The Dilemma of Quitting the Job to crack the CAT

Unless there is an alien in the crowd, we all seek to secure good placements after completing our degrees and look forward to earning a hefty amount per month. After going through the tedious process of GDs and interviews, when one finally lands up with a good, respectable job, a new goal of getting into a good B-School takes shape and with it a dilemma of ‘whether I should quit my job to prepare for CAT and other MBA entrance exams; a hard earned job that might not accept me back if I fail to crack the exam this year!’ Yes, that feeling is mutual among a number of aspirants and the solution can be extracted through introspection.

The Art of Introspection

Before we advance into the subject of quitting a job, it is crucial to understand that no two persons are made of the same soil. What suits one does not necessarily suit another individual. Here, it becomes important to not follow the crowd and to not do what learned people advise you to do. You need to figure out the situation according to your comfort and concentration levels and the ease of managing work and exams simultaneously.

First, there has to be an insane desire of getting into the best B-School. The big brand names must loom around your head day and night which make you feel motivated to prepare dedicatedly for the exam. If you feel you have that fire, you are on the right track of thinking about leaving your job. If not, stop, rewind your thoughts and think again!

CAT requires hard work, practice, and sincerity on the part of the applicant coupled with time management that calls for a strict schedule and a daily planner. For people who work nine hours a day in an office and come back home exhausted only to wrap up their pending work and fall to bed, definitely, cannot manage to dedicate the number of hours required for CAT. Weekends seem the only viable time when they can achieve their set targets for the day. If you categorize yourself into this class of working people, go ahead and quit the job to prepare for CAT. A few headers for those going ahead with this decision:

  • Your interviewers will grill you on the reasons for leaving your job. You have to defend yourself and convince them why you are better than the applicants who managed to crack the exam without giving up on their jobs.
  • You might not get an opportunity to join back in the same place if you fail to achieve your target B-School and plan to prepare another year for the exam. If at all some companies allow you to join back, there will be consequences that may affect your stay at the company.
  • Make sure you do not end up taking undue advantage of the huge bulk of time you start getting after quitting your job. Remember, time is precious and time management is crucial for preparation. Frame a time table and work strictly as per the schedule in order to maximize your output. Let your risk of giving up your job be a calculated one where you know how to deal with time.

Are you an efficient Time Manager?

Then comes the second class of people who manage time in the most efficient manner. Be it their job that does not strain them much or their level of stamina that allows them to study and concentrate even after office hours, they do not face the challenge of having to compromise on their targets for the exam. For this class of people, it is best to continue with their jobs and have the added advantage of work experience in their resume that carries weightage while being shortlisted for interviews in many IIMs and non-IIM B-Schools. A few headers for people opting for this decision:

  • You not only cover the amount you need to pay for the innumerable forms but also cover your travel costs.
  • You also make your interview smoother by simply stating how well you managed to prepare for the exams along with your job.
  • But again eligibility and admissions criteria change every year and it is highly likely that the weightage given to work experience is completely scrapped off. Make sure you do not get disheartened and look at the other benefits your job has given you.
  • Also be sure about your decision of continuing with your job. It is disheartening as one regrets not quitting the job if one is not able to clear the exam. The blame comes solely on the work pressure that one had to go through while preparing and the mind wanders to all the things that could have been done if more time had been given to preparation.
  • Though it is highly likely that some of you who would opt for this decision will be determined to work harder due to the time constraint, showcasing maximum efforts in minimum amount of time, ensure work and exams do not take a toll on your health. Eat, sleep and rest right to gain the maximum out of your time and efforts.


Hence it comes down entirely to what kind of a lifestyle one lives, what kind of a company one works in, whether the company is ready to take in their employees again later after quitting the job, the ratio of hard work and output required by each individual, time management skills, ability to bear pressure and stress and the monetary requirements of the individual that determine whether one should or should not quit his/ her job for preparation of entrance exams. No one can be the decision maker. The final verdict must be given by the aspirant himself after a deep reflective thought and be ready to face any consequences that may accompany it. It is matter of great pride to be working for an organization and the happiness is greater when one cracks one of the most unpredictable exams of MBA!

About the Author – Kanika Kamra, an ardent writer and blogger, is a first year MBA student at SIBM, Bengaluru. She hails from New Delhi and has completed her graduation from Delhi University. With experience in diverse fields including content, design and IT during her graduation days, she intends to specialize in HR. She loves weaving her thoughts into words and writes on topics from all walks of life. Ingenious and innovative in her approach, she even has articles published in the newspaper. She gathers from every little inspiration around her and beholds the fundamentals of kindness, humanity and commitment to work.

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