Applying to MBA Colleges and Exams – The Intelligent Investor

As the season for the CAT exam draws nearer, students are forced to apply to many colleges even before giving the actual exam. This is very troublesome since 9 out of 10 students over estimate their ability and end up spending shit loads of money on forms etc. Lets just take a look at various exams for MBA in India.

  • IRMA
  • IIFT
  • CAT
  • XAT
  • SNAP
  • CMAT
  • TANCET etc etc
  • SRCC GBO

Most of these exams have a number of colleges under their umbrella and students end up coughing more than 20K  on forms every year. Lets label these exams based on difficulty –

IRMA is easy except for the GK part, and that is basically the make or break section for this paper. The paper is of easy level and students normally find section easy overall.

IIFT is a difficult exam by any standards. The paper level is moderate to difficult. One should give some past exams before coughing up 1500+ on this exam as it is not for everyone.

CAT – Moderate to difficult, we will talk about this later below.

XAT – Equivalent to CAT or slightly higher. However, lack of that intense a competition ( in comparison to CAT) helps students with cut offs 🙂

CMAT, TANCET, SRCC – Easy to moderate with high cut offs. SRCC has GK also which of moderate level

This should give you some idea as to which paper you should or should not give. Going through past exam papers would also help clear the air.

Now for choosing the college –

When I did my preparation, this is the approach that I tried and I see no reason why you should not do the same at this juncture. Just give past papers and determine the range within which you expect to score. Now make slabs of 5%ile and apply to 1-2 college within this slab. Lets do a demo to clarify this further –

Lets say Mr. M expects his percentile to be around 90%ile this year. So in the optimistic case, he wants to apply to 95%ile colleges at max and till 80%ile or slightly below to prepare for worse.

He divides this range into slabs of 95-90, 90-85, 85-80, 80 and below…now start picking colleges which accept these percentiles. Here is a rough idea –

Around 95 –

  • BIM, Trichy – Awesome college, underrated due to lack of that much publicity
  • IITs, NITIE for engineers only
  • MDI, Gurgaon
  • IMT, Ghaziabad
  • MFC, Awesome college for finance at Delhi University.

Around 90 –

  • FMS BHU, Varanasi
  • FORE, New Delhi
  • LBS, New Delhi
  • IMI, New Delhi
  • UBS, Chandigarh
  • Many many more
  • IFMR, Bhopal
  • NIT, Trichy

Around 85

  • MNIT, Allahabad
  • The above stated colleges lesser courses like International Business and others
  • SP Jain – However, its way above the league due to profile constraints.

Below 80

  • SDM IMD, Mysore
  • UPES, Dehradun
  • BIMTECH, Noida
  • Lucknow University

Many many more. Ideally, for Mr. M, I would choose BIM, MDI from bracket 1. NIT Trichy, LBS/FORE from bracket 2 and MNIT from bracket 3 and finally SDM IMD from bracket 4

FMS BHU, MNIT, NIT Trichy and Lucknow university are healthy options for fee constrained students.

Hope this will help students in choosing their colleges wisely and making correct decision. This way you can direct your resources in the right direction and save some money while keeping a wide range of options open. Tweak the strategy according to your liking and make sure you choose and invest with your mind and not your heart.

IIMs and FMS, Delhi deliberately kept out of this post.

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