, short-term objectives. When a choice of career is done on this basis, problems are bound to arrive later on. When deciding about a career, it is important to take a longer-term view—one that fits both a person’s inner personality with the requirements of the job. 

An MBA degree may enable you to get a job in a company, but your growth and promotions will depend on your performance. Most management jobs are:

  • Target-oriented
  • Time bound
  • Customer-oriented
  • Require communication and presentation skills

Because of these reasons, the jobs can be stressful and time consuming. They also carry a high degree of responsibility and, consequently, high rewards too. For top managers, companies provide not only high salaries but also a number of allowances. The chance to grow and become a top manager is quite high for a person who performs. Contrast these jobs to government jobs. These jobs are comparatively stable, do not carry high responsibility, and rewards may also be limited. Chances of promotion in government jobs are also limited. The idea is to match one’s personality to the kind of jobs you would like to do. If you think you can take up the responsibility of running a department and can achieve results in a time bound manner, corporate jobs are certainly for you.

Initially, the company will train you by making you work in sales, HR, or other departments and this training can be quite difficult. It is also not good to have very high expectations because companies do not pay very highly in the initial years. Students should, thus, be prepared to rough it out in the beginning. The better rewards and high salaries will come as one grows in the organisation; high initial expectations will cause unnecessary frustrations. Unfortunately, these essential skills are not taught in schools and colleges, which encourage rote learning. Thus most Indian students face difficulties not only at the time of taking admission in management colleges but also while finding jobs.

MBA is a good career option. However, while taking admission, try to get into the better business schools, prepare well and learn to give your best.