All About MBA – Specialisations, Scope, And More - Eastern Mirror
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All about MBA – specialisations, scope, and more

By Moakala T Aier Updated: Jun 25, 2024 11:44 pm
Mackson Joseph Mathew

DIMAPUR — Mackson Joseph Mathew grew up watching his father leading from the front in counseling drug and alcohol addicts, resolving conflicts and encouraging people – all done tirelessly and voluntarily alongside his mother, without seeking any monetary gain. He lost his mother when he was 13 years old, but her work continues to live on with him and many. This experience inspired and fuelled the desire to lead and make a difference.

With a degree in Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, Mackson has 17 years of experience in the life insurance sector today and is currently serving as the Vice President at TATA AIA Life Insurance. He believes “success brings success”, takes joy in leading his team to achieve their goals and finds immense satisfaction from messages of gratitude from clients.

In an interview with Eastern Mirror, the 37-year-old top-level executive at TATA AIA shares about MBA specialisations, internships, scope and more.

Can you outline the various MBA specialisations?

IIM Kozhikode offers a range of MBA specialisations to cater to diverse career aspirations.  For those who enjoy strategic thinking, Marketing or Strategy could be ideal. Finance equips you for roles in financial analysis and investment management.  If you are passionate about people, Human Resources delves into talent management and employee relations. Operations focuses on optimising business processes, while Information Systems explores the strategic use of technology. 

To choose the best fit, consider your interests, career goals, and strengths. Reflect on whether you prefer a broad-based MBA or a specialised focus. Research faculty expertise, industry connections, and alumni networks in each area. Attend webinars, interact with current students, and explore internship opportunities. Ultimately, choose a specialisation aligned with your passion and long-term aspirations.

How can MBA aspirants ensure a successful admission amidst increasing competition each year?

Firstly, aim for a high or a competitive Graduate Management Admission Test/Common Admission Test (GMAT/CAT score). Admission committees value leadership experiences and tangible impact. The aspirants must showcase their leadership roles, initiatives, and how they have made a difference in their community or organisation. They must craft a compelling narrative that highlights their unique background, motivations, and aspirations. Admission committees appreciate authenticity and diversity. Furthermore, the aspirants must emphasise how an MBA aligns with their personal and professional development.

At MSME India Convention

Do you recommend students pursue an MBA right after graduation, or is it more beneficial to gain work experience beforehand?

Pursuing an MBA after gaining work experience can significantly enhance their career prospects. Work experience provides context for MBA coursework. Aspirants will relate theories to real-world scenarios, enhancing their understanding and problem-solving skills. They will develop a clearer career vision, allowing them to tailor the MBA to their specific goals. With real-world context, they will grasp concepts more effectively. Having professional connections allows them to learn from experienced colleagues and build a robust network. Contributions in class discussions will be even more valuable. An MBA can propel their career by opening doors to higher positions and industries. It demonstrates their commitment to continuous learning and professional growth. Combining practical experience with advanced education can be a powerful combination as well. 

What according to you are the key takeaways from an MBA course regarding practical hands-on knowledge?

MBA programs offer practical tools for future business leaders. In an MBA program, aspirants will learn from classmates with different backgrounds, which gives them insights beyond textbooks. Working effectively in teams, even when opinions differ, is a crucial skill. Case studies give an insight into real-world scenarios, demanding analysis, and solutions. Project-based learning allows the students to tackle challenges head-on, from crafting marketing plans to launching simulations. Guest lectures from industry experts bridge the gap between theory and practice, showcasing how concepts are used in the real world. Business competitions add another layer, allowing them to refine their skills, present ideas, and compete in a simulated business environment.

Can you highlight the different types of internships available?

In the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) sector, MBA internships provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience. Top Indian banks like ICICI Bank and State Bank of India offer programs, while multinational firms like Citibank, JP Morgan have India-specific internship opportunities. Internships in insurance and financial services by Aditya Birla Capital, PayTM cover areas like risk management, credit processing, and business development. Companies like Bain & Company, and Boston Consulting Group offer consulting internships. MBA interns work with companies like Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), Colgate, and Nestlé in roles related to marketing, sales, and brand management.

What specialised courses can complement an MBA degree to improve one’s prospects of being hired?

While a general MBA provides a broad understanding of business administration principles, pursuing a specialised MBA can significantly enhance an aspirant’s prospects for a rewarding career. A general MBA covers foundational topics in business administration, offering a broad knowledge base. On the other hand, a specialised MBA provides deeper insight into a specific industry or field, providing in-depth expertise. Emerging fields such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain are transforming industries, and proficiency in areas such as data management, predictive analytics, data visualisation, and quantitative methods positions MBA students for exciting career opportunities.

Soft skills are equally important. Refining their communication through negotiation or public speaking courses can significantly enhance an aspirant’s value.

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With IIMK director – Prof. Debasish Chatterjee during Mackson’s MBA convocation

How impactful is an MBA degree in corporate life compared to its academic content?

An MBA degree’s impact in corporate life can extend far beyond the specific formulas and frameworks taught in the classrooms. While coursework provides essential knowledge, the true value lies in experiential learning and network building. Many pursue this course to switch industries or roles, leveraging the degree as a bridge. It signifies a strong work ethic, dedication, and a comprehensive understanding of business. It opens doors to leadership positions and enables career advancement through mentorship and alumni networks. Many transferable skills are learnt during the program – from critical thinking and problem-solving during case studies to effective communication through teamwork projects; these skills are highly sought-after by employers. The degree becomes most impactful when aspirants can seamlessly blend the acquired knowledge with the practical experience they bring to the table. Ultimately, an MBA degree is not just about what they study, it is about who they become and the connections they make.

Can you share the career opportunities available for someone with an MBA degree?

MBA opens diverse career paths in India – consulting, finance, investment banking, wealth management, risk management, marketing, sales are popular choices. Entrepreneurship is another exciting option, as the MBA equips aspirants with the knowledge to launch and manage their own venture.  No matter their interests, an MBA in India empowers them to pursue a fulfilling and successful career across various industries.

At IIM Kozhikode campus
IIM Kozhikode campus

What advice would you give on starting a career in sales or financial services?

For a career in sales or financial services, students must consider majors like business, economics, finance, or accounting. They must develop strong communication, problem-solving, and relationship-building skills are crucial. Honing these through coursework, public speaking clubs, or customer service roles is necessary. They must attend industry events, connect with professionals on LinkedIn, and reach out to alumni for industry workings. They must research different sales or financial services specialisations such as wealth management, investment banking, or business development and align their interests with a specific path. They can gain practical experience by interning or working part-time at banks, insurance, or accounting firms.

What career strategies would you recommend for MBA graduates from Nagaland?

Nagaland has a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Industries such as agriculture, textiles and hospitality have a strong presence in Nagaland. They can consider starting their own venture where they should identify local needs and leverage their understanding of the Nagaland market to build a successful business. They can look beyond traditional sectors; explore areas like agribusiness, tourism, renewable energy, and sustainable development. These sectors often have regional relevance. 

With remote work becoming more prevalent, they can explore opportunities with companies outside Nagaland. They can explore opportunities in major metros like Mumbai, Delhi, or Bengaluru where top MNCs hold their presence.

That there is no better place than home.

Like I am going back to my high-school days.

My wife – Dr. Sherin Sara Thomas, to recognise the extraordinary job she is doing as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and mentor to many.

By Moakala T Aier Updated: Jun 25, 2024 11:44:20 pm
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