The recent announcement by ISB Hyderabad about starting a fellow programme in management has made quite a few heads turn about a career in management research. These heads turned not because of the new programme, but a whopping 7 Lakhs per anum stipend given by ISB Hyderabad. Sitting here doing a fellow programme in marketing from IIM Lucknow at one third the stipend did make me jealous, but the career opportunities after doing a fellow programme are something to drool about. You might say that my view of the fellow programme may be biased because I am fellow programme student, but then you are free to think that way. The first and foremost plus points about a career after doctoral programme is that it gives you security. Any day, you can become a faculty at a reputed institute (provided you are competent). This is a big plus if you are joining an MBA programme to get into entrepreneurship and looking to take risks. New ventures fail and some statistics say that only 5% of the ventures survive first two years of inception and another 1% survive the first five. Let me remind you that if you want a regular job of a manager after a short span, a fellow programme is not meant for you. But if you are an explorer, you like to read and have zeal to get into an unchartered territory maybe you were born for this programme (a bit exaggerated). The not so happy part about a PhD is that it can extend, but the chances of you doing things on time are pretty high in an IIM setup. After you are through with your course work and research and open to the job market, rest assured you can command a premium because your knowledge (at least theoretical) is far higher than those MBAs who had fun in two years and got into an organization because of the brand value. Although it is a test of patience, the rewards of this programme are unlimited opportunities and flexibility of career choice, with a lock-in period of four years. Looking at fellows from a demand-supply point of view, the number of IIMs is increasing and so is the herd that comes out these hallowed institutions. The competition is far higher than you can imagine. The number of fellows passing out each year is far less and they are available at the same cost, if not higher in the job market. Moreover looking from the point of view of a career in academic, the chances that you will be absorbed in an IIM are quite high.
So if you are looking to build up your patience for a rewarding career, maybe you should give fellow programmes a try.
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