MBA in India

The Basics of an MBA Degree

Master of Business Administration, MBA (if we go by the popular name), is a postgraduate degree that thousands of students opt for every year in India. Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that every year about two lakh students appear for CAT, the most prominent and popular MBA entrance exam in India. Students from all undergraduate streams (BA, B com, B Sc, B Tech, B.E, BBA, and BCA) can pursue this post-graduate course in management, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria set by various colleges.

Master of Business Administration is a stepping stone for candidates to enter the corporate world at management and leadership levels. The focus of management courses is build skills in a student that would enable him to assume roles of responsibility in an organization. Majority of the companies hire MBAs as management trainees/ assistant managers and gradually guide them through the rungs of managements.

The most popular specialization for MBAs is the general management one. In this, the student undertakes a general study of the conventional specializations. Major specializations available for an MBA degree include Marketing, Finance, Operations, Human Resource and Information Technology.

Areas of Opportunities for MBAs

One of the major benefits of a degree in management is that multiple job avenues open-up for an individual. Every department in an organization, be it the sales, operation, human resource or operations department requires MBAs to handle the management side of the work. Such a wide-scale applicability for MBA graduates means that numerous options exist for them in terms of the sectors they want to work in. Some of the business sectors where MBAs are frequently hired are:
  • Services sector
  • Financial sector
  • Industrial sector
  • Hospitality & Tourism sector
  • Education management sector
  • Health sector
  • Telecom sector
  • Retail and FMCG sector
  • and many more

MBA Entrance Exams

There are a number of MBA entrance exams, such as CAT, XAT, SNAP, IIFT, TISS, MAT, CMAT etc. that an MBA aspirant in India can appear for. Majority of the quality B-schools in India offer admission through these entrance tests, which cover areas such as Verbal Ability, Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation in the written part of the exam. The written exam is generally followed by the Personality Assessment round, where the different facets of candidate's personality are assessed through tasks such as group discussions, personal interviews, essay writing etc. The admission is offered to a student on the basis of the cumulative score achieved in the areas mentioned above.

Some major exams which are conducted
CATConducted By IIMs, Accepted by more than 150 institutes, held over a window of 15-20 days in Oct-Nov, is a Computer Based Test
XATConducted By XLRI Jamshedpur, Accepted by more than 50 institutes. Held in the second week of January.
SNAPConducted by Symbiosis for entrance to group's more than 17 management institutes. Held in December.
MATConducted By All India Management Association, Accepted by more than 250 institutes, held 4 times a year in May, September, December & January. (We suggest December MAT to students).
CMATConducted By AICTE, Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is entrance test for admission to 4,000 colleges that offer MBA and 500 colleges which run postgraduate diploma in management programs. Conducted two times in a year by AICTE – October & March.
Majority of the colleges in India offer the 2 year MBA program as their flagship course. The two-year MBA program is generally taken up by fresh graduates or individuals with work experience of up to 3 years. For individuals with greater work experience or wanting a course of shorter duration, most of the top-notch colleges in India, such as ISB, IIM's, SP Jain, XLRI, etc. offer the 1 year executive MBA program. Majority of these institutes require a minimum of 2 to 5 years work experience after graduation for their Executive courses. Typically the course duration of the executive MBA is 12-15 months. A number of B-schools offering executive MBA consider GMAT scores for admission.

Eligibility Conditions & Selection Procedure

Most of the management institutes require a first or second class Bachelor's Degree or equivalent, with minimum 50% marks (45% for SC/ST candidates) in any field. However some institutes just need a Bachelor's degree in any field without any percentage cutoff. If you are in the final year of your degree, you can appear for CAT. However you need to have a percentage of over 50% till your pre-final year to be eligible for CAT. Institutes like FMS and NITIE have different eligibility requirements for students graduating from different streams, which may go up to a maximum of 60%.

The selection process for most B-schools involves two stages.

Stage I - Written Test:

Most institutes conduct their tests between November and February each year. The written test is generally of 2 to 2.5 hrs. duration and has sections like Data Interpretation, Quantitative Aptitude, English Usage, Reading Comprehension, General Knowledge, Logical Reasoning and Essay writing. In CAT/XAT/MAT exam one receives a score & percentile sheet. Your percentile is the percentage of students who have received marks less than you. Normally overall percentile is used for short listing for Group discussion/interview. The top institutes also look out for a minimum percentile in each section.

Stage II - Group Discussion and Personal Interview:

A certain percentage of students appearing for stage I are called for stage II, which is held usually in the month of February or March. Based on one's performance (in GD & PI, marks in the written test, academic performance, work experience and extracurricular background) admission offers are made in the month of March and April. All IIMs, MICA and some other institutes also conduct written ability test, S.P. Jain conducts Personality test, FMS goes for Extempore and some Symbiosis institutes go in for Group Tasks.

Group Discussion :

A topic/case study/situation is given to a group of 8-15 students and they are required to discuss it for 10-20 minutes. During GDs, the assessment criteria are generally: Content, Communication skills, Ability to work in a team, Initiation, Logical thinking and body language, etiquette and valuing others.

Personal Interview :

A personal interview is an interaction with a panel (of professors from the institute and/or industry professionals) in which you are quizzed on topics ranging from academics, current affairs to interests/hobbies. In an interview, clarity of goal, self awareness, good knowledge of academics and current awareness and a well-rounded personality can help you come out with flying colours. An interview may last from 10 to 30 minutes.

List of Top MBA Colleges in India

Name of the InstituteWebsite
Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi,
Indian Institute of Management,
Indian Institute of Management,
Indian Institute of Management,
Indian Institute of Management,
Indian Institute of Management, Kashipur 
Indian Institute of Management,
Indian Institute of Management,
Indian Institute of Management,
Indian Institute of Management,
Indian Institute of Management,
Indian Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli 
Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur 
Indian Institute of Technology, School of Mgmt.,
Indian School of Business,
Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies,
Management Development Institute,
Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Managment
SP Jain Institute of Management Education and Research,
Xavier's Labour Relations Institute,
The most common MBA entrance is CAT (Common Admission Test). The test is conducted every year by any one of the IIM's, based on a policy of rotation. Keeping in mind its importance and relevance, we have described the exam in detail in the section below.

CAT Exam Pattern

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is conducted by IIMs every year for short listing candidates for post graduate programs. The CAT score is used by a number of institutes. CAT is a computer based online test. CAT 2012 was a 21 testing day long computer based test. CAT 2012 had 2 sections with designated time limits of 70 minutes each for the 30 questions in each section. The individual sections have a time limit and within the allotted time, candidates can review the section but once they move on to the next section, they can't go back to the previous section.

The pattern of the exam is as follows:
Time allotted140 Minutes
Total no. of questions60
Number of choices4
Expected cut-offs*Cut off is different for different colleges. Cut off percentile for IIMs is 97+.

Overview of Different Sections

SectionsNo. of QuestionsTime AllottedDifficulty Level
Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning 30 70 MinutesModerate
Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation 30 70 MinutesModerate to Tough

     Verbal Ability:

This section aims to evaluate how well you understand the nuances of English language. To do well in this section, the following are required: good reading skills, an above-average vocabulary base and a general understanding of English grammar. Some common question types are: reading comprehension, sentence completion, para-jumbles, word usage & verbal reasoning. Reading comprehension aims to establish your comprehension and reasoning abilities.

     Quantitative Ability:

This section tests your knowledge and understanding of basic mathematical concepts till class X. Apart from testing your proficiency is calculations, these questions test your aptitude for using quick thinking to solve problems.

     Data Interpretation:

This section probes questions based on various data forms, such as bar graphs, line graphs and pie charts. You are required to understand and interpret the data presented and answer the questions based on the same. This section is clubbed with Quantitative Aptitude.

     Logical Reasoning:

Thissection assesses your ability to think logically. You have to analyze a given situation, make deductions and then logically answer the questions. This section is clubbed with Verbal Ability.

For more details, you can visit the official CAT website:

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