Career dilemma for students – What Next?

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One of the greatest dilemmas that confront students after graduation is – what next? What are the courses that can offer better job opportunities? Very few students know their career choice by the time they graduate and are not clear on what they have to do. Most of them are susceptible to the advice of elders, friends, peers, career counselors or coaching class personnel.

When you look around, you can come across many courses which sound good, appear glamorous and creative but will they offer a steady job? Getting a job depends on demand versus supply and the ability of the individual. Yet people look for safe bets and some kind of hedging with the kind of course offering so that there is greater chance of getting into the job market. This is what an ordinary student’s quest is or their parents’ expectations are.

MBA – step towards a successful career

Academic achievements are important. In order to translate those achievements into a successful career by creating positive job outcomes requires a range of skills that need to be developed during the two years at a B-school. In this sense, an MBA is your first step towards a successful and well planned career.

Why MBA?

The program teaches you to use your specialized knowledge to solve business problems by examining case studies. Going through the rigours of a B-school curriculum, you build skills that strengthen your talent in terms of leadership, business scenario analysis and decision making. The degree opens doors to a plethora of job opportunities and to a large extent facilitates getting a desired job.

Once you have decided to choose MBA program, another question lingers in your mind. Which B-School?

A management course or MBA is considered to be a good degree, but the catch is we have hundreds and thousands of business schools and some of their degrees are as good as tissue paper. Of late, many management institutes have been closed down. IIMs and the top ranked 25 B-schools are difficult to crack because CAT is a tough exam and skewed towards those good at mathematics rather than aptitude for management, which I feel is not the case with cracking GMAT. While most of the students aspire to get into these top institutes but only 1% succeed.

What is the right B-school for you?

In India, we have a large number of reputed business schools that impart innovation and creativity in their education system but may not rank in the first 25 schools. This never connotes any inferiority of these schools over the top ranked institutions. Definitely top ranked business schools have been positioned differently in the minds due to their established standards and the quality intake of the students. These schools garnish the already cooked food and made them readily available for the market. Indeed their nurturing is second to none but I really appreciate those B-schools that take anybody from average to good students and turn them into shining jewels. The efforts put forth by such schools are commendable as they strive hard to transform a raw into a working model. My personal advise remain intact for the students residing in tier 2 and 3 cities that they have to invest hard in searching the opportunities that maximize the return on investment and make them employable. Business schools that don’t churn out managers but nurture leadership acumen must be identified by the students.

Executive jobs and careers are not a function of your degree; they revolve around your talent. A good B-school faculty should be able to track this talent and support your learning process. Today, technology is the back bone of the industry in all the functions and it is no longer expert knowledge. Learning IT, MS Office and MS Excel are general skills and not specialist skills.

Present business environment looks for those persons who do not believe in optimization or incremental increases but radical changes and ability to give new direction and standards. Students and parents should spend time to find out such business schools which impart not only academic excellence but also leadership practice while learning. Those are the schools which engage a lot of corporate professionals in addition to regular academia as full time and part time faculty to ensure that students get to learn what exactly happens in the corporate environment, so that the transition from education to job is easier and smoother.

Another dilemma that holds the attention of the most is about specializations. Each specialization contains tremendous opportunities – be it marketing, finance and human resource management. Every position is up for grabs and what it requires is capability and competence.

As you learn and build your skill set, another quest need be a suitable career opportunity to get started in life and hopefully build a great career. This quest is satisfied if your college or institute boasts of robust campus recruitment program. Hoping to get ‘some job, somehow, somewhere’ can never be a career strategy. As you make your own decision, your information, quality of guidance and good choices can build your career or frustrate you till you settle down and call it your bad luck.

What I suggest to those who have decided to take up management as a career is not to worry if they cannot make it to the top ranked business schools. Look for those B-schools that are progressive with an evolving curriculum in line with business needs without sacrificing the core academic knowledge. Students should contemplate in making the right career choice and confiscate all the burning dilemmas to lead a thriving vocation ahead. Certainly Success is about individual drive, energy and passion for achieving results.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

Dr. Prof. Ankita Tandon is an Assistant Professor from Faculty of Management Studies at SRMS College of Engineering & Technology, Bareilly.