5 Things that an MBA is not!

26 Apr

The number of ISB counselling requests have gone up considerably. I guess the fact that this year ISB became India’s largest BSchool (with Mohali) has got to do something with it.

With it, unfortunately, the quality didnt go up. People are still not thinking right about an MBA. Or atleast are not being forced to. At times I wonder who is to blame.

I dont tire telling people what an MBA will and should not do. So here it is:

5 things that an MBA is not

1. A Placement Agency

Please! Dont think of an MBA school as a placement agency. Its not the source for finding jobs. Linkedin perhaps does a better job. It is only meant to equip you with tools to find (or figure) the best job. And then offers you an opportunity to take a shot at it.

But dont blame the school if your dream company doesnt come. Or your dream role isnt offered. Honestly, the school didnt sign you up for that and thats the cruel truth. It just promised education, not  a job.

2. A 100% ROI investment

In the same breath, dont expect your placement to pay off your your MBA cost, in the first year itself. If that was the case most Wharton grads would commit suicide.

How many investments have you made in your life, that paid for itself in 12-24 months? If there are many, you are probably smart enough to not require an MBA!

3. An opportunity to party and have fun

An MBA  will suck the last drop of blood out of you and then ask you to take a vodka shot! Its rigorous (especially 1-yr programs) and require 16 hour days, most days. Get ready for that. Party schools are made famous by the 5% who came in with that agenda.

4. A place to learn management

Nothing can teach you management. No class, no professor and no case study. An MBA equips you with the skills to manage, but doesnt tell you how to manage. Its obvious because almost all managers are MBAs but few of them are good. So don’t think that you will do an MBA and will be fit to become a GM, if you have never led a team, made decisions or handled budgets! It will be easier, but it wont be automatic!

5. A place to slog and get grades

The worst mistake you can make during an MBA is to focus on grades and not on the learning. Its unfortunate that in India, the trend doesnt die. But as far as possible – escape the temptation. Consulting might require it, but honestly, the ones who get in dont really slog. It usually comes naturally. For the rest – pick courses you want to learn – specialize in areas you wish to and strengthen your fundamentals. The dean’s list will happen by itself and if it doesnt, the world will still survive and so will you!


Before you step in for the MBA interview – ask yourself – are you stepping in thinking that an MBA will be this magic wand that will change your life! If yes, take a break and apply again!

3 Responses to 5 Things that an MBA is not!


Sandeep Dharmadhikari

January 27th, 2013 at 11:25 am

Hi Ankur,

I had an interview at ISB yesterday. Were you in panel-3 by any chance?



January 27th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Yes Sandeep. I was on Panel 3. Hope your interview went well.



November 16th, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Hi Ankur,
Loved your Article… Specially Point 4. You wont believe , When I went to TieCon Chennai as an aspiring entrepreneur, I asked that question to Gurcharan Das (the one and only…), who was signing his book ( which i bought of course :) )… He was quite surprised and may be offended to be asked something so trivial , but he answered nicely… :) … so yaa.. nice article.

– Regards

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