MBA v Starting Up: Let’s solve the conundrum

We have heard this debate over the years now that our education system is not at par with the demands of the job markets and thought leaders, education gurus, and business wizards have constantly talked about this from across the globe. But let’s see this from the perspective of a country that produces perhaps the most MBA graduates (approx 3,60,000 graduates/year by a report published in 2018).

This is quite an irony that the country despite having 4000 b-schools (more are mushrooming here and there) unable to provide employment to 61% of them(this number is also on the rise). These were the numbers that were published in a report conducted in 2018. The above numbers clearly depict the gap in demand and supply of skills in the job market.

There always this question of going for an MBA or funding your own idea that has confused a lot of young people and even I was one of them. So, let’s look into this conundrum and compare both of them in terms of ROI, and what are the upsides/downsides that we can consider while making the decision.

Now, first of all you need to be very clear where you want to go and what is your end goal. If you’re someone who really wants to play it safe and wants to gain the corporate experience early in your professional life then MBA is a good option. But if you are someone who has the fire in the belly and wants to take risk and learn, then you know now where to put your money and time.

In today’s world, most of the b-schools if not all, are more primarily focused on getting you a good corporate job so that they can maintain their good show in their annual placement report. Whether you agree or not, this is what happening across the globe. There are only a few b-schools that really focus on entrepreneurship but again the ROI is also a factor to consider because the investment that goes into getting admission into these colleges is staggering more than $100,000 ( like of Harvard, Standford b-schools).

Let’s compare the upsides and downsides of both so that we can have better clarity on this. When you go for an MBA you need an investment of somewhere 15L-20L considering you’re doing it from a good top college in India and if you are considering going abroad then you can just multiply it 2–4 times depending on the scholarship and the country you are going in.

Now, as per a report published in Forbes, the number one reason MBAs are not getting the jobs is because they don’t have the required skills or their skills are not up to the mark as per the hiring standards of the corporate world. It’s all comes down to the skills and if you are spending 15L-20L on your MBA and still in the end you are struggling to get a job just because you do not have the ‘right skills’ is a major problem that needs to be solved.

Now, I am not saying that you should not go for an MBA or the decision to go for an MBA is bad. My point is why not we make better decisions when we have alternatives that have better and higher upsides. In fact, invest the same money and time in creating and developing something for the masses. There is no better learning than building a company on your own because it teaches you every aspect of running an organization. From sales to operations, from tech to finances, and in those two years the skills, the experience you will learn have much more worth and value than any other degree in your life.

You will be working with clients, working with teams in the real business where you will get hands-on experience in building and learning the skills that are required to run a business. Now, also look at the flip side of it, what if the idea doesn’t work out and we fail to survive in this highly volatile world of business. Well, in that case, you still have your learnings, your experience of what are the things that are not required in building and creating something. You will learn a lot more than sitting in a corporate cubicle because you’ve worked on the ground reality and you have worked closely with the market and how consumer’s behavior works in today’s world. These are some of the most important insights that you can take just in case you failed at building your startup. So, it’s a win-win situation in that case.

But again it’s all comes down to what you really want and what is your “why” behind it. Both options have their own benefits but I hope I have given you another perspective to ponder. So, just having the clarity on your goal will help you out in deciding the one over the other.