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Is MBA + Engineering the key to success? Experts bust common myths

Myths surrounding MBA and engineering, placements and studying abroad, decoded by career counsellors and students

‘An engineering degree should always be followed by an MBA’. ‘Good grades guarantee a good job’. ‘Admission into a top B-school means you have a secure future’. Career counsellors and education consultants say these are some of the most common myths that need busting, as students prepare to step out of college and look beyond.

“There are so many options today, and so much has changed, that parents and students start out very confused,” says career counsellor Shilpa Pathak. “We have to tell them that no, all the best colleges are not abroad, and all foreign courses aren’t exorbitant.”

Another common misconception, says Richa Saklani, founder of a career guidance company Inomi Learning, is that you must study abroad if you want to focus on international relations or pursue a major in languages. “These things are no longer true. They haven’t been true for a while. And it is potentially harmful for a student to prioritise country over course,” she adds.

Do your research, the counsellors stress. And this doesn’t just mean researching the university, faculty and course; get all your facts in place.

“All my life I thought studying in the US required 16 years of prior education, but some colleges accept 15 years too. I missed out on applying this year because I didn’t know that,” says post-grad student Shubhi Agarwal, 21, who plans to pursue forensic science overseas.

Similarly, engineering graduate Samiksha Panchal, 27, started her career in a finance department because she feared she’d never get a good job without an MBA. “I know better now, but I’ve already spent years doing a job I have little interest in,” she adds. Here then, are a few of the most common misconceptions, untangled.

This is a more logical and sustainable approach, says Banker of Edushine. “Engineering students who don’t get good placements often opt for an MBA, but that is not the only formula for success. One must know what one is interested in and in what field one will be happy working,” Banker says.


When in Rome… speak the language. That’s the advice most students who have ventured overseas for further study have to offer. It’s not about being understood, they stress, it’s about being included.

“Knowing German was an added advantage,” says Sandesh Kamath, 27, who is doing a PhD in meteorology and geosciences at the University of Cologne. “My everyday conversations range from discussions about Indian food to debates on climate change chats at the railway station with strangers. German just helps me fit in, in college and in the country. Most of my friends here were under the impression that their skills will take them ahead in their careers and land them good jobs, but for me it was a tad easier because I knew the language.”

Knowing a language depends on the country too. “It’s important to know the native language for some such as Russia, China and Austria. Choosing a college based on your language skills may be the wrong way to do it but it is important to check this criteria because colleges may teach in English but once you’re out and looking for internships or jobs, you may fall far behind others who know the language,” counsellor Pathak says.


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