MBA Beginner’s Guide: MBA, Entrance Exams and Top B-Schools

If you are looking for opportunities to advance your career and develop as a professional, MBA is often the next step on the ladder. Yet, with the increase in the number of students pursuing an MBA, you might be questioning if it is essential for career prospects or just the current trend.
The reality remains that an MBA can bring you a plethora of opportunities for high positions at top corporations. It will also make way for a better salary, development in managerial skills, and increase your marketability.
However, before you jump on the bandwagon and start your journey, you must always answer the question, why an MBA? While MBA helps furnish skills in various industries, you must also be aware of the commitment required and the costs to be borne for this degree.
Here, we will help you break down the why factor and highlight whether or not MBA is the way to go for you.

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MBA Beginner’s Guide: Reasons to Pursue an MBA Degree

Most of the current population strongly believe an MBA degree will secure their future. There are numerous facts and figures to back the beliefs of thousands of students who wish to enroll in an MBA program. The globally expanding business sector provides an abundance of skilled and capable MBA graduates with diverse backgrounds. This sector's purview includes many career opportunities due to the demand for competent managers who can deal with the business sector's complications in the years to come.
Here are the main benefits a student can look forward to if they decide to go with an MBA program:

    Climb the Career Ladder:

  • An MBA degree can contribute to your career trajectory by enhancing your business acumen. Pursuing an MBA will add skills necessary to survive in the management world, such as Total Quality Management, Leadership Skills, Organizational Behaviour, and Strategic Thinking. Having a management degree can make you eligible for more sought-after job roles in management. It is so because an MBA ensures the company that you have domain-specific industry knowledge and are a valuable asset to the firm.
  • Change Career Paths:

  • An MBA will amp up your skill set and teach you how central departments function within any corporate organization. It will teach you the necessary corporal governance you would need while migrating to a different domain or a new industry. E.g., shifting to the migrating sector from the pharma sector requires you to speed up your knowledge of marketing tools like SEO, SEM, AEM, etc., and a different way of thinking about the department. An MBA student can bridge these gaps without hesitation, which means that he can adapt to any organization without additional training. It gives weightage to your existing resume and makes it more robust than your non-MBA counterparts.
  • Higher Salary Packages:

  • If you are a working professional, an MBA from a top b-school in India can provide a measurable hike in salary. However, even candidates with the necessary knowledge and required skill set brag about stellar packages after pursuing an MBA. The main metrics to judge a good MBA program is the NIRF Ranking, accreditations and recognitions, and reliable testimonials of the B-School that accommodates the program.
  • Subject Specialization:

  • Another reason you should consider pursuing an MBA is to garner a specialization in your area of interest. Often, the MBA degrees offered by business schools encourage students to choose specializations to gain in-depth knowledge of the subject. Some of the major subjects offered in the MBA courses include marketing, leadership, finance, and accounting among others.
  • Develop Managerial Skills:

  • When the management program starts, you are required to learn and gain knowledge essential to develop the foundation for the business divisions such as finance, accounting, marketing, etc. However, beyond establishing this base, an MBA teaches skills necessary for a management position, such as negotiation, leadership, communication, and teamwork. These are achieved not through verbal expression but through events, projects, internships, and community initiatives.
  • Form a Business Network:

  • MBA can help you in peer-to-peer networking in several ways. You can meet many people who will be your lecturers, industry experts, seminar speakers, or students from every nook and corner of the world. Also, B-schools sponsor various events such as panels, fests, and mixers where you can meet delegates from a different university or your future recruiters. They will give a brief input about how it feels to work with their organization. Hence, you will be able to network and eventually increase your chances of clearing the interview round during placements at the end of your MBA.

MBA Beginner’s Guide: Purpose of an MBA Degree

A Master of Business Administration would help you extend your career prospects in India and abroad. This program is widely accepted by recruiters and can introduce you to a significant number of managerial positions directly and teach you how to lead a successful business at the same time.

Business education has evolved over the decades and always stays industry-specific, innovative, and strategic. The epitome of MBA buzz is its "free-spirited" nature. Students hailing from any background, say science, humanities, commerce, arts, etc., can pursue an MBA.

Many B-schools within India offer a PGDM degree instead of an MBA. Candidates prefer a full-time MBA or PGDM because of classroom lectures, practical projects, internships, and placement drives. If you are a graduate and do not have significant job experience, consider pursuing an MBA degree for your career goals.

However, if you are a working professional with more than five years of experience across a steady sector, an executive MBA is an ideal degree. If you wish to study online without the hassle of attending college regularly or compromising your work, you can smoothly go for a distance MBA.

MBA Beginner’s Guide: Entrance Exams for MBA Admissions

Now that there is a better understanding of the reasons to pursue an MBA degree and its takeaways, the next question is: how do you get admission to an MBA program?
For admission to almost any B-school, aspirants must appear for an entrance exam. Depending on the institute you aim for, the entrance exam will vary.
However, MBA aspirants do not give one exam and opt for giving multiple, owing to the similar syllabus of these entrance exams.

Among MBA entrance exams, the most common one is the CAT (Common Admission Test) which gets candidates entrance into the IIMs among other top B-schools of India. There are over 2 lakh registrations for the CAT exam annually. Due to the pandemic, the exam pattern has changed drastically for CAT. At present, the CAT exam is of 2 hours with 40 minutes for each of the 3 sections and is held tentatively on the last Sunday of November every year.

Other entrance exams that aspirants give include XAT, IIFT, NMAT, SNAP, TISSNET, CMAT, MAH CET, etc. You will be required to apply for the entrance exams based on your B-schools of choice and the results they accept.

Students generally begin preparations for these exams months in advance with various mock tests, previous question papers, and coaching classes. If you plan on taking up CAT or any MBA entrance exam, you should take professional guidance through online classes, test series, or even self-paced programs.

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MBA Beginner’s Guide: Admissions to the Top B-Schools

The MBA entrance exams will open the doors for admissions to b-schools across India. Based on your percentile, you will receive calls from the institutes for further admission processes, including personal interviews and group discussions. You must also begin preparations for these admission processes so that you are prepared for every discussion and question that comes your way.

A few factors that influence the decision of which B-school to choose are-

  • Specialization: Every institute has the expertise for which they are recognized. Ensure that you choose the B-school that is in line with your specialization.
  • Placement: When pursuing an MBA degree, you must look at the companies and salary packages available at the time of placement.
  • Reputation: The image and age of the institute allow you to understand the institute’s faculty, programs, and overall experience better

When the results of the CAT exam are released, the IIMs will release the CAT percentiles and begin admission processes soon after. Students who receive a call from the institutes must appear for the admission process, which varies from institute to institute. The older IIMs hold their interviews and group discussion rounds, while 9 other IIMs hold a Common Admission Process (CAP) to conduct their interviews.

Based on the final score comprising the educational qualifications, work experience, CAT percentile, and admission round scores, the institutes release the final list of candidates accepted into their programs.

If you are aiming for admission to a top B-school in India, some of the best institutes to consider are, etc.

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An MBA will be a fruitful degree to enhance your career opportunities and open the doors to other positions and jobs. If you plan on pursuing an MBA degree, begin preparing for the entrance exams. Owing to the limited number of seats in the best B-schools, the competition is tough, and you should dedicate yourself to preparing for the MBA entrance exam right for you. You can take coaching classes to help with your exam prep or study by yourself. No matter the study method used, develop a plan for your preparation and set goals to achieve them.

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