MBA is one of the most sought-after higher education options undertaken by many aspirants who are encouraged to peruse management education at top business schools due to the high pay packages offered and the diverse career opportunities they can get into.
Though there are common MBA entrance tests, however, some institutes have their own separate admission process. This article is aimed to guide MBA candidates about the relevant steps related to getting into the right college/institute and how candidates can aim to get an admission through following the 6 Step guide to MBA admissions.
Following are the key steps that a candidate has to go through before getting the MBA admission offer from the prestigious colleges/institutes
Step 1: Identify the potential MBA colleges you wish to study
In the first step, the candidate has to take a decision which B-schools he/she wishes to apply as different B-schools accept different exam scores.
It will be wise to check the Top MBA institution rankings published in major print and digital publications.
Shortlisting colleges/institutes also help the candidates to plan out in advance about which entrance exams they would like to appear. In this way, candidates will have a focussed preparation and need not spend unnecessary time fling application forms and appearing for a number of admission tests.
Pro Tip: The candidate should do a SWOT analysis and analyse his/her strong areas where they can score and make a list of potential colleges/institutes which accept his/her target score for admissions.
Step 2: Prepare well & write exams for colleges/institutes that you aim
In this step, candidates should make a note of the admission requirements for the different institutions. Entrance notifications start from the second week of October, the first being that of the Common Entrance Test (CAT). Exam related information is also available online and published through advertisements in all leading newspapers. On receipt of duly filled application forms with identity proof of the candidates, institutions issue admit cards for the entrance test. The written test is conducted online and tests the candidate’s skills in four major areas – verbal ability, reading comprehension, quantitative ability and business data interpretation.
MBA candidates need to maintain a proper balance between speed and accuracy, and that comes from daily practice, well-defined revision strategies and practising mock tests and previous exam papers. Other preparation tips that can be followed are:
- Practising and Studying in a time bound environment.
- Analysing mock tests and previous papers attempted to know why a particular question was wrong or why a particular question was left.
- Daily revision of formulae, this can be done when a candidate takes a break between studying and writing mocks.
- Maintaining a healthy diet, devoting time to meditation/ sports/ yoga to relax and taking adequate sleep for a fit and alert mind.
Writing competitive exams with a calm mind will not only improve the candidate’s performance but instil confidence to prepare for the subsequent interviews and group discussions.
Expert Tip: Candidates should develop the art of leaving questions that they take too much time to attempt questions that are easy and scoring, says Prateek Bajpai, CAT 2015, 100 Percentile scorer and an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad.
Step 3: Applying to colleges and waiting for the shortlists
The CAT results are announced in January and all the other exams follow suit. By early February all results are out and candidates need to apply to respective colleges according to their marks and percentile. Many colleges conduct their own entrance tests as well, candidates need to check online and fill forms accordingly and appear for the institute specific entrance tests.
After the applied forms are sent, the waiting game starts! This is between Mid-February to Mid-March. During this time candidates must prepare well for interviews and group discussions.
Expert Tip: Expect the unexpected, says Shrikant Zarekar from Class of 2016 at IIM Bangalore.
Step 4: Networking with peer MBA candidates and alumni’s
After the candidates have applied to the colleges, it is a good move to network with peer MBA candidates and alumni’s to now the nitty gritties of group discussions and interviews that will be conducted after the shortlists are out. Professional media is a good medium to connect with alumni’s and know their experiences in GD and PI’s.
Expert Tip: Networking is a probable answer a professionally experienced candidate can give if the interviewer asks why MBA? Other reasons being Job domain change and money, says Shrikant Zarekar from class of 2016 at IIM Bangalore.
Step 5: Group Discussion and Interview Preparations
This phase primarily includes two stages, group discussion and personal interview. This stage is held between mid-February and March. GDs and PIs check a candidate’s personality traits like group behaviour, general awareness, communication skills, reasoning ability, leadership skills, initiative taking abilities, confidence and creative bent of mind to name a few.
Interviews can be a personal interview or a group interview. While a personal interview is conducted to check the personality traits, academics, goals and self-awareness of the candidate. A group interview checks a candidate’s analytical ability apart from the parameters mentioned above.
IIMs conduct Written Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interviews (PI), and a number of other B-schools also conduct Psychometric tests to test the college fit of the candidate.
Scoring parameters are different for each institute, where weightage in the range of 2 to 20 points are awarded for performance in class 10, 12 and graduation, if the candidate has scored 90+ marks. Non-engineers may be awarded weightage for academic diversity, bonus marks are given to those with a work experience, while female candidates may be awarded weightage for gender diversity.
Expert Tip: Form a small study group of friends where you can learn from each other, says Patrick Dsouza, CAT100%iler in 2007, 2009, 2016, 2017
Step 6: Final selection to your dream Degree
After the interviews are conducted, the final admission offers are released by the B-schools in about a month’s time. The final selection depends upon the candidate’s cumulative performance in the written exam, performance in the GD and PI round, academic performance, academic diversity, previous work experience and gender diversity. Candidates are asked to pay the first fee instalment within 30 days of the date of the final call letter by most of the institutes.
A degree in management opens the gateway to many lucrative career opportunities, ranging from banking and finance to consulting profiles. The charm of a management degree will always find takers owing to its open approach to all streams and well-paid job profiles including overseas opportunities.
About the Author
Kamalika Some is Editor at Exambazaar Blog which provides resources, tips & material to help you ace in your exam preparation. Exambazaar is India’s largest education discovery platform which provides comprehensive information for test preparation for entrance exams, colleges, courses, universities and career options in India.