With a rise in global economy, the demand for management graduates has gone up. Though a large number of management institutions are providing significant opportunities to aspirants, the final decision lies with the students. Dr J K Goyal gives out top five steps that will help you take the right decision.

Every year nearly two lakh aspirants write Common Admission Test (CAT) to make a career in management but the combined intake of all the well-known B-Schools taken together isn’t more than one tenth of this number. Majority of applicants feel dejected and helpless once the results are announced. Should one opt to invest one more year without any guarantee of any better result? It is noteworthy that there is large number of management education providers in the private sector and there is a reason why Government has granted so many approvals. With global economy, the demand for management graduates is unlikely to decline. Large number of management institutions in private sector provides significant opportunities to management aspirants. The question lies —  which one should you opt for and why? Here are a few steps that will help you to make a right decision—

 Why do I want to do MBA?

This is the most repeated frequently asked questions in any personal interview for which you are often prepared by your coaching institute. Keep that training aside and do your own introspection. Most of the students are fully aware that they can’t make it to the top league. If you too feel so, you’ve more reasons to be careful in picking up the right B-school as a foundation to your career.

 Make a cost-benefit analysis

Course fee for two years full-time MBA programme amongst private sector B-Schools in India roughly varies in the range of Rs3 Lac to Rs10 lakh. In majority of cases, parents bear this burden whether or not it’s a bank loan. You must assess your parents’ capacity to pay. Even if they are capable, don’t just go for a high-fee charging B-School without analysing your returns on investment (ROI). For example, if suppose X & Y are two B-Schools charging Rs4 lakh and Rs8 lakh as course fee respectively, and median salary of placement records of X and Y are Rs3.5 lakh and Rs4 lakh respectively; then X has a better ROI proposition over Y irrespective of any other factors. Few other aspects to check are payment schedules, identifying any hidden and/or additional charges and temptations of freebees like free laptop, foreign trips, etc.

 From home or away from home?

Cost and value analysis is a must. A major benefit of being a day scholar is your savings of hostel fee which may be a little over Rs2 lakh during your entire studies period. However, boarding makes you more responsible, you spend much less time in travelling, and you’re more productive in your studies. In case you opt for hostel or PG accommodation, you better opt for a B-School distant apart from your home so that you aren’t prompted for frequent visits to home. You must check the hostel facilities too. Remember, if you don’t get proper physical amenities and decent food, you can’t concentrate.

 Verify the claims of B-schools?

A B-School in India must be AICTE approved, list of which is available on AICTE website. Make sure that the programme to which you’ve been offered admission is also AICTE approved. You need to check the accreditation status too. There are two national level bodies accrediting universities and institutions — National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC) and National Board of Accreditation (NBA). NAAC accredits the university departments and affiliated colleges; NBA accredits AICTE-approved autonomous institutions. Both these agencies accredit specific programmes but not the university or institution as a whole. So while an institution may proclaim that it is NBA accredited, the programme in which you are being offered admission may not be so.

Various popular magazines, newspapers, news channels and websites are also rating / ranking institutions. Don’t rely on any one of them. Cross check with others. Visit the institution, particularly by public transport system. Some institutions ensure free transport facility, but many a times you will need to rely on public transport. Take a thorough round of the institution; talk to as many people as possible without offending the local staff and teachers. Thoroughly check the website. Any AICTE approved B-School necessarily has a mandatory disclosure section. It is mandatory by AICTE to provide exact information in a standard prescribed format in this section.

Admission cancellation and fee refund

There may be cases where in spite of all your precautions, you later realise that the B-School which you picked up is not your worth; or maybe you’ve an admission option in your preferred B-School but you’ve already made your payments. In such cases, don’t panic and do a cost-benefit analysis again. If the difference between two B-Schools is marginal, forget the latter offer. If not, act fast. You must be mentally prepared to withstand some financial loss. As per AICTE guidelines, an institution is bound to refund the entire fee (after deducting a nominal amount not exceeding Rs1000) in case a student withdraws from the course before its commencement.

(The writer is the director of Jagan Institute of Management and Studies (JIMS), Rohini). 

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