Bachelor’s of Management studies is a Mumbai university course otherwise known as BBA (Bach. Of Business Administration) across India. Read more on the course content here.
In India, very few students are prudent enough to have a fall back career – or a field of study which they could take when their chosen field is out of reach. I was in that place just over 8 years ago. In the 12th std., I wanted to do something in Medicine, but my scores in the entrance tests (MH CET at the time) were low and those in Biology were not overly impressive. I decided to take an alternative course that was separate from Science because science had already dimaag-ka-dahi-ed my brain.
I was drawn to BMS because of it’s glamour at the time. Reading material on the web I saw that it was a sought-after course for Commerce undergrads. People were giving first preference to BMS and then to BCom/BAF. There was an entrance test too to add to the exclusivity which basically meant the course was hard to get. In my mind, I automatically, and rather foolishly, ascertained that this was a premium course. The course was supposed to have a lot of presentations and was to be the pre-MBA kind of course. Having lost out to engineering and Medicine, I thought eventually getting an MBA would be good for me and here was a course which would make it easier. Also, I loved giving presentations and had a knack for public speaking.
I wouldn’t have gotten in to BMS if it was not for the Mumbai University to scrap entrance tests in 2008 – because of low demand – a fact that in retrospect I should have thought over.
I graduated in 2010. By God’s grace I had much fun in the course over three years. It was a cakewalk for me personally. It is very important to have decent classmates. They make all the assignments and group work easier. Thereafter some of us got jobs ourselves while others were recruited on campus.
That’s where we learnt some hard truths about BMS.
- BMS had and still has no status in the Job market. We were shocked when we realized that contrary to being laid out the welcome mat after clearing BMS, corporates rather undervalued BMS/BBA students compared to specialists in the respective fields. E.g. Banks wouldn’t prefer us over BCom. The course which was supposed to be better than BCom, sought after by so many Commerce students apparently wasn’t the choice of recruitment for a lot of recruiters. BMM students were preferred for marketing/advt. jobs over BMS. BA Psychology students were preferred for HR over BMS students. There was no specific BMS/BBA only jobs in the job market.
- We were the ‘Jacks of all trades’. It didn’t take us long to realize that we had done a wide spectrum of studies over 3 years. Finance, Marketing, Human resource, Programming, Accounting, Logistics etc. were the subjects we had covered. Each semester was 4-5 months long and there were 6 subjects a Sem and 2 semesters a year. That’s a total of 36 subjects over three years. Given the time, it wasn’t possible to go in-depth to each of the subjects. As such, a BCom student would be better able to keep a business’ books compared to BMS. BMM students had more exposure to films/ads videos and marketing overall – than a BMS student. We had mastery over no field.
- MBA, A Mile wide & Foot-deep course. As mentioned earlier, some of us, including me, wanted to do an MBA after BMS. Tying in with the Jack of all trades point, A BMS course is already a wide course covering certain subjects at the surface. An MBA is supposed to do the same although the level of a masters, is more detailed than a graduate level course, it still covers a wide spectrum of subjects. In mathematical terms this means it is ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’ raised to the power of 2.
- No Ease of doing an MBA. Let me tell you something, the MBA portion overlaps with BMS but it does not do anything to make it easier. Take the Human Resource subject. You’d cover basic concepts like Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, Organizational Structure & Behavior etc. These are concepts whose “Knowledge is already common, but so that they can earn a PhD., some people have written books about” as one of my professors put it. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a concept every one already knows practically – that food clothing shelter and dignity are required by humans in some order. MBAs still do the basic concepts AGAIN, and you’ll have Maslow’s mentioned along with some other theories in an MBA. So it doesn’t matter whether you ‘remember’ the concepts from BMS/BBA, they’ll make you do it once more in detail. Given that MBAs are case study driven, the knowledge gleaned from BMS may not give you an edge in the deeper curriculum in the MBA.
- Changing Supply/Demand curve of an MBA. The market is saturated with MBAs as a result the value has dropped. Packages being offered on completing an MBA are much lesser almost on par with some graduate courses unless done from a Tier 1 or Tier 2 colleges. And jobs after an MBA are supposed to be the main USP of doing an MBA. As such, from the last three points, the viability of an MBA after BMS/BBA is much lower now in my opinion.
- No Entrepreneurial insight or Startup Training – One would think a course like BMS would stimulate creativity like Harvard did to the likes of Zuckerberg and Gates. No such epiphanies occur. In our course, there was only one subject for a semester called Entrepreneurship. It was more like what entrepreneurs should do, than a course which taught students to ideate. A shout out for one of my professor’s from St. Andrew’s – Mrs. Jenny Mathews. She went beyond the course material and actually forced us to come up with a ‘new business’ idea as part of our internals. We felt like were on the ‘Shark Tank’ show. We loved every bit of it. It would have been nice if BMS curriculum had more such activities and subjects especially since startups are so much in abundance now.
- Soft skills are not intentionally sharpened – The universities require presentations to be done as part of internals. Please note that however, the university has not outlined the requirements for a presentation neither is there any subject in BMS to help students understand the basics of a good presentation. This is obvious from the fact that students make PowerPoints with text splattered all over the slide on a white background and end up reading from a paper. While some students do get better over time, a lot of them don’t. It would be helpful to have a course that deals with soft skills and how to present (posture, appearance) in the curriculum. FYI, one of the subjects Business Communication doesn’t cover presentations.
- Other issues with BMS –
- Most colleges do not have dedicated BMS staff who are there entirely for BMS. It’s usually borrowed staff from other departments and visiting faculty resulting in a lack of coherence in teaching.
- Choosing your college matters. Not only for teaching but also for placements. Colleges like St. Xavier’s are known to have good placements in some renowned corporates and for good jobs. It’s not the name of the corporate that matters, it’s the kind of jobs.
- Fees are relatively higher for BMS since it is a ‘self funded course’. And judging by the fact that corporates value other courses over BMS, it’s not a valuable investment.
- The group work, if you don’t have a good team, is a royal pain. Each subject per sem has minimum 3 internal assignments. That’s 18 assignments per semester! That’s high people. To add to the melee, some professors love mixing up the groups for each subject. So that can sometimes mean having to be part of 6 separate groups per semester turning in a group project/presentation.
A word in favor of the course.
I will say for all it’s shortcomings, that BMS does make you a better multi-tasker or task-switcher as they call it nowadays. It also does a lot to sharpen your soft skills because of the number of times you have to do presentations and pubic speaking. On campus, BMS is considered to be more ‘posh’ than your average Bachelor degree so there is that kind of status you have on campus. Being from a science background, it did allow me to move seamlessly into commerce without much trouble. It has my respect in that regard.
Are you doing BMS currently?
My condolences with you but don’t lose heart. If someone does end up wanting to do BMS or is in the process of completing BMS, I would recommend you to do another course simultaneously. For finance I would recommend CA/CFA/CPA/ACCA. If you are tech savvy, and since startup jobs are in demand, either to work for a startup or to create your own app/site, you need to know coding. Try doing a coding course simultaneously from somewhere for Android/iOS. Big Data jobs are also on the rise, so learning Python, Ruby, Hadoop etc. may come in handy in the years to come. From a marketing and advertisement or films standpoint, stay in close touch with your colleagues in BMM and attend every major film festival – make every attempt to make movies using your phone cameras. Movie making is an amazing talent which everyone can learn. If you’re planning something in HR, do something offbeat – like create a fictitious company, call people for interviews, give them offer letters and all.. and then call them up later and tell them they’re fired.. Donald Trump Apprentice style. Sorry I couldn’t think of anything else 🙂
You will need to ascertain which specific field you want to do ultimately and learn more about that through a side course. In case e.g. you want to build your accounting concepts, pick up the CA-CPT entrance book which has more than required level of Accounts knowledge you need and solve it over the summer. Stuff like that. Your career is in your hands. Do the best with what you have.
BMS and BBA are courses that will not skill you enough by the end of 3 years. Alas, by then you should either be able to run your own business or help someone else run theirs. But because of lack of specialisation, the course helps you do neither of them. Find a course that can make you skilled like an expert worth hiring. Like the saying from 3 Idiots goes, “Kaabil Bano, bachoo, kabil. Kamyabi jhak marke peeche aayegi”.
Do you have any other questions about BMS you would like answered? Please don’t forget to share this with your friends.