Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My first blog on this journey -- Originally dated 24June 2010

The journey to the future is being contemplated...

Each one is born with his destiny is what I have heard but then it is also believed that each man for is own. Shawshank redemption has Tim Robbins famously quote that "you gotta get busy living, else get busy dying". The irony for me though is I am confused & struggling in making up my mind on which one to get busy with. :-)

The possibilities that I am presently faced with are all bright & good in their own sense which is precisely the reason for me to be absolutely confused in deciding what is that I should go after. As a prelude, I am about to complete 2 years on work. My work is dynamic & interesting & keep posing new challenges on a daily basis but somewhere down the line it is getting repetitive. There have been organizational changes which have resulted in structural changes within our team leaving the team unsettled slightly as everyone now wants to grab the attention of the new boss leading to a little messy atmosphere within the once harmonious team.

The fact that I am involved in a core technical job lets me have the liberty to think about the M.S. option which will help me delve further into the infinite technical possibilities that branch out from my basic knowledge right now. The lure is of the foreign shores, the educational model there which is like worlds apart from the book based model employed in India. Education abroad has always been more practical based, application of knowledge based whereas here in India it is more book based which as I will reveal further is causing me a huge dilemma. A M.S. will open up new avenues that seem highly lucrative on the knowledge front and also will give me chance to dive into things that till now I have only roughly known about & which interest me too. However the counter argument in this case is that as I am learning in my present job, that no matter how much satisfying & thirst quenching the technical part is, its a matter of time before the boredom sets into the picture. It is not the content that gets boring but it is the repetitiveness & the inability of the others to take it up at the same level despite proper documentation & sharing that sometimes becomes frustrating. Also the fact that an OPERATIONS job will always mean that its more inclined on implementation of something which is already planned out or that maintenance or support of something. So though I might have an increased understanding of the stuff, in a larger picture I will be doing the same work as I am right now.

The second choice that is emerging is that of continuing in my present job field & organization, where I am about to complete my first evaluation & might end up getting the top rating as I have slogged hard & given more than 200% & thereby some what taking the load & responsibilities of my reporting manager which has helped him relax over the tenure. The work is good & I can learn new things with time & with advent of many new things in my field almost on the verge of getting introduced, it is a prospect that I can't easily ignore. The counter argument in this case is however, as mentioned above there have been some changes which I do not have any control on but which are having a bearing on me. I cannot but resist the fact that they are affecting me more personally & to an extent professionally also. I have been restricted to explore the other avenues in my field which is making me feel bogged down & curtailed. Also if I shift jobs the opportunities & the scope of work in my present work are much vast than the one that I would be moving to. As an illustration let’s say I handle subject A,B,C and D right now and have sufficient understanding of A,B and C. It is subject D where I am being restricted from delving into presently. However in every other organization that I might apply to A,B,C & D are all different verticals. So I will have to possibly choose from one of them. It is no surprise then that my scope of learning will get curtailed.

Having contemplated the 2 possible options wrt the positives & negative, I moved to the next option that was open to me. A post-graduate degree i.e. a MBA. It was a dream/decision that was at the back of my mind that sooner or later I will be doing a MBA. It is more like the destiny thing that I mentioned above. It is like a culmination of what I want to do/be. My present job has exposed me to the world of the Marketing wherein I do end up doing a lot of analysis & stuff that ideally would fall under the Marketing profile. Then there are the avenues like Finance, HR, Business Intelligence. etc. Personally other than HR the others seem highly interesting, though I would concede, without any offense that HR is more like the debates that we had in college where you get to brain storm on innumerable things irrespective of whether they concern you or not. It is the prospect of the world of knowledge that beckons if a MBA is taken. It is the sheer magnamity of the ocean than is alluring to the soul. Also the fact that it is all an unknown entity as of now makes the situation more interesting.

So it would be safe to say as this stage that I am more inclined towards the MBA option which now throws up 2 sub-options from which one needs to b decided upon. The sub-options being an Indian MBA or a foreign MBA. The thought process by which I have contemplated these options is the style / pattern of course, faculty, approach to the subject, ROI and though I may not agree fully, geography / surroundings. I will take each one of them objectively, presenting both sides of the coin.

The first thing that comes to the mind is the finance. The best Indian MBA will approximately cost 20 lakhs or $ 40k while the average cost of an MBA in US in a school in the region of 25 to 100 best B-schools will cost around 40 lakhs or $80k. Try as I might I cannot undermine / miss this factor though after a lot of thought I think I might just somehow be able to afford the high costing US MBA if its good enough.

Moving on to the approach to education & the way that the course spans out is the most important point that needs discussion. Like I mentioned above, the Indian way is heavily inclined towards the book based approach whereas that abroad is more practical. Gradually Indian schools are moving towards the case study but then I ain't sure of how effective it is. A talk with my peers abroad in the B-Schools revealed the fact that there is an interesting mix of international students from varied backgrounds. This fact throws to light the different mindsets of thinking that are possible which I believe is a very interesting factor. Different thoughts will lead to an outlook that is way broader & considerate of all possible factors.

This brings to the ROI (Return On Investment) perspective. It is here that individuals differ & also there is a angle of what amount of risk is being considered. Whether to go for a 1 year course or a 2 year course. Its not just the fees that are involved but also the fact that the duration for which you study you are out of salary. So you may add up the compensation lost in the investment made. Also where an Indian MBA might fetch a return of around 10 lakhs per annum an US based job will return around $100k i.e. around 45 lakhs. Europe has many good colleges but with the a few economies going kaput recently it seems that recession is around the corner in Europe & finding a job will only get tougher with time. The USA on the other hand is just getting out of one & the future seems to be improving on the job front as well. India, meanwhile hasn't actually had a recession but only that the ever blossoming pay hikes have now taken a backseat & employees have had to make do with  a little less bonus.

 A factor in selection is also the geography. I like to roam around and explore, so the prospect that I might be able to explore a foreign land & specially as diverse as the USA or Europe is lucrative. I am not sure time would be there to indulge in this factor but then where there is a will, there is a way. I have heard a lot of the course abroad being exhaustive and very demanding which then means that free time is normally spent recuperating. Exploring will surely be enjoyable.

This is my perspective on what is & what can be. I might be a stereotype with regards to my dilemmas & what I am going through but then as I have been doing a little bit of research, I observed that there are many blogs, sites where people discuss the same & same over without referring or browsing through it. This is my attempt to put forth my side. I am trying to make it a practice to write more often & present my journey as it comes. I plan to take GMAT in around 3-4 months time and then start applying from November but before that I need to decide what to do. I hope I will be able to decide soon now & have a PLAN A & PLAN B ready.

1 comment:

  1. SpiritualIconoclastJuly 9, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    Contemplating future seems somewhat weird...

    thinking about future shows multitude of possibilities and
    choosing few of them; then to follow intermittently and end up culminating none of them.
    And starting the cycle again with new situations and new experiences,
    I think this is more of Ruminating than contemplating.

    The feel of growth is irrespective of field or place or job at hand.
    It is something to get when someone looks back and compares few attributes where one finds more in count now than earlier.

    MBA/M.S. is some widely accepted unit to measure it remarkably when we consider attribute of education.

    At the end this is way where we are measuring the things in worldly way.
    But that is the only way to see the Progress and feel the Growth without REALLY Contemplating.

    --pun intended :)