The next step for An Indian Graduate looking at Management Abroad

An Indian Undergraduate from Engineering to Management or Liberal Arts to Social Sciences is broadly looking at 3 options ahead of them; one, taking up a relevant or unrelated job, second, looking at a Post Graduate Diploma in India or abroad and finally looking at a Masters program in India or abroad in a Management field. The value of all three is extremely different and it depends on the individual’s choice based on their short and long term goals.

Let’s first debunk the myth
that a fresh graduate can pursue an International MBA program. Largely, this is not meaningful, since most Top 100 Schools Internationally (even beyond 100
actually) do require a minimum of 3 years work experience. A few others might accept
2 years and just about a handful do not mention work experience as an Admission
Criteria but their application pool is extremely competitive and they have a
very small quota of fresh graduates in their class.

In India, it is quite possible
to get a Post Graduate Diploma (which is technically not an MBA) even from the
Indian Ivy Leagues. However, outside India, the schools that have a classroom
of fresh graduates learning MBA prescribed modules might not be the safest or
best bet for a drastically positive career graph curve or leap as per your

Hence, the million-dollar
question for fresh graduates with less than 2 years of work experience is, what
can I pursue internationally that might hone my managerial skills in the early
stages of my career? Well, very few will actually ponder that. The real
question might be framed rather differently; like, how do I get out of
Engineering (since I am not interested in it) and move into management
outside India? Of course others may simply ask, how do I get out of India for
a few years as a fresh graduate? Many others might actually want to understand what
can they study if they are not yet sure which job function under management is
the right one for them?

The answer to all these
questions (and any other similar ones you might have) is Masters of International
Management (MIM) or Masters of International Business (MIB) (somewhat simply called Masters of Management (MM) or something similar).

Why was this Program created?

Ok, a little bit of a history
lesson here – for obvious reasons, the program was invented roughly in 2001 since
there was a huge gap in the market to groom early skills of fresh graduates
that might well equip them for the job market and become young leaders. The key
to this invention was to help fresh graduates fill in operational roles in
organizations and to be strategically competitive in the global marketplace.

Who is this Program for?

This program is for anyone
with a Bachelor’s Degree in any field (even if its not management with some
exceptions) who is looking to work in a managerial role in the short and
long-term. For USA many schools would require a 4-year Bachelor’s Degree while
some like Duke will accept 3-year Degrees as well.

What does the Program teach

This Masters Program specifically
caters to core management modules such as; Finance, Accounts, Marketing,
Operations, Strategy, Human Resources and the likes. You have the opportunity
to specialize in usually 2 Majors and between 3 – 4 Minors. Parallel to the
program, most Schools also conduct Leadership and other soft skill developing workshops
which amount to credits in the form of teamwork and assignments in many cases.

Which Schools are the best for this Program?

Since this program was
primarily developed in Europe to begin with, many European Schools are best
known for these programs such as: University of St. Gallen, topping in the list
in most rankings, followed by London Business School, HEC Paris and ESSEC amongst
others. You can easily look up these rankings on Financial Times and other
sources. What is rather surprising is that not many USA names come up in these
rankings and truth be told there aren’t many schools in the USA that currently
have this program. Yes, there are a few given in the below table but largely European
schools are most known for this program.

* – Kellog’s 1-Year program is only open to Northwestern Undergraduate students

Both Michigan & Notre Dame
started their 1st batch of these programs in 2014 hence are still in
their nascent stages; however, most of these European programs are older than 5
years and hence, have more credibility specifically in terms of placements after the degree.

Consequently, GMAC (Graduate
Management Admission Council) has reported that MIM programs showed a gradual
increase in applications in Europe over the years and USA schools with MIM
Programs showed a 58% increase in applications as well.

What is the basic Admission
Criteria for MIM?

A good GPA (each school has
its own specific criteria), a GMAT score (many accept GRE) and IELTS or TOEFL
exams are the minimum criteria for this Program.

What are the post-degree work

Many Top European Schools show,
as per their statistics, that candidates post their programs either get in to
Consulting (Finance, Strategy & IT mainly) and other Corporate sectors such
as FMCG, Internet, Retail, Media, Entertainment and the like. Many schools
boast of over 95% employment within 3 months of Graduation and an average of $40,
000 (excluding bonus and incentives) post-MIM. According to FT, the average
salary post MIM was $77,451 in 2014.

The biggest question of all
is; What is the difference between an MIM & an International MBA Program?

One of the critical differences
is, teaching styles; an MIM is for fresh graduates with little or no work
experience. Hence, mostly, there is an inward, one-way learning whereby the professor
will teach you intricate management concepts, fundamentals and the class will
understand, learn and relate to them through real-time business examples.
Hence, the assignment and examinations difficulty level will also be basic and
suitable for anyone who might or might not have learnt management as part of their
graduation degree. The course in itself is quite intense and challenging but a high output and response level can be achieved rather easily.

However, an MBA class teaching
style is critically interactive.  The
professor will pose a managerial situation and the class is expected to bring
solutions based on their prior experiences. This could be based on working with
various cultures, and its ethical compasses and working in varied industries at
different levels of hierarchies. What is truly taught in class is working in and
for large-scale corporations, maximizing and innovating given resources and
working in or creating truly globally integrated economies. The assignments and
exams are based on case-studies whereby capabilities involved in developing new strategies, new
product development and innovations, revenue generation ideas and managing large
teams across various business laterals globally while working as a professional
team player and a thinking-leader are tested.

The other difference is
leadership skills. An MIM program inculcates basic team player and leadership
skills in young candidates and gives them an international perspective to
business, cultures, working styles and ethical values. This makes an MIM
graduate more job-ready than regular graduates as they are expected to have acquired hands-on
skills during the MIM programs. But for an MBA candidate, the MBA experience
refines their already existing leadership skills and helps them think from a
birds-eye view for the organization’s and their best interests. An MBA graduate
is expected to use his peer and university networks to further his professional
short and long-term goals. It is said that an MBA is a tool to use the brand
name of the school and your peer & professional networks to achieve your
next aspirational career goal.

There are many other
differences such as the actual curriculum; the MIM teaches basic management
modules but the MBA curriculum consists of advanced modules and various
intricate specializations all focused directly or indirectly towards building
varied management styles and leaderships.

Amongst other differences are
classroom average age, average work experience years and most importantly; the
individual’s goals.

An MIM graduate most likely
aspires to have a meaningful first job in the real world, with real
responsibilities and contributions and a real designation with a rather good
pay package for a fresh graduate.

Many MBA candidates are either
looking to switch industries or job functions or both along with or without a change
in location. On the other hand, others would like to accelerate their careers and hence, they
are fully aware that an MBA is a milestone for their career advancement whether
it is in terms of job role, designation, pay package or city/country he/she
would like to work in.

My Opinion; if you are an
Indian graduate who doesn’t feel ready to work just yet, can afford this international program, would like to obtain some hands-on skills to compete
for jobs in the global marketplace, perceives themselves as a future global
leader then I would highly recommend this program as an alternative to the PGD
in India or a job straight after graduating.