Thursday, January 28, 2010

What does an MBA worth?

Recently I celebrated Golden Jubilee (in days) of my unemployment with my friend, Indian Naval officer. It was our good times again, as we used to have in school. Beach drives till night, ferry ride, roaming in the lanes of Gateway corners, Paani Puri in Navy Nagar, Chaat, Dinner at Officer's Mess at dirt cheap prices (but with highest quality), mid-night ice cream with pista at Baskin-Robbins, Marine Drive and many more...

Life of an unemployed MBA was looking more scintillating than an employed one, the difference is just that I am losing money and then I was gaining money ;). Anyway I wanted some reason to celebrate and here I found one - "50 days without job"

Did I expect this life before leaving my job at Infosys 2.5 years back? Never... What I expected was a good job with pretty decent salary (above Rs 8-9 Lakhs) with opportunity to grow. I am sure most of us would agree with it. There are people who have got even more than this salary, but considering 2008 batch, we were very hopeful to get at least a minimum of Rs 7 Lakhs. But I guess for B Schools, 2008 is the only year which doesn't have a successor, i.e. after 2008 we have straight away 2010. Where is most of 2009? Who wants to know anyway!

2008 recession killed all hopes and what remained with some of us was the spirit of growth, sans package ;). There were companies that came to campus first time, with offers less than what we left before joining MBA. Now the question before an MBA was to take up a profile with whatever maximum available and decent profile. This was no-choice status for them, not because there are less jobs, but because s/he is laden with a burden of fulfilling loan amounts ranging from 10000 to 20000 every month and in some colleges more than 30000 per month. What if my package drops below 25000/month, Will I be able to meet my deadlines?, were the kind of questions arising in everyone's mind.

I have been speaking with many of my friends lately, and what I conclude is that an MBA is worth some Aspiration and not a package. A bare minimum package with good learning and growth environment can change the whole story of package philic attrition. There was a time when our resumes in market would fetch us umpteen number of jobs without much follow up. But now things are pretty different and companies who never used to go to campuses (due to financial constraints), are taking MBAs at dirt cheap prices. From an employer's perspective, the question is not what - but how to sustain. Are they doing justice by offering them low packages? Will they be loyal? What all decides these things should have been given a well thought before hiring.

Let me tell you one example - during our final placements, there was a leading paint company that offered very low package (normally not to be offered to a good B School grad) to one of my friend, who told me that its VP was so excited on the fact that he could manage to get them at such low prices. They also hired an IIMB guy at same price. I seriously do not want to comment on that VP who mocked these low priced MBAs during placements because they did not have a choice. He would come to know about his decision in coming months for sure.

If we see the situation now, every MBA from good institute is doing job hopping unless he is gets his/her desired stability. Another friend of mine started at a package of 7.5k per month, not to be mentioned that even a software engineer gets more than 20k/month, and with continuous hopping to 3 companies, her package has gone to 48k/month now within 8 months. But there are others, who would prefer to sit at home than taking up offers in small companies, where even getting salaries in hand at the end of month is a tall order. You will have to beg for it for 10-15 days, unimaginable, but its truth! Would you stay in a company where babu mentality prevails at work and perks or credits are given for kinship rather merit? What if your sales account is given to someone who is closer to VP, so they can show that their sidekick is doing better every quarter than you? Innumerable questions follow with the time and in the end, what happens is what we see on charts in double digits at the end of quarter - attrition percentage!, which is the only thing rising in corporates this year. There are many still left, doing jobs and struggling to get out of the shackles of poor work environments.

That gave an idea of coming up with - what are the worst companies to work for? Only take answers from the 2009 batch. Lets utilize their survey filling capabilities at least. Lets make it e-survey, what say?

To see another picture, there are some positives also which have happened during this time. These MBAs got the opportunity to know the markets and working in small companies taught them about the problems which they usually would not have seen otherwise. May be then we would come to know about the importance of HR as a subject ;) in our first trimester. These MBAs have learnt things that was only taught in class rooms and never experienced, especially not in B Schools. Politics in reality and crookedness showed its face to everyone. In classes, we were always taught about ethics and honesty - and it does pay in long run - but hey, who considers it when you can just manage your bare minimum financial obligation? Where is loyalty to ethics taking shape? Let me rephrase it in crispy manner, What is "ethics"? Should i inflate my conveyance and mobile bill to get 1-2k extra every month, will it be ethical?

Talking about the salary part again, the question that comes to my mind is "What is sold in a recessed market - Potential or Skill?" When companies take from campuses, potential takes front seat, but in open market skills do matter. When an HR asks your previous salary, what is s/he trying to conclude? What if i say 3Lakhs, will s/he just add 1Lakh to it and give me 4 or will s/he still give me what is designated for that profile? Very few companies ask previous package to meet aspirations and not to decide your current package, very few. But here we are - getting raise - package over package and job over job. We have become so smart at selling ourselves with false excuses as to why we want to change our previous company, that we can crack any interview with an ease. Some severance reasons are so true, that if told, would surely not fetch any job and those reasons are better not to be disclosed here or anywhere.

So, the question still remains - What is an MBA worth? Answer it and take a JOB free! :)


  1. Hi, I am also 2009 pass out working in a HR Consultancy its really a tough time for MBA Graduates but what i personally feel that its the time to show the world your immense hidden talent there is one proverb necessity is the motherhood of invention . Just we should do the thing that learn as much as you can and leave no stone unturned , this is worst time in 2009 pass out students , so all which they will learn today give them fruitful results tommorow .

  2. It is the time of inventions again Arti! :)

  3. Some severance reasons ... I dint get this word!!.. and I want to read better usage of english..