Many students, especially engineers and more so engineers with work experience believe that they are God’s gift to mankind andany B-School would be eager to take them in. You may believe that you are smart, talented and good looking, with excellentacademic background and a great software job and so that makes you a perfect pick for any MBA college. But please don’t forgetthat there are thousands of more smart, talented and good looking people , with excellent academic backgrounds and a greatsoftware jobs entering the race for CAT, while the number of seats has remained more or less constant. The point is : The onlydifference between those who make it and those who don’t is simply the number of hours put in. If you put in more hours than theothers, you have a much better chance than an IIT engineer working with Infosys. Believe me .So this is where the role of Coaching Institutes comes in. They help you put in your effort in the right places where it reapsmaximum benefit. It’s really like the headlamp on your bike on a dark night. It doesn’t move the bike, but does the show the way tofollow.It is advisable to all candidates( both freshers and working) to join one of the various coaching institutes in your city. Freshersshould always prefer to go in for a complete 7 to 9 months classroom course as it gives them lots of practice and also helps in allround personality development. Also attending a group of similar students also gives you an indication of the competition that youwill be facing and thus helps to drive away the complacency. Those working or taking CAT for the second time should prefer thevarious Weekend courses or Correspondence courses offered.The Books | TopIn terms of content, the basic questions asked in CAT are on fundamentals learnt up to Class 10. The reason for this is simple. Allschools, in India, have more or less the same course content up to Class 10. So all students have learned the same stuff untilthen. It’s only after that that they get differentiated into different streams such as Science, Commerce and Arts. Since CAT is acommon test for students from all streams, it makes sense to have questions from the subjects known by all. This does preventany undue advantage to those from any particular stream.Given below is the list of books that you should have completed before taking CAT.Basic Reference Material : This is the material provided your coaching institute.Quantitative Aptitude : • Quantitative Aptitude by A.K. GUHA • Quicker Maths by M. TYRAVerbal Ability : • Structured Drills (Part I & II) by Thompson & Martinet • Verbal Exercises (Part I & II) by Thompson & MartinetWord Power : • GRE Master Word-List from BARRON’S GRE GUIDE • IMS Advanced Vocabulary List.Logical Reasoning : • Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning by B.S.Sijwali • Logical Reasoning by R.S. AgarwalPrevious year CAT papers from any publication.IMPORTANT NOTE :It is not mandatory that you prepare from these books only. With the plethora of books available in the market today, you areliterally spoilt for choice. These books have been suggested only as additional reference along with the material provided by yourcoaching institute. Also read this page.
The Newspapers | TopOkay, so all of you read some newspaper or the other. Well. good for you.... But now that you are preparing for CAT, there needsto be a slight change in your attitude towards newspapers. So read on..What you should be reading in newspapers :Ideally, you should be reading at least three pages in your newspapers. These are: THE FRONT PAGE, THE EDITORIALCOLUMNS and THE BUSINESS PAGE. Plus you can also read the sports and cartoon pages for relaxation, if you wish.Here is a list pages which you absolutely should be reading daily at least for the next year. 1. All pages from the Times of India 2. The editorial page from THE HINDU 3. The editorial and news page from the Economics Times.What you should be reading in newspapers :Irrespective of your interests, you should not be reading the second page of TOI, the regional politics pages from all newspapers,the crime pages from all newspapers the regional politics pages from all newspapers and the heavy market and finance pagesfrom the ET. This is because, these pages don’t contribute anything to your intellectual growth and thus don’t serve you at all inyour preparation for CAT. Also develop an allergy to politics simply because otherwise, it will make you skeptical and put you in anegative frame of mind. Avoid the jargon heavy sections of ET because you will not be able to understand most of it and will losean interest in the subject which could prove suicidal in future.Also please stay away from novels and pornography as they will not only be a waste of time and emotional bandwidth, but alsoprove to be distractions in the long run.PLEASE ALSO GO THROUGH THE READING MATERIALS PROVIDED IN THE DOWNLOADS PAGEThe Magazines | TopHere again, there are some magazines that are an absolute must for anybody preparing for CAT and other exams.These include: • Competition Master ( Great for GK and great articles and essays for both RC and GD ) • Business and Management Chronicle ( Great All-round Magazine ) • Career Economy ( Again great MBA specific Magazine) • Advancedge ( Published by IMS, a must for GK and all exam related info ) • Business World ( Great Industry Scenario Mag)Other then these, you may read any publication that you prefer. here is a list of some more very useful magazines. • News Panaroma • The Week • Effective Manager from the ICFAI Press • MBA Review • The Sahara Times • Business Today • India Today • Business India • Outlook • Competition Success Review • Frontline • The Tehelka • Economic and Political Weekly • Yojana or Kurukhsetra
What Is CAT all about ? | TopHow often have you heard this statement : CAT is not a test of Math and English ? Your faculty or friends who have taken the testwill testify to this maxim. CAT actually uses Math and English as tools to assess whether the aspirant has the potential to be amanger.One of the biggest mental hurdles while preparing for the CAT is the over emphasis on learning the ropes in Math and English andnot understanding the hidden agenda underlying the various topics. Across the CAT, while the topics vary, they are all assessmenttools to check managerial qualities. Thus be it Problem Solving and data Interpretation in Maths or Verbal Ability and ReadingComprehension in English, right through the 2 hour test, a student is tested on the inherent managerial qualities which can bepolished when selected for admission to a B-School. While English tests one’s language and communication skills, Mathessentially tests your analytical and conceptual skills - two very critical traits in an effective manager.Thus when seen in this light, the following aspects of the CAT stand out: • It is one of the most fascinating aptitude tests in the country, if not the toughest. It is complex not because of the level of Math and English, but because of the competition. • It is the test of one’s managerial potential and not whether somebody is already a manager. • It is not a test of one’s subject knowledge but of one’s aptitude to be a corporate manager. • Thus one of the most critical qualities needed to crack the cat is strong fundamentals and loads of common sense.All this obviously does not mean that one can ignore the importance of Maths and English to crack the CAT. In a relay race, thebaton is the tool for success. If the baton is not used properly, success becomes elusive. Thus, make no mistake about it, Mathsand English are critical for success in CAT.Common Mistakes | TopThe first mistake is to take the test too seriously. The hype created by the media and preparatory institutes create an unnecessarytension in the minds o f the students. When one goes to the exam hall, an average student maybe a bundle of nerves: raring toattempt questions without waiting to pause and think.Usually, the moment the paper is received, the candidate starts attempting without giving thought to the test taking strategy. But,after a while, when one sees that very few questions have been attempted, one tends to panic and then one tends to panic andmark indiscriminately. This is suicidal, because the number of mistakes will increase and so will the negatives.The most important lesson to be learnt is to to keep your cool. That is the only thing that separates the winners from the also-rans.As one attempts the paper, the clock keeps ticking away and in the end one may find the number of attempts below one’sexpectation. This is all right because it is not the number of attempts that are important, but the final score.How to Keep Cool | TopKeeping cool, is obviously easier said than done. Usually the pressure mounts when one compares oneself with others and onefeels hopeless. When this happens, remind yourself that you are competing with none other but yourself. What others do, or notdo, is meaningless. If you can conquer your emotions during the exam, you have one half the battle.When the pressure rises, and you find that you can’t answer a question despite reading and re-reading it, just close your eyes andshut off your mind for a moment. You will find that you will most probably be able to solve it. It’s a bit like rebooting the computer, italways speeds up the machine.Another way to stop panic is to approach the exam with an open mind. Don’t crowd your mind with cut-offs and minimum attemptsand other such thoughts. Just leave it to the day. If the paper is easy, you will automatically attempt more questions and if it’sdifficult, the attempts will drop. Also remember that 99.9% of the people taking CAT are normal people like you with a similar levelof preparation. So if the paper seems difficult to you, it’s almost same for all others and so the cut-offs will almost surely be lower.So never resort to guess-work to increase the number of attempts. Especially in a tight low scoring paper, since the marks that youmay lose on negative scoring due to guess-work, may prove to be the difference between success and failure. So go to the exam
thinking anyone of the following thoughts.1. I am very good and have prepared thoroughly and so will do very well. OR2. Nothing bad can happen to me. It’s only an exam, not the end of life.Test Taking Strategies | TopYou should have your strategy outlined very clearly during your preparations stage. Do a large number of full-length tests basedon different patterns. Experiment with yourself, attempting different sections and different order in different tests. Soon you will beable to discover what is your best way to attempt the paper. This will help you decide: (i) which section you should do first; (ii) thekind of questions you should attempt and avoid; and (iii) your optimum attempt.The strategy will, of course, vary from person to person. Remember, there is no fixed strategy which is a “magic formula” that canguarantee 100% success. On the day of the exam, just follow the strategy that you have perfected. Don’t get confused on seeingthe paper. The paper will look formidable at first glance, but don’t let that bother you. Spend a minute to see how the questionsand sections are arranged.Always strategize the order in which you are attempting the sections. The classic order is first VA&RC followed by PS and then byDI/DS. This is because VA is the easiest and fastest section and completing it first will give you confidence and momentum whichwill carry you through the next 2 sections. You may follow ANY ORDER in attempting the sections. But the thumb rule is start andend with the sections that you are good at and have the weakest section in the middle.For more test taking strategies, click HERE.Speed vs Accuracy | TopA common question asked by students is, “how many questions should I attempt” ? This is a faulty question, because there is nopoint attempting questions if one can’ t keep a measure of accuracy. Too many mistakes simply spoil you score. Each person willhave a different level of attempt.Generally speaking, the number of mistakes should be kept at about 20 in a full 2-hour full length test. Remember, no one knowsfor sure what is the scoring pattern for CAT. It is assumed that there is negative marking of minus one-fourth per question, but younever know for sure. There could be progressive negative marking, which means that as the number of mistakes increase, thededuction per question also increases.I don’t really want to scare you, but the ideal number of attempts in a paper of 3 sections/ 150 questions (3/150) should be 90-100attempts with around 20 mistakes. That’s what most toppers would be attempting. If you are near that range, you have a verygood chance of getting calls from B-L-A-C-K-I, that’s an acronym for all 6 IIMs (IIMB, IIML...etc)At the same time, please don’t avoid or favor any section or type of question. This is because the CAT paper clearly mentionsYOU WILL HAVE TO DEMONSTRATE YOUR COMPETENCE IN ALL SECTIONS. So you may get 99.9+ percentile in yourfavorite section, but you can be rest assured that if you have neglected any section, then you will be extremely lucky to receiveany IIM calls.Smart vs Hard Work | TopWhat aspirants of CAT need to do is work SMART rather than work hard. This means that the candidate should be able to spotwhat is required rather than work it out by lengthy calculation, Whether it is PS, or verbal, many questions can be done simply bylooking at the questions. Same for DI and DS. The technique is called THINK WITHOUT INK. The trick is to try to spot the clue inthe question. For example, in a quadratic equation, it is always faster to obtain answer by substituting the options rather thansolving the equation.Remember, CAT is not like your college paper, where you had to write lengthy answers ( especially those from Utkal University).Here, you can score even when you don’t know the answer. YOU just have to find the 3 WRONG answers and your job is done !!
SO how does one get into the habit of working smart ? frankly, that is an attitude that one must acquire. It comes with the way youapproach life in general. It is not about solving questions only. If one is smart in other areas of life, cracking CAT would not bedifficult.Ultimately, it maybe said that CAT is not difficult to crack. It can be done, simply because so many people have done it in the past.Simply put in your best effort, solve each question on it’s merit and stay cool and composed for the entire 2 hours. That is theformula for success.The Check List | Top • Do the basics first. • Do a large number of section tests and identify strengths and weaknesses. • Attempt all sections: don’t ignore any. • Work out the best way to tackle problems and look for smart way of doing things. • Work out your own success strategy by doing a large number of full length tests. • Do the past 10 years CAT papers. • Control the number of mistakes to about 20 : avoid wild blind guessing. • Look at all sections before attempting. • Don’t panic, keep your cool and follow your strategy. • Avoid the hype of the exam; don’t compare with others but always compete. • If you lose control, close your eyes and reboot.. • BELIEVE IN THE LORD. He never lets you down. What is a Group Discussion ? | Top A GD is a methodology used by an organization to gauge whether the candidate has certain personality traits and/or skills that it desires in its members. In this methodology, the group of candidates is given a topic or a situation, given a few minutes to think about the same, and then asked to discuss the it among themselves for 15-20 minutes. Some of the personality traits the GD is trying to gauge may include :- Ability to work in a team Communication skills, reasoning ability Leadership skills Initiative Assertiveness Flexibility Creativity Ability to think on ones feet
Why GDs ? | TopThe reason why institutes put you through a Group discussion and an interview, after testing your technical and conceptualskills in an exam, is to get to know you as a person and gauge how well you will fit in their institute.The Group discussion tests how you function as a part of a team. As a manager, you will always be working in teams, as amember or as a leader. Therefore how you interact in a team becomes an important criterion for your selection. Managershave to work in a team and get best results out of teamwork. That is the reason why management institutes include GD as acomponent of the selection procedure.The purpose of conducting a Group Discussion is to test the participant on areas like communication skills, team skills,situation handling , listening skills so on and so forth. Fundamentally a GD is conducted to separate leaders from non leadersfrom amongst the participants , an opinion which the panel consolidates through 15-20 mins of interview.Who is a leader? In a group situation when formal leadership has not been defined, the person who is capable of generating afollowing emerges as an informal leader. Generally a person who is respected, admired, liked and who can inspire confidenceamong others in himself generates a following. Certain attributes that are common to all leaders are:1) The display of proficiency in the particular area of competence required in the group situation. This inspires respect amongothers.2) The display of sensitivity to others. This generates a level of ease in interaction with others which is conducive tocomfortable group environment.3) The display of ability to handle rough situations with a cool mind. This induces people to have confidence in you as aperson who will capable of handling stress and manage situations proactively.This is true in any sphere of life and so also in a Group Discussion for MBA Entrance Examination.GD Topics | TopGDs can be topic-based or case-based.Topic based GDTopic based Gds can be classified into three types :-• Factual topic• Controversial topics• Abstract topicsFactual TopicsFactual topics are about practical things, which an ordinary person is aware of in his day-to-day life. Typically these are aboutsocio-economic topics. These can be current, i.e. they may have been in the news lately, or could be unbound by time. Afactual topic for discussion gives a candidate a chance to prove that he is aware of and sensitive to his environment.E.g. The education policy of India, Tourism in India, State of the aged in the nation.Controversial TopicsControversial topics are the ones that are argumentative in nature. They are meant to generate controversy. In GDs wherethese topics are given for discussion, the noise level is usually high, there may be tempers flying. The idea behind giving atopic like this is to see how much maturity the candidate is displaying by keeping his temper in check, by rationally and
logically arguing his point of view without getting personal and emotional.E.g. Reservations should be removed, Women make better managersAbstract TopicsAbstract topics are about intangible things. These topics are not given often for discussion, but their possibility cannot be ruledout. These topics test your lateral thinking and creativity.E.g. A is an alphabet, Twinkle twinkle little star, The number 10Case-based GDAnother variation is the use of a case instead of a topic.The case study tries to simulate a real-life situation. Information about the situation will be given to you and you would beasked as a group to resolve the situation. In the case study there are no incorrect answers or perfect solutions. The objectivein the case study is to get you to think about the situation from various angles.IIM A, IIM Indore and IIT SOM Mumbai have a case-based discussion rather than topic-based discussion in their selectionprocedures.For lots of GD topics and reading material visithttp:/www.imsindia.com/csb/gd_bank.htmHow To Prepare for GDs ? | TopOne can be successful at a GD with proper preparation and guidance.Given below are 5 easy to follow tips which will help you in your GD preparation :-Tip 1 #Brushing up on your general awareness is a must. Being aware of current affairs and issues and happenings, which affect ourlives, however remotely, shows a well-rounded personality. Interest in one’s environment is an essential quality for a manager,as only when he is well informed about all the facets is he able to take correct decisions. Make a habit of reading newspaperslike TOI and Economic Times and general interest and business magazines like Frontline, Outlook and Business India.Tip 2 #Being aware of current happenings is not enough. One must also form opinions on those happenings and issues that arise.Think about what you feel about different issues, say, terrorism. Write down your thoughts. Ask yourself why you feel thatway, what are the premises underlying your thoughts and beliefs. Also question whether your point of view is based on facts,or on opinions and hearsay.Tip 3 #The process of opinion formation is incomplete without getting inputs from others. Get into the habit of discussing issues withyour friends and family. Hear multiple points of view. Listen, question and argue. Express your opinion. If you are provenwrong, accept it with good grace. Modify your opinions as you go along. This will help you clear your own thought processplus it will get you into the habit of discussion.Tip 4 #While discussing, learn to check your temper. Maybe you’ll find others holding view which are abhorrent to you. But rememberthat they have a right to their opinions. Everyone does. Learn to respect their points of views even if you don’t accept them. Itshows maturity on your part. This will be a good training for controlling your emotions, which is of utmost importance in a GD.Tip 5 #Practice: Try and mobilize other people who are interested in GDs and simulate GDs. Get someone who has been throughGDs before to observe it and give you feedback on your performance. It is better if the group consists of people who you don’tknow too well
Master Tips For GDs | TopCertain Dos for a Group Discussion- Make sure that all the points that you make are original and backed by substantial reasoning as to why you believe so.- If somebody has already made the point you wanted to make, you can go ahead and either support or oppose the pointprovided you can give substantial reasoning as to why you think so.- Whatever you have to say has to be wrapped around with a logical flow. State your point, substantiate it with a reason andvalidate it with an example wherever and whenever possible.- Modulate the various aspects of your voice, viz. volume, pitch and tone so as to suite the nature of the point that you aremaking. Make sure you don’t sound rude or arrogant.- Your posture should be straight and upfront.- Make use of hands and facial expressions to make your point more emphatic.- Whatever position you occupy in the discussion make sure that while speaking you make eye contact with each and everyone in the group.- When not speaking make sure that you are looking at the person who is speaking.- Whether you agree with the person who is speaking or not, ensure that you give him credit for what he is speaking by use ofnon - verbal like nodding your head, etc.- If possible, make an attempt at opening the discussion. But if you venture ahead with it make sure that you make a good jobof it. The opening has to be a general introduction to the topic briefly laying the scope of the discussion.- If the discussion is revolving around a certain point for too long give a new direction by introducing a new angle to it.- Incase of fish markets first and foremost make sure that you don’t contribute to the mayhem. If the crowd is too unruly waitfor the right opportunity, make your point and get out of it.- If the discussion is straying from it’s main idea, get it back on track by giving a new directional point.Don’ts of a GD- Do not get into arguments with people, remember you are there to make effective points, do not waste time on futilearguments that do not contribute to the topic under discussion.- Making yourself heard is important but do not try to hog the lime-light all the time, evaluate the worth of what you are saying,or you may simply make points that are irrelevant or were better left unsaid.- Do not act patronising with your fellow group members, it could backfire.- Do not make use of gestures excessively as you may come across as aggressive, learn to toe the line between assertiveand aggressive.- Do not slouch but seat yourself comfortably, awkward posture could indicate nervousness or discomfort with your position inthe group.- Most of all remember belief in your own ability to remain poised in any situation will allow you to sail through.- Do not fidget or act restless.
- Do not stare at the floor or out of the window, you may come across as uninterested or inattentive. Knowledge is Supreme – Please read on all current topics – from any current affairs magazine like CSR, Services Chronicleand don’t forget to include Competion Master. Just brush them up.Keep your composure – Make salient points and be a good listenerFrequently Asked Questions | TopWhat is the normal duration of a GD?A GD is generally of 15-20 minutes duration.How many panel members are there to evaluate?There are usually 3-4 panel members to evaluate.Is there time given for preparation after the topic is given and before starting the GD?Usually some time (2-5 minutes) is given to collect one’s thoughts, but there could be instances when this does nothappen, so it is best not to bank on this.Should I address the panel or the group members?Don’t ever make the mistake of addressing the panel members. The GD is between you and the other members, notthe panel members. You must avoid even looking at the panel members while the GD is in progress. Just ignore theirexistence.What is the seating arrangement like?It could be semi-circular, or circular, or seating along side a rectangular table, depending upon the venue. It is bestnot to bother about trivial issues like this, which you have no control over.How should I address the other group members?If you are initiating the discussion, you could do so by collectively addressing the group as “Friends”. Subsequently,you could use names (if the group has had a round of self-introduction prior to starting the discussion and youremember the names) or simply use pronouns like “he” or “she”.Suppose I have a lot to say on the topic, should I say all of it?You would not be looked upon favourably if you kept speaking all the time and did not listen to anyone else.Contrary to the misconception, the person who talks the most is not necessarily the one who is judged the best. Thequality and not the quantity of your contribution is the success factor.Should I encourage others to speak up?Do not directly put someone who is consistently silent on the spot by asking him/her to speak up. If someone hasbeen trying to speak and has a good point but is cut off constantly, you may encourage him/her to continue with herpoint as you would like to hear her out.Are the group members supposed to keep track of the time or will the panel keep track?It would be good if you are conscious of the time, but not to the point of getting so distracted looking at your watchthat you do not contribute to the discussion.What is a Personal Interview ? | TopThe end of the first part of the elimination process ,the written test, signals the start of the next and probably themost important part of your selection process..... the Group discussions and the Personal interviews. A stage whichis not only important but also , to a large extent , psyching out of many of us. In this particular page we shall look atsome parameters on which you are judged through a Personal Interview and also all those things which go into themaking of a quintessentially good PI performance.Please understand PI is the first time you come face to face with the people who are finally going to select you. Howyou need to prepare, there would thousands of advice and methods to do well but the moment you enter the room90% of all your learning goes into thin air. At the very moment you are what you are.
Types Of Question | Top Lets understand how the questions are been asked to us and what is looked into all of them : Part 1 – Personal Module • Tell me something about your self, strength and weakness, hobbies and interests. • Tell me something about your self – is just to break ice with the student and make him comfortable. Include your last education, job if applicable, a brief about family, place you belong and what qualities you would like to highlight like I am optimist and love interacting with others. • Strength – to find out how many managerial qualities you possess. Please keep them quantifiable and you can give example to substantiate. • Weakness – what are you going to do about it? Your urge to improve your self • Hobbies and Interest – It can be anything no problem, but always mention what you learned from it Part 2 – Academic or Job knowledge Prepare your final year paper, project or Hons Subject If work exp be sure of your industry knowledgeThis could be a difficult area to justify each and every question, but in case of any answer you are unable to make pleasebe honest and don’t make any bluff Part 3 – Career Objective What you want to achieve in life, your career goal in specific How MBA is going to help in achieving it A strong rationale why you want to do MBA Please have a good knowledge about the institute, read their prospectus at least once Part 4- Miscellaneous What if you don’t get in to our college Which other institute you have qualified for What’s the meaning of your name What you have learnt from your parent, friends, teachers
What is a Good Personal Interview ? | TopIt is really hard to say. If there is any part of the admission process, that is really beyond your control, it is thePersonal Interview. It really depends upon the whim of the panel that is in front of you on D-Day. You may feel thatyou have done a really good job at the interview but you might end up getting chucked out. On the other hand,sometimes you may feel that you have messed up the interview but you may get a final call.Believe me, it really is that strange. BUT PLEASE DON’T UNDERMINE THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS PROCESS INYOUR ADMISSION PROCESS. In fact many believe that this is the round which determines whether you are in or out.So if you want to do well in this round, read on...How To do well in an Interview ? | TopOkay, so if the Interview is so unpredictable, what can you do to ensure that your interview does not become anightmare ? Well here are a few tips which will serve you well on the D-Day.Tip 1 #Brushing up on your general awareness is a must. Being aware of current affairs and issues and happenings, whichaffect our lives, however remotely, shows a well-rounded personality. Interest in one’s environment is an essentialquality for a manager, as only when he is well informed about all the facets is he able to take correct decisions. Makea habit of reading newspapers like TOI and Economic Times and general interest and business magazines likeFrontline, Outlook and Business India.Tip 2 #Being aware of current happenings is not enough. One must also form opinions on those happenings and issuesthat arise. Think about what you feel about different issues, say, terrorism. Write down your thoughts. Ask yourselfwhy you feel that way, what are the premises underlying your thoughts and beliefs. Also question whether your pointof view is based on facts, or on opinions and hearsay.Tip 3 #Always remember that the interview is NOT an elimination round. The written tests have taken care of that. If youhave made it this far, then you are one of the better students of the country. Maybe even among the top 1%. Let thisknowledge give you the confidence you need. Be confident. Remember, as you are looking for a good college, thecollege is also looking for good students.Tip 4 #What ever you have written in the application form of the institute, please read it again and again. It is very possibleand probable that most of the questions will be based on the information given by you in this form. Try askingyourself as many questions as possible. You are your best judge, no body know better than you as what are yourstrength and weakness.Tip 5 #Never use jargon. Unless you are really thorough about everything related to that field. The Interview panelists areusually the most experienced people around and they hate the kind of arrogance that the use of jargon suggests. Soit best to avoid jargons. Even if you do use them, please be sure that you are sure about what you are talking.Tip 6 #Never bluff. Okay, so you have found out that the panelists are all from humanities background and so you, being anengineer, think that you can afford to bluff your way through the technical questions. Don’t even think about it.Nothing could be further from the truth. Remember that the panelists, irrespective of their background always knoweverything about everything. They are very experienced and can detect a bluff even by looking at you. So pleasedon’t LIE. If you don’t know the answer, please say so. An answer like “ I don’t know..” or “ I don’t recollect..” isalways more appreciated than a bluff. Even if you are guessing, start with something like “I’m not sure, but I guess....“ You will get points for both honesty and clarity of expression.
Tip 7 #Do your homework. The Interviews are almost always after the writtens are over, so the tension level is much lessand so students tend to lower their guard a bit. Don’t commit this folly, especially for those who have industry workexperience. Be sure to prepare your graduation subjects and expect a lot of questions on your work experience forthose who do have some of it. Be aware of the latest happenings in your field of study. Be prepared with some of thefrequently asked questions (you will find some of the most important ones in the next section).Frequently Asked Questions | TopI am including a few questions below which are asked to students from all backgrounds. I have also included list ofquestions specific the students from Engineering, Science and Commerce streams. Also go through the GD/PIExperiences available on the DOWNLOADS page.Engineering | Science | CommerceThe following is a list of 50 frequently asked questions in the MBA qualifying interviews. The student is well advisedto prepare complete and convincing answers to these questions before proceeding to the interview.1. What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives, when and why did you establish these goals, andhow are you preparing yourself to achieve them?2. What specific goals, other than those related to your occupation, have you established for yourself for the next 10years?3. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?4. What do you really want to do in life?5. What are your long-range career objectives?6. How do you plan to achieve your career goals?7. What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?8. Which specialization would you like to take in MBA? Why?9. Why did you choose the career for which you are preparing?10. Which is more important to you, the money or the type of job?11. What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?12. How would you describe yourself?13. How do you think a friend or a professor who knows you well would describe you?14. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?15. How has your education prepared you for a career?16. What are your reading habits? Favorite book? Favorite author?17. What qualifications do you have that make you think that you will be successful?18. How do you determine or evaluate success?19. What have you learned from your hobbies?20. In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our institute?21. What qualities should a successful manager possess?22. Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and subordinates.23. What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?24. Describe your most rewarding college experience?25. If you were the interviewer, what qualities would you look for?26. Why did you select your college or university?27. What led you to choose your field of major study?28. What academic subjects did you like best? Least?29. Do you enjoy doing independent research?30. If you could do so, would you plan your academic study differently?31. What changes would you make in your college or university?32. Do you think that your grades are a good indication of your academic achievement?33. What have you learned from participation in extracurricular activities?34. Do you have plans for continued study?35. In what kind of an educational environment are you most comfortable?36. How do you work under pressure?37. In what part-time or summer jobs have you been most interested? Why?38. How would you describe the ideal job for you following post-graduation?39. What are the three major characteristics that you bring to the job market?
40. What do you know about our Institute?41. What two or three things are most important to you in your job?42. Are you seeking employment in a company of a certain size? Why?43. What criteria are you using to evaluate the company for which you hope to work?44. Why did you choose _____ Institute of Management to conduct your higher education?45. What have you done in the past year to improve yourself?46. Why should we take you rather than another candidate?47. Give an example of something you have done in the past that demonstrates your initiative and willingness towork?48. Who are your role models? Why?49. What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it?50. What have you learned from your mistakes?B-School RankingsOkay, Let’s face it. You are probably skeptical of this page already. Here comes another ranking, I hear you think.Relax I am not going to bother you with another ranking for the simple reason that there is already so many of themaround. So what I am going to do is to give you a compilation of all the rankings, by different agencies on a singlepage. Be warned to take these and every other ranking with a pinch of salt.Remember that life at a B-School and thus it’s final ranking is not something that can always be quantified intangible terms. Thus, that which can’t be quantified, can’t be compared. Comparing B-Schools, especially the bestones, is like comparing apples and oranges. Each has it’s unique pros and cons.Also, please don’t try to choose a B-School based on the rankings. These rankings are at best just an indication andat worst, doctored. So don’t EVER try to make decisions based on rankings. There is much more to B-Schools thanthe rankings show. But Still for your knowledge...Here they come.• Career Forum Rating• Discipline-Wise Ranking• Exam-Wise Rating• Parameter-Wise Ranking• Business World Ranking• Business Today Ranking• Outlook Ranking• Business Standard RankingWhat Is Statement Of Purpose (SOP) ? | TopThe Statement of Purpose is the single most important part of your application that will tell the admissionscommittee who you are, what has influenced your career path so far, your professional interests and where you planto go from here.As the name signifies, the Statement of Purpose is your personal statement about who you are, what has influencedyour career path so far, your professional interests and where you plan to go from here. It need not be a baldstatement of facts; several successful SoPs address these questions through anecdotes, stories or by describingtheir hero. But whether your SoP is subtle or to the point, it must be well written to be successful.This is because the SoP is the only part of your application packet over which you have full control. Your academic
and extra-curricular records are in the past. Most people only take one or two shots at the CAT, XAT or GRE, andthese scores could be adversely affected by conditions on the test day. It is important to choose recommendationletter writers carefully, but while you hope they give you the best possible recommendation, this is not within yourcontrol.The SoP is your chance to talk directly to the admissions committee. To makeyourself stand out from among a multitude of similarly qualified candidates. Toconvince the committee that you have the spark, the thirst for knowledge that WHY BOTHER?could add value to your class.Writing a reasonably good Statement of Purpose is not an impossible task. Itrequires care, attention and patience. And enough time for you to be able towrite several drafts, show them to people and polish the essay till you get aversion you are happy with.Done right, this will even turn out to be an enjoyable process. And you will be the richer for it. Read on.What Do Colleges Look For In SOPs ? | TopThe primary question admissions committee members ask themselves when they read a Statement of Purpose is:What does this essay tell me about the person who wrote it?Put yourself in an admission officer’s shoes. From among thousands of applications, you have to choose thefraction of students that will comprise next year’s incoming class. A mix of interesting, confident and enthusiasticpeople who will make the class a stimulating place. Academic achievements and good test scores are important. Butin an era where the majority of applicants have good academic records, it becomes increasingly difficult todistinguish between individuals and decide who gets the offer of admission.When you apply, each of the items in the application packet-recommendations, extra-curricular achievements, work samples - adds an extra dimension to your personality. Butit is the SoP that brings you to life. Which is why each essay is read carefully by at least two and often four or fivepeople before a decision is taken on the application.Does this mean that the SoP is the main deciding factor? No. Your academic record . grades and the courses youtook- are the first section admission committee members turn to. Standardized test scores are useful to know whereyou stand in the applicant pool. For graduate schools, relevant work or academic experience is important. Beingfrom a reputed school or college confers a distinct advantage. What your teachers or boss think of you goes a longway towards the school’s opinion. A good work sample can show your creativity, skill and professionalism.However, only the SoP or application essays can bring out your uniqueness. And therefore make or break yourapplication. An applicant who does not take the essay seriously is throwing away the best opportunity available.So are the admission officers looking for specific personality sorts? Well, yes and no. Creativity, curiosity, pride inyour work, an enthusiasm for learning, a capacity for teamwork, the ability to think independently and so on are allgood attributes, and most of us share these in varying proportions. But what schools look for is a mix of individualsthat together, form a well-balanced class. This would include several personality types.It is good to go through the school’s brochure or web site, speak to people about it, visit if that is possible; get a feelof the student mix that they look for and decide if this is the school for you. However, trying to tailor your SoP toreflect what you think the school is looking for is dangerous business. The people who read your application havebeen doing so for years and are skilled at spotting fakes. They are likely to know soon if a particular author is sayingsomething for effect or if an essay does not ring true. And that means almost certain rejection.What is this, you might ask. Of course we want to have an effect on the admissions officers. The important thing is to
do so without appearing dishonest. If, for instance, you talk about your deep desire to make society a better place,your application should reflect it. Have you done anything about this desire? Can you talk about your actions andexperiences? A small example of something you did, not necessarily spectacular, can do more towards boostingyour chances than the noblest platitude can.Don. t try to be something you are not. Don. t try to tell the admissions committee what you think they want to hear.Be honest, look inside yourself and do your best.Which brings us to the next point - self-knowledge. The people who read your essay want to be convinced that youhave thought long and hard about who you are, what are the things you appreciate, what inspires you. What youwant out of life, and where you are going from here. It is not necessary to have all the answers . after all, severaladmirable people have no idea where they are going even at age 40 or 50. It is necessary to show that you havethought about this. And that these life experiences have taught you something.Finally, you have to show a desire to learn. From your books and teachers, from your classmates, from music or art,from life itself.Starting The Essay | TopWriting your admissions essays or Statement of Purpose (SoP) is a long and intensive process - ten to twelve draftsover a two-month period are fairly common. It is necessary to put in this hard work to come up with an essay that isuniquely yourself, and a compelling read which convinces the admissions committee that you are right for theirschool. This is a great opportunity to look inside yourself and be rewarded by a better understanding of who you areand what you want.Preliminary ResearchWrite out your resume. It is best to get this out of the way so that your SoP is not a repetition of the information inthe resume. It should instead, use the resume as a reference and highlight the learnings you have received duringsome key points in your career. There are a number of sites that help you to write a suitable resume for your collegeapplications. You could also browse your local bookstore for resume-writing aids.Research the institutes you are considering applying to. Find out the strengths and weaknesses of each. Goodsources for this exercise are - university and department web sites and brochures, home pages of students, yourseniors or friends who are studying at that university or in the same field elsewhere, your college professors, friendsin the same field. If it is possible for you to access the university’s web site, find out which professors work in areasthat interest you and write to them about your plans. Some professors respond, some don’t - but you have nothing tolose at this stage. In fact, you could gain a better idea about the areas of research emphasized upon by thatparticular department. After finding out some details about your potential universities, decide whether you still wishto apply there. While you should start work on this as early as possible, recognize that it is a long process and willcontinue through the various stages of writing your SoP. At the same time, you will have to draw the line atbackground research sometime as you are working on a timetable.Visit some web sites that talk about how to write your essay. A search for ‘college admission essays’ on Yahoo willyield some sites. Check out the sample essays. If you do not have easy access to the Internet, go to your localbookstore and browse through a few books. In India, ‘The Princeton Review: The Student Access Guide to CollegeAdmissions’ is good and easily available. Read their section on application essays. Remember that the essays youread are usually the best the authors could find. You are not expected to write as well; most people who getadmission to top schools do notBackground IssuesAsk yourself why you want to study further. Take a piece of paper and start writing down all the reasons. Spendabout half an hour on this, so that you can go beyond clichéd ideas like wanting to improve your prospects or
contribute to society. Write a few sentences on any reason that particularly strikes a chord with you.Make lists of instances you can use in your SoP. For example, if you’ve been asked to talk about an important eventin your life, list down events that have made a significant impression on you. Don’t worry if these are events that arenot ‘conventionally’ important or seem insignificant; what matters is that they have had some influence over you.Similarly, make a list of people you admire or who have influenced you - this could be a friend, a family member, ateacher, etc. and need not necessarily be a famous person.Go through your resume and reflect on what you have learned from your various experiences. How have theymolded your interests and led you to this point? Pick one or two cases that you can talk about in-depth. For graduateschool, it is best to take at least one professional situation and show what you did and learned.Make a list of schools you plan to apply to. As you continue through the background check, you will add a fewuniversities and delete several. A final shortlist of ten to fifteen schools is common. Ask yourself why you wish tostudy at each of the schools you have listed. For graduate study, it is important to ensure that your interests arecompatible with the research interests of the department you are applying to. As you progress through thebackground check and understand more about your interests through subsequent revisions of the SoP, add to andimprove the list.Writing The Essay | TopRead the essay question carefully to find out what the university expects you to write about. While you don’t have tostick to the questions asked, you must be sure to answer them all in your SoP. Refer to your lists of backgroundresearch and write about two handwritten pages in response to the essay question. Go through them the next day.Remember that your essay has the following objectives:Show your interest in the subject. Rather than saying that you find electronics interesting, it is more convincing todemonstrate your interest by talking about any projects you may have done and what you learnt from them. If youhave taken the initiative to do things on your own, now is the time to talk about themShow that you have thought carefully about further studies, know what you are getting into, and have the confidenceto go through with it. Have the admissions committee like you! Avoid sounding opinionated, conceited, pedantic orpatronizing. Read your essay carefully, and have others read it to find and correct this.Demonstrate a rounded personality. Include a short paragraph near the end on what you like to do outside of yourprofessional life. Keep the essay focused. Each sentence you use should strengthen the admissions committee’sresolve to admit you. So while you may have done several interesting things in life, avoid falling into the trap ofmentioning each of them. Your essay should have depth, not breadth. The resume is where you should listachievements. Remember that you have very little space to convey who you are, so make every sentence count.Pitfalls your essay must avoid : It is a repetition of the resume or other information available from the applicationform, It could have been written by just about anybody; your individuality does not come through, It is not a honestaccount in response to the essay question (why you want to study what you do, what you have learned from anevent/person in your life and so on) It has embarrassing, highly personal and emotional content that should beavoided unless it makes a unique, creative point. The admissions committee would not appreciate reading about thepain you went through after breaking up with your boyfriend. An account of how you overcame difficult familycircumstances, illness, or a handicap, would be a valid point to include in your essay. However, avoid emotionallanguage.
Language Issues | TopTake another 7-8 days to write 3-4 more drafts. Go through the objectives and pitfalls often. Refer to, and edit yourlists as you go along.FlowWhile each paragraph should make a complete statement on its own, the essay should logically progress fromparagraph to paragraph. Read your essay for flow, or have someone else read it, and ask yourself if there seems tobe an abrupt shift between ideas in two consecutive paragraphs.StructureThis follows naturally from flow. Do all the paragraphs mesh together to form a cogent whole? Does the essay,through a logical progression of ideas, demonstrate your interest, enthusiasm, and fit in the department you haveapplied to?LanguageAvoid slang and abbreviations. For acronyms, use the full form the first time and show the acronym in parentheses.Use grammatically correct English and ALWAYS read your essay carefully for spelling mistakes before you send itoff - your computer’s spell-check may not flush out all the errors. Try to make your essay crisp, cutting outunnecessary adverbs, articles and pronouns (for instance, a careful reading may yield several “the’s” that aresuperfluous).ToneUse a consistent tone throughout the essay - it will only confuse the admissions officers if you alternately sound likeErnest Hemingway and Shakespeare, and is hardly likely to endear you to them! While you should avoid flowerylanguage and clichés, there is no harm in looking for the most apt phrase or sentence. Be careful while using humor- it can misfire and harm your chances.The ‘In their shoes’ check | TopPut your essay away for a day or two. When you take it out, lay it face down for two minutes while you put yourself inthe admissions committee’s place. Imagine yourself to be a professor or graduate student who is going through afew hundred applications and classifying them into ‘yes’, ‘maybe’ and ‘no’ piles. Think of how you would look atSoPs and try to read yours through a stranger’s eyes. What do you see?• Remember that for graduate school, your essay need not be great writing. What the school is looking for is a competently written statement of goals and interests that demonstrates how you think, whether you have thought through this decision to apply, and whether your interests and strengths fit in with the program you are applying to. To this end, they expect to see the following in an essay – What areas are you interested in and why, How well defined your interests are, Are these interests based on experience (academic or on the job) that the school may find useful, Where do you see these interests taking you,
How do you think graduate school will help you, What experience have you had that will help.Does your essay cover these points? Does it do so in an honest and interesting manner? Many of the studentsapplying will have backgrounds similar to yours, so avoid cliched ideas.• Are you repeating information that is available from the resume? Do so very sparingly, and only if you are making a point about your learnings or achievements during that experience. Weed out all other information that sounds like repetition (it will only irritate the reader), or can be included in your resume, or does not actively contribute towards making a point in your essay.• Does your essay have an interesting beginning? This need not be witty, but should persuade the reader to stay with you.• Have you talked about specific incidents that illustrate your interest or familiarity with the subject, or show something about you? These incidents might include, for example:• A college or work project that was instrumental in confirming your interest in the field (be sure to include a recommendation from your guide!),• Extra-curricular activities that brought out useful aspects in you (leadership skills or team activities are particularly helpful for business school applications!),• A book or person who had a strong influence on you.• Does the essay bring out your personality? Or could it have been written by just about anybody?• Have you mentioned why you are applying to that particular school? Does this section of the essay demonstrate that you have researched the school and the program? DON’T stop at the standard formula phrase, ‘I am applying to XYZ because of it’s great reputation in _______.’• Does your essay flow smoothly? If it is choppy and abruptly jumps from paragraph to paragraph, your readers will have a tough time keeping up. Make it easy on them – smoothen the transition between paragraphs.• Is the tone too formal or not formal enough? Be professional yet informal – the tone you would take with your Principal or Head of Department, for instance.• Does the essay end well? Does it leave the reader with a sense of completion? Avoid usage of cliches like, ‘ I hope the admissions committee finds my application up to their expectations’.This self-check will yield a few ideas for improvement. Use it at least 3-4 times during this last stage of polishing upyour SoP.Polishing The Essay | TopShowing your stuff aroundIt is essential to show your SoP to a few people whose opinion you respect – an English teacher from school, aprofessor, an older friend, a parent or a relative. Include among these, 2-3 people who know you well. Ask yourreaders to pay particular attention to the following points: The beginning and the end – do they hold interest? The logical and smooth flow of ideas – does each paragraph smoothly give way to the next? The structure – does each paragraph bring home a central idea and contribute to the overall ‘feel’ of the essay?Are the paragraphs in proper positions?
The style and language – are they appropriate and consistent? Does the essay have too many cliches? Does itrepeat particular words or phrases too often? Does it have too many superlatives? The tone – is it unnecessarily boastful or overly modest? The quality of the essay – is it boring? Does it bring out the writer’s personality? Does it include superfluousinformation? Or conversely, are there incidents or aspects the essay should mention?Ask your readers to write their comments on the essay. Also, spend some time discussing it with them. Listen totheir suggestions carefully but remember that this is your essay. You don’t have to implement every suggestion,only those that make sense to youThe Final Printout | TopOnce you have the final draft ready (you have to stop sometime!), do the following before you take a final printout:• Run a spelling and grammar check.• Read the essay carefully two-three times for spelling or grammar errors the program did not detect.• Look for and correct any anomalies in spacing, font and margins.• Choose a readable font and size, nothing fancy. Avoid special effects like underlining, boldface and italics (except in the title, if you have one). Don’t use colors. Don’t use special stationery or your letterhead.• Make sure that the school and program mentioned in the essay are correct. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.• Include a header in the top right-hand corner with your name and the name of the program you are applying to. Use a smaller font size for this.• Take a rough print and show it to someone else who can read it over carefully for errors and anomalies.• As far as possible, print out your SoP on a separate sheet of paper. Make sure that the printer cartridge is good enough to print clear, crisp copies. Put in a good-quality sheet of white paper. Keep the printed copy carefully in a folder till you are ready to transfer it to the application envelope.If you must print or write your essay on the application form itself, take a photocopy of the form. Print or write theessay on the copy first, to ensure that it fits easily in the space provided. If it doesn’t, and you don’t have the optionof attaching more pages, cut portions of the essay to reduce its length. This is painful, but a much better idea thanreducing font size to unreadable levels or using tiny, cramped handwriting – the essay should never cause strainwhile reading. While writing by hand, use a good pen, write slowly and carefully and if necessary, draw light pencillines on the form to ensure that your letters are uniform and in a straight line.Making it to the MBA : The Nitty GrittyThis article is basically a bird’s eye-view and a synopsis of the skills required to clear the rigorous entrance tests forthe Indian business schools. We hope that this effort will help the students hone their preparations for the final kill.In this article, we’ll discuss certain basic issues about the selection procedure for MBA.Fact No. 1Any business school in India (or abroad), while selecting students, tries to take those who are suited to itsenvironment and are competent enough to take the rigours of the course. Thus, the entire selection processcomprising the written test, the group discussion (GD) and the personal interview is designed to check three basicskills : A. academic oriented knowledge, B. capacity to take stress and yet produce results and C. communicateintelligently and effectively with other humans. Any MBA aspirant must keep all these in mind while preparing for thetests. Any other approach shall be myopic at best, disastrous at worst.
Fact No. 2Be ready for the worst, the most unexpected and the least desired! This is a fact that astonishes most of the studentsso accustomed to standardized test patterns and the ubiquitous “I-M-P s”. In fact, the moment you decide to enterthe field of high-flying management, you ought to prepare yourself for the rigours of the modern managers’workplace. The truth is : life is unpredictable and the managers’ lives all the more so. These MBA Entrance testsbasically test your innate capacity to react to new situations. So please put away all your school and college timeconceptions and have the “Managerial Mindset,” as we call it. The simple advice is : Prepare your syllabusthoroughly and be ready for any test pattern whatsoever. If your fundamentals are in place, rest assured!!Fact No. 3Knowledge is the most important aspect but it is not everything. Knowledge of academics helps in the written test,knowledge of current affairs helps in the GDs and knowledge of your “Self” helps in the personal interviews. Butmore important than possessing mere knowledge is the art of presenting it. In the written test, you have to be superquick; in the GD, extremely suave and cutting-edge; and in the interview extremely cogent. A bland approach toknowledge gathering can be self-defeating. Ask yourself the simple question : Can I analyse situations ? Can I thinkbeyond the obvious ? Am I a mere database or a thinking human being ?Fact No. 4No matter what happens, concentrate as much as you can on the written test. The reason is pretty simple : if youcrack the written test, you’re miles ahead of the competition. Literally. Hence the cost-benefit analysis proves itbeyond doubt that score maximisation in the written test should be the first priority. This means that : A. You musthave a specific time table for your preparations and B. You must work in every crucial test area (i.e. ReadingComprehension, English Usage, Mathematical Aptitude, and Data Interpretation). From the next article onwards, we’llgive a thorough analysis of each test area and its peculiarities.Fact No. 5Be aware of the extent and magnitude of the competition. Your competition is not only your local area ! It is Delhi,Hyderabad, Pune, Coimbatore, Vijaywada, Bangalore, Mumbai, Baroda, etc. There are students all over the nationfighting for the same few seats in top notch B-schools and you’ll be benchmarked against them. So realize the factthat unless you are ready to give your 100% to the preparations to these tests nothing may come out of it. This is notto scare you but to present the factual picture.Fact No. 6Be Focussed. Except for geniuses, nobody ever made it to the best b-schools in India without a consistent, smartand dedicated study schedule. As you prepare for the test, again and again mull over the basic tricks of shortcuts,try working backwards from the options wherever possible and devise your own strategies to crack new types ofproblems. This needs time. And you should be ready to put it in. When you are 4 or 5 weeks into your preparations,you should be able to identify your core strengths and weaknesses. Build upon your strengths and ensure that theweaknesses are not too damaging. Thus, for ex. if you’re basically good at English, you must crack the RC and EUsections in MBA tests at the same time ensuring that your quantitative portions are not left out. (Remember : in mostexams every section carries a cutoff limit).Fact No. 7Be sensible and prepare for the GD and Interview stage right from now. In fact, reasonably sensible students neednot be told that when they are preparing for the RC section in CAT, they’re automatically getting prepared for the GDpart of it. Make your informal groups and at least for 30 min per day, discuss current issues and general topics. Don’tget bogged down by GDs. It should be a simple and pleasant exercise for you before the written test. Be careful :your prime focus now is cracking as many Written Tests as possible. As far as the PIs are concerned, remember thatacademics and personal background may play the most crucial part in it.Fact No. 8Visit libraries. Read diverse stuff. With every new type of book you read, your horizons get even broader. This is acrucial difference between successful students and unsuccessful ones. An average metro student would have beenexposed, by virtue of an active environment, to English books and newspapers all through his life. This develops thepositive mindset towards the language which in turn may help tremendously in the language sections in the writtentest and later on at the GD stage. You must try to develop this mindset for yourself. Always have a good friend circleand discuss things with them. Break the mental barriers. It helps.Fact No. 9No teacher in the world can make a champion out of you in a few months. If you have never participated in any extra-curricular activity, if you’ve never read anything apart from the textbooks, if you don’t have any hobby at all, if youread English newspapers because your teacher asks you to do so, then it’s not adding up. You must have a good
profile : What’s your niche after all ? Think about it. You ought to have a USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Try tovisualise it from the examiner’s point of view. Out of a mass of thousands of aspirants, why should he choose youafter all. This is the crux of the matter.Fact No. 10YOU CAN DO IT. Clearing the MBA tests is a matter of consistent drive, determination and dedication. Asencapsulated in our catchphrase “Vision, Power, Drive”, we urge you to get started now!!YOU CAN DO IT. Clearing the MBA tests is a matter of consistent drive, determination and dedication. Asencapsulated in our catchphrase “Vision, Power, Drive”, we urge you to get started now!!The A to Z of MBA PreparationMBA entrance today is one of the most coveted career pathway as seen by the young graduates and college goingstudents. Needless to emphasize, that MBA offers every aspirant a challenge to make it to a Top B-school,Perseverance to survive the grind at the B-School , consequently followed by a very bright and lucrative career.However clearing the MBA entrance requires specific traits and preparation. These traits are an integral part of apersonality of a student and have to be inculcated as strong values to be made a part of their own system oflearning.The A to Z of these values can be listed as follows:Attitude - MBA entrance is all about a perfect mix of attitude and aptitude. These primarily include Speed & Accuracy,Language Skills, Quantitative skills, Personality, Communication skills & Sincerity. Only a perfect Fit of all thesequalities will make it through.Balance - In your approach to preparation a balance is a must. Focus on all the test area specifically and not over door under do a test area. Usually a student fails to perform only on account of a test area he has been strong in andtherefore had been neglecting it during preparatory stage.Conviction - MBA entrance is all about a perfect mix of attitude and aptitude. These primarily include Speed &Accuracy, Language Skills, Quantitative skills, Personality, Communication skills & Sincerity. Only a perfect Fit of allthese qualities will make it through.Direction – It is imperative to give yourself a proper direction for career pathway i.e. if you are appearing for MBAentrance, focus on it as a Career Alternative and just an entrance exam, Management has to be taken up as aprofession and not a mere source of Income.Efficacy - Doing right things is also equally important to efficiency (doing things right). It is possible that you may besolving the mock entrance papers with correct techniques, but are focusing on the areas that need to be developedat the same time, analysing your approach for a better score in the test paper?Face it - Take the MBA entrance preparations head on. It is possible that initially you may feel let down looking atyour performance in the mock papers but every thing takes time, and you have to face it “Rome was not built in aday”Gear up - For the challenge ahead. Just when you think you have got the grip on vocabulary for example , you mightsimply lose points on account of the same. This happens, you must gear up for the element of surprise in the MBEentrance test paper.Home work - Do your homework before you attempt any national level MBA entrance test. Know the patterns of thequestion papers in the past, analyse and formulate a strategy to attempt it, manage you time effectively. Bottom line,go prepared.
Introspection – Do your SWOT analysis, find out the areas you are weak in. If you are unable to improve your scoresin RC (Reading Comprehension), chances are that your reading habits have not been strong or focused on reading avariety of topics. Work on it, start reading today, it is never to late.Judge your improvement - During your preparation focus on improvements and not just high scores have youimproved on the test taking techniques ? , have you been able to manage your time well in the test ? evaluate yourperformance and be discreet in your judgment.Killer Instinct - Approach the preparations with a Do or Die attitude, tell yourself “ I am going to make it even if ittakes working long hours and late nights for the preparation“Like what you do - Many students indicate “I hate reading philosophy !!” well how do you plan to face aphilosophical passage in the RC section in an exam for all you know it might have 12 questions attached to it. Youcannot afford to ignore it honestly you do not have much of a choice but to fall in love with reading, preparing on thetopics you hate or don’t know.Maturity - Approach your preparations with maturity. Accept first that you need to learn and that there is much moreto learn than what you know. This is the first step for preparation.Nitty Gritty - Work on the detailing. Check out whether or not you have been able to rectify the errors you made plusalso work on the time factor i.e. could you have solved the same question which you got right in lesser time?Optimistic attitude - Attitude makes a difference in the kind of scores you can expect. Focus on it for making thingshappen for yourself and refrain from thinking parameters like “this is too tough, not meant for me” or “This is solengthy, how can a person ever attempt the whole section?”Perseverance - Keep working no matter what it takes. You cannot afford to take anything for granted or leave it tochance; your career is on the line. Perseverance is the golden key, things might just happen to be in your favour atthe last minute and you would realise “Thank goodness I worked on it. I can handle it now”Quality + Quantity - Blindly solving examples 50 questions a day or 100 questions a day or 2 papers a day etc. doesnot help go in for the right kind of quantity, get your technique right by using qualitative preparatory material.Reading - Bead, read and yet more read. Read magazines, Newspapers, Reference books, Management books, etc.enough is never enough, you will realise when it all adds up in the end.Sincerity - To self and cause is a pre requisite for MBA entrance preparation. Students tend to lose focus after awhile and try to find out short cuts to learning, cramming, not solving enough examples or even not even revisingregularly remember you need to be sincere to yourself, you are doping for yourself and your career.Tolerance - To handle frustration and failures. Start with acceptance that “Yes I failed” or “I did not get good enoughmarks because I messed up” the fact that you have scored less only indicates that you still have a scope to improvedrastically. Use you performance benchmarks to motivate yourself and a tool for improvement. For this you need todevelop Tolerance.Ultimatum - Give yourself an ultimatum. “its now or never. I have to make it happen” This will help you to boost yourmorale and make you work still more and especially when you need it the most.Vision and Values - A vision for self is a must. Look at your self 25 years from now. How do you want to see yourselfdown the career pathway? Self employed as a consultant or a manufacturer or an exporter; or in the corporate sectoras a CEO. Think about it. 100 years from now when none of us reading this article would be alive, how would you likeyourself to be remembered as…? Give yourself a vision combine it with values and look at MBA as a mere steppingstone to achieving it.Wisdom - To work and plan out well in advance. Do not leave anything for the last minute. It is advisable to start atleast 12 to 18 months in advance to give yourself a cutting edge.
Yen - For success (a strong urge/desire – fire in the belly as we say)Zeal - To reach the Pinnacle of a Successful Career PathwayOur Future - Give it a thought Now !Swami Vivekanand has so pithily put it : “All of us wish to be kings but few realize that the crown will come to us onits own the day we are ready for it.”Outdated though we may think our own thinkers are, but the above statement by Swami has never been morerelevant! Today when we see huge masses of our youth desperately struggling to gain a foothold in the intenselycompetitive marketplace and to carve a niche for themselves, we do get a feel that something somewhere is amiss.An analysis of the successful clearly tells that there is much more than conventional education that has gone intotheir making...in fact, the contribution of regular university education can be dramatically low in many cases.So, if a young man decides today to make his own mark, what should be an ideal game plan ? Let us try and listdown certain rules-of-thumb. These can serve as a good indicator and a general road-map.First of all, one must start early. It gives one the terrific advantage of planning at a leisurely pace and thenimplementing the plan systematically. This also gives you an ample leeway to effect changes to the plan dependingon expert advice from time to time. To develop such a plan, you must consult as many experts (or so-called experts!)as possible. It helps...in any case several brains are better than one.Secondly, you must work on multiple plans at the same time. What this means is that tying your horses to just onepost may be a fatal strategy. So in case a particular game-plan does not work out, you must have an alternative back-up present. Having a knee-jerk reaction to situations may not be the best thing to do.Thirdly, diversify your skill-set. This, you will realize in due course of time, is possibly the best preparation you cando for the future. Thus, not only should you be good at your core competence i.e. your chosen field of academics,you should also be good at supportive skills like working knowledge of computers, latest trends in informationtechnology, at least 2 major languages including English, at least one well-known game or sport, extensive readingskills, interpersonal human skills, and at least one strong hobby. This combination will prepare you adequately forthe future work-place where getting ahead is more a function of personality skills and presentation capabilities thanmere bookish knowledge. Worst of all, these can not be done at all after you finish your schooling...these thingsneed time, a lot of time and must start during the school days.One caveat though : Diversification of skill set should not at all mean that one should be scared of specialising in askill. It simply means keeping your wild-cards open till the last moment.Fourthly, be cosmopolitan. Develop a liberal mind-set. Be open to radical ideas and different thoughts, whilemaintaining your own identity. The rate at which all the economies are opening up and disparate cultures are comingtogether is a clear pointer to the fact that narrow-minded, parochial and provincial mindsets will not be able tointegrate themselves wholly with the mainstream in the coming millennium. Suffocating boundaries of gender, caste,creed, religion, language and region will be as anachronous in the working place of the next millennium as a steamengine is today! Your success will be largely determined by your capacity to integrate yourself in a largelycosmopolitan workplace.Finally, understand clearly that experience of the past is possibly the worst indicator of what lies ahead ! In fact, theconverse may be true !! Thus, the only thing that we might learn from our past experience is that the entire world ischanging at a breakneck speed and in order to stay where you are you need to run pretty fast. Constant up gradationof skills, regular learning process and a creative bent of mind is the basis of future progress.As a young man keen on breaking new grounds, you must learn to manage your time well, remain self-disciplinedand be as open to criticism as possible. Nothing is sacrosanct....business policies that worked in the past areanachronistic today. Thinking about your future must involve discounting newer technological developments as fastas possible. The employer of the future will be keener to recruit a holistic individual rather than a mere specialist whois found wanting in personality areas. Do not harbour the typically public-sector-like romantic notion that youremployer is responsible for ensuring your life-long job....it could well be exactly the opposite. In this age ofretrenchment of the inefficient and survival of the fittest (no social Darwinism intended!), there is little that anyonecan do for an inefficient, outdated and outclassed individual. (Pity that the Indian PSUs still need to understand this!)
Rise, Awaken, Shine.... ...and Define your own destiny !!Culture and Education Systematic education is the cumulative effort on part of the human society, and especially the established interests, to perpetuate in the coming generations the knowledge, the skills and the traditions that have been accumulated over the years through collective human effort. This is possibly a very cosmopolitan definition of education and it is unlikely that any education system in the world would be actually ensuring the most democratic distribution of knowledge. What happens practically is that education gets segmented and parochial. It starts catering to local interests and provincialism rather than focusing on developing a broad minded individual capable of seeing through things and taking his own decisions. Talking of culture, what comes to mind (at least my mind) is possibly a very rigid definition of human mores and customs and the way we are supposed to behave in a society. Culture again is a diffused concept taking into account several aspects of human existence and it is almost impossible to define it in a compartmentalized manner or a rigid manner taking into account all its aspects. Over the past 100 years or so, human society in general and western society in particular has witnessed a dramatic change in value systems and traditional approaches. Rigid mindsets and Victorian values have given way to open minded liberalism, provincial lifestyles have been replaced by a cosmopolitan outlook and the overall growth, spread and development of globalization and liberalization has ensured a “global culture.” Given these realities, the issue of “culture and education” or “culture v/s education” becomes extremely crucial and deserves the most open minded appreciation. What we find is that every society has started feeling a need for its own definition of what constitutes the “right” thing for them—this may not be what is right for the others... Also we find a hankering for the past values, despite apparent victory and success of the present ones. This brings to mind the open contradiction in the process of growth of a young human individual. What I feel is necessary is : --- an open debate as to what liberalism actually means and to what extent can individual human independence be guaranteed without affecting societal good --- who gets the right to define what culture is and more important what “cultural imperialism” is ? --- should our young people not be left free to decide for themselves, given the right kind of education, what is right and what is wrong for them ? --- should educational institutes become a status quo perpetrating mechanism or should they actually encourage students and young people to break free of shackles and stereotyped moulds? I believe that the answer to the question lies in the above. For each one of us, it might be different but then, that is what makes us human! Isn’t it ? Let us take a broad-minded view of life as it shall be in the net millennium. It might be important lest we should be left irrelevant in the global scheme of things. At the same time, let us not underrate the collective intelligence gathered by man over millennia. Ultimately it is going to be a delicate balancing act. How to Shortlist a Business School
There are over 900 B-schools in India - and about half a dozen rankings. All schools look good on paper, but therankings vary widely... so how do you weed out the wannabees? Here is a frame work yu can use to shortlist aschool.ALUMNI STRENGTH : If a school’s alumni occupy senior positions in major corporates, you can bet the school has astrong standing - or goodwill - in the corporate world. This goodwill directly translates into better placements.Naturally, an older school will have a larger alumni network. You can get an idea of the alumni network from theschool brochure, and the current students.BOARDING PROGRAMME VERSUS DAY SCHOOL : In a typical B-School, classes are held for just four hours perday, but a student ends up working for more than 10 hours. Thus, a lot of learning happens outside the classroomthrough group tasks like case study analysis, projects, presentations, research etc. Besides assessing personalitydevelopment, these group tasks also help the student learn from the knowledge and experience of his peers. Aboarding programme offers much more opportunity for this kind of learning. Therefore, B-Schools with a compulsoryboarding programme are rated higher than those with a day programme. Another benefit of the boarding programmeis the increased usage of facilities such as the library and the computer center.DIRECTOR AND THE ACADEMIC TEAM : The director plays a very important role in building a B-Schools reputation.For example, MDI shot into the limelight once Pritam Singh became it’s Director. Now that Singh has moved to IIM-L,a lot is expected from that school. If nothing else, a visionary director ensures that the quality of teaching is aboveaverage.AFFILIATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS : Many MBA courses are launched in collaboration with a reputed foreignbusiness school. For instance, IIM-A started off in active collaboration with the Harvard Business School. Thesedays schools also have partners for student and faculty exchange. The reputation of partner schools and theirinternational rankings can tell you a lot about the B-School.AUTONOMOUS VERSUS UNIVERSITY AFFILIATED PROGRAMMES : Contrary to the common perception, anautonomous school is rated higher than a school with a university affiliations. Affiliated programmes are usuallyburdened with excessive bureaucracy, which can come in the way of fine tuning the course in line with industrystandards. SP Jain was initially affiliated to the Mumbai University but soon opted for autonomy - since by then ithad carved an enviable position for itself.RESERVATIONS : Reservations of any kind can lead to a mediocre student body. All B-Schools that are part of theMaharashtra CET, suffer from this drawback: the number of seats for students from outside is less than 10%.Thebatch composition is skewed in favour of a certain region and this can create an unfavourable impression onrecruiters.LOCATION OF THE INSTITUTE : If the school is new, it’s location does affect placements. An HR manager wouldthink twice before devoting 2 days time to go to a remote area. On the other hand, new B-Schools situated in themetros or highly industrialized locations might find it easier to attract companies. Of course, location is not much ofa problem once the school has been able to build a reputation in the market.PLACEMENTS : Placement is a crucial factor most students look for. As we all see it, all the above parameters havean impact on the placements. Companies will do their own assessment of a school based on the above parameters.You should not go by the last years placement figures alone. Placements in a particular year may have been anaberration or simply the results of a great economic boom ( or bust). So look for the placements for at least threeyears - an average will give a much better picture.Preparation Schedule | Top
How you prepare is more important than how much you are preparing. The success at CAT every year is a functionof both level of preparedness and method adopted for it. The idea behind giving this write-up is to help students plantheir step wise preparation in the best possible manner to get maximum benefit out of IMS training program.The three stage of MBA preparation:- Basic Concept Build-Up- Test Taking skill and practice- and GD/PI & GK PreparationBasic Concept Build-UpThis is the basic foundation of your preparation. All coaching Institutes provides you Basic Reference Materials( withdifferent names); its purpose is to introduce various concepts and problems on all the topics across all the sectionsof CAT. A thorough reading of it should suffice for students from Maths or Engineering background. However forstudents from non-maths background additional reference is suggested. Quicker Maths – M.Tyra, Mathematics forMBA – R.S Agarwal. The objective is to get thorough with basic concepts and get introduced to different type ofproblems.Short Cut Techniques :One myth need to be cleared please understand short-cut for all questions are not possible. Don’t try to rememberany formula for short-cut it always leads to confusion rather than help. Learn faster calculation and adopt theattitude of making approximation as much as possible. Read first 5 chapters of either M.Tyra or Trachenberg for this.Test Taking Skills :How much time to devote to each section, which section to start off. These are some basic question are encounteredby everyone. Now there is no definite answer for this, it depends upon individual’s comfort which he develops bysheer practice.Schedule of PreparationLast Week August – Completion of BRM of all sections followed by one week of revision.1st to 15th Sept – Part B section test and Comprehensive Test + 2 SIM CATs. This will .give a complete picture of your strength and weakness.No reference to BRM should be done after this.3rd Week of Sept - Revision of all class test (all important questions) and part –B1st Oct to 15th Nov – Only test practice + SIM CATs.On 21st Nov – Best Wishes to all of you..
This schedule is specific to those taking coaching from IMS, but others can also co-relate this by just changing theterminology. For example, TIME students read SIM CATs as AIMCATs etc. Besides it is highly recommended that allthose who are preparing should DEFINITELY go in for SIM CATs conducted by IMS, since it is the mostcomprehensive and exhaustive test around and the results most accurately predict actual CAT results.Download my exclusive preparation schedule here.How to Shortlist a Business SchoolThere are over 900 B-schools in India - and about half a dozen rankings. All schools look good on paper, but therankings vary widely... so how do you weed out the wannabees? Here is a frame work yu can use to shortlist aschool.ALUMNI STRENGTH : If a school’s alumni occupy senior positions in major corporates, you can bet the school has astrong standing - or goodwill - in the corporate world. This goodwill directly translates into better placements.Naturally, an older school will have a larger alumni network. You can get an idea of the alumni network from theschool brochure, and the current students.BOARDING PROGRAMME VERSUS DAY SCHOOL : In a typical B-School, classes are held for just four hours perday, but a student ends up working for more than 10 hours. Thus, a lot of learning happens outside the classroomthrough group tasks like case study analysis, projects, presentations, research etc. Besides assessing personalitydevelopment, these group tasks also help the student learn from the knowledge and experience of his peers. Aboarding programme offers much more opportunity for this kind of learning. Therefore, B-Schools with a compulsoryboarding programme are rated higher than those with a day programme. Another benefit of the boarding programmeis the increased usage of facilities such as the library and the computer center.DIRECTOR AND THE ACADEMIC TEAM : The director plays a very important role in building a B-Schools reputation.For example, MDI shot into the limelight once Pritam Singh became it’s Director. Now that Singh has moved to IIM-L,a lot is expected from that school. If nothing else, a visionary director ensures that the quality of teaching is aboveaverage.AFFILIATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS : Many MBA courses are launched in collaboration with a reputed foreignbusiness school. For instance, IIM-A started off in active collaboration with the Harvard Business School. Thesedays schools also have partners for student and faculty exchange. The reputation of partner schools and theirinternational rankings can tell you a lot about the B-School.AUTONOMOUS VERSUS UNIVERSITY AFFILIATED PROGRAMMES : Contrary to the common perception, anautonomous school is rated higher than a school with a university affiliations. Affiliated programmes are usuallyburdened with excessive bureaucracy, which can come in the way of fine tuning the course in line with industrystandards. SP Jain was initially affiliated to the Mumbai University but soon opted for autonomy - since by then ithad carved an enviable position for itself.RESERVATIONS : Reservations of any kind can lead to a mediocre student body. All B-Schools that are part of theMaharashtra CET, suffer from this drawback: the number of seats for students from outside is less than 10%.Thebatch composition is skewed in favour of a certain region and this can create an unfavourable impression onrecruiters.LOCATION OF THE INSTITUTE : If the school is new, it’s location does affect placements. An HR manager wouldthink twice before devoting 2 days time to go to a remote area. On the other hand, new B-Schools situated in themetros or highly industrialized locations might find it easier to attract companies. Of course, location is not much ofa problem once the school has been able to build a reputation in the market.
PLACEMENTS : Placement is a crucial factor most students look for. As we all see it, all the above parameters havean impact on the placements. Companies will do their own assessment of a school based on the above parameters.You should not go by the last years placement figures alone. Placements in a particular year may have been anaberration or simply the results of a great economic boom ( or bust). So look for the placements for at least threeyears - an average will give a much better picture.What makes a Good MBA Candidate ?Just wanting the degree is not enough. The strongest candidates competing to gain admission into graduatebusiness schools are very focused on their intended career paths. They are reasonably clear about what is needed toget there and what it takes to be successful. Are you one of those people? Can you compete favorably in theapplicant pool?The MBA is designed for people who want to learn about business across many different disciplines. But schoolswant you to have already identified an area of interest that you plan to pursue after you obtain this broad base ofknowledge. Most MBA programs do not provide the time to find those interests during the course of study, so youneed to have a good sense of what you are planning to do with the degree.Business school admissions counselors want to see evidence of your professional interests to ensure that you willtake full advantage of the MBA program. At a minimum, they consider career history and aspirations, evidence ofleadership potential, and academic achievement. Therefore, the typical MBA candidate has several years of full-time,post-undergraduate work experience in a responsible capacity and can clearly articulate his or her motivations forwanting to earn an MBA.Signs That You Are Not ReadyTo be ready for business school, you must have a clear picture of what you want to do with an MBA.You are not ready if:Your career goals are no more specific than “I want to manage people” or “I want to command a higher salary.”There are more would-be MBAs than seats available in MBA programs. You will be competing against candidateswho can articulate why they want the degree and relate their goals to the strengths of a particular program.Experience has shown that applicants without clear goals will not have them by graduation. Although you mayadjust your original plan while in business school, having that focus from the start is the key to challenging yourassumptions and exploring an MBA field in depth.You are avoiding the job market by buying additional time in school. This is an expensive way to plan for your future.It also misses a major point: You should choose a school because it matches your academic and career interests. Allprograms are better at some things than others. What criteria are important to you?Courtesy (www.mba.com)Preparation Schedule | TopHow you prepare is more important than how much you are preparing. The success at CAT every year is a functionof both level of preparedness and method adopted for it. The idea behind giving this write-up is to help students plantheir step wise preparation in the best possible manner to get maximum benefit out of IMS training program.