Q. When did you start your preparation for CAT? How did you manage your time during placement or job?
I had enrolled myself in a coaching for CAT at Kalu Sarai, during my college. However, I just attended a couple of classes. I mostly attempted mock tests for CAT, the test series that TIME offers. Majority of the preparation was done after I started receiving calls.
Q. What exactly are deferred MBA programs? Who are eligible for the same? What are its pros and cons?
IIMA has this feature of deferred admission where in, after getting selected, you are supposed to pay some amount so as to secure your seat, and can take admission after 1 or 2 years, so as to get some work experience. They help you gain some insights into the industry, to help you decide for yourself on what sort of work you want to do in future. Only a couple of colleges offer this. Freshers can get 2 years of time, while those who have around 1 year of work experience can get 1 year of deferred admission. Pros are that you will have a safety net in life, as you have a seat secured in IIMA. Also, you will get awareness on what you want to do in life and what not. I would suggest people that its better to have some sort of work experience and exposure to the industry before they decide to venture out into Management, because being a fresher, you don’t have a holistic view on what you should be doing, and you would be just coming out of 1 college and transitioning into other.
Q. What was your college CGPA? How much do you think college CGPA matters? And what, according to you, is a good CGPA?
When I took my CAT exam, my CG was 7.45, however, I had other things in my bucket like an international research project, various olympiad certificates, that helped me. Anything above 8 is good enough I suppose. Acads come first at the end of the day. Make sure to have a balanced CV, from your acads, to POR’s, to extra curricular activities, and to the internship programs.
Q. What, according to you, is a good resume? Please share with us some of the salient features of your resume?
It depends on the kind of domain that you want to enter into. If you want to enter into marketing or general management, then work ex is given less importance, and other things like PORs and extra curricular activities have a lot of weightage. Social work also comes into account in marketing and general management roles. If you want to venture into consulting, you need to have a balance between work ex and college activities. Coming to my resume, I had a lot of PORs- I was a BSW rep, the marketing head for RDV and Tryst, and the house secy of my hostel. My extra currics were also good enough. I went to NYU in 2nd year for my summer intern. In my third year, I did an internship with a blockchain based firm, and had a start-up of my own in my 4rth year. So I would suggest that you should do atleast 2 internships. Foreign inter or foreign exchange is a great boon.
Q. Did you join any coaching for preparing for this exam?
I had enrolled myself in a coaching for CAT at Kalu Sarai. However, I just attended a couple of classes. I mostly attempted mock tests for CAT, the test series that TIME offers. Majority of the preparation was done after I started receiving calls. In my opinion, you don’t need to study that much for CAT exam. All you need to do is have a lot of practice. The game of this exam is more about speed and accuracy. So the more you practice, the better.
Q. How much focus should one have on tech and core domains?
If you want to go after work ex, then you should have some sort of expertise, but otherwise I think that it hardly matters.
Q. What out of the 2 is better- doing MBA just after the college, or getting some work experience and then going for MBA?
According to me, having some sort of work experience is better. It gives you an holistic view on what you want to do in life and what not
Q. How did you prepare for IIM? Is it tough to crack the interviews?
I mostly prepared for the AWT. There is a fixed protocol to be followed for the same, which you are supposed to cram up. For the interviews, they ask you a lot. If you are a fresher, they will ask from your undergrad, your internship, your courses, your research paper if you have any. Try to give as many mock PI’s as possible, because the interview can go in any direction. Try to talk to your seniors as well for getting guidance on the interview. Its not that tough if you’re prepared well. Around 1/3rd of the people who qualified for the interview round get an admission.
Q. Does an MBA help in entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is something you can do at any point in your life. But yes, MBA helps to some extent, if you want to build a network. Otherwise, the brand works great as well. Even though IIT Delhi’s brand works as well, after all, most unicorns in India are from IIT Delhi and not IIM Ahmedabad.