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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.
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.