Career and education, as much as we would like to associate these two actions cohesively, one confusing fact about both of them is the tag associated with them. An IIM tag on one’s master’s certificate doesn’t necessarily mean one shall make it big by and large. Let’s understand this better. As practitioners, we come across quite a few professionals who have a tag but never made it big in their life. It’s not the tag or the brand one evolves from that makes individuals what they are; instead, its interdependence and pursuance of finesse in the line of work is the real game-changer. Likewise, with careers, one might get lucky with a great brand to begin with, yet, one should showcase the artillery to fire when needed. 

Management education is the new Nirvana to the millennials, chasing their dreams and finding an opportunity to make it big. Probably get into consulting jobs and firms with a tag of IIM, FMS or XLRI maybe and make it to McKinsey, Boston or Deloitte and feel complacent about life and hopeful that life is all rainbows and sunshine after that. Not every case is the same, and not every aspiration turns into a golden reality. Many feel discouraged about their jobs eventually and start chasing their passion in quest of satisfaction and happiness; few don’t even see the daylight any close. 

Let us understand this clearly, most IIM graduates evolve from IITs and NITs and entrance exam patterns of CAT, XAT, CMAT, SNAP etc, suit engineering students more than other streams.

At present, 85 per cent of PGP students in IIM Bangalore are engineers. ” Of those with an engineering background, about 28 per cent are from an IIT, and another 22 per cent are from an NIT,” said Prof Rajendra K Bandi (IIM Bangalore) (Source: 

T Muralidharan, HR and author of various job-related books, said the CAT is structured to suit engineering students as they have been trained for such competitive exams since the beginning. “CAT tests an aspirant’s maths, English, logic and reasoning — all four sections that IIT students have a grasp on. IITs are cosmopolitan in nature as students and faculty speak in English. A lot of co-curricular activities keep happening there that further give exposure to them,” says Muralidharan. (Source: 

It is evitable that, on one side, almost a million aspirants are trying to make it big in life with MBA/PGDM, and on the other hand, chances of everyone making it big are bleak. We have a reality check done and understood that lakhs of aspirants attempt entrance exams, and no. of seats with IIM’s can suffice just 4 to 5 per cent of the totality. A simple question here, what about the rest? This is not a new observation we are bringing onto the plate; this has been an ongoing concern for ages. A simple question here, what about the remaining ones? Are they not making it big or finding good enough careers? Is it that the corporate doors and leadership is oblivion to them? No!!! 

India as a nation has 1/3rd of the world’s B-schools and about 1/5th of the world’s population. With the booming IT, ITES and service sector in India need for managers and management trainees is always on. Thus IIMs alone cannot fill in the shoes here. Simultaneously, many tier-2 institutions in India are doing a tremendous job by catering to the current need of budding managers at par with IIMs. Gone are the days when corporates considered IIM’s the only go-to mantra for their requirement. With accreditations and constant auditing of curriculum, learning and teaching methodologies at management institutes, these institutes constantly strive to live up to the standards and rise above the measures to ensure value addition. In fact, creativity, smart street approach, intuitive approach, and emotional quotient are a few attributes that are lacking in most graduates from IIMs because of the robust environment they evolve from. This is something one has to understand. 55% of the students who attempt CAT each year are from engineering, so what about the rest? Engineers are designed & engineered with analytical, logical, and reasoning abilities, but there are other nuances to management education and management as an overall stream. Emotions play a huge role, and being proactive is a trait no one can teach. It is an instinct that the other lot has in its DNA. Creativity, the out-of-the-box approach, linguistic flair, and many more such qualities determine decision-making daily. 

Tier-2 business schools not only focus on the regular subjective or conventional aspects of management education, but they have to focus on the overall progression of individuals as this breed should have a different set of artillery to fire compared to the other lot. It is observed that graduates from IIMs come with a solid analytical and framework approach. Still, at the execution level, one needs the support of the other clan, who are street smart and possess a go-getter attitude. More often than not, we have observed strategic framework designed by students from IIMs is par excellence. Still, to get into ground reality and ensure successful execution and extraction of results from the same, one needs the other wheel of the cart. 

Tier-2 business schools focus significantly on personality development, communication, soft and hard skills, expression, presentation, group dynamics, public speaking, mock trials and much more, which are not of primary focus at IIMs, given the nature and robustness of the program. These secondary institutions in the league add add-on value to aspirants by procuring and focusing on different skills that need to be nurtured during the due course of time at the institute, which eventually makes a huge difference in the longer run. Expression, being assertive and instantaneous are essential keys to success. One need not feel missed out and think that life takes a pause post CAT if they did not get through and not make it to the big league in India. 

With Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Noida and Pune as management education hubs, the number of business schools that have evolved in the last two decades are enormous, and one must say that their contribution in nurturing and filling the gap that existed in the market two decades ago is overwhelming. With NBA accreditations and outcome-based education being primarily focused on the evolution of National Education Policy, business schools continuously strive to ensure they meet requirements as per the authorized bodies, be it AICTE, NAAC or AIU. These bodies play a significant role in how business schools should operate and impart education. 

Most business schools are still attempting to accomplish it; however, a few have succeeded in implementing policies and mechanisms to comply with and play by the rules. The ultimate advantage of all of the above would be for the student community to learn through a value-based education system. 

It’s all said and done; it’s not where and how you get there, but what you fetch does matter. Many leadership roles and senior management roles are being held and headed by non- IIMs, and these individuals chose a different path and continued to strive with hunger and fire in their bellies. To succeed, IIMs’ can give you a kick-start, but being successful is one’s destiny. 

Apart from CAT, exams like XAT, CMAT, MAT, ATMA, GMAT etc.., are accepted by many business schools. The selection criteria are technically based on similar lines of aptitude, personal interview, group discussion, and entrance score diversity and academic profile. Finding an opportunity to learn from these institutions should encourage you. Compared to IIMs of some of these significant league institutes, the fee is between half to 75% of what the top 12 IIMs charge you. The most crucial aspect of all, is the ROI! The average package of these business schools is anything between 6 to 9 lacs per annum, whereas the newer IIM’s ponder at the 7 to 10 bracket in reality. Most of the newer IIMs are finding it difficult to compete with Tier-2 institutions in the current context as the offerings are the same in both cases, but an IIM tag acts as an add-on in a few. It’s not far that corporates reduce the significance of an IIM resume. Many students waste their time in appearing and reappearing for CAT and waste two to three precious years and eventually settle for less and not only that, lose out on time. Just realize success is the race against time, not the position or money you earn. Individuals who constantly strive towards learning and keeping themselves at par with that hunger to endure burning, being reluctant about a few choices in life is always a matter of choice. It’s not what you hold that matters, but what we let go makes the difference.

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Abhijeeth Raj Heerekar,

Chief Marketing Officer,

SSIM, Hyderabad.

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