IITian Mihik Agrawal has a profile to get into the top IIMs or ISB. He graduated from IIT Delhi in 2019 with a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering, and then worked at Genpact for more than two years in a Marketing Analytics role for a Fortune 500 MNC. Then, Mihik cracked CAT in 2021 with a 99.21%ile. No wonder he got interview calls from IIMs and FMS Delhi. But Mihik chucked all the conventional options to take a leap of faith. In summer of 2022 joined a disruptor – Masters’ Union (MU), a non-conventional Gurugram based B-schools, that offers a 16-month technology focussed 1-year MBA equivalent program called PGP in Technology & Business Management (PGP-TBM). When MBAUniverse.com asked Mihik why he took the plunge, he confidently said, “I had my eyes set on Masters’ Union from the beginning, as I wanted a contemporary and progressive business school experience.”
As MBAUniverse.com probed the 2023 batch profile of Masters’ Union, we found that Mihik wasn’t alone in leaving reputed legacy B-schools in India and abroad for Masters’ Union.
Take Amol Shrivastava, who graduated from BITS Pilani in 2018, and has almost 4 years of software development experience at HSBC. After deciding to go for an MBA to accelerate his career, Amol took GMAT in 2021 and scored a 720 -- a good score for ISB (class average is 713), and even the top US B-schools. Amol even had final admissions from UNC Kenan Flagler, Simon School of Business, UT-McCombs SoB and interview calls from Carnegie Mellon Tepper, Cornell Johnson, Michigan Ross - all top b-schools in the US. But he dropped them all for a desi start-up B-school – Masters’ Union. “3. When asked for key reasons for joining Masters’ Union, he said, “Master’s Union offers Tech focus, Learning from Industry leaders, Product Management placements, shorter length of the program, and many scholarships. I love the focus on technology across the curriculum.”
Another Master’s Union student is Pranay Raj. A BITS Pilani, Pranay was a scientist at ISRO, where he worked for almost 5 years at Vikram Sarabhai Space as a project lead for rocket material and at Satish Dhawan Space Centre as a rocket manufacturing lead. He scored a 321 in GRE exam (with a 170/170 in quant), which is good enough to land into top MBA programs in US or ISB where the cut off is about 310. Sharing his view, Pranay told MBAUniverse.com, “I love the focus on technology in everything we do. With the world moving towards increased automation and incorporation of tech into every aspect of our lives, I thought it better to equip myself for the change and to be future ready.” He added, “I believe in the experiential learning pedagogy at Masters’ Union. “Doing” a learning task provides 5 times the knowledge as compared to just “reading” the concept.”
And, it is not that just the engineers are attracted to MU as it offers a tech-focussed management program. There are many CAs and CFAs studying at Masters’ Union --- like ex-BCG CA Karishma Khandwawala, a B.Com from University of Mumbai or CA Ashish Batheja, who also did his BCom from University of Delhi and CA Ashish Mittal, who worked at Deloitte and KPMG before joining Masters’ Union.
So, what is driving some of the brightest MBA seekers to join Masters’ Union!
Sharing the value preposition, MU Founder Pratham Mittal said, “Masters’ Union was designed with the vision of becoming a world-class, technology focussed business school to create contemporary leaders in business and technology. We evolved from the need for a practitioner-led hands-on pedagogy focused on experiential learning in a rapidly evolving business landscape.” Drawing inspiration from medical education, he said, “We observed that in the Indian higher education ecosystem, medical schools witness doctors teaching students and in law school, one gets guidance from practicing lawyers. However, business schools are yet to see this immersion. This is the gap that Masters’ Union is aiming to address through our 16-month Post-Graduate Programme in Technology & Business Management, rooted in the ideals of innovation, practical rigour and focussed outcomes.”
Pratham studied at University of Pennsylvania and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and is a passionate entrepreneur having built a successful technology start-up in US during his college-days. He recently released MU Placement Report for the Cohort of 2022, where Average Salary (CTC) was ₹33.10 Lakhs, at par with Top B-schools in India. Tatas, Accenture, BCG and Bain were key recruiters.
Clearly, MU is attracting some of the best MBA aspirants, and offering strong student outcomes. So, who is the ideal candidate? What is the selection process? How does it attract and select the students who have a knack for technology? MBAUniverse.com digs deeper. Let’s get started!
Masters’ Union Cohort 2023 - Cohort Profile
In cold numbers, batch profile for Masters’ Union PGP TBM looks like this:
- Average GMAT: 718
- Students from Marquee Colleges (IITs/NITs/BITS/SRCC/LSR): 45%
- Students from Consulting Backgrounds (Big 4, ZS, Fractal, S&P, Everest, GS, etc): 45%
- Students with 90+ in 12th Std: 85%
- Students with 90+ in 10th Std: 81%
- Average Pre-MBA salary: INR 12.1 lakhs
- Average Work Experience: 3 years
Ideal Candidate for Masters’ Union: Six Qualities
Most B-schools have an ideal MBA candidate profile in terms of Exam scores, Work Experience and Extra-curriculars. Not so at Masters’ Union. When asked, who is the ideal candidate for at Masters’ Union, we received this non-conventional response of six qualities, which speak of a winner’s mindset:
1.They have made the best use of the opportunities available to them: “We understand that we all come from very different contexts and backgrounds, and hence, we all had different opportunities & resources growing up. What matters is whether you made the most use of what was provided to you. Just having attended a top university is not enough - did you leverage that opportunity to the fullest is what matters,” says Masters’ Union.
2.They are curious to learn new things: “If unanswered questions keep you up at night and if you feel the need to google any and every question, thought or idea that enters your mind; then you will be able to make good use of the information disseminated in a typical Masters’ Union classroom,” says Masters’ Union.
3.They are open to opposing viewpoints & new ideas: “If you’re up for a healthy debate and are ready to consider/accept others’ point of view, you will be able to evolve much faster as a human being. Further, if you do not get easily offended and are able to listen to contradictory opinions while holding your own, you will also be able to make the most of your Masters’ Union experience,” says Masters’ Union.
4.They are motivated to create impact: With our motto being to ‘learn business by running business’, Masters’ Union will throw a lot of challenges at you and you will need to be motivated to work on them and collaborate with your peers. You cannot be holding your peers back due to a lack of motivation. One who wishes to get something done, will not hold themselves or anyone else from getting there,” says Masters’ Union.
5.They are humble and open to being coached: “If you are aware of your gaps in knowledge and are ready to learn to fill them, you will be able to soak in more knowledge from your peers and masters. We believe that humility and an attitude of lifelong learning go a long way in building the individual who makes the most of our robust culture at Masters’ Union, says the B-school.
6.They exhibit strong leadership performance and potential: We know leadership manifests in different ways - entrepreneurial ventures, captaining sports teams or volunteer projects, etc. Masters’ Union is looking for students who are driven to tackle challenging problems and leave the world a better place. If you are someone For those aspiring to join us - we are looking for those with demonstrated leadership experiences in their career and learning journeys, says Masters’ Union.
Admission Process - Key Steps to Apply
Masters’ Union says it follows a “holistic, profile-based approach” that looks at all aspects of a candidate's profile.
The application process includes the following:
- Registration & Verification: Register & verify yourself on the admissions website
- Application Form Filling: After you register yourself, login to our application portal and get started with the application form. If you’ve not taken the CAT, GMAT or GRE examination, you can take their own entrance exam – MUBAAT.
- Shortlisting and Interview: All shortlisted candidates have to appear through the interview process.
- Final Shortlist: Post the interview process, the final shortlist is declared which is made on a combination of “academics, entrance exam scores, leadership experiences, performance in the interview and overall profile of the candidates.”
- Offer Acceptance: if you are shortlisted, you need to accept the offer and secure seat by paying a non-refundable admissions fee of INR 50,000.
- Pre-Program Engagement & Preparation: Once you are in, selected candidates are introduced to their peers, and immersed in social and academic activities to prepare them After knowing details of admission process, MBAUniverse.com had several queries, which we posed to Masters’ Union for their clarifications.
Is Work Experience Necessary for Masters’ Union Admission?
No, informs Masters’ Union. “While we feel that 2 to 4 years of work experience is ideal to derive value from a business school, there are no restrictions/limitations put on either freshers or individuals with larger work experience, when applying to our PG Programme in Technology & Business Management,” says Masters’ Union.
But do candidates with work-experience stand a better chance? No, says MU. “At the time of evaluation, we do not offer any extra priority or weightage to work experience - freshers and individuals with work experience are evaluated on the same standing.”
For records, the average work experience at Masters’ Union is about 3 to 3.5 years.
So how does Masters’ Union achieve the “holistic assessment” to decide which students to offer admissions to? What are the weightages for academics and exams scores, and profiles. In another interesting twist, Masters’ Union follows a “Rule of Thirds” in its student selection process.
Holistic evaluation: “Rule of Thirds”
“Our approach in our evaluation process follows the “rule of thirds”, where we allocate a third of our focus to different key components in the application,” says Pratham Mittal. These three parts of assessment include the following:
- The First Third: Academic Aptitude: “The first lens that we examine applications from is the lens of academic aptitude and competency. In this section, first-off, we’re looking at your high school academic scores and your undergraduate scores, and if both scores follow a linear trajectory of growth. Secondly, we observe your projects, research and other academic undertakings that might have accelerated your journey. We make an effort to dive deep into the achievements and accomplishments you’ve gathered over a lifetime!” says Masters’ Union. They add, “Finally, the last component is your entrance examinations. From MUBAAT to CAT, GMAT and GRE, we’d like to see your academic aptitude showcased and benchmarked across our other applicants.”
- The Second Third: Work Experience: “The second lens that we examine applications from is the lens of your prior work or internship experience. In this section, we’re looking at how you’ve utilized your time at the workplace and the kind of impact you’ve had at the organization. We understand that roles, sectors, functions and domains are different for different people, so we encourage you to provide us with as much context as you can!” says Masters’ Union.
- The Final Third: A Persuasive Essays: “The final lens of evaluation that we use is to look through the essay section. We consider this section as vital to the Masters’ Union application.” So, how important is Diversity in Masters’ Union admission process? What efforts are they making in this direction?
Diversity Matters at Masters’ Union
With regards to the educational background, the B-school looks for candidates who have an academic experience of a 3–4-year undergraduate degree in any discipline, not just engineering. In previous batches approximately 50% of the students were from a tech background, with other students coming from backgrounds like business, arts, law, medicine, fashion and more!
At Masters’ Union, 33% of the current batch is women students. Interesting, women make up over 60% of the Masters’ Union academics and programme team.
“We value diversity at every level and welcome applications from people with a variety of professional and academic backgrounds, including the arts, law, medicine, military, non-profit, etc,” assures Masters’ Union.
When asked if the Tech-focussed program is too hard on candidates from a non-tech background, the B-school responded, “The Masters’ Union PGP TBM is curated for students from all backgrounds. Our programme teaches students fundamentals in technology from the ground up. Students from non - tech backgrounds have fantastic career outcomes and are able to pivot to roles that recruit students from tech backgrounds as well.”
MUBAAT: Why have another exam?
Considering that many students join MU thru MUBAAT, we asked how is it different from CAT/GMAT or GRE? The MUBAAT is a virtual exam that students can take online on their computers from their homes. “With the MUBAAT examination, we test our students in a gamified evaluation that measures competencies across multiple domains including their personality, behaviours as well as their logical and communicative abilities,” says Masters’ Union.
MUBAAT is a holistic exam that tests more than just the analytical and verbal skills of a candidate. “Our goal with the MUBAAT is to remove the focus on one-shot examinations like the CAT/GMAT/GRE that test competencies that include just analytical and verbal skills. Along with this, we’re looking for how candidates have upskilled at work and measure their risk-taking ability, anger management, deductive reasoning and more!” says Masters’ Union.
During Masters’ Union interview, applicants are interviewed by alumni as well as “Masters” who are leading CXOs, MDs and startup Founders.
Admission Process for Cohort of 2024
Admission Process for Cohort of 2024 is currently underway. How has been the student response so far? “We’ve gotten a great response in our current admissions season. We have seen that a rising number of applications are seeking a non-traditional yet impactful programme, rooted in entrepreneurship and technology.”
Masters’ Union follows a different marketing approach than the convention B-school approach of advertising in newspapers and magazines, or internet. It produces “podcasts”, “shows”, “CXO Lessons” and other content across its social media channels to create engagement with students from across the country. Admission for Cohort of 2024 is currently open. Read more
So, are the current students happy with their program experience at Masters’ Union? When asked, Amol Shrivastava, BITS Pilani Alum who is now enrolled at MU, told MBAUniverse.com, “I would rate my experience currently at a 9 out of 10.” It seems disruptor Masters’ Union is striking a chord with its unconventional approach.
Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for insightful articles on MBA Curriculum, Admissions, Placements and more.