B-School Selection, CAT Strat
Comments 81

How to build your profile for an MBA

This is a question that I get asked often by students and a very important one at that — how do I build my profile? So before we get on to the answer, let us evaluate what elements of a profile are.
Your profile is the impression that various elements in your resume create as a whole.

  • Academic Performance
    • Your marks in X, XII, Graduation
  • Work Experience
    • Number of months
  • Academic Pedigree
    • The brand of the institution from which you have graduated or will graduate
  • Academic Achievements
    • Ranks secured at school (X & XII), college and university level and/or performance in national or state-level entrance tests
  • Co-Curricular Achievements
    • Ranks in Olympiads, NTSE, Paper Presentations, Journal Publications and any other academics-related contests outside of regular school and college work
  • Extra-Curricular Achievements
    • Achievements in non-academic pursuits singing, dancing, sports, games, NCC, martial arts etc, Model UN etcetera
  • Positions of Responsibilities
    • Official posts held at a school, college, and university-level, or bodies such as AIESEC, Rotract etcetera
  • Pursuits of Special Interests
    • Any extra-curricular interest pursued out of passion but with or without achievements — reading, writing, sports, games, singing, dancing, painting, trekking, photography, short-film making

Most of the things that would go on to a resume can be fitted into one of the above labels.


What is a “good profile”?

A good profile is one which would rate as “average” or “above-average” on most of the elements listed above and have a spike on at least one of elements.

A spike is a level of achievement on a parameter or attribute that indicates that you are really better at it than most of the other people in the fray.

A few examples of what spikes are:

Academic Spike — Someone who has above 90% in X, XII, and Graduation will be considered to have a huge spike in academics. The key is the 90 in graduation since most aspirants (at least in this part of the world) tend to have 90s in X and XII, it is the 90 in your graduation that will put you in the outlier category.

Sports Spike — Those who have participated in individual or team sports or games at a district, state, and national level will be viewed as having a spike since most aspirants will have played but not professionally. A student I met recently told me that the moment he put forward his national-level badminton at the under-13 level in front of the NMIMS panel the interview changed (he made it despite the fact that he had just cleared the cut-off with a score of 209). Even running the marathon or cycling if done seriously with achievements to speak about can be a major spike.

So similarly you can have a spike in any one area it can be leadership spike if you have always held positions of responsibility. It can be an extra-curricular spike if you have participated in a lot of dramatics, singing or dancing at college-level. It can be a special interest spike if you have formally taken up dancing, singing, painting, languages or any other interest and are pursuing it seriously.


Does your profile impact your MBA aspirations?

Your profile plays a major role in three things:

  • The probability of you getting a call from premier institutions
  • The conversation you are going to have in your PI
  • The shortlists you are going to get during your summer & final placements

But all of the elements listed in the profile factors do not equally influence all the three things mentioned above.

Getting a call from premier business schools
Each b-school has a different set of criteria based on which it shortlists applicants for the second stage. The usual elements that come into play are

  • CAT Score, Academic Profile & Work Experience

Each b-school gives each of the three components a different weightage and in some cases no weightage at all to calculate a Composite Score (they might use a different name)

IIM-B gives weightage to work experience, IIM-I gives more weightage to XII marks etc.

Freshers need not worry since most b-schools take in a healthy percentage of freshers (about 30-40 per cent). The weightage for work experience will make it easier for working professionals to get a call — they can get in with a lower percentile when compared to freshers. Also, for the first call, it is only the quantity of work experience that will play a role and not the brand of the firm that you are working with.

What is important to note is that these criteria might change from year to year.

Do not worry about what you cannot change — your marks in the past — let the IIMs decide their weightage and give out calls based on their calculation, focus on what you can change.

Those who have graduated and have poor graduation marks need not worry since IIM-C gives a very low weightage to the same; get a good CAT score and you are in!

Also please note that Academic Pedigree plays no part in this stage of the process since there are no marks allocated to the brand of college you have graduated from. The whole process is purely mathematical. If a college has X seats and it calls 5X candidates for the second stage, the top 5X candidates as per Composite Scores will be given calls for the second stage.

The conversation you are going to have in your PI
Most top colleges send out a form to be filled out along with the call the next round. This form will ask you to fill out not just details about your academic profile  and work experience but will also ask you to

  • list achievements — co-curricular, extra-curricular and work-related (if applicable) and
  • write answers to questions such as
    • why do you want to do an MBA
    • what are your career plans
    • what are your strengths and weakness
    • what is the biggest challenge you have faced in your life so far
    • what is your biggest failure and what have you learned from it
    • what are your hobbies and interests

The panel will have your filled-up form when you go into the interview and you will be asked questions based on what you have filled up. This is where the achievements and interests elements of your profile come into the picture. You can have a look at a sample form, that of S.P.Jain last year, here.

Even if a college does not have a form and starts off with a tell me about yourself, the interview will be based on the things to tell about yourself that are not captured in the CAT application.

The two elements — brand value of the college where you pursued (or are pursuing) your bachelor’s degree and the brand value of the firm that you are working for are not evaluated objectively, which means that there are no marks allotted to the same separately based on any criteria.

The panel will make it a part of the overall marks it awards to you in your PI, based on how you perform in the PI. So a good college brand by itself does nothing unless you do a good job in the PI.

Getting interview shortlists for summer internships & final placements
You will be having your summer placements 3 to 4 months into your MBA. This means that your resume will not have changed at all. So the profile you have before getting into the b-school is what you will have while applying for summer training.

It is at this stage that the brand value of the college where you pursued your bachelor’s degree and the brand value of the firm that you worked for become important.

Firms will have loads of resumes from all b-schools and they tend to make their jobs easier by giving out shortlists to those with big brand names on their resumes. So this is where the real value of the IIT-tag kicks in! Also, all firms do not do this, only the big consulting firms tend to do this.


How to build your profile

As mentioned earlier, you need to focus on what you change in your present and hence your future and not your past. The objective of this post is to give you a realistic idea of the selection process and help you chart out your future course of action. So do not get deflated but start looking at the ways below to improve your profile.

Take up certification courses aligned to your career aspirations

I am an engineer and I want to get into finance! Well to do this you have to show what steps you have already taken towards your goal.

A lot of engineers who are dead serious about getting into Finance are taking up the CFA exams. A student of mine at IIM-C, the mecca in India as far as Finance aspirants are concerned, said that there are now on average about 70 students who have cleared at least Level 1 (out of 3) of the CFA! This number is bound to go up. The CFA is neither an easy nor a cheap exam to prepare for and take. But if you are really, really serious you need to take it up.

Other options for those keen on pursuing Finance are taking up NSE certification courses about which you can learn here

A great option for those looking at any specialization be it Marketing, Finance, Analytics or Operations are the certification courses from premier international schools such as Wharton on Coursera.

You can choose courses by specialization and college (just ensure that you choose top-rung colleges).

Freshers can really benefit by taking up a few courses especially in Marketing and Analytics since they will give you an introduction to the world of business as well as ammunition for the PI.

Take up positions of responsibility

This is one thing that freshers should really go after in the next semester. Forget publishing a paper as part of the symposium, organize the symposium! There are loads of committees and clubs on campus, you need to get into at least one of them, actively organize things/events as part of the committee/club and ensure that you a certificate for the same.

Take up social impact activities

While both freshers and working professionals can take this up, it is easier for the latter to become an active contributor to the CSR initiatives in your organization. You can also sign up to do volunteering work for an NGO working in the field of your interest — education, health care, environment etc.

One specific thing that freshers can look at is applying to and joining student organizations such as AIESEC (they have city-wise chapters) or take part in their initiatives.

Take part in contests, events, and cultural festivals

If you are not interested in organizing then take part in inter-college events based on your interest be it — case study contests, b-plan contests, singing, dancing, acting, sports whatever you are passionate about. The idea is that you should come across as someone who does more than just going to college and back.

Take an interest in the Entrepreneurship Cell of your college

A lot of people keep saying that they want to become entrepreneurs some years down the line when asked about career plans or Why MBA. But mostly the line is similar to — any they lived happily ever; nobody knows how we are expected to take it at face-value. So show some interest and become a part of the E-Cell if your college has one!

Take your interests to the next level

Your IIM interview can revolve entirely around your passion or interest. So take whatever interest you have and explore it seriously. If you like languages then take up learning a language and clear at least a level. A student of mine liked to read Manga (Japanese comics) and she ended up learning Japanese and clearing a few levels.

If you like outdoor activities such as trekking or cycling join the Chennai Trekking Club. If you have always wanted to train for a marathon then train to at least do a fraction of it.

Improve your public speaking skills by joining Toastmasters

Those of you who want to really improve your communication skills with a view to doing well in the interviews should join Toastmasters — it is a not a training institute but a club for people to improve their spoken English. Once you become a member you can also take up positions of responsibility within the local chapter that you attend.


Do you do more, do you stand above the crowd?

As aspiring management professionals, you need to display that you are capable of doing much more than others. You need to show that you do more than just go to college or work and back. You need to show that you passionate about things apart from what is required. You need to show that you have the potential to perform on a much larger canvas.

So pick a few things from the list and get started.

 

81 Comments

  1. Nagaraj Ramangouda Patil says

    HELLO SIR

    Nagaraj Patil (B Tech Mechanical 2020)
    BENGALURU
    CAT 2019- 70 Percentile

    10th-95.2
    12th -82
    B Tech-75

    2 months summer Internship at Bosch India

    I am in the final year graduating in JUNE 2020 How to Improve my profile for top B school will 0 work experience hinder me
    I have a offer of software engineer from Cognizant, I am in dilemma whether to join the company or start Preparations again , Do I need to look for other jobs

    How to proceed further Please guide Me , Sir

    Like

  2. Nagaraj patil says

    HELLO SIR

    Nagaraj Patil (B Tech Mechanical 2020)
    BENGALURU
    CAT 2019- 70 Percentile

    10th-95.2
    12th -82
    B Tech-75

    2 months summer Internship at Bosch India

    I am in the final year graduating in JUNE 2020 How to Improve my profile for top B school will 0 work experience hinder me
    I have a offer of software engineer from Cognizant, I am in dilemma whether to join the company or start Preparations again , Do I need to look for other jobs

    How to proceed further Please guide Me , Sir

    Like

    • Hi Nagraj,

      It depends on how what you want to post your MBA, if you want to work in Operations then it is better you take up an Ops job for two years, if you want to work on the business side of IT then take up the role at CTS and CAT next year.

      If you want to work in Marketing or Finance, then do not take up the offer, prepare for CAT and take up relevant certifications

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  3. Nagaraj Ramangouda Patil says

    Started ONLINE Operations management and predictive analytics course from IIMB ,any such certifications
    Please do suggest sir ,
    THANK YOU SIR

    Like

    • These should suffice if you are looking at Operations.

      Aim for diversity in your profile and take up some NGO activity (teaching at Bhumi).

      If you have time and the interest learn a language as well (not mandatory but if you do, clear atleast two levels for French or Spanish)

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  4. Nagaraj patil says

    I am looking for General Management With Analytics as major , And I Want to Join B School in 2021 By CAT2020 ,I DON’T WANT TO PUSH IT LONGER SO WHAT ARE THE BEST OPTIONS !? and CTS gives me joining date in October or November probably, So I am continuing prep ,any mean while Profile building options ,Aiming At Top 20 B schools only ,How About IIFT !? Can I Crack it Just After Graduation, What do You Suggest for a Mechanical Engineer About to Graduate in June , You Tooo had same path after Your Graduation I believe,I am Totally Confused ,But for sure I Will be In full swing Prep till CTS gives DOJ
    So HOW to Go along Guide me Please.

    Like

  5. Nagaraj patil says

    As Far as Majors I am more Inclined to Analytics , Operations ,and Marketing, But Getting into A Bschool is my First aim ,Majors I will choose Wisely later !Can’t I ? Now Inorder to Make my Profile Appealing What Should I Do ! ? in these 6 months So that I Land in A Top Bschool
    Help Me Out Sir !?

    Like

  6. Ashok B says

    Hi sir,
    Hope you’re doing well. I’ve converted IMT Ghaziabad full time program (CAT score 96.93) . I’ve got IIM Vizag interview remaining. Didn’t get a shortlist for the good IITs. Might convert IIT Roorkee or Kanpur, and some baby IIMs or IIM Kashipur at the maximum, since my WAT/PI for the IIM CAP went horrible.
    Considering I’ll go ahead with IMT Ghaziabad, with an intended specialisation in finance, what would you recommend I do from now until the time of admission, so as to improve my CV? My current profile is X/XII/UG in CS – 9.8/78/7.24. 30 months of work experience in Federal Bank as a clerk. Have passed JAIIB and CAIIB certifications from IIBF. Any pointers or general advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Regards,
    Ashok B

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ashok,

      If you want to good career in Finance you need to do a CFA, especially given the fact that IMT-G is not exactly known for Finance.

      You do some small-time certification courses but what you need is CFA or FRM if you want the top flight jobs.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  7. Kritika says

    Hello Sir,
    Currently working in an IT company, since February 2020. I wish to pursue Operations management. Would you suggest continuing to work in IT profile or switch to an Operations job.
    Thanks & Regards.

    Like

  8. Giri says

    Hi sir,
    My name is GIRI, I got 9.3 CGPA in 10th, 90.9 % in 12th, & 6.1 CGPA in btech mechanical, but finished btech in 5YEARS, Belongs to OBC – NCL Category, is there any chance to get a call from iims if I Amy get 90+ percentile in CAT

    Like

    • Hi Giri,

      It does not matter if you took 5 years to complete your graduation you can still get into an IIM. We have had a student who finished his degree in 6 years and still made it to IIM-T.

      If you score above a 96 percentile you will get calls from all the old IIMs, if you score above 90 you will get calls from the new and baby IIMs.

      So, go ahead and prepare do not worry about your grad, what is done is done.

      All the best!

      Like

  9. Shreya says

    Hi Sir

    I have done B Tech Mechanical in 2016 from ITER Bubaneswar. After that I joined MNC and in July it’s going to be 48 months. I aspire for a good IIM , Could you please assist the stratergy.

    I have the following scores :-

    CAT 2019- 70 Percentile
    10th- 81.5 %
    12th – 61 %
    B Tech- 8.15 CGPA

    I am quite worried if I should quit my job and prepare for CAT 2020. I need your help kindly assist.

    Like

  10. Krishna says

    Hi sir,
    I have done BTECH Mechanical engineering in 2018,
    X class 9.2
    X11 class 9.0
    But in Btech only 6.2
    Even Finished Btech in 4-1/2 year (1 semester extra I taken to complete my btech. Sir SUGGEST ME THE IDEAL PERCENTILE IN CAT EXAM TO GET IN TO IIMs and IITs.
    Belongs to OBC NCL Category.
    I don’t have any work experience sir.

    Like

    • Hi Krishna,

      If you score a percentile in excess of 97 you will get a call from the old IIMs despite your graduation marks.

      If you score above a 95 you should be able to get a call from all the new and baby IIMs and the IITs as well.

      At a 90+ you can expect a few calls.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  11. Neha says

    Hi Sir,
    I am a final year student pursuing Electrical Engineering ( X: 91.83, XII:92.83, Btech: 72, Female, General).
    I have two job offers right now (Wipro and ITC Infotech for IT dept). However, I feel joining those jobs right now, after June, will severely affect my CAT performance in November. I am weak in quants and scored 55 percentile in quants last year (overall 77 percentile).
    My college is sponsoring courses on Coursera, so I want to do some courses to make sure I have a strong profile. However, taking the risk of not joining the jobs also worries me.
    Please tell me what should I do now to get into the IIMS.

    Like

    • Hi Neha,

      If you feel you cannot work and prepare for the CAT, then it is your call to not take up the job offers on hand.

      Anyway, you will have very little in terms of work-ex at the time of application, and hence the quantitative impact of not having a job will be negligible.

      As far the courses on Coursera go, the reason you need to them is to signal your interest in an MBA degree through concrete steps that you have taken in that direction. They do not have any marks for these certification programs but they will be good points for conversation in an interview as well as tools to strengthen your resume.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  12. Kalyan says

    Hi sir,

    My name is kalyan
    I completed my graduation btech in 2018
    10th – 9cgpa- State board, AP
    12th – 90.5%- State board, AP
    Btech – 6.0cgpa mechanical (took 1 semester more to complete, passed in November examinations, not in April)

    I don’t have any work experience, simply wasted the time, with my seniors suggestion, I would like to give cat in coming year 2020 (targeting for 2021 academic year). So nearly 3 years gap,
    Whether, any worth for me to give CAT exam this time.
    What percentile I have to get?

    Like

    • Hi Kalyan,

      Given that you have such a huge gap as well a low grad CGPA, you have to take not just the CAT, but other exams such as the XAt, IIFT, NMAT, and SNAP as well as getting into any of the top 30 colleges will be a good break for you.

      If you get a decent score then you will get a call, for NMAT a score of above 215 will put you in a good place, on the CAT you will need a percentile of above 97, if you are a General candidate, to get calls from the new and baby IIMs, old IIMs are effectively ruled out unless you do not belong to the General category.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  13. anurag says

    Hi
    Sir i have got :
    X = 8.6 ; XII= 57.2; graduation = 7.2 engineering background (graduating this june)

    i dont have much certificates (mostly software based)
    hoping to get some advice for profile build up.

    Currently preparing for CAT 2020…

    Like

    • ABHISHEK SHARMA says

      Hello sir ,
      I’ve got ( 10th -60.8 , 12th -79.8 , graduation – 7.4 )
      I graduated in august 2019 . I’ve done bba general. Was not able to crack CAT 2019 , so decided to give one more attempt in 2020 . As per my work experience I didn’t take any job after graduation . But now I am doing an internship of 2 months in marketing . I did a digital marketing online course from google . And 2 more online courses from udemy in the area if my interest. Volunteered in an NGO for 2 years and another NGO for 3 months . Planning to go for 1 more internship .
      Will not having any work experience in terms of full time job affect my chances of getting into colleges like GIM , KJ or tapmi ?
      Please suggest something.

      Like

      • Hi Abhishek,

        Having full-time work experience is not mandatory for any of these colleges. All colleges have atleast 30% freshers in their batch since there are recruiters who look for freshers, especially the Marketing ones.

        So in that sense, you have done well to have completed a few Marketing internships and courses.

        Once the lockdown is lifted, do another internship as planned.

        Hope this clarifies,

        All the best!

        Like

    • Hi Anurag,

      Take up any of the things mentioned in the post.

      The best thing in the current circumstances would be to take up certification courses offered by Wharton on Coursera in the specialization you want to take up during your MBA.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!

      Like

  14. gaurbhaskar says

    Hi Sir
    I am working as a software engineer in L&T from the last 2.5 years.My academic details are as follows:
    10 : 86 percent
    12 : 75 percent
    Graduation : 60 percent
    Do I have a chance of getting calls from IIMs old or new and other prestigious institutions like FMS, FMS IMT and others.
    And what would be the percentile that I require to get into institutions like this?

    Like

    • Hi,

      To be honest, mathematically your chances of getting a call from the old IIMs are very slim since you will lose on the points to be gained on the academic profile front.

      If your score above a 97 percentile, you can expect calls from the new and baby IIMs.

      For FMS and old IIMs, you will need in excess of 99.60, assuming you belong to the general category.

      I would suggest your best bet to be schools such as IIFT, NMIMS-Mumbai, and SIBM-Pune.

      So look at the whole process through a wider lens, the target should be a degree from a good brand and a good first job.

      All the best!

      Like

  15. Giridhar says

    Hi sir,
    My name is giridhar, completed my graduation btech in 2018, I am running an EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANCY in Chennai since I was in btech 3rd year to till now, I haven’t registered my consultancy office yet, but I have had good AUTHORIZATION LETTERS from the colleges(4 colleges for btech and mba courses), but DON’T have any Pay Slips.
    Each and every year I am getting more Authorization letters from different colleges, furtherly I want to enhance my Carrer to land in an corporate sector, means I will give cat exam in 2021(2018-21, 3years of gap). would you plz help me in, how to fill these 3 years of gap in professional manner, because not having any Account check transactions and payslips (only cash transactions done before!).

    My academics are
    X class 9.3
    XII 90.8%
    BTech 6.6
    OBC ncl category

    Like

    • Hi Giridhar,

      The only thing you can do is mention that you are an entrepreneur and take the authorization letters along with you as proof.

      As long as they accept the proof it should be fine and if you can furnish any other proof of the existence of your firm it will be helpful.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  16. Hi Sir,
    My name is Swaroop Guptha. I have graduated in Mechanical Engineering but took up a software job at CTS (working from Sep-2019). I am very much interested in business side of Automobile Industry. I am giving CAT this year.Is it possible to change my career from IT to Automobile? Kindly advise me.

    Like

    • Hi Swaroop,

      Just to clarify, do you want to know if you can move from the IT to the Automobile sector with an MBA?

      If that is the case then yes it is possible but automobile firms are not major recruiters at b-schools.

      They usually recruit those with prior auto work-ex of at least 2 years from Ops programs at SPJIMR and schools such as NITIE.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  17. Rohan says

    Hi Tony,

    I took CAT 19 and have converted SPJIMR. Your posts have been a source of motivation and constant guidance for me throughout this journey, and I can’t thank you enough for that. You are amazing and an inspiration.
    I secured 98.8 percentile in CAT this time and had MDI,IIM S, SPJIMR, NITIE,IITB, IIFT as my calls.
    I have 2 years of experience in digital marketing.
    I am inclined towards joining SPJIMR (marketing).
    Can you please tell me your opinion on this college and whether I should even think about taking another shot at A/B/C. This was my 2nd serious attempt, scored 90 previously.

    Like

    • Hi Rohan,

      Congrats on the calls!

      I would say that since you want to take up Marketing MDI or SPJIMR would be the best bet I would say MDI over SP since a lot of Marketing firms are based out of Delhi and MDI has a much better campus.

      As far as another shot goes, the difference between ABC and the other schools is primarily in terms of the kind of roles that will open up to you for Finance and Consulting since these roles are few and thus firms in these sectors end up going only to a few schools.

      So since you want to build a career in Marketing, the incremental benefit of another year is very low.

      Really glad you found the blog useful.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  18. anjali says

    hello sir,
    I will graduate in July 2020 in BSc hons in chemistry and my academic score 93/95.5/86.I will be giving my 2nd attempt for cat( previous 89 percentile) this year. I am planning to do certificate courses to build my cv so can you suggest me some …. and also at this time internship or job opportunities are very less being BSc graduate.so shall I apply for jobs or do courses and NGO work?

    Like

    • Hi Anjali,

      The first thing you need to figure out is which specialization you want to take up. Everything you do to build your CV has to be related to that, barring say NGO work and interests.

      Alternatively, you can do a business foundations course offered by Wharton — https://www.coursera.org/specializations/wharton-business-foundations, that will help you with your resume as well as give you more of an idea about each of the business functions.

      Given that any sort of work is hard to come by I think doing the above course is the best thing you can do in the short-term.

      Regards,

      Tony

      Like

  19. hello sir,
    i am shashi yadav i want to ask is there any benefit of online free certification like BCG virtual experience certificate (Insidersherpha) and like online google marketing certificate? or anyother free certification from any fancy institutes….?
    Thabkyou

    Like

    • Hi Shashi,

      I suppose when you use the word “use” you are using it in the Indian sense — kaam ka hai kya? Iska direct faida ha kya in terms of geting an admit?

      For a WAT-GD-PI call, there are no marks for certification except for SPJIMR where they give our profile-based calls and thus require you to fill up a detailed form.

      All the other colleges send you a form once you get a shortlist that ask for more profile details and short answers to questions such as career goals etc.

      It is this form that the panel will have when you face them for an interview.

      During the interview, certifications serve the purpose of highlighting that you are serious about an MBA and have already taken some steps to learn about your preferred domain. They call 4 people for one seat and it is candidates who are better fits that get through.

      Also, it is not about the certification being free but about the brand that is offering the certification and the how good the course is.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

      • Thankyou sir for your guidance. There’s are few more queries
        MY PROFILE
        10-80%
        12 – 60%
        Graduation (BBA) 70%
        Category-OBC-NC
        CERTIFICATION
        Entrepreneurship (university level)
        Import/Export
        Event coordinator (University level)
        Digital marketing (Google)

        INTERNSHIP
        Pepsico india (Frito lays)
        Bigbazar (very short period)

        i am a Preparing for cat 2020 from IMS coaching center.
        Right now i am working as a Production Garment Merchandiser in a export house ( 1500 crore turnover approx.)
        i wonder if inteviewer will criticize me severely for this, having a MISS MATCH between background and profession ??? as anybody will hardly find a BBA working as a garment Merchandiser….
        Secondly i am equally intrested in marketing , finance strategy management later on in life i want to be an Entetprenure so i always try get a comprehensive knowledge, IS IT GOOD TO HAVE CERTIFICATION in diverse areas marketing, finance strategic management… ? or i should try to focus on one category and have number of good quality certification in it…. What will be better in admission prospective?
        Thankyou

        Like

      • Hi Shashi,

        To answer your questions:

        1. BBA Grad working in garment merchandising is not any different from a Mechanical engineer working in CTS. So you need not worry about the mismatch, almost the whole country has it 🙂

        2. For the sake of your interview, you focus on only one things your short-term goal, which is Marketing, and build your profile for that. Everyone mentions entrepreneurship (who would not like to be one) I always advise my students to not mention entrepreneurship unless they are willing to sit out of placements. I want to gain some corporate experience then I will do it so speak about it when you are ready to jump unless you can show that you have already tried your hand at a few startups.

        Hope this clarifies,

        All the best!

        Like

  20. YUKTA says

    Hello sir, my name is Yukta and i m very confused about which specialization to pick and which certification courses to continue in order to build up my CV
    My profile is
    X- 9.2 cgpa
    XII- 87%
    Pursuing B.sc economics honours and i will graduate this year( hopefully, all thanks to corona).
    So please guide me which course to focus on and how to build my CV.

    Like

  21. Kavya says

    Hello sir, converted NITIE PGDIM and I want to know your opinion about taking it. I had my interviews for K,I,CAP and IIT’s. As u always mention operations are good for people with workex, I wanted to know if I should take the call because NITIE is good for ops. I’m a fresher graduated in 2019 and I didn’t take up my job in IT.

    Like

    • Hi Kavya,
      Since you a fresher you should choose the best colleges you have if you are not super keen on Ops. If you like Ops then join NITIE, there will be roles that you can into.

      Else, leaving Ops aside, your choice should be IIM-K, I, NITIE, IIT-B, new IIMs.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  22. Prateik Mohapatra says

    Hello sir!

    This is Prateik and I am an engineer from VIT Vellore.I am graduating this year 2020. My academics are as follows:

    Xth: Cgpa 10
    XII: 93.5%
    B TECH: cgpa 8.81
    work ex : zero

    Sir i am taking a drop for cat 2020 . Alongwith Cat preparation I am pursing a data science course from Iim raipur and i also have registered for the coursera courses on mba specilizations by University of Wharton , the same ones you have mentioned in the post.
    Sir will this enough for covering the gap? I am a fresher and a General Engineer Male, so will this gap year create a problem for me in the interview?
    Sir if you think i should take any other activity for profile buildings, please do suggest.
    My main aim is to get into the top 10 B schools of our country and i know as a GEM fresher i need to score really high and have to have a good profile, so please let me know what i should do .

    Like

    • Hi Prateik,

      Good to see that you have already taken up a few profile building activities. Given the economic scenario, it will be easier to justify a gap year.

      As I mentioned in the post, they will ask you questions and if you can showcase your eagerness to do an MBA and answer questions they will pose based on the courses you have taken, you should be fine.

      As of now, these things are fine. If you have time to spare once you are through with this and are interested in pursuing some more courses, you can.

      All the best!

      Like

  23. Chetak says

    Hi Sir,

    I took CAT this year and secured calls from IIMA/L/K/S and other new / baby IIMs, apart from SPJIMR, MDI and IIFT with below profile:
    90/88/78 ( 10th / 12th / BCom) and CA in first attempt with 63.75%.
    Work Ex : 21 months till July’19 ( now 31 months) in Corporate Finance function of Multinational Indian IT Company.
    CAT Percentile: 97.56, Category: General Male

    But I was unable to convert IIMA and SP Jain (rest of the results are still awaited). Request you to please advice me in the below scenarios:
    1. If I am able to convert IIM L / K, whether I should join this year or retake CAT to target A/B/C.
    2. Please also advise me on whether to join MDI / IIFT / IIM Shillong this year, in case I am able to convert it.
    3. In case I decide to retake CAT ( if unable to convert any of the above or to target A/B/C), can you please advice on below options that I see foresee as of now:
    i. Option 1 : Leave job in July to be better prepared for CAT ( considering the hectic work schedule required in job and also considering I would have more than 33 months work experience by then). I am also planning to take up CFA and give level 1 in December this year.
    ii. Option 2 : Continue my current job and prepare for CAT. In this case, may not be able to take up CFA.
    Please advise which of the options is preferable.

    Also, please advice any other points that you feel I can look at or any other suggestions that you may have to offer considering my current situation.

    Like

    • Hi Chetak,

      You have a decent set of calls and given that you are a CA, you have a great profile. What the old IIMs and specifically, A-B-C and to a certain extent L will give is access to super-niche Finance jobs in trading and i-banking, so what we are talking about is a handful of super-niche roles and such firms always look at the college tag.

      Otherwise, your CA is a big plus and CA-MBA is a very sort after profile for Finance and General Management; you should join MDI or IIFT if you get in. Shilling will be a no.

      If based on this you want to take an another shot I would suggest Option 1, not because of CFA but because of time needed to prepare for CAT.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

      • Chetak says

        Hi Sir,

        I converted IIM Lucknow call. Now, whether I should join IIML this year or try for A/B/C again next year by taking a break?
        How different is IIM L from A/B/C in terms of overall learnings, faculty, roles offered ( especially in finance), long term prospects and overall perception and reputation?
        Also, do you think online classes and COVID will have any impact on MBA program in this year as such?

        Like

      • Hi Chetak,

        The only reason to repeat is if your profile is way too good for IIM-L — X, XII, Grad Marks 90-90-90; Graduation brand is bigger than L (IIT-B,D,K, M, KGP); and you have a CFA or a CA — all three things that mean that you can crack the best Finance job at A, B, or C, you have to understand that you are as competitive as your CV so you might land A, B or C but not get the job you want (some Fin firms have rules such as JEE AIR 500 and below only apply)

        As far as placements across all sectors go, L will lack only a small layer of the icing that is there at A, B, and C, this layer of icing in Finance will be missing at B as well.

        My vote will be to join as there will be no repercussions in the long run. My batch topper was from IIT-Kanpur, he topped at IIM-L as well (9.9 if I am not wrong), joined McKinsey from campus (way, way back in the day when L students had to go to Bombay for interviews) and is in a super-senior position at Amazon (he will become Amazon India CEO if he sticks around).

        And most of my batchmates, CAs, who graduated when there were no Fin jobs at L, unlike now, are now in Fin roles of their choice.

        And yeah, COVID effect should wear off by March 2022, so no issues on that front.

        So yeah, go ahead and join.

        All the best!

        Like

  24. Prince says

    Hi Sir,
    I took CAT this year and secured calls from IIM K/S and other new / baby IIMs with below profile:
    93.7/95.2/89.1 ( 10th / 12th / BTech CSE – NIT Manipur)
    Work Ex : 11 months till July’19 ( now 21 months) as a Software Engineer in Capgemini.
    CAT Percentile: 99.06, Category: General Male

    I am preparing for CAT again this year in the hopes of getting calls from A/B/C. I wish to pursue MBA in Finance but the most grilling question asked in interviews is why an engineer wants to take up finance ? What could be a satisfactory response to this question ? Also is taking up CFA enough or can I take additional steps to build a good profile for MBA finance ?

    Also, please advice any other points that you feel I can look at to get a call from the top institutes.

    Like

    • Hi Prince,

      Even if you get into A and C, without a CFA your resume will stand no chance. There are atleast 80 engineers or more with a CFA L1 at C and a similar number at A.

      You can plan to clear the CFA L1 either by June ‘21 before you start the program or at the end of your first year, and L2 a year after L1. A June attempt will ensure that it does affect your CAT Prep or academics on campus.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  25. Ankit Srivastava says

    Hello Sir,

    I am a 2nd year student pursuing my English Hons. from BHU. My other core subjects are Russian & Tourism Management. I will be graduating in 2021 and I am planning to appear for CAT 2020. I have the following scores:-

    10th – 91%
    12th – 67%
    Till 3rd Sem – 8 CGPA

    I am inclined towards HR. I have no work experience, extra-curricular or co-curricular achievements apart from NSS certificate. I have done a few short courses on Accounting Fundamentals, Six Sigma-White Belt, Product Management. I had just started my CAT preparation when this lockdown happened and now there’s only few months left for the exam. Sir I am very much confused and worried and I often get demotivated from my prep as if no matter how much good percentile I’ll score, I won’t get any admission because of my poor profile. It is affecting my mental health badly. Sir please guide me as to how can I improve my profile from now on. Also how much percentile should I be aiming for?

    Like

  26. Denny says

    Hi Sir,

    Hope you are doing well!

    I want to know about my chances for older IIMs. What percentile will be needed to get a call and convert it?

    Category- GEM; X = 94 ; XII= 82; graduation = 6.5 CGPA ( Not so great college) ,Workex(GET)- 10 months as of now

    My inclination is towards Finance. Due to financial issues, I cannot prepare and appear for CFA. So, I have taken several courses like advanced excel for financial modeling, Firm behavior, Microeconomics basis.

    Thank you, Sir 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Denny,

      You would need at least a 98.75 to get a call from one of the old IIMs and a 99.60 and above to get a call from all of them.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  27. Hello sir,
    I am a 2017 graduate from SRCC, with the following profile- 95/98/84/Male/EWS
    My major concern is that i have a 3 years gap owing to civil services preparation, besides zero work experience- which is causing me much tension.
    Currently, I have left upsc preparation & I am preparing for CAT 2020 hoping to get a 99+
    What are my chances of getting into IIM A/B/C?
    What else i can do now along with cat preparation to increase the probability of converting the calls and minimize the negative impact of 3 years gap?

    Thanks in advance.

    Like

    • Hi Utkarsh,

      The best you can do is take up some certification programs on Coursera offered by schools such as Wharton.

      What is the quantitative impact of your GAP?
      The same as that of a fresher, you will not get marks for work-ex, and thus have to score a slightly higher percentile than a person with 2 or more years of work-ex.

      What is the qualitative impact of your GAP?
      You will be asked about it in your interviews and it will depend on how you defend it. The gap in itself is not a reason yo reject, it does not make your better or a worse candidate than any other. Trust me it is not that tough to defend as well since both IAS and MBA have A in common and there is a trend among MBAs from old IIMs to prepare and crack Civils after MBA.

      So as of now all you can do prep as best as you can to get the best score you can.

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. NIKHIL PATIL says

    Hello sir,
    This is my first attempt for CAT but i am lil bit confused because of my acads
    10th = 85%
    12th= 65%
    graduation (BBA) = 56%
    but i participated in national and state level cricket
    category = OBC
    so how much % i should hit in CAT 2020 to get a call from old, new, baby IIM also top B schools like FMS and MDI.

    THANK YOU .

    Like

    • Hi Nikhil,

      Given your acads, to get the calls you have mentioned you need to get around 97 percentile.

      More importantly, do not make your application and aspiration strategy based solely on brand names.

      What you should look at are the set of colleges that will give you a break that will be considered good for your profile — a 15LPA job with a good brand. So take a shot at IIFT, NMAT and SNAP as well. You might think that the fees at NMAT and SNAP are high but that is made up for by the width of firms that recruit.

      So do not worry about your profile, just put your head down and prep.

      All the best!

      Like

  29. Herat Shukla says

    Dear sir,
    I am an electrical engineer (Passout year – 2018). Kindly guide me to justify my work experience. I had worked for almost 1.5 years in the electrical design field but the salary was in cash. I only have an experience letter from the organization. How can I justify those 1.5 years? In total, I have 2 years & a 1month experience. I have an offer letter from my current organization but my major tension is the previous 1.5 years.
    Thank you in advance!

    Like

    • Hi Herat,

      As long as you can show the experience letter it should be fine. If they insist on salary slips then there is nothing that can be done unless you deposited at least some of the amount in your bank account and show the same. This verification process happens at the time of GD-PI and not all colleges might insist on salary slips.

      Regards,

      Tony

      Like

  30. Nihal Makwana says

    Hello Sir, I have read many blogs written by you. I gained a lot of insight from ‘All About Specialisations’.

    Here’s my profile:-

    My score is 85/50/6.2 in my 10th, 12th & graduation (Er.) respectively. I have a work-ex of 22 months (9 months in Decathlon as a Sports leader & Sales manager & 13 months as a senior site engineer in Pradhan Mantri Aavas Yojana under the SKILL INDIA program). I belong to SC category. Apart from that, I have completed the “Fundamentals of digital marketing” from Google. I have completed 2 foundational courses from the NSE academy. I have even received a certificate for ‘Fundamental analysis’ from NSE.

    Extra-curricular activities:- Won 1st and 2nd prize in Science Exhibition and Essay-writing. House captain for a year in school. District team football captain and won trophies during the school period. Selected for Senior district football team for Santosh trophy in 2014 and 2016. Selected as college football team captain. Organized football tournaments while in college and during my 1st job stint. I have also developed a habit of writing blogs. https://medium.com/@nihalmakwana19

    This will be my 1st attempt at CAT. Do I have a chance in top b-school through CAT? I am confused between marketing and finance. What should I choose holding my profile in mind?

    Like

    • Hi Nihal,

      Glad you find the blog useful!

      You have a pretty good profile, especially your extra-curricular.

      As mentioned in the All About Specializations webinar, Finance would require relevant educational background and good academic profile. So given this at this point of time, your profile is more aligned to getting shortlists for Marketing — both in terms of work-ex and ECAs.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nihal Makwana says

        Thanks a lot for your guidance.
        That cleared a lot of confusions. I can focus on my CAT preparations whole heartedly now.
        Based on my profile, do I have a chance in top b-school in India as I have poor academics ?

        Like

  31. Aarav Patel says

    Hi Sir,
    My name is Aarav. I’m in the final year of my B.Com.
    My academics are: 10th: 81%
    12th: 83%
    Grad:73%(Approx)

    Like

    • Aarav Patel says

      Sorry I just left it incomplete. Sir I am keen towards Finance and I started course of Yale University but I heard it from somewhere that Coursera Courses are not worthy enough to be kept in the CV as a lot of people do such courses, So I left it incomplete. Sir kindly guide me on what should I do. Should I continue or not? And any additional advice that you would like to give me considering my profile, It would help me a lot sir.

      Like

      • Hi Aarav,

        Coursera courses are not completely useless in that they indicate your interest in a field. It is also a good way for those who are taking a year break to prepare for CAT to show that they have done something other than CAT Prep.

        But in terms of a career in Finance, it is a very low-impact, the most important thing Finance is relevant education background, which you have, and even more than that is a professional degree — those with a CA or a CFA degree will be the first pick for most firms.

        Please watch the All About Specializations – II webinar on the blog to get a more detailed analysis of the profile needed to build a career in Finance. Please note that a CA or a CFA, plays a more important role getting jobs on campus and after that rather an admission into a good b-school (though it would strengthen your chances as well)

        The goal is to have at least a CFA L1 before joining campus and L2 before final placements.

        It will be tough to prep for CAT and CFA at this time, so the earliest you can take is in June next year.

        In the meantime finish what you started, the Coursera certification.

        hope this helps,

        All the best!

        Like

  32. Janhavi Deokar says

    Hello Sir, I will be completing B.A.LL.B fom ILS, Pune in 2020 (not sure about the exams due to covid). I am planning to attempt CAT in November. My academic records are as follows:
    X: 91%
    XII: 85.23%
    Graduation (as of now):60%
    In addition to this I am pursuing CS and have cleared group II at the Executive level. I also have a diploma in IPR from WIPO. I have participated in various inter and intra college moot court competitions. I have participated in national level Moot held in Vizag last year. I have done 3 internships throughout my graduation.
    What else do I need to build a good profile for MBA? Are there any certificate courses I should opt for?
    Being a non-engineering student I am struggling with Quant. Can you guide me how to get over the fear of quant because I have to attempt CAT in 3 months and I am quite scared.
    What score do I need to get into top B-schools?

    Like

    • Hi Janhavi,

      Given you law background, you have a very good chance of getting a call from IIM-A because of education diverstiy.

      I had a law student in Pune who got a call at 88 percentile.

      Given gender and education diversity, a percentile of 90 should get you a call from A since they have different buckets for different education categories.

      Given that you are doing a CS as well, it is more than enough as far as profile goes, all you need to do is get the best score you can.The other schools that you have good chances are IIM-L and IIM-K, especially the latter. I do no want to put a percentile to it, I just want you to push yourself as much as you can.

      For the fear of QA, you need to go through the two LEARNING to LEARN Math webinars, especially Part-I that I took. The idea was to teach people how to learn Math — Quant, Law, Verbal, Industrial design any field of work requires logic, the language you use to express logic changes — https://thecatwriter.com/2020/05/14/webinar-learning-to-learn-math/

      All the best!

      Like

  33. shreya says

    hello, Im a final year BCOM student.
    ive got 8.8 in 10th, 93% in 12th.
    im planning to attempt CAT 2020, but then i wasnt much prepared, so i was thinking of just attempting this year and joining somewhere for work and then reattempting next year.
    Is that a good plan in consideration with covid, or should i join for mba as soon as i finish cat.

    Like

  34. Rohan says

    Hi,

    I am a 2017 pass out with 3 years of work ex in an IT MNC as a systems engineer.
    Should I enroll for an MBA for 2021-23 batch after having 4 years of work ex?
    Will I be filtered out by companies during placements owing to my work ex?

    Like

    • Hi Rohan,

      Well, with 4 years of work-ex experience the firms at which you have a shot will drastically come down.

      A ballpark estimate would be that only about 30-35% of the roles offered on campus would be a fit for your profile.

      Having said that I have had enough number of students doing a 2-year program and having no complaints after that since the 30-35% roles that are aligned to their profiles were not ones they would have got without the MBA.

      Your work-ex is at the beginner level for the 1-year program in which the average age and work-ex are lower.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

  35. Sanjana says

    Hello sir, I am a second year student in B.Com Integrated Professional Programme. I have secured a 9.2 CGPA in 10th, 92% in 12th and my undergrad gpa until now is above 9. I want to pursue my MBA in finance. I aspire to write CAT in 2022 and get a minimum of 1 year work experience before my attempt.
    I desire to get into FMS Delhi, IIFT, SP Jain or jamnalal Mumbai. I have done several coursera courses and as of now i have no academic achievements or any achievements, I am seeking your advice to help me build a good profile for a fresher which will be impressive enough if i am able to score my desired percentile in CAT.

    Thank you!

    Like

    • Hi Sanjana,

      Given your stellar Marks and gender diversity, you already stand a good chance of getting a call if you score a good percentile.

      The ECAs do not play an important role in the admission process, since there are no marks for ECAs, except for SPJIMR Finance.

      So focus on maintaining your GPA and your CAT Prep.

      The big goal for you if you want to build a successful career in Finance is to have a CFA degree.

      You will be competing with the CAs and CFAs on campus.

      So I would suggest clearing at least CFA L1 before getting into a B-school.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!

      Like

  36. Manoj says

    Hi Sir,
    I was thinking why would anyone do IT/Engineering and shift to MBA?
    Isn’t growth in IT good? How would doing an MBA help a IT/Tech guy?
    What do you think is the right reason behind this approach?
    Thanks!

    Like

  37. Ashutosh Agrawal says

    Hello sir,
    I am a GEM Fresher from NIT Raipur
    10th:87.4%
    12th: 88.6%
    Grad: 79% ( Mechanical)
    Sir, do I stand any chance to get into old IIMs, or should I target only colleges like FMS, MDI, XLRI etc.?

    Like

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