The X-Factors You Need To Have Before Joining The B-School Of Your Dreams

The title of this article may seem eccentric to many. Had I read this article a year before, I too would have thought the same. But one year down the line, having made into the b-school of my dreams, I have a different story to tell. Just one year before, I was one of the many MBA aspirants, struggling hard to crack CAT and clearing those tough interviews that followed after the entrance exam. As I am a 2017 engineering graduate, all that seemed to matter that time was how to increase percentile, maintain grades in college (as it was known grades play an important role in the selection process) perform well in competitions and last but not the least, clear the interviews. Little did I know, there is a lot more to it besides scoring well in cat and acing the interviews. The reason I am saying this is because, just a few days after you land up in b-school, you will be bombarded with CV preparation workshops and deadlines. Before you even fathom you have made it into a prestigious b-school, you will have summer internships knocking at your door step. That is the time you are forced to ponder upon the x-factor in you. What is it that makes you stand out of the crowd? And believe you me, if you were a topper throughout your life and think that you have done pretty well in life, you will be competing against 400 other such people in a b-school. You will be burning the midnight oil to somehow make your CV seem different from the rest. Since summer placements take place within 2-3 months of joining b-school, there is little you can do to improve your CV after joining the institute given the gruelling schedule that you are going to be a part of. So, having an x-factor before joining the institute does make some sense. Not just it will help you in bagging internship in the company of your choice, it will also give you an edge over the other aspirants during those dreaded IIM-interviews. Now the question is what all courses to take/x-factor to have before being a part of the rat-race. Some of the things that I wish I were told before joining b-school are – If you are an engineering graduate and are interested to pursue a career in finance, having a CFA degree will help you go a long way during summer placements and also during IIM-interviews as it is an indication of your goal clarity. Those not willing to go for CFA, can take up finance related online courses too. A student who wants to pursue a career in marketing can opt for courses like Introduction to Marketing conducted by Wharton University, Brand Management, Product Management, Marketing Analytics etc. Also, there might be a few people who have got no clue as to what discipline they want to specialise in. For such people, you can always volunteer to learn a new language. Those who have a penchant for writing can start blogging as it shows your ability to articulate thoughts clearly. The creative heads can further sharpen their skill by taking up courses on designing and the like.The graduates with no prior work experience are found struggling on excel. Working knowledge of excel is an important skill to have. edX frequently conducts online courses on excel which can be taken up in this regard.Volunteering for social cause such as joining an NGO or working for various government initiatives such as Teach for India portrays one as a responsible citizen and is perceived in good light during the selection process. Having a good hobby such as playing snooker, squash, chess, solving Sudoku etc. also helps to get on with in the process, reason being, it keeps the conversation engaging and creates interest. Lastly, ability to read and read fast is a very important trait to possess. So try to read about anything that fascinates you. These are a few suggestions that I wanted to recommend. Hope it helps.

Ruchi Agarwal

First Year student at IIM Lucknow. An avid reader and have a proclivity towards writing.



Karthik Balakrishna

Thank you Ruchi. I am a 4th year engineering student planning to write CAT in 2019. Please advise me whether I have to be equipped with basics of finance to take Main as Finance in IIM. If so, please suggest some online courses

Ruchi Agarwal

Hey Karthik!! Since, you have ample time given that you are planning on taking CAT in 2019, i would suggest you to aim for CFA Level 1 or 2 certification. CFA level 3 is a notch higher and you will be well-off with CFA level 2 certification.

Faraz Hussain

First of all i will say that you have done a fantastic job to share your experience..what you felf after entering the b school you shared think thst yiu shared that try to know where us your area of interest n that i realised last year.. that i required to ckear my concepts of finance if i want to make my career in investment banking particulsrly in equity reseach there is an enthusiasm to do well n ameliorate my my self this field.. i want to the full exposure of finance . I want to equipped with the financial skills. So i am also looking forward to ckear nism certification. N yes there is a site which offers free online course like edx. Along with that i will learn ms excel .. but for now i require to focus on cat . Ee must study for mba not for just . N Yrah goubgvfirward to read book of iim ahmedabad professer satish. As i love finance n a endless passion padsion for this finance industry ..whaterver i real8sed its only because of finance i realused that i must read the book of financial market management of class 11 n 12.. as it was my stream a new stream which i took .. Thanjs for remembering best of luch n yeah are you going to specialised in finance ? What has been your experienced there at iim ?

Ruchi Agarwal

Hey Prakash. You become a part of the rat race the day you decide you want to take CAT or any other entrance exam for that matter. So, being a part of the rat race is inevitable, all we need to focus on is how to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the people in the rat race.


Will you go for a finance specialusation ?? What have you learnt so far ?

Kritika Tyagi

Nice one Ruchi. Hope you have done your bit to make your cv shine amongst the others. All the best for your summer placements and do keep writing such blogs. They are really helpful for aspirants like me.

Aakash Mehta

Great article Ruchi. You have really captured the essence of what goes in the life of an MBA student in first few month. I am sure this article will help all the MBA aspirants to not fall in the trap of so called rat race and prepare themselves for all the hardship before they join any MBA college and can have a differentiating factor from the rest.