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Analysing CAT – GD/PI calls

Aks Seth analyzes how CAT has evolved over the years as the rush for the MBA bazaar has steadily grown.

As someone who graduated out of an IIM (and one who cruised through those two years with a lot of jest), one feels nostalgic with every CAT result and one follows it with a lot of personal interest. And dare I say, CAT results do follow interesting trend, that is if they follow a trend.

It has grown tougher.
CAT has grown tougher. And this is NOT because of the toughness of questions. Let me explain…

This year CAT was taken by more than 1,75,000 people. The average score in the test was expected to be around 50 marks. This would mean that on every 1/3 of a mark there could be, on an average, more than 300 students. Thus a difference of 1 mark between two aspirants could mean a rank difference of more than a thousand. This means that every second (& I mean every second) lost becomes fatal to one’s chances of making it to the list.

Multiple attempts
A surprisingly large number of students who are getting GD/PI calls are second, third even fourth time takers of CAT. Even the sharpest of the lot generally do not get a call if they do not groom themselves up for the two hours.

The explanation, though, is simpler. People in their first attempts often do not understand the depth of sincerity that CAT demands. Secondly, most applicants are not able to strike a balance between, either their graduation studies, or their jobs, and their CAT preparations. Last, a very large number of CAT aspirants who are doing well during their preparations are often unable to take the pressure of the D-day – those 120 minutes of real test time.

These people who do so well in CAT realise that they are were quite close to success. As a result, they are more focussed in their determination to crack the test.

Work Experience
Increasingly, the B-Schools seem to be toeing the line that MBA is better done after a few years in the industry. The call patterns – with more than 50% calls to people with work experience – seem to be consolidating that line of thought. People with work experience are getting calls at relatively low percentile.

The individual matters
Coaching classes are becoming irrelevant. The CAT has followed such erratic movements in its character that year on year these strategies actually harm the student more than they help. The coaching classes have become, at best, a tool to provide an aspirant a regularity in their work and a group/environment to prepare for. What ultimately matters is their self drive to make it and also the fact they have learnt from their experiences.

However, everyone is invited
All types of people are receiving calls – fresh undergraduates, people who have taken drop to prepare, people with work ex, people with diverse backgrounds, etc. The above criteria does not necessarily bring success. There are many people who did not make it after working for many years or after many trials.

The trend is that the percentage of people getting calls seem to be growing in the above directions.

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