Ask Sameer Kamat | Author of 'Beyond The MBA Hype'

Beyond The MBA Hype When IT professional Mitu (a fictional character in the book) describes his strategy to cut out the tedious research and take the ‘short-cut’ to gain a phoren MBA, his friend Sachin confronts him. _"What about the q…

Beyond The MBA Hype

When IT professional Mitu (a fictional character in the book) describes his strategy to cut out the tedious research and take the 'short-cut' to gain a phoren MBA, his friend Sachin confronts him.
"What about the quality of teaching there? Placements? What about...? "
Mitu retorts - "You are just being jealous, dude. Suit yourself. Fix that bug in your code. I've got bigger plans. I'll send you postcards from Sydney or Amsterdam or I dont know some exotic place."

Pure piece of fiction in a non-fiction book? Think again!

My name is Sameer Kamat and I'm the author of 'Beyond the MBA Hype'.

I completed my MBA from the University of Cambridge, slogged my backside off in Mergers & Acquisitions (to pay off the edu loan & save for a rainy day) and then left the corporate world to become an MBA admissions consultant.

Over the years I realised that despite the high GMAT scores and the excellent academic & professional credentials of the Indian candidates, there's a huge disconnect between their expectations and the ground realities. Sadly, the mainstream media continues to fuel their unrealistic expectations. So I wrote this book to balance it out and provide the other side of the story.

After a truckload of rejections ('we like the book, but you don't have a saleable name'), a top-tier publishing house (HarperCollins) saw potential in it and agreed to publish it. I couldn't afford SRK, so I requested (a very enthusiastic and, er, animated) AB Sr to do the book promo video.

Soon after getting released, 'Beyond the MBA Hype' featured in the Times of India bestsellers list. The first 2 print-tuns of book have been sold out and the next edition is on the way. Do check it out.

On this thread, I look forward to sharing my thoughts and ideas with you. This is not a thread to evaluate profiles. But if you have queries about - the value of international MBA programs, whether it is really worth all the effort, your motivations for pursuing an MBA (money, name, fame...or just good ol' frustration release?) - I'd be happy to share my perspectives.

Connect with me on --> Twitter @mba_cb, Facebook (sameer.kamat.sk), LinkedIn.

P.S. Thanks to the PG team for granting me the permission to start this thread.


sirjii ..

one question ..

gmat with a good score .. around 750 or above ..

decent acads .. and literally no co-curricular .. work ex of 2 yrs

is it worthwhile ??

Paay laagu Pandit-jii,

Wow...the action started sooner than I expected! Are you based outside India (considering the time that you posted this)?

GMAT score and acads are important parameters for Adcoms to consider in their green-signal-red-signal decisions after you apply. But from a rationale validation perspective (where we are trying to answer queries like 'why MBA' and 'Is it worth it' ), I'd say these are insignificant.

So for the time being, let's keep them aside and focus on what you are hoping to gain from an MBA degree.

Can you share some more info about yourself pleejh? What is your background, post MBA goals?

- SK

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CATastrophism Says
After that chat I realized my destiny is here, in India.

Shobhit bhai,

Thanks for the kind words.

To be honest, I can't recall the specific details from our discussion (need to increase my almond intake). But if it saved you 50 lakh bucks, then I'm really keen to know if we also talked about how much percentage of your notional savings you should be sharing with me. :-P

From your recent activity on the other threads, I see that you are now completely focussed on cracking the desi tests. Too many candidates get swayed by the rosy possibilities and only a few have the maturity to step back and re-evaluate their strategies. So, kudos to you bro.

- The immediate gain:
You'll be saving a huge amount in foreign currency debt. If you decide to take up another international degree at a future point in time, that option remains open.

- The bigger implications for the global economy:
Without your financial contribution, the US economic recovery process may get delayed slightly. But I'm sure they'll manage it, as there'll be more than enough folks out there to rush in and grab the seat that you left.

Good luck with the CAT, my friend. Share the results with us here. Also, let me know if the stories and perspectives from the book resonate better with your decision now.

- SK
pandit jii Says
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Panditji,

I had read your query y'day and was thinking of responding to it in a relaxed manner today. Parantu aapne toh query hi gaayab kar di? :-)

As I had worked out the response in my head, let me share that anyway, to give you (and others reading this response) some direction.

What was missing in the info you had shared was the post MBA goal and that's a common 'gap' for many.

Most applicants underestimate the importance of working on this part and assume that they'll figure out the details after getting into bschool. But Adcoms want to see some level of planning before you send in the application.

So start off with that first and then work backwards to see how you can reach your goals. If an MBA still figures on the list, you've got a basic storyline in place to work on.

- SK

Hi Sameer,

I'm a [email protected] and this will be my first post.

-> IT guy 2 years work experience top 3 MNC hate coding want to spread me wings and flyyy blah blah
-> Slacker engineer strongly influenced by Kafka, David Wallace, metchul music, etc (in other words - don't really have "strong work ethics")
-> Have mostly drifted along without really giving a thought about what I want to do. Of late, however, I'm getting really interested in finance (god knows why). So I thought, consulting in BFSI domain in IT companies would do me good. Maybe I'll like it enough to care about building a career.

But then I've liked so many things and abandoned them later.

I know I'm not the first to get confused about the ultimate purpose of life, work, universe etc and I can't really elaborate further without looking lame/pseudo-philosophical. So yeah,

How did you decide on what you want to do?
Should I do an MBA?

Should I quit, go to Gokarna and come back, miraculously, with a new perspective (heh)?

I'm kind of hoping you don't ask me to stick to the job for 2 more years. Certain death, heh.

Thank you!

Hi Sameer,

Iam working as a software engineer for IT company with 3 years work experience.
Iam thinking for a 1 yr full time MBA program.
1)Can u let me know how feasible a 1 yr MBA program is.
2)I wanna be prepared before i get into 1 yr MBA program, can u let me know what are the things i need to fine tune before taking it up.
3) Iam thinking of majoring in supply chain management, but can u let me know the best source to get the maximum information on the specialisation and career paths.
4)Its a career shift iam planning, IT isnt my bread and butter, i have like 9 months before i get into a program , can u let me know what are the things i can do to bridge the gap.

Hope u have time to reply to all.
thanks a ton

Cheers,
Tariq

Abishtu Says
I'm a [email protected] and this will be my first post.
Abishtu, How's it goin' bro? Always makes me feel happy when long time lurkers decide to break their silence and create their first post for me. Honoured, sir!

IT guy...hate coding want to spread me wings and flyyy ...Slacker engineer ...don't really have "strong work ethics"
Do I smell a budding entrepreneur in there?

Of late, however, I'm getting really interested in finance (god knows why). So I thought, consulting in BFSI domain in IT companies would do me good. Maybe I'll like it enough to care about building a career.
I'm digressing, but that's a perfect example of something admission committtees would hate to read in your essays. If you were ever to apply to MBA programs, note this somewhere in your metchul muzeek lyrics page.

How did you decide on what you want to do?
Tables turned! My story.Alright, here's something to give you a sense of deja vu.

I was pretty much like you. Spent time in the IT industry, wanted to move on to greener pastures. So tried my hand at consulting...and then wanted to move on again.

Thought an MBA will help me address ALL questions that are important in life (including the meaning of life wala point). After graduating, I changed careers again, this time moved to the lucrative world of finance (Mergers & Acquisitions) hoping I'd like it. The glamour fizzled out pretty rapidly.

The truth that I discovered as I kept experimenting was that there was something bigger that I didn't like...the corporate world!

Decided to chuck it all and create a new world order around me where there'd be nothing and no one else to blame but myself. The answer...Entrepreneurship. Well, am happy at least for now.

Should I do an MBA?
I'd say hang on for a while more. Continue your experimentation outside bschool as much as you can. It's cheaper.

Should I quit, go to Gokarna and come back, miraculously, with a new perspective (heh)?
Yeah, that could happen as well. Sometimes getting away from the crazy mess for a while is good to clear up the cobwebs in the head.

I'm kind of hoping you don't ask me to stick to the job for 2 more years. Certain death, heh.
Already recommended a dose of experimentation, a few sentences back. So you can breathe easy.

Now my question to you. If you don't go for an MBA and you don't continue in your job, what other options can you think of? No, not expecting a smart-a$$ answer (though I'm pretty convinced that you have the intellectual and linguistic resources at your disposal to come up with a witty one-liner). I'd want you to think about 3-4 practical, low-risk options that you can try out without jeopardising your financial future (read, 70 lakh educational loan with no dream job in sight).

Up for the challenge?

- Confused?
Tariq_syed Says
1)Can u let me know how feasible a 1 yr MBA program is.

Hi Tariq,

One-year programs are attractive to most Indian students mainly due to the financials involved and the RoI. But they aren't right for many applicants, primarily due to work-ex and timing reasons.

The average experience at the time of starting a 1-yr MBA program is often several years more than the 2-yr programs. With your current experience level, it might be a little premature to jump into shorter duration programs.

2)I wanna be prepared before i get into 1 yr MBA program, can u let me know what are the things i need to fine tune before taking it up.
I'm generalising here, but 1-year programs tend to focus more on experience than on objective scores. If you can shore up some good managerial, leadership and business related experience, you'll appear much more attrative to Adcoms from 1 year programs.


3) Iam thinking of majoring in supply chain management, but can u let me know the best source to get the maximum information on the specialisation and career paths.
Regular career websites are a good way to kick-start the process. But the level of information tends to be at a pretty high level. Beyond that you could move on to actual company websites that are active in SCM and logistics to see what career paths their employees get after they join.

4)Its a career shift iam planning, IT isnt my bread and butter, i have like 9 months before i get into a program , can u let me know what are the things i can do to bridge the gap.
If you are applying this year (too early for many good 1 yr programs, but 2 year options are open), then you'd be targetting Round 2 application deadlines. Which means there's very little that you'd be able to talk about in your applications even if you change right now.

So I'd say, first plan out your applications. Avoid random last minute dramatic decisions about career and job change. It could backfire and there'll be a lot of justification in your essays to explain what happened and why.

But if you can talk to your bosses and ask them to move you into a role within the same company where you get to pick up some skills that are relevant to your post-MBA goals, that would be excellent.

Do you think your management would be open to something like that?

- Confujiya gaye ho?

Thanks for the detailed reply Sameer saar!

Yeah I've been thinking of other options too, which only serve to confuse me further.

After finishing with CAT/XAT/SNAP/etc drama, I should try something else atleast. The thing is I've realized that I value time over money. And that isn't the best thing to say when you're thinking about consulting jobs. But I don't want to teach or research or join a PSU either. Ah, let me wait and see how this CAT thing goes.

Hey Sameer, I have been following the Consulting thread and the MCB blog. They have been really helpful. And we students are really grateful for the candid advice shared by you, Arun sir & Organised Chaos sir. Hope to get a copy of the book soon.

Thanks for that advice sameer bhai !!!


Do you think your management would be open to something like that?

Well i had spoken to my manager to get into some functional role something in the lines of business Analysts. But then there arent and BA kinda role in the unit i work, as it isnt a domain specific one.
But yeah the interest i had shown has culminated into getting me a project that is kinda one man show wherein i have to do all the roles from a BA to a programmer to a tester, well i think it's an opportunity i will grab any day as it would mean i am my own boss in a way :P
Other than that i have exchanged a few PM with Varun from PG and he has guided me on doing Apics certification, which i am looking into seriously and would like to complete the CPIM before i join the MBA program.
After chatting with a few people in the industry who have done a 1 yr program, they seem to indicate that at least a few months of work in the desired industry would give a boost post the MBA program.
But i feel that if i utilize these months getting to know things and increase my knowledge base, which would reap more benefits.
Do let me know if my thinking is on the right track
Cheers,
Tariq
Abishtu Says
Yeah I've been thinking of other options too, which only serve to confuse me further.


"As long as you are still functioning in the materialistic real world, confusion is better than complete calm. The former says your life is buzzing with exciting things. The latter says you are ready to join my ashram." - Swami Sameeranand

The thing is I've realized that I value time over money.
Good! That's one thing an MBA will never be able to teach you. See? The learning has already begin :-)

But I don't want to teach or research or join a PSU either.
Every elimination makes your career goals a little more focussed. So you are addressing the confusion part anyway.

Ah, let me wait and see how this CAT thing goes.
Good luck, sirji.

- Dhongi babaon se pareshan?
Hey Sameer, I have been following the Consulting thread and the MCB blog.
:
Hope to get a copy of the book soon.


Thanks for the kind words, Arun.

Pustak ke baare mein apne vichaar please share karna iss thread par.

- SK

But yeah the interest i had shown has culminated into getting me a project that is kinda one man show wherein i have to do all the roles from a BA to a programmer to a tester, well i think its an opportunity i will grab any day as it would mean i am my own boss in a way :P
:
Do let me know if my thinking is on the right track

Definitely on the right track, Tariq bhai.

Good to see that you've been doing quite a bit of background work - talking to the boss, grabbing opportunties that come your way, etc. Signs of a fighter who's willing to push for the change that he wants!

On the certification part, it can be useful to the extent that you can demonstrate it's practical value in your current work. Otherwise it will end up as another entry on the CV which actually means nothing from an MBA perspective.

APICS and CPIM are excellent qualifications to have and require a fair bit of investment (time, money, effort). So do think about what you plan to do with those.

Getting experience in the target (post-MBA) industry is great. But do it only if you get into a good company and are confident of getting good experience. Why? Because you'll have only a few months to make a mark in that role before your MBA. So transitioning at the last minute for the sake of having it on paper is something I would discourage.

Keeping your latest project related point for the end. It's good that you are getting an exposure to functional and analytical work. But one man show doesn't sound too appealing. I'm sure you'd be able to pull in a few more members at various phases - getting the requirements validated, present the development plan, work on the project timeline, etc.

That way you can expand the scope to include more folks (maybe on a part-time basis) and that would make you the unofficial project manager of a full-fledged hara-bhara project rather than something that you are executing in isolation. If that can happen, you would have a success story of having gone beyond what was expected and converted a simple low-impact project to something of real value and a bigger impact. Excellent story for you!

Do you think the scope of the project would allow you to do that?

- SK

Hi*

My name is Ashwin Tadinada, I completed my graduation in commerce in 2006 from Mumbai University (Maharashtra), thus having completed 15 years of education in India*

Since the past 3 years and 10 months, I have been working with Research and Advisory firm (kpo). During my tenure I have worked on several industry research, competitive intelligence, feasibility analysis, & business plan related assignments across multiple sectors and geographies

Now, I plan to pursue my education abroad, and enrol into a foreign university sometime during fall 2012. I would prefer doing it from the US, but have not restricted myself to the country.*

I would be more than happy to do my MBA from some of the top colleges in Asia and Europe. Please guide me through the process of shortlisting colleges, keeping in mind that I would give my GMAT in December 2011. I would also like to have some knowledge on how to go about the process, keeping in mind, my target of getting through in fall of 2012

Thanks & Regards
Ashwin T

ashwintadinada Says
Please guide me through the process of shortlisting colleges...

Ashwin,

Most folks use GMAT as a filter to shortlist schools. It might seem like a quick and easy way to narrow down the list from thousands of options to 7 or 8 schools.

But I wouldn't recommend that. Do include GMAT as one of the parameters. But also look the following:

- Geography:
You've already got this sorted out. Asian and European programs have their own flavour vis-a-vis their 2 year US counterparts. So be aware of that.

- Class profile:
On the bschool websites you'll find nice looking piecharts. Check them out and see if you can figure out any trends. Is there a greater proportion of a certain demographic

- Career progression:
Where do the alumni finally end up - after graduation and 4-5 years later

- Strengths of the program:
Some schools are known to be strong in finance, marketing, entrepreneurship. See if you find that appealing. It does not mean they are averse to taking folks with diverse interests.

- GMAT:
Yup, somewher in the list this has to figure as well. As long as you are in the 30-50 percentile for the program, you stand a good shot.

- Fit:
Each school has a personality and you will either love it or hate it or be somewhere in between. Look at whether you would 'fit' into the program.

Keep the number of schools manageable. Otherwise you will not be able to do justice to each school.

...keeping in mind that I would give my GMAT in December 2011. I would also like to have some knowledge on how to go about the process, keeping in mind, my target of getting through in fall of 2012
You are cutting it too close, sirji. If you are targetting Round 2, you'll have very little time to start working on the applications if you wait till you get the GMAT score.

So start the process right now, as your storyline will not change if the GMAT goes up or down.

- SK

hello martian on earth...thankyou for the quick response...
i am a mech engg in a not so good university.currently in my 3rd year of college .
my educational background is:
x-85%(cbse)
12th-90%(cbse)
extracurricular activities:have been the school topper in class 12
part of society of automobile engineers(club at college)
member of maths club..at college
received a cash award from the director of the university for excellent performance for two years
secured 9.6 /10
gmat:yet to take scoring between 650-690
in the mocks ...
question:which colleges to target with my profile i know my profile is not very impressive ..