Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Choosing The Right MBA Program After Computer Science Engineering

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It is now again the time of the year when there is anxiety in the minds of fresh engineers and their parents alike as to which Master of Business Administration (MBA) post-graduation degree to opt for. This is true for engineers having decided that MBA is what they want to do after engineering. With changing trends, prestigious MBA colleges across the country are witnessing domination (with respect to admissions) by computer science engineers.

With computer science engineers (CSE) choosing MBA post-graduation degree programs (check out which mode of study to choose, here) being the criteria, we attempt to decode the best MBA specialisation that is recommended to be opted after a graduate engineering degree.

An MBA is worth it; don’t fall prey to rumours

An alarming trend in recent times has undoubtedly been rumour mills that have gone on record stating that an MBA after engineering is not worth.

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“When the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) centres were established, majority of the intake for MBA courses was from engineering graduates,” states Dr Ali Khwaja, founder and chairman of Bengaluru-based Banjara Academy. Dr Ali has constantly been devoted in guiding students towards the right career path.

As far as present trends are concerned, expert career counsellors debunk myths about MBA post-graduations having saturated (in terms of number of post-graduates) and state confidently that the number of fresh engineers preferring MBA has in fact tripled.

Career counsellors also quote a reason here;

“Most of the engineers choose MBA as their career interest lies in administration and business. Failure to identify interests correctly and parental pressure are the main factors for students to opt for engineering at the graduation level rather than a Bachelors in Business,” states a professor at a reputed management institution in Bengaluru; on the condition of anonymity.

It is vital that fresh computer science engineers take up an MBA post-graduate program to work in a preferred line of career rather than looking at earning quick bucks.

Straight form the horse’s mouth

We consulted multiple MBA post-graduates having graduated recently, along with expert career counsellors to check recommendations on the MBA specialisation to select after completing computer science engineering. The unanimous answer, by most of the post-graduates, was an MBA in Information Technology (IT) also known as IT & Systems across some universities.

“An MBA in IT guarantees enhancement of computer science academic skills; especially programming. Even job designations offered are attractive, so is the overall pay package,” stated Harish Babu, a recent MBA post-graduate who works with a leading technology firm in Bengaluru along with doubling up as a part-time consultant to the Karnataka Government’s IT reachability training programmes.

Even other recent CSE graduates echoed identical thoughts.However, there were some who preferred a diversion.

For the uninitiated, job designations offered for fresh MBA IT post-graduates range from principal system architect to project manager.

Basically, an MBA in IT involves management skills that work in tandem with academic computer science skills mastered during engineering.

“Today’s IT sector requires complete engineers; not bookworms and unemployable ones. For this, an MBA becomes necessary,” states Dr Radhakrishna HK a Bengaluru-based career counsellor with nearly two decades of experience in guiding students.

However, armed with just an MBA might still not be sufficient to land that dream IT job. At this point, soft skills come into picture; these are required to be mastered even more intensively than an MBA post-graduation program. Nonetheless, an MBA is an MBA that comes with its own value.

“It is vital that engineers opt for an MBA specialisation that attracts maximum placement. In case of CS engineers, this could be an MBA in IT or even Marketing,” advise other career counsellors.

Multi-National Corporations have huge demand

“Today, it is all about how much it pays; more than the actual job,” adds the anonymous Management Professor. This is a clear reflection that CS engineers should opt for the in-thing in MBAs now.

“A senior executive role in an MNC in a metro city like Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai pays well,” adds Harish.

Even career counsellors agree that MNCs are a hit amongst the fresh MBA post-graduates; especially those graduating from the IIMs. Placement activities are conducted intensively, by MNCs, for students graduating from prestigious institutions across the country.

There are other “in” MBA post graduate programs as well

If you thought that every CSE engineer prefers IT as his/her MBA post graduate program, then think again as there are others such as Marketing, Finance, and even Supply Chain Management that are rated highly by experts and even by prospective fresh MBA post-graduates.

The above thought is fits in well with analogies of career counsellors who believe that engineering as a subject of study is taken by students due to parental and peer pressures; here, it is worth remembering that the interest of a majority of these students lies in Management.

Recent MBA post-graduates believe that the ideal scenario would be to opt for a branch such as Supply Chain Management and Logistics in case somebody has an avid interest in getting into management roles. Opting for branches such as marketing and finances also secures a job at the management level after attaining desirable (based on what the company heads think) level of work experience

Follow your graduate academic skills; don’t isolate them

There are also off-beat aspects which involve you juggling dual roles whilst completely utilising your academic skillsets. Field Application Engineering and Technical Sales is one example wherein you explore your technical as well as business side.

“Field application engineering is not exactly a sales job, here you give correct explanations and solutions for the clients to understand the product, acting as an engineer,” states Utsava Rathi who works as a Manager at job search engine Neuvoo. Utsava closely analyses the FAE industry.

As a Field Application Engineer (FAE) your pre-requisites are designing (both hardware and software), along with VHDL, C, and more. More generalised skillsets would be effective communication and presentation skills. All these in tandem potentially ensure that you are in a level playing field in an industry that is slightly unconventional.

Experts also advise fresh CSE graduates to consider an MBA in Marketing and apply at different software firms that hire for their technical marketing teams. Software marketing and sales is a lucrative career in the west and is now catching up in India as well. However, the catch here is that this field requires readiness for working in a target-oriented system and in pure physical sales domains that require constant travelling and meeting people.

“I have personally guided software engineers, having avid interest in sales, towards this domain. It is also vital that engineers apply for MBA programmes after acquiring a couple of years of work experience in an industry related to their academic degree,” adds Dr Radhakrishna who also suggests that this process would guarantee optimal growth and career progression.

Finally, you are your own judge

Despite experts advising you to take up MBA programs that are in sync with your computer science graduate skills, you are free to choose what you are good at. Remember that it is never too late to pursue your interests. There is wide scope for all branches of MBA. You could also choose offbeat aspects like Finance in case you prefer to work as an Accounts/Finance Manager across organisations.

With an MBA you could also start a venture on your own; most of the startup owners today are young MBA post-graduates having studied engineering at the graduate level. Do keep in mind that it does not hurt to follow your dreams, even if it has consumed your graduate life.

Major contributors to the story

Dr Ali Khwaja Founder and Chairman of Bengaluru-based Banjara Academy, and expert career counsellor
Harish Babu Trainer and technology consultant, at KEONICS, working with Govt. of Karnataka on its IT reachability programs
Dr. Radhakrishnan HK Bengaluru-based career counsellor and expert
Utsava Rathi Manager at job search engine Neuvoo
Other Bengaluru-based career counsellors who requested annonymity

Written by Rahul R, Senior Technical Journalist at EFY


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