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The B-school that's just perfect for you

  You need not apply to numerous B-schools just because they are top-ranked. You have to keep in mind certain parameters and then narrow down your choice as per your requirements and interests. In this article, we showcase the factors that you need to consider.  
 

The Advanc’edge Team

Finally! You have decided to pursue an MBA and are almost at the end of your CAT preparations. You have registered for the CAT because almost all top schools accept it, save for a handful which conduct their own tests. Now, the foremost question in your mind is - Which is the right b-school for me? Should I register for all the tests? Look, everyone’s list features the IIMs at the top, but it’s always prudent to have other choices as well. It’s not only about getting the right scores in the CAT, but also about building the correct profile that includes your previous academic scores and your extra-curricular activities.

In this article, we provide you a list of parameters, which you can use as a filter to find a number of schools that will fit you perfectly. This will help you to register for their tests accordingly.

Ask yourself why you want to do an MBA

First and most importantly, you need to ask yourself certain pertinent questions – Will the schools, you are planning to apply to, provide the specialisation you are interested in? Or is the institute known for placements in your chosen career field?  Most students seek an MBA for a specific purpose; whether it facilitates you to enter your chosen career or take up a completely new field, be it an entrepreneur or expanding an existing business, you will require a particular skill-set that will help you achieve your goal. So, it is important to define your objectives clearly, according to your background and motivation. Always keep this firmly lodged in your mind, as it will help you make the best choice for yourself.

Check the rankings

Since rankings take into account many parameters like faculty, salary, placement, alumni feedback, etc, it is important to read a few ranking charts before making a list of your desired schools. MBA Rankings from top publications like Business Today, Economic Times, etc are great tools to compare business schools for placements, alumni satisfaction and value for money.

Rankings in India differ largely from those for international institutes, wherein the programmes are also given a lot of importance in their ranking. However, apart from a few institutes that offer a high degree of specialisation in their programmes (which we shall discuss later in this article), most MBA programmes in India are highly general management focused. The practice of ranking the programmes is, therefore, not too prevalent in India. Hence, the first stop on your way to selecting which B-school you would like to study in is the rankings.

However, do not base your decision completely on rankings, as the methodologies used in each of the rankings might be completely different and the percentage of responses might also differ. In some surveys, only 60-65% of the alumni will respond. It is incorrect, therefore, to gauge the quality of an MBA programme only by their ranking but it is a great tool to get an overview of the top MBA programmes. A factor that need not specially be emphasised is the reputation a given management institute commands and its brand image in the industry. While it is natural for older established institutes to have a better reputation, it is not always the case. Many students opt for the newer IIMs for their brand name even though they might not be highly ranked. Ultimately what matters is the impact the institute has over one’s entire life and career and not just one particular job.

Profile and Ability

This is the most important filter. Check the eligibility and selection procedure of your top institutes. Do you meet these basic requirements? Do you think you can get the required test score? Take SimCATs to get a measure of your abilities. Analyse your tests and work out the average score that you could end up with. This will provide you with a basic level or grade of schools that you should be looking at since test scores are the first selection criteria for most schools. Previous work experience will also help in getting you a good placement. Most recruiters would prefer employing students who have some work experience, especially if it is in the same sector that they eventually want to be in.

Get into extra-curricular activities. Be it in school, college or classes, make sure you have cultivated other interests besides academics. Though extra-curricular activities are not taken into account during the admission process, they contribute to your self-confidence and all-round development. Check the institutes’ batch profiles and honestly see whether you will be the correct match for these schools. If yes, then continue to the next filter. If not, then go back and get a new list of schools.

Specialisation

There are some institutes in India that offer a highly specialised MBA programme, apart from the smaller degree of specialisations offered in general management programme. A school that does not enlist the specialisation you want will not suit your purpose. Interest in a particular field or subject is a vital ingredient in the choice of a B-school. Some B-schools have become tantamount to the specialisation they offer. For instance, XLRI and TISS are well known for Human Resources, MICA for Advertising, IRMA for Rural Management and NITIE for Industrial Management. But there are other MBA programmes that are known for general management with a focus on finance or have excellent placements in consulting, etc. Nearly all general management programmes offer far more than the core management skills. IIM-Calcutta, for example, is where you might apply if you want to work in finance, especially since a lot of financial companies come to the campus to recruit, and roll out enviable offers. Therefore, it is important to know what field you want to be in. Once you know which skills you want to focus on, you are in a better position to consider which MBA is right for you.

Be sure to research each school thoroughly by going through their curriculum and their placement data. The return on investment is only going to pay off if your school is known for being one of the best in your desired field.

B-School Watch 2017 - July 2017
Institute Name Intake Fees (Lakhs) Average Salary Test Accepted
FMS - Delhi 200 0.21 20 LPA CAT
IIM - Ahmedabad 395 21 22.14 LPA CAT
IIM - Bangalore 411 19.50* 21.42 LPA CAT
IIM - Calcutta 505 18 - 20 (Approx) 20 LPA CAT
IIM - Indore 511 14* 16.23 LPA CAT
IIM - Kozhikode 350 16* 17.1 LPA CAT
IIM - Lucknow 489 14.16* NA CAT
ISB - Hyderabad 820 30.27* 22.58 LPA GMAT/GRE
JBIMS - Mumbai 150 2(6 General) 18.76 LPA CAT/CET
XLRI - Jamshedpur 390 20 19.21 LPA XAT/GMAT
* Indicates fees inclusive of accomodation

Placements

After picking a specialisation, consider placements. Keeping your specialisation in mind, make a list of companies you would like to work for. Check the placement records of the schools in your list and see whether these companies recruit from them. Placement details, which are generally available on the school’s website, provide placement information about the last batch in a comprehensive manner. You get to know how many students were placed, which companies came to recruit, how many offers were made per student, what was the highest and average salary offered, etc.

Additionally, you will be able to see how many graduates obtain a position in your own field of choice in a given year,  and thus adequately assess if that institute is the right fit for you. But to get the real picture, it is necessary to check placement reports of the last 3 years at least. Read the names of the companies that regularly recruit from them to see if any interest you.

Another important detail to check is the number of offers per student. This signifies the amount of choice that a student has in terms of companies and the jobs they offer at the top B-schools.

Post-MBA salary and increase in salary are two metrics that MBA aspirants should research. While doing your homework on increase in salary, look into the geographical location of the jobs. The salary pre-MBA and post-MBA should be calculated in one currency, taking into consideration the living expense of the city.

Location

This is important only if you have reservations about studying in a city or if you need to study in a particular city. The location of an institute is not important for the premier institutes. Employers seek out the best institute irrespective of its location. However, for the others, it would be better if the location is near a commercial hub, so that even if employers do not visit the campus, the student has an opportunity to come in close contact with potential employers. If possible, talk to people who live in the cities that house your selected B-schools and ask about the things that matter to you – safety, transport, culture, etc.

Fees and ROI

This filter could take precedence over others if you feel the fee is beyond your current means. Most MBA education can be funded by loans and scholarships. You also need to check the ROI on your selected schools. One of the most important factors to consider is the return on your investment. If you graduate from a top B-school, your salary post placement can take care of the loan amount easily. But there are some top schools that do not charge an exorbitant amount of fee. In this case, the loan can be paid off in half the time frame that it
usually does.

For students who are strictly looking for improved Return On Investment (ROI) options, FMS-Delhi is ranked first among the top 100 B-schools in India. So if you are going to take an education loan, researching on ROI will be helpful. You could also speak with the school’s alumni about ROI.

Faculty and Infrastructure

A judicious mix of full-time and visiting faculty is crucial for any good institute. The full-time faculty is required to teach students the fundamentals of management and oversee development of their skills. The visiting faculty gives students the much needed industry exposure and valuable insights into the corporate world. The best way to know about an institute’s faculty is to get in touch with the students currently studying there. Infrastructure also plays a crucial part in this process. The presence of adequate and state-of-the-art infrastructure is an important determinant to judge whether the school offers qualitative environment conducive to learning. A fully residential programme fosters all-round development as peer-group and faculty interaction is not just restricted to the class hours but is a 24x7 process where the scope to learn is multiplied.