Why do engineers pursue MBAs?
There’s no such thing as being overqualified. The current generation of students clearly believes that a BTech or BE just isn’t enough, even if it is from one of the country’s premier institutions.
According to the ACNielsen Campus Track survey, the interest in pursuing a post-graduate degree continues to be high among students. And the interest veers significantly towards management education. The survey found that about 55% of all students want to pursue an MBA and this trend has been increasing over the years.
“There is more focus on a management degree among engineering students because students perceive that with an MBA they will get better opportunities for growth and remuneration,” says Chitranshu Mathur, student placement representative for the class of ’06, IIT Bombay. “We’re also seeing a growing preference for openings in the financial sector, so students go in for an MBA as a natural progression,” he adds.
A management degree is seen as the most attractive higher education option for engineering grads when compared with earlier batches, more enticing than the MTech/MS. “We’ve seen interest levels for a post-graduate degree go up much beyond our expectations indicating that students perceive that they will have better opportunities with a management degree,” says Prasenjit Das, associate director, ACNielsen India.
In fact, higher studies — especially the MBA — is why engineering students want to move out of their first jobs early. This year’s results show that about 70% of the batch of ’07 expects to leave their first job in three years or less, mainly to pursue higher education. “The percentage of students opting out of their job in the first few years for higher education has been increasing over the years. This is becoming a major concern for HR departments. Since most students plan to pursue their higher studies, the HR departments should organise innovative retention plans like sponsored on-job MBA programmes for engineering graduates,” says Mr Das.
Of course, this isn’t a new thought. A number of companies, especially in the IT space, already offer their employees further education opportunities by tying up with renowned institutes where they can do MS, MBA and other degrees and certifications while still on the job.
However, the idea isn’t to retain employees at any cost. “Obviously we’ve tied up with who we can. But, we also realise that we’re not here to substitute higher education. Also, there’s a group that we very happily see off because they’re going to the Whartons and Berkeleys of the world. And hopefully, some of them will and do return,” says Bhaskar Das, V-P, HR at Cognizant.
“Yes, we do see some of our engineering intake leave for higher studies,” agrees Achuthan Nair, V-P, strategic sourcing, Wipro Technologies. “And we also have a good number of them join us after their post graduation.”
Some like Google, which has been ranked as the most preferred recruiter on campus, believe that they might have an answer to retention problems. “Our goal at Google India is not only to hire the best talent but also to provide a work culture that is intellectually stimulating.
At Google, there are ample opportunities to work on interesting and challenging technical problems and our candidates understand and appreciate that. Besides we play an active role in the career development of our employees, who are encouraged to innovate and to identify their strengths,” says Arvind Jain, centre head, Google Bangalore R&D.
By: Jeetha D’silva & Candice Zachariahs