My recent interactions with the aspirants of next year’s PGPX batch prompted me to share some thoughts about the PGPX program. I recall my conversation with one of the candidates who asked me whether the PGPX programme is worth pursuing. I euphorically said “Of course, Yes!”. As the conversation progressed some of his questions were starting to get really tough for me to answer (well, not as tough as corporate finance exam!!). His questions such as “Is PGPX worth the time and the money given its opportunity cost? Will this investment payoff?” had me thinking! There is absolutely no doubt about the richness of the programme, but I was struggling to align this richness with the return on the financial investment. I have learnt about calculation of ROI, NPV etc. but how in the world do I gauge future cash flows. At instances such as these, I wish life was rather simple where we could calculate ROI on learning. I simply followed strategy of one of our professors (of evading tricky questions!) and told the candidate: “It depends!!”
Well after the conversation was over, the questions never left my mind and I began reflecting back on the past six months of my life here at IIMA. (Something that you don’t really get time to do otherwise – Thanks to the rigour of the course!). This article is my two cents about so called “worth” of the PGPX programme.
Firstly, about the course itself – It is a well thought-out and designed course and it teaches you a lot through the Case based approach. The discussion among members of the syndicate as well as those in the class are valuable and provide varied perspectives. Syndicates, comprising of smaller groups of students from varied professional and educational background, are formed by the college are responsible for working together for the duration of the course, Discussions go beyond the classroom, often spilling over to dining tables and seminars, which reflect the passion of the participants to make the most of this enriching experience. It also teaches how to optimally manage and make the most of 24 hours in a day and it is quite amazing that as time progresses, one learns to find time for extra-curricular activities despite a relatively higher academic pressure, an aspect which is practically unimaginable at the beginning of the programme. If I were to sum up, this course makes you realise your potential and enriches your knowledge.
Now comes the tougher part. What is the financial worth of the course or the knowledge? Add to it the complexity of opportunity cost? How does one calculate the value of the opportunity and of the network this course is providing? More importantly what cost do I take for personal sacrifices? How do I arrive at the possible market value? These are just a few questions that make it way too complicated to value such a course purely through financial measures. Won’t you agree? Can a financial value be put to the experience and the knowledge one gains here. We all see the liabilities but do we also see the asset of a robust knowledge base we have built?
I am not really blaming the aspirant to ask such a question. Most of us come to this course with a lot of baggage. Apart from financial aspect, there are sacrifices at personal level also. One has to think through the pros and cons before joining the course. Basing it on purely short-term financial measures would present a very myopic view of things. The course teaches you a lot and provides a lot of opportunities and like all other opportunities in life, it is upto an individual to make most of it.
It is naïve to think of immediate short term financial gains while evaluating this course. In my opinion, if you take a long-term perspective, then this course is worth every penny and moment you spend here. Most of us have already started feeling bad that this wonderful journey is going to be over in next 5 months.
– Pravin Gandhi (PGPX VII)