SAMPLE these instances, Ramesh, has joined a leading private bank after his graduation in commerce. He moved up the hiearchy as customer relationship manager-credit cards after joining as a sales executive. It was his tenacious approach coupled with his go geting abilities, which made him rise up the corporate ladder. The bank decided to start of their first overseas operations in Middle East (Gulf countries) and was in the process of awarding their performers by promoting them as various SBU (Strategic Business Unit) heads in that unexplored market. Ramesh was the frontrunner till he was put on the backburner, by one of his colleague Avadesh, who happens to be an MBA thereby possessing better administrative and management skills. Phaneesh was working as an IT consultant with a leading Hyderabad based IT giant. His performance got him the award of promotion as a team leader. The company bagged some onshore projects from Europe, where they urgently needed a project manager. Rajan, a second fiddle team leader as compared Phannesh was given the nod solely because the later possessed an MBA which he recent completely through the executive mode. Aradhana was working as a customer support executive in a BPO company in pune. She the salary and responsibility hike for the first two years, after which she did not get commensurate returns vis-a-vis her other colleagues only because she did not possess a management degree. Disgusted and broken, Aradhana decided to complete her masters in business administration through the part time mode which made her realize her latent potential thereby making a brisk career move. What does all these instances have in common? Like it or not irrespective of your existing capabilities and background, a formal education in management is an absolute must, if one needs to move higher up the ladder. Opines. Prof. Lalit Khullar, Director, Tirpude (TIME), offering executive MBA, `mid career executives are suddenly realizing the absence of a major ammunition, in their corporate armory, in the form of a management degree'. The need for skill enhancement and metamorphosis from entry-level openings to administrative and managerial capabilities calls for first hand knowledge and application of management concepts and theories. Khullar further corroborated the fact that constant change in job requirements and working environment makes an entry-level executive prone to corporate shunting. Before one encounters a mid life crisis, owing to this missing link (read as formal management education), it is always advisable to complete the same either through distance learning or the executive/part time mode.
Correspondence or part-time
The best way to acquire professional skill set and learning is join a full time program. Quitting jobs and joining a business or technical school midway through ones career is a common phenomena in the west. The concept of sponsoring candidates for higher studies (full time) is gradually catching up in India. However, all these are yet to gain momentum, primarily because Indians mostly coming from middle class families cannot afford to take a break for study. On the other side they keep on shifting loyalties from one employer to the other in the hope that they would get someone, who would give them a windfall in the form of a plush high paying jobs with all perks and soaps, which remain an illusion till he understands the fact. The nest option he goes for is to enroll for a correspondence MBA through the distance-learning mode. Half of the enrolled executives find it difficult to continue with the program, primarily because a distance learning program requires a lot of self drive and motivation, squeezing out time from packed schedules which many a student fail to do. Part time programs are beneficial because they put the onus of completion equally on the shoulder of the student and the academic service provider (read as institutes). Web support, study materials, constant interaction with expert faculties and industry executives, coupled with peer exercise, assignment and other value added activities subconsciously imparts lot of takeaways in the executives personality. Once on the job, the same executive who used to be a cautions mover becomes a risk taker and a better manager thereby affecting his career growth and performance positively. Part time programs are beneficial also because there is a continuous link between the pupil and the trainer which makes it even more easier for the student to observe the minutest of the happening in the shop floor, office, customer point or while meeting the intermediaries. This concept of 360 degree learning is generally absent while an executive is undergoing the program through the correspondence mode as he is a passive learner and the absence of continuity in the process makes it even more cumbersome for the student. Hafiz an executive working with a leading FMCG company is also pursing his MBA through the distance-learning mode. He accepted the fact that it becomes literally impossible for him to complete all his assignments on time as there is none to monitor and motivate him continuously, which is not the case with a campus based part time executive MBA program. Prof. Khullar reiterated t he fact saying an executive need to focus on his professional career first; the necessary backing for pursuing his education has to come from his academic trainers, experts and mentors in the campus. Constant follow-up and solid networking skills also enables the trainee to imbibe many things when cross learning takes place. Part time, campus based executive MBA therefore scores over a plain vanilla distance-learning program.
How do I opt an Institute?
There are many institutes offering executive MBA. One is generally confused how to cut across the clutter and opt for the best. Here are some tips, which can help you in choosing the best institute for your executive MBA-Opt for an institute having accreditation from regulatory bodies like AICTE.
Join an institute already having expertise in full time, campus based BBA, MBA and even research programs, as this will enable you to derive mire composite learning rather than a standalone executive MBA center Interact with the faculties who are going to train you as it plays a vital role in your knowledge reinforcement. A Mix and match of industry returned and pure academicians is the need of the hour Check out for the physical infrastructure in terms of library, internet facilities availability of staff and faculties as per your flexi timings. Analyze the type of assignments given during the program so the you derive the maximum from the continuous learning process. Know about the disciplinary measures adopted by the institute, as a good college would always compel you to do away with some personality related weaknesses and substitute the same with soft skills positives.
Find out the credibility of the institutes by interacting with their full time alumni who are working in various industries to know about the reality from the horse's mouth.
Know about the sum charged and try to calculate the value you are going to derive from the offering in terms of skill development, personality built up, career progression and future planning. All these would definitely make a prospective executive wiser, before he decides to take the plunge in an executive MBA. What is missing amongst a majority is to defer each and every academic related only because they are frightened whether their busy working schedule would permit them to fulfill their obligations of a part time program. All these cobwebs can very well be cleared if one interacts with professional career counselor of discusses their apprehensions with any successful colleague (who completed the program while on job) or by interaction with management faculties and trainers of those institutes.
Wake up! Its now or never
In order to avoid a mid life crisis it is always better to be proactive rather than being reactive. Why wait till you loose your promotion or your salary hike only because you have everything sans an MBA, Wake up and the act, and you will see the world is a your feet. Happy Management learning!
Author is Faculty- management at Tirpude Institute of Management Education- TIME, imparting Executive MBA.