Cometh mid-June, the new Academic session at B-Schools will take off for the batch of 2017-19. A quick survey about the batch profile across top B-Schools in the country shows the dominance of Engineers in every batch. However, most of the engineers find the joy of getting into a top B-School short-lived as the Financial Accounting course in their first term catches them unaware and it becomes extremely difficult to cope up with the demands of the subject while balancing other subjects as well.
In this article, we interviewed Dr Debashis Sanyal, Vice Provost (Management Education) and DeanSchool of Business, NMIMS, one of the most respected Financial Accounting Professor across the country and requested him to share some tips for the students of upcoming B-School batch of 2017-19.
Question 1: Sir, in your long management academic career of more than three decades, which is one subject you have seen the Engineering background students struggling the most in first term?
Dr. Sanyal: If you want me to single one subject than it is ‘Financial Accounting’. Not only Engineers but also non-commerce students struggle with this subject. Sometime commerce students also struggle.
Question 2: What do you think are the main reasons for their struggle?
Dr. Sanyal: Engineering and most non-commerce students hardly get any exposure to the subject before they join MBA program. It’s a very new subject to them. Further the way the subject is taught in Management School is different from how it is taught in undergraduate school. The subject is not scary at all. In Management School the students are made to learn the nuances of Financial Accounting. They are taught in a manner that they are able to develop a good understanding of the financial statements (Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow statements) and also learn to analyze them.
Students need to appreciate that this course is very critical to all students irrespective of the area one specializes later on. One needs to remember that day end all technical parameters need to be converted into financial parameters to take a final decision.
Question 3: With almost 45 days to go, what are the important topics you would advise them to read and prepare before they join Business School?
Dr. Sanyal: I will strongly recommend all students aspiring to do MBA program to utilize this 4days window to learn on there own the financial statements mention above. There are many good online courses available free these days like EdX, Coursera, etc . Students just need to register themselves and start learning. I am confident that if they devote some quality time in learning through these course materials available they will have a fairly good knowledge of the subject. It will not be difficult for them to understand the subject any more when the teachers teach them in class. Some institute like NMIMS provides admitted students with Harvard Publishing on-line materials before they join. The students are required to complete certain Harvard on-line module before they start attending the class. Financial Accounting is one of them. In fact at NMIMS the students are required to appear for exam on Harvard courses module that are sent to the students nearly a month before the class starts. Until they clear the exam, with certain percentage of marks, they need to reappear till the time they are successful in securing the required percentage. Harvard on-line modules are not free; the institute pay for it.
Question 4: Are there any specific books or reading material you would advise them to refer to for pre-reading before they join the Business school?
Dr. Sanyal: In addition to the on-line courses that I have referred, students may like to refer any of the following books:
Financial ACCT : Norman Godwin | Wayne Alderman | Debashis Sanyal; Cengage publication
Accounting for Management: Text and Cases: S.K. Bhattacharyya, John Dearden , S Venkatesh;
Accounting: Text and Cases: Robert Anthony, James S. Reece, David F. Hawkins, Kenneth A. Merchant; McGraw-Hill Publication
Question 5: Does your advice also hold good for non-Engineers?
Dr. Sanyal: Very much, even for commerce students. The way Accounting is taught in undergraduate program to commerce students or BBA students, is quite different the way it’s taught in Business School. The approach of teaching and the emphasis is quite different. I will advice all aspiring students to get ready for the accounting class before they get into the first session.
Be careful, in many schools the first session starts with a quiz!