India's students report new motives for doing MBA Published: August 6, 2007 The latest QS Applicant Research reports that Indians are adopting new ways of assessing their careers. The MBA or Master of Business Administration has been a popular postgraduate qualification for some time now. Ambitious Indians look to the MBA to improve their professional lives, and this is not a new observation.What is new and interesting, however, is a recent change in attitude in prospective Indian MBA candidates. When asked to declare some of the reasons why the candidate is considering business school, results were remarkably different from last year’s. 2007 2006 Primarily for education 17.19 21 To boost salary 26.55 26 To build professional network 41.83 34 To enable career change 34.96 34 Improve career prospects 72.3 73 Learn new skills 55.78 50 Start own business 24.93 24 Other 2.01 2 Table 1: Reasons for studying for an MBA (figures in percentage) Table 1 reveals that prospective MBA applicants from India are looking to build a professional network – 42% up from 34%, and learn new skills – 56% from 50%. Indians are evidently becoming more conscious of the need to network to find that perfect job; the 8% jump in interest being a telltale sign. While Indian culture doesn’t traditionally emphasize networking as a career necessity, ambitious students and professionals are beginning to follow Western footsteps when it comes to this practice. Tuck student, Sujana Patel has taken the networking practice seriously, and offers some advice: “One of the main things to remember is that even though everyone knows that you are networking to get a job, your first contact is not the time to send out a resume. The first email has to be formal and short, stating that you saw their profile and would love to talk with them and get their advice on your resume, available jobs, the company and its environment etc… It always helps to build rapport first. At the end of the day, the resume will really not mean that much if you have built a good foundation with the person. It is said that an interviewer will decide if the interviewee is someone they want within the first 10-15 seconds of seeing them; therefore, the first impression is critical. Don’t ruin it by directly sending them a resume.” In the case of MBA candidates looking to learn new skills (up 6% this year), Western nations like the US or UK, again, may be of influence. Indians are often cast as being monolithic in their career path. They pick a profession and stick to it. This is typically not the case in Western societies, and India is following suit. As the nation’s economy continues to grow, people are noticing the importance of diversifying their skill set – a characteristic of Western societies which has proved fruitful for years.