NSITonline

Agrim Kumar

 When did you realize that you wanted to go for an MBA?

Though the inclination towards an MBA was there from much earlier but it was at the beginning of my third year, that I decided MBA was what I wanted to do after completing my graduation.

 In your opinion what are the skills that are essential in a CAT aspirant?

Strong logical and analytical abilities, a queer common sense and a keen sense of observation with an oriented outlook are foundational. Being engineers we do have a distinct advantage in ¾ sections of the test consisting of Quantitative, Data interpretation and Logical ability. It’s mostly about handling the pressure on the D-day and maximizing your score. Accuracy matters a lot, hence it is important to be sure of your answers, because due to normalization an incorrect answer may be penalized very heavily while calculating the final percentile. *

 According to you what is the ideal time to start preparing for MBA?

The ideal time to start preparing would be around June, during the summer breaks, though it may clash with placement preparation, but its not that much effort. Solving as many tests: full length is the key to maximizing the score. There is not much preparation one can do except practice and working on one’s weak areas. The thing that helped me the most were the full length tests. The more the number of papers you attempt, the better you will feel about your preparation. It’s all about confidence and keeping your cool on the D-day after all.

 What are the various rounds of CAT selection procedure? Kindly brief us a little on each of them.

The first round is the online test CAT , which comprises of 2 sections:

a) Quantitative and Data Interpretation section

b) Verbal and logical ability section

 After you get your cat scores and the calls, the procedure depends on the individual IIMs.

Such as:

IIM A : Written Ability Test of around 10 mins and an interview which lasts for 30-40 mins and mostly focuses upon your academics at under grads, basic mathematics- arithmetic and calculus and current affairs.

IIM B: i) WAT comprises of essay writing and lasts for 30 mins followed by a similar interview.

IIM C i) WAT : 15 mins essay writing test.

ii) GD (10 mins): on the same topic as WAT. First the candidate are given the time to complete their WAT and then the GD takes place.

iii) Interview: It’s generally short – mostly mathematics, general knowledge and Personal queries (like why MBA and Long term, short term goals etc.)

IIM L: Almost same as IIM C

 

For an undergrad doing B.Tech, what are the major areas, academically and non-academically where one must work upon to excel in CAT screening?

Acads: Be thorough with atleast 2-3 subjects of your choice of the 7th Sem , as the interview takes place around March . Brushing up basic mathematics fundamentals: Calculus, Differential Equations etc. helps.

Non Acads: Be aware of the important happenings across the globe, reading the newspaper is a must. And keep a little knowledge about some general Economics fundaes and Business News.

 MBA has been always clichéd with experience requirement tag, you definitely beat that with your pioneering achievement, in your opinion, how much is the role of work experience in the selection process?

It does play an important role, as being a fresher you aren’t very sure of what you want to do , but this kind of provides you with the diversity advantage, as at a B school or anywhere else diverse opinions and different perspectives are always valued , and this is what a fresh graduate brings to the table. Freshers are generally preferred in IIM C and B , not that much in A though. There are currently 109 freshers in IIM B and a similar no. in C as well.

 The popular perception in NSIT is that an external help/CAT coaching is mandatory. What are views on the same?

Mandatory may be too harsh a word, though it does have its advantages. The most value that I got from my coaching was the sheer number of mock tests they made me attempt. Giving N number of mock tests and then analyzing them really helped me a lot. After our CAT results were announced the coaching centre arranged for Mock PI and “Gyaan” sessions which really helped me a lot.

 How did you manage things in your final year, sitting for company interviews alongside your exhaustive CAT preparations?

I was very clear that an MBA is what I wanted to do after my UG, hence I decided not to prepare and sit for placements.

 Give us an insight into your life at IIM? How is it different from the time spent at NSIT?

The workload is definitely more over here. We are always chasing crazy deadlines for submissions over here. The only sigh of relief is the weekends where we get to blow off a little bit of steam, to wait for it to start all over again on Monday. But its really fun to be that busy as well, being a completely different experience to which I am not accustomed to, and we really do get to a learn a lot here from the projects assigned to us.

 Which department are you associated with and what kind of projects do you get to work upon?

First year is common for everyone and we are not segregated into any departments . We were assigned multiple group projects during our first term here, some of them are listed below:

a) Analyzing balance sheets of companies, trying to analyze market trends and growth prospects for our Financial Accounting project.

b) Studying the behavior of employees and the work culture of a company for our Managing Organization Course.

c) Making a short film and studying different segments of our society for our Business, Government and Society’s course.

 Getting a call from the most prestigious MBA College in India, would you like to reminisce the incredible moment with us?

The first thing that comes to my mind when I remember the day results were declared is getting beaten up and then partying the whole day. I distinctly remember the time when I was about to go to play football in the afternoon and someone came rushing to my room telling that the results had been declared. I still remember the anxiety and relief that I felt on finally making it to “C”, getting beaten up in the hostel thereafter and immediately leaving to celebrate as another friend of mine had also made it there. Similar scene occurred when “B” results came out that very evening and the second beating was even crazier and went on for quite a while and later on the celebrations that went on till early morning. I will always cherish this one.

 

* The above mentioned piece of information is purely personal and has no proof, its just my personal views based on the interaction with several candidates.

Sonakshi Behl

The quest for a pure consulting profile job-which NSITians are not offered during placements in any consulting firm, is what made Sonakshi Behl, a graduate in Instrumentation and Control engineering, go for an MBA. Here she shares her journey to IIM Indore.  

When did you realize that you wanted to go for an MBA? What was the thinking process behind it?  

My decision to pursue an MBA course wasn’t really a one off event but a gradual development of interest in this course. I really got interested in consulting as a profession after my 2nd year when I started reading the case books such as Wharton case guide, Wetfeet casebook etc. , interacted with my seniors regarding the non-tech firms like Bain, McKinsey that visit our campus, participated in case study competitions conducted by consulting club etc. I got deeply inclined towards consulting. However engineers are usually offered an analyst role in the data analytics arm of these major consulting firms. For a pure consultant profile, an MBA course becomes imperative as major consulting firms offer consulting profile only at top B-schools. Hence, after much consultation with NSIT seniors at reputed B-schools, I decided to go for an MBA right after my graduation.  

I feel that an MBA course is not only imperative from the point of view of changing one’s domain from a technical to a non-technical job such as finance, consulting, sales and marketing etc. , it is also a great course from higher education perspective, irrespective of which domain you want to embark your career in, for two reasons. Firstly, in the long run we all wish to take up higher management roles in a firm (whether you have a technical or a non-technical job) and MBA can really accelerate this process .Secondly the course, with its panorama of activities and teaching pedagogy it offers, helps in inculcating a diversified skill set which is highly valuable for a successful corporate career in the long run.  

Why did you choose to go for IIM instead of some good B-School abroad? 

Needless to say, the tag “IIM” is huge brand equity in Indian education and employment scenario. Not only are the IIMs valued for the high quality of education they offer but also for promising career opportunities they offer. Since an MBA from abroad is an expensive proposition and is well suited after gaining work experience of at least 2 years, I decided to go for MBA from a reputed IIM since I was more inclined towards pursuing it right after engineering. Moreover, the placement scenario of IIMs is very promising if not better than many B-schools abroad.  

In your opinion what are the skills that are essential in a CAT aspirant?  

If we were to look at the selection process for IIMs, the necessary skills and qualities can be classified into two buckets. First is essentially a good command on quantitative ability and English language. The candidate must be quick with numbers, have strong mathematics fundamentals and logical reasoning. For acing the verbal section, the candidate must be a quick reader. Needless to say, all this requires rigorous practice; hence the student must be consistent and regular in his preparation.  

The second stage of selection process i.e. written ability test and personal interviews are a test of a person’s awareness of his own self and his surrounding and how well you articulate your thoughts in oral and on paper. Hence, any sincere CAT aspirant should be well aware of the current happenings which can happen through regular newspaper reading. He should also have decent writing skills.  

Lastly it is imperative that the candidate have a good extracurricular record. It shows that the candidate is enthusiastic, high on participation, takes initiative and is a good manager of time.

According to you what is the ideal time to start preparing for MBA?  

I feel the ideal time to start CAT preparation is anytime during the 5th semester in October to just the ending of 5th semester in December. It is neither too early that by the time CAT exam comes you have almost forgotten a few topics you did almost a year back nor is it too late that you don’t get time to do a few topics thoroughly. It gives you the whole of 6th semester to do each topic thoroughly at your pace, solve ample questions from various sources. One advice to save your time later when that Cat exam is just a month away, is to make notes during your initial phase of preparations so that you can make quick reference to them during revision. After the 6th semester, you should ideally focus on taking the mock tests during the summer holidays and ensuring you do an analysis after each mock test. Then you should utilise the months of September and October to recollect all that you have done and focus on your problem areas. Solve the previous years’ problems with focus on speed now i.e. solving problems accurately as quickly as possible.  

What are the various rounds of CAT selection procedure? Kindly brief us a little on each of them.  

The first stage is the online CAT examination. Every year, some surprise element is thrown in. Last year, the exam comprised of two sections of 70 minutes each. The first section was Quantitative ability and Data interpretation while the second section was Verbal and logical reasoning. The time was non-transferable. It was a test of speed as the questions were not very tough. To ace this stage, one must ensure to not waste a lot of time on a question and quickly attempt the ones you find easy and then revert to the difficult ones.  

The second stage is the written ability test which primarily comprises of summary writing and essay writing. A paragraph is given and you have to write the summary of it in about 120 words. The essay writing is a 40 minute activity and you are expected to write an essay of about 300 words .The topics are quite general and related to current happenings in the country and the world. For example, my topic was- India is a very soft target for its neighbours who are its enemies in disguise. In this stage, the candidate is tested on his content- his opinion on the world happenings at large, his organisation and articulation of ideas along with command over English language.  

The final stage is the Personal interview where usually the candidates are asked HR questions like Why MBA, Why this college, one’s short term and long term goals, strengths and weaknesses, questions related to ones positions of responsibilities etc. Freshers are also tested on academics so it is important to brush up the concepts once. Discussion can also happen on current happenings so one must have awareness as well as opinion on all recent news.  

For an undergrad doing B. Tech, what are the major areas, academically and non- academically where one must work upon to excel in CAT screening?  

For stage one, a B. Tech student must typically focus on verbal section especially those who aren’t into the habit of reading. Sometimes the reading comprehensions and phrasal verbs are difficult. So, they must focus on verbal. Though typically engineers are known to be sound in Quant, this may not necessarily be true for everyone. So it is imperative for the aspirant to identify their strengths and weaknesses and try to improve their accuracy in their weaker section and improve their speed in the stronger section.  

Preparing alone for the CAT exam is not necessary to ensure admission into a B-School. One must simultaneously begin preparation for later rounds as well as it cannot be done over a few weeks. You must ensure to read newspapers daily and some basic awareness of the current state of the Indian and world economy. Apart from that, you must ensure that you are thorough with your major engineering subjects. Usually the questions are related to basic fundamentals. Also try to read about that particular industry. For example, Instrumentation and control engineers should be aware of the state of the power industry in India etc.  

Non-academically, one must strive to participate in extracurricular activities and be part of some club or society in college. It helps to let the interviewer know that the student is  a well-rounded personality and possess skills like working in a team, managing time well etc. Ideally, you must do one good internship, one good project in college and have at least 2-3 positions of responsibility. However, do get involved with them and don’t just be a part of them for resume point’s sake.  

MBA has been always clichéd with experience requirement tag, you definitely beat that with your pioneering achievement, in your opinion, how much is the role of work experience in the selection process?  

Having experienced the selection process myself and now being there, I can say that the work experience requirement is a myth. Some years ago, it was definitely difficult for freshers to get in, but over the years, the scenario has drastically changed. In fact, this year, the ratio of freshers to work experience students stands as high as 2:3. There can be no better time for any fresher to get admission to an IIM. Moreover, the talk of difficulty of freshers coping up with the course is a myth too. It only requires hard work to fare well in a MBA course. 

What are the types of activities you indulged in during your time at NSIT that in your opinion charted you towards your goal?

In my first semester itself, I participated in the B-plan competition held during Innovision and stood fourth. This was the very beginning of my interest in this field. I went on to be a part of the E-Cell at NSIT. It helped me in a major way to interact with seniors who were extremely talented and preparing for CAT themselves and later went on to join reputed IIMs. They not only inspired me but provided me the right guidance in my preparation. The most important need is to strike a balance between academics and extra-curricular. Academics are an extremely important part that cannot be neglected at any cost. Apart from managing my academics, I actively took part in major events happening on campus. I was part of E-cell and Crosslinks. I organised events during Moksha and Innovision, worked for the sponsorship and marketing departments and attended useful lectures like TED, SEBI workshop etc. All this helps not only in building a strong profile but also in networking and imbibing vital skills like leadership, effective communication and time management.

The popular perception in NSIT is that an external help/CAT coaching is mandatory. What are your views on the same?  

I’d say that taking external coaching is certainly not mandatory but it is definitely useful as it helps us plan our time better and be more regular and consistent with our preparation. According to me, the Test series are a must to take if one wishes to fare well in CAT. They really help in identifying the very specific weak areas to be worked upon. I took CL as well as TIME test series and found them very useful. Moreover, we meet other CAT aspirants at these coaching centres. This helps you in staying updated. The guidance provided by the faculty during the second stage of WAT and PI was immensely useful too.  

Having said that, the major onus of cracking the CAT and getting through an IIM still rests with the student and his/her sheer hard work. These coaching institutes can only serve to orient our preparation in the right direction but it is the student who has to put in the efforts.  

How did you manage things in your final year, sitting for company interviews alongside your exhaustive CAT preparations?  

I really utilised the two months of summer holidays after 6th semester to the maximum potential for my CAT as well as placement preparation. I ensured that I finish my CAT course by May and focused on the Test series in those two months. After every mock test, I’d spent 3-4 hours analysing each and every question, comparing my approach to solving the answer to that with the solution key and then identifying better techniques. My performance in these tests helped me spot my weak areas and channelize my time in improving those. For the placements preparation, I was preparing for Non-tech companies, so I’d solve a few cases and guesstimates from casebooks every day. Ample sources for interview preparation are available online. I also ensured to stay abreast of all major happenings by reading newspaper everyday as this was important for both CAT and placement interviews. With utmost sincerity and good time management, any serious CAT aspirant can easily strike a balance between CAT preparation and Placements. Try to get an offer as early as possible so that you can devote your 7th  semester (September onwards) to CAT preparation as it is a relatively easy semester.  

Give us an insight into your life at IIM. How is it different from the time spent at NSIT?  

The life at IIM is totally different from that at NSIT. Since MBA is a residence programme, you have to compulsorily stay in hostels .You can have classes at any odd time of the day ,as late as 10 p.m. since there are many visiting faculty. Everything is student managed here be it clubs, societies or committees. It is a very stressful life with surprise exams, extremely strict attendance norms, regular assignments etc. However, it is this challenging life that makes it fun and interesting. After all, they are only preparing us for the tough corporate life ahead as a manager. The campus is bustling all the time. There is no sense of time here. You are lucky if you get to sleep for more than 4 hours a day. The campus boasts of great facilities like swimming pool, cinema hall, restaurant etc. to ensure there are ample means for recreation. Overall, it is a great learning experience and definitely worth it. Moreover, being from NSIT is always a plus as every IIM is full of NSITians and you are never out of friends.  

Which department are you associated with and what kind of projects do you get to work upon?  

The first year of MBA is a general course with no specialisation. It is only in the second year that we choose elective courses as per our domain preference.  

The MBA course at IIMs is quite well integrated with practical, live industry exposure through various media. Not only are there many companies offering short term live projects to students, there are also industry visits planned every month for students to get exposure to how businesses operate real-time and the challenges faced by them. To facilitate a well-rounded learning, a project in a rural setting is also planned for students.  

Getting a call from one of the most prestigious MBA Colleges in India, would you like to reminisce the incredible moment with us?  

Well that moment was totally euphoric. It is difficult to put into words the ecstatic feeling of getting an admission offer from IIM. The moment was indeed bliss to see all the hard work put in the last one year to finally bear fruit. I was indeed happy and excited to be finally joining an IIM, experiencing hostel life and a great life exposure.

 

 

 

 

Nehal Jain

When it comes to IIMs, IIM Calcutta is one of the most sought after B School in India. Nehal Jain from the batch of 2012 made it to this prestigious institute. Here in this interview with NSITonline she tells us about her CAT preparation days and how to beat the work/study pressure and bell the cat. So read on!

When did you realize that you wanted to go for an MBA? What was the thinking process behind it?

I think it is in due process of engineering that I realised that I wanted to go for non technical work rather than core technical work. Once I was clear about that, to gain knowledge of the field, MBA was a natural next step.

Why did you choose to go for IIM instead of some good B-School abroad?

My main objective was to gain quality knowledge of the field. IIMs met this criterion and hence were always an option. As for the good B-Schools abroad, they need two years of work experience, which I did not have at that time. Had I had two years of work experience, I would have definitely thought about them as well.

In your opinion what are the skills that are essential in a CAT aspirant?

The most important skill in a CAT aspirant is logical aptitude. Every other skill, speed and time management along with skill of selecting appropriate questions can be built upon further by practice.

According to you what is the ideal time to start preparing for MBA?

There is nothing called ideal time to start preparing for CAT. It all depends upon individual. I, myself, started from December with the coaching classes (if that is what you mean by starting preparation). With classes sooner than that, it might be a little difficult to maintain the enthusiasm.

What are the various rounds of CAT selection procedure? Kindly brief us a little on each of them.

First, there is a written exam-CAT. Pattern keeps changing every year. At my time there were two sections, each of 30 questions. Despite of the pattern changing so frequently, CAT tests you on your logical thinking, quantitative skills and Verbal ability.

After this, shortlists of institutes come out, based upon each Institute’s criteria of the year.

Each Institute has its own process after that. But majorly, it consists of written analysis, group discussion and then a personal interview. A topic is given, which can be anything under the sun, and you are asked to write your views about it. Then a discussion follows, which is on the same topic. After this, interviews are conducted by panels, which consist of faculty/ alumni/ both.

For an undergrad doing B.Tech, what are the major areas, academically and non-academically where one must work upon to excel in CAT screening?

I don’t believe there are any areas as such. CAT generally just checks for logical aptitude. To increase the chances of screening, one
can definitely practice so as to build up speed.

As for the interviews, I was asked questions from my subject matter; hence a basic knowledge of the course is must. We are expected to know at least the basics of the course we have undergone for 4 years. Apart from that, one can prepare two of their favourite subjects to be on the safer side. Also, some general knowledge questions can be asked to know the preparation level of the candidate.

But the most important thing they are looking for, in my opinion, in a candidate is confidence and willingness to learn. All the preparation can only add to this.

MBA has been always clichéd with experience requirement tag, you definitely beat that with your pioneering achievement, in your opinion, how much is the role of work experience in the selection process?

Work experience definitely plays a big role. One can argue this case by the statistics of IIMs over the last few years. Each year the proportion of work ex people is increasing.

But in my opinion, it is because work experience generally gives people more clarity about the kind of work they are interested in and what is the work they are suited for. If as a fresher, you are clear and convinced of the work you would like to do and why, it should not make much difference.

What are the types of activities you indulged in during your time at NSIT that in your opinion charted you towards your goal?

As far as the activities are concerned, I believe they help the individual only to know more about him. As for the activities I was a part of, I was Vice president of Rotaract Club of NSIT Regency and interned with Indian Cancer Society. I also published a research paper regarding strategies of biopharma. Apart from that, I was actively involved in the fests during college. Some of these activities helped me understand my interests, while some were a result of me understanding my interests.

The popular perception in NSIT is that an external help/CAT coaching is mandatory. What are your views on the same?

At the end, main motive for classes, at least for me was practicing. So, if one is able to practice enough, it should not really matter whether one even joins an institute or not. Probably joining a test series is a good option if one is not joining regular classes. It helps in gauging the current level of preparation.

How did you manage things in your final year, sitting for company interviews alongside your exhaustive CAT preparations?

I was pretty sure that I wanted to have a career in non technical field. Once that was decided, things were not that difficult. Even job interviews ask for basic logical ability. I think it is important, not to be very anxious and to maintain your cool at that time. With that in the background, work becomes much simpler.

Give us an insight into your life at IIM. How is it different from the time spent at NSIT?

Life at IIM is different from NSIT in terms of the course that I am undergoing. The demands of the two colleges are pretty different, primarily because of the different objectives. Here, unlike engineering there are no correct answers. We are therefore encouraged to delve deeper into all the perspectives we can think of and appreciate points of view other than our own.

Which department are you associated with and what kind of projects do you get to work upon?

We don’t get associated with a particular department in first year. As for the projects, they are generally case studies or assignments based upon the subject domain. Also, we get chance to work upon live projects which gives us firsthand experience of industry.

 

 

 

 

 

Vartika Aggarwal

“Although I was good at technical stuff, it wasn’t something I could visualise myself making a career in”. Following her heart, this IT gal rejected offers from Aricent and Samsung Engineering labs and chose IIM Indore instead. Read on to know her success mantra.


1. When did you realize that you wanted to go for an MBA? What was the thinking process behind it?

Towards the end of my second year at NSIT, I started considering the option of pursuing MBA after engineering primarily because of the realisation that “although I was good at technical stuff, it wasn’t something I could visualise myself making a career in”. Owing to my involvement in college festivals and initiatives like www.onlinesem.in, I was developing an inclination towards a career in management. Also, another reason behind my coming to IIM Indore was my ability to make it to this place. As is the case with many students, joining a CAT coaching institute (as it helps during placements as well), taking the CAT and then making it to a good institute eventually leads them to the MBA path because it’s difficult to forgo the “IIM Brand”. So, as a piece of advice to my juniors, I would like to mention that if you have decided to make a career in the technical domain, do stick to your decision. 

2. Why did you choose to go for IIM instead of some good B-School abroad?

Honestly speaking, I always wanted to study at an IIM and hence was never too keen on going abroad. Also, since good institutes abroad require one to first work for some years, it wasn’t something I was considering. 

3. In your opinion what are the skills that are essential in a CAT aspirant?

In my opinion, the biggest ingredient of a CAT aspirant is the motivation to perform well in CAT and make it to a good B-school (because it generally fizzles out once the placement season at NSIT begins). An exam like CAT depends more on a person’s state of mind than on his/her preparation. But yes, some basic amount of preparation is a must (considering that the person has good conceptual understanding of Maths topics studied in school). Also, one cannot overemphasize the need to regularly read newspapers and take mock tests and also analyse them with an aim to improve speed and accuracy and work on one’s weak areas.

4. According to you what is the ideal time to start preparing for MBA? 

Considering that the preparation happens parallely with college, beginning of third year is a good time to start preparing for CAT. 

5. What are the various rounds of CAT selection procedure? Kindly brief us a little on each of them.

Round-1: Taking the CAT
This is the stage for which we all prepare the hardest. It requires us to take an online aptitude test which comprises of two sections focusing on verbal ability, quantitative ability and logical reasoning. As mentioned earlier, it is a good idea to start preparing for this in the beginning of third year, preferably by joining some CAT coaching institute. Also, whether or not one joins an institute, one should make it a point to read the newspaper regularly and look up the meanings of difficult words. I would like to recommend a paper like The Hindu and if possible, a financial daily such as The Economic Times as well. 
The exam needs to be taken some time in October or November and its result is declared in January.

Round-2: Filling out application forms of individual institutes
This is a very important stage of the selection procedure and if done properly, contributes a lot to the preparation for subsequent stages. 
It involves filling out forms for individual institutes from which the applicant has received calls. In addition to personal and family details, the forms include questions about the applicant such as his/her strengths and weaknesses, reason behind the decision to pursue a career in management etc. These questions must be answered truthfully and after sufficient introspection. They are generally discussed during personal interviews.
Also, for students preparing on their own, it would be a good idea for them to first discuss their answers with friends who have joined a coaching institute.

Round-3 (a): Group Discussion (GD) or Written Ability Test (WAT)
Once a student’s CAT result is declared, depending on his/her percentile, he/she gets calls from various B-schools applied to. As a part of round-2, a student is required to participate in a group discussion or a written ability test. Since a GD generally involves a lot of argument, it does not provide a very clean way to evaluate all the participants, hence, some b-schools have now replaced it with WAT, which is an individual exercise. 
One who has joined a coaching institute need not worry about how to prepare for a GD and WAT as sufficient guidance would be provided. So, do listen to and follow what you are being told to. Also, regular newspaper reading would be extremely helpful in preparing for this stage.
For the ones preparing on their own, I would like to reiterate the importance of reading the newspaper regularly and staying abreast with the current happenings in India and the world. Don’t just read stuff, also try to form your opinion. Secondly, try to take part in some mock GDs (preferably moderated ones) if you are not very comfortable with a GD. Do talk to a friend who has joined a coaching institute to know the basic rules of a GD.

Round-3 (b): Personal Interview (PI)
This is a crucial part of the selection process and must be prepared for well.
Some key areas that need to be focused on are- communication skills, confidence level, ability to handle stress/pressure (especially for stress interviews), knowledge of current affairs, knowledge of engineering subjects, good understanding of oneself with justification (like strengths and weaknesses, why MBA, why MBA from our institute, your most significant accomplishment so far etc.)
I would advise everyone to undergo some mock PIs before appearing for your actual PI, even if you haven’t joined any coaching institute. 

6. For an undergrad doing B.Tech, what are the major areas, academically and non-academically where one must work upon to excel in CAT screening?

• Read the newspaper regularly; a national daily is a must and if possible, read a financial daily as well. 
• Participate in extra-curricular activities.
• If you are looking at the top three IIMs, maintain an aggregate percentage above 80. But even for other good institutes, maintain as high a percentage as possible (and also keep the previous point in mind) as your under graduation percentage/ CGPA holds a lot of value both during selection to a B-school and for summer internships once you enter a B-school.
• Try to hold at least two good positions of responsibility. E.g. coordinator of a college fest or head of a society. Also, try to be as sincere in your role as possible, you will definitely learn something out of it and it will add to your personality. So, don’t do it just to earn a CV point- interviewers are smart enough to tell the difference.
• Similarly, it would be a good idea to take your projects and internships seriously.
• Lastly, do follow religiously whatever is being told at your CAT coaching institute and don’t forget to start taking mock tests a couple of months before the actual exam.

7. MBA has been always cliched with experience requirement tag, you definitely beat that with your pioneering achievement, in your opinion, how much is the role of work experience in the selection process?

One does get brownie points during the selection process for having worked for at least a couple of years before pursuing an MBA programme. 
However, in my opinion, if one is able to make it to a good B-school immediately after graduation and one doesn't have a very good job offer in hand and one is sure of pursuing a career in management, then one must grab the opportunity with both hands because my experience so far suggests that people with work experience don’t have a significant advantage over freshers after entering the B-school. They have an upper hand if they have relevant work experience such as that in consulting or marketing but considering that most B. Tech students take up IT jobs, the advantage is not great.

8. What are the types of activities you indulged in during your time at NSIT that in your opinion charted you towards your goal?

I was actively involved in all college festivals- whether it be organising events or being part of teams like sponsorship and publicity. I also participated in and won a few events.
Secondly, I was an active member of The Neighbourhood Society of NSIT and co-founded www.onlinesem.in. In addition, I did a marketing internship after my first year at NSIT. 

9. The popular perception in NSIT is that an external help/CAT coaching is mandatory. What are your views on the same?

Although joining a CAT coaching institute is not mandatory, doing so is extremely helpful because it helps one stay motivated till the end. Considering that the placement season at NSIT clashes with CAT, it is a good idea to join an institute because it becomes a little difficult to manage both the things on one’s own. Also, it is quite helpful for placement preparation as well and considering that most students join an institute, not joining one might make one lose out on certain things. 

10. How did you manage things in your final year, sitting for company interviews alongside your exhaustive CAT preparations?

It was a little difficult since I had not faced anything of that sort earlier, but timely preparation makes it very easy to manage.
A word of caution: Please be confident of your choice and don’t get swayed by what your peers tell you. If you have decided to focus on your CAT preparation, kindly do that and don’t change your decision when you see your friends getting placed in good companies. 
Half the pressure faced by students is because of this very reason. 

11. Give us an insight into your life at IIM. How is it different from the time spent at NSIT?

Life at an IIM, and at any B-school for that matter, is quite different from that in an engineering college. Firstly, students are involved in a number of activities in addition to academics and hence need to manage their time very well. The very purpose of MBA education is to make students stretch themselves as much as possible. 
Quizzes and assignments are a regular feature and studying just before an exam does not help. Also, there are numerous projects, competitions, clubs, festivals and committees which students can, and should be a part of as it significantly adds to their personality and enriches their B-school experience.
All in all, it is a great learning experience to be studying at an IIM. And it’s also fun!

12. Which department are you associated with and what kind of projects do you get to work upon?

I am a member of the Entrepreneurship Club of IIM Indore and the team of Utsaha, which is the rural market research festival of IIM, Indore. In addition, I am involved in the Corporate Involvement Team of IIM Indore’s Annual Management Festival- Ahvan. 
Students get a variety of opportunities in a B-school. There are inter B-school competitions which they can participate then. In addition, there are live projects given by various companies and college clubs and also many events organised by the college clubs themselves.

13. Getting a call from one of the most prestigious MBA Colleges in India, would you like to reminisce the incredible moment with us?

I just can’t forget the moment when I checked my result. I was sitting at the admin and got a call saying that the result was out. My hands were literally trembling as I had not been able to convert any of my other calls and IIM Indore was my last hope. The moment I logged into my account and read “Congratulations!” I was incredulous! It took me a few minutes to accept the fact that I had finally made it to an IIM and once I did, I couldn't help being overjoyed.

 

 

 

 

Ajitesh Mehta

Ajitesh Mehta, who is a Computer Engineering graduate from the batch of 2012, is currently doing MBA from IIM Indore. Stressing on the need to be clear about your choice, Ajitesh says that though it took him months of contemplation before finally identifying his interests, in the end he was clear as to why he wanted to do an MBA. Here is an excerpt from his interview with NSITonline.


1) When did you realize that you wanted to go for an MBA? What was the thinking process behind it?

It took me months of pondering, introspecting and contemplating before I could arrive at the decision of doing an MBA. I started evaluating the option of doing MBA actively in the early part of 3rd year. The factors that helped me finally decide include an interest to pursue a career in business, advice from seniors and teachers and a desire to continue my education. Going through a few MBA courses available on the internet and taking a few certification examinations added to my interest to go for an MBA.

2) Why did you choose to go for IIM instead of some good B-School abroad?

I did consider the option of pursuing MBA from some good B-School abroad, but the fact that there is an option of doing it just after college in India and that I was lucky enough to have got an admission, I chose to join an IIM.

3) Kindly throw some light on how you prepared for CAT. 

I had joined a coaching institute in my 3rd year at NSIT, which kept me motivated to keep studying for CAT (don’t expect much from the coaching institutes). Reading a good newspaper (such as The Hindu) daily is really important and it will cover the major part of the preparation for the English section. For the remaining part of it, one should practice questions from any good module/book and the same is true for the other sections, Quant, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation. One can also join a test series (I had joined TIME’s, but all are the same) for practicing questions and to get a glimpse of the exam. Lastly, time management is one of the most important things that one should practice through the test series.

4) What are the various rounds of CAT selection procedure? Kindly brief us a little on each of them.

Each IIM has a different shortlisting procedure that is given on their websites. It changes every year and lately most of the institutes have replaced Group Discussions with Essay writing, which would be followed by one round of interview. Having a clear understanding as to why you want to do an MBA is really important to crack the interview.

5) Give us an insight into your life at IIM. How is it different from the time spent at NSIT?

Life at IIM is very different from that at NSIT. Trimester system is followed in all the IIMs, and tests, assignments, presentations, term examinations are a regular thing. One should be ready to stretch oneself and having a more than 5-hour sleep is a rarity. In spite of a tough competition, one starts enjoying the system and it becomes manageable.

6) A word of advice to the NSITians eager to follow in your footsteps.

Please be clear as to why you want to do an MBA. Also, CAT has become very arbitrary, but keep practicing hard and you will crack it. All the best!

 

 

 

 

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