Looking beyond the IIMs

AFTER CAT

PLAN OF ACTION It is important to take an objective decision on the future course of action based on one’s capabilities.

A part of this disappointed crowd is also the frustrated ones, who believe they have been wronged by the “normalisation” process. The successful ones are all looking forward to a great outing at the personality round. For the rest, it is time to make choices. It is also an emotionally charged time, dealing with the rejection by the IIMs.

Here’s what you can do to refocus your energy on meaningful activities:

At the outset, let me state that the pursuit of MBA as the choice for professional education does not start and end at the IIMs. There are a many good institutes which are comparable in quality to the IIMs that are either yet to announce their results or close their application process. It is important to take an objective decision on the future course of action based on one’s capabilities.The gap between aspirations and capability is best known to self. So, at this point in time, apply to good institutes if they have still not closed their applications’ acceptance. Wait for the results of the other good institutes where you have applied, before delving on the question — “What do I do next?”

When all the admission processes are over at the end of the season, here are a few questions that may pop up in your mind. It may be the time to take decisions.

n“I want to join only the IIMs. What should I do ?”

This is a fairly common question that we encounter as mentors. There is one category of MBA aspirants who do not want to join any institute other than the IIMs. There are two things that such aspirants must keep in mind. One, there are many top colleges in India which are better than some of the IIMs. So, a single-minded focus on only the IIMs and nothing else is a not a great perspective of looking at further education.

Two, answer this question honestly — “Do I strongly believe that there is no way I would not get an admission next year?” If the answer to this question is a resounding ‘yes’, it may be worth the wait of an year for the top IIMs. As a mentor, I would not hesitate telling a few to wait, while counselling others to go ahead with the best option they have in hand. This is dependent solely on my judgement of the capabilities —aspirations gap in that student.

This is, of course, a very delicate exercise which could shatter one’s confidence if not handled properly.

n“This is my third attempt. I am not able to get through to the IIMs, but I have got a call from institute X. Should I join it ?”

This is a dilemma of “Hope Vs Reality”. What do you choose? If someone has spent three years cracking the CAT but has failed in getting a call from the IIMs, it may be the right time to accept the best option available at that time. So, if institute X has a record of fairly good placements, it is worth taking the plunge rather than wait for the CAT yet again.

There are also the options of alternate programmes like the Executive MBA programmes that one needs to evaluate. It is a reality that many professionals with three or more years of work experience are looking at Executive MBA programmes as a better option than the conventional two year programmes.

So, if you are not keen on joining institute X, evaluate other options for the programmes.

n“I am a fresher. I have not got a call this year. What should I do?”

As a fresher, there is a lot of time available to you before you run out of patience. There is a huge value in picking up a job and getting invaluable work experience. It is a fact that the percentage of students admitted into the B-schools with work experience exceeds 60% on an average. It is not just the profile that changes when you star working, it is also your maturity and your understanding of organisations that make a huge shift. These are valued immensely at B-schools.

Many more questions could pop up. All the choices can be objectively evaluated if and only if you are able to deal ruthlessly with the “My Capability — My Aspirations — My context” framework. At the end of the day, successful people are not all from the IIMs and just the top B-schools. It may sound cliched, but it is true. Whoever has belief in their own abilities will be able to take a dispassionate decision.

(The writer is academics director, Career Launcher.)

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