“Demand for MBA will continue unabated, but aspirants must be clear what they want out of MBA program”

Jatin Bhandari, CEO & Founder, PythaGurusAn MBA from University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business,  Jatin Bhandari,  worked with Accenture before starting PythaGURUS (esb 2009) offering creative solutions for students. Curriculum magazine spoke with him about the current trend in MBA education and how aspiring students should negotiate the choice myriad 

Do you think MBA as a career choice still commands the same mad rush of recent years? What is the newest trend?

I think an MBA is gaining aggression year over year. If you look at the amount of new ventures that have recently penetrated the market, you will realize that businesses no longer wait to accumulate internal capital in order to get a 10000% GROWTH (think of OLX, Flipkart). It is a meteor shower of these companies, and these showers will continue to fuel the need for the MBA programs for many decades to come. Even though we are experiencing stagnation in investments in research across the globe and there is a mindset that “Whatever had to be invented has already been invented( almost)” , I think the role of an MBA is to now optimize the allocation of wealth, allow companies to create and leverage lowest cost solutions, give the ability to the consumers to get what they want and in the quantity they want. MBA’s will function as a catalyst to making these ends meet.

Some new choices have emerged on pattern of executive MBAs, also foreign institutions are trying to woo untapped students, are you concerned?

I want everyone to know this: Whenever you sign up with any program, do not look at the brand of the Flagship program of the school. Rather, look at the employability of the program you are paying the money for. For example, if you know that the MBA program at Masters of the Universe School( Hypothetical) is amazing, and the same school is also now rolling out other options for senior executives, I will ask everyone to speak with the existing students. I will also ask people to make a class visit, and meet with the team. Get a good understanding of the average salaries, the positions that the existing students were recruited for, and the growth they experienced. The website color and fancy images do not translate into your future aspirations directly. Fortunately, the recruiting process for some of the top schools is so rigorous that they warrant this research even during the applications. I will not be concerned as long as the student community knows what it is doing. You spend a lot of time in research when you are buying automobiles. An MBA is approximately 4 times the cost of a premium segment car J …. I will strongly advise doing 8 times more research.

In your honest assessment, who should go for MBA degree and what should be his or her considerations both while choosing a program and B-school?

First of all, I will recommend working for some time. Work experience really helps you understand the gaps that you would like to fulfill using an MBA Program. People do MBA’s in order to complement their previous skill sets. During professional experiences, people come across moments that inspires them to build an expertise. That expertise will enable them to fulfill their short term ambition.

People do MBA’s for the reasonsmore money, Seniority in the responsibilities, Industry and functional switch: or moving across different countries. You need to have a thought process before you jump into an MBA program. It has to be your story. Your unique story. Once you have that, it is time to look for an MBA Program.

What are some of the things that aspiring students must guard against?

Paying for the brand of the business school without knowing what do you want in life. Brand of the school helped them in making you hear about them. But if you do not know what is it that you want out of your career immediately out of an MBA program, remember, an MBA program moves with the speed of light. It will be over with the blink of an Eye.

Settling for a below average school as you think this is the last year of your life to plan  your education. I do not agree with this statement. I think it is never the last year for educating yourself. In India, students divide their lives in different buckets, and think that the education bucket has to end at a certain age( irrespective of the school they are signing up for). I have met many students who jump into a random school and do not want to take the plunge of applying again to a top school as they think that the next bucket of post MBA work experience is getting closer. Think about it : Signing up for a wrong program can actually keep you away from the right job for ever.

Not knowing what to do: It can get scary if you have no idea how a business school will help you.

Tell us something about your own company, what kind of services does Pythagurus offer?

We started PythaGURUS with GMAT Course offering in 2009 and by the year end rolled out our admissions consulting offering, and help people get recruited by the Top schools. PythaGURUS is planning to roll out newer products in interviews, and personality development. It aspires to help the Indian students to gain employability. This product will be offered on campus, and also to people aspiring for competitive examination interviews. We aspire to start with the products catering to the students catering to students looking for MBA Programs, and then move to the other related tests by the end of this year.

In terms of services we offer  GMAT Test Preparation,  and MBA Admissions Consulting.