by Reshma Krishnan
One of the most common questions we get asked by MBA students is, ‘Why should I do this course? I have learnt everything I need to in my MBA.’ This is when I tell them about Amal Kothari. Amal did his MBA at Kellogg Business School, currently ranked number three in America and the best part time MBA school in the world. Yet, he still came to us to learn how to model. But he went to Kellogg you say! Why did he need a short-term course in Financial Modelling?. Because they don’t teach you how to do something at MBA school. They teach you the theory and cases where you apply the theory, but they expect you to solve most of the problems by yourself. So if you’re doing something like Financial Analysis or Corporate Strategy, they expect you to learn how to model out a problem and support your analysis. But they don’t teach you HOW to do it. Why? Because there is no time. An MBA, as it’s name suggests is a general study in administration. While they do let you specialize in something and some schools have focus areas they are known for, like Wharton for Finance and Kellogg for Marketing, the first half of your study is a general introduction to Economics, Accounting, Marketing, Business, Corporate Finance, logistics and Strategy. The second half is specialization, where you hone your understanding and get a deeper understanding of your subject. So why does a short course after help? Here are some reasons-
• Curriculum focused on concepts not skills – if you check every elective or course list of an MBA school, you will see Corporate Finance and Portfolio Management. You will not see Financial Modelling or Excel for Financial modeling. Why? Because Financial Modelling is a skill set they either expect you to have, or develop when you do the assignments. No one in MBA school is going to teach you how to use V look up or create spinners in a model. That’s because.
• Time: For most part each one lecture is devoted to a concept like Time Value of money or Relative Valuation. In fact, it’s not even as specific as that. I don’t even recall studying valuation the way I teach it at our FMVC course because again, MBA’s are not specific. They are general and focus on conceptual understanding and applying concepts to real life. They focus on analysis, not on skill building, because there is no time.
• Hand holding- Short Term courses, while short are intense in that they focus on specific skills. For instance, in MBA school you will spend half an hour on Forecasting. In a short term course, you will spend 5 hours learning how to forecast, then be shown how to do it in an excel document, and then have someone supervise you As you do it. This ensures learning and makes you attractive in the job market.
MBA’s and Short Term courses are not mutually exclusive. In fact, if anything, they work well together. The first ensures you have a broad knowledge of everything related to business administration while the latter ensures you have a thorough understanding of your specialization, be it SAS or Financial Modelling. Both add value to the resume and the combination makes you stand out from the crowd because the short term course makes you Job Ready.