MBA or Masters in Management is one of the most popular degrees, primarily because it does not restrict anyone from becoming a management professional as graduates from all streams can pursue it. The degree also inspires many, which can be ascertained by the fact that the number of aspirants has increased steadily over the last few years. Over 2 lakh aspirants took the coveted Common Aptitude Test (CAT) in 2017, one of the most popular MBA entrance exams in the country.
The selections rate of the crème de la crème IIMs and other reputed Management Colleges as good as the IIMs is as low as 1.7%. It depends upon the candidate’s cumulative score in the written exam (like CAT/XAT), performance in the group discussion and personal interview rounds, academic credentials, participation in extra-curricular activities, and previous work experience if any. The institutions also ensure diversity in experience and gender in the selection process. Thorough preparation is, therefore, essential. Here’s a CAT Preparation Master Guide by CAT 2015 100%iler, Prateek Bajpai, that you can use as a guidepost for your preparation.
MBA Application Process in India:
It all begins with the notification of exam dates when aspirants apply for their chosen exams. The preparation for these exams goes beyond the syllabus.
After the management entrance results are declared, the jostle to fill the admission forms begins. All institutions except IIMs have separate forms inviting applications from successful students. The rigour of MBA application also lets students introspect and think deeply about their ambitions.
The first step is identifying colleges/institutes based on the marks/percentile that you expect to score in the entrance exams. In simple words, identify colleges which will accept your scores.
Gathering application forms & filling them:
A well-written application is a differentiating factor between selection and rejection. It differentiates an average candidate with a decent exam score, from a competent candidate with a similar or even lower score, but an excellent personality. Hence, investing time and effort in the application will increase your chances of being shortlisted, especially if you don’t have the perfect percentile.
You must be very careful while filling your details, as a single error may jeopardise your dream. Here is a quick run-through of the sections that almost all forms cover. Please note that these sections may not appear in this exact order in every form. The content, however, will be the same.
- Section 1: Personal & Contact Details
Personal details like name, demographic details, proof of identification and contact information are required. This section requires alertness, as a mismatch between the personal details and the original transcripts may cancel your application. It may also have a sub-section on family background. You must provide the details of your parents and siblings. Some colleges may also ask applicants about their parents’ education and annual family income.
- Section 2: Academic Qualifications
This is a fact-based section in the application form. The information to be filled in this section includes details of marks obtained in the qualifying exam, graduation, junior college and school. Most colleges require clear and legible scanned copies of the mark sheets and certificates. Ensure you have the transfer certificates from each phase of your education.
- Section 3: Achievements
This section gives you the best opportunity to make your mark among all other applicants. Apart from listing out the co-curricular activities that you have participated in, be sure to highlight leadership positions you may have held during your education/professional journey, and any awards won.There are no ‘standard’ answers to this section. In fact, we suggest that alongside exam preparation, applicants also spend considerable time on preparing their answers for this section.It’s never too late to build your resume. A few easy-to-begin extracurricular or co-curricular activity ideas can be:
- Volunteer work: Volunteer work immediately strikes a nerve with the admission committee. Check out 7 Impressive Volunteering Opportunities for which you can easily sign up online.
- Sports: You can’t play any sport at will when you’re an adult, but here are some Easy to Pick Up Sports that shouldn’t let you down. Sports enhance the qualities of passion, teamwork, leadership and patience in a neat package for your dream college to observe.
- Cultural Activities: Whoever said cultural activities cease after college? Cultural activities like drama, creative writing, fine arts can be your creative outlet, apart from bolstering your resume.
- Languages: It’s well established that learning new languages widens your mental horizons and gives you cultural acumen above and beyond your natural environment. You can start with the 5 most popular languages to learn.
- Certifications: It you aren’t the outdoorsy type, and find solace in academic endeavours, completing additional certifications can make a difference. Whether you prefer Marketing, Finance, Technology or any other field, there is no dearth of options for certifications. In fact, certifications will add more value to your job applications after the MBA as well!
- Section 4: Work Experience
If you’re applying for an MBA after you’ve gained some work experience, use this section adequately. It is believed that candidates with professional experience are given preference in admissions and subsequent placements for their prior knowledge of the organisational culture, work ethics, and industry requirements. Fresh graduates can include details of any internships.Again, don’t forget to feature your achievements in the workplace! Even a simple task like organising a meeting outing can speak volumes about your organisational capabilities.
- Section 5: Essays
Essays for college admissions are an element that Indian graduates were previously not familiar with. However, they are the norm for applications in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses abroad. There will always be experiences, hopes and dreams that cannot be communicated through academic or work details. An essay can be a boon because it is additional space for you to convince the college to select you.Use these long-answer questions to communicate your ideas, opinions or any unique projects you may have undertaken. You can also aim to reveal your outlook, networking and communication skills, and sense of accountability which are important to the college for your development as a business leader.Some of the common questions included here are Why management, Strengths and areas of improvement, Hobbies or interests etc. You should be precise and weigh in your overall personality while answering these intelligently-drafted questions.
- Section 6: Form Submission
After you have filled in all these sections, pay the admission/application fee. Make sure any supporting documents required are legible and clear. Form submissions may be online or offline.
Remember to fill your forms diligently as it is your first interaction with your dream college.
Picture for representation only. Source: Flickr
An MBA degree aims to impart applicants with skills in people-management, effective communication, problem-solving, networking and strategic thinking, under pressure. The admission process seeks to identify individuals who demonstrate these skills beyond mere grunt work. The criteria for admission lay heavy emphasis on a rounded personality, while gives equal importance to both academic achievements as well as non-academic triumphs.
We hope this will be helpful in your MBA journey. For any other information, feel free to contact Exambazaar.
(Written by Saloni Khandelwal)
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(Edited by Shruti Singhal)