Monday, August 18, 2014

Was my MBA worth it?

Note: It has been more than four years since I started this blog. It has been a great experience with nice comments, discussions and of course readership count following a sine wave :) This post may well be the conclusive post to this blog; except that I may update it occasionally. Marketing as a subject captured the most my interest during the days at IIMB and I am planning to continue writing about my learnings and thoughts @ Digistra. Do let me know your valuable comments about it!


Time just flies! It has been more than a year since I graduated from one of the coveted B-Schools of India.I thought its a good time to re-visit and reflect on the ROI generated out of this education. To start with, here are the investments I made to gain this prestigious and envious diploma !

  • 2.5 years (or rather three years) of no weekends, personal life
  • Around 10 Lakhs as tuition fees and other expenses
Fortunately or unfortunately there wasn't any loss of salary since mine was an executive program. Otherwise there would have been another cost bullet above. Today, as I see it, this where I am after MBA and some personal changes -

  • Married
  • Joined a small company
  • Moved my career to marketing domain
  • Thoughts are more inclined in terms of monetary implications (I won't call it money oriented though :P)

If I had not joined the program, I would have saved around 15 Lakhs which I could have very well used for buying an apartment; I would have enjoyed those three years' weekend (or wasted? :)) and kept on cribbing about the software engineer's job!

This is the outside picture anyone can get if they look at me. But the real story can be told only by the person who experience it. Here is a glimpse of that --

  1. First and foremost is the change in thought process -- honestly, I would not have thought about alternative investments and NPVs and optimum solutions about my savings if I had not studied that one core subject - Corporate Finance! 
  2. Similar is the case with my reading stamina. Unless I had gone through the hundreds of HBR cases and articles and readings, I doubt whether I would have ever read a 500 page book on business models and organizational development. 
  3. Courage to experiment. I acquired the courage to do some experiments like - investing in hard-core stock markets (from short-term trading to futures and options) to contemplating the a consulting business to taking classes for kids & even professionals. MBA taught me what matters is trying out; not whether you succeed. The boost in optimism one will have is invaluable.
  4. Moving away from the comfort zone. Whether it is public speaking or trying out new things or networking; the MBA anchored to make those steps.

Of course one can argue that you need not do an MBA, waste time and money to achieve all these. I don't deny; but if you are confident that you can achieve all these yourself; lucky you! you dont need an MBA.

Coming to the core question of any MBA aspirant - did it provide what the newspapers and media boast of? A definite NO; I have to say it's just hype and myths propagated year after year. Of course there were and will be few folks in all MBA batches who get those hyped salary offers and job profiles. Its not because of either brilliance alone or luck alone; but a combination of factors like luck, brilliance, background, timing and so on.

Let me close this post by making a couple of more points. MBA is a sunk investment(Well! that's a jargon). What I meant is you cannot consider the ROI of an MBA or for that matter any education from only the salary that you get post MBA. That's a pinch you have to accept. It's the intellectual stimulation, the network and the holistic thinking ability that you should look forward to. Don't go by the media reports; do an MBA only if you really think it will add value to you (The question Why MBA in SOPs is not just there for the sake of it; consider the SOP as an opportunity to critically think about the choice you are making!).

ALL THE BEST to the MBA ASPIRANTS out there and WISH ALL DREAMS come true for the MBA grads!

Disclaimer - all opinions in this post and blog are just my own and personal!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: The Curious Digital Marketer 2.0

The Curious Digital Marketer 2.0 - A cool book on Digital Marketing; that's what I will say about this one. A very practical guide without much textbook type theories and definitions. It is very practical in nature. It's written in a Q&A format with a good range of questions that will come to a marketer in the industry or just starting her career. 

It touches almost all aspects of digital marketing from display advertising to analytics to social media marketing. The beauty of this book is that it captures the essence of each channel as questions yet covers the practical aspects of them.

Only drawback I see is - it's more India centric; so someone outside the Indian geography may find few data points irrelevant.I got the most value out of mobile marketing section.The book is also available at a reduced price in ebook format. One area that I thought the book could have done more justice is going into the details of paid marketing and some of the new buzzwords like programatic buying and real time bidding. 

Overall a good refresher and ready-reckoner for a digital marketing professional and worth keeping in your personal library!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

MOOC - Lifetime learning

It has been long since I blogged something here. Lot's have been happening in life - change the personal status from single to married :) , moved to a new city and finally moved to a new company - this time to a small one working on an exciting challenge of marketing attribution. Hoo hoo! too much flux to handle. So far life has been kind enough to me with not many BIG surprise though it continues to be an enjoyable roller-coaster ride! 

An education like MBA makes you even more thirsty to continue to learn. Now that I have KINDA settled, have started to do courses in MOOCs. We very well know the number of such MOOCs have exploded recently. But this is even more good news for a learner as each of these MOOC come up with some uniqueness in terms of either the themes they offer or teachers they bring in. Some of the ones that I have learnt from and recommend are


I am now exploring one such MOOC called Open2Study; already completed few of them and currently doing User Experience for the Web

Have you used MOOCs? Which of them do you recommend?

By the way, I am planning to continue this blog by writing more about marketing and strategy topics; hope and wish I will manage it. Let me know your opinion. Read the series @ Marketing Chalk :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Curious Case of Self-Help Books

Lately, I have been reading a lot of books -especially self-help books :) Its actually fun to read those ;). For example, the latest one that I read was by Prof. Clayton Christen of Harvard Business School titled How Will You Measure Your Life?

A Harvard Business Review article with the same title was introduced to me during one of MBA elective classes. The article was just amazing that I was eagerly waiting to read his book. While I agree that he has done justice to the book, it was no as powerful as the article! That brought a thought to mind about how the self-help books are written (at least those I have read…)

Often, I feel Calvin was completely right on target :)

Calvin and Hobbes on writing Self Help books

In any self-help book, the author tries to

  1. Convince you that there are problems and its better to tackle those
  1. Convince that you are not alone in facing those problems; its universal
  2. While the problems may not be due to your fault; there is wide scope to improve
  1. The book gives sure short answers on how to tackle them

Lately, I have even seen many authors out rightly suggesting #4 in the above list is not possible and the book will only help you to think :)

My inquisitive mind suggested to read some of the old books on this topic - like those which are decades or hundreds' of years old - like the ones written by Dale Carnegie or James Allen. In one of our MBA elective courses on career management, we even went as deep as discussing the thoughts of philosophers like Socrates and Epicurus. It was fun :)

I believe if we see the modern books on self-help and happiness, earlier authors' and philosophers' thoughts are camouflaged in one way or the other as if they are writing it for the first time. May be the most value add is these authors make it so simple while the early philosophers'' thoughts were very deep. Considering these, I would think the essence of all these books or rather the best thoughts are --

  1. Don't whine about your situation
  2. Decide on priorities and move on
  3. If the course of action you took is not delivering results; just try another one

I am sure your immediate question would be - what if we keep failing on the courses of action we take? Just keep trying :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

de doux souvenirs - Sweet memories from IIMB life

Some UN-forgettable Moments
  • When I met in person Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
  • When I got 4/4 GPA in my elective course Elements of Management Consulting
  • When I sat along with the Director and a Chief Guest and participated in a short discussion on a company's international aspirations!
  • When I received scolding from the Director for something I was not directly responsible for (It was a Déjà vu from good old Engineering days :))
  • At 1 AM when the group had no idea what to present the next day; Perumal (a group member) suggests an idea and later it becomes the insight for the classes applauded by Professor :)
  • At 4 AM, the group fighting on formatting issues of a project report after daunting discussions and heated arguments :)
  • Creating a presentation while the Professor is teaching and presenting to the class after the lecture and getting appreciation from the Professor ;) ;)
  • When I became the Secretary of Students' Council

Some events I wish never happened!  
  • Burning few bridges and loosing a good mentor and friend over petty issues and ego clashes :(
  • Screwing up during an important public facing event
Some Lessons learn-t the hard way!
  1. There is no such thing as 'free lunch'
  2. It doesn't matter how much you deserve; all that matters is how much luck is with you
  3. Be assertive; need not be aggressive; most of the time no harm in being aggressive also!
  4. You can learn any number of leadership theories; it takes experience to become one!
  5. It's OK to be little selfish!; there is no such thing as utilitarian thought though they teach about it a lot event in B Schools...
Few things I missed during B School life
  • International Exchange Program
  • Hostel Life
  • I thought I will become fluent in Hindi at least here; but didn't happen :)
 Some Professors whose classes I enjoyed the most
Some courses that kept me on my toes everyday
 Some courses I wish I never took!
  • Telecom Strategy
  • Quantitative Methods II (Operations Research, LPP etc.)
  • Management Control Systems
  • Services Marketing

Some courses I wish I studied more seriously!
  • Corporate Finance
  • Quantitative Methods I