Once you have decided to pursue your MBA, your research will lead you to some of the best MBA courses in the country and the world. While everyone aspires to enrol into the best MBA colleges, there are many things to keep in mind when choosing the right college for you. These factors include the specialisation you want, the location of the institute and the industry in which you wish to work upon graduating.
After narrowing down the colleges where you wish to apply for master of business administration, the process of enrolling into the best business schools is quite similar. In this blog, we lay out the various stages of the admission process and what you can do to ace each step of the way.
Standardised admission test
MBA aspirants are made to go through standardised tests organised by some authority or the other to assess their capabilities along the same parameters. The business schools in India accept scores from various versions of these admission exams. However, some B-schools conduct their own entrance exams instead of using those designed by independent organisations.
For instance, among the best MBA colleges, the IIMs conduct the common aptitude test or CAT to judge the abilities of applicants. The CAT carries objective-type questions that measure the quantitative aptitude, verbal abilities, reasoning and data representation skills of students. While it is conducted by IIMs, the CAT scores are also accepted by business schools in India like FMS and MDI Gurgaon.
The Xavier School of Management (XLRI) conducts the Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) which tests students on all the above-mentioned areas as well as general knowledge and decision-making abilities. Other than XLRI, IMT Ghaziabad, Goa Institute of Management, XIMB and MICA also accept XAT scores.
Another popular common entrance test organised for MBA aspirants is the NMAT. This test gauges your logical reasoning, language skills and mathematical aptitude. This is a highly sought-after test by students as it allows them to retake the test within the same cycle unlike the XAT and the CAT. It is also popular among business schools in India and more than 40 MBA colleges accept NMAT scores.
For those who wish to pursue their MBA from colleges abroad, the GMAT is the test of choice. The GMAT test scores are accepted by more than 100 business schools in India and abroad. One of the most famous business schools in India, the Indian School of Business only accepts GMAT scores.
Shortlist of candidates
Based on the test scores, each business school will begin screening students and those who meet the cut-off will go on to the next round of admissions. The shortlisting process is not based on your aptitude test scores, but also on academic records throughout college, graduation degree, work experience, individual personal profiles and other factors.
Although, the admission test scores have the most weightage. Moreover, in the case of some colleges, candidates may be asked to attempt essay questions. This is a common practice at the Indian School of Business and many international business schools as well. The nature of these questions usually is around the candidates’ previous work experience and their future post-graduation plans.
Once the candidates are shortlisted, the college conducts the final round of the admissions process. This is a fairly comprehensive process. Aspirants are required to go through a group discussion, a written ability test, an extempore as well as a personal interview. However, this is not the same for each business school and the process may vary slightly for each institute.
IIMs usually conduct a written ability test along with a personal interview. Sometimes they conduct a group discussion based on candidates’ written test answers. Other colleges like MICA, Goa Institute of Management, XIMB, XLRI, MDI, NMIMS and KJSIMSR hold group discussions followed by personal interviews. IMI and FMS, in addition to group discussion and interview, also have extempore and psychometric tests. There are a few business schools in India that conduct a very light final round with just a personal interview.
The group discussion typically consists of putting together all the shortlisted candidates in various groups with an assigned observer. The topics discussed are usually chosen from business and economic matters, current and social affairs and abstract philosophical questions. The candidates are evaluated on their management and business skills, general knowledge, essential intelligence, communication, critical thinking, teamwork, leadership, time management and social skills. Some schools such as NMIMS give the candidates a case study based on a business situation to debate on. Although, the skills evaluated remain the same.
Written ability test and extempore
The written test also concerns similar topics as the group discussion. Candidates are given a topic and asked to write a passage articulating their views on the matter. The extempore also works similarly as candidates are given a topic and asked to present their views orally. They are judged based on their ability to speak, think and structure an argument.
The personal interview involves giving the candidates face time with the interviewers one on one. This helps the admissions committee in getting to know the applicant better. They evaluate your experience, personality, long-term objectives and reasons for choosing the course and the college. More often than not, the interview is a way to judge how well a candidate can think on their feet. It is more than a conversation and can involve questions about current affairs and problem-solving.
How to prepare for the MBA admission process?
For the first part of your admissions process, make sure to prepare for the admissions test by studying for all components of the test. Brush up on your business and general knowledge awareness, learn to write well and within time, and practise your reasoning skills. Preparation for the group discussion and interview is very similar – work on your people and communication skills.
Moreover, as part of your overall preparation, research the schools you are applying to. You can do this by checking out their academics, placements, clubs and alumni. Make sure you can answer all questions about your previous academic life and work experience as well.
Once the entire admissions process is complete, the school you have applied to comes up with a compounded score based on all the parameters such as test scores, work experience, verbal performance in each round, academic profiles and other things. If you score satisfactorily on this final score, you are in!
How can I get admission in the best MBA colleges?
You can get admission into the best MBA colleges by preparing well for each stage of the admission process like the common entrance test, group discussion, personal interview and written exam.
How can I increase my chances of getting an MBA?
You can increase your chances of getting into an MBA program by brushing up on your general knowledge, verbal and written skills, knowledge of business and industry and practising for the test, group discussion and interview.
What is the easiest top MBA program to get into?
There is no shortcut to getting into an MBA program. However, students can shortlist colleges based on the level of difficulty of the entrance exam and take those exams instead of spending time and energy in preparing for the more competitive common tests.
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