Introduction MBAs from the unbranded B schools are, for several reasons often beyond their control, merely glorified graduates with a little extra bookish knowledge. Since their exposure to industry and the real-world is not much, they do not stand any chance of making it to the prestigious companies. So, what does one do? Since the lockdown is likely to exist in one way or the other for quite a long period of time, the MBAs have to innovate in some way or the other.
In the main, the task involves a) Taking up any job for experience b) Not deviating too much from core c) Adjusting to any situation d) Saving as much money as possible and equipping oneself e) Migrating to the new areas of growth and f) Taking to low-cost entrepreneurship.
Taking up any job for experience Picture this situation. You are an MBA from Periyar University, Salem from one of the affiliated colleges. Somehow or the other, the internship as part of your MBA program, was not a great experience. The industry people did not care for you. The HR department did not allow you to go beyond the time of office work. The amount of computerization was also weak. You have some good knowledge of Marketing, as you were associated with one grocery shop of your friend, on a part-time basis. Your knowledge of customer relationship management is practical and you learned quite a bit from his father, now 58 years old and with over 35 years in business. That small store also had door delivery in normal times. Today, that is gone, but the father and son have drawn up big circles forcing the customer to abide by social distancing.
Now, when the markets open later this year, what do you do? This is not a hypothetical case. It was referred to me by the owner of the grocery shop. I have advised the young man to take up any job in Marketing at Salem itself. A relatively small event management company, that is mostly active at weddings and some localized housing finance exhibitions have offered him a slot, but without salary in October this year, when the normal life is expected to at least happen to some extent at Salem.
The young man has been advised by me, to grab the opportunity. The boy's mother works as a teacher in a Govt school. The father is an active LIC agent, who still gets some business. So, the youngster is not without any resources. Some six months of unpaid experience will help the youngster understand many things. He can possibly get involved in the nuances of supply chain management, as the services that the company offers would be unique to Salem and to very rich people. The real estate people may be in the doldrums, but the local exhibitions of traders may continue. The activities will be subdued for another 24 months. The youngster can come over to Chennai, only with experience. This is exactly what will happen to thousands of MBAs. They need to be prepared for the really long haul. In the meanwhile, they can read up any good article or an e-book in their chosen field of specialization. The youngster has been asked to read some good Indian books on Marketing.
I was not surprised that he had not even heard of Kishore Biyani. He frankly admitted to taking the examinations with the help of bazaar notes. This is one sad reality that gets repeated again and again.
Not deviating too much from core In the aforesaid case, the scope of learning is rather wide. Even though it is an unpaid job, the nitty-gritty of the various responsibilities is all connected to marketing. The youth has also been advised to associate himself with any wedding group that comes his way. This is mainly to understand the nuances of cooking for up to three hundred people. The experience can teach the youth many things. For one, he will not go starving. The food will be free for him. He can learn a lot about customer relationship management and supply chain management. And he is a local person.
Now, his core experience will be intact. He is not into finance or some general administration job. In the post-COVID period, HR will go for six., as it will be only concerned with the recruitment and management of contract labor on a scale that has never seen before. Hence, given current realities, the only field where there will be scope, is bound to be, only in Marketing. Those with MBA finance need to just grab the "Accounts assistant" vacancies, even in schools or offer to work for free. This is always welcome. This is one sure method of impressing employers.
Adjusting to any situation Take the suggestions offered to the youth in the aforesaid case. The young man is quite keen to stay put at Salem as that could give financial trouble to his parents. His knowledge and skill-sets are nothing to boast about. He has to adjust to the rather unpleasant situation of working for free. He has no choice. The MBAs from unbranded schools need to recognize some facts. For one, the marriage market will be back once again. The extremely rich will still spend money, and event management can still happen. This is often related to stage decoration and related tasks. The big industries will freeze employment. No fresh jobs can even happen in organized retail. In banks, the vacancies will never be filled up. So, what will happen?
The situation will be difficult all over India. The best choice is to adjust to any situation and gather the vital experience.
Saving as much money as possible and equipping oneself The Rs.500/- spent on seeing the Rajnikant movie on day one, in the first show, should now be frozen. There are guys who earn Rs.8000 per month and still spend this kind of money. This is outright stupid even in normal times.
Spending on all such luxuries has to stop immediately. Your food and your security are more important, even if you just earn Rs.8000 in a trading concern. To just talk about one simple scope, taking the big merchants who deal in wholesale trading of pipes, electrical fittings, tiles, cement, and what have you. They are all covered under GST. Hence, if you are a fresh MBA from an unbranded college, you will still find the job of Accounts Assitant with such traders. They just cannot afford to pay much higher salaries to the MBAs from graded B schools. The scope of the market for such products will grow slowly but still grow. For instance, with good rains, the rural housing sector will once again be back in some business. People regularly paint their houses. They undertake repairs quite often. They often demolish a portion and build a new portion. All this opens up a market for such products. The spending may be down, but it will be back nonetheless. In particular, those with good incomes from their harvest of say, lemon, and sell them for wholesale markets, will still make money and spend it on rural housing.
Migrating to the new areas of growth If there is any fresh investment coming up in the form of projects of any major company, particularly of businesses keen to exit China and come to parts of South India, for example, and there is some announcement in the press, as a mere stop-gap arrangement, try for a core job in such companies. Just take your resume and show up. Even casual interviews are quite possible after the virus scare is gone. However, if the new project happens in say, Rajasthan in a remote area, still go. Do not worry about the location. The emphasis is to just be active. No matter where the job opens up. One should note that MBAs from ordinary unbranded B schools, who landed in Mumbai after the 2008 crisis, have mostly not come back. They had found some job and with experience, have managed to hang on in Mumbai. The result is that they are all well-settled now.
Taking to low-cost entrepreneurship Establishing eateries from the houses is one option. If you have a sister who can help out or even your mother, start such a small business with a capital of just Rs.10,000/-. Even evening snacks are just about okay. The market will take shape after things are back to normal. Similarly, start from small trading activity. Buy vegetables in bulk, hire a small van and go about selling retail in the houses. Necessity is the mother of invention. When hunger pangs disturb you, it is time for action.
Concluson Based on my practical experience of having guided so many MBAs at different stages of my career, some practical steps have been discussed above. The MBAs from the unbranded B schools need to wake up to harsh realities. They need to act fast. The time is now.
There are many colleges and Institutions offering MBA degrees. Many people who fail to get a seat in good institutes are joining here and getting their MBA degrees. In fact, these MBA degrees will never be recognised by many big corporates and MNCs. Their application for posts will never be considered here for a job. So many of these MBAs have to settle in small companies for small posts and for very low salaries. I know many MBAs who are working like that drawing around Rs.20000/- a month.
The author has given good points to such MBAs how to manage their career. Such people should not be very selective about the organisation. They should get into a job in the core area they studied and try to go up in the ladder and achieve success. They should improve their knowledge by continuously getting updated with the latest information and try to acquire the required knowledge so that they can progress.
Irrespective of the college where the studied, they should go for additional certification courses which will make them get updated and stand in the front for further progress in the career.
With the openings of so many management schools consisting of IIMs, B class schools and even the unbranded one's from the small towns, to get a job with the management background in the coming future would indeed be difficult.
But still some practical vision is always needed to be ahead of other aspirants. the aspirants have to look into all the possible avenues where they can fit themselves without considering the initial offerings as emoluments. The emoluments may not look attractive because of lack of competitive environment and also being a small shop. The vast experience earned by the shop keeper could benifit the entrants in such shops as the entrants would be familiar with so many useful tools which could be of immense help in due course.
When there would be abundant top management schools, one has to explore the ways how he can equip himself with the latest management techniques so that his experience becomes saleable in the upcoming times.