The season for MBA aspirants has arrived. This is manifested in discussions involving students, B Schools, coaching classes, parents etc. - featuring words like job-scene, package, day zero, profile, stock options and so on.
In spite of global and local muted economic growth, the popularity of earning a Post-Graduate degree in Business Management has not abated. On the other hand, the competition for getting admission to a reputed B School has only intensified.
The following perspectives and suggestions would enable an applicant to prepare better:
First, the applicant must nurture the mind-set of wanting to enter the profession of a Business Manager/Professional. The process of securing admission is only the first step of many more to be crossed.
The applicant should be able to fashion a mind-set of how and what they would contribute to the enhancement of the business growth/health of the organisation they join.
Second, the CV/Resume is the most powerful asset, the applicant possesses. Its 'design and structure’ has a huge impact on the entire process, leading to selection. MBA applicants must elegantly weave into their CV, ' integration of who they are, what they have done and why’. The CV should reflect a ' personal brand' with a promise, unfolding from the core identity of the personality.
The third factor is the Group Discussion or Group interaction, which is a ubiquitous step in the selection process to a B School. Many myths float around, on ' how to crack the GD.'
Some home truths are GD (Group Discussion) is a conversation and not a debating contest. Neither is it a shouting competition. Neither is it axiomatic, that the group member who opens and/or closes the GD will get shortlisted.
What is most important is, who in the group interaction, is able to positively influence others, operating from a ' non assigned leaderless position.'
GD success is closely related to the quality and perspective of content generated. However, those group members who may not be savvy on the content, could invest their energy on facilitation of group dynamics, towards ensuring the process is productive and involves as many participants.
Last and not the least, the interview is the frontier to be crossed. The interview is more likely to go well, if the aspirant has visualised and well architected the CV. CVs should be tempered in terms of excellence of achievement, lest the interviewer prises open the claim, to find it wanting.
It is wise for the aspirant to focus the interview - across his/her life, study and working life- on how she/he has contributed/value added, even if all outcomes were not completely successful.
The CV should have elements (similar to different musical instruments) which when orchestrated sounds like a symphony (rather than an aggregation of noise).
The CV should be used by the applicant to share a vivid story, strung together, similar to an invisible ' suthradar'.
A final input, for the MBA aspirant, is not to be imprisoned in the archetypes of what the ' ideal applicant should look like'.
What is most important is the uniqueness/distinctiveness the individual applicant brings to the table, which makes him/her interesting and valuable.
The article has been contributed by Prof. Vijayan Pankajakshan, Dean - HR, Chief Human Resource Officer and Head - Career Management Cell, S.P. Mandali's Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research (WeSchool)