In my first article, I had talked about your personal decision as to whether you should take the CAT or not. In my second article, I further discussed the methodology and process of preparing for CAT and a tactic for executing the CAT. I will now focus on the final aspect of CAT – what you need to do post CAT.
You must have realised that the process of CAT success is not just cracking an aptitude test of 120-180 minutes or just participating in a two-year duration MBA program. But also to successfully and, more importantly, satisfyingly, utilise your management career journey of almost four decades into a successful and happy personal life.
Every potential MBA student will necessarily focus on the preparation for CAT and ensuring its success. Still, very few will be aware that success in CAT is just a requirement but not sufficient, even to get selected into a top-notch business school, leave alone having a successful career in management. A lot depends on the “individual” in you to achieve career success. Forty years is a long period to plan a success based on one aptitude test or even a two-year MBA program.
Business schools worldwide and India have realised that an applicant’s performance in a competitive test like CAT or GMAT reflects an individual’s capability to succeed in a career in management; many other attributes can significantly influence and impact the same. They have now focused and concentrated on evaluating an individual over the soft skills of the applicant. Thus, getting a 95+ percentile may be a minimum requirement. This alone does not guarantee a selection into a good business school. It also does not assure a successful management career. Over the last 4-5 years, I am aware of so many applicants with 99.99 percentile and not an interview call from any of the leading IIMs.
If you recollect in my earlier article on “Taming the CAT”, I had indicated the four components that go into making a recipe for selection into a company or a business school – Knowledge, Aptitude, Communication & “Who Are You?” And how “Who You Are” is significantly a more critical part of the four elements.
So, though many students work very hard for their CAT preparation, most are unprepared and lose out, finally, when it comes to the post-CAT phase. I have covered many aspects of the Post CAT Selection Process in my book 99 PERCENTILE, encouraging everyone to read. You can learn from the concerns and hassles many students in the past have faced.
What is essential to remember, as one prepares to invest 2 years of one’s life doing an MBA program and committing to spend more than RS 25-35 Lac (tuition fees, living costs, opportunity loss of salary for 2-years, etc.) is “Is this career for me?”.
For those of you who are engineers, preparing for an MBA is easy to understand. Remember, when you were 17-years young, you opted to do engineering, and by the time you reached the second or third year of your 4-year engineering program, you were confident this was a bad idea. You were 17, and so you could be excused, and you had and still have the option of camouflaging your B E degree with an MBA. Now, you are in your 20s, and if you again land up in a similar situation, after 1-year of an MBA program, what can you cover your MBA degree with? The time and money spent will be futile. And why would this not happen if it had happened before, after engineering? Remember, your corporate career will last almost 40-years, and how can you live your life that long not enjoying what you chose to do?.
Ensure that you have developed the soft skills necessary to succeed in this management career, as this will constantly be tested. Even if you manage to escape the net, four decades in corporate life will highlight this weakness and lead to an inevitable failure. The IIMs will do their best to ensure you do not get selected if you lack these skills. It is wise to prepare for the same, before and post CAT, to ensure your success, not just in getting selected to a good business school but also in your MBA program and, more importantly, in your career. As some wise man once said, “It is not important what is behind you or what lies ahead of you, but what is within you”.
Everything that happens in your life – the money you make, the houses you live in, the cars you drive or be driven in, the vacations you go to, and the schools your kids will go to – all will depend on how successful you are voluntarily chosen management career. Your ultimate goal of making your life happy and satisfying is in ensuring this is the “correct” choice and that you have developed all the skills needed to succeed (not just in CAT) but in your career and be happy and satisfied in life.
I wish all of you the very best. If you keep all the above points I have made in the three articles I have sent across, you will have a successful and happy professional and personal life.
You are welcome to buy and read my book 99 PERCENTILE, where these and other aspects of CAT related and post-CAT issues are dealt with.
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