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Businessworld - Part Time MBA

  Saturday 7 August 2010

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Key Sectors
To Do, Or Not To Do? Articles
Web Exclusives Blogs
In The News RASHMI BANSAL Conversations
03 Dec 2007 Placements
BW Opinion
Columns Practically every single day I get a couple of e-mails with the following query: 'I am working
with XYZ company as a software engineer/ BPO executive/ something-else but fed up with
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it. But for ABC reasons I cannot do a full-time MBA. What is your opinion of part-time
BW-Leadership MBA? Can you recommend a good one?'
And some put it even more bluntly: Please give all the information about MBA part time and
Surveys 'crosspondance' courses. The funny bit is they write this after reading this piece written by
Deal Tracker me on precisely the same subject.
While my overall assessment of part-time courses remains the same it has been close to
Cases three years since that was published. So, here is an update for those still looking for
BW Books answers. 'To Do Or Not To Do: The Part time Puzzle' was published in Businessworld's
annual 'Mega Indian B-School Guide' earlier this year.

Archive As readers of this blog were an important source of feedback and the guide has been out
for over six months now, I am sharing with you my findings. Besides, I really can't reply to
Press Release each of you personally -- answering practically the same questions!
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Why does the Leaning Tower of Pisa lean? Why is George Bush such a clown? What is the
Quick Take secret of eternal youth? These are mysteries which may yet remain unsolved. But there’s
Fianchetto one puzzling question I do have some answers to.

  'Should I do a part-time MBA?' is a subject weighing on many minds. Assuming you can’t -
– or don’t wish to -- give up your job to pursue a full-time course, is it worth spending time,
money and effort on? Given that no part-time or distance courses offers placements, will it
offer a tangible boost to your career?
Business Credit Card The answer is: it depends. Part-time courses definitely lack the prestige factor of full-time
from capital One MBAs. But choose carefully and you will reap benefits.

When Zubin George joined JBIMS’ three-year part-time MIM (Masters in Information
Management) he was a developer with Innovative Systems. He’s now moved to Citigroup’s
information technology division in a management role. And he has no regrets. “The quality
and depth of learning was far greater than what I would have got from a full-time course,"
says George. "The kind of questions raised and the quality of answers from the faculty were
Distance Learning
outstanding." In other words, more practice than theory -- direct application value. That
must be why, despite the gruelling after-work and weekend timings the classes had a
healthy attendance statistic of 65-70 per cent. MBA From Top
Colleges Low Fees.
Managing work and studies is always the dilemma for the part-timer. The PGPSEM (Post High Salaries. Search
Graduate Programme in Software Enterprise Management) offered by IIM Bangalore is no Now

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Businessworld - Part Time MBA

exception. Thirty-three-year-old Abhinav Agarwal completed his PGPSEM in 2006. “There www.studyplaces.com/Distance-M
are students who manage to excel at work and get straight As but then something’s gotta Distance MBA
give. Their personal life suffers." Colleges
Find Info about Top
Classes are held on every Friday and Saturday but there are also weekly tests and of
Distance MBA Colleges
course, assignments. Is 2.5 years of this self inflicted stress worth it? "Yes," asserts
and Courses in
Abhinav. “Over 500 of us have completed the PGPSEM since it kicked off in 1998.”
Unfortunately, no formal survey has been conducted to assess its co-relation with individual
career growth. But anecdotal evidence suggests many direct and indirect benefits. “I was a
IIM Executive
product manager with Oracle,” says Abhinav. “I am now a Principal Product Manager. And
yes, I do believe the PGPSEM has accelerated the process.”
for 2+yr Working
There are many interesting twists that PGPSEM has introduced in some careers. Arun Professionals at
Narasani, also from the batch of 2006, started ‘Brain League’, an intellectual property Convenient Timings.
services company. The company was incubated at IIM Bangalore’s Nadathur S. Raghavan ADIB/IT/Finance
Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning or NSRCEL. NIITImperia.com/ManagementProg
Executive MBA
Another student who was working with Oracle when he entered the PGPSEM program, Courses
joined venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins midway. He is now a vice-president at a mobile
Mgmt.courses for
applications company funded by the same VC.
executives with 3Yrs
“Besides what you learn in class, I definitely see a networkng effect,” says Abhinav. “You experience,In
meet a hundred-odd people from outside your company and your immediate line of work." Mumbai.Apply Now
That’s certainly an aspect of the 18-month executive MBA at SP Jain that Siemens
engineer Rashmi Das enjoys. Interestingly, she is based in Bangalore but travels to Planning Your
Mumbai once every 10 weeks for the 10 days of classroom contact sessions. The rest of MBA?
the time course delivery, quizzes and assignments are conducted online. Sikkim Manipal Offers
Distance MBA. 700+
Rashmi is extremely pleased with the faculty, the quality of case studies and group work. Learning Centers
One semester into the course she says, “Meeting people from other companies and Across India.
altogether different industries has broaded my perspective.” It’s a similar story with Sunil Smude.edu.in/AdmissionOpen201
Malik, Senior Manager Public Relations and Corrporate Communications at XIM
Bhubaneshwar, after he enrolled in the broadband assisted long PGCBM (Post Graduate
Certificate in Business Management) offered by his own institute.

While Sunil happens to be on the XIMB campus, other participants log in from Reliance
centres in their respective cities every weekend. Assignments and quizzes are conducted
online, and so are ‘end-term exams’. The highlight of the 12-month course is a seven-day
campus visit during which participants meet and interact on the XIMB campus. As far as
impact on career goes, the immediate effect can’t always be pin-pointed but participants
are confident of a boost in the longer run.

Akhil Agarwal, a CA rankholder and a CS to boot, was part of the inaugural batch of the
XIM PGCBM (2005-06). Midway through the course he switched jobs (from Reliance to ICI
Paints), with a significant shift in role and salary. But this, he believes, is a break he would
have got whether or not he enrolled in the XIMB course.

His classmate Shekhar Rao, however, attributes his mid-course job shift within the telecom
industry to his enhanced qualification. “I am getting double the salary today and a
responsibility for which ‘an MBA’ was a necessary requirement.” The XIMB name, he says,
definitely helped tip the scales in his favour. “Besides, I learnt a lot from the course itself."
And additional benefit: he can refer back to professors for advice and mentorship on

The verdict then is clear: a part time programme from a brand name institution does have
its value. Although ‘official’ placements may not be part of the deal, the informal network
does contribute to a career boost. While part time MBAs don’t command the same kind of
respect as full-time ones, some companies do value them more than others. Case in point:
20-25 per cent of the 2006 PGPSEM class comprised of Wipro employees. Infosys also
actively supports the program and recently helped IIMB expand it to Chennai.

Says Rashmi, “If you are working in the regional development centre of an MNC, a part-
time or executive MBA may not have that much value. But it will really help you in an Indian
software company, particularly product managers.” She also believes that one should have
5-6 years of experience and be extremely self-motivated to truly reap benefits.

Much also depends on the attitude of your company. Around 50 per cent of students in part
time courses like PGPSEM are sponsored. But it’s not clear how many companies are
simply using their sponsorship as a retention strategy, and how many have actually chalked
out a post-MBA career path for their employees.

Of course, none of these courses come cheap. While the three-year Bajaj course sets you
back by Rs 1 lakh, SP Jain’s executive MBA costs Rs 2.65 lakhs (excluding travel cost to
Mumbai for contact sessions). XIMB’s broadband aided PGCBM is Rs 1.5 lakh for 12
months. Similar certificate courses are also offered by XLRI, IIM K, IIFT, NMIMS etc in
collaboration with VSAT provider Hughes Direcway.

In conclusion, ‘cause and effect’ are palpable but not always as tangible as in the fulltime
programme. But the very act of stretching onself, of seeking knowledge and opening up to
new ideas and opportunities is what perhaps makes a difference.

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Businessworld - Part Time MBA

Speaking of success in terms of ‘formulas’, a participant on an online MBA forum obseves,

“Whenever a chemical reaction happens where A mixes with B to produce C, this catalyst
helps speed up the process so that C is produced sooner... The catalyst CANNOT alter the
chemical reaction to produce D instead of C”.

Given quality raw material, a good part-time MBA could be that career catalyst.

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