The CAT is out of the bag– a little unexpectedly, though. For many students, it shortened their reverie by a few days but for many it meant the end of the wait that lasted for about one and a half months.
Now that the CAT result is declared, it is time to explore your B-school admission options in accordance with your CAT percentile. By now many of the B-schools have closed their application process. Except for the IIM call getters, almost everyone will have that small regret of applying or not applying in this B-school or that B-school. However, many of the B-schools will accept the application with a valid CAT score offer calls based on the percentile scores of the applicants.
Hundreds of B-schools accept the scores of CAT. Of which some 35-40 are quite good and can provide the boost to your career and may find that golden first job of your life. Depending on your percentile in the CAT results, you can shortlist and apply to B-schools which may call you for the next round of the selection process that may include Group Discussion, Group Task, Presentation, Personal Interview and/or Written Ability Test.
Whatever be your CAT result, remember that your CAT percentile is not the end of the road. It is only the beginning of the road as it is not the only deciding factor to pursue your MBA career. Moreover, there are B-schools for every band of the score. For example, if you have a dream of an IIM call but scored less than 90 percentile then there are some new IIMs which give calls for less than 90 percentile. Hence, given the large number of B-schools and MBA seats available in India in the admission process each candidate stands a chance of a B-school admission.
You can find the B-schools suitable to your strengths according to the league (percentile bracket) you belong to. You should narrow down your option and target a few of the B-schools for your MBA admission.
One question may definitely come to your mind once you have come out of the euphoria or come out of the jolt: How good or how bad is my result. It is very subjective. These days even very good B-schools (e.g., IIM-A, B & C) may give you call at 90 percentile while B-schools not exactly in that league may look for candidates having scored more than 95 percentile. Further, a candidate with very high percentile may not get a call if his academic records starting from class X is not up to the mark. Also, a complex factor of sectional cut off may play a spoilsport even if one scores quite a high percentile overall.
Before we discuss what is next, let’s group the calls roughly into four or five categories. This grouping is based on the choices of the students (preference factor) as well as their CAT result.These are:
a) IIM- A, B & C, FMS (DU)
b) MDI Gurgaon, IIT- Delhi, Bombay, Kharagpur & Kanpur, IIM- Indore, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Shillong, Ranchi, IMT-Gzb, SP Jain and a few.
c) Most of the remaining IIMs and IITs, LIBA Chennai, TAPMI Manipal, IISWBM Kolkata, NITIE Mumbai, BIM Trichy, MICA etc
d) FORE School of Management, IFMR-Chennai, IMI-Delhi, KJ Somaya, Great Lakes Chennai, DSE, BIMTECH, LBSIM-Delhi etc.
e) Other B-schools that has decent placement record.
It is worth discussing the selection process of MICA and IRMA in light of the above process. MICA and Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) conduct their own entrance exam but CAT is the prerequisite eligibility criteria. There is no particular CAT cutoff percentile to be secured in order to be eligible to take MCAT. Same is the case for IRMA Issues of Social Concern exam. IRMA will use CAT 2015 / XAT 2016 scores for admission to Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management 2016 - 18 (PRM 2016-18). All applicants for IRMA Admissions have to additionally appear for "Issues of Social Concern" test (online) on February 14, 2016. The shortlist for the next round of selection procedures such as GD, PI and WAT rounds would also be based on the scores of entrance exam conducted by these B-schools separately.
Another interesting fact is that many of these B-schools also accept scores of other exams such as XAT, CMAT, MAT etc.
While getting calls from these B-schools may primarily depend on CAT score, there are various factors that may be common. And here come the ‘Roads ahead’ part of this article. These B-schools invariably have a two or three tier process of selection once a candidate reports there. While some have Written Ability Test (WAT) and PI (Personal Interview), some have GD & PI. Some may even have Group Task or Presentation and PI. WAT or GD many times serves as a filtering process for PI. None of these processes, in itself, are sufficient for selection. Separate Weightage is assigned to each of these processes and a final score sheet is prepared for the selection in any programme. Common parameters for these final scores are scores in CAT, GD or WAT, PI, Academics, and Work experience.
So what’s the next task? Just gear up. Do lots of public speaking and debating, read a host of articles on current issues, practice writing on concrete and abstract topics, prepare presentations and solve some problems that need brainstorming in a group. Interview practice needs special attention. Depending on your background and your own expectation you may even seek professional help for these.
Just a word of caution: Take expert's guidance before taking a final call in booking a berth. Pursuing a wrong programme may not provide the right kind of boost to your career.