IIT + IIM = Idiot

Posted on February 11, 2012


I might have offended quite a few folks here, but my feeling is, this is true. IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) and IIM (Indian Institute of Management) are our premier educational institutions for Engineering and Management degrees and obviously getting a degree from both institutions should be superlative achievement right? Academically yes, it is brilliant achievement, but professionally it is a disaster.

Let me backtrack and clarify the equation IIT + IIM = Idiot. It holds true for students who straight after their IIT graduation or engineering degree completion move for pursuing MBA. This they do for obviously

1) Lack of great job prospects. The creamy layer takes the best ones in campus placements
2) Follow the trend of seniors or peer pressure
3) Parental pressure
4) Greed for higher salary
5) They feel in the already set motion of slogging and studying they might be able to take the momentum ahead for the next two years, but coming after a break might slow them down a bit.

It would be still OK if engineering grads choose the field of specialization in MBA which is somewhat connected to their engineering background. They would help add value to it, like supply chain management, telecom management etc. But the horror is,  choosing finance or accounting and going for jobs in investment banking and auditing.  I don’t understand that a bit. Students abandoning their far greater technical skills for market speculation and sugar-talking is a big loss to the nation itself as much as it is to themselves.

There is absolutely no doubt that getting into an IIT is an achievement that will be recognized anywhere in the world. The effort put into the entrance examinations is one of the toughest. And to survive and graduate through the grueling course/peer pressure is another astounding accomplishment. But all the efforts are shoved down the drain as soon as you pick up a post-graduate field which has absolutely no connection to what you have learned until now. And bluntly speaking the student has wasted a seat in the highly competitive Indian education market for a more deserving candidate who might have an inclination on the technical side

Getting into IIMs is another story where students go through another heartbreaking adventure of entrance examinations, interview, group discussions. But worldwide I have seen premier management institutes put down a strict pre-requisite of minimum 3 years experience for admission and IIMs should also follow that too. Trust me, a professional with a 3 year experience is able to learn and understand and benefit more from the course than a fresh engineering graduate.He/she is able to relate his/her experience, ideas of industry, professional working environments . Obviously a professional might take a slightly longer time to warm up to the studying world as he has been out of touch for a while.

I feel it should be mandatory for IIT or basically any engineering grad to work for a few years before plunging into the management world because that way you are able to do justice to both the courses and learn a lot more.

My experience is slightly different . I finished my engineering in Electronics and Telecommunications. I hated telecommunications but I ended up getting a job in that domain. After two years I realized I loved this domain and hence went for my further studies (Masters in Science) in US for Wireless communications and today I am in one of the foremost wireless companies enjoying my job. Had I not worked after my engineering graduation I would have never realized what I liked.

Parental and peer pressure sometimes contribute a lot to this where parents or the students themselves feel a double degree and a 8 digit salary package is all that is required.

PS: I started realizing this when working but a major realization happened when I watched the movie “3 idiots” a couple of years ago, when  Amir Khan describes a character in “3 Idiots” clueless because he did his engineering then did an MBA and ended up working in a bank. If he wanted to work in a bank then he shouldn’t have done engineering at all. And I felt it was very very true.

IIT + IIM = Idiot

Posted in: Opinions