Sunday, December 31, 2006

When should one start preparing for CAT 2007?

In less than 3 hours from now, 2006 will come to a close. A new year brings with it new hopes and new aspirations. For those of you entering your final year of graduation, it's time you made the big decision - what after B.A /B.Com / B.Tech / BBA ?

Last year well over 4 lakh people wrote various MBA Entrance Tests in this country and they were fighting over less than 5000 quality B-School seats that India has to offer. Of course, doing an MBA abroad is a very good option and the competition there is relatively easier but either which ways you need to make a decision now - whether you want to join the MBA rat(read cat) race. More than 20,000 students have already begun their journey to Ahmedabad - the first batch for CAT 2007 started as early as June 2006 at IMS Learning Centres across the country. Going by past history, that number should more than double by the time the first month of the new year draws to a close.

If you have decided that you do want to go for the coveted MBA degree, then you need to answer the second question - when do you start? Is January too early? Is January already late? Should i first get over with my college exams in May/June? How will I combine the CAT preparation with college exams and the internships and summer training programmes? Each such question has to be answered and factored in to arrive at your final answer.

Take the following points into consideration:

#1 Pre-final year exam schedule

#2 Dedicated preparation time for the above

#3 Mid-term exams if any ( Delhi University students generally have this in Jan)

#4 Duration of your internship/summer training programme

#5 Semester exams in Nov/Dec 2007

and personal factors as well:

#6 Your current level of preparedness / level at day zero
( you can contact your nearest IMS Learning Centre and register for a Preliminary Test - this is based on CAT 2006 and it will give you a very good idea of where you stand vis-a-vis the Common Admission Test)

#7 Are you the kind who prepares for exams over a longer period of time/shorter but crunched study periods?

Some suggestive answers:

1. Start early if possible - January is perfect. But go slow - don't overdo things and space out your preparation programme.

2. Buy the correspondence pack, start preparing on your own for a while and then you may get a better idea of when you want to upgrade to the full classroom programme.

3. If you are not an Engineer/BBA and will not be doing a summer programme, then May or any time immediately after your 2nd year exam ends may also not be a bad time to start.

4. Ask your classmates who have already started.

All the best,

Saturday, December 09, 2006

India's Best B-Schools - A Ranking (continued)

This post is in continuation to my earlier post where we had discussed the country's top ten b-schools. Let's now look at other good options for India's MBA aspirants. This list contains those management schools which may probably not fetch you the mind-boggling dollar salaries that the IIMs can. However, an MBA from these places will get you an assured placement at a reasonably great organisation of your choice and over a period of 3-5 years, if you can display your competitiveness at the workplace, you can reach at par with your contemporary IIM alumni or atleast very very close. From there it will be all upto you, as you compete with them for money, power and glory.

There are two distinct clusters in this second list:
1) b-schools offering the regular MBA degree / PG Diploma in Business Managment and
2) management schools offering specialised programmes. We will take up the second one first.

India's Best Specialised Management Programmes: ( not ranked )

1. Post Graduate Programme in Communications Management offered by the Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA)

2. Post Graduate Programme in Agri Business Management offered by IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Lucknow

3. Master of Arts in Human Resource Management and Labour from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai

4. Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management at Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA)

5. MBA in International Business offered by Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi

6. P.G. Diploma in Computer Aided Management offered by IIM Calcuatta

7. Post Graduate Diploma in Forestry Management from Indian Institute of Foreign Management (IIFM), Bhopal

8. Masters programme in Social Work at TISS ( refer to 3 above)

9. XLRI's post graduate programme in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations.

10. Post Graduate Programme in Fashion Management offered by National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi

2-yr Programme in the Business of Film & Television at Subhash Ghai's Whistling Woods International, Mumbai

( will update the post soon to discuss the general b-schools)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

IMS Celebrates 30 Successful CATs

Click on the pictures to enlarge and see details. These pictures are from the ad we published in the Hindustan Times dated 6th December ( yesterday). This is easily the most expensive ad that we have ever done at IMS. A front-page jacket innovation, but a great deal. Also, the creatives took us more than 40-45 hours. We scrapped atleast 2 other ideas which we had at one stage thought were great. This one easily was the best. We knew it the moment it struck. Do check out the body copy.
So those of you preparing for the CAT 2007, don't miss on the fabulous offers at IMS Delhi/NCR as we Celebrate 30. All the very best.

Monday, December 04, 2006

India's Best B-Schools - A Ranking

1.Indian Institute of Management(IIM) - Ahmedabad
2.Indian School of Business(ISB) - Hyderabad
3.IIM - Bangalore
4.IIM - Calcutta
5.IIM - Lucknow
6.Xavier's Labour Relations Instiute(XLRI) - Jamshedpur
7.National Institute of Industrial Engineering(NITIE) - Mumbai
8.Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) - Delhi
9.S.P.Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR) - Mumbai
10.Shailesh J.Mehta Institute of Management, IIT Mumbai

The Common Admission Test, populary known as the CAT is not without reason India's best known MBA Entrance Exam. Out of the above 10 b-schools, as many as 6 use the CAT as the written test. A good percentile in the CAT can earn you an interview call from one or more IIMs, NITIE and S.P. Jain. If you have appeared in the CAT that just went by, on 19th December 2006, you will probably need a score in excess of 110 to get a call from the IIMs. Of course, one also has to ensure that the score is distributed fairly well across the 3 sections to meet the sectional cut-off norms.

If your target is the b-school located in the Steel City of Jharkhand, your entrance examination is called the XAT(Xavier Admission Test). XLRI's entrance test has a higher level of mathematics. It also has a 20 minutes essay writing part.

The IITs hold the Joint Management Entrance Test(JMET) for entry into the various management programmes offered by the various IITs and the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore. As these programmes are meant for engineers only, you can expect a definitely tougher mathematics section. The JMET also includes a separate Logical Reasoning question. The coming Sunday (10th December 2006) will see the country's brightest engineers fighting it out for these premier techno-management seats.

FMS Delhi has its own separate test, whereas ISB Hyderabad uses the GMAT scores for screening candidates. The latter is open to students with a minimum of 2 yrs of work experience only.

You may also like to read:

Best Places to do an MBA in the US

UK Top Ranked B-Schools

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I couldn't bell the CAT, should i settle for MAT?

The easy answer is NO. The gap between the institutes that you can make it to through the Commmon Admission Test or the CAT ( the six IIMs, MDI Gurgaon, MICA et cetera) and MAT ones ( Welingkar,Amity,BIMTECH,Alliance) is too huge and you can ignore it at your own peril. An MBBS is an MBBS and all MBBS are doctors. Not that all medical colleges are equal, but even if you pass out from the ones at the bottom, you are still a doctor and expect to make a very reasonable living.Unfortunately, as an MBA you may not be as lucky if you don't make it to a good b-school. Lots of the lower ranked b-schools cannot even guarantee you a minimum job, forget a career. So your choice of a b-school becomes critical - where you spend your next two years will decide how you will spend the rest of your life!

While dismissing the MAT is easy, belling the CAT is not so. Almost two hundred thousand people wrote the CAT this year and the IIMs have less than 2000 seats to offer. Even if you include the other good institutes where you can apply through the Common Admission Test, that number doesn't stretch to more than 4000. Let's not forget that out of those 2 lakh students who want to an MBA, more than 1.9 lakh will still not find a seat. What then? The first option is to write the next level of tests. If you are an engineer you can try for NITIE and the IITs through the JMET. If not, you should definitely write the FMS ( Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi ) Entrance and the XAT ( Xavier's Admission Test for XLRI Jamshedpur). Next in line are SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test), IIFT, IRMA and TISS.

Now, I have reached the point where I sincerely hope that you have made it to one of these places that I have mentioned. Because beyond this, you will really begin to compromise, the quality of the b-schools drop alarmingly, the kind of education and training you will be getting will be highly questionable and as a result of all these your career is bound to suffer.

(to be continued)