B-School Selection
Comments 32

Is an MBA in the time of pandemic worth it?

I know this has been a while coming but to me it made sense get a complete hang of the how the crisis is going to unfold and its implications before venturing an opinion. By now I have received enough and more queries to know what the major & minor concerns and the main decision-making conundrums are. So, let’s jump right in.


Placements — It is all about the economy!

The first and immediate concern is the summer placements — they usually happen right at the end of the first trimester will that be happening, will they be delayed, or will they not happen at all.

Well, they might be delayed a bit for since the start itself has been delayed and whether the quality will suffer or not depends completely on the economy.

From all the sources the news in the short-term is not looking good at all. The period from now till mid or late next year is going to be a pretty rough ride. Internationally, another financial sector crisis like the sub-prime crisis is looming and unless there is a bailout the signs are ominous. So yeah, summer placements are going to be badly affected.

But given that the conditions are anything from normal, a below par summer-placement will not adversely affect your resume since everyone will be more or less sailing in the same boat. This prognosis has nothing to do with the lockdown since work-from-home is now more or less a standard practice.

But when it comes to final placements the predictions seem more sanguine, at least based on the survey of the CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies.

On the most important parameters — economic activity and capital expenditure — more than 3/4th predict that by 2022 will be the year things will bounce back.

So the placements for those graduating in 2022 placements should not be a major worry.


Which schools are safe?

Most of the queries that I am getting are revolving around which schools are absolutely safe and which ones are a risky bet. Well, it does not quite pan out that way.

What happens when the economy is good?

Firms hire in large numbers and things can get so desperate between firms during placements that some might even decide to drop entire rounds so that they at least get the candidates who have cleared the rounds so far, lest they join competitors.

It goes without saying that in such a situation many people end up getting their dream jobs or may be even jobs beyond their dreams and many otherwise solid firms go back empty-handed.

What happens when the economy is bad?

Firms hire in fewer numbers than usual and run a really fine-toothed comb through the candidates (both through resumes and during the interviews).

Otherwise sure-shot candidates for a job might lose out on their dream roles because the firm is recruiting in fewer numbers and at the other end many mid-sized and even super-small firms get a chance to recruit from the topmost firms (IMS was invited and went to recruit from IIM-A in 2009, the subprime crisis hit in 2008).

In that sense all the top-schools — Old IIMs, MDI, NITIE, FMS, XL, SPJIMR, IIFT-D, NMIMS, SIBM, SCMHRD, XIM-B, MICA, TISS, IITs, new IIMs, are more or less in the same bracket — one school is no safer than the other — a bulk of each school’s usual recruiters will turn up but recruit in fewer numbers, and a few new firms will get a chance to be a part of placements.

If you are likely to be in the top 100 profiles of your batch in any of the top 30 schools, you are very safe.


A bad placement in a crisis year does not sound a death knell to your career

Rewinding back to 2009, the IMS office was swarming with MBAs from the old IIMs, NM, and other schools but within two years all of them moved on to their preferred jobs, and are now working with firms such as Amazon (remember graduating in 2009 is like graduating in 2021 not 2022).

What you have to realise is that given the 10-year boom & busts cycles in businesses, every trough is followed by a crest and the net demand for MBAs evens out.

Top firms recruit throughout the year and not just during campus placements. So they will not wait for campus placements to come around when the economy picks up, they will recruit people off-campus and later pick up people from campus too.


Won’t an online trimester dilute the experience?

Yes, an online trimester will dilute the experience but this is an exceptional year and this is a problem that affects not just you but every single candidate with an admit from Harvard as well and other life situations as well — I am sure people have had weddings over the past few months that are far different from what they imagined it would be like!

So yeah, it is not perfect but it is not a deal-breaker.

The real question is should they reduce the fee in the event of one of the trimesters being online — YES — will they — NO.


Should you consider deferring to take another shot

The only reason to defer is if you want to be absolutely certain without an iota of doubt about the health of the economy when you are graduating. In that case, graduating in 2023 will be the safest option.

Freshers and those who have less than 2 years of work experience and a good job in hand can consider deferring their admit if you feel you want the safety of graduating in 2023.

Those with more than 2 years of work-ex will end up going in with 3 to 4 years of work-ex, which is slightly on the higher side when compared to the mean of 22-24 months. So you are better off joining right now when your work-ex is in the sweet spot for Indian 2-year programs.


The things to read before considering quitting and/or retake

The pandemic and the fears around it can lead you to consider options that you would not have considered before — quitting your job and retaking, retaking for A-B-C etc.

Quitting your job is not a deal-breaker but you need to know the ramifications and the things you need to do if you quit — https://thecatwriter.com/2017/03/10/should-i-my-job-to-prepare-for-cat/

Retaking should also be done by asking yourself the right questions; you must not retake because of fear of the pandemic, you should ask the right questions as if it were a normal year — https://thecatwriter.com/2020/02/17/to-re-take-or-not-to-re-take-the-cat-3/

Retaking for the A-B-C or nothing is not worth it at all except in a very narrow range of cases, I will do a post on that soon. The biggest thing about a retake as you would know is your ability to nail the test again.


The next year will test everyone — professionals, businesses, governments, labourers, economists — and the people who will succeed are those who can keep a calm head about themselves, do the best they can, not panic, and stay patient — exactly what you need to do when you run into rough weather, whether on sea or up in the air because as of now everything is truly up in the air.

 

32 Comments

  1. Praveen Singh says

    Sir which would be better option, enrolling in NIBM Pune or defer to take another shot for more better options. Please suggest.

    Like

  2. Rajat Sharma says

    Hi Sir,
    I am a GEM with 24 months of workex in a big 4 firm as a consultant. I am thinking of quitting my job as consulting is an arduous job and I need in excess of 99.5 to even be eligible for calls from old IIMs. I am scoring in the 93-97 bracket as of now in SIMCATs, and need to push it to 99+. How wise is it to quit my job? I feel that I have no shot at old IIMs without a very high percentile, and no shot at a high percentile with my work keeping me engaged.

    Like

    • Hi Rajat,

      Since you have two years of work-ex at the time of applying, it is okay to quit your job since the incremental gain for one more year of work-ex is not high at all.

      I have had quite a few students who have taken a gap year and gotten into the old IIMs. It is not a big risk, I feel the bigger risk is being stuck in the job and not cracking it the next time around.

      So ahead and do it. Just google should I quit my job to prepare for CAT and you will find my post there. It explains things in detail.

      All the best!

      Like

  3. Hii Tony sir,
    I’m Sagar from IMS Varanasi.
    I saw in the LMTC.
    I remember, you recommended us to solve sudoku.
    Ahh…since then I’m solving it and I also hold a my personal record of 1 minute 35 seconds 🙈.
    Anyway, coming to the point.
    My academics are 91.2/84/60.
    I completed BA from BHU in 2019.
    I appeared in CAT 19 and as of now I’ve cleared IIM Jammu.
    Also I’m being wait listed in Bodh Gaya, Raipur, Kashipur and Ranchi HRM.
    Not very optimistic about the conversion.
    Can you please take me out of the dilemma whether I should join IIM Jammu or I should give another shot (CAT20).
    Yes, I’m confident for another attempt but I will be having gap of 2 years by then and still no work ex.
    I’d really appreciate your suggestion.
    Thanks 😊
    (P.S. EWS Category)

    Like

    • Hi Sagar,

      Awesome job with the Sudoku timing.

      I would suggest joining now and not going in with a 2-year gap and since the job scene seems bleak it is a big risk.

      IIM-Jammu — As long as you are positive and will play an active part in the batch, you should be able to get a decent break for your profile

      All the best!

      Like

  4. altjunge says

    What a lucid way to explain things, providing data and calming aspirants during pandemic. This writing style is a very under-rated trait one can possess, that no one talks about before entering a top-15/20 B-school.
    Kudos to you sir. Your blogs are really helpful.

    Like

    • Glad the post did what it was supposed to and that you find the rest of posts helpful.

      I think if the objective is clear and there is clarity in the thought process, the writing style will easily follow.

      All the best!

      Like

  5. Nitish Kund says

    Hi Sir,
    I’m Nitish from IMS Deccan.
    My academics are 88/75/70 and got a score of 89 percentile in CAT.
    Sometimes ago I got an offer from IIT Jodhpur for a course of Tech MBA program.
    I am interested in the course because it aligns with my interests, but the problem is that its their very first batch .
    So sir, should I wait for another year to get a better college or should I go with this program.
    I would really appreciate your suggestion.

    Thanks

    ( P.S. I am GEM with work ex of a year in family business)

    Like

    • Hi Nitish,

      The answer is simple if it is one of the top 30 programs in the country join it, else take another shot.

      All the best!

      Like

  6. Hello sir
    This is going to be little long so please forgive me for that
    I am admirer of your patience as over 2 years I have seen you reply each of us.God Bless you.
    Coming to my problem
    X-80%
    XII-87%
    Graduation-49%
    Chartered Accountancy- 53%
    Work ex-5 Years (Till June 2020)
    I am 30 Years old , Chartered Accountant, getting around 60k in hand in a small CA Firm
    Over past 2 Years, I have given CAT, I scored 85 and 89%. This year there was couple of IIM who iniiatlly selected me but I could not get into WAT/PI round, best result was being waitlisted at IIM Vishakhapatnam (WL-1152) but seats their is almost filled and chances are very less for conversion.
    Now being 30 Years old, should i give CAT2020 another chance or should I leave behind my MBA dream? Will my age be a factor against me ? Should I concentrate my efforts at GMAT ? If yes then will working in a small CA firm as work ex be a problem ?
    Kind sir , please be very frank in letting me know of my best course of action

    Like

    • Hi Animesh,

      Good to meet someone who appreciates the work that goes into running the blog.

      Your profile will very much be an outlier profile in a 2-year program since 5 years of work-ex is quite high.

      You will be better off looking at the Indian 1-year MBA programs via the GMAT.

      So yeah, you do not need not give up on your MBA dream by any stretch. Realistic programs will be the 1-year ones at SPJIMR, XL, GLIM; IIMs and ISB will be a bit aspirational (some of the IIMs should be possible)

      All the best!

      Like

  7. VINNIE says

    Sir, I am an integrated law graduate, graduated in 2019. I gave CAT 2019 but managed to score just about 83%ile, though I scored well in SNAP and have converted SIIB Pune. I’m not entirely up for joining the college and thinking if I should give another shot at CAT 2020. What would be your suggestion ?

    Like

  8. Konpal Kharbanda says

    Hello Sir
    I am BA graduate ( completed on december 2018)
    therefore have a gap of approx. 2 years with no job ex
    XII – 83%
    X – 86%
    Grad – 59%
    CAT 2019 – 76.91% It wasn’t my honest attempt, because of my fear as I am weak in English.
    Converted – IMT Nagpur
    Sir I am very confused between taking it or not and in this year it really puts me in dilemma..
    what is your suggestion sir?
    your reply will be very helpful for me..
    Thankyou

    Like

    • Hi Konpal,

      A three-year gap will be disastrous for your career I suggest joining now, IMT will you give decent breaks for your profile.

      The reason you should retake is if you have a job in hand.

      All the best!

      Like

  9. Kanika says

    Hi Sir,
    Thanks for the post.
    I am Kanika and I took CAT 2019. I got a call from IMT-G but,I feel that I can do better next year and land to a tier-1 college. I have 3 years of experience till now. So I am planning to take GMAT (for Indian Colleges) and CAT this year.
    I really don’t feel like joining IMT, despite everybody asking me to go for it and to be frank I don’t even feel that I am in a dilemna.
    Could you please share your opinion on this as well.

    Regards,

    Like

    • Hi Kanika,

      IMT-G was a good school but am not sure any more given the huge batch size. You will be better off taking another shot than graduating in 2022, not an easy year, from a Tier-II school.

      All the best!

      Like

  10. Vishal Malpure says

    Hi Sir,

    I graduated in 2017 as a Computer Engineer.I have one year work experience in IT.Post that i have been giving various MBA exams for 2 years now.I scored 98.86%ile in CET 2020. I have also converted Welingkar PGDM in Business Analytics.
    Meanwhile during my second year of preparation i also did some Data Science and ML Courses and also have a keen interest in this field.So with 2 years of gap shall i join Welingkar Mumbai?Will it be a good option ?

    Like

    • Hi Vishal,

      My knowledge, unfortunately, is limited to the Top 30 programs, so I have no direct information (from students that is) on the quality of the outcomes of this program. You have to take a call on the basis of the stats they publish whether the outcomes are good enough for you.

      Another gap year is definitely not advisable, take another shot if you can get a job while prepping for another shot.

      All the best!

      Like

  11. Kowshik says

    Hello Sir,

    IIM Trichy recently started their 1st batch of PGP HRM course, Should we consider joining it ?

    * having No other calls
    * Also No specific inclination towards any specialization
    * Gap of 2 years

    Like

    • Hi Kowshik,

      You know that when you have no inclination towards any specialization you are essentially shooting in the dark.

      So if you all you are looking for is a good break, if you are okay with the average package at IIM-T and trust that they will be able to get around the same figure for HR then go ahead and join the program.

      Another attempt without work-ex might not be a great idea at all.

      All the best!

      Like

  12. Hello sir. I graduated in 2019 and got calls from several new IIMs and am currently waitlisted for XLRI HRM & IIFT Kolkata. But converting those seem highly improbable. I have converted XIM-B. Should I take it this year ?
    PS – I don’t have any work ex

    Like

    • Hi Sushant,

      Assuming that you have only XIM-B and no job in hand, it is not a bad idea to take it up. XIM-B is a decent college, my students who have gone there have had nice things to say. If you are okay with the firms that visit and the salaries they offer, go ahead and join.

      All the best!

      Like

  13. Abhishek says

    Good evening Sir…
    Sir, I’m very confused…
    I need your guidance…

    Sir, let me give you a little brief about my profile.
    Here are my academic details
    Academic details:

    Btech: 2016 pass out with 82%
    12th: completed in 2012 with 70%
    10th: completed in 2010 with 90%

    I completed my BTech in mechanical engineering in 2016. After that, I started preparation for UPSC, but I couldn’t clear it.
    In the meantime, I started my own business which is a business of organizing events and I’m running this from the last 2 years.
    Recently I gave cat and scored 84 percentile.
    I converted to two colleges…
    1) MBA at XIM, Bhubaneswar
    2) PGDM Big Data Analytics at Goa Institute Of Management

    Sir, I’m confused and scared after seeing this pandemic situation and not able to decide what to do, whether to join or not.
    please sir if u can guide me

    Thank you, Sir.

    Like

    • Hi Abhishek,

      It is not a easy situation to be in. XIM-B is a decent college and if you are okay with the firms that visit and the salaries they offer then you can go ahead and join.

      Given the year you graduated in, unless you expect a dramatic jump in percentile that will help convert schools in a different league, it is better to join this year.

      All the best!

      Like

  14. Aishwarya says

    Hello Sir,
    I am actually confused and need guidance.
    My 10th score is 81.21% and 12th 64.14 followed by B.E. score 65.8%
    Till today i have work Experience of 2.7 year.
    I am bit confused whether i should opt for MBA course or go with the job only.But it is my dream to do MBA ,more work experience is stopping me ,Will you please suggest me.

    Like

    • Hi Aishwarya,

      Do you have an admission into an MBA program this year or are you planning to take the CAT this year?

      Regards,

      Tony

      Like

      • Aishwarya says

        Hello Sir,
        I am planning to take cat this year.

        Regards,
        Aishwarya

        Like

  15. Rahul Mundada says

    Hi sir
    I am Rahul Mundada
    I am in dilemma from last one month whether to join DMS IIT D MBA in Telecom or not
    I am waitlisted ( WL 10 ) in EWS
    My profile:- 94.15/87.23/7.71 (10th/12th/Btech)
    I am graduated from COEP in 2018 & Now on 16th July work ex will be 24 months working in Sterlite Technologies in Operations Dept.
    Last year CAT’19 I scored 95.87 (66.7/97.2/98.6) my first attempt (Verbal didn’t clear)
    I converted NMIMS, IRMA & waitlisted in DMS IIT D
    So whether should I join DMS or give one more attempt to land in Top 15 B schools with this profile & EWS category

    PS:- I don’t want to wok in IT sector unless its last choice & In DMS last year around 30% placement is in IT Sector
    & I got mixed reviews about DMS from their students
    & As of Now i am not clear in which specialization I want to do MBA

    Like

  16. Mehul Parmar says

    Hello Sir,

    I am Mehul from Baroda. I am confused and need guidance.

    My profile:
    10th %ge is 81, 12th %ge is 61, Degree – B.E. Electrical (CGPA – 7.95)
    WORK EX – 4 Yrs (Polycab), Profile – Sr Engineer (Technical & Design), Current CTC – 4.2 LPA
    CAT Result: Overall -84.11 (NC-OBC)

    I have converted IRMA & IIM Nagpur call this year. Last year also I appeared for CAT but won’t convert decent college.

    Currently, I am working & I have a safe job. Is it worth going for two years MBA in this pandemic situation after 4 yrs of work ex or continue the job? Shall it be count as over work-ex and impact at the time of placement? Or should I think for a 1 yr executive MBA after these pandemic situations get normal?

    If I have to choose between IRMA & IIM Nagpur which one is best according to my profile?

    Kind sir, Please be very frank in letting me know of my best course of action.

    Like

  17. Abhishek Sukumaran says

    Hi Sir,
    I am Abhishek
    I am an IMS student from Cochin from batch 2019-20.
    My acads are:
    9.4 CGPA – 10th
    80.4% – 12th
    69.56% – B.Tech (2017)
    I have a total of 16 months of experience in Engineering and Manufacturing
    My exam score
    CAT-19 – 76%ile (85/57/72)
    XAT20 – 83% ile
    SNAP – 92 %ile
    I made it into SIIB – Pune for international business.
    But due to the pandemic and the fact that classes might go online and a possible chances of all these affecting the SIP and final placements, I am in a dilemma.
    Should I take another attempt at CAT or should I go with my current option?
    Kindly advise..

    Thank you.

    Like

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