So you’ve received that MBA interview shortlist you were eagerly waiting for? Congratulations!
If you’ve come this far, it means that the B-school is considering you for admission very seriously indeed.
In the words of Wharton Admissions Director JJ Cutler – “We’re not looking for reasons to deny someone; we’re looking for reasons to admit someone.”
The biggest question on your mind right now should be- “How can I ensure that I give the best interview of my life?”
We’ve compiled this guide to MBA interviews from many years of working with diverse interview candidates applying to top B-schools all over the world.
This article is categorized into six chapters for easy reading.
I. Interview Format
B-school interviews come in all shapes and sizes. Let us discuss the various types of interviews you may face. With respect to the amount of prior information the interviewer/ interview panel has about you, there are two kinds of interviews:
1. Blind Interviews
In a blind interview, such as those conducted at Kellogg, Duke, and Tuck, the interviewer does not have access to your essays.
This makes the interview very open-ended. This can be either an advantage or a limitation, depending on how you look at it.
The advantage is that you have greater control over the direction of your interview if you word your answers carefully.
In a blind interview, the interviewer is trying to figure out who you are, and is likely to ask open-ended questions such as “tell me about yourself.” This kind of question makes it easier to speak about the things you want to.
The flipside is this:
With very little context, the interviewer comes with no preconceived notion about you. You start from square one, so to speak.
All the accomplishments and opinions that you carefully worded in the essays cease to matter because your interviewer hasn’t read them. You have to be on your toes to portray a comprehensive and impressive picture of yourself.
2. Comprehensive Interviews
In a comprehensive interview, such as those conducted at Harvard, ISB, and LBS, your interviewer has access to your application. Again, this comes with its pros and cons.
What is good about this kind of interview is that a strong application means that the interviewer is likely to have an unconscious positive bias towards you, even if to a small degree.
One more positive is that at least some questions are likely to come from what you have already written about yourself- which is your comfort zone.
The other side of the coin is that you are likely to be probed much further about what you have written, which means that you have to be very prepared indeed!
You need to add further value to what you have already said in your essays and resumé- this will require deeper introspection on your part.
With this understanding of blind and comprehensive interviews in mind, let us look at the common interview formats B-school aspirants face.
1. In-Person Interview with an Adcom Member
This can happen either on the B-school campus or in your city/country. Some schools that follow this approach are Harvard and MIT Sloan.
The advantage of this format is that you get to present yourself directly to the person with the most influence in the decision process.
These interviews are likely to be comprehensive interviews, where the interviewer has prior knowledge of your application.
2. In-Person Interview with Alumnus or Student
This is a one-on-one interview with an alumnus (at any place – could even be a coffee shop) or student (on campus).
Some schools that follow this approach are INSEAD, Oxford and Kellogg.
This could work to your advantage since the interview is likely to be more informal and relaxed, especially if you can strike an interpersonal connect with your interviewer.
The limitation is that there is an additional link in the communication between you and the AdCom, which may cause a gap in understanding.
However, do not worry unduly about this because AdComs choose students and alumni they trust will give an accurate representation of the interview.
3. Phone or Skype Interview with Adcom, Alumnus or Student
Most schools follow this approach in cases where an in-person interview is not feasible.
It may be more difficult to showcase your personality in a Skype interview. However, if you are able to strike a connection over this medium, it can make a hugely positive impression.
This is because the ability to establish meaningful contact via virtual media is a critical skill in today’s tech-savvy business world.
4. Panel Interviews
This is an in-person interview where you will face multiple interviewers. Your interview panel can comprise of a mix of AdCom members, students, faculty members as well as alumni.
The advantage of this mode of an interview is that your success does not hinge on the connection you strike with one individual, so the decision is likely to be more balanced.
The difficulty is that you need to prepare yourself to engage with all the panelists and to be quick on your feet and answer questions from two or three people instead of one.
Indian schools such as ISB and the IIMs follow this interview format.
II. What B-School Interviewers Look For
There will be three things an interviewer or a panel will look for throughout the interview. These are the three Cs: Content, Communication, and Clarity.
One of the first things interviewers will look out for is whether you know what you’re talking about. Make sure you go through each and everything that you have written in your MBA application essays.
For example, if you say you want to get into Finance post-MBA, then you should be able to answer questions such as,
“What do you think will happen if the interest rates were to go up?”
“Why do you think the Rupee slipped against the Dollar?”
You need to be well-versed with what you want, why you want it, how you’re going to get it, and what you are planning to do after the MBA.
You may have aced the essays with impactful sentences and a heartfelt tone, but can you speak well too? One of the primary skills of a B-school graduate and leader is excellent articulation.
So, if you can speak clearly and with confidence, you are going to earn yourself a lot of brownie points.
How well are you able to express your ideas?
You will want to focus on body language, tone, clarity of speech, and ensuring that your answer is as crisp as possible. Yapping too much is not cool – but neither is it okay to sound curt or abrupt.
Here’s a suggestion:
Go through your application inside and out. Use whatever is in there to prepare for some standard questions that you’ll find near the end of this post.
Speaking well is an art developed over many years, so don’t worry if you do not feel like a communication guru yet. However, there are simple, actionable tips you can work on.
For one, pace your conversation well. Do not be too rushed.
If you find yourself fumbling for words, just slow down, appear thoughtful and take a sip of water or tell your interviewer that you need a minute to think. Even little things will reap rich benefits with respect to the quality of your interview.
Psst! Here’s a hint: Practice makes perfect!
What AdComs are really looking is clarity of vision and, specifically, what you want to take away from B-school and what you want from life.
As mentioned before, you need to know what you want, why you want it, how you’re going to get it and what you’re going to do with the MBA.
But simply knowing this isn’t enough. You have to be able to explain it, too. And you have to do so very clearly.
The key here is to be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not.
Be genuine, it will help you ensure you don’t sound confused. If you don’t know something, be open about it and say so. That’s anytime better than giving an answer that makes you look confused and unsteady.
There is an additional set of things to keep in mind. Most interviewers will have an eye out for these things as well:
Until you walk into the interview room, the only thing the AdCom knows about your personality is what you conveyed through your essays.
Now, they are trying to figure out the person behind the essays. Do you really mean what you said? Are you for real?
» What can you do?
Soak up your essays! Internalize them. Get your story right.
Allow the AdCom to see you as a person, not a cardboard cut-out of the ideal B-school candidate. Be frank about your strengths as well as your failings.
However, a word of caution here:
There are weaknesses that are best not brought up in an interview- for example, if you’re actually confused about what you want to do after an MBA, it might be best not to bring that up in this conversation.
Can you think under stress? If you do not know the answer to a question, how do you think and what do you say?
As you know, professional life is full of sticky situations where you may not have the answers and still have to plow your way through a situation or a conversation.
This is the reason why your interviewers might ask you tricky questions that require creative thinking (or curveballs, in interview lingo).
» What can you do?
Have your friends conduct mock interviews with difficult interview questions. Exercise your thinking muscles regularly in the weeks or days leading up to the interview, and you will definitely have done yourself a favor!
Leadership and Team Orientation
This is almost too obvious, but in all probability, the two most important qualities that you will need as a professional climbing up the ladder are how you lead and how you function in a team. Hence, these are definitely traits that the AdCom is evaluating you on.
» What can you do?
Prepare extensively for questions about leadership and teamwork. Also, while you prepare for other questions, reflect on what your answers are indirectly saying about your ability to lead and work in a team.
Your confidence is a parameter that is going to permeate and influence your entire interview and the rest of your career.
Actually, make that confidence and self-belief- because the interviewer is on the lookout for not just how you portray yourself in front of other people, but how you competent you feel on the inside (a very smart interviewer can get a sense of this).
» What can you do?
If you have a naturally confident persona, that’s great! Just be wary of appearing over-confident. If your confidence could do with some extra help, you can read the following sections for hacks to present the most confident version of yourself.
III. Cardinal Sins of an Interview
There are some things you simply cannot do at an interview. Or at least, there are things you can’t get away with doing at an interview.
1. Trying Too Hard or Too Little
It is good to think through your answers and evaluate the potential impact they will have on the panel, but there is such a thing as taking it too far.
If you are trying to give ‘ideal’ answers to every question, rest assured that the interview panel will see through you. After all, they’ve done this more times that you can count.
Show your unique personality, your strengths and weaknesses- do not be a cookie-cutter MBA applicant, saying only what you perceive as the ‘right’ things.
On the other end of the spectrum lies the mistake of appearing as though you don’t care if you get in or not. B-schools are looking for people who are genuinely committed to getting in.
If the message you’re communicating is that you wouldn’t be bothered by rejection, that’s probably what you’ll end up with!
2. Appearing Overconfident or Underconfident
You have to display a confidence level that is within the right range. Don’t go overboard and brag too much; it is difficult to work with an egomaniac.
On the other hand, a B-school interview is not the place for unnecessary humility either.
If you do not showcase what you have done and what you plan to do, nobody else can. What you have to aim for is a quiet confidence that speaks for itself.
3. Not Doing Enough Research
This is a crucial point. You cannot go in with half-baked information about your goals, post-MBA industry or the B-school itself.
You can cause a lot of damage to an otherwise great interview with your ignorance on crucial points about your goals and career.
Prepare. No, over-prepare!
The aura of confidence and assurance that comes from really knowing your intent and subject thoroughly is unbeatable.
IV. Preparing for your Interview
Most of these simple things are fairly intuitive but it’s very easy to forget to do them, especially if you’re stressed about your interview.
1. Decide What to Wear
They say that it takes only 7 seconds for somebody to arrive at a first impression about you.
Think about it- just seven brief seconds!
How much you communicate to the interview panel in these 7 seconds is crucial- and the clothes you wear will speak very loudly in these initial few moments.
Make your wardrobe selection as early as possible- preferably, as soon as you have the interview letter in your inbox.
For men, whether you’re applying to an Indian School or an international School, the attire remains the same – Suit Up! And make sure your suit is dry-cleaned and wrinkle-free well ahead of time.
For women, if it’s an Indian school you are applying to, either Indian formals (such as a crisp cotton salwar) or western formals (a formal skirt/pant, shirt, and blazer) should do. For international B-schools, do as they do and stick to western formals.
2. Practice with Diverse Questions and Interviewers
Prepare for a wide variety of interview questions. To start with, you can refer to the common interview questions section at the end of this post.
Also, try and get more than one interviewer to conduct mock interviews for you so that you can be prepared for a broader variety of interviewers’ personalities.
If feasible, videotape your interview so that you can observe your body language and make necessary corrections.
3. Sort Out the Logistics
Make sure that you anticipate and sort out any logistical issue you may face on your interview day.
For a Skype interview, this could mean ensuring that your internet connection is fine and ensuring that you have a backup laptop/phone and a backup internet connection (such as a data card).
For a coffee-chat interview with an alumnus, this could mean acquainting yourself with the location of the coffee shop and maybe even trying a dry-run with a mock interviewer at the same location.
For an in-person interview with the AdCom, this could mean visiting the school a day in advance and familiarizing yourself with the campus.
4. Decide how you are going to open and close the interview
There isn’t usually a lot that you can control during your interview.
Here’s what you definitely can control though:
You decide how to open the interview and how to close it.
If walking into a room full of people waiting to judge you sounds or feels intimidating, imagine walking in unprepared! Nightmare, right?
Make up your mind about the kind of impression you want to make on the interviewers and start off the meeting on that note. If you want to set a confident tone, think about the kind of confidence you want to portray.
You don’t want to seem like an overconfident person who doesn’t respect authority, but you shouldn’t appear meek, timid or afraid of authority, either.
A healthy dose of confidence is fairly easy to show.
Do something simple, like wishing the panel or interviewer a good morning/afternoon when you get into the room. Think of a few quotes or inspirational thoughts that may play out well as an endnote to your interview.
5. Prepare for the tricky ones
Know that every interview is likely to have at least a few curveballs that are thrown at you – especially if you have performed reasonably well, and the panel is looking to decide if you’re a ‘good’ fit or a ‘great’ fit for their college.
How do you prepare for these tricky questions? For starters, conduct an interview in your head. Ask yourself tough questions and write down the answers.
Ask your friends to each come up with one very tricky interview question, and try to answer those. It may not be very likely that you will get the same questions on the actual interview, but your mind will be better able to confront a difficult question, with all this practice.
You can also read our section on tricky questions for some help.
V. What to do on Interview Day
1. Visualize Success
On the day of the interview, wake up early, eat well and keep yourself hydrated. Get to the venue early and try this exercise in visualization:
Think of an incident in your life that you are very proud of.
Picture yourself at that moment, with all the joyous, powerful sensations coursing through you.
Do this a few times before you enter the interview room, so that you are in the best frame of mind to tackle your interview challenge!
A pleasant demeanor and a smiling face will have a powerful effect on the tone of your interview.
This is because of the ‘mirroring effect’:
During a conversation, we unconsciously mirror the expressions of the other person. So, make sure you smile even if you are in the middle of a stress interview with an interviewer who looks uninterested, bored or irritated.
If you maintain a positive presence throughout the interview, you can actually ‘de-stress’ a stress interview.
3. Stay Calm
You do not have to be the Buddha, or Master Oogway while giving an interview. Some amount of stress is ok; it’s even good for your interview since it helps you be alert and on your toes.
If you feel yourself freaking out in the middle of an interview, the best advice we can give you, at the risk of sounding obvious, is to take a few (not-very-obvious) deep breaths and sip some water.
If you have been asked a question and have temporarily blanked out, it is perfectly ok to tell the interviewer that you need a minute to think about the answer.
Recite your favorite calming-down mantra, and give the question your best shot.
4. Ask the Right Questions
A special note here:
When the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, please refrain from asking when you will be notified of the results, even though that may be the biggest thing on your mind.
Ask thoughtful questions, for which you cannot find the answers elsewhere.
For example, you can ask the alumnus what he/ she enjoyed the most about B-school, or in what area his/her learning curve improved dramatically.
5. Strike a Conversational Tone
Think of a B-school interview not as a quiz, but as a conversation with your interviewers. This means paying attention to all of the below points –
During the early minutes of the interview, try to establish a rapport with a little small talk.
Make eye contact consistently during the interview.
If you’re not clear about what the interviewer is asking, ask for a clarification.
If you are not clear about what kind of an atmosphere you need to create, imagine the entire interview as though it were a conversation with a friendly manager at work (in other words, be friendly, but not too informal).
6. Write a Thank You Note
Well, you’ve given your interview your best shot! What can you do now to improve your chances?
The last arrow in your quiver is the thank you note.
Write a simple, heartfelt note to your interviewer, expressing your thanks. You can briefly touch upon something memorable from the interview that you appreciated.
Close it with a statement to the effect of how excited you are at the prospect of joining their MBA program. Keep your note brief- a couple of paragraphs at the most.
Now, sit back and wait for your results!
VI. Commonly asked MBA Interview Questions
The Basic Questions
The below questions are what we would call the fundamental, ground-level questions you can expect in a B-School interview. In other words, it would be madness to enter an interview unprepared for any of these questions. We recommend that you start your interview preparation with this bunch of questions.
- Could you walk me through your resume?
- Why MBA?
- Why do the MBA now?
- Why our school?
- What are your short term/ long term post-MBA career goals?
- What are your three greatest strengths?
- What are your two greatest weaknesses?
- What do you think will be the biggest concern of the Admissions Committee in evaluating your application?
- Do you have any questions for me?
- What was the most rewarding aspect of your undergraduate experience?
- What are you most proud of about your undergraduate period?
- Why did you select this undergraduate major? Would you have changed your decision today?
- To what do you attribute your strong academic performance?
- In which campus activities did you participate? What did you learn or gain from this involvement?
- Have you ever dropped a class? Why?
- Which college classes did you like the best/ least? Why?
- Do you think you received a good education?
- Do your grades accurately reflect your ability?
- Were you financially responsible for part or all of your college education?
- Describe your work experience (in general or with specific employers).
- What did you find most frustrating at work?
- What kinds of changes would you make at your work if you could?
- Do you have any opportunities for innovative thinking?
- Could you describe an incident where you disagreed with a superior? How was this settled?
- What aspect of your job do you most enjoy? Why?
- Of what accomplishment at work are you most proud?
- If I ask your manager what he/she values in you, what will he/she say?
- What problems have you solved in your previous positions?
- What have you disliked in your job with employer X?
- What are some recent responsibilities you have taken on?
- What do you think it is about yourself that enabled you to earn achievements?
- Describe a typical workday.
- Why did you leave job A for job B?
- What will you do if you are not accepted to any of the MBA programs you applied to?
- What will you do if you are not accepted to our MBA program?
- Why did you choose to do X?
- Describe your ideal job after completing the MBA.
- How does your education or work experience relate to your career goals?
- Don’t you think that your career path has been a little disjointed?
- If you do not bag a job in the area you like, what will you do?
Leadership and Teamwork
- Give me two examples of times when you demonstrated leadership.
- How would others describe your leadership style?
- What do you think is the right way to get things done through others?
- What would you do if a team member wasn’t pulling his own weight?
- What qualities should a successful manager possess?
- Could you name someone you view as a strong leader? Why?
- Do you prefer to work under supervision or on your own?
- Give me an example of your teamwork experience.
- Do you prefer large or small companies? Why?
- What kinds of people do you enjoy working with?
- What kinds of people frustrate you?
- What kind of people struggle to work with you?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Have you ever done any volunteer work? What was it?
- Were your extracurricular activities worth the time you put into them? What have they taught you?
- What do you like doing outside of work?
- Tell me about something in your life you would have done differently if you had the opportunity.
- What three adjectives would others use to describe you?
- Can you recall a creative/ innovative activity of yours outside work?
- Tell me about a time you took a risk and what the experience was like.
- If you were to establish a set of values and beliefs on which to build a business, what would they be?
- What do success and failure mean to you?
- Tell me about a time in which you failed.
- How do you make big decisions?
- What would you like to change about yourself?
- Discuss any experience you have had abroad.
- Describe a life experience that had a strong impact on you?
- What do you get passionate about?
- Do you get bored or feel stagnated? How do you resolve boredom?
- What is one thing you want to convey as your interview comes to an end?
- In dealing with a customer, think of your most difficult situation and tell me how you handled it.
- Give an example of a case when you felt your boss made a bad decision and explain how you would have handled it differently.
- Describe a time when you had to bend the rules a little in order to accomplish a goal.
- Describe a situation where many different things had to get done at once and how you handled it.
- Describe a disagreement you had with your boss. What did he say? What did you say?
- Describe a major problem you have faced on the job and how you handled it.
The MBA Progam
- What are you looking for in our program?
- What can you contribute to your class?
- Why do you think you would enjoy your chosen area of study?
- What clubs are you considering joining?
- It’s two years after graduation, what three words would your MBA team members use to describe you?
- Which other B-schools are you applying to?
- If you got into our B-school and B-school ‘X’, which one would you go to and why?
- What is the most interesting conversation you have had this week?
- Explain something to me as if I were an eight-year-old.
- Tell me something you want to start doing, something you want to do more of, and something you want to do less of.
- What is the one thing I would have never guessed about you, even after reading your application?
- Assume you’re a cell phone salesman and I’m a goat herder in Spain. How would you convince me I need to buy one of your cell phones?
- See that paperclip on the table? Sell it to me.
- What is the worst thing you’ve heard about joining our B-school
- How many truck tires are there in the United States?
- How would you evaluate me as an interviewer?
- Why are manhole covers round?
You’re an MBA aspirant, who wants to have a fulfilling career, post graduating from one of the top B-Schools across the globe. You obviously don’t want to spend money on a quality MBA to eventually end up at the same boring job, take home the same meager salary or settle for less than what you deserve.
Now, you’re wondering what exactly you can do after an MBA. Sales? Maybe work as a bank manager. Or perhaps get hired as a consultant. But, trust me, the options don’t end there. An MBA can be a great career booster and once you have a fair idea of the opportunities available, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Literally.
Be it sales, HR, Technology, Operations or finance, MBA graduates. So let’s start with Technology. Even if you’re not from a tech background, there’s no need for you to shy away. All you need is the passion for and knowledge of technology, along with sound logic behind your decision to make a career switch.
Career Paths in Technology
Once you’ve got that stated clearly in your B-School application, here are the technology career options available:
1. Project Management:
Are you looking for a post-MBA job opportunity that enables you to put your penchant for technology to good use?
Apart from being tech-savvy, do you consider yourself a born manager?
If you’re nodding your head in the affirmative to both these question, you could definitely excel at project management, where you would be given the onus of overseeing a company project right from scratch.
Big Data Analytics is indeed big, when it comes to the field of IT. It plays a major role in gathering insights, determining business trends and accordingly making informed business decisions.
In fact, in recent years, the job of a big data scientist or analyst has seen an unprecedented growth in popularity, so much so that organizations are willing to shell out large sums of money to attract experts in the profession.
B-schools renowned for Technology
– MIT Sloan
– Cornell Johnson
– Boston University
To learn more about the job opportunities in this field, read Post MBA careers: Technology
Career Paths in Sales and Marketing
Sales and Marketing have always been popular with MBA graduates. The options are limitless and make for highly fruitful careers. These are the most popular career choices in this particular field:
1. Sales/Business Development:
Who do you think is responsible for the large number of new clients acquired by a company? Yes, it is the sales or business development team.
To be able to lead such a team with your knowledge and expertise is a coveted career opportunity. Be it delivering that flawless sales pitch or closing a major deal, your skills in sales can make or break an organization.
Getting into business development after your MBA can be the perfect way to kick-start your career or give it a much-needed makeover.
2. Account Management:
The function of sales doesn’t end with lead generation. Most companies have a client servicing team in place to interact with customers on a regular basis and resolve issues pertaining to the present project.
However, the gap between a business development manager and a client servicing personnel is often aptly filled in by an account manager. Account management requires special flare for sales, where new business is constantly generated from existing clients.
Since this job entails exceptional communication skills and the ability to overlook as well overcome hurdles in the way, account managers are in high demand
3. Brand Management:
Brand management is indeed one of the most difficult roles in the field of marketing. If you decide to become a brand manager, you need to be doubly sure that you’ve got excellent communication skills, foresight, creativity and the ability to work with people across various divisions.
If you step into this playing field, you will be responsible for increasing your company’s brand awareness and recall. Along with the afore-mentioned skills, if you’re equipped with an MBA from a prestigious college, dive straight in!
4. Product Management:
Project management doesn’t so much involve clients as much as it involves the product or service itself. Any form of marketing is incomplete if you’ve not got this right. Again, creativity and foresight ranks topmost in the list of prerequisites for this job.
After your MBA, if you think you can utilize your knack for designing and describing product features to benefit your company and your future, product management might as well be the career of your choice.
5. Product Marketing:
The difference between product management and product marketing is often a very fine line.
The management bit requires you to envision the selling features of the product. Product marketing on the other hand involves the steps that follow.
As a product marketing expert, you will need to shoulder responsibilities such as creating product awareness, educating potential buyers and pricing the product.
6. Market Research:
Product marketing remains a game of trial and error unless the market research expert steps in. Before launching any product, comprehensive information should be collected about the needs of customers.
It is also important to gauge the tactics employed by competitors for similar products. This is especially important if you’re targeting a new demographic profile or an unfamiliar geographical area.
If you love studying consumer behavior and are passionate about statistical figures and data, go ahead and specialize in market research after MBA.
7. Online Media:
This is another field of work that many MBA graduates now find alluring. What with almost all businesses seeking an online presence, an Online Media Specialist is responsible for the company’s SEO needs and marketing.
An online media specialist needs to prove his/her mettle in all facets of online marketing, be it web analytics or social media marketing or paid search ads, in order to shine in his career.
B-schools renowned for Sales and Marketing
– UCLA Anderson
– USC Marshall
Thinking of specializing in Marketing and Sales? Check out Post-MBA Careers: Sales and Marketing for more information on the career opportunities available.
Career Paths in Consulting
Consultants are in great demand these days, either as a part of a company’s in-house team or as an external advisor. They help companies identify problems and suggest possible solutions to those.
However, consulting can be classified into various kinds, depending on the type of problems it addresses. Here are some of the job opportunities that come under the gamut of consulting:
1. Strategy Consulting:
You can opt to become a strategy consultant if you have a penchant for making long term plans and devising strategies to help a company grow as a brand.
Strategy consultants need to work in tandem with the highest authorities of an organization, such as the President or the Board of Directors. They recommend plans and policies to the decision makers and work during the pre-implementation phase.
2. Operations Consulting:
What an operations consultant does, differs in its scope from the roles and responsibilities of a strategy consultant.
Instead of developing strategies which will help an organization in the long run, an operations consultant addresses current issues that affect the progress of a business.
This kind of consulting, unlike strategy consulting, involves working hand-in-hand with the decision makers during the implementation and post-implementation phase.
3. Technology Consulting:
As the name suggests, this career choice lays emphasis on how technology can be beneficial for a company. This could include IT compliance, data analytics, information security and scalability.
Other than having an MBA, it is also essential that a technology consultant is adept in the intricacies of the IT discipline.
4. HR Consulting:
From recruitment to employee engagement, an HR consultant is considered to be the superhero of any business. As an HR consultant, an MBA degree helps you learn how to frame human resource policies, manage people and address their concerns tactfully.
In fact, it is an HR consultant who acts as the bridge between employers and employees.
B-schools renowned for Consulting
– Kellogg School of Management
– Tuck School of Business
– Harvard Business School
To find out more about Consulting as a career path post-MBA, read our post on Post-MBA Careers: Consulting 101
Career Paths in Operations
Just as any business cannot take off without its sales function, it cannot sustain without a strong operations team. The operations function deals with the delivery of a service or product to customers. Check out the job opportunities available within the scope of operations:
1. Operations Consulting:
An operations consultant finds solutions to questions such as “What are we doing wrong?” and “How can we do things differently and more effectively?”
Irrespective of which industry you work for, an operations consultant plays an invaluable role in the growth of a company.
2. Operations Management:
If you’ve always like keeping a track of trends in supply chain management and logistics, chances are you’ll excel in operations management.
Operations management deals with framing and implementation of business practices that help an organization carry out day to day business effectively. Be it optimal utilization of resources or improvement of productivity, an operations manager has to shoulder a wide range of responsibilities, depending on the level at which he works.
B-schools that specialize in Operations:
– MIT Sloan
– UNC Kenan-Flagler
To know in detail about a career in operations, read Post-MBA Careers: Operations
Career Paths in Finance
Who doesn’t love money? If you eat, sleep and drink money, and if you’re keen on helping a company manage their moolah, you might want to consider a rewarding career in finance. Here are the ample options you can explore in finance after an MBA:
1. Corporate Finance:
If you were one of those rare students in school who had a love affair with numbers, or if you have an affinity to statistics, you could consider corporate finance as a successful career.
In such a role you would be working in the CFO- office of a large company making decisions related to investments, shares, credit, all keeping in mind the company’s budget.
From ensuring that your company has adequate finances, to choosing the right source of funds and utilizing them to generate maximum revenue for the firm—a finance manager has to shoulder big responsibilities. This role would also include capital budgeting, hedging funds and making important investment decisions
2. Investment Banking:
If terms such as “capital markets”, “acquisitions”, “mergers”, “bond financing” and “underwriting of deals” leave you exhilarated instead of flustered, you should undoubtedly think of becoming an investment banker.
As an investment bank associate you will be responsible for assisting organizations raise funds for expanding business. You would also have to advise the company based on their financial assets and liabilities.
3. Private Equity:
A Private Equity Analyst helps companies invest in other firms through various kinds of funding, such as IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) and Equity Financing.
This role involves extensive research and analysis using a variety of financial modeling strategies. An expert in private equity manages the investment funds of a company.
This career choice involves a thorough knowledge of the different types and sizes of firms. It also necessitates the ability to make informed investment decisions.
4. Venture Capital
Venture capitalists are responsible for performing due diligence on potential business enterprises that corporate establishments have decided to invest in. Before an investment is finalized, a venture capitalist has to scrutinize financial documents and bank statements of any startup.
Based on his/her report, a business’ potential for growth and profit is assessed and informed decisions are taken. Hence, if you are drawn to wherever money is, this could be a coveted job opportunity.
B-schools Renowned For Finance
– Chicago Booth
– NYU Stern
– Cornell Johnson
– London Business School
– IIM A
If you need more information, read our blog post on Post MBA Careers: Finance
Career as an Entrepreneur
In recent years, the trend of pursuing an MBA with the goal of becoming an entrepreneur, has drastically taken off.
Though starting a business was earlier considered a risky proposition and the “business mentality” was often looked down upon, times have changed.
Many working professionals are ready to give up their high-paying jobs and begin a venture of their own—all for the satisfaction of treading a different path.
B-schools Renowned for Entrepreneurs
– Harvard Business School
– Stanford’s Graduate School of Business
– MIT’s Sloan School of Management
– Chicago Booth School
– Columbia Business School
So which career path do you want to tread upon after MBA? Tell us in the comments below.
Are you wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year? Let us help you!
Get your Profile Evaluated!
This is the first blog in our series on Post-MBA Careers. Stay tuned for more insights in the coming weeks!
The hero of our story is an enthusiastic MBA Aspirant. For the sake of brevity, let’s call him EMA. In this short chat session, he is discussing his career goals.
Qn: What is your short-term career goal?
EMA (confident): I want to be a Management Consultant.
Qn: You want to be a Business Consultant, a Strategy Consultant or a Tech Consultant?
EMA (thinking ‘What’s the difference?’): Er… Strategy Consultant?
Qn: Okay. Which firm do you want to work with?
EMA (sweating): Er… McKinsey…
Qn: Why McKinsey? Why not any of the others? Why not Kurt Salmon?
EMA (thinking ‘Because that’s the only name I’ve heard of!’): Er…
At the end of the tête-à-tête, EMA decides that there’s more to this Consulting business than meets the eye.
EMA is not alone – 7 out of 10 MBA aspirants say that their career goal is Management Consulting. But very few of them have the first clue about what a consultant does or what it really takes to become one. The objective of this blog is to give all the EMAs out there a clearer idea about Management Consulting as a career option.
Who is a Consultant?
Companies often encounter business problems such as new product launches, revamping operations, entering new territories, redesigning the organizational structure etc. While some companies have in-house consulting teams to evaluate such strategic and tactical problems, many others approach external Consulting firms to do this for them.
In a nutshell, a consultant is an external advisor who steps in to study a business problem and make recommendations to help the client solve it.
What are the different types of Consulting?
Answering the question “What Should The Client Do?”, Strategy Consulting is aimed at the general direction an organization should take, its long term plans, its organic and inorganic growth strategy, and increasing profitability. Strategy consultants interact directly with the CEO, President, Country Head or Board of Directors of the client company. They mostly recommend solutions and conduct workshops or sessions to help the client implement them, but are rarely involved in the actual implementation phase.
Top Strategy Consulting firms: McKinsey, BCG, Bain & Co., Booz etc.
Answering the question “What Is The Client Doing Wrong And How Can It Be Done In A Better Way?” The scope of Operations Consulting includes evaluation of the functioning of the client’s business, operations or processes. Projects could range from resource optimization and productivity enhancements to process re-engineering and supply chain design. Operational consultants – particularly at the senior level – would typically require functional or industry expertise and typically engage with the Vice President or Business Head of particular divisions of the client company. Operations Consulting firms often work with their clients in the implementation and post-implementation phases. The 4 strategy consulting firms mentioned above also come out top in the operations consulting category, but are usually uninvolved in the implementation.
Top Operations Consulting firms: Deloitte, Accenture, AT Kearney, IBM, PwC etc.
Focus on how best to leverage technology to help organizations grow. The scope includes IT scalability, security, design and development, analytics, compliance etc. Due to the nature of their work, technology consultants are experts in their field, but do not necessarily have intricate knowledge of the functioning of the client business.
Top Tech Consulting firms: Deloitte, Accenture, Capgemini, IBM etc.
Human Resource Consulting:
The scope ranges from organizational development, HR policy, people strategy, actuary and organizational design and restructuring, to managing human resources (recruitment, engagement etc.)
Top HR Consulting firms: Towers Watson, Mercer, Aon Hewitt, Hay Group etc.
Boutique consulting firms focus on niche industries in which they have expertise. While working with boutique firms can be as challenging as working with strategy/operations firms, some boutiques may have a regional client base. Therefore, travel opportunities to client locations may be fewer. Similarly, the teams tend to be smaller and client interaction more in boutique consulting.
Top Boutique Consulting firms: LEK Consulting (M&A), OC&C and Parthenon (Private Equity), Kurt Salmon (Retail & CPG), Cornerstone Research (Economic Consulting) etc.
What Does It Take To Become A Consultant?
Interpersonal and Communication skills
Ability to deal with uncertainty and change
During recruitment, consulting firms look at spikes in 3 areas of your profile:
(1) Academic potential: Your GPA, the schools you attended and even your GMAT score
(2) Work experience: Your role, performance at work, promotions and pedigree of the companies you worked with
(3) Extracurricular achievements: What outstanding/exceptional accomplishments do you have outside of work?
If they see something they like in these areas, you will be called for an interview. The interviews of most major consulting firms will involve case study analyses. You can look at sample interview case studies from McKinsey and Bain
Career Progression in Consulting
With only a graduate degree, you may be able to work with a consulting firm as an Analyst (the smallest cog in the wheel!), but this is one of the few professions in which you need to have an MBA degree to progress to the next level. i.e. Associate.
This is the typical career progression in a consulting firm:
Management consulting is a field that has cutthroat competition – the motto of most top consulting firms is “Move up, or move out!” There are many Associates who somehow do not manage to make it to the Principal level, and many Principals who are somehow not made Partners. They will be eased out of the door sooner or later.
But here’s the good news – just the fact that they’ve worked with a McKinsey or a BCG is enough for numerous doors to open elsewhere! They will get red carpet treatment from other firms for senior management roles – thus, as an ex-consultant, you will never be out in the job market looking for openings.
A Career In Consulting: The Pros and Cons
Pros: The prestige, the opportunity to work with senior client executives (at Principal levels and above), excellent learning and training opportunities and fancy paychecks
Cons: 70-hour work weeks (Management consultants top the list of professionals with the highest divorce rates!) and crazy travel schedules (often to unheard-of places with no facilities)
Further Reading: To learn more about the world of Consulting, do read The McKinsey Way.
Read our next blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Sales & Marketing
Are you wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year? Let us help you!
Get your Profile Evaluated!
If you get into a top MBA program either in India or abroad, there is a chance that the school might provide you with a non-cosigner, non-collateral loan.
What does this mean? It means that the school itself will stand as your guarantor.
Think about it! What are the chances that a person who has completed a Harvard Business School MBA would default on a loan – risking credit history and employability?
Here is a list of schools in the US that offer a non-cosigner loan in India:
1. Harvard Business School
Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU) provides private educational loans to international students with no co-signer.
For more details visit: http://www.hbs.edu/mba/financial-aid/international-students/Pages/default.aspx
2. Stanford Global School Of Business
Stanford GSB works with Prodigy Finance and Star One Credit Union to provide loan options for international students.
To know more: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/programs/mba/financial-aid/international-students
3. Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Wharton has a new partnership with Quorum Federal Credit Union that will provide a non-cosigned loan up to 80% of the MBA Course fee for incoming international students.
For more details: https://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/tuition-financial-aid/
4. Cornell University
Johnson has partnered with QUORUM Federal Credit Union to offer a no co-signer loan at a competitive rate to International students for their full-time two-year MBA and one-year MBA programs.
For more details: http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Programs/Full-Time-MBA/Admissions/Financial-Planning/International-Students
5. Duke Fuqua School of Business
Duke Fuqua School of Business, in association with Discover Student Loans provides a no co-signer loan to eligible international candidates. This plan enables students to take a loan up to 80% of the total school-certified cost of attendance at an interest rate of 7.24%
6. Haas School of Business
Haas School of Business, in partnership with Elements Financial and Discover Bank, provides a no co-signer loan up to $62,000 to eligible international candidates, with a 20 year repayment option.
For more details, see: http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/finaid/MBA/international-loans.html
7. Yale School of Management (SOM)
Yale SOM has a student loan program for international students that does not require a U.S. co-signer. The program provides a maximum loan of 80% of cost of attendance with an interest rate varying from 6.5% to 9%, depending on a credit risk assessment.
For more details, see: http://som.yale.edu/programs/emba/admissions/tuition-financial-aid/student-loans
8. The Darden School of Business
The Darden School of Business and the Darden School Foundation have signed a multi-year MBA Loan Program agreement with Discover Bank. The Maximum borrowing limit is $89,000 with a standard repayment term of 20 years.
Learn more here: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/mba/financial-aid/loans/
9. UCLA Anderson
UCLA Anderson has partnered with Elements Financial Finance to provide no co-signer loans up to $100,000 ($50,000 per year) for International students.
Know more: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/degrees/mba-program/admit-central/financing-your-mba/financing-options
10. Kenan-Flagler Business School
Kenan-Flagler Business School has tied up with Credila to provide no co-signer loans exclusively for Indian students.
For more details, see: http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/admissions/mba/tuition-financial-aid/student-loans
11. MIT Sloan
MIT Sloan provides no co-signer student loan funds for International students through the MIT Federal Credit Union, except for students from countries on the current OFAC sanctions list.
You may have realized that not many of the top business schools have such tie-ups. This is because after 2008, (which was when the financial meltdown happened), banks became more wary of giving loans at low interest rates to international students.
However, if you do get an admit to a school which has such a tie-up, it should be a no-brainer.
Your entire fees get covered! What more could you ask for?
After the market crash in 2008, banks stopped offering non-collateral loans very easily, and if they did, the amount offered without collateral was rather low. Other financial institutions saw this as a huge opportunity to build their own business, and started providing non-collateral education loans at high rates of interest.
This article provides information about non-banking institutions that provide non-collateral education loans for MBA.
Avanse provides unsecured loans up to INR 50 lakhs. The rate of interest that Avanse typically charges for education loans is 12.75%; this rate might be higher in some scenarios.
For more information, see http://www.avanse.com/start-smart
The Paras Education Foundation
There is no limit on the amount that can be borrowed under the Paras Education Loan Scheme. You can avail of loans to meet the full amount covering your tuition fees and living expenses, after deducting any scholarships and financial aid.
Paras Education Loans are available at an interest rate of 3.5% to 6.5%, linked to the Wall Street Journal Prime Lending Rate (PLR).
Typically no collateral, physical mortgage, security, or margin money is required for the Paras Education Loan. A valid and credit-worthy co-signer may be required but the co-signer is not required to provide any collateral, physical mortgage, security, or margin money.
For more information, see: https://www.isloan.org/
For MBA Students, Prodigy Finance provides up to 80% Cost of Attendance (as provided by the school) with a minimum loan size of Rs 15,000.
The interest rate varies from 5.0% to 7.5% (fixed) over the three month GBP Libor or USD Libor Base Rate (variable). Rates are dependent on individual applicant profiles.
For more information, see https://prodigyfinance.com/
Currently, the maximum an individual can borrow from MPOWER is $50,000. This is limited to $25,000 for each academic period.
Their fixed interest rates are between 7.99% (8.85%APR) and 13.99% (14.87% APR). You can receive a 0.25% rate discount by repaying your loan through automatic withdrawal, and an additional 0.25% discount for making 24 consecutive on-time payments while repaying your loan through automatic withdrawal.
Rates are dependent on individual applicant profiles.
For more information, see https://www.mpowerfinancing.com/
Candidates can apply for a loan up to a sum of $25,000 from Stilt. Their interest rate varies from 10% to 15.99%
For more information, see: https://www.stilt.co/
Credila provides a maximum loan amount of INR 20 lakhs for higher education abroad and INR 10 lakhs for higher education in India. Their interest rates starts from 9.33%.
For more information, see http://www.credila.com/abroad/partial-list-of-universities-funded.html
GyanDhan provides loans up to INR 30 lakhs. For collateral loans, the interest rate starts from 9.1% while for non-collateral loans, the interest starts at 11.5%.
For more information, see https://www.gyandhan.com/
Many schools offer scholarships but you cannot bank on doing your MBA using just scholarships. You have to be a little careful with that one. That said, many schools, especially after the rank of 15 or 20, offer substantial scholarships if you have a very high GMAT score, and if your profile is very good.
We have had such students at CrackVerbal. We would be happy if you contacted us; we can share profiles of students who got as much as 70 to 80% of their tuition expense waived off. This means that their MBA was done in around INR 20 lakhs. There are scholarships, for example, the Reliance-Stanford scholarship which offers 100% of your Stanford MBA in return for you coming back to India and working here. There are some clauses you might want to look at, but scholarships are definitely an option that you could consider.
Here are the scholarship details of some top B-schools:
Harvard Business School
This school provides need-based fellowships to students with limited financial resources. The special interest fellowships are for those with various interests or backgrounds.
50% of HBS students are eligible for need-based Fellowships.
These scholarships include The Robert S. Kaplan (MBA 1983) Life Sciences Fellowship (for students interested in a science-based career), Junior Achievement Fellowship( for students with Junior Achievement experience) and Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowship (non-profit).
Click here for more info – http://www.hbs.edu/mba/financial-aid/international-students/Pages/default.aspx
Stanford MBA scholarship
All MBA students, regardless of citizenship, are eligible for financial aid. Due to the rigorous nature of our MBA curriculum, they don’t recommend that students rely on part-time work to cover the cost of the program.
The Stanford GSB Financial Aid Office offers “need-based” fellowship and not merit-based fellowships
The Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program provides future Indian leaders with the educational foundation for affecting positive change in India. Every year up to five students are selected for the program with a condition to return to India to lead organizations that are at the forefront of growth and development in the rapidly emerging Indian economy.
Click here for more info – https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/programs/mba/financial-aid/us-citizens-permanent-residents
London Business School
London Business School offers a wide range of scholarships. Most of the scholarships are available to successful applicants who apply in Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the MBA application process.
You’ll find out more about scholarships, including how to apply, when you receive your offer.
All these scholarships are subject to change without notice.
INSEAD Scholarships are the most sought-after source of financial assistance. The number of scholarships is limited, and there is significant competition for each award. These scholarships are granted under various criteria, and there are essentially two basic categories of scholarships:
- Need-based: demonstrate financial need
- Non-need based: based on either merit, nationality, gender, professional background, leadership abilities, field of previous studies, etc.
For all INSEAD scholarships, they require applicants to provide accurate details of their financial situation.
Click here for more info – https://www.insead.edu/master-programmes/mba/financing
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)
Scholarships and fellowships are awarded to full-time MBA candidates who exhibit a high degree of potential for success in the program and in their careers
National University of Singapore
The National University of Singapore (NUS) offers a number of merit based scholarship schemes to better support and ease the financial burden of students.
Once admitted into the HEC Paris MBA Program, you will have the opportunity to apply for HEC MBA Scholarships. These scholarships are highly competitive. Once admitted, you will receive guidance from your Admissions Officer to apply for a scholarship.
Wharton MBA scholarship
Wharton provides a broad range of scholarship opportunities for exceptional students.
Some of the fellowships offered include the emerging economy Fellowships (students from emerging economies), Joseph Wharton Fellowships (outstanding achievements), Howard E. Mitchell Fellowships (outstanding students from under-represented backgrounds) and Social Impact Fellowships (public or not-for-profit sector).
Click here for more info – https://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/tuition-financial-aid/
In addition to the Park Fellowships, Johnson has over $1.5 million in merit-based scholarship funds to award each year to new students
Chicago Booth scholarships
All Chicago Booth scholarships and fellowships are awarded based on merit. The eligibility for many of the fellowship programs is decided by the criteria of individual alumni and foundation donors.
There are several scholarship programs like India Trust Fellowship (for those living and working in India), The Wallman Fellowship (for women from underrepresented minority groups) and the Akhtarali H. Tobaccowala Fellowship (for students from India)
Click Here for more info – https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/tuition-financial-aid
Said Business School
For over two-thirds of Oxford scholarships, nothing more than the standard course application is usually required. If you fulfill the eligibility criteria, your will automatically be considered.
There are various fellowships available like the Forté Foundation Fellowships (Two scholarships of £15,000 for female candidates), Alumni Annual Fund Scholarships (academic excellence ) and Saïd Business School Foundation Scholarships (strong career progression and excellent career potential)
Some scholarships you have an obligation to submit a scholarship essay.
To find out more about the scholarships available at Oxford, and how to apply for scholarships which require applications, please use the Fees, funding and scholarship search.
You are considered for scholarships when you apply to the Full-Time MBA Program, and you are notified of any award when you are admitted. This applies to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international students.
No separate application is required.
Awards are based on academic ability, professional and personal achievements, and potential to contribute to our community.
Scholarships range from $5,000 to full tuition.
Many private organizations offer scholarships and fellowships to graduate students in all fields. The UCLA Graduate Division offers an excellent resource for finding these external awards
IMD offers a variety of merit and need-based MBA scholarships. Applicants may apply to several simultaneously. However, only one scholarship is awarded per candidate.
Scholarships granted are subject to nomination by the scholarship selection committee, acceptance into the program and confirmation of your intention to participate in the program by paying the advance deposit.
The various scholarships include MBA Class Scholarship for Emerging Markets (good academic results (GMAT), strong reference letters & steady career progression), IMD MBA Future Leaders Scholarships (exceptional leadership understanding – essay based), & Nestlé Scholarship for Women (women from developing countries)
IMD reserves the right not to award a scholarship if the criteria are not met to the satisfaction of the jury/sponsors.
IE School of Business
About 40% of the students receive every year some help between 15% and 45% of the cost of tuition.
The scholarships program of the IE Foundation offers multiple targeting options for different profiles, giving different amounts and to a limited number of candidates depending on each year’s budget.
Click here for more info – https://www.ie.edu/financial-aid/
There are several scholarships and tuition waivers offered by the School, as well as by companies, consultancy firms, and other organizations.
These are usually awarded before the Program begins.
Admission to the Program is independent of the allocation of any scholarship or tuition waiver.
Melbourne Business School
Generous scholarships are available to students to support their full-time study for an MBA at Melbourne Business School (MBS).
There are scholarship opportunities for candidates applying in any round who meet the specific criteria and some scholarships are connected to each Round.
To be considered for their Scholarships you must first complete an online application and refer to the application deadlines for the specified round date.
All full-time MBA students, who have been successful in obtaining a place in the program, are automatically considered for scholarship support. Therefore you do not need to submit a separate application for a scholarship.
When you receive an offer of admission into the MBA program, you will be advised of any scholarship award and if additional documentation is required.
Click here to know more – https://mbs.edu/above-search-links/current-students/scholarships
Yale School Of Management
Yale School Of Management provides a small number of partial scholarships to exceptional candidates for the MBA for Executives program.
Recipients of these highly selective awards will have to demonstrate a track record of outstanding leadership at the intersection of business and society.
Scholarships will be awarded to individuals whom the selection committee members believe will enhance the program experience through their distinctive perspectives and experiences. In addition to merit, demonstrated financial need will play a major role in determining award recipients
Click Here to know more – http://som.yale.edu/programs/mba/admissions/financing-your-mba
ESADE Business School offers and awards a considerable number of scholarships to outstanding Full-Time MBA candidates during their admissions process.
Most of these Scholarships are possible by the allocation of the Business School funds, as well as the generosity of our donors and alumni contribution. The aim is to recognize and encourage talented candidates applying to ESADE Business School.
There are two criteria in which the scholarship can be evaluated. The Talent criteria evaluate the academic excellence, personal achievements, proven professional acumen and a determination to influence the future of business.
The Need based criteria, evaluates not only the merit profile but also the financial need of the candidate.
Click Here to know more – http://www.esade.edu/ftmba/eng/fees-financing/mba-scholarships
Imperial College London
Imperial College Business School offers a significant scholarship funding to their most talented applicants.
A range of scholarships are available and all self-funded candidates are automatically considered for all scholarship schemes for which they meet the eligibility criteria and application deadlines.
The University of St.Gallen MBA is committed to help outstanding individuals from various regions around the world.
There are several scholarships offered like the Expert Scholarship (For candidates with academic background in sciences or engineering), Emerging Markets Scholarship (For candidates from emerging markets), Outstanding Candidates Scholarship, & MBA Event Scholarship (For candidates who meet one of their Recruitment Managers face-to-face at regional fairs or events)
Warwick School of Business
A number of scholarships are available to students admitted into the Warwick Full-Time MBA.
This is to promote gender, geographic and sector diversity, alongside recognition for academic and professional excellence. WBS scholarships are highly competitive and awarded on the basis of three broad criteria: Academic performance including GMAT score, strong career profile and the ability to fulfill future ambassadorial duties for the school.
Up to 20% of admitted Full-time students are awarded a merit-based scholarship. Awards range from partial to full tuition and fees. All full-time applicants (both domestic and international) will be considered and reviewed for merit-based awards.
Click here to know more – http://www.stern.nyu.edu/portal-partners/financial-aid/loans/private-loans/international-students
There are a number of scholarships available through both Goizueta and partnerships with local and national organizations.
Okay, so you are planning to do an MBA from a top business school such as Harvard in the US, INSEAD in Europe, or ISB in India.
You are fairly confident of cracking the GMAT, and you feel that your profile is good enough to get a foot in the door for the interview.
However, you are still worried about the ROI of an MBA!
You have read that a two-year MBA can cost upwards of a crore! That is 10000000!
Heck! you can’t even count the zeros without putting your finger below the text.
If you are wondering how to fund your MBA abroad when you don’t have that much money in the bank (of course you don’t), you have come to the right place.
In this blog, we are going to cover a LOT of ways in which you can get loans and scholarships to fund your MBA. By the end of this blog you will know exactly what to do. It might make sense for you to even bookmark this blog right away!
1. Non-cosigner Loans Given by the MBA Program
There are a good number of US B-schools offering student loans without a U.S. co-signer. This means that the B-school itself will stand as your guarantor.
Here is a list of a few US colleges which provide a non-cosigner loan to international students:
Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Yale, Berkeley Haas, Tuck, NYU Stern, Duke Fuqua, Cornell Johnson.
If you want to learn more about non-cosigner loans, see our detailed blog on
2. Non-collateral Education Loans by Indian Banks
Almost all Indian banks work with the following rules:
- In India, you can easily get a non-collateral loan up to INR four lakhs.
- For amounts up to INR 7.5 lakhs, the bank will assess the risk involved, before making the decision to grant the loan.
- For any sum above INR 7.5 lakhs, you need to show collateral to the bank.
The loans from India are either collateral, or non-collateral.
Non-collateral loans may be offered against your admission to a top B-school, but typically, the maximum offered is somewhere near INR 10 Lakhs, while the norm is closer to INR 5 to 6 lakhs.
If you look at collateral loans, they are granted against property that you mortgage. However, the upper limit could be very high, depending on what you have mortgaged.
Following are some of the top banks which offer study loans by exceeding the limit of the loan without issues of collateral security:
Here is the list of banks in India where you would get a non-collateral loan if you make it to ISB:
For more information, see http://www.isb.edu/pgp/fees-financing/loans
3. Non-collateral Education Loans by Non-Banks/Specialized Institutes
Nowadays, many non-banking institutions provide unsecured loans, i.e., loans without pledging collateral, as typically, banks do not extend loans beyond 7.5 lakhs without collateral.
The amount that a student can borrow varies, depending on the B-School and the cost of tuition for the program. In most cases, the student can borrow up to the full cost of tuition. However, this also varies, depending on the profile of the individual applicant.
Though non-banking institutions such as Avanse, Prodigy Finance, Stilt & Credila provide higher value loans without collateral, they also charge a higher rate of interest when compared to banks.
See the list of various Non Banking Institutes that offer Non-Collateral education Loans to Indian students.
This is something that a lot of people ignore. But when you look at self finance, you’re going to look at every little thing. You don’t look at just the bank account but also look at mutual funds, provident funds, and maybe gratuity. You’re looking at all the money you have invested in other places, such as bonds or fixed deposits. If you have a bike or a car you can sell, you can get some money.
If you are living in a rented house, you probably have a deposit; you can get the deposit back. Even something as simple as liquidating an asset on OLX could better your financial situation. It sounds stupid but people really sell electronic items they have, and may not use. You could possibly look at getting money that way.
5. Soft Loans
Something that a lot of people do not consider. Typically, you get a soft loan from friends, family and what is known as “fools”. You want to get a loan from someone who can lend you about INR 5 to 10 lakhs for a couple of years, and you give your word of honour. It’s maybe an uncle in London who can give you INR 10 lakhs, and you can pay him after you start working.
An MBA scholarship can ease your financial burden to a large extent but to get a good scholarship, you often need a very high GMAT score, and an excellent profile.
Many top MBA colleges offer various scholarships, and there is a general perception that these scholarships are difficult to get considering the number of students applying for them. It might be difficult but surely not an impossible task.
The scholarships are generally classified into merit-based and need-based.
Need-based scholarships are given after considering your financial background, including various assets and liabilities, while the merit based scholarships are offered based on your GMAT score and profile.
If you are looking at scholarship as an option, do check our blog on the various scholarships offered by Top B-schools.
7. Collateral Loans in India
If you look at collateral loans, you pretty much know the interest rates that typically work, and you get the loan against property that you mortgage.
You can get up to 85% of the expense as a loan if you have sufficient assets to show.
The upper limit however, could be very high, depending on what you have mortgaged.
8. Co-signer Loans in the US
While applying for an education loan, international students have two options: the no co-signer option, and the co-signer option.
We have already covered the no co-signer option at the beginning of this blog. We will now talk about the second alternative, the co-signer loan option.
Co-signing mainly involves getting someone who’s been in the U.S. for a while to sign the loan contract with you.
Yes! You are still liable to pay the debt after you graduate but if you fail to pay off the debt after you graduate, your co-signer comes into the picture.
With the co-signer option, the bank reduces their risk by having an opportunity to recover their money from the co-signer.
Being a co-signer comes with some risk, and that’s the reason co-signers are often skeptical about it as their credit ranking and history would be in jeopardy.
Some of the institutions that provide loans to international students with a US co-signer are Wells Fargo, Citizens Bank, Sallie Mae, Union Federal, and Discover.
In a nutshell, there are five important ways to fund your MBA at a top B-School. You could get a no co-signer loan from a bank that the college is tied up with. You could get an Indian loan against collateral, or no collateral. Third, look at self finance. Fourth, look at soft-loans from friends and family, and fifth, look at scholarships.
If you found our article useful, do share it with your friends who are looking to pursue their MBA abroad, or at ISB, India.
Thank you, and if you have any questions, feel free to comment; we’ll be glad to help you. Thank You!
Wondering which top B-School you can get into this year? Let us help you!
If you’re reading this, you’ve either got an admit to a B-school or you’re considering applying to one. Either way, good for you. This post is to help you on financing your MBA.
An MBA will, most probably, be the costliest acquisition you will make in the next ten years. Hence, it pays to do your homework and get things right.
Things to budget:
The average tuition for a two-year MBA program exceeds $60,000. If you attend one of the top business schools in the U.S., you can expect to pay as much as $100,000 or more in tuition and fees. Obviously, this number will be lower for one-year programs.
2. Books and Supplies
Includes course material, laptops (some schools such as NUS, mention configurations), and stationery.
If you can cook, good for you; but budget for cost of supplies and time constraints, which might force you to dine out.
4. Personal and Health
Personal items, including your clothing and other necessary supplies, such as toiletries and utensils. Health Insurance is mandatory. Check with the schools on their policies.
Depending on location and type of accommodation, this could be a significant cost.
Budget for daily transport and necessary overseas tours or trips.
B-school can be grueling and a timely break will prevent burnouts. Also, considering you will be living in that country for some years, it is a good idea to immerse yourself in the culture and experience life as a native.
Always wise to budget about 5-10% of the overall budget for unexpected costs.
Websites like Numbeo and Living Wage can give you a fair indication about the cost of living.
We would advise you to connect with alumni of the respective schools to get a more pragmatic picture of the same.
Reducing your costs:
1. Scholarships / Fellowships
Most schools offer scholarships based on need and merit. Do check out your eligibility for these opportunities. The chances of availing fee-waivers are indirectly proportional to the ranking of the B-school. For instance, if you have a GMAT of 690 and the average GMAT at your target school is 650, you stand a higher chance to get an admit and a scholarship at this school.. Duke Fuqua is one of the rare top 10 B-schools that regularly gives 100% fee-waivers to international students.
Chicago Booth and Stanford GSB also offer substantial India-centric scholarships. But, the number of such scholarships doled out is very small and the bar to land them is quite high. So have realistic expectations from B-school scholarships when you plan your MBA finances.
Watch out for:
– Government initiatives
– Private Endowments (For instance, the ArcelorMittal Scholarship awarded to Kellogg students who show a potential and interest in working in emerging economies.)
– Research Organizations’scholarships
– India Centric Scholarships: For example, the Reliance Scholarship, which offers 5 full scholarships for Indian students going to Stanford on condition that they return to India after two years of working abroad to contribute to the development of the country; The scholarships offered by the Tobaccowala Foundation of India to Indian students at Chicago Booth etc.
2. Research and Teaching Assistantships
Paid teaching and/or research assistantships are available each academic year in most B-schools. This is a unique opportunity to make some extra money while also getting the opportunity to work with some of the school’s pioneering faculty members as they develop cutting-edge research and breakthrough industry innovations.
However, most courses are rigorous and may not leave much time for part-time work on campus.
3. Company Sponsorships
Some companies, especially Fortune 100 corporations, assume partial or the entire cost of an MBA program (assuming one earns satisfactory grades). This is an ideal situation for many professionals. But, of course, it might entail working for the company for a stipulated period of time post-MBA. So if your goal is to continue working for the same organization after your MBA, try to get your employers to sponsor you. 🙂
The bulk of your MBA costs would be financed through student loans. Although RBI has directed banks to facilitate financial assistance for students pursuing studies abroad the eligibility for these loans varies depending on the bank.
Some parameters on which to evaluate a bank loan are:
1. Interest rates
Interest rates vary depending on the bank’s benchmark prime lending rate (PLR).
Some B-schools have affiliations with international banks, which might offer cheaper interest rates.
2. Collateral required
Most banks will ask you for some kind of a collateral. If you are joining a top B-school, this requirement might be waived. Credila, a subsidiary of HDFC, is a specialist in educational loans and is open to funding up to 80% of your cost.
For US-based B-schools, the popular option is to go for co-signor backed loans. i.e. a guardian in the US will guarantee that if you can’t pay the loan back, he will. So now would be a good time to get back in touch with your rich relative in the US!
3. Repayment schedule
Generally, repayment is in the form of equated monthly installments (EMIs) and commences one year after completion of course or six months after securing a job, whichever is earlier. The repayment tenure can be from 5 to 7 years.
See FAQ, here
See country specific options here
Although the cost may appear to be staggering, investing in an MBA will serve you well for 20-30 years of your professional life. The key element to bear in mind is ROI.
Start your research today to make an informed decision!
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Welcome to another week of Wednesday Wisdom. Today I’m going to talk about a question that is probably bothering people even before they get started with the whole GMAT preparation. The question is – How do I finance my MBA?
Essentially if you look at it, there are about 5 basic ways in which you can sponsor yourself:
Those that are offered by the college through banks with whom they have exclusive tie-ups. In short if you go to ISB, you probably have a dozen nationalized banks which are waiting to give you a loan. Or if you were to go to a top school in the U.S. such as Harvard or Stanford, you definitely don’t need to worry about getting funding, i.e. getting a loan.
They usually have an exclusive tie-up. Many other schools, especially the ones which are slightly lower down the order, I would say starting rank 10 onwards, many-a-times, they don’t have such a tie-up which means they would probably be able to give you 20-30% but not the 100%. But that is the number one option, especially for a top school.
2. A loan from India
The loans from India are collateral and non-collateral. Non-collateral loans can be offered against your admission to a top B-school, but typically their cap is somewhere less than INR 10 Lakhs, maximum. But typically around 5 to 6 lakhs. If you look at collateral loans then pretty much you know the interest rates that typically work and it is going to be against property that you will mortgage. The upper limit however, could be very high depending on what is it that you have mortgaged.
3. Self Finance
This is something that a lot of people ignore. But when you look at self finance, you’re going to look at every little thing. You don’t look at just the bank account but you also look at mutual funds, provident funds, maybe gratuity. You’re looking at all the money you have invested in other places like bonds or fixed deposits. If you have a bike or a car which you sell, you can get money out of that.
If you are living in a rented house you probably have a deposit so you can get the deposit back. It could be something even as simple as liquidating an asset on OLX, it sounds stupid but really a lot of people sell off electronic stuff they have got and may not use. So you could possibly look at getting money that way.
Something that a lot of people do not consider. Typically you get a soft loan from friends, family and what is known as “fools”. But really you want to get a loan from someone who can lend you about 5-10 Lakhs for a couple of years and you really have your word of honour. It’s maybe an uncle in London who can give you 10 Lakhs and you can always pay him once you start working.
What happens in scholarships is that a lot schools offer scholarships but just that you cannot bank on your MBA just by scholarships. You have to be a little careful with that one. Having said that, a lot of schools which especially after the rank of 15, 20, if you have a very high GMAT score and if your profile is very good, offer substantial scholarships.
We have had students at CrackVerbal, and I’m happy if you contact us, we can share some profiles where they have got as much as 70-80% of their tuition expense waived off. Which meant that their MBA was done in maybe around 20 Lakhs. So there are scholarships, for example there is a Reliance-Stanford scholarship which offers 100% of your Stanford MBA in return of you coming back to India and working here. There are some clauses you might want to look at, but scholarships are definitely an option that you could consider.
In a nutshell, 5 things – You either get a loan from a bank that the college is tied up with. You get an Indian loan against collateral, or no collateral. Third, look at self finance. Fourth, look at soft-loans from friends and family and fifth scholarships.
Thank you and if you have any questions, feel free to comment we’ll be glad to help you. Thank you! 🙂
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You are bored with your job – the long working hours, the coding or the calls, and the same old deliverables. You start thinking of ways to get out of this rut. As the luxury of the corner office (or maybe just a larger cubicle) beckons the better-manager-than-coder within you, you wonder if there some way you can take a shot at management.
Here is the good news: there are some excellent career paths in store for you, provided you have a strong interest in technology. You can go down this path the easy way (through an MBA) or the hard way (keep at it for more years and go up through the ranks). On second thought, the MBA route isn’t particularly easy – but it is still relatively faster. 🙂
But what about non-IT folks who want to work in technology?
Gee, it is rare to see someone from a non-Tech background wishing to make a breakthrough into this field – but if you do fall into this category, remember that more than anything, you will need to justify in your B-school application:
Your passion for and knowledge of technology, irrespective of what field you are in currently
Why you want to make a career switch to technology at this stage in your career
This is because, at the end of the day, you need to have strong tech fundamentals and a keen interest in the field, to don a leadership role.
Career Paths in Technology
Let us now look at two of the other technology careers available to MBAs:
1. Project Management:
If you are tech-savvy, and are looking for a post-MBA career path that requires you to be a technical expert, but also handle managerial functions, then project management maybe your cup of tea. A technical project manager is responsible for organizing and managing projects from start to completion.
He or she has to find the fine balance between technical expertise and managerial skills. This role involves project scoping, scheduling, budgeting and managing risks associated with delivery. A project manager will have to manage the internal project delivery team, as well as customers, and will be a single point of contact for all matters related to the project.
Typical Career Path in Project Management
What Does It Take To Build A Career In Project Management?
Excellent communication skills
Work management skills: organizing, delegating etc.
Analytical and problem-solving skills
Big Data seems to be the watchword in the industry right now and analytics is considered one of the hottest areas to be in right now. By definition, a business analyst’s job is to analyze datasets, systems and business models from the perspective of identifying trends and business needs, designing processes and translating business requirements in terms of technology. A business analyst may be given other titles also, like process consultant, functional analyst, systems analyst or systems architect, depending on the organization.
Typical Career Path of a Business Analyst
What does it take to build a career in Analytics?
Data modeling & statistical skills
Eye for detail and spotting trends
Communication and storytelling skills
B-schools renowned for Technology
MIT Sloan, Tepper, UCLA, Haas, Cornell Johnson, Boston University, Krannert, Scheller, Olin, Fisher, ISB, IIMB
Read our previous blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Operations
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Any discussion about operations or supply chain management is incomplete without a mention of the Apple iPhone – so let’s begin with this. 🙂
An iPhone is a truly global product – its parts are manufactured in China. Its apps are designed in North America and India, and it retails in 14 countries across the globe. The secret behind this is Apple’s vast and well-managed supply chain. In fact, Apple has topped Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 25 rankings for the 6th consecutive year. The other companies that have topped this list – McDonald’s, Amazon, Unilever and Intel – belong to very different industries.
Thus, operations is one of the core functions and success pillars of any business, be it manufacturing or services. This function deals with the production and delivery of the product or service that the organization offers. The gamut of operations covers everything from the acquisition of raw materials or resources to the design and optimization of systems and processes.
Career tracks in Operations Management
This field has many interesting career tracks, where upward movement can be quite rapid if you are a strong performer. After majoring in operations, you can work either as a consultant or with the operations team of individual companies.
As a consultant, you would work in an operations consulting firm in any of their verticals such as retail, pharma & healthcare, hi-tech or automotives. You would work with different clients, advising them on operations strategy and supply chain management. We have already discussed the scope and options in this field in our previous blog on consulting.
In the operations function of a particular company, you would typically start out as a manager in Purchase, Logistics or Warehouse Operations. You may work at either a single plant, or multiple plants in a single region. A starting designation could be, for instance, ‘Purchase Manager at Godrej & Boyce’ or ‘Logistics Manager at LG
Let’s take a look at each of these functions:
As a Purchase Manager you would need to gather requirements from various divisions in the company, identify and evaluate vendors, negotiate terms with them on the basis of technical and commercial considerations, procure the necessary licenses, coordinate with the finance department for payments and ensure that purchase orders are processed on time.
This involves managing the inbound and outbound movement of materials and finished goods. For instance, the transportation of raw material from suppliers to the manufacturing plant, the movement of intermediate products to the next level of processing, the transportation of finished goods to warehouses for storage and the distribution of these goods from the warehouses to the retailers. Thus, logistics managers would need to coordinate with transporters/carriers, negotiate contracts, manage costs, and ensure that transport across borders happens smoothly.
Involves forecasting demand & supply, managing inventory levels and flow, optimizing the utilization of space within a warehouse and managing the warehouse personnel.
Operations Management is a field where job rotation is quite frequent – so you may find yourself moving between these functions for a few years. At a mid-management level, your responsibilities may expand to include multiple plants and/or larger regions. You would also be involved in optimizing processes, improving productivity and even some process re-engineering. At a senior leadership level, you would get the opportunity to design and set up supply chain functions from scratch, formulate standards and operating procedures, and be responsible for an entire supply chain.
Operations is a good area in which to start your career if you want to enter consulting or general management at a later stage. A fine example of this is Apple CEO Tim Cook. An alumnus of Duke, he has a strong operations background and is credited with the streamlining of Apple’s supply chain.
Career Progression in Operations Management:
What Does It Take To Build A Career In Operations?
A strong understanding of different business functions and systems, and their dependencies
A flair for problem solving
An interest in technology
An aptitude for quantitative analysis.
Excellent communication and negotiation skills, since you would need to coordinate with people across functions and possibly even geographies (vendors, business partners, manufacturers, internal sales & delivery teams etc.)
Top Industries for Operations Management: High tech, pharmaceuticals, retail, automotives, manufacturing
B-schools Renowned for Operations Management: MIT Sloan, Ross, Tepper, Krannert, McCombs, UNC Kenan-Flagler
Read our previous blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Finance
Read our next blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Technology
Ayn Rand’s writings reflect Objectivist thinking, and her views on money, as expressed in her book Atlas Shrugged, are very interesting. According to Rand (and possibly other Objectivists), money is the essence of morality – in a free world, money is made only through the conduct of business, and thus, is a symbol of human achievement and progress.
Okay, so the world is not exactly riding the crest of an economic boom right now 🙂 – but this makes money management for businesses all the more important! Therefore, those of you who want to be in this business of managing money have plenty of opportunities.
So let’s look at various career tracks in finance:
1. Corporate Finance
In this role, you will be involved in making long-term and short-term monetary decisions for a business – when and what to invest in, how to finance investments (debt or equity?), how much dividend to pay to shareholders (if at all!), manage company budget, cash flow and credit etc.
Corporate finance has many divisions: financial planning & analysis (FP&A, the financial strategy department that is responsible for forecasting and managing P&L), controllership (the hardcore accounting guys), treasury (the department that manages cash flow), tax, pricing, internal audits etc.
Typical Career Progression:
Contrary to popular notions that corporate finance is a ‘back end’ role where the stars go to die, there are many interesting opportunities for growth available in this line. With a graduate degree in finance, one can join the corporate finance team as an Analyst. But to progress to higher levels, one requires either an MBA or other higher qualifications (MS in finance, CFA, CA, ICWA etc.) Finance MBAs typically angle for the CFO post in the long run by starting out in FP&A.
What Does It Take To Build A Career In Corporate Finance?
Attention to detail
Knowledge of tools and software (especially Excel!)
Team player attitude
The Pros And Cons Of Corporate Finance
Pros: Mostly good work-life balance, little associated risk/uncertainty
Cons: The money you make in corporate finance depends, to a large extent, on the health of the company you work with.
2. Investment Banking
This is possibly the most glamorous of finance careers – and for good reason! Investment banks perform a number of functions: underwriting, raising capital for client organizations through debt and equity, facilitating mergers & acquisitions, offering financial advisory services etc. In most of these cases, the investment bank plays the role of middleman.
Investment banks are broadly categorized as bulge bracket banks and boutique banks. Bulge bracket banks are highly profitable, multinational full-service banks that serve most industries. JP Morgan, Goldmann Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Barclays etc. are often categorized in this band. Boutique banks, on the other hand, either specialize in certain services, industries or markets.
For example, Lazard, Evercore, Gleacher etc. specialize in M&As and restructuring; Allen & Co. (media), Cowen & Co. (healthcare), Berkery Noyes (education) focus on specific industries; William Blair, Piper Jaffray, Houlihan Lokey etc. specialize in mid-sized deals and mid-sized clients.
Investment banks usually have two internal divisions, based on product and on industry. Product bankers are experts in their product (M&A, restructuring, financial advisory etc) and aid the client in executing transactions related to these products. Industry bankers work with clients from specific industries such as retail, oil & gas, automobiles, healthcare etc., and need to do more marketing activities by making pitches to prospective clients.
Typical Career Progression:
As in most finance career tracks, one can start out as an Analyst in investment banking with an undergraduate degree in finance. With an MBA from a top school and a few years of industry experience, one can reach the Associate level.
What Does It Take To Build A Career In Investment Banking?
Solid foundation in finance
Sales & people skills
The Pros And Cons Of Investment Banking
Pros: The money (LOTS of it!), the status & ‘I-Banker’ tag, the opportunity to work on challenging assignments with very bright colleagues
Cons: 80+ hour work weeks, work pressure, general risk/uncertainty (after 2008, I’m sure you know why!)
3. Equity Research
Equity researchers’ job is to advise investors on what stocks to invest in, by tracking monitoring companies and industries and generating reports on hold/buy/sell recommendations. Much of the work is researching information and analysing & modelling data to create these reports and make these recommendations. Senior analysts do more client and investor interaction, and less of the grunt work.
Typical Career Progression In Equity Research:
What Does It Take To Build A Career In Equity Research?
Passion for the stock markets
Strong industry knowledge
Number crunching skills
Solid research skills & attention to detail
Strong grasp of financial modelling tools
The Pros And Cons Of Equity Research
Pros: Scope for autonomy and creativity even at Associate levels, opportunities to become an expert on particular industries, chance to meet/interact with investors and senior management (at Analyst levels and above)
Cons: Long working hours; cubicle-bound work; and the analysis/modelling can become somewhat tedious at times
4. Retail & Commercial Banking
Retail and commercial banks employ the maximum number of people working in the finance sector. They offer banking services to individuals and organizations.
In a nutshell, they take deposits from one set of customers and use these to lend money to borrowers. The banks’ income comes from the difference in the interests they charge and offer. Multinational biggies in this domain include Bank of America and JP Morgan. As a retail or commercial banker, one can work in loans processing, credit analysis, branch operations management, mortgage banking, commercial cards etc.
Typical Career Path In Retail /Commercial Banking
There is no linear, clearly defined career path in retail and commercial banking. Your progression depends on where you begin and which bank you join. An MBA is not mandatory for career progression in this domain, though of course, it does help.
What Does It Take To Build A Career In Retail /Commercial Banking?
Good people skills
Communication & selling skills
Fundamentally sound in finance
The Pros And Cons Of Retail/Commercial Banking
Pros: Relatively stress-free as compared to other finance jobs, plenty of opportunities for customer interaction
Cons: The money is modest compared to investment banking, limited exit options from the domain
5. Private Equity/Venture Capital:
Both VCs and PEs invest in companies and make money by selling their equity. However, there are some differences between the two: VCs are usually more interested in promising start-ups, while PEs invest in more mature companies; VCs typically focus on technology companies whereas PEs invest in industries across the board; PEs usually hold a bigger stake in the companies they invest in, than do VCs.
This could range from very small to sizeable stakes, depending on the investment styles, policies and amounts of the companies. Typically though, VC funding is less than PE funding. Both VC and PE firms hire finance MBAs with a good bit of investment banking or equity research experience – it is very unlikely that a fresh finance MBA gets to join a VC or PE firm.
What Does It Take To Build A Career With PE/VC Firms?
Solid core finance knowledge
Specific industry expertise
Independent decision-making skills
The Pros And Cons Of Working With PE/VC Firms:
The work in PE firms involves a lot of analysis, modelling, due diligence, examining financial statement etc. The work in VC firms is not so focused on numbers – there is a good bit of relationship building involved.
However, the money is much better in PE firms than in VC firms. PE firms mostly employ ex-I-Bankers, and the work atmosphere there would be similar to that in investment banks. In VC firms, you may get to work with people from diverse backgrounds – consultants, marketers, analysts etc.
Caveat Emptor For Finance Aspirants
It all sounds too good to be true, right? So here’s the catch:
Finance is one functional area that is very difficult to break into if you have 4+ years of work experience in a different industry/role, even with an MBA from a top school.
Recruiters may compare you unfavourably with someone who has been crunching numbers and making balance sheets all his life, and pick him/her over you. Even if you do manage to get a foot in the door, you would probably be starting at the bottom, and not leveraging all your years of work experience.
B-schools Renowned For Finance
Wharton, Harvard, Stanford, Chicago Booth, NYU Stern, Cornell Johnson, London Business School, ISB, IIM A
Read our previous blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Sales and Marketing
Read our next blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Operations
Are you wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year? Let us help you!
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“The sole purpose of marketing is to sell more to more people, more often and at higher prices. There is no other reason to do it.” Sergio Zyman
Marketing and sales are the lifeblood of any business – no company can do without them. These are two of the most popular post-MBA career tracks and their scope is quite wide:
These are the ‘hunters’, the folks whose primary responsibility is to generate new business for the organization. They engage in activities ranging from lead generation to cold calls and meetings with prospects to deliver their pitch. Rapport building between the sales person and the prospect is of utmost importance in closing any deal. For the same reason, it is difficult to break into a sales/BD role in a culture or geography you are completely unfamiliar with, even if you are armed with a top MBA degree.
KRA: Business generated
Industries:All organizations, irrespective of industry and domain, have sales/BD teams.
Account Managers are the ‘farmers’, the folks who generate additional business from existing clients. Their key responsibilities include client engagement and identification of new ways to sell the company’s services/products to these clients. They are also responsible for understanding the clients’ requirements and tailoring the company’s offerings to suit the client’s needs.
KRAs: Client satisfaction, retention and the additional business generated from client
Industries: Technology, pharma, automobiles, manufacturing, entertainment etc.
This is one of the most coveted marketing roles, mostly because of the associated glamour and money. Brand managers are responsible for increasing the brand’s customer mindshare, and for driving the brand equity and recall. Brand managers work collaboratively with people across the board: product developers, market researchers, creative agencies, internal marketing communication teams etc.
Brand managers require a minute understanding of the market their brand operates in, and of trends in customer preferences. Therefore, getting a brand management role in an entirely new geography after your MBA can be tricky unless you have an excellent track record in the area.
KRAs: Brand performance & growth
Industries: Consumer packaged goods (CPG), consumer electronics, automobile and other consumer-oriented industries.
Involves the management of the entire lifecycle of a product from conception to rollout. Therefore, unlike brand managers, product managers are more involved with designing the product features and specifications, in addition to setting deadlines for various stages of completion.
This is an interdisciplinary role that involves coordinating between the business development team and the product development team. The scope of a product manager’s work ranges from market analysis to product feature definition. A product manager is often responsible for the P&L of his/her product.
KRAs: Cost & time of product rollout, product performance & growth, product ROI
This is a more evolved form of product management. These 2 roles are not often separated in smaller companies. As the name suggests, the key responsibility of a product marketer is to act as an evangelist for the product. He/she is not involved in the product development. The scope of product marketing ranges from product strategy and positioning, pricing, driving awareness, helping buyers with information and post-launch customer interaction.
KRAs: Coverage in press/brand buzz generated, Investors’/partners’ interest/enquiry
Is all about finding out more about the customers and the competition, and is one of the first activities conducted before launching a new product, introducing a new channel or entering a new geography. Periodic market research is also required for companies to keep updated about the scenario in which they operate and to determine the direction they need to take.
Market research can be primary or secondary, traditional or digital, quantitative or qualitative. The work of a market researcher involves quite a bit of data analysis, trend spotting, client engagement and recommendations.
KRAs: Analytical skills, solid quantitative & qualitative research skills, attention to detail, ability to look at the big picture
Industries: While almost all industries invest in some form of market research, this is especially important for CPG and pharma companies.
B-schools Renowned For Marketing
Kellogg, Harvard, Stanford, Booth, Haas, Duke, Ross, UCLA Anderson, USC Marshall
Each marketing career track is vastly different and requires a different skill set. Even within the individual tracks, what you do would be different in different industries. For example, the work of a Sales Manager at Coal India, a B2B company, is very different from that of a Sales Manager at Coca Cola, a B2C company. So, make sure you understand where your strengths and interests lie before you make a career decision.
Read our previous blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Consulting
Read our next blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Finance
Are you wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year? Let us help you!Get your Profile Evaluated!
ISB steps in again to reach out to young MBA aspirants puzzled by numerous career-related questions!
A rainy afternoon, the A/V Auditorium of St. Joseph Boys High School; A cluster of MBA aspirants and members of ISB Admissions committee.
ISB’s PGP Admissions Director – Mr. A. M. Kannan, along with Associate Director Mr. Deepak Agarwal and an ISB alumnus began with a brief introduction about hot careers in today’s market scenario, why companies prefer MBAs and how an MBA degree bridges the gap between where you are and where you want to reach faster!
Highlights of the Info Session
The typical career-path of an Indian student begins with taking competitive exams such as IIT-JEE and entering the prestigious engineering college. This is followed by joining a company, undergoing 6 months of training and finally starting work as a Java programmer!
But what happens if you feel stagnated after some years of experience and appraisals?
What if you realize that you true calling is in food, travel & hospitality, kindergarten or retail?
What if you want to break out of the cocoon of the secure techie job that you are currently in?
This is where the mad rush behind an MBA degree comes in!
Today, companies are not too bothered about what you have done in your undergraduation. What they are really interested in, is whether you are versatile and ready to try out new things and broaden your horizon to see what lies next! For instance, there are several companies offering phenomenal job opportunities across the world…in Sydney, Jakarta, Middle East, Western Europe and Latin America.
All these companies are looking for:
Youngsters with fire in their belly
Promising career opportunities at present are:
Sales and marketing
For instance, a new cross-functional career that is emerging is Tech Management Consulting, which is different from pure Tech Consulting. In Technology, e-commerce is a very booming career path. In Sales and Marketing B2B and B2C marketing are gaining a lot of momentum. Similarly there are ample job opportunities in supply chain, retailing, branding, product positioning, logistics and so on
Young Leaders Programme (YLP)
YLP is a Young Leaders Programme for students pursuing undergraduate degrees that are longer than 3 years and are in their pre-final year with at least one year remaining to their undergraduation. For students who have demonstrated certain capabilities, this is a great career opportunity to hone their skills, focus on their career and accelerate their professional growth. YLP provides several advantages such as:
Guaranteed Admission into the one year PGP who have graduated and completed one year and nine months of work experience
Advanced Learning and Mentoring with experienced ISB counselors
A great opportunity to build a network of high-achievers
To know more about YLP, click here!
Highlights from the Q&A Session!
1. What are the specialization courses at ISB? What about the salary aspect?
Currently ISB has Finance, Consulting, Strategic management, Leadership, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Global Supply Chain specializations and so on. The 4 new specializations that we have introduced recently are:Manufacturing, Healthcare, Public Policy and Education.
As far as salary is concerned, every industry has band-related salary. So, it depends upon which band you fit into. Any day, the best performer already working in that company will get more salary than you even after your MBA. Don’t go after numbers alone – believe in the median salary given in our website or in websites like Glassdoor or even Monster.[/toggle]
2. With due respect to ISB, are there any areas where you think there is scope of improvement?
Yes certainly! Firstly, we strongly believe that we need to work upon the design of the course content such as the case-studies. We generally do a detailed review of our course curriculum every 5 years and individual courses get updated each year. Our curriculum needs to be more research-based.
Secondly, as we realized the need for new specializations, we are working on the 4 new areas as mentioned earlier.
Thirdly, we need to constantly recruit and train faculty that we will be requiring down the line.
3. Is there any specialization in HR available at ISB?
No, at present neither there is any such specialization available at ISB nor we are thinking about it in the near future. The reason behind this is that there are very few applicants that approach ISB with HR background. In fact, I would say that there are better B-schools in India for those who want to pursue a career in HR.
4. Over a couple of years, I have realized that I connect with people. I like to facilitate people and make relationships better. Is there any structure to find my true calling? Shall I choose a career based on my passion (what I like doing) or what I am good at?
This is a very interesting question! Always remember one thing: Career means something that generates an economic value. Your passion cannot become your career if it does not bring in a good return on investment of your time and other resources. You need to plan for your children’s education and marriage down the line. So, choose a career accordingly.
Think for yourself what that particular career means to you? Whether it is music or being a people’s person! If still confused, find a mentor who is in a similar job or role and seek his/her advice.
Thus, my take on choosing a career is that you need to ask yourself what you are good at. Your skill sets will help you to identify a rewarding career. As far as your passion or interests are concerned, they can always become extra-curricular activities for you, so that you don’t regret letting them disappear completely from your lives.
You can refer to this book – ‘Getting Unstuck’ by Dr. Sidney B. Simon for few good exercises!
5. I have just graduated as an engineer. Any reason why should I consider an MBA?
During our admission process, we NEVER ask this question up-font to the applicants – why MBA? We word it differently, such as ‘What are your career goals?’ so that it triggers your brain and heart to think and analyze yourself better! Our only objective during the admission process is to figure out whether you are focused on your career and how well you are aware of where you are heading!
6. I have 9-10 years of experience as a chip maker. Does it make sense to do an MBA?
Once you have a good number of years of experience in a certain industry, it is generally advisable to explore a related industry and enhance your career instead of getting into a totally new one. Thus, to answer your question, an MBA in a related field will definitely widen your job prospects and vertical growth such as managing life cycle of the chip or managing the product itself or moving up to Accounts Management roles, which can be very satisfying!
See, there are three aspects to a person’s career…the Industry, Function and Role. Choose an MBA program that will help you to find a similar role in a related industry. The mantra is to shift across any one of these as a first step and then take small steps to enhance your career growth.
7. I have 3 years of experience in Technology and 4 in Food industry. I would like to know how many entrepreneurs ISB has generated in recent years?
Entrepreneurship is a very personal issue as many factors need to be considered such as finances, family and most importantly – how passionate you are about your business idea! At ISB, the number of entrepreneurs is increasing tremendously. Entrepreneurship does not necessarily happen straight out of the B-school.
It happens only when all the parameters fall into place.And this usually happens after 30s, as at this stage people are more mature, vigilant with some years of work experience. Thus, rate of success as an entrepreneur tends to be higher after 30s than before.
Many ISB alumni have entered entrepreneurship after their 30s, and are doing extremely well!
8. I am an engineer at Infosys. I am very passionate about luxury retail and would like to make a switch from engineering to luxury retail. How will ISB help me out?
Today, retail is a very promising industry with abundant career options. If you are truly passionate about luxury retail in India, you could do some internships or small projects to gain some relevant experience. There are quite a few companies who hire luxury retailers from ISB based on your skills. Thus, before you decide to get into luxury retailing, you need to think: Do you have the required skill sets for a successful career in luxury retailing? Always remember that the recruiters look at 3 aspects:
Whether you can fit into their organizational culture
Whether you can deliver efficient results every quarter
Do you have future potential?
9. I have 5 years of experience in IT. I am a developer and I am into Analytics at present. I want to get into General Management role. Would an MBA from ISB assist me to realize my dreams
In technology itself there are enough opportunities to get into General Management and manage a large number of people. In fact, IT operations are tremendously increasing in the finance sector. We all know about net banking! After your MBA, you can get into a financial sector enterprise such as ICICI, in which within 2-3 years you can reach a Program Management or Portfolio Management role.
Even a combination of skills like trade finance and analytics will give you a career boost! In a nutshell, an MBA will help you to get the ‘Ownership of a product’ within a short span of 3-4 years, which could otherwise take you as long as 8-10 years! Even retail and supply chain industries are strongly linked with analytics.
The thumb rule to choose and grow in your career is that, you require two essential traits:
Certain skill sets
A certain level of knowledge
So, if you make a shift in your role, your skill sets should match the new role you are looking forward to and gradually you can acquire the necessary knowledge.
An MBA fills this knowledge gap!
So, analytical skills + (finance/retail/marketing/operations knowledge) will help you to get a Product Management role.
10.I have 8 years of Tech experience and 1-2 years in analytics. I want to be a manager – a people’s person. Would an MBA from ISB useful to me and to what extent will I get a boost in my payscale?
Yes, an MBA from ISB will be quite useful to you! In fact, many people end up doing that, if they want to make a shift in their industry, role or function. However, when you make a shift in your role and the industry all together, your payscale after your MBA can be less, equal to or even more than your current payscale.
Because no one is going to offer you more than or even equal to an experienced professional in that particular field already working in their organization. So, whenever you are making a transition in your industry, you have to think about long-term goals, instead of your immediate payscale after graduation.
11.I have 9 years of experience as an engineer in a pure Tech domain. I would like to know how does ISB assist its students to approach the right company? And can I join the YLP programs?
At ISB, the applicants have at least 2 years of work experience in contrast to other B-schools in India. But what about a candidate with 8+ years of experience? For them we have designed a Senior Executive Club. A different panel of companies approach us to recruit people from this segment. You can find a fit with our Senior Executive Club and follow the recruitment process.
We regret to say that you are not eligible to join the YLP program as it is meant for people having far fewer years of experience. There are very few companies that offer YLPs for people having considerable years of experience.
12.I have 3 years of experience in Equity Research. What are the future prospects for me?
In the past few years finance roles have experienced a downfall like VC and Investment Banking. One of the financial areas that is doing well is Corporate Financing. In fact most of our recruitment in finance is taking place in Corporate Financing exclusively. Companies like L&T approach us for corporate financial roles.
Apart from this, there are good opportunities in Internal Strategic Consulting with firms such as Siemens, Philips, etc. Many equity consulting companies approach us for such roles. There is a great demand for professionals who can judge the ‘goodness’ of a particular loan for a financial company or bank.
13. I am into automobiles. I am not sure whether to go into Consulting or Strategic roles. How would ISB help me out with this?
Consulting is interacting with people and getting the relevant information. But Strategic roles are more broad-based. You need very strong analytical and managerial skills, a good understanding of the economic scenario, learning from other industries, and applying it successfully in strategic roles. Usually, a fresher does not get those roles immediately.
For strategic roles, the recruiters are biased towards those who have done well right from their beginning. These are dream jobs as well as very difficult and focused! Thus, you need to match your skill sets and knowledge with the demanding consulting or strategic roles and make a wise decision!
14. What if even after joining ISB, I am not able to crystallize which career to get into?
Each year ISB is blessed with a diverse classroom. So, even after joining ISB, if you aren’t able to figure out exactly which career path to get into, your classmates will be the best people to understand your strengths, weaknesses, passion and aspirations.
Secondly, at ISB, we have a very strong career counseling team of industry experts to show you the best path based on the current market scenario.
Thirdly, ISB info sessions (like this one) are very useful to clear your career-related doubts. However, always remember one thing – ultimately it will be your decision.
Need more clarity? Drop a comment and get it cleared!
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One of the most influential factors when you are deliberating the right MBA program for you is the cost of the program. We tend to observe that most of the students, who opt out of an foreign MBA program, tend to do so because of the expenditure involved. So, if you want to go for an MBA overseas and is worried about the costs and the way to pay it, Don’t worry we demystify some myths for you.
The actual cost of the MBA program
From my observation, whenever I have raised the issue of an MBA from an overseas university (Specifically the USA) I have been dismissed by everybody with a singular reason, it is too expensive. Given the current economic scenario and the worsening rupee, even a reasonable sum by the western standards is too expensive for applicants in India.
Let us put it in perspective by comparing the tuition rates of Harvard Business School and the per capita income of the applicant’s country.
What are the costs that we are talking about?
Here is a sample of the costs of an MBA programme from some of the best universities, just to apprise you of the costs that you might have to incur.
The USA, which is the market leader in education today, has two distinct sets of b-schools. There are the private ones and the others are the public b-schools. Public b-schools are those that are funded for and maintained by the government, while private b-schools are self-funded.
As a result, the fees charged by private b-schools tend to be substantially higher than the public b-schools, and so are the living expenses. Here are some the best private b-schools and their public counterparts.
Best Private B-schools around the world
Here is the cost incurred in some top public b-schools in the USA
How can you afford this MBA?
As you can see, the costs to be incurred here are substantial, and there needs to be a firm plan in place for funding of the same. Here we suggest three options
F-F-F (This can have two connotations)
1. Friends, Family and Father-in-law
2. Fully Funded by the Father-In-Law 🙂
2. Personal Fund
3. Bank Loans
4. Scholarships and Fellowships
If you fall in the first two categories, for all we know, you might not even be reading this post. But for categories no 3 and 4, will find this piece of information really useful.
I will tell you right at the beginning that, if you want to study abroad, depending on an Indian Bank is not recommended. Reasons for it are
•The maximum allowed loan amounts for most of the banks are capped at Rs 20 Lakhs, which going by the above tables will barely suffice to cover your living expenditure, let alone your costs.
•Collateral free loans are not available. The maximum loan sanctioned by any bank, without a collateral is Rs 7.5 Lakhs
•If you get a job abroad, repayment is a big hassle and will involve transactions in foreign currencies.
Funding is not a problem as, most of the top b-schools have lines of credits or partnerships with leading financial institutions. These sanction unsigned loans, which will cover your tuition fees and living expenditure in its entirety. You will be sanctioned the loan, as soon as your admit is finalized and before you go for your visa to ensure you do not have hassles on the financial front.
Scholarships, Fellowships and Loan-Forgiveness programs
All the universities, worth its name have a scholarship program. As one Wharton student put it, all the schools do charge high fees but they ensure that no student misses out on education on account of insufficient funds. There are also some external agencies who do fund deserving and meritorious students.
Amongst the Universities, Wharton has started the Loan-forgiveness program, where they pay students who choose to work in non-profit sectors upto $20,000 a year to repay their loans.
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