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Nation of entrepreneurs

  • Story Highlights
  • Survey of Indian MBA students shows most want to be entrepreneurs
  • Students more motivated by career goals than starting salary
  • While ambitions are high, wage expectations remains modest
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By Peter Walker for CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- India is fast becoming known as a nation of outstanding entrepreneurs like IT tycoon N. R. Narayana Murthy. Now, according to new survey of Indian business schools, many others are keen to follow this example.

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A role model for Indian MBAs: Infosys tycoon N. R. Narayana Murthy.

The study, the first such poll of MBA students at Indian schools, has some notable findings, one being that they are motivated far more by wider career goals than by the size of their wage packets.

Just under 60 percent of those surveyed said job profile was the most important factor in choosing a subsequent career, with 25 percent more saying it was important.

In contrast, salary was ranked as most important by only 17 percent, with 33 percent listing it as important. Job sector was also considered more important overall than salary.

The study, organized by specialist web site MBAUniverse.com and Indian personnel agency TeamLease, found that an overwhelming majority of the students harbor entrepreneurial dreams.

With a population of 1.1 billion and a fast-growing and increasingly affluent middle class, India is an attractive market for new enterprises.

A massive 82 percent want to start their own enterprise at some point, with only 14 percent ruling it out.

Not surprisingly, their icons are self-made tycoons like Infosys co-founder Murthy, the top choice of business role model with 34 percent of the vote.

Next came Ratan Tata, head of the Tata Group, India's biggest corporation, with 24 percent, and then steel tycoon Laskshmi Mittal, currently the globe's fifth-richest person, with 16 percent.

The country is ripe for a new wave budding tycoons, according to Sampath Shetty from poll co-organizers TeamLease.

"The Indian economy growth story has all the ingredients to stimulate youth entrepreneurship," he says.

However, despite the rapid expansion of India's economy -- currently hitting around nine percent a year -- MBA salary expectations still lag well behind those in more developed nations, the survey found.

Fact Box

FT MBA Rankings
1. Wharton, U.S.
2. Columbia, U.S.
3. Harvard, U.S.
4. Stanford GSB, U.S.
5. London Business School, UK
6. Chicago GSB, U.S.
7. Insead, France/Singapore
8. Stern, NYU, U.S.
9. Tuck, Dartmouth, U.S.
10. Yale, U.S.
Source: Financial Times 2007

The poll showed that 38% of the students expect a salary of $27,000 to $37,000 when they graduate, with a similar number expecting a more modest $15,000 to $25,000. A mere 11 percent thought they should aim for a package worth more than $52,000.

However, one trend followed those in more mature MBA markets like the U.S. -- those at top schools expected higher starting salaries.

Most of them will also be earning Indian salaries when they complete their MBA, with an overwhelming 74 percent seeing India as their priority job location. Way behind in second was the U.S. on 11 percent, with Europe third with 7 percent.

India has a network of excellent business schools, the most prestigious of which are the six examples of Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), located in the cities of Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kozhikode and Indore.

Independent institutes funded by the Indian government with the aim of creating a supply of top-quality managers for the country, entry to an IIM comes via one of the most competitive academic entry processes in the world -- around one applicant in every hundred is accepted. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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