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Is it advisable to leave a job and prepare for MBA?

Is it advisable to leave a job and prepare for MBA?

I have heard people say that it may not reflect well on the interview panel. However being in a job and preparing for MBA is also very taxing.

4 Answers
Apurva Sharma, IIM Trichy answered 7 months ago

I guess I can answer this question since I have lived those moments.


If this question doesn’t haunt you then no one can stop you to get into the B-school of your choice, not even the interview panel.

First of all, it depends on the fact that under what circumstances you are leaving your job.

Have you already tried to crack the tough nut while working or just contemplated? Was the difference in your percentile and cut-off too significant to leave the job and prepare? Was your job too demanding? Do you really want to get into the rigor of MBA after quitting your streamlined lifestyle (trust me when I say streamlined)? Are you crystal clear about your career path after MBA?

You should ask yourself these questions before taking the decision to quit the job. Moreover, you have to put in your 100 percent efforts to crack the exam because if you fail, you will have to struggle again at least for some time to get a job.

The B-school admission interview turns into a cumbersome task when you are not able to substantiate your reason to quit the job in an appealing way to the panel. It can turn into a stressful interview. The panel knows about the industry more than you do and they will grill you to the extent that either you get convinced that you committed a grave mistake by quitting the job or prove it to them that you took the best decision of your life to explore a new career path.

It is not about their perception, it is about how you make the interview panel think of your potential and candidature.

The ball is always in you court, my friend. All that matters is that how do you play with it.

I am a member of InsideIIM student team 4.0 and currently studying at IIM Trichy.


Taking risks is fine. Taking unnecessary risks is plain stupid.

CAT as an entrance examination is a shining example of everything that is wrong with the educational system.

  1. Eligibility and admission criteria: The criteria changes every year and is a really bad proxy for a candidates’ worthiness. 
  2. Lack of transparency in the system: You have no idea what your actual scores were, what were the changes after the normalization, what are the normalization rules etc.
  3. Too much weightage to past credentials: The weightage to past achievements (which no one can help) is still large. What if someone came down with serious medical issues just before his 10th examinations? Why shouldn’t he/she be given a fair chance?
  4. Undue advantage to certain sections of the community vis-à-vis reservation: 
    A friend of mine (no reservation) with a 99.8%ile did not get any calls. And I know people with an 80%ile who were selected. 
    To put things into perspective, a 99.8%ile translates to a rank of 400 (assuming 2,00,000 applicants) and an 80%ile translates to 40,000. 
  5. Judging everyone on the same criteria and not acknowledging differences: It is easy to score good marks in CBSE board in India. Not so much in ICSE or SSC. It is easier to get a good GPA in Engineering. Not in Humanities, Arts, Medical or Law.

    IIM students are majorly (>97%) from Engineering backgrounds. Despite the clear disparity, no measures have been taken.

All these factors make CAT a risky examination.

What you need to remember is that you should always have a backup plan or two. Do not quit your job. You can prepare while simultaneously working.

A couple of hours of preparation each day and extended hours + classes on weekends for the 1st 6 months should be more than enough for anyone with a Mathematics+English background to clearly understand all the topics that one needs to know for the examination.

That followed by 3 months of giving mock tests, mulling over your weak areas, honing your strong skills. revisiting the concepts and preparing yourself for the final day should ensure that you are as ready as you will ever be to appear for the examination.

After that, you need to prepare, with the same dedication for the GD/WAT and PI rounds. 

Remember that there a lot of external factors at play whilst your fate through the Common Admission Test is being decided.

Do not quit your job. Do not be at the mercy of the whim of the people who decide the eligibility criteria for the year or the ones who set the different papers. Have a backup plan.


Chirag Shukla, MBA Aspirant

replied 8 months ago

“Do not be at the mercy of the whim of the people who decide the eligibility criteria for the year or the ones who set the different papers.”
Best ever answer to this question.

Sailesh Hota, XLRI Jamshedpur answered 8 months ago

To start off with your main concern, it does not look bad unless you want it to. I had my XLRI interview in March this year and the first thing that I mentioned was that I hadd quit my job in October 2017. The panel immediately jumped in to investigate. One panelist seemed furious when he found out that I quit it for pursuing stand-up comedy. It was a taxing interview but I ultimately prevailed.
Leaving your job is ultimately a choice you have to make but smartly. If you are looking to quit, quit now and make sure to start applying to other jobs as soon as CAT results are out in case your percentile is not that good. You need to have a backup plan and make sure you do not have too much gap between two jobs. If you are targeting a lot of colleges, then great! You can prepare well and convert this year.
I know people who have prepared on the job and managed to do well because their job gave them that freedom. If you are getting time everyday, then i would advise you to think twice before putting your papers in.
I took the decision to quit because I was working 16 hours for a job I did not want to do. I quit because i was mostly confident that I would clear one college at least. But even then also, I had started applying for positions from February onwards as my CAT score was despicable. So, take a call but have a backup plan ready just in case things do not work out.

Member, InsideIIM Student Team 4 | PGDHRM - XLRI Jamshedpur, 2020

Sachin Mandot, IMT Ghaziabad answered 1 year ago

Both Yes and No, depending upon the situation of the person. I’ve written an article regarding the same considering various scenarios that an aspirant has to face. Here’s the link:

Should You Leave Your Job For Full-time CAT Preparation?

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