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MBA at IIMs: Generalist vs. Specialist | Second MBA

Dec 18, 2018 19:48 IST
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Doing an MBA from IIMs is a dream come true for many. But, before you join the top MBA Colleges in India, it is important to first consider whether you want to be a generalist or a specialist manger. Also if you are confused about going for a second MBA, find out how worthy it might prove to be.

As part of this initiative, Prof. Runa Sarkar – Dean Academic, IIM Calcutta will try and address a common MBA query regarding what’s better; being a generalist or a specialist in the field of management. She will also explain who should go for a second MBA and why? She talks about the different questions one must answer before going for a dual MBA degree.

Extracts from the Interview:

What's better: Being a Generalist or a Specialist?

While addressing the distinction between being a generalist and a specialist, one must understand that it is not really an ‘or’ question, it is almost a ‘and’ question. In order to be a specialist you first have to be a generalist; on the other hand, to be a generalist there is no such compulsion of being a generalist. But, at the same time, MBA aspirants must understand that being a specialist gives you that added strength, be it in terms of knowledge or career growth.

For instance, one can be a specialist in crawling but one has to be a generalist in terms of moving. So, when it comes to being a generalist, it is more focused on the  basic needs, a basic understanding, that is what being a generalist is all about and unless you have that you can’t build on to a specialization. So, both are equally important.

Going for a second MBA

Before one decides to go for a second MBA, there is a fundamental question that one must address. It is to ask yourself why you want to go for a second MBA. There are many MBA aspirants who are pursuing their second MBA from IIM-Calcutta and one common feedback from them is that they knew they could do it, but they had failed to understand why they wanted to pursue a second MBA?

Ideally speaking, second MBA is a good choice for students who have joined an MBA programme right out of their college. During their first stint with MBA, right out of college, they accrued a lot of knowledge which they didn’t know how to apply and use in their professional life.  A second MBA, especially from a top MBA college in India like IIM Calcutta, gives them a new perspective, a broader perspective to look at things.

Simply put, if you have done your MBA immediately after graduation, you have a certain perspective of life you don’t know what working really is? So you learnt a lot of theoretical concepts, you never knew how to apply them. When you did your MBA a couple of years into working you got a lot of benefits. So, doing your second MBA, specifically from IIM Calcutta, does it make a difference? It certainly does! But it’s not just that. It’s the MBA plus experience which makes the second MBA far more useful and effective for furthering a person’s career, for furthering a person’s life views.

About the Expert:

Prof Runa Sarkar is the Dean Academic as well as a faculty of the Economics Group at IIM Calcutta. Her educational qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from BITS Pilani, a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a fellowship from IIM Calcutta. On the professional front, she has worked with Tata Korf – a subsidiary of Tata Steel in the domain of environmental and energy consulting. Prior to joining IIM-Calcutta as a faculty in the Economics Group, she has taught at IIT Kanpur in its Industrial Management & Engineering Department.

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