Initially, an MBA degree was something that students from all walks of life would aspire to obtain. However, an MBA degree today is no longer confined to the students only. There are MBA courses for working professionals as well. And as the world around us continues to transform drastically even as we speak, so are the needs and demands of the industry evolving radically.

Today, just as students must gain advanced certifications and educational qualifications to prove their mettle, working professionals also must continuously demonstrate their competency in their respective fields. The adoption of innovative and disruptive technologies like Big Data, AI, and ML in the business environment is rapidly radicalizing the skill requirements in the industry. 

Doing an MBA after gaining work experience is better than doing MBA right after graduation. But, when you are in the IT industry and want to pursue an MBA, things might be a bit different. Firstly, if you are applying to the top international B-schools with 3 – 4 years of experience then the competition is massive. This oversaturated applicant pool can throw many applicants off from doing an MBA altogether!

Don’t worry; there are remedies to this which we will discuss soon. But, if you have gathered significant work experience in the IT industry (10+ years), a regular MBA might not longer be the best fit for you. In such a case you need to apply to the EMBA programs that are better suited to equip senior professionals with the right skill sets.

So, let’s discuss the options for both these cases and decide which is the right MBA for you as an IT professional!

Executive MBA for IT Professionals

Executive MBA Programs are designed to provide the necessary lessons of a regular MBA program to someone with in-depth industry knowledge. EMBA programs are usually taken up by business leaders or those with ample experience in their specific industry. Such a program usually provides the lessons of a regular MBA degree in a more flexible manner and also adds leadership training to the module. So, anyone seeking a higher executive level job is likely to apply for an EMBA.

Let’s take a look at some of the top international EMBA programs:

Rank in 2020 School name Country
1 Kellogg/HKUST Business School Hong Kong SAR (China)
2 Ceibs China / Switzerland / Ghana
3 HEC Paris France / Qatar / China
4 Trium: HEC Paris/LSE/NYU: Stern France / UK / US / China
5 Tsinghua University/Insead China / Singapore / France / UAE
6 Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai China
7 ESCP Business School France / Germany / Italy / Lebanon / Spain / UK
8 IESE Business School Spain / US
9 INSEAD France / Singapore / UAE
10 EMBA-Global Asia: Columbia/HKU/LBS ‡ US / UK / Hong Kong SAR (China)
11 Arizona State University: Carey China
12 IE Business School Spain
13 London Business School UK / UAE
14 UCLA: Anderson/National University of Singapore US / Singapore
15 CUHK Business School Hong Kong SAR (China)
16 Washington University: Olin China
16 Kellogg/WHU Beisheim Germany
18 University of Oxford: Saïd UK
19 Korea University Business School South Korea
20 EMBA-Global: Columbia/LBS  US / UK

The average age group of any of these programs is likely to be 30+ years, and the average work experience will be 14-15 years. This when compared to a regular MBA class at these same B-schools is widely different.

The regular MBA program targets young professionals who want to enter management level roles. The EMBA is for those professionals who have developed the practical knowledge, but lack the theoretical base to advance in their core profession. This is also why most EMBA programs do not require the applicants to quit their jobs; rather, the programs are scheduled to meet such requirements.

When it comes to career opportunities, EMBA applicants are likely to seek a better position within their current organization. Some may also seek a job abroad in a managerial role. But, a complete change in the industry is rare for EMBA grads, as compared to MBA grads.

It’s important to understand that EMBA programs are for those with an in-depth knowledge of their industry. So, this is something you have to prove through your application. Be it your work experience, extra-curriculars, or essay questions, the overall approach towards building your application needs to be centered on the criteria that admission committees of top B-schools will look out for.

How to stand out as a Young IT Professional?

If you are an Indian applicant who scores 720+ on GMAT, has work experience in global IT companies, an engineering degree and the same old story in his MBA applications – you are going to be one in a million pool of such applicants.

But, you can improve your profile by enhancing your leadership skills. Even if you are not in a lead position, you can take initiative in projects to highlight this. This is one of the easiest ways to stand out in a saturated pool. Also, don’t do cliche extracurricular just to enhance your resume. Look at things that genuinely excite you and do 1-2 solid things there. In the end, it all boils down to how clearly and strongly you are putting your story in the applications. This is where an expert MBA admission consultant can help you!

If you have worked in a blue chip company it will help a lot in your application. Especially if your company is F100 or even F500, you have a very clear chance of being taken seriously. For smaller companies, working with international clients will help, as will having foreign work experience — client work and what have you. Either way, make sure that you thoroughly explain your role, projects, and how they have prepared you for your post-MBA role.

You may also need to adjust your score based on demographic factors, that is, the large applicants’ pool combined with uniformity having Engineering as professional background. Experts suggest adjusting your score down by about 20 points. Thus, for applying to a school with a 690 average, you will need to score 710 to get a good chance at acceptance.

Take a look at the below to know the average GMAT score requirements of the top B-schools:

B-School Average GMAT Score 2018
University of Chicago – Booth School of Business  730
Kellogg School of Management  732
Harvard Business School 730
University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School 732
Stanford University – Graduate School of Business  737
UCLA – UCLA Anderson School of Management 715
University of Virginia – Darden School of Business 713
Columbia Business School 725
London Business School 708
IE Business School 685
SDA Boconni 665
IESE Business School 681
Esade Business School 665
ESMT Berlin 638

However, good GMAT scores are only part of the process. Just because you have high scores it does not ensure you a seat in any of these B-schools. The schools take into consideration several other factors including educational and industry background. Thus even with a GMAT score of 770, if you lack work experience with a reputed company or have graduated from a relatively unknown university, you may not make it. On the other hand, with work experience in a well-known consulting firm or bank and an IIT degree or equivalent, schools may offer you a place, even if you have somewhat lower scores.

Bottom Line

Remember, that MBA is a means to an end. So, when you are trying to get into an MBA program that selects the best of the best you need to know why you want it and how it will help you. A very common question asked during the application process is why you have selected a particular program. And in such a case an understanding of your long-term and short-term goals is necessary.

The application questions are the perfect way to make your applications stand out. They give you an opportunity to portray your strengths. So, retrospect, create the best one possible, and you will stand out!

In this video below an IT male applicant from India who cracked top B-schools shares his experience, so make sure to watch it!

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