2 Reasons To Give CAT Or Other Entrance Exams – It Goes Beyond Placement Packages

Is desh ke graduates apni 9–5 jobs se bore hone lagte hain toh bahar nikalne ke liye keval 3 raaste soojhte hain: MBA, IAS and Start-up 

Well, I don’t know what is your reason, but if you are the one amongst thousands who is inclined towards doing MBA, then I extend a warm welcome to you! MBA from a dream institute, the ultimate panacea that is supposed to open doors to all good things in life – a great job, a great career, a great campus life and even a great girlfriend! (courtesy Chetan Bhagat and 2 States).

Well MBA has the potential (not a guarantee) to get you all that and much more, but the journey to your MBA starts now!

Most MBA entrance examinations focus on following topics :-

1. Verbal Ability
2. Logical Reasoning
3. Quantitative Aptitude

There are many articles and a multi-billion dollar coaching industry to help you on these topics. How to prepare? What to do? Here, I am making an attempt to touch upon something else.

I have seen candidates (as an instructor and as a friend) struggle with CAT prep. The feeling of ‘Why are we made to study such topics?’ ‘ Aise flowery words kaun use karta hai??’ is very common. Giving endless mocks, solving question banks, attending stuffy coaching classes etc. are all made out as a bitter pill one has to swallow. (The ultimate aim being the placement package of X Lacs for many)


Well, there is good and bad news for you. The bad news first :-

1. CAT and all other competitive exams are very unpredictable. The exam structure isn’t perfect. It really boils down to how well you perform in those 3 hours of that slot. It doesn’t matter what you score in the mocks, if you succumb to pressure on the d-day, you are screwed. Luck does play its part. [The DI set may just ‘click’ (or it may not) on that day, the vocabulary may be very easy for you, and so on]

2. If the aim to endure all this is the package at the end of 2 years, you are in for a rude shock. The environment inside a b-school is immensely competitive. As a candidate you will be competing with a large batch, all of who are smart people who have worked hard to get there, most of whom are aspiring for the same jobs as you are. It is one thing to prepare for competitive exams reluctantly, but quite another to keep biting on bitter pills 24*7 inside a b-school (you will have a very miserable life in such case).

The good news:-

1. There is life beyond CAT and beyond MBA. Think of people who you think are successful. Most of them would not have been students at IIMs (and most of the successful people of the future will be without MBA degrees). The world is a very very large place.

2. Better communication skills, a logical mind and ability to deal with no.s; these skills are required to do well in any sphere of life. And this is what you get to develop and build upon on your MBA journey. So, think of your CAT prep as something that goes far beyond getting that package at the end of 2 years.

The above point may sound to be too esoteric and far-fetched. There is a big world in work-spaces out there, where the skills CAT prep helps you develop are of a great value. Let me share my own personal anecdotes to help me strengthen my argument:-

a. Better Communication Skills

CAT (and related exams) test your ability to communicate and understand information. This is of very high importance. In your work-life, you will be dealing with data, articles and a bombardment of reports and information. How quick you are to comprehend them and make sense of those endless policy reports and developments will have an impact on how well you perform in your career.

For example, How effectively you communicate your thoughts on email to unknown colleagues at work will determine how well you are considered at work. Why? Because the reader of that mail does not know you, doesn’t know your capabilities, he/she only has your mail to read. If you have expressed yourself in a crisp concise manner, you have done your job and left a powerful impression. If the mail is not coherent and has a lot of blabber, you may have missed the bus!

b. Better Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Skills

The information bombardment I was speaking about earlier includes a lot of numbers and data that one has to analyse. To do that analysis, one needs logical and quantitative skills. In a meeting room (or on a e-mail) if a data is presented in a crisp manner (the price fell 25% from 4 rupees/unit to 3 rupees/unit ; instead of price was reduced by 1 rupee) makes for a better understanding of issues at hand. This mindset is developed while solving those tricky Quant questions and Data Interpretation problems.

The larger point being CAT prep will help you develop these crucial skills, which will hold you in good stead in life, even if you don’t do your MBA. So please don’t think of starting this journey as a means to a small end (getting an X Lakhs package) Think of it as a preparation for developing crucial skills for a successful career in any industry.

Wish you all the best!

Shashwat Mairal

A curious character, aim to stay as a student for life! Currently pursuing my Masters in HR at TISS Mumbai. Have worked with Axis Bank and Career Launcher in the past.




Well written….gives a glimpse of what preparing and doing MBA means its more about skills less placement or job.