Many IIFT aspirants have no clue what an MBA in international business is all about

With Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) 2011 entrance exam coming to an end on Sunday, curiosity propelled us at PaGaLGuY to ask some basic questions to test takers in New Delhi and Mumbai about the education offered at IIFT. And to our surprise many had little clue about the nuances of the specialised MBA in International Business offered at this b-school. Check out the reasons, excuses and confessions offered by test takers about their hapless knowledge of IIFT. We are only writing their first names to avoid causing embarrassment to anyone.

What is Foreign Trade?

Saurabh guessed, Is it related to foreign currency? Oh yes, it has something to do with imports and exports. Isn’t? He then said, Actually I am yet to go through the IIFT brochure but I know that it has a good ranking among b-schools and offers good placements with excellent packages. He further added that he was appearing for entrance tests of all b-schools and was trying his luck with all of them. If I clear this exam, I will brush up my knowledge about international trade, confessed Saurabh.

Siddharth and Aseem — two friends from Pune who had come to Mumbai to take the IIFT entrance test struggled to answer this question but were relatively closer home compared to the others.

IIFT’s MBA in IB involves the study of the laws of business of different countries. It rests on giving managerial skills to students and sensitize them about how to adapt to foreign trade methods, said Siddharth. Aseem added some inputs to Siddharths explanation.

However most did not attempt answering at all, and blatantly said, No idea.

Bhavya said, Don’t ask me, I think my friend Shoumik will be able to give you the answer as he is a scholar.

What is International Business?

Ambar said, “I think it has got to do with foreign currency exchange rates. I am not very sure but it is all about dollars and euros.”

Nitika said, “I don’t really know. I could try but I know it would be the wrong answer.”

Biju admitted, “I haven’t really researched. But if I get an interview call I will be well-prepared to answer this question.”

Kanak took a shot in the dark, “I think it is about entrepreneurship opportunities in various parts of the world. For example it will teach me how to expand my business to America or Japan.”

Aseem said, It has something to do with the understanding the business cycles of various countries.

We then asked a slightly knotty one.

What is the difference between foreign trade and international business?

Saurabh said, Aaahh (long pause)… I am yet to lay my hands on the prospectus of IIFT.

Aseem said, I doubt if I know anything after this point.

Ambar wagered, “I think they are the one and the same. I am not exactly sure but there may be minor differences.”

Biju smiled and said, “That sounds like a trick question (laughs). I think one is about export and import and the other is about the business culture of various countries.”

Kanak, who was getting irritated by our questions said, “Like I told you before, one is about entrepreneurship in other countries and the other I am not exactly sure about.”

Abhay said, “I have no idea what international marketing entails. I have just come to take the exam because IIFT holds a position in the top ten colleges of the country.”

Anusha said that she too had no idea what international business meant. I just came to take the exams because my friends had also applied to IIFT. If I manage to get a call back from the college, then I will pick up the prospectus and actually read what the course offers.”

Why have you applied to IIFT?

Said Siddharth I came for the exam because I had only checked the ranking of IIFT.

Shradul confessed, I am not interested in IIFT, I have taken the civil service exam this year and I am waiting for an interview call. I have four months to do whatever I want to. Hence, I sat for this exam. This is a cakewalk unlike civil service exams which are very tough and cause stress.

Ambar explained, “It is a top ranked school with good placements. Everybody applies to it.” Agreed Biju, “I am applying to all top colleges of the country. Since this is a top ranked one, I decided to apply here also.”

Nitika was candid, “I am just appearing to get familiar with entrance exams so that I can crack them next year. I don’t know for sure what kind of programme IIFT offers.”

Anuj had a relatively longer answer than the others. “I want to go specifically into international business. IIFT is the top college that offers a deep insight into the niche area of international business. International business entails the study of the global mindset and creating a good marketing core. I am looking forward to diving deep into the hardcore international business curriculum that IIFT offers.”

Anurag offered an amusingly convoluted one, “For me, international marketing means nothing more than what I have read in the IIFT prospectus. I understand international marketing as a growing market, which requires combinations and variations of business skills, which I believe I have. I have no particular penchant for international business. The only reason I have come to take the exam is because IIFT is amongst the top ten management colleges in the country.”

Kanak said, “One has to keep all options open, as everybody does not get into an IIM. So I applied here.”

And then, the final one.

How will your career be different if you studied an MBA in IB instead of a regular MBA from say, FMS Delhi?

Ambar offered the big one here with a confident claim, “IIFT is reputed for international placements. Last year 90% of the batch got international jobs.” Upon this we asked him to rethink if he was sure of that figure. He reiterated that he was pretty sure about the placement record of 90% international placements at IIFT. The third time we asked him the same question using a different choice of words, he started showing signs of uncertainty. “I am pretty sure about the high level of foreign jobs because otherwise what is the use of having an international business degree?”

Biju said, “I think it’s all the same. But being from FMS would increase the chances of a good job because FMS is ranked higher than IIFT.”

Sahil said, “International business holds no special appeal for me. I don’t have any clue how it differs from a normal management degree. Being called an IIFT-ian is what influenced me enough to take the exam.”

Kunal smiled and said, “I don’t know the answer and I also know that none of my friends who took the test today with me know the answer either.”

What about you? Do you know the correct answers to these questions?

(With inputs from Astha A and Apurv Pandit from New Delhi)

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