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BEYOND CAT with Students from IME-IIT Kanpur



Staying true to its pedigree, CAT 2017 proved to be as unpredictable as always, diverging from its predecessor significantly. On one hand, the Quantitative and Verbal sections were comparatively easier than CAT 2016. On the contrary, the LR/DI section was particularly harder, and that too by a significant margin.
But its all in the (metaphorical) rear view mirror now. Its been a more than a couple of weeks since the result’s been out, and most of you will have moved on towards the painstaking (and sometimes frustrating) process of applying and waiting for calls from B-Schools. Furthermore, you’ll be preparing for upcoming GD/PI and interview calls. In cognisance of that, this post is an effort from the current Students of MBA, IIT Kanpur to provide you an inside view on their preparation and Strategy to crack the interviews :
Q: Tell me about how you prepared for the Group Discussion process in the month following CAT?
SHUBHAM BHATNAGAR: “I started by reading newspapers such as the Economic Times to build up my general awareness, which is pretty important for participating in any discourse. Furthermore, regarding your interests in various avenues of management, I believe irrespective of whether you possess work experience or not, it is important to initially identify one or two fields that you find interesting. It can be tentative - Your interest may change after you get in, but you should be clear about why and which field of MBA has attracted you. Personally, I started reading about recent developments in my field of interest from various newspapers, magazines and internet, noting any national or international news of consequence that came up. Some of my friends jotted down a few points on a daily basis about recent events – it’s a common practice that most people do. However, according to my experience, this process shouldn’t include mugging up unnecessary data. On the contrary, one should absorb information and be updated about what is happening, so that they can relate it to the GD topic. It is advisable to join the Interview Preparation Program of coaching companies because they give you a lot of information in a concise form.
Apart from these, if you possess work experience it is imperative that you are thorough about your job. Furthermore, for cracking interviews in IIT, you must have a decent command over your technical knowledge, particularly in Math and your Engineering Major. Personally in my interview at IITK, I was asked a lot of questions on probability & some of my batch mates were asked to pen down simple programs based on their knowledge of computer programming languages. It might sound daunting, but essentially what you just need to be is to be clear about the subjects you studied in your undergrad.  For people with work ex, be aware of the organization you are working with - it leaves a bad impression if you do not know what is going on in your own organization.”
Q: How did you balance your job with preparation for interview ?
SAKET MULMULE: “I kept a fixed time slot for prepping every day. Approximately 2-3 hours, not necessarily at a stretch. I would try to finish my office work as soon as possible in order to squeeze in some time to read on current affairs and refresh my engineering basics. Generally speaking, it is important that you find time to prepare on a daily basis. Time management is your ally, both before and during the MBA life.”
Q: Except IITs most MBA colleges have their deadlines for application before CAT results are announced. What were your strategies while applying?
PAVAN VEPADA: “There are a lot of portals online which provide a rough estimate on the expected percentile that you might receive. Couple that with the mock percentiles you’ve had and you will have a rough estimate of where you stand. Perusing through Historic data will give you an idea regarding the final percentile till which college has accepted in the past and you can apply accordingly.  Now this decision will vary from person to person, mostly based on their confidence levels. Some will be very well prepared and confident and hence shall apply to most colleges. On the other hand, some will be unsure of their result and therefore will apply to a selected few. My personal suggestion: is barring the top colleges, you should always apply to some colleges above your level, some in your level and some below your level (By level I mean your expected percentile). Its better to do that instead of having contrition about not having applied to a few more colleges afterwards.”
Q: Share your experience till now about as an MBA student at IIT Kanpur.
ORCHI BHATTACHARYA: “The first thing that struck me after coming to IIT Kanpur was the sprawling campus and the immense opportunities it offers. It is simply a great place to be in and there aren’t many campuses in India which can rival the ambience and environment of IIT Kanpur. Regarding the Department of Industrial and Management Engineering and the MBA degree, the faculty is excellent and so is the course structure, though it can be said that there is a slight inclination towards Academics based learning. Personally, I’ve found it great as I prefer in-depth learning. But have no doubts – the faculty will push you towards your limits and to excel in class and academics you will have to put in substantial effort. But that is supported by a very healthy student-teacher ratio and immensely helpful teachers who will find time to answer every single query and will go out of their way to clear your doubts, both inside and outside classes. Furthermore, due to a very unique course structure, you will have ample time to learn and participate in various competitions, unlike some other colleges where course load is skewed and people are perpetually in a rush. Additionally, the programme here is specifically intended to augment engineering practices into the management domain -  hence the term techno-managers. Having said that, the culture here at IIT is intended for the growth of your overall being. This is reflected in the freedom we possess to pursue and/or audit whatever relevant courses we wish within our department or any other. Not very many colleges have a similar level of course flexibility as such.”
Q: Please share your advice to the prospective candidates who are aiming at cracking MBA colleges.
SUBHAM CHATTOPADHAYA: “Everything mentioned above will be helpful in preparation. Here are several more tips that I can provide : Do give a few mock GDs and interview. Learn a little bit about how a case is solved, as sometimes Group Discussions may involve solving case studies. Clear your basics and stay updated on what’s new. Have a story, and build it on your strengths so that you can sell it convincingly. Be confident in who you are. At times the worst interviews turn out to be Final Call worthy if you remain confident and have conviction in your beliefs. No one is looking for exactly the right answer; it is the right approach that matters, every time.”
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We hope that this effort by the current students of the Department was able to provide you with some helpful insights to aid your preparation strategy. If you possess any other questions apart from these please comment and we would get back to you. 
ALL THE BEST!!

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