Thursday, March 1, 2012

When is an MBA candidate Market-ready? or (comparing to a fruit,) When is an MBA ripe for the picking and ready for sale?

This is a question that needs some thinking and research. But to generalize, I guess it depends and varies from candidate to candidate and from one job position to another.

The beauty of the MBA program is that it is composed of very diverse candidates from diverse backgrounds - Engineers, Musicians, Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Philosophy students, Arts students and so on. Some have commerce undergraduate degrees and have already studied a lot of the subjects that are taught in the MBA, though, at a junior level.

In the same way, each job position has different demands from the candidates. It may be unfair to expect a brand new MBA to perform tasks that can only be done by seasoned CEOs or CFOs or CIOs, drawing upon immense experience (though new MBAs can offer innovative solutions to the same). And there are times when new MBAs are given menial tasks that involve clerical work, which anybody could have done, in the first place. This is not to belittle non-MBAs, but to highlight the skills MBAs learn.

Logically speaking, an MBA candidate is the most market ready when he is closest to graduation date of the MBA. By that time, he / she has completed all the assignments, courses, internship and all the requirements. But a few candidates could be ready prior to that.

Again, this depends on the job description and the position as well. If it is a job opening where a candidate has to use skills learnt during his / her undergraduate degree - then the candidate is already capable of this job!

Each candidates has his / her strengths and weaknesses. The final run - the last few months before the MBA is the time to polish up on the skills / knowledge lacking and get ready for the job. This time is crucial / vital. This is also the time when candidates are job hunting and that can be very frustrating / time consuming as well! Balancing the two - learning with job hunting - can be a real chore and a real pain in the butt!

But to sign off, I guess, employers should be sensitive enough or understanding enough that an MBA candidate is the most ready for the picking the closer he / she is to graduation date.

- Gerry Som.
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