Nitin Verma

“Stints with the sponsorship teams of Innovision and Moksha is what ignited my interest in management” remarks Nitin Verma, a graduate in Electronics and Communication engineering and currently studying at IIM Indore. This future entrepreneur shares his experience with us. So read on! 

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

I had decided quite early on that I want to do an MBA. I was inspired by my uncle who is an IIM-B alumnus and is now an entrepreneur. I want to open up my own business and I believe an MBA will help me take better decisions for the same.

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

Apart from being a great value add to your resume, the level of education at the IIMs matches up with most B schools abroad. Also, foreign B schools only admit you if you have significant amount of work experience and I wanted to go for an MBA directly after engineering. 

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

There are no "skills" as such. All you need is common sense and a focused preparation of at least 2-3 months.

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

Most coaching centres have batches starting more than 1 year before the actual exam. I joined TIME in a weekend batch, starting 10 months before CAT and I felt that I got plenty of time for preparation. Most people, whether enrolled in coaching or not, start preparing seriously in their summer vacations before CAT. So, even if you are not studying regularly initially, a focused preparation of 2-3 months is enough.

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

The first stage is the Common Aptitude Test, which is an online test conducted over a 20 day window in the months of October-November. The current pattern has 2 sections, Quant + Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability + Logical Reasoning. There is a minimum cut-off score for each section, so you have to be strong in both. Then, based on your CAT percentile and profile (10th, 12th, college grades, work-experience), you get calls from different MBA institutes. Each of these institutes has a separate interview process, which may be preceded by a GD and/or an essay writing task. Based on your performance in each of these, you get final calls to join the B schools.

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?

There is nothing in the B. Tech curriculum which is related to CAT really. Engineers usually excel because they are good with numbers. The math is also very basic, so what one needs is analytical abilities, in each section of CAT. Apart from the coaching material that you will read in any case, I suggest you make solving puzzles a hobby. This will keep your brain sharp. For improving on your language, the best way is to read the newspaper daily.

7. 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?

For an MBA candidate, having work experience has its own pros and cons. Therefore, in most colleges, you will find a healthy mix of both freshers and work-ex people. Different colleges give different weightage to work experience. In my case, I got through because this year IIM Indore gave very little weightage to work experience. However, colleges like IIM Bangalore and SP Jain are very biased towards work-ex people. The exact selection criteria is released by most colleges beforehand, so you can evaluate your chances, of both getting a call and also of converting the call.

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 participated in a host of extra-curricular activities while at NSIT, right from football, organizing festivals and a bit of quizzing. But the one thing which ignited my interest in management and marketing in particular, was my stints with the sponsorship teams of Innovision and Moksha.

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

Many of my batch mates and seniors cracked the CAT without any coaching. In my opinion, the role of classroom coaching is just to ensure that there is some amount of regular preparation. It can be foregone if you believe that you'll be able to manage your schedule. But I think all CAT aspirants should at least take the coaching classes' preparatory material and mock tests as they really channelize your studies.

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

To be frank, I had got very few company shortlists owing to my poor grades. So it wasn't much of a problem balancing the two; in fact the CAT preparation helped me clear the initial rounds of whichever company I sat for. On the other hand, 7th semester studies did take a back seat during my CAT preparation. 

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

Life at a B school is generally very fast-paced as compared to engineering. One thing which is radically different here is the constant evaluation in the form of quizzes, presentations and exams throughout the term. There are marks even for class participation! This contrasts with the easy life we had at NSIT with just mid-sems and end-sems to deal with. Outside the classrooms, we have a lot of fun on campus with sports events, cultural programs and marketing, finance, operations competitions being organized regularly. Also, hostel life is fun, like it was at NSIT, the only difference being the amount of cultural diversity here with people hailing from all over the country.

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

We get to choose our specialization in the 2nd year. Right now, we are learning the basics of every field of management. The curriculum here is very industry oriented and we do every topic with the help of real life case studies which help in grasping the concepts better.

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 was ecstatic when the CAT result was out. The atmosphere around the house was electric, with so many congratulations pouring in. But soon after that came the sad realization in the form of just 2 IIM calls. Anyways, for the next few weeks, I prepared for the GDs and interviews. Finally I was happy to get through in IIM Indore although the sadness of missing out on IIM Calcutta was also there.




Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology

Azad Hind Fauz Marg, Sector-3, Dwarka, New Delhi - 110078
(An Autonomous Institution of Govt.of NCT of Delhi)

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