Getting on to the PITCH of MBA
“Bro, MBA kar le phir teri life set hai!”. “Just clear xyz entrance and your life is set!”. “Target this college, once you get in you can chill!”. As an MBA aspirant, all of us have heard these dialogues at least once during our preparation. An MBA is seen as the gateway to career progression, or for freshers a good head start to enter their professional life. However, what most people do not know about it is what actually happens in an “MBA degree”.
The year before their admission, MBA aspirants are usually preparing for the entrances. Be it CAT, XAT, NMAT, SNAP etc., it demands a lot of time crunching to get better at VARC, or solve a DILR set faster, or improve accuracy in QA just to get the target scores in the mocks. This reaches its zenith a month before the MBA entrance season starts. Even on the day you go for an exam, the sheer number of people at a centre can be a bit overwhelming. After the MBA entrance season, around November to January, you get the results and the next phase begins, getting ready for the GDPI processes of the institutes you have a shortlist for. There you compete face to face with other aspirants who have put in equal effort to get that one seat in their dream college. Once this is over, the results roll out and you get to know what calls you have converted, which may be a time of celebration for some, a time of settling with the best available option for others, or a time of deciding for some whether to give the entrances again for their dream college. Once you do enter the field of an MBA degree, you need to adjust to PITCH from the get-go:
- P – Pushed into a new competition
For those who do join a B-School, they have gone through this stressful process over the last 4-5 months. They want to take it slow and “settle” into college, get a general feel of the curriculum and sail through these 2 years. However, it is not a smooth sail at all. As soon as you enter a B-School, you realize you are in a batch of peers who have the same profile/achievements as you do. They too have worked hard to get this seat. So you realize you have just moved from one competition to another. Classes begin, and you realize that an MBA is not like your undergraduate degree where you just could be physically present in class with your mind off. Here you have to come prepared for each lecture as there are marks associated with your contributions and participation in class, so sitting quiet is not an option. Preparing for this needs you to get through pages and pages of pre-reads, which at times are really hard to do for all subjects as a million other things start popping up.
- I – It is all about group work!
From the get-go, in MBA you have to work in groups, which is an essential aspect of it. After all, you are training to be a manager which does require you to both lead a team and be a team player. However, within a group, you realize over time that there are a few people who do most of the work and a few who are what we call “free riders”, just a part of this group but contributing zilch. Getting the group dynamics right does take a while, which is important as you have to work with them for the duration of your course.
- T – Time is limited, manage it!
Then come the millions of submissions you need to finish. In the first year, you have to do subjects that cover all fields of business (marketing, finance, operations, HR, strategy). This automatically translates to more subjects, and for each subject multiple submissions. Sleep becomes a thing of the past during the initial few months as you try to manage all of these things to meet deadlines and also get the group work done. You realize you are living from deadline to deadline (note: things do settle by the second year).
- C – Clubs and committees
Then you also go to the clubs and committees interviews. This may be because it is something that interests you or for that one line on your CV. There too you realize there is another competition as hundreds of other students too want to get into them, and the processes to get into them can be of multiple rounds which you need to manage with all the things mentioned before.
- H – Hysteria of placements
Finally comes THE THING of an MBA degree, the placements. Before the summers roll in you have to get your CV made, your documents in place, join committees and cells for a CV boost, do another round of preparation for the interview process and so many more things. For the first-year students especially before the summers, this can be a really stressful time, which goes on till you get placed.
Once you get on this PITCH, the way you perform is in your hands. You learn to assess the conditions of the PITCH and adjust to it. You realize you can handle multiple tasks more efficiently. You can work in a group more effectively. You learn to segment your time and prioritize things that are needed to be done better. You learn how to handle the stress, but also make time to enjoy and have fun with your friends during this time. It is a journey that is not an easy inning, but by getting through it you will come out better prepared and equipped to handle the VUCA world you are entering. All the best for your future MBA endeavours!