Understand the challenge
- The question aims to check your goal orientation & clarity of thought. The panel wants to know your career aspirations and the way an MBA program fits in your time bound plan.
- There is pressure to create a differentiator as most of the candidates are asked this question. In an effort to be different, you may come up with an answer which may not be true to your profile and plans.
- The answer needs to address both generic and specific dimensions.
Handle the generic challenge
- You need to demonstrate understanding of an MBA program on the following fronts:-
- Objectives – Make sure that you go through the B-school website/brochure to understand the stated program objectives. This may serve as a good platform to answer the ‘why MBA?’ question.
- Pedagogy – An appreciation of the B-school pedagogy may help you to answer the ‘why MBA?’ question in a persuasive manner. For example, it may be conducive to highlight the case study methodology used by B-schools for developing problem solving and decision making skills.
- Industry Focus- The essence of an MBA program is that it is an application based course and gives opportunities to work on projects in the Industry. This enhances your comprehension of various management practices and tools.
- Integrated Approach- It may help to showcase the inter-linkage between various functions of management like Marketing, Finance, Human Resources, Operations, IT etc.
Understand the Input-Output Model
- The input is a candidate with certain desirable traits which are instrumental for a learning program in management. Some of these skills are : willingness to learn, strong task orientation, high levels of initiative, temperament suitable for team work and capacity for hard work.
- The output is an industry ready global business manager who can perform in a cross cultural multi-dimensional environment.
- The B-school is the processing unit which facilitates this transition through a carefully designed industry centric program.
Handle the specific challenge
- You need to link the management pursuit with your profile, background, vision and mission.
- Establish a clear link between the past, the present and the intended future.
- The more specific the input, more is the persuasion. For example, if you indicate an interest in stock markets, it becomes easier to link the reasons for a management program to furthering a career in finance.
Avoid the following
- Do not link it to material gains as this link is apparently a commercial one and doesn’t conform to the objective of an organization to maximize value and not just wealth!
- Do not project an MBA as a means to securing positions of authority which may project you merely as a power seeker.
Do not introduce a function of management without an understanding of the same as it may bounce back with a plethora of questions you may not be prepared to answer.