In conversation with Fr. Antony R. Uvari, S.J., Vice Chancellor of Xavier Institute of Management, XIM University
Excerpts from an interview with Fr. Antony R. Uvari, S.J., Vice Chancellor of Xavier Institute of Management, XIM University
In your view, is it preferred to have work experience prior to doing an MBA course?
It is important to note that work-experience matters according to the course type which may be part-time, full-time, correspondence, etc. and some courses in reputed institutes have a minimum work-experience requirement for admission. If a student pursues an MBA program without experience, they must start from scratch. On the contrary, if there are some years of experience, they know their field and how things work generally. In this case, the MBA degree refines the pre-existing skills as a professional to make them more efficient.
While enrolling students for the MBA program, institutes look for characteristics such as maturity, skillset and managerial ability in the candidate. These capabilities come only with experience, and thus work experience is preferred for MBA, as experienced students are always preferred over newbies. Job opportunities after MBA are more plentiful for students with real-world experience and academic skills. Also, good companies prefer experienced MBA graduates over non-experienced ones. Thus, if one gains some experience and then pursues MBA, there will be better opportunities after completing the MBA course.
There is a direct connection between work experience required for an MBA and the quality of the program. There are specialization courses for MBAs for which students must have relevant experience to gain a clear understanding and knowledge of the program. If one wishes to enrol in courses with an extensive and high-quality education that caters to all the important aspects of management essential for valuable jobs, it is better to pursue an MBA after a work experience of 2 - 5 years.
What are the most sought-after skills among MBA graduates that are in high demand in corporate India?
The skills that most employers look for in MBA graduates for a successful career include:
- Interpersonal Skills: Everyone in a leadership role needs each other’s skills, in which working with and motivating others can really make the difference between success and failure - be it with clients, colleagues or the people that one manages. The lack of such skills will seriously impede ability to engage in all those important corporate processes.
- Strategic Thinking: Strategic thinking is a cornerstone of the MBA program. One of the main objectives of the MBA degree is to help move from a functional role to a “big picture”. One needs to see the future of a company, how is it going to get there and the agility to deal with competitors and market forces in the ever-changing corporate environment.
- Entrepreneurial Skills: Entrepreneurial skills are the ability to find a gap in the market, enough judgment and creativity and technical understanding to know if it is worth filling.
- Communication Skills: It is essential to communicate above, below and across any management level. Communication skills are an important part of the MBA training and prepares the student for corporate life and the communication ability required for it.
- Leadership Skills: A good manager will have the leadership skills to carry out functional roles assigned by his or her superiors - not an easy task by any means. However, a good leader will inspire them and those around them, make them valuable and give the whole effort a sense of direction.
In addition to the above-mentioned skills, MBA studies prepare potential corporate achievers with some highly relevant technical skills too which may include data analysis, presentation and design, technical writing, project management, etc.
What are the emerging trends when it comes to placements for MBA students? How are the placement opportunities shaping up for MBA students of the current batch at XIM?
In recent years, career opportunities for MBA aspirants have witnessed a transition. They are in high demand in the tech sector, with leading global tech giants pulling the maximum number of MBA graduates. According to career experts, MBA jobs are all set to boom in the current year, with lack of skills and uncertainty in the business environment. With most organizations shifting to new business models post pandemic, the demand is likely to be stronger for MBA students.
Some of the emerging trends are:
- A rise in jobs for MBA graduates in tech firms: Post pandemic many businesses continue to have employees working from home without sacrificing productivity, particularly at technology companies. These MBA graduates are no more restricted to working in a given city or to travel long distances for work. For these tech companies, their success during the pandemic has resulted in an increase in annual MBA hiring during this time period. In 2019, 80 per cent of tech companies reported plans to hire MBAs, but by 2021, that figure had risen to 96 per cent. This could be a boon for MBA students.
- More jobs in the healthcare sector: The healthcare industry comes up with enormous opportunities post pandemic. The industry’s demand extends beyond healthcare professionals, with an increasing role of MBA graduates in the healthcare sector. The foremost reason is the introduction of innovative technologies such as predictive and preventative healthcare. According to experts, healthcare and biotech were the top recruiters for MBA graduates last year, and this trend is expected to continue in future too.
- Consulting firms hire MBA graduates: Consulting firms are frequently ranked among the best places to work in the world. The industry is one of the top three sectors for MBAs to enter after graduation, along with finance and technology. Being a consultant allows an MBA graduate to put everything learned during the MBA program, to use. MBAs work with clients on projects spanning multiple industries and functions, as well as in teams comprising colleagues from all over the world. While most MBA programs can help get a job as a consultant, MBA consulting specialisations focus on this career path more closely, preparing the MBA graduate for a career in the industry.
- Opportunities in inclusivity and diversity: Sustainability is high on the political agenda, and it is also becoming increasingly important in business, with experts predicting a job boom in the field. According to reports, companies with above-average diversity in their leadership teams achieved higher levels of innovation. Diversity and sustainability, according to career experts, will be a major focus for MBA recruiters in future. Employers across industries are looking for candidates who demonstrate these core values.
- Surge in product management roles: Product management roles are one area that has seen an increase in interest. As these marketing-focused positions are becoming increasingly popular among MBAs, companies in a variety of industries look to MBA programs for product managers. Experts are of the opinion that the number of people applying for these positions has increased to the point where firms can be more selective and ask for or look at candidates who have specific product experience prior to coming into that role.
As far as the career prospects of the MBA students of XIM University are concerned, placements have been 100 per cent for several years now in the three MBA programs of Business Management, Human Resources Management and Rural Management. We have a Career Advisory Services Committee which is in charge of all career advisory services related affairs. It looks into the summer internship as well as the final career advisory services of the students. It includes both faculty as well as student members.
The career advisory services office supports the educational mission of the university by helping students to develop, evaluate and pursue career goals. In the process, students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to make lifelong career decisions. Career services offices accomplish these goals through career counselling and a range of programs and services designed to help students make the connection between the academic program and the workplace.
Ideally, the career advisory services office assists students throughout their stay at the university, providing appropriate assistance at each stage of the student’s career development. This process often begins with career counselling designed to help students develop the self-knowledge and awareness of options needed to select an academic major or a tentative career direction. Students are guided in thinking about their interests, values, competencies and personal characteristics. Through conversation and exercises, students often discover previously unidentified interests.
During the annual placement process called XUBERANCE, partner companies who recruit MBA graduates are given the opportunity of evaluating our students for a fit into their corporate culture. This year the highest number of recruitments were made in the consulting sector, which was followed by systems, BFSI, marketing, general management and strategy and operations. profiles offered included product management, corporate investment banking, portfolio manager, credit analyst, risk management, in-stock specialist, strategic consulting, corporate planning, corporate finance, equity research, market analyst, marketing, area manager, retail vendor manager, supply chain planning, business consulting, business transformation and strategy, IT consulting and business development.
Industry leaders in varied domains strengthened their relationship with XIM. Some of the leading organizations that partnered with the institute included the following: Microsoft, Amazon, Arcesium, Tata Steel, The Math Company, Reliance Jio, Wells Fargo, Standard Chartered Bank, Asian Paints, Schneider Electric, Maruti Suzuki Limited, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, ElasticRun, Brillio, Appario Retail Private Limited, MORE Retail, Airtel Payment Banks, ICRA Limited, CARE Ratings, CRISIL, Bain Capability Network (BCN), PwC, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Hexaware, Tiger Analytics, Deloitte, NatWest Group, Accenture, Cognizant, Nestle, Titan, IBM, EY, Vedanta, Becton Dickinson, ABCL, Avasant, UHG Optum, GE Healthcare, Phable, Emami, ITC, Adani Group, Ultratech, Capgemini, Kotak Mahindra, and others.
The strength of the XIM brand has once again been shown bright though XUBERANCE 2023 with record placements for yet another year.