Santosh Kumar Sharma, an MBA (One-year Full-time Post Graduate Programme for Executives – Visionary Leadership in Manufacturing) from IIM Calcutta, delves into the pluses and minuses of pursuing the programme.
I have written this post especially for engineering graduates who have been extraordinary in their academics and are working with good companies at mid-level positions. In the post, I have used the word Type 1 & Type 2 many times that deserve an explanation.
Broadly there are two types of engineering graduates in India who look for an MBA:
Type 1 – These are students who start their preparation for a management programme from 2nd year of engineering and join the two-year PGP/ PGDM immediately after college or maybe after 2-3 years. The market is flooded with such kind of guys as the two-year programme has been in existence from a long time. These programmes are considered MBA equivalent as per Indian accreditation norms, but are accredited as a pre-experience courses for freshers called Masters in Business Management, by top global accreditation agencies.
Type 2 – These are students who have already worked around for 3-4 years and then give a thought to acquiring an MBA. It takes around 1-2 years of preparation and then they get entry into an MBA college with around 4-6 years of work experience. (Sometimes work experience can go up to 8-10 years). Since the 2 year programme is not economically viable (or often irrelevant at their work experience level), such students prefer to go in for a one-year MBA program.
The opportunity cost (lost salary during the period of study) for a one year programme is almost half to that of a two-year programme for these people as they are already drawing a good salary.
When Indian engineering graduates join as GET (Graduate Engineer Trainee) in any good organization they are at the peak of their energy level. They generally enjoy this period as they leave behind college life and start earning money on their own. They don’t have much responsibility as they are bachelors and in a learning phase.
Companies also spend a lot of money and time on nurturing them. The problem comes when they complete 4-5 years on the job. They start thinking:
a) Are they meant for this engineering job only?
b) How much of engineering knowledge are they using?
c) Where will they reach if they continue working like this?
These people are usually doing well in their present organization but are always thinking what could further boost their growth.
This is the point when they start thinking about their next move and the most sought after career option which comes to their mind is an MBA. Without having much clarity most of them join the rat race and start their preparation to get entry in an MBA college.
But I suggest these types 2 guys to consider three important points before taking a final call:
1. Job Profile
Be clear about the sector or companies you are targeting after a one-year MBA in manufacturing. Some companies in India still have an old mindset and prefer to hire freshers with relatively less (0-3 years) or negligible experience whom they can mold into their work culture. They find it difficult to absorb the guys with 6-8 years of work experience at higher role (which is standard for an MBA, globally!).
For manufacturing roles specifically, it becomes even more difficult for students as age and number of years of work experience play a major role in deciding hierarchy. For students pursuing a middle level role in manufactring, a role with consulting companies often becomes a more viable option. Since consulting companies charge their clients very high rates, they can afford to pay high salaries. Although, most of the companies recruit for the projects of foreign clients where salary in INR looks higher.
The irony is that many consulting companies project their young consultants as SME (subject matter expert) even without having any relevant practical exposure!
So please try to have clarity of role which you would like to target after your MBA. Better still, establish connects with the alumni of the college you are targeting and get a clear picture of roles which you are aiming for or which you should aim for.
2. Education loan
Most of the guys who get selected for a one-year MBA in prestigious colleges opt for an educational loan because most of them belong to middle class families.
MBA grads are under tremendous pressure to work at any role which can earn them higher salaries irrespective of their area of interest because they are under pressure to pay off the loan.
The fat packages offered by companies generally comprise many long term benefits and in hand salaries aren’t nearly as spectacular. It takes a lot of effort to pay the loan EMI from your hard earned money.
So don’t expect much gain in your net in hand salary immediately after getting a job as major chunk of it will go into paying your loan EMIs.
3. Sacrifice of personal life
Type 2 guys are either recently married or about to get married. They sacrifice a lot on personal front as well.
a) Those who opt for one-year MBA without getting married are under tremendous pressure from their family/girl friend to tie the knot at the earliest after completing the course.
b) Those who recently got married rush through the time after marriage. Many of my batch mates (PGPEX-VLM 6th Batch) could not even plan their honeymoon and directly joined the program after marriage. Some of them were even forced to postpone their marriage.
c) Those who just became fathers missed the early days of their newborn baby. One of the guys of our batch could not attend the birth of his child.
As shared, after completion of the PGPEX-VLM program, most of the people join consulting companies because only they can afford to pay salaries commensurate with their experience. But in consulting, it becomes difficult to manage the work life balance as one has to be on continuous travel and people hardly get any time to spend with their family.
Then they miss the luxury which they used to have with their previous employer!
The best thing about a one-year MBA in manufacturing is that you again get a chance to re-enter your college life. Those who are married enjoy the opportunity to lead a bachelor life again, though they hardly get time to enjoy. You also enjoy company of like minded people charting the next chapter in their careers.
At present, manufacturing companies in India fail to attract the best talent mainly due to relatively low salaries offered by them compared to service industry.
Several companies in India are still trying to figure out how to best utilize the experienced talent coming out of the one-year full time MBA at the IIMs and are establishing new frameworks for absorbing these people at senior positions.
But there are many initiatives going on for ‘Make in India’ under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership where we can expect a lot of investment in manufacturing in the coming days.
Japan has already committed billions of dollars investments in India, including a $12 Billion loan at a negligible interest for the much touted ‘Bullet train’ and another $12 Billion for the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
For the first time, Japan has planned to import cars from India. Maruti Suzuki India Limited has planned to import its newly launched Baleno hatchback to Japan.
So the future seems to be bright for manufacturing in India. MBA graduates can hope for the better opportunities in the management cadre in manufacturing in the coming days.
I hope my post will help the engineering graduates of India in taking their final call with a knowledge of all pros and cons around the course. If any of you have any query, feel free to get in touch with me – post your questions in the comments section below and I will do my best to answer them.
Santosh Kumar Sharma, an Engineering graduate from HBTI Kanpur- 2004 (Chemical Technology-Paint) and MBA: PGPEX-VLM one year MBA program , has 11 + years of experience in Production, Project management, Operations Consulting & Technical Service with leading auto OEMs & tier 1 and tier 2. He is at present heading Technical Service after Sales at Spectrum Filtration.