Age no bar to earn an MBA degree and give your career a fillip

Representational Image. Photo: iStock/ Melpomenem

A Master of Business Administration course has a unique attraction – people of any age can pursue it at any stage of their career. In fact, it would do a world of good for many working professionals who are wondering whether joining a course would help them earn a better post and pay.

When an employee is promoted to a senior post, he or she would have to shoulder bigger tasks which is possible only with skills such as responsible attitude, staff management and meeting deadlines. In short, one should be able to ‘manage’ things. All people may not be born with all these skills, but these qualities could certainly be acquired and age is not at all a barrier in this regard.

MBA is a postgraduate programme which enables a person to shine as manager, officer, corporate professional, entrepreneur and administrator, regardless of age. One among the definitions of MBA says that ‘Management is an art of getting things done through others’.

An MBA course could be pursued not only full-time but also part-time mode. It could be earned also through distance education and online courses. Even though people of all ages can join an MBA course, advancement in career and improvement of personal life will take place only if the students try to learn the practical aspects of the curriculum. In other words, a person pursuing MBA should not consider the course as just a means to acquire another degree.

A major feature of MBA is that it offers a huge scope with over a hundred specializations. Several universities in India and abroad offer specializations such as finance, marketing, human resources, operations, IT, entrepreneurship, international business, healthcare management, sustainable development, strategic consulting, data analytics and investment banking. However, students should ensure that the specialization they choose boosts their career prospects.

Entrance tests

A number of entrance exams are conducted in India to select students for MBA courses and the most important among them is CAT (Common Aptitude Test). Top management institutes in the country such as IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) admit students based on CAT score and performance in a subsequent interview. There is no age limit for CAT.

Other leading MBA exams include MAT (conducted by All India Management Association); CMAT (by All-India Council for Technical Education); XAT (by Xavier School of Management); SNAP (by Symbiosis); IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade); NMAT (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management), IBSAT and ICFAI.

In order to pursue an MBA abroad, candidates have to secure a high score in GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination).

IIMs and top business schools offer Executive MBA for working professionals. Similarly, MBA could be pursued in distance-education mode at IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) and other universities.

In Kerala, the major management schools conduct MBA admissions based on CMAT and KMAT scores. MBA evening courses could be pursued by working professionals at Kerala University and Kerala Technological University. Applications for these evening courses are invited in May and June.

Having served as visiting professor for CET Evening course under Kerala Technological University for several years, this writer has trained a large number of professionals in the government and private sectors. They include directors of Central government institutions, State government officers, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and people who are planning to revive their career after a break. These students were in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

How an MBA helped working professionals

Here are some reactions from working professionals who earned an MBA from various institutions:

Suresh, an executive with the pharmacy sector, had two goals when he joined an MBA course. The first was to earn a promotion as manager and the second was to launch his own firm in 10 years. “An MBA course enables a person to develop managerial skills as well as form a vision needed to become an entrepreneur,” says Suresh.

Stephen, who works at Technopark, says MBA education provides him a goal in career and gives better clarity regarding the workplace. “The business programmes which are part of the curriculum help me realize the requirements of the corporate workspace and meet them,” he says.

“After 15 years’ working experience in the corporate sector and armed with an executive MBA, I became an entrepreneur,” says Neena. The MBA course makes you self-sufficient and independent. You can learn how to motivate a team to pursue new targets and engage in seamless communication from the case studies taken up as part of the curriculum, she says.

Muhammed Saleem, who is a Central government employee, admits that an MBA has boosted his confidence while facing internal tests and interviews. The course also inspires me to shoulder additional responsibilities, says Saleem.

An MBA degree has helped Aneesh, a customer service manager, to take on work-related challenges effectively. “The projects, presentations and viva sessions which are part of the course enabled me to identify my shortcomings and overcome them,” he reveals. Aneesh feels that the MBA provided him with the confidence to face all hurdles.

Dileesh, a sales executive, says that during the MBA course he learnt how to update his profile, expand his network and maintain his competent performance in the competitive environment.

Kishore Kumar is now aged 55 and will soon retire from his present job. He is now an MBA student too but plans to start a management consultancy after retirement. “The MBA course will help me learn the requirements of shareholders, projects and customers, which would be beneficial in running a service centre,” Kumar says.

Santhi had taken a career break for her pregnancy and is currently pursuing an MBA course as part of her efforts to familiarize herself with the corporate environment. “The curriculum also enables me to learn the latest trends and gives ideas on maintaining a healthy work-life balance,” she says.

These testimonials prove that MBA studies will continue to be useful for people wishing to give a fillip to their career in business, corporate, entrepreneurial, management and administrative sectors. In short, success is the sum total of continuous education and efforts. It has no barriers such as age.

(The author is a Human Resource expert, corporate mentor and director of Cox Academy & Research Centre.)

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