The Common Admission Test (CAT) is viewed with a fair amount of apprehension by MBA aspirants as its scores are taken into consideration for admission to the various Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as well as business schools. The level of difficulty, the amount of time needed for preparations and all such issues evoke keen discussions in various forums.
When the question “Is it advisable dropping out a year after graduation for CAT preparation?” was posed in Quora, it evoked responses mostly against any such move.
The questioner had drawn up a scenario of the candidate facing lack of time for studying after having taken up a job or having had to remain unemployed after graduation.
Rajat Jain, who had scored 100 percentile in CAT 2015, says for those without a job, it would be alright to spend a year in preparation for the test. However, not taking up a job offer or quitting it would be stupid in view of the huge uncertainty in the selection process.
He says CAT needs dedicated preparations for 3-4 hours daily that could be managed along with the job. The weekend holidays would provide additional time of 7-8 hours preparation time. Several of the IIMs also award points for job experience.
Those who are employed would have an added advantage during the admission interview. They could explain the motivation for seeking to go in for MBA with instances from challenges faced or experiences on the job.
If you have dropped a year without work experience, be prepared to give a plausible reason for taking such a decision.
Darpan Shah, XLRI (Class of 2018) says he had seen both types get admission in IIMs. It all depends on the individual’s decision on how much time to give for the preparations. If having a job would interfere with the studies, then it is better to take a break.
Any negative impression such a step creates at the interviews could be overcome with an explanation about the value addition that you had achieved during the gap year.
Aalekh Tripathi, IIMA (2013-15), however, feels that having not done anything but preparing for the test may not go down well in the interview. Even in the absence of a regular job, you could work for an NGO that would give plenty of time for studies as well.
Online courses are available on education websites like Coursera that would ensure productive use of time. You could even include your favourite hobbies.
IIM Calcutta (2016-180) student Manpreet Singh argues strongly against dropping a year. He says CAT needs only six months of preparation along with work experience. All it takes is just around 2 dedicated hours on weekdays and 5-6 hours on weekends. (Image Courtesy : pixabay.com)