Why interning at a startup would be a bad idea for bschool grads

Why interning at a startup would be a bad idea for bschool grads

Just read this (http://www.pluggd.in/why-interning-with-startups-should-be-made-compulsory-at-b-schools-297/) at pluggd.in where the author, Bhavya Sahani, tries to make a case for the idea of b-school grads interning at startups.

 

The author basically says that interning at a startup would help a relatively inexperienced student discover his/her core strength instead of going for the popular choice. He of the opinion that the more experienced students at a bschool (and most Indian bschools have relatively inexperienced students. I myself have no work experience) would have a better idea of their strengths and tend to not follow the herd when making career decisions while the inexperienced ones never get to figure out their core competency. While I agree that experienced students do show more maturity in making career decisions, it is not uncommon for an IT guy ending up with a job in a pure marketing role at an FMCG firm. It is also possible that the experienced students are so accustomed to their prior field that they there is an inertia against trying something new (though admittedly I haven’t seen that happening with students in my batch).

MBA (more so General Management which is what is offered by the IIMs), is one of those occasions in one’s career where one can make a drastic move, and rediscover one’s core competencies. Just because you joined an IT or energy firm right after engineering, where choices are limited, does not mean you have to necessarily stick with it. Besides, even after 3-4 years of work ex after undergrad one hardly gets to experience a broad spectrum of roles to be able to make a proper choice about one’s core competencies. One works within a relatively rigid set of parameters on a very specific role, hardly gets to interact with client much less drive client engagement. But the first year of MBA helps one discover what they like – I thought I could not like anything other than Operations but my favourite subjects have been those in Economics and Marketing while others who thought they would not be able to stand anything other than Finance were happy to take up Consulting or General Management(well to be frank the lack luster hiring by I-banks do have a role to play here).

So why can’t a startup internship help one figure out their core competency? Simply put, an 2 month internship just wont be enough. Startups are too chaotic and unstructured for one to figure things out fast. Continue reading

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Why I don’t want to pursue MS/PhD?

Its the time of the year when the final year students are about to leave. Just a few days more and I will never again meet some really impressive seniors, people who have left a definite impact on my life. Sad, while I am to see them go, I am also envious of them.Many of them have got admissions into some of the finest Universities abroad and will be pursuing research in various fields of computing, like AI, Natural Language Processing, Information Security, Parallel Systems, Distributed Systems to name a few. These are things I am crazy about. There is just so much to learn and explore in computing. I have just touched only a tip of the ice-berg in my three years of undergraduate studies. 

 

Lets say Linux. I really don’t much about Linux internals, kernel hacking.But  its my dream to contribute some kernel patch some day. Also Parallel Computing and distributed computing are such exciting topics. So it seems natural that I should pursue a career in research like my seniors. But alas, I dont wanna do that. I am preparing for an MBA and wanna go to a B-school. Given below are some of the reasons why I wanna do that

 

1. I am worried that I will never be able to complete a decent PhD thesis. I mean I don’t know what new I am gonna write about. I really never have some huge revolutionary idea that I can convert into a thesis. Its not that I don’t have ideas.Most of the time I am able to think out of the box on certain things(related to computing) but a research idea is not one of them. I can’t think like…say Sunayana. Sometimes, it appears that everything that had to be discovered and invented has already been invented. In fact I had this worry since childhood (I wanted to be scientist since I was a kid). I used to grumble about the same with my parents. 🙂

2. Somehow it appears that the life of a researcher is slow and laid back. Yes they do cool stuff but its not all that fast paced. But I like to live at breakneck speed and live a risky life which border around a mental breakdown . That way MBA is better. You get to have a 16 -18 hour work day and are responsible for billions of dollars and your decision have profound effect. There is risk and fast pace (with no time to rest) in such a career. So I am worried that I may get bored of the life of a researcher.

3. I probably dont have that kind of patience to work on something for years. However, this is disputable as I have shown evidence to the contrary.

4. My research will be at the mercy of some Management guy(bean counter) who does not have a clue about research. That I dont like.

5. Which decent University admission panel in its right mind would allow someone with my CPGA into a MS/PhD program? Compared to that, in CAT they mainly look at your CAT score.

So I sum up my reasons. I may be wrong in the above assumptions. But then this is MY opinion.

GMAT or GRE?

GMAT or GRE? This question has been haunting me for a long time…for may be the last 6 months. These are two different degrees, poles apart. And I am having a tough time deciding which one is for me. Yes, I like managing things, getting things done. I would like to see myself selling a product, convincing people that my product is the best, taking business decisions. Then GMAT is the way to go. However, instead of selling the product and trying to convince people that my product is best, I would rather like to create a path-breaking product for which you wont even need to convince people. If given an option between creating a software and selling it, I would like to create it.
However, an MBA is a faster route to lots of money. Moreover, it would give me the know-how required to manage a business, and I surely wish to start my own business some time in future. In that way, MBA is fine for me.
But I love programming and there is so much more to learn about computers. I like to know about Operating Sytems, Parallel Computing, AI,RDBMS design(not MySQL,oracle but the internals), newer and cooler algorithms,Compiler design, GNU/Linux and lot many other things.I cannot learn all these properly in my four years of bachelors degree. To learn all these in-depth would take me a decade. However, a MS and then a PhD would at least let me know one of these topics in-depth and will all allow me to learn more about some other topics; more than I can possibly learn during my bachelor’s degree. Also B.Tech is more about cramming things whereas Masters and PhD are about learning. And I am tired of cramming. And it would be very painful to kill my desire for learning new technologies for a MBA degree.

As far as money is concerned, both would give me sufficient amount of money. There is hardly any difference between earning $120,000 a month or $110,000 . And if I get a PhD, I might become the research head of a company. Moreover, no job can give me the amount of money I want. I want to be filthy rich. And that is possible only if I set up my own company. I can always learn the required management procedures right on the job. Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs never attended B-schools.

So I believe its GRE for me. Will prepare for GRE for the next two years.If I succeed, it would be great.If not, I will always have a job to fall back on. And I can then prepare for CAT or GMAT while working. Its a no loss proposition. Now lets see what happens.