Thursday, July 18, 2024

Is MBA In Marketing Right For Engineers?

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With growing industrial competition, it has now become a norm for engineers to opt-in for a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) post-graduation program right after completion of engineering graduation. An MBA is generally viewed, by the fresh graduates, as an opportunity to scale up their talents as well as getting to potentially work in pure corporate sectors managing a variety of tasks.

Now, with MBA offering a multitude of programs to choose from viz. Marketing, Finance, Human Resources, Logistics, Supply Chain, Project Management, and more, fresh graduates normally tend to get spoilt for choices and end up choosing the wrong branch. To offer fresh engineering graduates more clarity on MBA specialisations, we chose the Marketing course as a focal point and consulted experts who offered interesting insights:

Post-MBA life will be highly competitive; don’t daydream

The foremost aspect that experts chose was demystification of myths that have now gone on record to state that acquiring an MBA post-graduation degree is a passport to a cushy and high-paying corporate job in a multi-national corporation (MNC).

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“Merely acquiring MBA’s will not work. These post-graduation programs should be opted for by engineers for enhancement of skill sets and thereby getting exposed to a wide variety of working roles. An MBA degree is a definitely a prelude to enhanced creativity,” states Dr Radhakrishnan HK- a leading Bengaluru-based career counsellor. Dr Radhakrishnan works closely with engineering students in guiding them towards right career paths along with skill enhancement.

Dr Radhakrishnan’s statement is a direct indicator of the fact that engineers preferring to study MBA should look at long-term enhancements such as better engineering of solutions to suit the society, rather than focus only on the salary that corporates in India (and abroad) offer.

Decoding Marketing MBA for fresh engineers

Of late, there has been a spike in the number of engineering graduates, even those graduating in Information Technology enabled services (ITes) and electronics domains, opting to study Marketing as a core area during MBA studies. On the other hand, we have also witnessed Bollywood movies that propagate trashing of this idea and lecturing engineers to focus on only one area; thereby leading to confusion in the minds of young graduates.

“An MBA program in marketing is definitely worth for engineers, as they can contribute to better designing of the product creatively and infuse fresh ideas during selling,” states Joseph Mascarenhas who works as a Senior Marketing Manager in a Bengaluru-based FMCG firm.

Joseph advises fresh engineering graduates to carefully research on the domain and accordingly evaluate their academic skill sets to check fitness levels required by a Marketing MBA program. Communication is one key skillset that firms look at before opting to recruit MBA post-graduates.

Joseph also points at a shocking trend here when engineers are of the assumption of having acquired high-level communication skill sets and step into companies for interviews after completion of post-graduate programs. This scenario generally leads to rejection despite candidates having obtained high grades during MBA. Therefore, proper skill evaluation, in sync with job descriptions that companies give out (before hiring), is a must for fresh engineers even before they take up MBA marketing study.

Today’s marketing is technology-driven, engineers could fit in perfectly

With technology being a key driver in today’s economy, the marketing sector offers more than just cold-calling and client visits, advise career experts. “Even the biggie MNCs today are investing on technology like Big Data & Analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) to drive marketing decisions and investments,” states Shankar Prasad – an engineer and an MBA in Marketing holder who now works as an independent marketing consultant in Bengaluru. Shankar has been associated with multiple Fortune 500 firms before going the independent way.

“Management and managerial jobs would open to engineers relatively quickly, provided the latter possesses the right skill sets and leadership abilities,” adds Shankar.

However, experts do not necessarily discourage engineers from considering other MBA streams. This is purely dependant on self-interest and skillsets. In case engineers feel that they can market effectively by leveraging technology to the maximum; then a career in this domain could be explored.

New opportunities up for grabs

With technology infusion being a focal area in today’s Marketing, experts feel that fresh engineers should stand in good stead to work on a variety of things ranging from helping out in product development, to assisting in taking proper technology-driven marketing decisions; this could also extend to areas like preparing client priority (using analytics and Big Data) and hitting the ground effectively to close deals.

“Engineers can work as product managers, project managers, and even as digital marketers after an MBA program. Leveraging technology will help in almost accurately meeting targets considering the higher success rates as far as sales identification and decisions are concerned,” adds Dr Radhakrishnan.

Firms also recruit fresh MBA post-graduates to work in the Technical Sales domains. In these areas, customers requiring services view service providers and their engineers as technical consultants rather than as salesmen.

“With new products and technologies popping up in the market every day, the need for field application engineers are increasing and there is a good scope for engineers to start their career in this field” states Utsava Rathi who is manager & analyst at job search engine Neuvoo.

With major private sector and MNC banks based in India exclusively seeking engineers armed with MBA in Marketing programs, the opportunities are now manifold. Experts also believe the insurance sector to be red-hot as of now. Examples of firms, in this regard, are ICICI, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra, and more.

Mindset is most important

Experts who are actively working in marketing roles feel that engineers who are already associated with companies and working stand a better chance to succeed as acquiring an MBA during work life helps in career progression at a comparatively faster rate. However, to accomplish this, engineers should have the business-oriented mindset.

Working engineers desirous of acquiring MBA in marketing could also talk to the in-house marketing team within their firms and understand the scope of marketing roles and the clientele that the company targets. This approach would undoubtedly provoke a multitude of thoughts and thereby lead to taking appropriate decisions with respect to career growth.

“MBA programs after engineering also potentially leads to thwarting the mid-life crisis that most working professionals face after about a decade of work life,” adds a CEO of a Bengaluru-based reputed MNC software development firm, who did not wish to be named.

Intra-company openings are the best avenues

Experts feel that engineers can opt to look at their intra-company job openings to switch to marketing. This can be done when engineers are currently working in engineering-related roles and are desirous of acquiring MBA post-graduation degree. Researching with the marketing teams within the company, again (as stated above), would lead to generation of a plethora of data to understand how marketing is done.

“My advice would be to seek out enhanced openings within the same company after a couple of years of working. Career growth and pay scales generally should generally increase with this approach. Nonetheless, marketing is one area where demand never fades away,” signs-off Dr Radhakrishnan.

Other experts also echo Dr Radhakrishnan’s statement in indicating that an MBA in marketing while actively working could help enhance career prospects; nonetheless, there are opportunities outside of firms as well, even extending to other shores.

Finally, as far as pay packages are concerned, fresh MBA post-graduates could expect to earn anywhere between ₹3- ₹4 Lakhs per Annum excluding performance-based incentives.

Experts Consulted

Dr Radhakrishnan HK a Bengaluru-based career counsellor with over two decades of experience in guiding engineers towards right career paths
Shankar Prasad R Bengaluru-based Independent Marketing Consultant
Joseph Mascarenhas Senior Marketing Manager in a Bengaluru-based FMCG firm
Utsava Rathi Manager & Analyst at job search engine Neuvoo
Other Bengaluru-based career counsellors
CEO at Bengaluru-based software firm who spoke to us on the condition of annonymity

Written by Rahul R, Senior Technical Journalist at EFY

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