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Want to bell the CAT?

JAM helps you decide if being an MBA is really your passion

The CAT is now upon everyone. With the MBA entrances looming nearby, MBA aspirants are in top gear to crack them and gain entry into a top notch B-School. But think about it. Do you really know why you’re doing an MBA? Read on to find your answers…

Are you ready?
The MBA is designed for people who want to learn about business, across many different disciplines. But schools want you to have already identified an area of interest that you plan to pursue after you obtain this broad base of knowledge. Most MBA programmes do not provide the time to find those interests during the course of study, so you need to have a good sense of what you are planning to do with the degree.

Business school admissions counsellors want to see evidence of your potential interests during the course of study; so you need to have good sense of what you are planning to do with the degree. At a minimum, they consider career history and aspirations, evidence of leadership potential and academic achievement. A typical MBA candidate can clearly articulate his or her motivations for wanting to earn an MBA. The strongest candidates are those who are very focused on their intended career paths. They are reasonably clear about what is needed to get there and what it takes to be successful.

Signs that you are not ready
To be ready for a business school, you must have a clear picture of what you want to do with an MBA. You are not ready if your career goals are no more specific than “I want to manage people” or “I want to command a higher salary”. You will be competing against candidates who can articulate why they want the degree and relate their goals to the strengths of a particular programme. Although you may adjust your original plan while in business school, having a focus at the start is the key to challenging your assumptions and exploring an MBA field in depth.
You are avoiding the job market by buying additional time in school. This is an expensive way to plan for your future. It also misses a major point — you should choose a school because it matches your academic and career interests.

Self-assessment is the key
Self-assessment helps you focus and articulate your thinking so you can make wise decisions. You can benefit from self-assessment at any stage of the MBA process whether you are considering going to business school, looking for the right programmes, applying to school or planning an internship and post-MBA employment.

Self-assesment can help you do the following:
> Identify a school with strengths that correspond to your interests and aptitudes: You will want to look at the curriculum, placement success, the strength of the alumni network, and the overall reputation of schools and programmes to find the ones that fit you the best.
> Increase your chances of being accepted at the school (s) of your choice: Self-knowledge and confidence in your strengths allow you to articulate the clear, realistic goals admission professionals expect MBA applicants to have.
> Choose a school with the courses and faculty that will help you prepare to work in the companies or industries that suit you.
> Identify the elective courses that will prepare you for MBA summer jobs and final placements. Many schools require MBA students to choose their concentration and electives as early as second semester; you will benefit from knowing what you need to take to serve your career goals.
> Develop the right interest specific network and enjoy yourself: MBA graduates often say that the most important thing they come out with after their degree is the network of their classmates, professors and business leaders they cultivated during their MBA studies.
> Get the right job: Success in this area depends on getting the right education and developing a network of professionals in your chosen field early in the MBA experience.
> Achieve a significant return on your investment of time and money in an MBA education.

– Parag Chitale & Nishikant Kothikar

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