This is from an email i recently sent to a cousin who is doing her second year in commerce and is having thoughts of doing an MBA next.
“Now that you are thinking of a post graduate degree, thought I’ll share some views. (I’ve been a victim of overloaded advice, now my chance to fire!). Kiddin, just want to make sure you make good choices, and taht I give you some tips based on where I went wrong. I would strongly recommend not doing an Mcom, unless you are thinking of doing a CA side by side. MBA is a good option for a person of any background. But there’s lot of hardwork that goes into it.
> The entrance exam – CAT is the king of MBA entrance exams, which is conducted by the IIMs. Many other top breed institutes use the CAT score for screening. CAT is the toughest of the lot, and is very competitive. There are other exams too XAT, entrance for the Xavier group of institutes, then MAT, for a large number of lower breed institutes and many more. But by far these are the three most popular ones.
Questions are mainly divided into quantitative (maths, not high level, but tricky) verbal(english) and data interpretation(graphs and statistics). These are not all that difficult but can be very very tricky. Basically they want people to think simple and use loads of common sense. You ll need to learn (simple) formulae and shortcuts and practice as much as you can. And the good news is that most exams dont have a general knowledge section! Coaching centers provide a great deal of resources, training and good attention.
> The Group Discussion and Interview – Based on your CAT/entrance score, these b-school call you for a group discussion based on any topic.. (literally any topic, current events, sports, movies, business, anything). There would typically be around 8 people for the discussion, and what they test there is not only how much you knw abt the topic but how you make your presence felt, communication skills, leadership qualities, angane okke.
Then a personal interview by a panel of professors, who would ask you about your background, why you want to do an mba, your career goals, some questions about your degree subjects and all.
2) Choosing the right b-school – There are a whole lot of b-schools in the country, too many of them. Good ones are only about 10% of the lot. IIMs of course rule the list. Basically there are A grade schools(the likes of IIMs), Bgrade (like Bharatidasan, Alliance, IFMR, or Amrita, where i studied) and C grade (the bad ones, dont even look at these)
If you browse thru you will find many sites, that show rankings of top schools. You will also find it in magazines like Business today/world, India today etc.
There is no point in applying to all of them, you have to sit, think and choose as each application form costs from between Rs500-1200. You can make your choice based on the ranking, location, the placement (job) % of the school, the faculty experience, etc. (I can help you on that)
3) Fees – Bschool fees are always high averaging around 4 lakhs for the whole course. There are options of taking student loans, and if you get into a good school, where chances of getting a very good job is certain, you dont have to worry about the repayment. In Govt run institutes, like REC trichy (a very good b-school) the fees is very low.
4) In the Bschool – The idea about going to a Bschool and taking up a career as a manager is to be very capable, mature, smart, active, make good decisions, be approachable, competitive, aggressive and fearless. So thats the kind of attitude they are looking at, the bscools and the companies who recruit from bschools. You must be able to show that kind of an attitude throughout, ie in your attention in classrooms, assignment and projects, the discussions within classroom as groups and interviews.
5) The course – As an MBA you can choose what specific field you would like your career to move in, human resources, marketing, operations, systems/IT or finance. In the first year they teach you basics of all this, and in the second year you can choose the field that interests you the most.
6) Placement – The idea of getting into a Bschool is to end up getting a very well paid job, That is the reward of a 2 yr long competitive professional course, so anything you do right from this moment of deciding to do an MBA should be totally focussed on that final reward and how good you want it to be. Thats the goal.
I would suggest you attend a good coaching class, like Time or IMS for a 6 months or one year course (pref a one year course). They have weekend classes/weekday classes, lots of books and handouts, and very good classroom training. The good part is that they not only train you for the exam but also for GD and personal intw. Another good thing is that you will meet a whole lot of students with different backgrounds, mostly engineers. You ll have to mingle with people from all backgrounds, and show a lot of interest in learning. There will be instances where you lose confidence, seeing the speed and agressiveness of the engineering students but never put yourself down.
There will also be instances where you tend to lose interest in the class itself and focus on having fun and making new friends. I have seen many of my friends who attended a 1 yr course and scored poorly for the CAT, because they lost interest. Make sure that doesnt happen to you. Get yourself a good gang of friends who are very ambitious to make it to the top.
In the exam, its important to not only get answers correct but do the maximum in the given time. thats not an easy task; the key is also to make sure you practice what you learn, specially, being a non-eng student, focus on maths is very important…keep practicing everyday for atleast 1-2 hrs. Trust me, with a stop watch, its fun!
www.coolavenues.com is a good site for MBA aspirants,
http://www.time4education.com/ coaching classes
http://www.imsindia.com/ coaching classes
http://www.businessworld.in/content/section/14/45/ for basic ranking and info “