Q. When did you start your preparation for CAT? How did you manage your time during (placements or job, etc)?
I started my preparation when I was working, and I started 5-6 weeks berfore the exam, which was too late, in my opnion, as I was not looking to get into a B-school that year. It was by luck that I cracked it and got into IIMA. I didnt had a fighter job, so it was pretty manageable for me. I took a leave for a week from work just before the exam and grinded in that time period.
Q. How did you prepare for the CAT exam? Did you join any kind of coaching? Or did self-study work for you?
I did self-study for CAT and bought the IMS questions paper pack, which had practice questions and Mock Papers. I attempted 25-30 papers out of the 50 of them. Quant and LIDR I knew already, which is the case for most engineers, and in the verbal, I watched the video solutions if I faced any problems. If I got stuck on any particular topic, I just solved the questions of that specific topic.
Q. What was your college CGPA? How much do you think college CGPA matters? And what, according to you, is a good CGPA?
Academics always matter. I had 7.7 CG. CGPA is important, especially in IIMA, as all the toppers are here. A good CG, in my opinion, is 8.5-9, but it ultimately comes to what you want to do.
Q. What, according to you, is a good resume? Please share with us some of the salient features of your resume?
Again it depends on what you want to do as most engineers who want to go in Finance or in consulting when pursuing MBA then, of course, the brand matters, like a lot, like where you were in that brand, etc. is very very important. If you want to go into Product management, the tech brands matter, like whether you were a data analyst or a software developer, you were of CS branch or EE branch or MnC. In Marketing, Freshers(0 work-ex) are given a high preference. But if I had to give a blanket statement, then try to have a mix and balance of things and experience everything that you can and keep brands more as brands are noticed more as compared to if a guy is an IITian or not. You might have a very good experience, but the recruiters won't care if it is not a good brand. Acads also play an essential role. If you have good acads, then you can get by almost everything. It becomes a very personal choice about tech and core domains if you have already decided to do an MBA; why wait for 1-2 years. But most people do an MBA because they don't like what they are doing and want a change of pace. Of course, your interest in business should be there. Generally, when you work in a company, you develop an interest in business acumen, which is why you do an MBA. As for PORs, they don't matter much, but if they have two choices, the POR will definitely be a good point. IIMA didn't ask me about POR, but IIMC and IIMB did ask me about it. It again comes to the fact that try to have diverse experiences.
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?
If it is clear that you want to do an MBA, then you can directly go for an MBA, but if there is no such thing, then it is better to take a work ex of around 2yrs.
Q. How did you prepare for IIM? Is it tough to crack the interview?
4 to 5 months are enought for an IITian to prepare for CAT and get a call from IIMA,B, & C. For interviews, read the news and be aware of what is happening. The questions are pretty straightforward, and on the first google search, you can pretty much get a basic idea of what they are going to ask. If you are a fresher, your acads will be the main point, and if you have work-ex, that is what they will ask about. And you can direct those conversations as well, as it is pretty easy to do so.
Q. Does an MBA help in entrepreneurship?
It is a bipolar thing. Does it help? Yes definitely. Is it necessary? Absolutely not. You get to meet new people, it helps your business acumen, your mindset opens up, IIMA gives you a brand value which helps in funding, you get to meet people with whom you can start your venture, you get to meet different entrepreneurs. But you have to take a big hefty loan of 30 lacs which binds you financially for 5 yrs. And if you come from work ex, you will be 29-30 till you can do that and often the spirit dies down. But if you have a set goal, then definitely go for an MBA.
Q. What are the career options after MBA?
Finance, prior equity, asset management, venture capital, management, consulting, sales roles, product management, some operation roles, general management roles, very very few strategy roles which are not very regular (10 roles in a batch of 400).
Q. What exactly are deferred MBA programs? Pros and cons?
Deferred program is generally for freshers. Like you take admission, the college allows you to join after you gain some work ex. Pros: You get a chance to improve your CV and get yourself a business mindset before entering the clg. There are no such cons, but your degree takes 2 yrs more and that's it.