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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Options for MBA aspirant

A lot depends on what options you have here.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of going abroad for an MBA, what are the other options that you have? Would you rather do it from a top-rung Indian institute, like the IIMs? Well, the answer totally depends on your aspirations.
If you’ve cracked the CAT, go for it. The IIMs are among the best in the world. However, if you have to choose between IIM and a top institute like Harvard or London Business School, it makes sense to choose the latter. The exposure and contacts that you’ll get in a top school are simply unmatchable.An M.B.A. from a top-rung B-school will almost certainly propel you in the global job market, and you’ll soon be on your way to the top of the ladder.

If your choice is between a mid-tier B-school abroad and an average Indian institute, it makes IMMENSE sense to go abroad. The mid-tier schools abroad offer much better career prospects. An MBA from a mid-range U.S. B-school also has fairly healthy prospects, given the buoyant state of the US economy in the last few years.
If you have close relatives abroad, who can help you with funds and/or getting you an employment on completion of your MBA, you are in an enviable position. However, make sure you talk to the relatives before you apply.
However, unless you have the ways and means to find yourself an employment, we would not recommend going to just any U.S. B-school that you can get into.

IIM Shillong

Shillong may not have its Indian Institute of Management (IIM) till end 2008 going by current indications.
It was supposed to get an IIM this July but senior professors, handling the project, say it might take another year before it takes shape since the government is still dragging its feet on the proposal which was mooted almost three years ago.
IIM Shillong will be the seventh IIM in the country with the other six IIMs situated in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Indore and Kozhikode respectively.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Caveat emptor for prospective MBAs

Everyone goes through a bit of an identity crisis in their twenties. In college, we all enjoyed the luxury of ignorance and optimism. The contestants on The Apprentice seem to be making it big, so why can't we? Unfortunately, once we finally make it into the real-life workforce, those dreams are quickly dashed by the corporate machine. As anyone at the bottom of the corporate ladder can tell you, the first few years of a business career will most likely resemble the movies "Office Space" or "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle". Career promotion and salary increases often occurs at a snail's pace, and the level of intellectual stimulation is far lower than experienced in school.After a few years of such ennui, when our defenses are down because of drinking and depression, many young professionals fall victim to the siren's song of an MBA-- and such a temptation is understandable. The graduate business programs of Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford reported in their 2003 career placement statistics that the starting median compensations were $106,000, $115,000, $120,000 respectively. In addition, they offer the opportunity to join a fraternity of future business leaders, to learn the skills necessary to succeed, to earn a valuable resume pedigree, to enter into an elite recruiting pool, and to take a two-year break from the rat race. They prop up examples like Donald Trump and George W Bush as examples of how an MBA program is the first step in becoming a master of the universe. What mortal can resist such a temptation?I know this because I was in the same boat five years ago. Needless to say, I took the plunge and enrolled in Wharton's MBA program, class of 2002. Based on my experiences, I would like to take the chance in this article to provide an insiders perspective on the common misconceptions of the big name MBA experience. I feel the responsiblity to share this knowledge with you because I feel that biz-school marketing materials make a lot of claims: some of them are true, and some of them are, shall we say, half-truths.First, let's start with the true statements.True Statement #1: The PeopleOne benefit of attending a top MBA program is that you will meet many brilliant, interesting, fantastic people just like you. You will quickly make friends, and you will discover many people of unfamiliar cliques, castes or countries whom you normally would never speak to but actually turn out to be fascinating individuals. As a graduate myself, I can tell you that I met several of my dearest friends at Wharton. I can also assure you that I'm not the only one who feels this way. Every top-MBA program grad I ever speak with will invariably wax poetic about the wonderful people they met in their business school years.True Statement #2: Two More Years Of CollegeWho wouldn't want another two years of college now that you know how to appreciate it? This point should be obvious, so I won't delve into details. Instead, here's a list of some collegiate perks that most people would love to revisit: Fridays off, high concentration of single men/women, parties, time to pursue hobbies, a chance to pursue an activity you never did in college (journalism, theater, singing, etc), elective courses, spring break... and the list goes on.****Now let's move on to the half-truthsHalf Truth #1: MoneyThe myth of the six-figure-plus salary for an MBA graduate seems to be emblazoned into the collective unconscious. Every MBA website mentions it, the Business Week and US News and World Report articles report on it, and every watercooler kibbitzing session on the topic of the MBA invariably broaches it. This six-figure salary is often much higher than that of your typical MBA applicant. The Graduate Management Admissions Council estimates that an MBA degree provides an increase of 35% in salary pre and post MBA.These rumors, conjectures, and statistics provide a quite alluring draw, so let's explore them a bit. In all fairness, there are many individuals who receive high salaries upon graduation. My colleagues who have pursued the finance and consulting paths have amassed quite a respectable quantity of what the Notorious BIG refers to as "paper". One of my friends working in finance even managed to pull down a $500,000 bonus in 2003. Enough said.Unfortunately, however, there is a flip side. Median compensation numbers are inflated a bit since the schools only release statistics on self-reported information, and not all graduates reply to the survey. For example, the $115,000 median income from the most recent Wharton career report is the average of the 600 respondents, not of the 778 graduates. This disconnect introduces what statisticians refer to as a "non-response bias", meaning that when it comes to reporting something as ego-sensitive as compensation, people receiving low salaries are unlikely to respond. Such a bias implies that the true average compensation is probably somewhat lower. To give a real world example, I personally chose not to reveal my salary information to the Career Management office because I felt slightly emasculated in admitting to my relatively meager remuneration. Secondly, one must beware of what I refer to as the "Keanu Reeves Factor" (in homage to his riveting performance in A Devil's Advocate). The Keanu Reeves factor dictates that in order to earn these six-figure salaries, one typically needs to land a job in investment banking or management consulting where one must sell one's soul to the devil. This underworld reference is not intended to refer to the "insert-your-favorite-corporate-crook-here" MBA graduates of yesteryear, but rather to the infernal quality of life that entry level consulants and investment bankers lead. The hours are really, really, long and you completely surrender control over your life. A good friend of mine at a major investment bank said it best in a recent informal interview, "It sucks even worse than people say it sucks."Thirdly (if that's actually a word), the return on investment might not be as high as you might think. If you will excuse the irony of using a concept learned in business school to refute the value of business school, please consider the following example:Assume that the Graduate Management Admissions council is correct and that an MBA engenders a 35% salary increase. Also assume that the $115K salary is correct. If one were to take into account the changes in marginal tax rates, the years of lost income, et cetera, the change in Net Present Value for your ten years after business school would be -$53,000. This figure is primarily driven by the fact that the student loan repayments for such a hefty sum would have to be a staggering, non-tax deductible $1,500/ month (assuming a 10 year repayment period). Put into more simplistic terms, if one were to leave an $85K/year job today for the hope of getting a $115K/year job two years from now, your net yearly take-home pay (after loan repayments) will be actually be lower than if you simply stay put for the first several years. You won't even break even until about twelve years from now.Please refer to link for further explanation.In summary, the possiblity of a significant salary increase do exist for MBA graduates, however that gamble comes with a hefty price. Could that money perhaps be spent better somewhere else? How about saving or investing the money? Or perhaps even investing it in a business of your own?Half Truth #2: A Chance To Re-Invent OneselfPerhaps with a teenager's ignorance, you began on a path that has led you to a less-than-ideal career. Maybe a major in sociology seemed like a good idea at the time, but now you've awaken to discover that your job as a social worker just isn't as rewarding as you thought it may be. Well, it just so happens that business schools love to woo people like you. They will herald you in the literature as coming from a "non-traditional background". I'm sure if you log onto any MBA website there will be a testimonial from the proverbial Cinderella who was radically transformed from an art curator into an investment banking tycoon.Such an opportunity does exist, however there is a flip side-- namely that, as Napoleon Dynamite might say, "Sweet companies only want guys with skills", meaning that an employer will typically only hire the candidate with the most complete portfolio of job-related experience available. As a result, non-traditional candidates often lose out on a finance position (for example) to those with more finance or industry-specific related accomplishments on their resume.MBA programs do offer the opportunity to gain some of these skills through internships, classes, clubs, etc, however let the buyer beware that if you are looking to re-invent yourself, you may be in for an uphill climb.Half Truth #3: PedigreeI won't lie, having the words Wharton MBA graduate on my resume looks nice. I have played the card sucessfully in promotion discussions, to the tune of "I have a Wharton MBA so surely I'm qualified to take on more strategic responsibility", and my company has enjoyed playing the same card in client discussions, singing paeans like "we're putting a Wharton MBA on your account so you needn't worry".The only caveat here is that the pedigree is often not enough. Any corporate decision related to hiring, promotion, compensation et cetera will usually be based on either merit, personal charm, politics, physical appearance, and nepotism first. Pedigree comes second. It break a tie, but that's about it. In order to make it in the business world you have to know the right people, walk the walk, talk the talk, and fight like hell. These rules don't change with a fancy degree. Trust me.****In conclusion, my been-there-done-that experience has taught me that a top MBA program provide some benefits, but at a steep price. If you are currently considering attending a full-time program, please stop to ask yourself whether or not you are willing to take the risk. Business school is a big risk. Should you choose to enroll, the only certainty is that you will shell out about $125,000. Such a figure correllates to a $1,500/month non-deductible loan repayment and a ten-year period of time in which you will not be able to save a red cent. If you think that this payment is worth it to earn the pedigree, the fraternity, the two years off, and a shot at the big bucks, then the MBA is right for you.If not, please do something else.

Indian School of Business MBA

Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, has dared to tread a path that no other business school in the country has walked. It is promoting itself across the country to attract students for its one-year MBA programme. Roadshows are being held in various cities and towns to promote the MBA programme taught, among others, by experts from well-known business schools such as Wharton and Kellogg. The towns where the roadshows are being held include Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Allahabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Trivandrum since the school recruits through GMAT, GRE in addition to common admission test (CAT). Apart from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore, this year the team is holding roadshows in Chandigarh, Visakhapatnam, Indore, Kochi, Pune, Lucknow, Jamshedpur and Ludhiana. In addition, the road shows are held in a host of tier II and tier III towns like Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, Trivandrum, Indore, Jamshedpur, Bhopal, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Mysore, Cuddalore, Asansol, Sambalpur and Siliguri. “Next year, the teams may go to the Northeast from where there has been a lot of interest,” said a senior ISB functionary. “We go to towns and cities where we have not gone before and where there is a lot of interest from students,” she said. She said the school monitors from which areas admission queries have come before deciding on its tour itinerary. “While other business schools are faced with a surfeit of applicants, ISB has a peculiar problem. While the top GMAT scorers go abroad, the ones who cannot make it to the US, either don't know about ISB or think it is too expensive. By doing admission road shows focussed on the smaller towns, the school has managed to solve both the problems in one go. It has filled up its seats while catering to aspirations in small towns,” said an industry analyst. “When we started doing road shows to promote the school, we thought of including the smaller cities and towns too. There are a lot of bright young people in India and many of them are located in smaller towns. So we decide to reach out to them,” the ISB functionary added. And the strategy has paid handsome dividends. In the last five years, the number of students from the smaller cities has risen sharply, from 25 in 2001-02 to 92 this academic year. In the next academic year too, the school expects at least 25 per cent of its students to come from non-metros.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Some Quotes for MBA aspirants.

"Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors! "-- Louisa May Alcott
"Your schooling may be over, but remember that your education still continues."-- Anonymous
"The purpose of a liberal education is to make you philosophical enough to accept the fact that you will never make much money."-- Anonymous
"The young graduate is discovering that among the necessaries of life, the most important is living."-- Anonymous
"There is no need to reach high for the stars. They are already within you - just reach deep into yourself!"-- Anonymous
"Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these."-- Susan B. Anthony
"Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed."-- Erma Bombeck
"You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world."-- Tom Brokaw
"People will frighten you about a graduation....They use words you don't hear often... 'And we wish you Godspeed.' It is a warning, Godpeed. It means you are no longer welcome here at these prices."-- Bill Cosby
"A great many college graduates come here thinking of lawyers as social engineers arguing the great Constitutional issues."-- Archibald Cox
"The function of the university is not simply to teach bread winning, or to furnish teachers for the public schools or to be a centre of polite society; it is, above all, to be the organ of that fine adjustment between life and the growing knowledge of life, an adjustment which forms the secret of civilization. "-- W.E.B. Du Bois
"The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education. "-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The advantage of a classical education is that it enables you to despise the wealth that it prevents you from achieving."-- Russell Green
"A college education is not a quantitative body of memorized knowledge salted away in a card file. It is a taste for knowledge, a taste for philosophy, if you will; a capacity to explore, to question to perceive relationships, between fields of knowledge and experience. "-- A. Whitney Griswold
"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows."-- Sydney Harris
"There is a good reason they call these ceremonies "commencement exercises." Graduation is not the end; it's the beginning."-- Orrin Hatch
"Great minds have purposes, others have wishes."-- Washington Irving
"The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match, each one of you is a fuse."-- Ed Koch
"The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate."-- Doug Larson
"Don't ever dare to take your college as a matter of course~because, like democracy and freedom, many people you'll never know have broken their hearts to get it for you. "-- Alice Drue Miller
"To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks."-- A. A. Milne
"A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that 'individuality' is the key to success."-- Robert Orben
"Graduation is only a concept. In real life every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that , you'll make a difference."-- Arie Pencovici
"The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future. "-- Plato
"A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that 'individuality' is the key to success."-- Robert Purvis
"We know what we are, but know not what we may be."-- Shakespeare
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not."-- George Bernard Shaw
"A fellow told me he was going to hang-glider school. He said, 'I've been going for three months.' I said, 'How many successful jumps do you need to make before you graduate?' He said, 'All of them.'"-- Red Skeleton
"At my graduation, I thought we had to marry what we wished to become. Now you are becoming the men you once would have wished to marry."-- Gloria Steinem
"I have learned this at least by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dream, and endeavors to live the life which he had imagines, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. "-- Henry David Thoreau
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."-- Henry David Thoreau
"'These are days you'll remember.' If you recall nothing else from your graduation ceremony, remember you heard the New Jersey Governor quote from 10,000 Maniacs."-- Christine Todd, NJ governor
"Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated."-- Garry Trudeau
"A milestone passed, new things begun, dreams as shining as the sun, a goal achieved, a victory won! That's Graduation!"-- Unknown
"It is indeed ironic that we spend our school days yearning to graduate and our remaining days waxing nostalgic about our school days."

Monday, July 16, 2007

CAT 2007 Notice

CAT 2007 Notification is out !
Few immediate points,
1. The CAT is on November 18, 2007
2. Test Timings: 10.00am to 1.00pm
3. Issue of CAT Bulletins by UTI Bank/Vijaya Bank STARTS : JULY 16, 2007
4. Issue of CAT Bulletins by UTI Bank/Vijaya Bank ENDS : AUGUST 16, 2007
5. Issue of CAT Bulletins by IIMs ENDS : AUGUST 20, 2007
6. Last date for receiving the completed CAT Application Forms at the IIMs: SEPTEMBER 8, 2007
You can visit to download CAT 2007 bulletin.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

IIM-B -- still a male bastion

Girl students may take the lead in class X and class XII board exams, but IIM Bangalore seems to be a male bastion. This year, only 24.7% of those who took the Common Admission Test (CAT) for IIM-B were women. And an even smaller 17.18% have been shortlisted for group discussion and personal interviews. Compare this with a whopping 75.29% men who applied and 82.82% who've cleared the first round, an analysis conducted by the premier B-school of CAT 2006 revealed. Even among the women, it was general category (26.16%) and ST (23.75%) who were keener on getting into a B-school than women in the other categories. Sadly, only 18.53% general category and 12.66% ST women have been shortlisted for the next round. Notwithstanding, the stiff opposition raised by IIMs over bringing OBC students into their campuses, OBC candidates have outperformed their SC and ST counterparts with 43.34% making it to the next round. The percentile scores in respect of SC\ST was 37.36 and 34.84 respectively. However, it was the general category that took the lead with 52.76% clearing CAT. What's heartening is that the difference in the average marks obtained between the general category candidates and the OBC candidates is a mere 2%. While the average scores of general category shortlisted candidates is 99.14%, it's 97.73% among the OBCs.
The SC\ST candidates, too, are not far behind, with SCs scoring 89.04% and STs procuring 81.46%.

IIM CAT Topper Talks

Before I talk about group discussions and interviews, I want to share my experience - about taking CAT. I come from an engineering background. As Mathematics was one of my subjects during graduation and Computer Science my area of expertise, I was confident about the QA and DI/LR sections. However, language has been my weak point since my school days (I got a measly 60-plus in English in the CBSE 12th standard exams). Hence, this was the area I was most concerned about.
The most important thing that you need to keep in mind while formulating the CAT strategy is that you need to do equally well in all the sections. If you miss the cut-off in any one section, your chances of getting a call from the IIMs reduces greatly, even if you top the exam. You also need to manage your time properly during the examination. Since QA and LR/DI were my strong areas, I attempted these first, giving roughly 35 minutes to each section to try and clear the cut-offs. I tried to do around 20-22 questions in QA (cut-off is 16-18) and 28-30 questions in LR/DI (cut-off is 23-25). Then I went on to the EU section and tried to attempt 40-plus questions in the remaining 50 minutes, as this was my weak area. The intention was to come back to QA to maximise my gains, if any time remained.
Since I was doing my exam preparations alongside my professional duties, I did not have enough time to put in any extra effort. This was because, after my graduation from IIT Delhi in 2003, I joined UT Starcom, a telecom equipment manufacturer, as software engineer in their Gurgaon centre. So, I focused on the material provided to me by my coaching institute and found that it was more than sufficient. However, despite my best efforts, I was able to finish only 60-70 per cent of the reading and practice material provided to me. However, I made it a habit to read newspapers and books regularly.
Group Discussions
First and foremost, one should always remain calm in a group discussion (GD). It is very easy to get into one-to-one situations with other group members who do not agree with your point of view. However, one must remember that a GD is all about the group. The more you become part of the group and help bring out new, innovative points and perspectives into the topic under discussion, the better chance you have in the GD. Equally important is to listen to what the other members of the group are saying because you may be asked by the panel to summarise the discussion, either orally or on paper. If you are busy thinking about what your next point would be, you might miss the flow of the discussion. Another member of the group might give the topic a whole new dimension and by the time you come back to your senses, you will be totally clueless about the point being discussed.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Pattern Of CAT

The pattern (format) of the CAT paper in the last 12 years

1995 to 1998:

Total Questions - 185
Time - 120 minutes
Verbal Ability - 50 Q
Reading Comprehension - 50 Q
Problem Solving - 45 Q
Data Interpretation - 40 Q

In 1995 and 1996, the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension sections were grouped and had a time limit of 1 hour.

Similarly, the Problem Solving and Data Interpretation sections were grouped and had a time limit of 1 hour.

There was no such time limit in 1997 and 1998.


Total Questions - 165
Time - 120 minutes
Section 1 : 55 Q - Verbal Ability - 25 Q and Reading Comprehension - 30 Q
Section 2 : 55 Q - Problem Solving - 55 Q
Section 3 : 55 Q - Data Interpretation - 31 Q and Verbal Reasoning - 24 Q


Total Questions - 165
Time - 120 minutes
Section 1 : 55 Q - Verbal Ability - 15 Q and Reading Comprehension - 40 Q
Section 2 : 55 Q - Problem Solving - 55 Q
Section 3 : 55 Q - Data Interpretation - 31 Q and Verbal Ability - 24 Q


Total Questions - 150
Time - 120 minutes
Section 1 : 50 Q - Verbal Ability - 20 Q and Reading Comprehension - 30 Q
Section 2 : 50 Q - Problem Solving - 50 Q
Section 3 : 50 Q - Data Interpretation - 31 Q and Logical Reasoning - 19 Q


Total Questions - 150
Time - 120 minutes
Section 1 : 50 Q - Data Interpretation - 40 Q and Logical Reasoning - 10 Q

Section 2 : 50 Q - Problem Solving - 50 Q
Section 3 : 50 Q - Verbal Ability - 25 Q and Reading Comprehension - 25 Q

2003 (re-exam format given):

Total Questions - 150
Time - 120 minutes
Section 1 : 50 Q - Verbal Ability - 25 Q and Reading Comprehension - 25 Q

Section 2 : 50 Q - Data Interpretation - 30 Q and Logical Reasoning - 20 Q
Section 3 : 50 Q - Problem Solving


Total Questions - 123 Total marks: 150
Time - 120 minutes
Section 1

Data Interpretation: 20Q of 1 mark each

Data Sufficiency: 6 Q of 1 mark each

Logical Reasoning: 12 Q of 2 marks each

Section 2

Math problems: 20 Q of 1 mark each

Math problems: 15 Q of 2 marks each

Section 3

Verbal Ability: 10 Q of 0.5 marks each

Verbal Ability: 14 Q of 1 mark each

Verbal Ability: 5 Q of 2 marks each

Reading Comprehension: 21 Q of 1 mark each


Total Questions - 90 Total marks: 150
Time - 120 minutes

Section 1

Verbal Ability: 10Q of 1 mark each

Verbal Ability/Reading Comprehension: 20Q of 2 marks each

Section 2

Math problems: 10Q of 1 mark each

Math problems: 20Q of 2 marks each

Section 3

Data Interpretation/Data Sufficiency/Logical Reasoning: 10Q of 1 mark each

Data Interpretation/Data Sufficiency/Logical Reasoning: 20Q of 2 marks each


Total Questions - 75 Total marks: 300
Time - 150 minutes

Section 1

Data Interpretation/Data Sufficiency/Logical Reasoning: 25Q of 4 marks each

Section 2

Math problems: 25Q of 4 marks each

Section 3

Verbal Ability/Reading Comprehension: 25Q of 4 marks each

There was no section wise time limit in from 1999 - 2006.

REMEMBER : It is essential that you demonstrate your competence in all the sections.

Some noticeable trends in CAT:

The following trends are clearly noticeable in CAT in the last few years.

The weightage of Math based questions has increased. Until 1998, we would have 85 out of 185 questions that were Math based. This is about 45%. In 2002, 2003 and 2004 almost 81-90 out of 150 questions. This is between 55-60%!!

The Problem solving section would constitute 1 out of 4 sections in the test until 1998. In the last 6 years, it has been 1 out of 3 sections. The importance of this section has therefore tremendously increased (from 24% of the total paper to 33.33% of the total paper)

CAT has been getting progressively tougher and thereby low scoring by the year. You no longer need fantastic scores of 100+ to clear the CAT. Over the years, SharpMinds students who have cleared the CAT and made it to the IIMs have had in the range of 75-90 attempts in the paper.




IIM Ahmedabad

IIM Bangalore

IIM Calcutta

IIM Lucknow

IIM Kozhikode

IIM Indore

Management Development Institute

National Institute of Industrial Engineering

S P Jain Institute of Management & Research

Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad

Institute of Management Technology (IMT)

T. A. Pai Management Institute

Bharathidasan Institute of Management

Indian Institute of Forest Management

Indian Institute of Social Welfare & Business Management

International Management Institute

K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research

Institute of Management Development and Research

Nirma Institute of Management

University Business School

Institute for Financial Management & Research

Prin L N Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research

Fore School of Management



ABV Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management

Aegis School of Business

AICAR Business School

AKSON Institute of Management Studies

Alliance Business Academy

Amrita School of Business

Aravali Institute of Management

Army Institute of Management

Army Institute of Management and Technology

Beng`al Institute of Technology and Management (Shantiniketan)

Birla Institute of Management Technology

Birla Institute of Technology

Cosmic Business School

Deepshikha Collage of Technical Education

Department of Business Administration (Lucknow)

EMPI Business School

EMPI Institute of Advertising, Communication and Management

G.B.Pant University of Agriculture and Technology

Globsyn Business School

Hindustan Inst of Management & Computer

Indian Institute of Management Training

Indian School of Mines

Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology

Institute for Integrated Learning in Management

Institute for Technology and Management

Institute of Business Administration and Training

Institute of Insurance and Risk Management

Institute of Management and Development

Institute of Management Studies

Institute of Management Studies (Dehradun)

Institute of Marketing and Management, New delhi

Institute of Public Enterprise

International School of Business

International School of Business and Media

International School of Management Excellence

Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow

Karnatak Law Society's Inst.of Management Education & Research

Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies

Kohinoor Business School

Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management (New Delhi)

Maratha Mandir's Babasaheb Gawde Institute of Management Studies

MET League of Colleges

National Institute of Bank Management

National Institute of Management Calcutta

National Insurance Academy

National Power Training Institute

New Delhi Institute of Management

NIILM Centre for Management Studies

North Point Centre of Learning

Pailan College of Management and Technology

School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad

SDM Institute for Management Development

Surya Dutta Education Foundation

Thakur Institute of Management Studies and Research

University of Petroleum And Energy Studies

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Experience of Cat Cracking

Name: Kalpana Bhat
My background: Associate, JP Morgan Chase & Co, San Francisco - 2000 to present
PGDM IIM Ahmedabad 2000
B.Com Ethiraj College Chennai 1998

My Testing Experience
I decided sometime during my 2nd year of college to give the CAT a shot. So, in May 1997, I borrowed the IMS material from a friend and started "preparing" for the tests. Like a good pupil, I started by following instructions and studying the material but I caught myself nodding off on more than one occasion. So, I decided to can it and dive right into the tests. That is when things got really interesting!! I took about 5 tests and never scored more than 70. That is enough to make you throw your hands up in despair and give up. But, I kept at it doggedly and trusted what people called the "learning curve". After about 10-12 tests, I could safely infer :
what I was good at and what I needed to work on
which questions to pursue and which ones to skip (for want of time)
that it was time to retrieve my 10th and 11th std Math text books, dust it and give it the once-over
that there is only one way to go and that's UP!!!!
To put all of the above in perspective - after the initial disappointment, I did not miraculously grow a brain!!! I just developed the ability to balance the little time I had and pick questions judiciously. It is crucial to know which questions to answer and which ones to re-visit IF you have time later!!! One is not fighting the familiar demons, like math or reading comprehension, but the break-neck speed at which the hands of time are flying! By Nov 1998, I had taken approx 40 tests. I also checked on the internet but unfortunately, there are very few resources offering CAT sample tests.Just keep practicing. Try doing at least one test a day leading up to the big day.

The year I tested (1997), the test was divided into 2 portions. QA and DA were part of the first half and RC and VA were part of the second. We were given one hour for each portion. After the first hour, we were made to hand in our QA-DA section and then we received the RC-VA section. I think QA-DA had 85-90 questions and RC-VA had 90-95 questions. For me, the DA and VA portions were reasonably challenging while the QA and RC sections were relatively easy. I focussed on attempting the maximum number of questions that I knew I had a shot at getting right. If a question was not of a familiar format or of a format that I knew would take time to solve, I kept it for later. This strategy works for me but it is important to determine what methods of filtering work for you. In Feb 1998, I found out I had calls from all but 1(Kozhikode) of the 6 IIMs.

My GD and Interview Experience
I had not registered with IMS. So, I did not really have a lot of structured GD or interview preparation. I just trusted my luck and common sense. I filled out the form which has the "Why do you want to do an MBA", "Describe one incident where you took on a leadership role" questions honestly. Just be prepared to defend every word you state in that piece of paper. The interviews just whizzed by and I won't dwell on them too much. Suffice to say that the IIM-A GD and interview went really well. Both in the GD and the interview, I took strong stands and stuck to them.

The GD was a case study involving an army driver who decides to break the rule of not using official vehicles for personal purposes. After dropping off his commanding officer very late one night, he is very tired and takes the vehicle home. On the way home, he hits a child and kills him/her. He is obviously guilty of involuntary manslaughter but is he guilty of violating the army code of conduct? Should he be discharged? The case study gave rise to some interesting debate. At the end, we were asked to give a brief written synopsis of the GD.

The interview was very interesting too. A number of questions directed at me were either from my courses (accounting, mostly) or regarding my ethical values. When is the LIFO method of inventory valuation used? What would I do if I saw a corrupt politician in action vis-a-vis a third person? What would I do if I saw the same corrupt politician harming my own family? And more questions in that vein .... What the interviewers are looking for, both in the GD and interview are basically, honesty, strength of conviction and of course, at least a few correct answers! Don't ham when you don't know an answer. Just say you don't know!!!

In April 1998, I found out I had gotten into IIM-A. My 2 years at IIM-A were a roller-coaster ride.. But, I will go into that some other time ...

Until then, good luck and Godspeed!!!


CAT entrance today is one of the most desired career route as seen by the young graduates. Clearing CAT requires certain specific attributes. These attributes are an integral part of a personality of a student and have to be infused as strong values to be made a part of his/her own system of learning.

The A to Z of these values can be listed as follows:

Attitude – CAT 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 these qualities 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 do or under do a test area. Usually a student fails to perform only on account of a test area he has been strong in and therefore had been neglecting it during preparatory stage.

Conviction - MBA entrance is all about a perfect mix of attitude and aptitude. U should have a strong belief on yourself . And your hard work would automatically make it.
A Positive Attitude May Not Solve All Your Problems, But It Will Annoy Enough People To Make It Worth The Effort. – Herm Albright

Direction – It is imperative to give yourself a proper direction for career pathway i.e. if you are appearing for MBA entrance, focus on it as a Career Alternative and just an entrance exam, Management has to be taken up as a profession and not a mere source of Income.

Efficacy - Doing right things is also equally important to efficiency (doing things right). It is possible that U may be solving the mock entrance papers with correct techniques, but are focussing on the areas that need to be developed at the same time, analysing your approach for a better score in the test paper?

Face it – What ever is the reality face it. It might possible that initially U may feel let down looking at your performance in the mock papers but every thing takes time, and U have to face it "Rome was not built in a day"

Gear up - For the challenge ahead. Just when U think U have got the grip on vocabulary for example , U might simply lose points on account of the same. This happens, U must gear up for the element of surprise in the CAT.

Hard work – There is no substitute for hard work in your endeavored for CAT preparation , there is no short cut for success . “I Find That The Harder I Work, The More Luck I Seem To Have." - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Introspection – Do your SWOT analysis, find out the areas U are weak in. If U are unable to improve your scores in RC , chances are that your reading habits have not been strong or focussed on reading a variety of topics. Work on it, start reading today, it is never to late to work on a good thing.
One Today Is Worth Two Tomorrows. => Benjamin Franklin

Judge your improvement - During your preparation focus on improvements and not just high scores have U improved on the test taking techniques ? , have U been able to manage your time well in the test ? evaluate your performance and be discreet in your judgement.

Killer Instinct - Approach the preparations with a Do or Die attitude, tell yourself “ I am going to make it even if it takes working long hours and late nights for the preparation“. But this should be before CAT, so that not all uncracker of CAT like me commit suicide. IT IS JUST AN EXAM ... don't make it bigger than life .

Learn - Tries to imbibe all the useful thing which come across to U , esp the tip’s and trick in QA section . It’s your learning which is always with U .
"Each Problem That I Solved Became A Rule Which Served Afterwards To Solve Other Problems." - Rene Descartes (1596-1650), "Discours De La Methode"

Maturity – Cracking CAT is not a child game so approach your preparations with maturity. Accept first that U need to learn and that there is much more to learn than what U know.

Nitty Gritty - Work on the detailing. Check out whether or not U have been able to rectify the errors U made plus also work on the time factor i.e. could U have solved the same question which U got right in lesser time?

Optimistic - Attitude makes a difference in the kind of scores U can expect. Focus on it for making things happen for yourself and refrain from thinking parameters like "this is too tough, not meant for me" or "This is so lengthy, how can a person ever attempt the whole section?". But beware optimistic alone can’t help U , if U have only optimistic traits then U are gulling U’r self .
Obstacles Don't Have To Stop You. If You Run Into A Wall, Don't Turn Around And Give Up. Figure Out How To Climb It, Go Through It, Or Work Around It. => Michael Jordan

Practice – Practice practice and practice .Keep working no matter what it takes. U cannot afford to take anything for granted or leave it to chance, your career is on the line. As things might just happen to be in your favour at the last minute and U would realise "Thank goodness I practice on it. I can do it now"
No matter what conditions you encounter in life, your right is only to the works--not to the fruits thereof. You should not be impelled to act for selfish reasons, nor should you be attached to inaction.
-Bhagavad Gita 2.47

Quality + Quantity – Tries to maintain the proper relationship between Quality and Quantity of your attempt. Blindly solving 50 questions a day or 100 questions a day or 2 papers a day etc. does not help.
CAT is not a all attempt paper so tries to maintain the Quality of your attempt.
Persistence Is The Twin Sister Of Excellence. One Is A Matter Of Quality; The Other, A Matter Of Time. => Marabel Morgan

Reading - Read, read and read. Read to enhance U’r reading speed , Read to enhance U’r domain of Knowledge. And last but not least Read to enhance U’r marks.

Shilly-shally – If your target is CAT , U just can’t have a shilly-shally (procrastination) approach, i.e one should avoid doing something like making big plans but never carrying them out.
One Today Is Worth Two Tomorrows. => Benjamin Franklin

Tolerance - To handle frustration and failures. Start with acceptance that "Yes I failed" or "I did not get good enough marks because I messed up" the fact that U have scored less only indicates that U still have a scope to improve drastically. Use U performance benchmarks to motivate yourself and a tool for improvement. For this U need to develop Tolerance.

Ultimatum - Give yourself an ultimatum. "its now or never. I have to make it happen" This will help U to boost your morale and make U work still more and especially when U need it the most.
When We Accept Tough Jobs As A Challenge And Wade Into Them With Joy And Enthusiasm, Miracles Can Happen. => Arland Gilbert

Vision and Values - A vision for self is a must. Look at your self 25 years from now. How do U want to see yourself down the career pathway. Give yourself a vision combine it with values and look at MBA as a mere stepping stone to achieving it.
To Accomplish Great Things We Must Not Only Act But Also Dream, Not Only Plan But Also Believe. => Anatole

Wisdom - To work and plan out well in advance. Do not leave anything for the last minute. It is advisable to start atleast 12 in advance to give yourself a cutting edge. But do not worry if U haven’t start for today with double speed then your peer.

Yen - For next few month U must have yen for knowledge and success
Winning Is Not Everything. It's The Only Thing. => Vince Lombardi

Zeal - To achieve the Peak of a Successful Career Pathway.
Nothing Great In The World Has Ever Been Accomplished Without Passion => G. W. F. Hegel

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Preparation Strategy For CAT

The preparation strategy should aim at maximum effectiveness and improvement in the least possible amount of time. Smart Hard work is the order of the day. Nation-wide competitive examinations are not for blind sloggers.

The Preparation strategy should focus on

· Getting acquainted with the various patterns of questions that have been coming in the entrance tests.
· Developing the knowledge base required to tackle the questions.
· Practice, practice, practice in a simulated test environment.
· Defining yardsticks of performance in a phased manner of increasing difficulty, and achieving them.

As it is not possible for a candidate to be equally competent in all sections, and since all the questions in the test cannot be solved in the given time, a well-prepared candidate should be conscious of the test dynamics and be ready with a test taking strategy involving

· Assessment of strengths and weaknesses.
· Time allocation per question, per section.
· Decision criteria for selecting, deferring or rejecting a question.
· Sequencing of sections.

It should be borne in mind that improving the command over the language sections will take a longer time when compared with that required for quantitative sections.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Count the duration, in days, from the time you start your CAT preparation to August 31st. After August, you will be busy in taking those mock CATs and you will hardly have any time for studies. Therefore, if you are starting your CAT preparation on 1st of May, you have roughly 120 days of study time.
Assume that you will get 75% of these days for studies. The rest 25% will be lost in sleeping, watching movies or just staring at that nice girl living in the nearby building . Therefore, from May 1st to August 31st you have roughly 90 days of study time.
Assume that you will study 4 hours everyday. These 4 hours are separate from the time spent in reading newspapers or attending any CAT coaching. Also, if you study more, do the calculations in your own way. From those 4 hours, devote 2 hours to quant, 1 hour to Verbal, and 1 hour to DI. Therefore, given 90 days of study time, you have 180 hours to study quant, 90 hours for Verbal, and 90 hours for DI.
Break down those study hours according to percentage breakup of the various topics given in the table above. For example, from 180 hours of quant you should have 22% devoted to Number system. Therefore, you need to devote roughly 40 hours to Number system.
Once you have number of hours, planning becomes simpler. Just start from the highest occurring topic and move to the lowest occurring topic. The beauty of this method is that you would have covered the most important topic at the beginning of your preparations and even if you are not able to cover the least important ones because of lack of time, it would not hurt you so much!
For those who are attending any CAT coaching, if the topics covered in the coaching are different from the ones you are studying according to your plan, then you need to study hard during your coaching classes. Do the class exercises there itself. Pay attention the instructor and study as much as you can in the class itself.

CAT Preparation - English section

Notice that RC again takes 50% of the whole verbal section. Then come grammar and usage, fill in the blanks, and jumbled paragraphs. Vocabulary questions are petty 2.5% and that too occur in old CAT papers!

CAT Preparation -Quant section

How to prepare for CAT 2007?” While finding the answer to this question, I spoke with many trainers in the MBA coaching industry. All the answers that I got were on the same line, “number system ke liye 20 hr rakh lo, commercial math 15 hr mein ho jayegi, geometry ke liye 20 hr chahiye…” and so on. The answers were so general that they left me more confused. And every instructor had a different answer or study-time-frame suggestion for CAT 2007 preparation. Not only that, there was no method to break down study plan for students starting their preparations at different points of time. It made no sense that a student starting his preparation in May should be given the same advice as that given to the students starting in March. I realized that none of the instructors had a concrete idea about how to prepare for CAT in the best possible way. If I was a student, their answers would have left me completely befuddled.
Then I decided to go about it the Total Gadha way. I decided to let numbers tell me what to do. If it was common admission test I was preparing for, I should seek guidance from CAT papers themselves. I decided to find the numbers. When you have numbers on your side, you are unbeatable. I collected last 7 CAT papers and classified every question according to the topic. Then I summed up the number of questions in every topic and found the percentage occurrence of every topic. The result for CAT Quant is shown above (the classification is according to the number of marks):

Beautiful things, these numbers. I discovered that two topics- ‘Number System’ and ‘Geometry’- were solely covering nearly 50% of the CAT quant! Also, topics like ‘Simple Interest and Compound Interest’ did not occur at all and there were many topics such as ‘Profit and Loss’ which had become a bugaboo among students but which rarely occurred in CAT! Enlightenment, thy name is CAT!
(This article is taken from total gadha)

Some essentials to do during the last 90 days to CAT

With just about 90 days left for CAT here are some things any serious cat aspirant should follow religiously.

First things first. You have less than 15 days to send your completed CAT application forms to the IIMs. So do it as soon as possible. Do not wait for the eleventh hour to send your application and pray that the courier delivers it on time. If you still have not got your application, you have about four days left to get it from one of the IIMs. So do it now!

Here are some of the things that worked for me as I prepared for CAT and things have worked for many others to whom I have had the opportunity to assist in their CAT preparation.

1. Have a clear strategy before your Mock CATs - fine tune it - and use it on November 21st.
Most wars are won not on the power of the ammunition and armor a country possesses but on the power of its think tank. The same is true when it comes to CAT. Before you take any CAT comprehensive test put down on paper the strategy that you want to adopt for that test.

Though the last few CATs did not have any section wise time limit, it would be to your advantage to set those limits yourself.

Typically, students spend about 30 minutes in the verbal section, 40 minutes in the DI section and 50 minutes in the Quant section. This split could vary from individual to individual.

Having set this limit, shave off 5 minutes from each of the sections and keep those 5 minute blocks as reserve. After the first 105 minutes of the test, take a quick call on your performance. If you realize that you have done equally well in all three sections, spend the last 15 minutes in the section that is likely to give you the maximum returns. On the contrary, if you realize that you have not done particularly well in a section, spend the last 15 minutes in this section.

This way you never run short of time for any section. Also this strategy helps you to maximize your returns within the given time frame.

Essentially, do not ever start the test without assigning time limits for the different sections of the test.

(This article taken from ascent director`s blog)

CAT preparation tips

Study time: Quality or quantity?

Preparation for CAT cannot really be counted in terms of hours of study. To an extent, it depends on the candidate's inborn capacity, which nobody can change. What you can do, however, is try and sharpen your skills as much as possible.

The time required for this varies from person to person. There are people who have studied for seven to eight hours a day and still not cleared CAT, while there are people in very good B-schools whose CAT preparation was limited to two to three hours a day.

Focus on your strenghts

A key point to be remembered is that you should always focus on your strengths. Once the cut-off in all the sections is cleared, it does not matter where the marks come from. So, if you are good at English, spend more time on Verbal. The same holds good for Data Interpretation/ Data Sufficiency and Quant.

The objective is to maximise your total score. Don't forget, however, it is very important you clear the cut-off in each section of CAT (if you do not clear the cut-off level in every section, you will fail CAT).

Since it is true you will not know the cut-off, you should try to ensure you do moderately well in all the sections and exceptionally well in the ones you are good at.

Why English Usage is so important
Good at Quant?

A general brush-up of your Class XII/ IIT screening level maths should be enough. For people with a non-maths background, a good GRE/ GMAT book could serve as a great starting point for Quant preparation.

Formula for Data Interpretation/ Data Sufficiency?

As far as DI/ DS is concerned, there is no fixed formula for preparation. You should keep practising more and more questions until you are able to come up with a definite strategy.

Initially, don't worry about time limits. Start timing yourself only when you need the the advanced stage of your CAT preparation.

Are you good at group discussions?
Get that Verbal edge

It would be ideal to do some regular reading. You could read anything -- magazines, novels, etc. Most coaching centres would ask you to memorise word lists, but I don't think that helps at all.

Once you become used to reading stories/ books, questions like sentence rearrangement, etc, will come to you naturally.

Irrespective of how you choose to approach the exam, there is no 'fixed' formula for success. What I have mentioned above are some of the things that have worked for me when I was preparing for CAT.

I hope they help you too. Best of luck!