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On the hunt for an MBA, stay focused on why

On the hunt for an MBA, stay focused on why
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First Published: Fri, Sep 12 2008. 01 23 AM IST

Updated: Fri, Sep 12 2008. 01 23 AM IST
Last year, my cousin Lee came to stay with us in New Delhi as she began the process of looking for a good business school.
She was 22, had graduated from college and didn’t know what to do next. Everyone told her to get an MBA.
She arrived with shiny brochures and a list of names culled from advertisements and friends. I hadn’t spent much time with Lee in years so we became reacquainted. I discovered Lee was great on SMS, terrible on email. She had no Internet connection at home, so she and her friends gathered in the afternoons in cybercafes and tried to google what their futures could be.
I asked, “So what do you want to do? What do you like to do?”
“Work in a company,” she said. “A good post.”
But she couldn’t articulate areas of interest in the allegedly beckoning private sector. Still, off she went for the “interviews” at about half a dozen business schools, scattered across farmhouses, cramped floors of a building, new suburban campuses built overnight.
She got in everywhere, contingent on taking the Management Aptitude Test.
I told her not to go.
Due to my advice and personal reasons, Lee didn’t. She is now working in Tripura in a retail job while she figures out what she does—and doesn’t—like to do.
Eventually, I do hope she gets another degree. But not until she can tell me why.
This guide was designed with two groups in mind: Aspirants who know what they want and are trying to effectively climb the corporate ladder to the top; and those like Lee. I call them the cybercafe crowd.
At Mint, our education coverage draws millions of eyeballs online, a reflection of not only of aspiration but of a hunger for information about how to aspire. Just how does one get from here to there?
The next 45 pages exhaustively answer that question. And we begin with perhaps a more important one: Do you even need an MBA?
The first half of this ranking looks inside the schools that come out tops. What makes them work? How are they structured? Who gets in and how do they decide to go?
A two-page spread attempts to give you what we call “the 10-second MBA”: management tips from well-known corporate gurus—and no, they did not all go to business school. Current managers might want to tack this on to their workstations.
We have much tangible news you can use, from what to take to how to pay. Don’t miss our very helpful section on foreign MBAs. They have become a reality for Indian students who either can’t get admission to a top school here or feel they need the exposure. As more institutes overseas offer courses in outsourcing and emerging markets, the odds are on your side: They want you, as much as you want them.
Finally, check out our enormous efforts online (cybercafe crowd, this one’s for you). Your time for an MBA might not be now, but when you decide, go to www.livemint.com. We’ll still be there for you.
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First Published: Fri, Sep 12 2008. 01 23 AM IST