MBA in India

Master of Business Administration or popularly known as MBA, is a postgraduate degree that is opted by a large number of candidates every year in India. Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that every year approximately two lakhs 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) are qualified for this test and can pursue this post-graduate course in management, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria set by various colleges.
MBA is a stepping stone for candidates to enter the corporate world and utilize their management and leadership skills at various levels in the organizations. The focus of management courses is to develop the attitude and competence in an individual that would enable him to assume the role of a manager, handle the responsibility at different hierarchical levels in an organization. Majority of the companies hire MBAs as management trainees/ assistant managers and gradually guide them at different levels of managements.
The most popular specialization for MBAs is the general management where the student undertakes a general study of the conventional specializations. Major specializations available for an MBA degree include Marketing, Finance, Operations and Human Resource Management.
Areas of Opportunities for MBAs
One of the major benefits of a degree in management is that multiple job avenues are open-up for an individual. Every organization has sales, operation, finance or human resource department that 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
  • IT Sector
  • Hospitality & Tourism sector
  • Education management sector
  • Health sector
  • Telecom sector
  • Retail and FMCG sector
MBA Entrance Exams
There are numerous MBA entrance exams like:  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, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning as the written part of the exam. The written exam is generally followed by the Personality Assessment round, where the different facets of a candidate's personality are assessed through tasks such as group discussions, personal interviews, essay writing etc. The admission is offered on the basis of the cumulative score obtained in the areas mentioned above. 
Major exams for pursuing MBA
CAT Conducted by IIMs, accepted by more than 150 institutes, is a Computer Based Test.
XAT Conducted By XLRI Jamshedpur, accepted by more than 50 institutes, is held in the first week of January.
SNAP Conducted by Symbiosis for entrance to group's more than 17 management institutes, is held in the month of December.
MAT Conducted by All India Management Association, accepted by more than 250 institutes, and is held 4 times a year in May, September, December & January.
CMAT Conducted 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, is conducted twice 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 the 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.
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.
  • 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 are 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 colors. An interview may last for 10 to 30 minutes.
List of Top MBA Colleges in India
Name of the Institute Website
Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi, Delhi
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata
Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
Indian Institute of Management, Kashipur
Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode
Indian Institute of Management, Indore
Indian Institute of Management, Raipur
Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi
Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak
Indian Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli
Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur
Indian Institute of Technology, School of Mgmt., Mumbai
Indian School of Business, Hyderabad
Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai
Management Development Institute, Gurgaon
Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management, Shillong
SP Jain Institute of Management Education and Research, Mumbai
Xavier's Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur
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, the details of the exam is given below:
CAT Exam Pattern:
  • CAT is a computer based online test and is conducted by IIMs every year for short listing candidates for post graduate management programs. The CAT score is used by a number of institutes.
  • Candidates are allotted exactly 60 minutes for answering questions in each section and they cannot switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section.
The pattern of the exam is as follows:
Time allotted 180 Minutes
Total no. of questions 100
Sections 3
Number of choices 4
Expected cut-offs* Cut off is different for different colleges. Cut off percentile for IIMs is 98+.
Overview of Different Sections
Sections No. of Questions Time Allotted
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension 34 60 Minutes
Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation 32 60 Minutes
Quantitative Ability 34 60 Minutes
Comprehensive view of different sections:
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension:
    This section aims to evaluate how well you understand the nuances of English language. To do well in this section, the following are some of the traits you should possess: 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 XII. Apart from testing your proficiency in calculations, these questions test your aptitude for using quick thinking to solve problems.
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation:
    This section is a blend of LR and DI questions.  The DI part probe questions 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.  The LR part assesses your ability to think logically. You have to analyze a given situation, make deductions and then logically answer the questions.
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