The ICFAI tryst
11 years have passed since I passed out from the PGDBA course from ICFAI, Hyderabad. Looking back today, I wanted to write as objectively as possible about my experience and my opinion of the PGDBA course.
The college was one building with the two batches crammed into it. There wasn’t anything to speak off regarding infrastructure. The building was centrally air conditioned but was severely tested when the class was full with 72 students. The computer lab too was small with a few machines. Nothing great to boast of.
I’d say fairly exorbitant. I was lucky to have paid only about a lakh for the two years combined for tuition fees. This naturally does not include the cost of boarding and lodging in the city. Since the colleges was located in prime area, most of us had to look for accommodation in and around which was expensive too. I believe the tuition fees in 2009 is somewhere around 9 lakhs which according to me is very, very expensive. Below in this post is explained why I feel it is too expensive.
No bones about this. The curriculum is one of the best. Great detail was paid to the finance specialization and a huge gamut was covered with importance given to case studies. The pressure was kept on us all the time and we had to study hard to stay above water.
Just like most other Tier II colleges, the faculty is a mix. There were some outstanding professors and some average ones which is an acceptable mix. The level of expression varied but most of the onus is on the student which is the way it should be. An MBA degree is more a reflection of the ability of the person to handle pressure and find solutions to problems utilizing all the skills available to him/her. In this respect, any hardworking individual thinking out of the box is capable of carving a niche in a career. The faculty of the institute plays a role in encouraging and bringing out the best in each student through self realization. The faculty at ICFAI is as capable or as incapable as one may deem after comparing to any other management institution.
Since most of the branches of ICFAI are located in prime cities or metros, the placement will be reasonable for a Tier II college. Most industries especially the service oriented industry operate out of major cities and the proximity to these industries makes campus recruitments a bit easier for corporate HR. However, through the process of natural selection, the grade of the students is decided by HR when they compare the selected percentage of students from the numbers who have taken the test. For example, CAT or IIT attracts the maximum number of eligible candidates taking the exams. This naturally means that the pass percentage is much tougher and the cream de la crème are accepted into the institutes for study.
ICFAI may not enjoy such a privilege. The numbers taking the exam are far lesser than CAT and the fees of 9 lakhs for an unrecognized course could be another point against.
Without going into too much math, we can assume that an education loan of 9 lakhs plus interest of perhaps 10% would mean a net outflow of well above 10 lakhs. This means that the MBA grad has to, just has to, get a job that pays enough to service an education loan EMI of atleast Rs. 15,000 per month. This further translates into a job necessity that pays a gross salary of at least 3.5 lakhs per annum to take care of the EMI plus living expenses. By the time the education loan is paid, it could be years before the individual can think of buying other assets such as a car or a house.
The pressure starts right from the day the last exam has been written. The sheer number of students passing out of the ICFAI MBA course each year is so high that they have to compete with other institutes for the same available jobs and may not have the risk appetite to start small as the loan burden is already sitting on their shoulders.
When I tried immigrating to New Zealand and the UK in 2001, I discovered that my ICFAI PGDBA degree was equivalent to toilet paper. The institute was NOT recognized and I had no points awarded for my PGDBA academics. My better half had secured more points than me inspite of not being an MBA and so we had to apply with her as the principal applicant and with myself as the accompanying spouse. I’m not sure if the scene has changed now but from what I know, ICFAI has no AICTE recognition. This means the degree will still not fetch any points during the immigration eligibility process.
This post is my opinion and my opinion alone. With the passage of time, the circumstances could change rendering my points irrelevant. But at this point of time, I feel that the job prospects for an ICFAI MBA after dolling out such high fees is not worth the risk. It is always better to secure a job after graduation and then apply for an MBA from a Tier I college as this will at the very least enrich your CV for life.
An MBA is more about preparing a person for a management role or atleast infuse a level of professionalism. Most of the times, the student has this capability within already through life's experiences. An MBA just bring this latent ability to the surface for prospective employers to see. The ICFAI course just achieves this. Nothing more.