CAT Guru Arun Sharma, IIM Bangalore alumnus and renowned author for McGraw Hill Publication speaks about the difference of doing MBA from a top B school like the IIM’s or a handful of 5-6 institutes like MDI, XLRI, SPJAIN etc. versus trying to do an MBA from a normal college. The first thing you should realize is that an MBA typically will be the last qualification you will have in your life unless you plan to change your career tracks to something like that later in your career, but for most people, MBA will be the last step of their educational career, after that professional career starts and hence it is the one last opportunity to change the kind of educational profile that you have.
Top B School vs. Normal MBA College
You might have come from any normal school/ college and if, you have a tag of an IIM attached to your name at the end of your educational career it takes care of a lot of things as you build your career later. It gives you a huge advantage over others. Hence, if you are trying to get into a management school, the idea has to be to try to get into the best B-school you can because, if you try to compromise at this stage then it will put you or confine you to a person with an average academic career, so, wherever you go, you are representing yourself as an average person versus if you have a mediocre educational career but have an IIM tag at the end of your educational life, the perception that people will have about you will be different. It’s not just about the perceptions that people have, but also the quality of learning that you will get, the kind of resources you will get. I always tell people that it’s not only about the brand of an IIM that you go for, you go for the learning. If you go for the brand, then nobody will select you also.
Learning & Networking
Secondly, the learning that an MBA from a top B-school gives you will be drastically and vastly different than an MBA from a normal college. Thirdly, the kind of peer group you will meet will be very different if you are passing out of top 10 b school versus passing out of any other average school. To give you a small example, I passed out from IIM Bangalore in 1995. I have my engineering batch-mates from my private engineering college and when we got reconnected via social media, you can actually see the difference between water & blood when you talk about the kind of careers they have, whereas, my IIM Batch-mates are mostly at their peak or the zenith of different companies or very close to that. Most of my engineering batch-mates are almost unnamed and unsung people and since you have only one career, the kind of peer group you go to or are living with has a huge difference in terms of your own achievements. So very often you will find that if you belong to a strong peer group which an IIM will give you, you will not get easily satisfied with yourself, and when you are not easily satisfied with yourself it will give you the motivation to perform further whereas that kind of peer group you will not get out of a normal B-School hence, it is important to make it to a top B-School for this last educational qualification that you will have. The last part is the packages and salaries.
Try to do one thing when you finish off this article, put up an excel sheet, on one side of the excel sheet put 6 lacks starting package and on the other side put 20 lacks as a starting package and grow both these packages by 10% every year (which is the normal growth rate in Indian corporate sector) and in a 20 year career you will see that a person starting with 20 lacks per year will earn around 5 to 6 crore rupees more than a person who is starting with 6 lacks per annum. That is the difference in the career that a top B-School will give you versus the career that a mediocre MBA from a second level B-school gives you. Hence, the idea has to be, to get to the top B-School you can. Each person will tell you that money is not important but you do realize or imagine the difference in having 10 crore bank balance that you will make in 20 years down the line.