How to be MBA ready

Highlights

How to be MBA ready, A degree in management leads to a responsible position in business, where one has the power to bring a positive change. Leading entrepreneurs and successful corporate leaders attribute their success to the time spent on a B-School campus.

A degree in management leads to a responsible position in business, where one has the power to bring a positive change. Leading entrepreneurs and successful corporate leaders attribute their success to the time spent on a B-School campus.

Learning, in an MBA programme, happens not only inside the classroom, but also during interaction with peers. The life-long associations created and the diverse network formed are invaluable to one's future endeavours. The current business environment is dynamic and complex. In such an environment, an MBA is a valuable asset as it brings a global perspective, multi-tasking skills, a better understanding of an organisation's integrated functionality and an ability to decipher complex business problems. This makes MBAs the choice for recruiters and an MBA the most coveted career option. If you feel that you are ready for taking life head-on and are excited about your work being meaningful, what are you waiting for?

An MBA is a great first step towards your dream destination. An MBA degree from a premier Business School does not come without hard work, meticulous preparation and outdoing your competition. Over two lack MBA aspirants dream to gain admission to the B-School of their choice every year. The B-School Selection Process can be divided into two stages.

Stage I: The first stage is that of the written/online entrance test mainly comprising multiple choice questions from the areas of Quantitative Ability (QA), Data Interpretation (DI), Verbal Ability (VA) and Reading Comprehension (RC), Analytical/Logical Reasoning and General Knowledge (GK).

Stage II: The second stage is that of Personality Assessment (PAS). While the entrance tests in the first stage typically check whether or not you are able to think logically and think on your feet; these tests do not reveal the candidate's interpersonal skills. Various tools are used like Group Discussion, Group Task, Personal Interview, Writing Ability Test etc. In addition to these, some institutes also use psychometric tests, creativity tests etc. There are quite a few MBA exams in the country. Which ones should I prepare for? CAT (conducted by the IIMs), XAT (conducted by XLRI), SNAP Test (conducted by Symbiosis), NMAT (conduct-ed by NMIMS), LIFT Admission Test, CMAT (conducted by AICTE) and TISSNET (conducted by Tata Institute of Social Sciences) are the major management entrance exams in the country. Other than a good percentile in the entrance test, what are the factors taken into account by the top B-Schools to admit students? The selection criteria vary from one college to another. Most colleges use a combination of the entrance test score, academic credentials and work-experience to shortlist candidates for PAS. However, the entrance test performance is the most important criterion at this stage. The final selection will be based on all of these plus the candidate's performance in the PAS. Students must start preparing in the pre-final year of their graduation. Some are also known to begin preparing in the early part of their final year. In this case, however, one would need to spend more time and effort over a shorter span of time. It is important to pay special attention to vocabulary build-ing. The best way for this is to develop a varied reading habit. National and international dailies (particularly the editorial page and the finance sections), famous speeches and English literature should all find a place on your reading list. This will also help you improve your reading speed. Grammar is another area that you need to focus on - both the rules and their application. In the Quant section, management entrance exams measure your ability to apply basic Math, learnt at school, in problem solving. Therefore, you should focus on the fundamentals taught to you in Class IX and X.

Since these exams also feature a section on Reasoning and Data Analysis, it is important to get comfortable with numerical data. Make it a point to read and analyze the business and finance sections in newspapers. Do not shy away from Mathematical Puzzles, Sudoku etc. Also, practise as many analytical reasoning questions as possible. What are the various stages of exam preparation? Remember that management aptitude tests are not about memorising formulae but about their application. Thus, once you have brushed up on the fundamentals, the next step is to start applying the concepts learnt to solve problems. This is the time to practise as many questions and exercises as you can. The natural corollary of such practice is that it would help you increase your speed of solving questions. And, considering that the exams test you under the constraint of time, speed building is a crucial component of your preparation. Focus on developing the knack to process numbers at a good speed and employ simple but reliable tricks to arrive at faster solutions. Five to six months before the actual exam, comes the time for mock tests and analyses. Taking full length mock tests under actual test conditions helps you prepare for D-day.

However, please also note that taking tests alone is not sufficient. If you take a test for two hours, you must spare at least four hours to analyse it. Such an analysis will help you gain new insights into solving problems and also reinforce existing concepts. Also, you can formulate your exam strategy as you will become well aware of your strong and weak areas.

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