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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Four things required for Cat Cracking

Fortunately or unfortunately, competitive exams like iim cat have become a strict norm for selection to various professional courses i.e. MBA in our country. Notwithstanding the demerits of such a system, competitive exams like cat for mba are a reality for the lakhs of students who appear in them every year.

In such a scenario, everyone wants to success. Success in these exams brings immense glory and confidence to the individuals, besides giving them a clear cut break into the career line of their choice. However, seats are limited and not everyone who appears can be selected. This does not mean that those who are not selected do not deserve a training in these courses. It only means that there aren't sufficient seats to accommodate all the deserving candidates.

Keeping this background in mind, let us explore what it takes to succeed in these competitive exams.

To my mind, the first prerequisite for success in these examinations is determination. The candidate must be quite sure of his level of motivation. Without a high level of motivation, no one can go through the rigorous preparation process. Thus, you must be absolutely determined to give your best efforts in your endeavor.

Once one is sufficiently motivated, one needs to be ready to give sufficient number of hours of his or her time in studies. This is real hard work and involves significant sacrifices on the part of the individual. "All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy". Therefore it is also important that the candidate does take out some time for relaxation either through sports, music or other art forms. Regular exercise ( about 15 - 20 minutes ) every day will help maintain a healthy body which in turn will house a healthy mind.

The third requirement, is selection of the right study material. One should not go for shortcuts. Instead, try to understand the chapters / concepts in detail and practice sufficient number number of questions. Therefore go for standard textbooks, study materials provided, as various correspondence courses and other coaching institutions serve as supplementary and complementary material to the textbook material.

The fourth consideration is an appropriate 'Study Strategy'. A very common question which students ask is, How to balance the studies with competitive exam study. Think that can be incorporated within the broad framework of one's competitive exams' preparation strategy. One strategy is to look at each chapter as a chapter to be learnt, a material to be mastered; rather than dichotomizing it as school & competitive exam-related study material.

Also revise the important concepts, facts, problems that you would have marked during during your year or years of preparation before the examination.

On the day of examination, keep your cool and attempt the questions. Remember, if you have given your best during the last months, you need not fear anything. Ultimately, only effort and not the result is in your hand. Which you should do to your maximum capability as outlined above. Rest is your destiny or luck. So go ahead, give your best and leave the rest!

Talk with a Cat Cracker

"Be sure in yourself that you want to do MBA. It is not the end of the world if you don’t want it.".
Vipul Goel, IIM Lucknow (2009), IITD (2005), discusses with a leading website about his mba preparation journey and making it to best mba college in India.

1. Tell us something about yourself.

I am a Delhi guy since the start. I have done my engineering from IIT Delhi. Worked in a MNC for two years and then went for higher studies at IIM Lucknow. At present I am working in another MNC.

2. Why did you choose IIM mba Lucknow?

The reason for choosing IIM mba Lucknow was it being one of the premiere institute for pursuing MBA in India. The broader perspective to business world and the chance to pursue studies according to your choices and interests were some of the factors which supported the fact.

3. Tell us something about the life in IIML?

IIM Lucknow is a place where you get a chance to meet people coming from all walks of life. A fresher coming out of a small college in India as well as people who ended up as as COO of some top firms (after graduation), people who have written books, people who have worked in army. Ofcourse, geographical diversity of the place can never be missed. All this can provide a different aspect to one’s outlook in the life.

Other than that almost all batchmates were super enthusiastic people who take interest and pride in their work. The quality of the teams in which I have worked throughout the period was amazing. Before MBA I was a person who wasn’t confident in interacting people with various walks of life which I felt is a hindrance in reaching the top. Presently I enjoy interacting with all which I believe. This is the biggest change in myself.

The life of MBA isn’t over without mentioning the number of clubs, committees and competitions which help one in fulfilling their interests in academic interests as well as in fine arts.

4. What made you leave your well-settled job and go for a full time MBA?

Leaving a well-settled job and high paying job is never an easy decision. One needs to be absolutely sure that they want to go for it. Difference it might make to one’s career is reaching your career advance in a Ferrari then by a Honda

5. How did you study for mba entrance exam?

I never studied for CAT. That was the only exam I appeared for. I simply kept my cool on the day and cracked the same.

6. What was your strategy for GD/PI?

For GD, I only spoke my points which I felt relevant. I always avoided entering a fish market. Idea is to make your points early to give structure to a presentation or give new direction if no new points are coming up. Please don’t try to be a leader of the group as usually most of the contemporaries are aggressive enough themselves and this strategy can backfire.

In PI, be yourself. Don’t try to fake your reasons for doing MBA or your achievements. Confidence is a must as you never know, what question can come up next. I have seen interviews going in very different direction then expected. Also, don’t indulge in asking those who had given interview first as to what their experience was or what questions were asked as it only hampers your open mindedness.

Just a fact that my IIM mba Lucknow interview has lasted less than 8 minutes, ended on a seemingly bad note as per others. I ended up among top 20 entrants there.

7. According to you, what is the right time to go for an MBA. Should economic scenarios drive an individual MBA plans?

In short term yes economic scenario can drive an individual’s MBA plans. On a longer term however, it doesn’t matter. You get to learn much more during adverse times which can guide you better when times change.

8. Any advice for future mba aspirants?

Be sure in yourself that you want to do MBA. It is not the end of the world if you don’t want it. Hundreds of career waiting which can make you earn much more if you are a top performer in them.