Hey! B-School has happened. How to make best of next two months!!

I am sure most of you have landed in one premium B-school or other. Of course, a few of you are thrilled and a few are a little disappointed. Nevertheless, the future is in front of you. I have time and again seen many of those who go to so called not-so-top-notch B-schools outperforming those who have been to, in their journey of careers and life. So just look ahead and give your best.

This is the time, friends and family are as excited as you are and you ended up throwing a party for all well wishers and then-on wait for the D-day to board your train or flight to reach the campus. Yes, you do go out shopping to buttress your wardrobe as much as for essentials for the next two years at the hostel.

Hey I got into my dream B-School! Lets party

We will soon meet for the PARTY. Apart from shaking your legs, you will meet your seniors as well as your co-travelers and may wish to get an insight into what happens at the B-School you are heading to and how to put your best foot forward. Not a bad idea, for sure.

“The ill-prepared are in for a SHOCKER at the end of the first term! And most of them will never recover in the next two years! Sigh!!

One question that should spring into your head is that – “Can I do a few things from now till the date of my journey that can have a positive impact at least on my first term, if not the next two years!!” Is this an important question to address? Yes, indeed.

You should be very keen that you gain maximum from your two years at B-School. Having been a facilitator to B-School aspirants over the last two decades and also as an alumnus of an IIM myself, I have a few things to ask you to work upon –

Working on your General Awareness, writing and presentation skills
It is very important that you work on your ability to think, organize and articulate your thoughts. Whether you are already good at it or you feel challenged, you need to work on it. I am sure you gained a lot during the last three months of PDP and interview process. No doubt, you can be even better.  It needs a constant endeavour from each one of us every day.

India Immersion - Hitachi middle level executives from Japan

Make reading your best friend. Kindly read a good newspaper – The Hindu / Indian Express / A Business daily every day, especially the features and editorial pages. Listen to 9pm news on DD and Day’s round up on one of the business channels every evening. Study the graphs and data to understand the situation depicted.

Work on your ability to express

The moment you enter, you need to study, prepare and present on a variety of topics, participate in case discussions etc. Better work on it right away.

Make sure you write an article every day – If you have not created a blog already, kindly do, to express yourself (you can check my website http://www.sreeni.org for any ideas). Alternatively, take a topic and speak in front of the mirror while recording it using your mobile. Play it to listen and introspect – where you got stuck and why? How can you overcome the shortcomings? Take action to be better.

Watch the best speakers on Youtube, TED and see how they work on their ideas and present crisply in front of the public.

Build your fundamentals before you reach the campus

Three subjects that would form the core for any business education and thereby your performance during the MBA programme are – quanititative ability (statistics), economics and accounting; I strongly urge you to pick a basic book on these to familiarize yourself even before you reach your campus for the pre-term / first term. The best place to start is CBSE Class XI and XII books.

Disruptions galore, future shall throw surprises – Are you ready?

During the PDP process, I always shared with you to look at the future. The next ten years disruptive technologies will impact every industry. Automation can lay off over 50% of the employed. Industries may metamorphose; else they may be on the verge of vanishing. I am sure quite a few of you have worked on it to respond to the question, “Why MBA?”  If you have, then keep reading more and more that shall help you to refine or adapt to the shifts. Those who have not, quickly start reading. Go to twitter and follow the accounts of bets of newspapers, periodical, journals, thinkers, world leaders, technologists, CEOs etc. Follow religiously, read the write ups, articles; So much to gain from doing so.

A couple of short predictive, disruptive timelines…. just indicative!

First figure out what you really want to do in life. I suggest you spend some time to introspect about this question ‘What I would be remembered for when I leave this world?’

Kindly read the article that I wrote on IKIGAI – purpose and meaning of life!

A few questions to help you start off –

  • What do you really enjoy doing? What are you good at? Which industry or company will benefit maximum from your passion.
  • Once you short list the company / industry, start reading about them through various available data and feature sources
  • Are there any personalities you admire and why? Is there and values they espouse or abilities that they have that you want to inculcate? Work on them consciously.

Once you are able to write this note for yourself, I am sure you will get to know what you need to do from now on to achieve your ultimate goals, and how you would like to make maximum of your next two years at the B-School of your choice. Put all these in a note for yourself. I hope this will be a great exercise for your journey.

What more can I do in the next two months?

I sincerely advise everyone to take time off before you head to the business school. A few of the working kind rush to the business school the very next week after their last day at the office. You will be lacking energy to take off! You should have done a lot of things in a relaxed way in the previous four to six weeks that you should be fresh and eager on the first day of the business school.

A few ideas…..

Class of 2012 - Knowing thyself..

    1. Travel. Travel….. Travel is the best enabler. Add adventure trails, even better. Get hold of a few of your friends from the past, or even those who are heading to the same business school with you and plan the trip. Do it now!!
    2. When I am asking you to travel, why not travel to countries of cutting-edge technology and developments – ISRAEL, TAIWAN etc… You will be surprised how a couple of weeks in these countries and visits to their universities can impact your vision for life
    3. Contribute to any cause close to your heart. I have been hearing from many of you that there are causes very dear to you. Why not associate with an organization or a movement that espouses a cause very close to your heart for a few weeks and contribute there. This will help you understand a whole lot about yourself, working of an organization and also can give ideas about what all you could do during your two years of B-School and after.
    4. Start learning something that you have been longing for – playing a guitar, tap-dance, salsa….why not a start learning a language that could be of value in your B-School life (Exchange programs with other universities world wide) and beyond (placements)
    5. Once you identified your area of interests (you must have realized during your PDP), why not undertake a course or two on UDEMY or Coursera that could add value to you in your career and life.
    6. Get yourself physically fit – get going on your bicycle, hit the gym… etc.


    A few movements that I have been involved actively are as follows and in the next two months there are amazing opportunities to explore, if you are really interested in. Click on the links and discover–
    1. NIF and its Shodhyatras at www.sristi.orgKindly check this site for the next shodhyatra 39th in Odisha scheduled this MAY, that will open your eyes to grassroot-innovation
    2. SPICMACAY’s (http://www.spicmacay.com) promotion of culture and art forms among youth etc – Kindly do a quick registration for the international convention scheduled for June 05-11 at IIT Delhi. Last date for registration is April 15th.
    3. ITIHAAS – a movement to acquaint children and youth with the heritage of India.(http://www.itihaas.net)
    4. Working with a few young entrepreneurs and their start ups
    5. Of course mentoring or doing workshops for teachers and students.

SPICMACAY 3rd International Convention, IIT Mumbai days 3-5 407

I am sure you too can identify a cause and contribute during your free time to gain something that can be significant for your journey of life.

Before winding up, I would like to just say that, at the B-school –

  • Kindly be hungry for learning, devour magazines, journals and books;
  • Do not hesitate to interact with professors beyond your class requirements,
  • Plunge into all activities that are happening around you,
  • Take additional responsibilities on the campus that can build your personality.
  • Create great bonds and thought alignments. Who knows, you may find your co-founders for a killer business happening there. We did for CL Educate !

I am sure you would have got enough ideas to build upon whatever I have stated here that can be invaluable for your journey ahead.

Wishing you the very best. Enjoy your B-school life.



Is my dream of MBA from a good B-School abroad a possibility?

Hi Sreeni,

My name is Sid. Just read your article about GMAT.  I have always been interested in an MBA from a good business school from overseas, but due to my poor profile never pursued that dream.

I am scoring around 95 percentile in mock CATs (this should give you an idea of where I stand in GMAT). I wanted to know which good b-schools can I think of with my profile.

10th – 83.23 %
12th – 54.44 %
Graduation (BCA 3 years) – 63.88 %
work ex – 1.5 years as a Statistical Analyst in a leading software consulting firm.

Kindly tell me what can be done about it and any additional insight from you would be really helpful.

Best Regards,

Career Launcher - Inspiring Leadership; Empowering Minds, Creating Opportunities

Dear Sid,

Thanks for your patience. Since your profile is not sound, it took a while for our team to go through the universities that are safe and sound for you to apply. Yes, they are not Ivy League schools, but they are good enough with course, pedagogy and the immediate context. Kindly look at the list of the universities herewith.

1)Central Michigan University Safe
2)University of Texas, Pan America Safe
3)Sam Houston State University Safe
4)Widener University Safe
5)Jackson State University Safe
1) Southern New Hampshire University Moderate
2) Humboldt State University Moderate
3) Lamar University Moderate
4) Tennessee Tech University Moderate
5) Boston College (Carroll) – Carroll School of Management Moderate

The list given here is indicative schools. When you really think seriously and seek mentoring for GMAT and admissions abroad, a great deal of work has to go. Moreover, since you are serious now about your studies and career, I am sure you can strengthen your profile with some serious research and writing in your area of interest.

Since you are scoring 95%ile, push yourself and get a good score 99.5%+ percentile and make it to a sound B-School in India. Simultaneously, keep working for GMAT and take it in the next 6-8 weeks and set the process of applying going for overseas B-Schools.

Mail me on sreeni@careerlauncher.com if you need any mentoring and help for preparation for GMAT etc.

Best wishes,


Why you should look at GMAT too, especially if you are a serious CAT taker (all the more if you have work-ex!)

Many a CAT-taker usually thinks that doing an MBA from overseas is prohibitively expensive. A few do think about a second MBA from an IVY League institution after a few years of experience post MBA in India. Having observed the management education space since 1991, and having mentored MBA aspirants who aimed at B-Schools in India and also those who only wanted to study abroad, I thought I should write a brief note to help every aspirant of MBA.

IWSB PG12 Convocation 2012 and farewell

In Indian context, any entrance exam is competition intensive. Of course, the one who is purposeful, determined and disciplined does manage to compel the IIMs to send across the call letter by virtue of his or her performance in CAT and Interview stage. Still there are many who are very good, but make do with an MBA from not so good an institution. From that perspective, every CAT taker should look at GMAT seriously.

Why study abroad? Does it make any sense? YES, IT DOES…

• Choice of Courses – The best of the universities abroad offer such a varied choice of flexible programmes wherein you can pick and choose courses / electives not limited to the courses that B-School offers. One can pick courses from varied departments of the university based on your interests.

• Highly ranked Universities – Most of the universities that you hear about, or will aspire to be in and where many Indian students regularly get admitted to are definitely ranked far higher than any of the Indian Institutions in the global rankings.

• Exposure to global business environment – Most of these universities are trend-setters in management education – approach and pedagogy; many faculty are bolstered by the sharp intellect that have contributed immensely to paradigm shifts in doing business. The institution-industry engagement hence is of very high standard, there by offering exposure to world class business environment.

• All round development – Most of the programmes attract students from varied countries, cultures and work experiences; the opportunity such an intense and engaging programme offers is beyond compare from the perspective of personal development.

• Home to the Best Companies – The best of the business schools are in the vicinity of largest business centres of the world that is home for the best of the Companies. Actually many of these universities have been the craddle for many of these world class companies when they were conceived and nurtured to the extent of the universities even having stakes in these companies.

• Global Citizen – Most of the graduates, if keen, are gobbled by the corporates to be posted in countries across the world. A few years in any of these corporate makes you a global citizen, looking at every challenge in so many perspectives.

• Higher Return on Investment – Though the fees that you pay for these programmes are multiple of what you invest for programmes in India, including IIMs, the kind of salaries that are offered to the graduates from these institutions are so huge that a graduate from an Indian institution will take a decade or so to match the salaries offered even at the campus placements of the overseas schools. Your returns are in the range of 3 to 4 multiples of your investment of the programme.

Here is a dekko of Global MBA, Fees Vs Avg Salary– (2014)

B.School Intake Fees Avg Salary Duration (mths)
Harvard, US Sept/Jan/April USD 53500 USD 187223 24
Stanford, US Oct/Jan/April USD 57300 USD 194645 24
LBS, UK Oct/Jan/April GBP 57500 GBP 160988 15-21
INSEAD, Fr Oct/Dec/March Euro 59500 Euro 153992 10

Kindly check the WHYGMAT.ppt on the SIS for greater details on fees at top B-schools of the world and the average salary offered at the placements of these institutions.

Why should you take GMAT anyways?

B-Schools across the globe look for GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) scores for admission for their programmes. When you are preparing for CAT, anyways you have more or less prepared for everything that GMAT tests you on. As your GMAT score is valid for 5 years (the best of the colleges prefer score within last three years) it makes sense to prepare and take GMAT as you take CAT. You may use the scores now or in 3-4 years time if you look towards global career!

Also scoring 720+ in GMAT is easier for any hardworking CAT-Taker than scoring a 95%ile in CAT. This score is good enough to open the doors of the best of the world class business schools; Of course many of the top Indian business schools also accept GMAT scores for admissions. So GMAT offers an alternate route to enter even a few of the Indian B-Schools.

Which are the Indian B-Schools that accept GMAT scores?

As per the information published on mba.com on 10th Dec, 2014, the following are a few of the top B-schools in India worth mentioning that accept GMAT scores. For more schools, visit mba.com of GMAC that is the conducting body of GMAT.
Apart from IIMs – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Ranchi, Rohtak, Shillong, Trichy, Udaipur, Raipur
• XLRI, Jamshedpur
• FMS, Delhi
• IIT-DMS, Delhi, Kanpur, Bombay, Madras, Roorkee & Kharagpur
• ISB, Hyderabad and Mohali
• IIFT, Delhi & Kolkata
• S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai
• Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai
• IMT, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Dubai
• MDI, Gurgaon
• School of Management, NMIMS, Mumbai
• K.J.Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai
• TAPMI, Manipal
• XIM, Bhubaneswar
• Goa Institute of Management, Goa
• MICA, Ahmedabad
• TISS, Mumbai
• IMI, New Delhi, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata
• NIFT, Delhi
• Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Gujarat

For more details kindly visit the website of the B-school you are keen on.

What more you should know about GMAT?

– GMAT exam can be given more than once. However it is not recommended more than 2 times.
– Eligibility – Working Professionals, Graduates and undergraduates.
– The test is conducted throughout the year, except on Sundays and National Holidays.
– Passport is mandatory to take GMAT exam.
– Ideal time to take GMAT is minimum one year prior to intake dates (if you are looking at MBA overseas); If you are looking at admissions in Indian B-Schools then take it by December of the previous year (look for more details on the website of the relevant B-School)
– Score –
a) GMAT score is on 800. (Max)
b) Minimum score – 200.
– Scoring Pattern – The score happens on 10 point increment
– GMAT good scores considered to be 680 +
– Average CL student scores – 715; Many have scored 750+ too.

What are the programmes overseas that one can apply after taking GMAT?

• MIM (Masters In Management) : Work-ex 0-2 yrs – mostly in Europe, though a few B.Schools in the US also have started
• Global MBA : Work-ex 2-7 yrs
• EMBA (executive MBA) / Sloan Program : Work-ed >8 yrs
Programmes that offer Pre-final college students a guaranteed seat in a future class
• ISB – Young Leaders Program
• HBS – 2+2 program
• YALE – Silver Scholars Program
• STANFORD GSB – College Seniors program
• IESE Spain – Young Talent Program

What does a serious CAT taker need to work on to crack GMAT?

Most of the serious CAT takers will crack the GMAT quant section. The areas a serious CAT taker needs to work on are –

a. Verbal section – orientation towards GMAT slant to English – mostly the topics covered in RC, critical reasoning  and Verbal reasoning are American or international issues. Hence a little bit of practice will help you in reorienting yourself.

b. Integrated reasoning – wherein combination of 3-4 different data sets / forms become part of sets, reflecting the real business / economic situations

c. AWA – Analyzing or presenting arguments in a cogent way for a given theme, topic or argument.

Realistically speaking, a serious CAT taker would need about 3-4 weeks to be ready to take GMAT and crack it. Scoring 720+ is an easy possibility for any CAT Taker. Quite a few this year have already scored 750+. Take the leap. Do not wait.

I shall wind up this article by simply advising every CAT taker, unless you are in the 98%ile bracket in mocks, to look at GMAT also as a potential route to get into your dream B-School. Those with work-ex, you should take GMAT and even target the overseas B-schools.

Kindly check the WHYGMAT.ppt in your SIS that has greater details. Get in touch with the counselor at your Career Launcher centre to know about all details of the GMAT Bridge and GRE Bridge programmes for CL CAT Takers. Write to sreeni@careerlauncher.com for more information.

Conquer self, conquer the world.

Best Wishes,

Placements after MBA/Management education – Q&A addressed for a leading daily of INDIA

From Students’ Point of view:

  • How does an MBA degree/PGDM bridge the gap between where a student is and where he/she wants to be in future?

Most aspirants look at an MBA/PGDM program as another degree that has greater possibility of landing them in a lucrative job. It is far from truth.

The critical question to ask oneself is – What is going to be my arena of excellence? What is my goal in the next 3-5 years? If an individual has a great deal of clarity and specific goals in mind, then most of the job is done.

An MBA / PGDM program is only a means to achieve that goal. If you have a compelling goal in mind, then greater is the possibility of you getting into an institution of repute, as you know that such an environment can make a huge difference in realizing your potential and your goal.

Convocation of class of 2013, IWSB

What does a good institution provide –

  1. An inspiring learning infrastructure and environment that is vibrant and thriving 24X7, through the year.
  2. Faculty of immense calibre and repute who are respected and connected in the industry
  3. A competitive eco-system where you come across groups of eager learners who explore immense possibilities. They are always on look out for opportunities. They keep pushing their own boundaries, while compelling fellow travelers to push theirs.
  4. There are too many instances to share wherein not only many a batch-mate but also faculty who have become co-travelers for life, starting companies and endeavours together, realizing the immense potential each one of us has within.

Look at the current entrepreneurial eco-system and the inspiringly successful stories that you read; most of them germinated in a campus, with co-learners as co-promoters.

It is not about a degree, it is about a space or a programme that initiates you into a journey of excellence, lifelong.

  • From the industry perspective, which out of these is better, a regular MBA/ PGDM, Executive MBA or Distance Learning?

The effectiveness and efficacy of a business management programme lies in its ingredients and structure – higher inter-disciplinary courses, intense interactions between the learners and a hands-on approach to business. This can happen only when the program is a regular one, where you are on a campus for an intense period of a year or two.

The choice between a regular MBA and an Executive MBA is purely based on the candidate’s present situation. A candidate with 3-4 years of work experience can go for an executive MBA and the industry is extremely welcoming to the products of both, regular and executive MBA. The B-school should be chosen wisely though.

Distance learning MBA programs / Exec MBA with a few contact-weeks could be of value if one has worked for a significant number of years. The conceptual learning added with intense contact-weeks where in you discuss and debate the possibilities, can act as a great cauldron to initiate a few ideas within the experienced, who can explore and experiment in their respective organizations. The process and outcomes can be of immense value.

Industry still seems to be skeptical about the Distance Learning MBA programs, especially if the takers are not experienced. With the advent of new e-Learning and m-Learning technologies, Distance Learning MBA programmes will gain more credibility in the future, especially in the context of experienced candidates.

  • What are the resources that students can expect from their college and faculty during the placements and their preparation for the same?

A good institution runs like a well-oiled machinery. The processes, both academic and non-academic, take care of building the vision and confidence in most candidates to chase their career and life dreams. It provides immense opportunities to explore and experience, through various live projects and internships. It also enables them to take failure in their stride; see them as a learning experience. Guidance, mentoring and support from the institution, faculty and even co-learners help them win through every challenge they face, placements are just one such. Of course a learning institution is always finding new ways to facilitate.


  • What are the short comings, if any, that the B-schools need to address, in terms of discrepancy in the talent pool of students & the skill-set required by the industry?

Most of the top b-schools are already aware of the skill-talent gap and are trying to match the industry requirements by way of having practical case studies, presentations into the course curriculum. Also the summer internship projects take care of the same.

Of course, every institution can create –

  1. Practices in the institution that can facilitate every student to be confident in the real world. Ability to introspect, being observant of oneself, taking initiative, eagerness to learn and ability to communicate are very significant factors for one to excel in career and life.
  2. Opportunities to dirty ones hands to explore, experience and learn the business dynamics. Entrepreneurial endeavours needs to be integral to the learning process.


  • What is the role of students in the placement committee? Ideally how should it be?


Students usually form part of the placement committee and interface with industry at the stage of inviting them to the campus and overall coordination at the placement time.

I keep wondering how many of these institutions really foster an entrepreneurial eco-system. That is the key to the future. Can we enable the students to create job opportunities than looking for an opportunity to find a job?


  • What are the things that the students must keep in mind during the interview process? (Pointers)
  1. Clarity of thought and goal – what do you really want to do in life? And then apply only to those companies that would take you towards realizing their goals.
  2. Enthusiasm – An extremely important factor that enlivens the interview process
  3. Honesty – At no point of time during the interview you should lie, brag or exaggerate.
  4. Presence of Mind – Mental agility is one thing that can make or break the interviews. Being able to comprehend and think quickly, certainly goes a long way. With good presence of mind, difficult situations can be turned into favorable ones.
  5. Sound concepts and logic – Especially for the technical interviews, it is extremely important to have your basic concepts in place.


  • Is there a way through which the candidates can make the recruiters overlook their academic records?

A bright future can light-up a dull past. Students should show exuberance and the promise of heading towards an exceptional future. This can only be done by having a solid and steady present. A student’s performance in the B-school is the only shroud that can blanket the dim academic records of the past. Clarity about your future goal, the path that you see and solid performance in the B-school can give enough indicators for the recruiters to look ahead than dig into your past.

  • Should the students consider an industry’s growth while applying or opting for a particular job profile?

This is a point of great debate whether the industry performance should be secondary to personal interests or not. Certainly, industry growth does matter. The saturation of an industry is usually a sign of less scope of innovation. But, it is also time for Industry to look for exceptional talent who can replace even multiple role-holders. When Industry is in bad shape, exceptional talents rise fast!  A student must be really good in what he does and be judicious in choosing the right job profile for him that more or less falls in line with his aspirations. If a student is from a top B-school, chances are less that he would succumb to the situation.

  • Which sector is hiring MBAs the most and what would be the future hiring trend?

One sector which has grabbed everybody’s attention is the e-commerce sector. The likes of Flipkart and Amazon have indulged in aggressive recruiting in the last one or two years. Lately, these enterprises have come across as major recruiters from the top B-schools. The colossal billion dollar valuations of these companies make them appear as an untamed animal on the prowl.

Also in demand would be the ever green profiles of – Technology and especially mobility which is playing a big role; Analytics is gaining importance.

In India, the entrepreneurial eco-system is just warming up. Instead of asking, “what is in demand, what is the salary”, one needs to ask, “Am I chasing what I really want to do?; Am I an eager learner?; Do I dirty my hands?; Do I have the same enthusiasm at the end of the day, every day?” These will be critical in entrepreneurial organizations.

  • What should the current and prospective MBA students do to increase their job prospects?

Being a keen learner in whatever space he is in, being abreast with the world, keep working on his people and leadership skills along with having courage to think out of the box in solution-centric approach..

Good soft skills are almost a must these days. Doing your work diligently needs to be complemented with effective communication of the same. That makes a complete professional who is ready to bear the responsibility of taking an organization ahead.

From Industry’s Point of view:

  • Do the recruiters have any preference in terms of a specialization?


Every business needs people from various backgrounds. Every specialization is in demand. It is the vision one has and the passion one demonstrates begets the positions. Have you ever heard of a Chief Belief Officer (CBO) in corporate world? This position was created for a deserving person in the FUTURE GROUP, find out!

Recruiters always specify their preferences in terms of specialization before the interview process begins. A BFSI sector company would most probably be going for Finance graduates. A consulting firm may be looking forward to take marketing or systems graduates.

Having said that, if you really want to be in a company, work on polishing the skills that is of immense value to that company and just go after the company. In today’s networked world, you will surely find an opening.


  • Are there any attributes which are specific to a specialization or an industry which the recruiters consider while recruiting? E.g. one must be comfortable with number crunching when it comes to Finance.


Certainly, the industry expects people who are good with numbers for the finance profiles and people who are more creative and crafty to look after the marketing in their organizations. However, in today’s world, an MBA of any stream should be proficient in multiple skillsets. For example, even Marketing is a game of numbers. The industry expects a Marketing manager to have a good level of comprehension of numbers and data.


  • How much weightage is given to the academic performance of a candidate by the companies?


For finance and consulting profiles, consistency in the academic performance is considered and valued. For marketing and systems profiles, this consistency may not be that important as some other attributes of the candidates may cover-up for any deficiency in the academic record.


  • A lot of MBA professionals are going for start-ups instead of big firms. Is it good or bad? What is the reason for this trend?


Young MBA professionals going for a start-up shows a great deal about their risk-taking instinct.  Not just initiating a start-up but also joining a nascent one is a sign of courage. There is no job security, a start-up may fail. It certainly is a good thing and even those who have failed ventures are regarded and appreciated by the industry.

My heuristics suggest that the reason for this trend, this exodus of students from the promising final placement sessions of their B-schools, is the hunger for innovation. This is fueled by the various possibilities, resources and the upcoming technologies.

What are the factors to be considered while choosing a B-school?

Choosing a B-school can be broadly done by judging 3-4 factors given below:

  1. Learning environment – How innovative and facilitating is the environment? What is the methodology, pedagogy of learning?. How hands-on is the program? Does it keep pace with the changing trends in the economy?
  1. Industry Reputation & Placements – understanding about how is the industry response during the summer placements and final placements. Finding what companies from which sectors are dominant in hiring from that B-school.This factor majorly determines how smooth a student’s entry into the industry would be.
  1. Courses and Specializations – finding the best courses and specializations of the B-school. Assessing whether they are in-line with the candidate’s aspirations or not.
  1. ROI – The Return on Investment evaluation should go beyond the monetary aspects. One must also see what the other are takeaways from that particular B-school.
  1. Location – This affects the kind of companies that hire and also the opportunities of summer internships.

What are the factors to be considered while choosing a specialization

If passion can become profession, nothing else is needed. The greatest challenge for every aspirant is to discover his passion and excel in that space pushing ones boundaries. You need to be special, specializations really do not matter!

Having said that, I must say that, students get a great chance of understanding what their calling is during the first year which has common subjects. For the self-driven and self-motivated this much time is enough to identify their specialization.

Apart from this, being factually aware of the type of job profiles offered to students of that specialization at that B-school is one factor that should be kept in mind. Students need to keep abreast with the current trends and the future prospects of the industry of their interest.

SMART QUANT CRACKER – GP Enthralls and Inspires

GP's SQC a smash hit....crowd surges, traffic jammed..
GP’s SQC a smash hit….crowd surges, traffic jammed..


SMART QUANT CRACKER - GP enthralls and inspiresSMART QUANT CRACKER - GP enthralls and inspiresSMART QUANT CRACKER - GP enthralls and inspiresSMART QUANT CRACKER - GP enthralls and inspiresSMART QUANT CRACKER - GP enthralls and inspiresSMART QUANT CRACKER - GP enthralls and inspires
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Gautam Puri, popularly called GP, an IIMB alum and co-founcer CL, inspired the audience of over 2000 at Sirifort Auditorium with his magic. He deciphered the way quant section needs to be looked at CAT – How the toughest of the questions, if seen the way it should be, can be solved quickly and efficiently.

Students went back with a confidence that they will be able to do their magic. The fears in most have vanished. Now the challenge is to see how it should be. More and more practice will do.

GP’s SQC tour has commenced and in the next three weeks he will be in many cities. Check out in your city..

Gp will also be reaching out to the farthest through WEBINARS. Kindly keep checking the spaces – SIS for all Cl students and www.careerlauncher.com/gpspeaks for every one.

The whole presentation will also be uploaded, so will the video of the Sirifort Session in the next couple of days.

‘Outlook Money’ interview on On-Line MBA – My take

Outlook Money interviewed me for a feature on on-line MBA in one of their forthcoming issues.  Here are my answers to their questions that may become part of the feature coverage.

Question 1 – Online MBAs cost less money and are more convenient. How do they differ from a conventional MBA in terms of boosting one’s career prospects?

  1. An MBA is all about experiential learning.  In a good regular program the  class has diverse learners. (My batch at IIMB 17 years ago had somewhat following profile –
    1. Age 21 – 45+
    2. Various streams – linguists to scientists, to police commissioners, CA, ICWA, Doctors – I have experienced all of them over the years
    3. From a variety of industries – as widely as you can imagine – IT and biotech companies on one end to governmental departments on the other..
  2. In MBA has to do with how you run an organization in an entrepreneurial manner – including government and even panchayats (Chavvi Rajawat, an MBA is a sarpanch in Rajasthan). So the learning happens through intense sharing and gaining from not only the curriculum and pedagogy but also with fellow learners.
  3. In a purely On-line MBA, all the above elements that form the core of learning process is completely opaque. Hence the learning during an on-line MBA program depends greatly on the learner’s initiative of how he or she will practically implement in the working environment.
  4. So the boost to the career is going to be completely dependent on the learners eagerness to learn, relating to his contextual existence and application of it.  Indirectly performance of the individual will get rewarded in the organizations they work in.

Question 2: How does one select which online MBA courses to go for? Are courses offered by reputed institutes, who have campus MBA programs necessarily good?


  1. Online MBA programs are basically for continuous professional education to enhance ones perspective and possibly ones prospects.
  2. In the US it has been in existence for almost two decades now, but mostly subscribed to by people who are working and cannot afford time to go for a regular program.
  3. There are a few variants in online MBA programs that are blended. It means a few hours of contact classes. This varies from a few hours every week to a couple of days in a term. So blended programs do work better than purely online program for it facilitates face-to-face interaction with the fellow learners that enables greater learning.
  4. A few of the on-line programs will not only have canned sessions for access anywhere and any time, but also have virtual sessions or webinars that try to simulate the interactive learning environment with learners participating from across the world. Such a thing will have the advantage of cross-boundary learning.  Still the human beings are missed.
  5. Hence, if you really want to get the maximum out of the program, look for programs that offer a good blend of on-line as well as off-line in-class interactions

Question 3. Do online MBA’s provide placement facilities?

  1.  As I shared already, On-line MBA programs are for practicing professionals; for learning and enhancing skills, and not necessarily for placements;
  2. The learning may add value depending on the investment of time and effort of the learner. Hence the rewards and remunerations are a function of the efforts of the learner.
  3. Yes, in the same organizations they may gain enormously if they apply their learning and show results; and later the switch in jobs may happen.  So, indirectly better placements.
  4. Though the industry has a lot of opportunities, one who really invests in learning and applies well, gets well placed even in a regular MBA program, not to talk of an on-line MBA program

Question 4. What are the things one needs to keep in mind before going for an online MBA? How does one figure out whether the investment he is making is worth it and will make him get a higher paying job or enhance his career prospects? Who should, according to you, go for an online MBA course?

  1. The first requirement is – what is the drive one has to run for himself or herself without the push from outside. The person has to be highly motivated and self-driven
  2. In the current context, it is for working executives, who wish to enhance their skills and continue upgrading their knowledge; One may even pursue programs that are very specific to their domain.
  3. Look for programs that have a good blend of on-line and classroom. That at least allows a fair amount of interaction with fellow learners.
  4. An MBA is also about networking with like-minded people. Opportunities throw up when greater interactions happen in the learning spaces. So the blended versions help.
  5. Look at the track record of the programs. Seek greater inputs from the institution. Better to ask from the institution for references of people who are already doing the program or alum and seek their inputs

Open letter to MBA Aspirants: IWSB looking for young potential business leaders

Dear potential future business leader,

I, Sreeni (passionate learner, motivator, mentor and an edupreneur – http://www.sreeni.org), am delighted to write to you, as you are looking for one of the best B-schools to pursue your MBA from.

Indus World School of Business (IWSB), unique endeavor in business education, launched by Career Launcher group, has been recognized as one of the B-Schools to watch out for, by none other than Ravi Mathai Centre for education innovation of IIM Ahmadabad in 2010.

In just two years, IWSB has outstanding achievements to its credit. The accolades are pouring in for enabling young business managers who are entrepreneurial leaders in their own right. Have a look at the credentials in every sense –

World Recognizes:

– IIMA research study 2010 puts IWSB among the TOP 4 New-age B-schools in the country from 1600 B-schools – for innovation and B-School curriculum – “B’School sets new trends”

– IWSB student Ankita wins Cherie Blair foundation for Women -NEN young women entrepreneurs’ international award for 2010 – CBFW-NEN Awards

– IWSB students win national gold honors at Rural Marketing Association of India – Business model for rural enterprises at IIMB – IWSBians at IIM-B RMAI Competition

– NEN names IWSB as one of the TOP 7 Entrepreneurial campuses in India for the third year in a row

Placements – One of the best in any B-school: Among Top-3 in the Salary offered to fees ratio; comparable to many in the Top-20 B-schools – Placements 2010

· The best for the first batch passing out – highest 11.45L; Average 5.64L; Work-ex Avg 6.74; Freshers Avg 4.56L – Placement Highlights

· Highest number of entrepreneurs emerged from any campus in its very first year – seven (last count)

· Placements focused on young and fast growing companies that offer great amount of freedom, responsibility with accountability. Check what the entrepreneurs and bosses say about contribution of IWSB students.

Faculty – Eminent academicians; Alumni of IIMs and IVY league B-school with over a decade or two in corporate; Many practicing and Award-winning Entrepreneurs

Campus – Five acre ultra modern wireless enabled campus; Separate hostels for Boys and Girls in the vicinity of the campus – IWSB Campus Pictures

Industry Institutional interactions – Over forty business leaders / entrepreneurs / change makers who have impacted India industry, economy and society spent their precious one-day at the campus in the last one year – IWSB E-Bootcamp, E-Bootcamp Videos, My-Journey Series@IWSB

Curriculum – Intensive curriculum to stoke leadership and entrepreneurial thinking, hailed as one of the most innovative by IIMA study – Program highlights
Many students launch their entrepreneurial ventures while being in their two-year program at IWSB

The focus at IWSB is all about enabling youngsters like you to realize your potential. There are so many more things that you will discover about IWSB, if you find a little time to explore – www.iwsb.in and the blog – IWSB Blog

Programs – IWSB offers two programs in active partnership with Pondicherry University (central university constituted by parliament of India) – A ppt on IWSB, Program and Admission at a glance

· Autonomous PGPM (with Twinning MBA from Pondicherry central university) : Flagship, Industry acknowledged, intense program for those with high ambitions
· MBA-Twinning from Pondicherry university (stand alone) : for those who wish to have a good MBA with outstanding faculty and environment

You can interact with students and alumni by connecting on:

Facebook – IWSB Facebook page

Linkedin – IWSB on Linkedin

iwsbchannel on youtube – IWSB on Youtube

You can download forms and apply – either from IWSB.in – ; or simplyapply on careerlauncher.com; you can pay on-line or at any of the CL centers and submit forms there itself or send it across to the IWSB address.

I will be delighted to help you achieve your career and life goals. You can connect to me on web space through http://www.sreeni.org (it has links to facebook, linkedin, youtube etc)

Wishing you a rewarding career and amazing journey of life

Love and wishes,

R. Sreenivasan,

Director and Facilitator, Indus World School of Business (iwsb.in)
Co-Founder, Career Launcher (I) Ltd.

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