Is engineering your ticket for MBA?

Every year we observe that most of the students who make into the IIMs are IIT pass-outs or an engineering student from a reputed college.

Few days back, when I was in talks with a friend who attempted CAT last year, but was unable to clear it. She has done all that needs to be done for an MBA entrance preparation. She had gone for a prestigious coaching class, prepared mock-tests, studied good lot hours and has even took a year break after her graduation.

When I asked Why she was unable to clear CAT after putting so much at stake? Her reply was: “A simple B.Com graduate can never clear CAT in first go, it is only possible for IITans.”

Her reply was startling to me at first, but when given a thought I realised that it was somewhere true.

Looking at previous and current year statistics, I found that IITans have been ruling CAT for few years now :

CAT 2013 toppers:

Sowjanya Kanuri, an Electrical and Electronics Engineering at NIT, Suratkal scored 99.99%.  It also reported that 8/10 students clearing CAT from 100% scores are from IITs.

CAT 2012 toppers:

Ravi Teja Palla who works as an assistant manager with Tata Motors and is an IIT Madras graduate.

Anshul Garg,  an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar student.

Vidit Aggarwal,  a 24 Year Civil Engineering Graduate scored 100 percentile. Vidit  hails from Agra and competed his Civil Engineering from BIT Mesra, Ranchi.
CAT 2010 toppers:

Shashank Samant , an IIT Bombay 2009 pass-out secured 100 Percentile in CAT 2010.

Gaurav Malpani, a Final year Computer Science student from IIT Bombay who secured  100 percentile in CAT.

Deepak Mehta from BITS Pilani was also among one of the Toppers.

CAT 2009 toppers:

Nishant Sinha of IIT-D topped the CAT with 100 percentile.

Ankit Garg, was one of the 100 percentile holders in CAT 2009. He later joined IIM Calcutta.

That same year, sources in IIT-D say as many as 26 students from the institute have made it to the 99-percentile bracket.

Shocking, isn’t it?

In a recent study conducted by a recruitment firm Randstand in collaboration with TOI, 45% of the CEOs of the companies  were  found to be equipped with engineering degrees at the undergraduate level, out of which 78% had also completed their post-graduation as well.

Another study conducted by Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) found that, 64% of engineers who pursued technology went for an MBA.

Now, the question arises is that, Is this all a sheer coincidence that most of the engineers go for an MBA just out of interest?

Sinha, 2009 CAT topper says that the global downturn and the fear of not having enough job opportunities in hand had initially led him to sit for the CAT in November 2008. However, after landing a job in the college placements in December, he is no longer sure if he wants to pursue MBA anymore.

The truth is that this engineering+MBA degree is not a passion but a demand by Indian Market. There is no denial of the fact that there could be a few candidates who after completing their Engineering degree might be interested in management but for the  mass its untrue.
Not every engineer has the trait to become a good leaderbut the fact that MBA can polish their respective career and can provide it an edge makes everyone enroll for it.

“Most engineers become managers in their careers, and typically they are unprepared for the transition,” according to a paper that appeared in Engineering Management Journal in 2002.

Engineers can make good managers as long as they are willing to continue enhancing their skill-set beyond academic study. On the job, an engineer can develop “a broad understanding and a clear vision of various administrative, financial, and psychological issues,” regardless that some people feel an engineering education hinders such learning, says Manufacturing Engineering Magazine.

In a true sense, to become an MBA or not, for an engineer solely depends on his aspirations. The fact is that MBA is something other than engineering.

The strong analytical capability that engineers possess is highly valued in the business world, but it is imperative that you also understand the other, more qualitative aspects.  These qualitative skills are what engineers stereotypically lack; we like black and white answers, but in the business world, it’s not typically that simple. Engineers also could be non-interactive, which could be a major drawback in MBA. As MBA is ideally expected to be bold,  up-front and interactive. If you want to continue your career in technical field, MBA is not for you. MBA is a management course that expects  managerial, communication and presentation skills.

A decade back when the role of the private sector in India grew, the need for top-notch engineers also grew. There was also a need of MBA education, as it provided the multi-functional learning necessary for running a business. And so the engineer-MBA qualification was seen as a passport to a good life, making it a lot more aspirational.

We can never say what the future will bring. The companies always change their mind. But right now, its engineering+MBA that sells.


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A physics geek and math lover, I write for MBA Ka Keeda. When I am not working i love to read and meet new people.I wish to become a physicist and philanthropist someday.

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