My journey from GATE to Management programme

Just like many engineering students, I completed my graduation in electronics and communication from a private engineering college in 2010, and got a job through campus placement in a leading IT company.It was the time when getting a job was just like a lucky draw as global economy was still under recession. I joined that company, and I liked the job as long as I was learning. But after working there for one and a half years as a software tester, I got fed up with the routine tasks.The job also didn’t ensure suitable professional growth inside the company, which made me think about a job change or higher studies.

I had prepared for GATE during my college days and was comfortable with its syllabus. That’s why I decided to take GATE in 2012, and even though the paper was very tough that year, I managed to secure a 98.55 percentile. Based on my score, I got call for written tests from only IITB and IITG for M Tech (Electrical) and Dual (M Tech + PhD in Computer Science) programmes respectively. However, I didn’t get shortlisted for the final interviews. Ultimately, I decided not to take admission in 2012 and wait for the next year.

While working in IT, I realized that the trend of work in IT companies is changing, and future projects will be more on data analytics and modeling, which will need both technical as well as management skills. The only thing which I liked about my project was that it was based on banking and financial services. From there, I got a little knowledge about stock markets. I used to trade stocks during lunch. It was also the time the pressure of competition got to me and I sensed the presence of internal politics. It made me think differently about my growth in the company.

Finally, I came to the conclusion that if I have to grow, then I have to enroll in a management course. But for that I didn’t have a CAT score. I was already exhausted with preparing for GATE and work, and was not in the condition to start preparation for another competitive exam. That’s why I searched for a management course which takes GATE scores for admission. Many of us would think it was an unwise search.  But I finally found two institutes which offer management course through GATE score.

Very few people know that there are some prestigious institutes of our country which take GATE scores for Masters in Management Programme admissions. One is the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc) and the other is Indian Institute of Technology – Madras (IITM). Both of these institutes are famous for their research and development works and startups by their alumni.

The Department of Mangement Studies, IISc offers a Masters in Management programme with specialization in two streams, viz. Business Analytics and Technology Management. IISc allows GMAT, GATE and CAT score holders to apply for admissions. The cutoff percentile is usually above 90%ile for CAT and above 98%ile for GATE. IISc usually shortlists about 125 candidates for GD/PI, and takes in 15-25 candidates each year. Fees of the programme are about Rs. 1.55 lakh per annum.

Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras offers a Master of Science (MS) in Management Studies programme, whose curriculum is slightly different from the MBA program. In addition to completing their course work, students have to research any business topics of their interest, present their research papers in national/international conferences, and finally submit the thesis. This program is popular in foreign universities, but in India only IIT Madras offers this programme. Another benefit of the programme is that each scholar gets an MHRD scholarship of Rs. 12,500 every month. The fees of this programme are about Rs. 19,000 per annum, which is much lower than normal MBA fees.

I got called for interviews from both these institutes. However, I failed to secure my seat at IISc as I was not prepared for the interview. The most difficult part was that I had to convince the interviewer that why I wanted to take admission in management course through GATE scores, as the exam is actually meant for admission in engineering stream programmes.

I learned those lessons and started preparing for the IITM interview. I prepared a small research report on the bad debt problem of companies, one of the hot topics of discussion, with some graphs, general analysis and conclusion. That report was not good but it was enough to show to interviewer that I was interested in the MS(Financial Management) course. The questions in the interviews were based on practical knowledge of stock markets, as I was giving an interview for the finance stream. This way, my little learning about the stock market helped me in cracking the interview and securing my admission at IIT Madras.

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