“What’s your score?”
“What’s your percentile?”
“What are your target colleges?”
It’s that time of the year again. CAT results are out and with that, the winds of uncertainty and confusion have started blowing. CAT takers are now desperately waiting for those coveted interview calls by b-schools. MBA aspirants all over India are trying to analyze their performances and set their targets accordingly. If you’re one of them, wondering which shortlists will come your way, then read on.
The journey of MBA is a long one and CAT score is a significant but small part of it. Yes, your CAT score is not the only deciding factor. In simple words, if XYZ b-school gave an interview call at 95%ile to a particular candidate last year, then it does not mean that a candidate with 95%ile will be given an interview call by XYZ b-school this year as well. Mapping your percentile to a set of b-schools is the wrong way to go about it because every b-school has different criteria. It is now time to look at the broader picture.
Here are some of the factors other than CAT score considered by b-schools while giving out calls:
- Section wise score: B-schools such as IIMs usually have a predetermined sectional cut-off. Only those candidate clearing all the sectional cut-offs as well as the overall cut-off are eligible.
- 10th and 12th score: This might come as a shock for some but it does make a big difference. Some b-schools consider your exact scores i.e. the higher your score, the better your chances are. Other b-schools just have a cut-off score or extra points for a score above a certain percentage.
- Graduation score: In some rare cases, even the graduation score could be considered.
- Work experience: Some b-schools have bonus points for work experience. Usually, work experience of 2 years is considered to be ideal. However, most b-schools do not really give additional value to work-ex while giving calls.
- Your academic background: In an attempt to maintain diversity in all aspects, some b-schools have now started giving extra points to candidates who are not from an engineering background.
- Gender diversity: Some b-schools give some extra points to female candidates while giving out interview calls to maintain gender diversity at the campus.
Different b-schools assign different weightage to all these components and based on that interview calls are given out. Also, some b-schools (such as FMS Delhi) give a very high weightage to CAT score. It is therefore difficult to predict which calls you might get. Some research about the criteria of different b-schools can give you insights regarding what to expect. Apart from that, the criteria keep on varying every year which makes things even more complicated. So, the only thing that can give you some clarity is research, research, and some more research! However, rather than spending too much time worrying about shortlists, it is better to make the most of this little period available by preparing for the interviews, group discussions, written tests and other such processes. In the end, it’s not about which b-school calls you get. It’s about the ones that you convert. All the best!