12 Feb 2021 17:23 IST

After engineering, MS or MBA?

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I am currently in my third year studying computer science engineering. I hope to eventually build my own start-up. I am taking the GRE next month, and confident that I will do well. I'm wondering whether I should continue studying computer science, explore my interests till I find one, specialise, and then get a Master's degree abroad, or get an MBA given that I plan to run my own start-up in the future. I'm in a fix because I strongly believe good technical knowledge is necessary, but I also need to acquire the skills that an MBA will provide.

Should I do an MBA or should I continue my technical education? If I do an MBA now, I fear I can’t do a technical course later, given the break it would cause. Please guide me on this. - Kailash

Here are two ways to approach.

First,

  1. Complete your basic engineering degree.
  2. Next, take your GRE and go for a postgraduation to the US. It will give you cross-cultural exposure, and a different set of ideas.
  3. Getting a sound start-up idea is indefinite, and the chance to get one will improve with experience and exposure.
  4. It may be a good idea to also work for a couple of years after postgraduation in the US, preferably in California, where a lot of these entrepreneurial ideas get incubated.
  5. Think of an MBA only after at least two years of work experience. India or the US, wherever you intend to launch a start-up.
  6. If you get the spark of an idea during, you should complete whatever you're pursuing then, and dive deeper into your start-up plan.
  7. Then, jump right into it.

Another point of view, two postgraduate degrees is an overkill. Get over two years of work experience after your undergraduate degree. During that course of time, you will probably achieve clarity. If there is a start-up idea, great. If not, choose between a postgraduate degree in computer science or business, ideally in the US, if you can afford it. Why? Opens you up to an international career opportunities with a base in the country of your choice.

(Answers by  Sanjiv Kumar and Bharat K, IIM Ahmedabad alumni.)