The truth about MBA- How to choose the right job on campus?

Ever wondered what does MBA stand for? I, mean, literally it stands for Master of Business Administration, but what exactly does it imply? Does it imply working for hefty salaries in dream roles or something slightly more? Most MBAs in this country are concerned about two things during their MBA: Salary and Profile. These two factors along with the location of job provide the basis for decision making about which enterprise to join after finishing their education.

If we look at the first factor, salary, can anyone say for sure they would be happy with the salary they are going to get? Normally every MBA sets a ball park figure in the mind that this is the salary he should get at least. For some, it is a figure in the range of 6-10 lacs while for some even 25 lacs is not enough. Now imagine, you get your dream salary of 20 lacs. What next? Will you be happy with the salary regardless of the role on offer? If the answer to the question is yes, this article is definitely not meant for you. 

If the answer is no or you are not sure at this moment, perhaps you should read on to discover the answer. Most aspirants have their own set of dream companies predefined in their minds which might be big league giants like HUL and Dabur for few while for others it might be VC and PE firms like Blackstone. Here are the roles that normally come on B-school campuses.

Finance

The finance MBA is normally offered the following roles:

i.Relationship Manager- While it sounds good to be working with a bank for a finance grad, this role is essentially a pure marketing role. Just like an FMCG sales profile, you will have monthly targets to fulfill towards placing financial products. Many marketing MBAs feel they are not adequately skilled for this role and those majoring in finance are more suited for it. The reality is just the opposite. If your strength is sales and basic finance interests you, this role might be a good option for you.

ii.Research Analyst- Perhaps the most coveted and best suited role for a finance MBA starting his career. The career demands will be high and one can gain an in-depth insight of a particular sector. Though, this might not be the highest money making job on campus, it definitely pays a lot in the long run. If this interests you, go for it!

iii.Operations- Not sure what kind of role this actually is- I mean I know few people who just copy one excel to another. In some ways, this is a pure low skill job and only exists in India owing to its cost advantage. For instance, you will rarely see a European or American involved in it (though it might be headed by them) in the top league companies. Having said that, you can decide if this fascinates you but I will definitely not recommend it!

iv.Investment banking-The roles that mostly come to campuses in India are back-end jobs where you act as providing supporting analysis towards clinching a deal. A few companies like SBI Cap Markets do offer front-end roles in this profile. This might be a very interesting and challenging path to begin your career and is definitely recommended.

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Marketing

There are majorly two kinds of roles that come on campuses- sales and brand management. Both the roles have their unique set of challenges. Like Finance, experience in marketing will prove useful in multiple domains and one can easily move across wide array of companies. Ideally, an individual should work in a sales role for 2-3 years before moving to brand management, if that fascinates him. Brand consulting and advertising agencies are interesting career prospects to look out for in this area, even though FMCG companies remain the clear favorite of the MBA students.

Operations

If you aspire to run your business in the manufacturing sector in future, this should be your forte during placements. All the jobs here are perfect in facilitating the learning curve of a newly graduated MBA and can open doors for a consulting career in future. Moreover, in-depth understanding of any particular product, its manufacturing process and managing bottlenecks etc. is bound to pay rich dividends and one can easily find opportunities as a freelance consultant. Roles that cater to supply chain management and logistics management should be preferred.

IT

There are multiple roles that companies in this sector offer on campuses including Sales, Business Analyst, Consulting, Engagement consultant, pre-sales, etc. However, IT may not be the right sector to begin the career as an MBA as one becomes overly dependent on two factors to move ahead Technology & ‘Gas’, besides not utilizing his true potential. Ideally one should work for few years in core sectors and then switch to IT (if desired) as it offers good work-life balance along with hefty salaries. Having said that, IT companies offer similar challenges as non-IT companies at senior management level. In terms of career options, prefer product companies over service companies and in a business oriented role. So if you feel you are made for IT, go for it.

Human Resource

Roles offered on campuses are normally recruitment related. HR consulting companies that specialize in head hunting is an interesting area to target for new MBAs. In such firms, one can specialize in hiring for a particular sector and over time build his/her reputation in the market. This area too offers significantly high pays along with perfect work-life balance with plenty of time for leisure.

In case you are specializing in general management, you should choose any of the areas (excluding HR & IT) whichever interests you more. Once that is done, you should take a call on how to plan your career ahead. In case you intend to opt for a consulting career, it would be more apt to build related experience of at least 2-3 years before entering this arena. In addition to this, it would be advantageous to work in a boutique consulting firm owing to the exposure one can get.

Location, too, plays an important part in your decision making process, especially if you have family issues. But if it can be resolved, always make your decisions on the basis of the role on offer for the initial 4-5 years of your career. 

Always ensure that you work in the profile that you want to. If not, it is never too late to seek opportunities outside. However, it becomes difficult to have a profile change once you have worked in another sector (unrelated to your aspirations) for beyond 2-3 years. So make your choices wisely.

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You will love reading: Think Tank 2 – Ebook.  Must read article There are no River Islands

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The truth about MBA- How to choose the right job on campus?

by Abhirup Bhattacharya time to read: 6 min
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