Making the most out of the One-Year MBA

The One Year MBA has occupied significant mind-share for the past 3 years of my life, ever since I decided to pursue one. As a result of having pursued and passed out of one such program, I have been privy to several significant conversations and experiences which have moulded my perception about the value and approach towards the whole topic. I have also mindfully been part of several fora before, during and after my one-year program, talking to people who have, are and will be pursuing the journey themselves. Consequently, I have also penned down several articles on related issues, the links to which can be found here.

In this post, I will be talking about some key areas of focus (in no particular order) which would benefit incoming students of the different one-year programs. The timing is just right for this article, as most of the programs will start within a month from now. What I say might be primarily based on my experience at WIMWIAN (lingo for IIMA among IIMA folks) but would apply generically to most audiences. Based on empirical observations of my discussions with classmates on other topics, I am certain that there will be diametrically opposite views to all these opinions !

  1. No matter what your post MBA goals are, devote the first two terms (when core courses are being taught) mostly to academics. Every single subject being covered in these two terms is fundamental to your subsequent courses as well as to your post MBA career and cant be neglected. Moreover, most participants are not accustomed to the rigor and hence need to devote a lot of time for academics.
  2. Though a lot of people see great value in choosing to specialize in a particular topic, I chose the opposite way and took classes based on my interest in the topic or the faculty member. Though my final course list was esoteric, it was quite fulfilling. I feel both ways, i.e general management and specialization have their own merits and demerits. It makes sense to defer this particular decision until the end of two terms.
  3. Politics and gossip mongering are essential to human nature and Institutes are obviously not immune to this. For experienced students going into a short-term & hectic program, the farther they stay away from these, the better they are able to conserve their time and energy and retain their sanity.
  4. Study groups are a key facet of learning in the one year programs and a safe environment in which to develop and hone many of your management skills. The most common ways in which study groups are under-utilized are not showing up to study groups, showing up but not being prepared and finishing assignments by dividing them and not discussing them before submission. However difficult and time consuming it seems, stick on to the grind of jointly working and finishing on all/ most assignments as a group.
  5. By virtue of the fact that the duration of the Program is less than a year, it is important that you grab every chance to interact with the larger community of students, faculty and visitors to the Institute. Usually, what we have observed is that the efforts of a batch will necessarily not bear rewards to the same batch but to subsequent ones.
  6. Procrastination is your worst enemy, specially in hectic programs like the one year MBA. Even if your attempt is not the best, ensure you set aside only a reasonable time for every activity and finish within that time.
  7. You, and you alone are responsible for getting a job which you are satisfied about. At best, the Institute and the different individuals associated with the whole recruiting process can help in your effort. This perspective also works better because at a mid-career stage, every participant’s aspiration is unique and can’t be understood, analyzed and processed by anybody else.
  8. Networks and relationships are everything. The institute you study in and its people will provide you with opportunities to greatly enhance these networks and you can utilize these networks as creatively as you can fathom. However, remember the golden rule of relationships; you have to give before you can take.
  9. It is highly advisable not to burn your bridges as you are leaving your current job to join an MBA program. Who knows, you might have to go back to the same place ! Even otherwise, it helps to have a large base of people who can refer you at different stages in your career.
  10. In summary, my three main learnings from the One year Program have been the following; to read a lot of data and analyze it, to get a diverse group to come to a consensus and to understand a situation from different perspectives.

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