Rishabh Baid
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IIM Ahmedabad'23
Interviewed by:
Abhyuday Bhargava
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Q. When did you start your preparation for CAT? How did you manage your time during (placements or job, etc)?

I worked in a 9 to 6 job for eighteen months and then in a firm for thirteen months which was in its initial start-up phase then and required lots of time and effort. So I prepared for the CAT along with my job making sure that I woke up early to study and also studied 8-10 after work. Particularly on weekends, I made sure to attempt one mock test + any one sectional test on saturday and sunday each with analysis of the same.

Q. How did you prepare for the CAT exam? Did you join any kind of coaching? Or did self-study work for you?

I purchased CRACKU lecture series which also included quant DILR and Mock tests. CAT questions are all solvable but it’s a game of time. So these series help you by providing the much needed tricks to solve the questions faster especially in DILR and quant.

Q. What was your college CGPA? How much do you think college CGPA matters? And what, according to you, is a good CGPA?

My CGPA was 8.82. CGPA is a dynamic but an important thing. It’s weightage varies for different IIMs but having an 8 pointer is essential. An interviewer may question you on troughs and peaks in your grade sheet.

Q. What, according to you, is a good resume? Please share with us some of the salient features of your resume?

Jack of all trades and master of none does not help. Have one ECA and pursue it a bit which would add to your resume. A balanced academics with ECAs and PORs is required. I was in the AXLR8R club for 3 years and also attended an International event of the same. I was in the IITD football team and also had a patent in SURA.

Q. What according to you is more important- College achievements or work ex? How much focus is on tech and core domains? Do PORs play a major role?

Work ex definitely matters more especially the company brand where you’ve worked. Thus, the internship column on your resume plays a vital role. However your profile should reflect that you’ve been doing something in college. A really good POR plays a very good role in portraying leadership and management skills.

Q. How did you prepare for IIM? Is it tough to crack the interview?

Approach should be different for interviews at different IIMs, like at IIMB, they concentrate a lot on your SOP. While a lot depends upon your panel, current affairs and GK is asked everywhere. You should have an opinion on the trending topics which might not be extreme but you should be able to defend it. As soon as you get an interview call, start reading the newspaper and be prepared to face basic questions like Why MBA? Why did you leave that company? etc.

Q. When did you do your MBA- just after college or after getting some work experience? What according to you is better out of the two?

I did MBA after 18 months of work at Wipro and 13 months at Oyo. Good work ex is pivotal for MBA, ideal work ex is 2 years but 1 year is also good if you have a strong and balanced profile.

Q. What are the career options after MBA?

There are six to eight major sectors for work: Consult, Finance, Marketing, General Management, Product Management and Operations. Finance is usually difficult to get but quite easy if you’re from a finance background. Consult and Finance are day-1 fields with more than 30% people going into consulting.

Q. Does an MBA help in entrepreneurship?

MBA is quite helpful in entrepreneurship as you get an excellent alum base who are investors and entrepreneurs. Thus there is a better connect and circle. MBA program also gives idea of the consumers and the market and helps you structure your work. These courses are very practical and helpful.

Q. What exactly are deferred MBA programs? Pros and cons?

Deferred program of IIMA is basically that you clear everything before, reserve your seat and then join MBA after gaining more work ex for a year or two. This is a really helpful exam as you can prepare for the CAT during your studies as preparation with the mandatory work ex is stressful and cumbersome. This program has all the pros in my opinion and comes with no cons.