• Simran Somani

What an MBA from IIM-C after CA looks like!

We started the CA+MBA series on the blog to ask the right questions from the right people. We reach out to CAs from top B-schools and bring their insights straight to your mailbox!

The long hustle of writing the CAT to getting a call, preparing for the GDPI and finally making it to the college of your dreams is a wild wild ride. But what happens after?

What rewards await you in your 2-year B-school journey that make all this hard-work seem “worth it”?

We reached out to Aashish Jhunjhunwala, a pass-out from the outgoing batch of IIM Calcutta (2018-2020) who has been kind enough to answer some of these questions for us!

To give you some background, Aashish is a CA, CS, an FRM and CFA charter holder, an Institute Ranker at IIM-C and is also an incoming Senior Associate at BCG!

Now I won’t try to cover all of what Aashish has accomplished here (we would probably need another post for that!). So head over to his LinkedIn to know more! You’ll find a link at the end of this post.

PS! - If you are a Chartered Accountant, Lawyer, Economics or Commerce graduate who wants to make it to the B-School of your dreams, don't forget to subscribe to The Unconventional MBA!

Without digressing further, let’s just jump into it!

1. How did a CA + MBA add value to your profile?

An MBA from IIM Calcutta after CA has added value to my profile mainly in three ways.

Firstly, I learnt a lot at IIM-C and gained certain skill sets required in both my personal life and the professional sphere. Since CA is a distance-learning course, the opportunities for personality growth and development that happen due to classroom learning, presentations and campus life are somewhat missing. These are exact factors that make an MBA so alluring!

Secondly, there are a lot of attractive job opportunities available post an MBA which are generally not available to a CA or are difficult to land with just a CA qualification.

Thirdly, the network and the friends you make during your college days, and the alumni network of your college really play a very important role in the long run.

Always remember, 10 years down the line, Your Network Is Your Net Worth.

2. What should CAs do before starting their B school journey – Both CAT takers and Incoming PGPs?

For the CAT takers, I am sure there is abundant guidance available on how to crack the CAT with great percentiles.

What I would like to highlight is that you should be prepared to devote a decent amount of time on the interview preparation front as well. This is one area where a majority of the CAs do not have much prior experience.

You’ll realise that B-school interviews are quite different from the usual CA job interviews we are used to and thus, this becomes a focus point.

For the Incoming PGPs, do revise your high school mathematics! It helps in a better understanding of subjects like Statistics, which you will invariably end up studying for at college.

3. How many CAs is the general intake at IIM-C?

At IIM-C, the 2018-2020 batch (my batch!) had 6 qualified Chartered Accountants including both freshers and people with work experience.

Mind you, IIMC has the fewest CAs amongst the holy trinity. Both IIM-A and B have way more Chartered Accountants in their batches.

For the ones with work experience, their pre-MBA profiles varied across Investment Banking, Corporate Finance & Audit. One of them was even successfully running her CA firm before joining IIM Calcutta!

CAs at IIM-C went on to get placed in either consulting roles with consulting firms or with bulge bracket investment banks.

4. How do CAs fare at college? What we should work on compared to our engineering peers?

CAs fare quite well at IIM Calcutta. In fact, 3 of the 6 Chartered Accountants have their names featured in the merit list (Top 20 students) as well! (I was lucky enough to be a part of this list.)

5. Is it true that IIM-C is a very finance heavy college and that mathematics in the coursework is much more than that at IIM-A or B?

Not true in the present day scenario!

This used to be the case 5 years ago when IIM-C had 3 full mathematics and statistics courses in the first year. Currently, we just have one compulsory statistics course in the first year.

Also, IIM Calcutta lives to its name of being the finance campus of India and offers a wide variety of finance courses in the second year, a majority of which are conducted in the Finance lab with the Bloomberg.

6. The one piece of advice you would give to the pre-MBA you?

The one piece of advice I would give to the pre-MBA me would be to spend some more time playing sports and engaging in various extra-curricular and co-curricular activities

I feel they play a very important role in the overall personality development and help you stand out during the interview stage as well as in college.

7. How did you decide if an MBA would be “worth it” in terms of RoI?

Before deciding on an MBA, I was really unsure of whether leaving a well-paying job and going to a B-school for a couple of years would make much economic sense.

I had even tried modelling the various monetary factors like current pay, bonus, promotion, increment, college fees, opportunity cost and the expected pay-package post MBA!

However, a single piece of advice gave me all the clarity I needed - five years down the line, the money involved wouldn’t really matter as much as the lifetime of regret I’d have if I didn’t take the risk of leaving my job and pursuing an MBA.

Now that I am successfully placed with a top-tier consulting firm and after the experiences and opportunities that I had in the 2 years of IIM-C life, I feel that this was a wise decision and the best investment of my life.

8. Any electives at IIM-C that should not be missed?

According to me, Management through Films and PEVC (Private Equity & Venture Capital) are the two electives, which should not be missed at any cost.

For the PEVC course, we had Mr Vishal Gupta (Partner & MD of Bessemer Venture Partners) as the visiting faculty and it was a lifetime experience to attend his classes. He was full of passion for venture capital and investments made by his venture capital firm.

Also, we had senior leadership from firms like TrueNorth & Trifecta Venture Debt for a few lectures.

Management through films taught us how management plays a very important role in our lives and is not limited to the workplace. We used to be shown films during the lectures which were followed by discussions on the various management skills/learnings displayed in the film.

9. What would you say is the value-add of a semester abroad?

I was fortunate enough to be selected to go to the University of Cologne, Germany under the dual-degree CEMS MIM programme.

Apart from studying at a foreign college, you also end up making lots of friends from around the globe and experiencing a bunch of different cultures. During the semester abroad, I also had the fortune of travelling across countries and building fond memories, which I believe is an invaluable respite from the hectic life at B-schools.

10. Any final piece of advice you’d like to leave with our readers?

As you enter B-school, focusing on getting good placements or achieving top grades would understandably be your utmost priority.

But at the same time, one must not miss out on other learning opportunities, making friends and spending those two years in such a way that you can look back on it with great joy.

It’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them – just go with the flow!

In moments of doubt, just remind yourself, if you have come this far you will definitely succeed later in life too.

Aashish Jhunjhunwala

To stay in the loop for more tips, tricks & experiences from amazing people like Aashish, subscribe to this blog!

Want to know what an MBA from IIM-B after CA looks like? Check it out here.

Interested in learning about how to approach the CAT? Check out our Strategise the CAT series here!

For more CA tailored content, check out:

A Chartered Accountant's honest IIM-A Interview experience (It's mine!)

Ten “Must-Knows” for the MBA Aspiring Chartered Accountant

Aayushi Mehta & IIM-A : The interview

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