Exposure: Pragmatic ideas on how the University MBAs can play the catch-up game

MBAs from C grade University Colleges lack the vital exposure required. They are woefully inadequate when it comes to being aware of the external challenges and the knowledge and skills that they need to possess. Some pragmatic ideas of how these MBAs can shape their careers and gain this vital exposure are sought to be discussed in detail in this article.


In our country, we have four types of B schools. The Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) and the other 35 branded B schools, where the standards are very much in line with the industry requirements form the A category. The next 30 B schools are somewhat okay, but they lack the same kind of exposure that the A category B schools have as a matter of routine. However, these B school graduates do get jobs with an annual package of around 3.5 lakh per annum. Next comes the 300 C grade schools, most of which are the University MBA colleges. They do not offer the PGDM course, which is a class apart when it comes to industry exposure and industry preparedness. They are mere extensions of the Commerce Department. They are very theoretical in nature. Also included are some money making ventures where the PGDM course is offered. However, the owners and promoters are only interested in collecting huge money as fees and paying the Faculty Members a pittance.

I have had some good opportunities of lecturing at the A and the B category B schools, in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.(except the IIMs and the top 20 branded ones). Of late, my work takes to so many C grade B schools. There is another D category where the M in the MBA can be quietly forgotten. I never venture to lecture there at all.

Specifically, the C grade MBAs need to a) Seek/ accept all forms of internship b) Read all business magazines and do continuous industry-oriented research c) Sign up for all seminars/ conferences in metro cities d) Read books at the libraries of the better B schools and e) Have a big focus on careers.

Seek/ accept all forms of internship

There are two types of internships. In some B schools, the internship is at the end of the first year. In some cases, the internship and project are only at the end of the second year. This differs from State to State. Whatever be the B school you are in, you should seek the internship, on your own, in the first year or the second year, as the case may be. Even trading companies can teach you the kind of skills that are required. For example, you should Tally if you specialize in Finance. The moment you enter the trading company, in an unpaid internship, you are going to get the most important practical experience. Once you get the hang of it, you can go to the next level in terms of the vital exposure.

Remember, if you are from a C grade B school with either the PGDM course or even an MBA degree, you can never aspire to work in the highly established companies straightaway. This is not possible. You have to catch up with others through hardcore experience. The nature of experience is more important than a mere salary. For instance, if you join a small company as an Executive Secretary to the CEO, but land up doing his travel plans, arranging the car to pick him up from the airport, receiving company guests and visiting the guest house to see that everything is okay, you are doing nothing. If you do not have access to the kind of work your boss is doing and you are not even a part of it, like for example, preparing a power point presentation, making minutes of meeting, rubbing shoulders with the big shots and then helping them make decisions and so on, you are simply wasting time.

Hence, any internship should be so meaningfully planned. You should somehow find out avenues where you do far more work than what is given to you. For this, you need to know all the nuances of powerpoint presentations. Even a single presentation that is made to the Top Bosses, if it does appeal to those who matter, you are very much likely to be appreciated. You might even be given a job. Opportunities knock at our door only once. It is up to you to make use of any unpaid internship. Remember, if there are MBAs from IIMs for the other branded B schools, be humble and learn a lot from them.

Read all business magazines and do continuous industry-oriented research

A little clarification is in order. Most C grade B schools MBAs pass their final examination, without even reading a single issue of a classic business magazine called Business Today. If you enter into any organization, if you do not know all the details pertaining to the industry in which the particular organization operates in, rest assured, you can never ever catch up.

This is a warning. For example, if you work for say, Suzlon, you should know everything about Solar Energy. All about Government policies, the competition, the state of the world markets, the future directions of growth of this industry and so on. Yes, everything.

Remember, the IIM guys already have the exposure. So do competitors from good B schools like the Bharadidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirapalli, which has a tie-up with the prestigious BHEL, Tiruchirapalli. Competitors will always be updated. You cannot afford to be silent. If you are in HR, you should even make a diagnostic study of the key officials in the competitor organizations through some sort of intelligence. This might help the organization to poach the required persons at some point in time. You need to prepare a blueprint for succession planning. Rigorous training and deputation policies need to be really defined. Once you get ready for such action, remember, you will have made some progress in the exposure game.

Sign up for all Seminars/conferences in the metro cities

These are days when the CII for example, conducts a huge number of seminars even in cities like Vizag, Vijayawada, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Kochi. Depending on the location of your B school, you need to enroll yourself as a student participant. The fees are very low and the knowledge that you will get in the deliberations is very good. In the course of time, when you start rubbing shoulders with those who know much better than you, there are chances that you will change rather fast and learn the nitty-gritty of the change process in terms of updating your knowledge and skills.

These conferences also help you to get an insight into how the real world operates. You would be able to understand the practical implications of most of what you read in theory.

Read books at the libraries of the better B schools

This is another thing that you should do. Compulsorily. The more advanced and latest books will obviously be found in the libraries of those institutes that offer the PGDM course. Most of these books are the "in-thing" books on a host of topics pertaining to the superb concepts such as Core Competence in Strategic Management, for example. You just cannot afford to think that such topics are out of your syllabus. You will be really missing a fountainhead of knowledge if you think that you can get away with your limited knowledge.

Having a big focus on careers

These are days when focus with sharp attention to what you do and learn is more important than mere salary. It is always better to be someone big in a smaller organization than being nobody in an ocean. To give you a simple example. You have a choice. After five years of hardcore experience in different aspects of industrial relations, a competitor, whose manpower is just four hundred and manufacturing a range of food products with one union is calling you for employment. At the same time, you receive another call from a bigger organization that is a giant in a related field. In the first case, you will be literally running the show as you can be empowered. At least in the next four years, you can introduce some HR practices. In the latter organization, you will be just one of the six executives, reporting to two different bosses. There could be politics of a tall order. Your portfolio will be small.

The idea of focus would mean that you choose the first alternative. When you have a solid experience where you are the boss, you are very likely to progress and learn much faster. This is the simple thumb rule.


Unless you play the catch-up game, if you are from a C grade B school, you will be lost in the rat race. The world is not going to stay static. The huge number of new IIMs is a big threat. You need to understand this vital reality.

The time for you to act is now.


Author: Umesh09 Feb 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

The differentiation between the B schools is well illustrated by the author.

It is true that a large number of B schools have brought this situation in our country. The only option left with the students is not to join the MBA course if a suitable institute is not available at the time of admission.

In such cases students should try for alternative career paths like engineering or pure science or arts stream. One can work with zeal and vigour in these courses and chart out a career path. Even going for banking services or state subordinate administrative services is a better option.

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