What makes management education at ICFAI Business School unique?

Management education is an experience that prepares the students for a bright and ambitious future in the years to come. As the MBA/PGDM/PGPM aspirants gear up to appear in the various entrance exams and test for admission in the top business schools in India, a lot of factors must be kept in mind when choosing the right business school. A big misconception that a lot of people have is that all business schools have a great offering for students in terms of both education and placement. The truth is that the business schools have a wide array of specialties and even the business schools of equal standing which are offering the same specializations, may have a completely different pedagogy than another. Appreciating these differences in the business schools is vital so that you can make the right choice and prepare for the entrance process that will get you in the right business school where you want to reach.

To understand and accurately gauge the advantages that being a student in a business school offer we must first understand what makes that business school different from all the other business schools out there. There are several key factors which make a business school unique. ICFAI Business School is amongst the top management colleges in India and offers tremendous value for the students who would like to start their journey towards a rich management career from here. With a holistic approach towards management education the ICFAI Business School sets itself apart from other leading business schools in India in a variety of ways. Here are a few key factors:

  • Strong Industrial Relations: The ICFAI Business School is known for the strong interface that it maintains with the industry which gives the curriculum the much-required focus on the applicability of knowledge in the management program. This ensures that the ICFAI Business School, students do not face challenges of having knowledge that is half cooked and now feasible in the practical world outside. The industry inputs also enable ICFAI Business School to maintain the agility of the curriculum and its delivery so that the education is relevant in not only today’s world, but also has value in the foreseeable future. At ICFAI Business School, various experts from organizations which are leading in their field are invited to dispense their perspective and experiences in form of guest lecturers for the benefit of the students.
  • Case Based Learning: ICFAI Business School is one of very few management institutes which has integrated the case study based approach as a primary method of instruction. The management school has a dedicated Case Development Centre (CDC) which has the largest repository of management case studies in the entire Asia Pacific. At ICFAI Business School, there are even a few courses which are taught only through the usage of relevant case studies which are tailored to suit a vast array of management subjects. These help the students in developing a pragmatic, analytical and solution oriented approach while keeping the real world challenges in the picture.
  • Leadership Development: The leadership development at ICFAI Business School is given a lot of importance since the B school prides itself in producing the corporate leaders of tomorrow. This is achieved through a combination of case based learning and increased focus on the soft skills of the students. While the case based study method puts the students in the decision maker’s position, the soft skills help the students in working on all aspects of their professional image and their working style. This helps in students growing beyond academics and increases the success rate of the students once they enter the professional world.
  • Extracurricular Activities: The students at ICFAI Business School do not only make use of the development opportunities in the academic front but also help in the overall development of the students through various extracurricular activities. On one hand, these activities provide the students a great platform to build their social skills and confidence, while on the other hand they provide a break to the students from the routine life at the business school. The students learn to host and manage events, work with other people and teams, understand challenges of leadership firsthand, and work of their Emotional Intelligence in a real-time basis.
  • Alumni Network: ICFAI Business School has a wide spread network of alumni who have taken lead in many industries and have worked with some of the most prestigious companies of the world. This network of alumni provides the students the opportunity to connect with other ICFAI Business School alumni and gather valuable perspectives and leverage contacts to achieve greater success in the world. ICFAI Business School organizes the alumni meets giving the students the perfect platform to do so.
  • The ICFAI Business School ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to providing its students with a quality education worthy of making it one of the leading business schools in India. The ICFAI Business School advantage can give the students a great platform to firmly establish themselves in the business world. A combination of innovative yet effective study methods, a robust curriculum and a focus on the overall development of the students makes management education at ICFAI Business School a truly unique experience.

Equivalent Exams to CAT

Management education is arguably the most sought after field of higher education today in India and the world at large. The field of management is constantly evolving with great opportunities and therefore it attracts many of the young minds who would like to make their mark in this lucrative field. The attraction of the management education therefore knows no bounds especially in India where the other field of work have limited prospects. At the pinnacle of the management education we have the most prestigious and top b schools of India. To kick-start the management education and subsequent career for the students, one of the biggest challenges is getting selected in the right B school. For this purpose, the aspirants must prepare for one of the competitive examinations known as the management entrance test.

There are many management entrance examinations and tests that are carried out in the country with different formats, different difficulty levels and giving entrance to different business schools. One of the most widely accepted and therefore sought after management entrance examinations is CAT which is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management. The CAT helps the aspirants secure admission in not only more than 20 Indian Institutes of Management but also in many private and government educational institutions.
Apart from CAT, there are many more entrance examinations which can help the students start up their management careers which follow similar format and have similar eligibility criteria. Some of these exams are GMAT, NMAT by GMAC, and IBSAT. Each of these have their own advantages that the students can leverage to maximize their chances of starting their management education and subsequent careers.

GMAT

Conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is a globally accepted management entrance examination which the students can take. The GMAT can be attempted whenever the students feel ready since it is conducted many times in the year. All the students must do is register for GMAT and select the next exam date that is coming up along with the test center. Being a computer adaptive test, the format of GMAT differs from many other management examinations. The duration of GMAT is 3.5 hours with a total of 80 questions that the students can score. The various sections of the GMAT test are Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.

The eligibility criteria for the test are also relaxed since the student is only required to produce a valid passport of a country, while the other eligibility criteria can be checked by the respective management institution at the time of entrance. The test scores would be valid from five years of taking the examination and the results can be received instantly at the end of the test, while the official marksheet takes about 20 more days. The GMAT can get the students admission in many top business schools of India such as IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, XLRI Jamshedpur, FMS Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad, ISB, MDI Gurgaon and ICFAI Business School.

IBSAT

The IBSAT is another top level management entrance examination that is conducted once a year by the prestigious ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education. The test dates are coming up in December, 2018 soon. The format of IBSAT is like CAT with various sections of 140 MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions) to be answered in a computer based test within two hours. The IBSAT measures the student’s aptitude in areas such as quantitative techniques, data interpretation, data adequacy, vocabulary, analytical reasoning and reading comprehension.

One of the biggest advantages that students can have while attempting IBSAT over other management examination is the provision of no negative marking. Success in the IBSAT test makes the students eligible for taking admission in the various campuses of the ICFAI Business School which can be a great platform to start a management career.

NMAT by GMAC

NMAT is a management exam conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which also conducts the GMAT. Within each cycle of admissions, the students can attempt the GMAC up to three times and the highest score of the student will be considered for the entrance. This helps the students become more confident since they get more than one attempt for the same test. The test has 120 questions to be attempted in the areas of Language Skills, Quantitative Skills and Logical Reasoning Skills. The NMAT by GMAC scores are admissible in management institutes such as NMIMS University, ICFAI Business School, Alliance School of Business, Amity Business School etc.

SNAP

SNAP in another national level management entrance examination which is conducted once a year by the Symbiosis International University. The SNAP test is a computer based test of 130 questions which are Multiple Choice Questions and Special Questions. These questions are divided in four sections and need to be completed in two hours. The students can get admission in around 15 management institutes including the ones operated by the Symbiosis International (Deemed University).

XAT

Xavier’s Aptitude Test also known as XAT is administered by XLRI Jamshedpur on the behalf of Xavier Association of Management Institutes (XAMI), and is immensely popular with the estimated 90000 aspirants every year. The scores of this computer based test are accepted at more than 150 business schools. The test duration has recently been reduced to three hours, with removal of essay type questions. The test also has negative marks allocated for incorrect answers. With no age limit and no cap on the number of attempts one can take at the exam, the XAT does see a of candidates with the eligibility criteria of having completed 3 years of graduation.

Although CAT has become synonymous with the management education in India, there are many tests that can help the students gain advantage over their competition and success in starting off their careers. A good strategy for the students would be to maximize their opportunities by taking advantage of these entrance exams and embark on the journey to the top business schools of India.

How technology is a part of Management Education?

India is coming up as an education hub and management education is among one of the fields having the highest demand. Since the management education gets more varied, the education providers are evolving with unique ways of leveraging the infrastructure that is available. Students these days have the advantage of choosing the right b school which matches their career aspirations, field of interest, and learning style. The business schools on the other hand are also coming up with new ways to upgrade their curriculum to match the business demands of the industry. When it comes to the methods of teaching also, the business schools have integrated elements of the modern society to ensure that their curriculum is appealing to students and relevant to the industry demands. Technology has played a big part in this area bringing a lot of ways to add life to the educational content and instructional design.

The leading business schools in India have used technology in different avenues and coming up with answers to the challenges in the field of management education. The technology has played a big part in helping the management education cross some hurdles in the last few decades which has made it a dynamic and robust field of study. Today the students live in the world of constant connectivity and they want their management educators to provide these opportunities in their learning as well. The technology has partnered flawlessly with the management education to enable the following changes to take place:

  • Accommodating the change in learning behaviour: Gone are the days of the classrooms with rows of students with their heads in the books, diligently listening to a professor who in his/her monotonic vice goes through a two-hour lecture. The students of today want to be educated at their own pace and gathering information through various sources to augment and find the best possible solutions to business challenges. To enable that, the modern classroom uses technology to make the course content more interactive and discussion based. A good example of this is the usage of innovative learning methods such as simulation programs and exercises in the classrooms to look at a real-time impact of business decisions. ICFAI Business School utilizes this through simulation software in their classrooms with great success, and this aids in developing the next level leadership skills.
  • Facilitating business forums: It is an important part of the student’s life at the business school to make the connections with the peers and industry experts. These connections can often be fostered through the interaction over the professional forums and groups. The modern business schools achieve this through creating an open online communication group for the students. This helps in getting the student involved in not only academics but also other facilities such as library, hostel, facilities, placements, accounts and other aspects of campus life. A real-life example of this comes in form of the intranet maintained at ICFAI Business School called CampusNet, which is aimed to provide that.
  • Greater tools for the students: The students at the top business schools in India not only get a quality education but also some great technological tools at the campuses to make the most of their learning. The tools are not just limited to the regular set of Microsoft Office suite for processing of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. They extend to the whole array of cutting edge data network to leverage databases and videoconferencing as well as Adobe suite of PageMaker, Acrobat and Photoshop and others. Other tools include programming tools and with the big data taking the world by storm, some advanced analytics programs. These enable the students to work on projects while acquiring hands-on experience which can be relevant in the real world.
  • Better academic experience: The academic experience in the top management colleges in India is enriched with the help of usage of integration of web based learning being augmented with the classroom based learning. This Blended learning model where the web based courses are often self-paced and can be taken by the students in the comfort of their laptops and environments are becoming a common sight. The students are usually required to complete these courses as reinforcement before or after they have attended the classroom learning. Online quizzes can also be used by the faculty members to get a quick check of the student’s comprehension and understanding without waiting till after class. This also breaks the monotony of the lecture and gives the students an increased focus.

These are a few important points of how technology is integrating with the academics to transform the way that the business schools and the students are used to approach the learning itself. The technology is coming up rapidly as a powerful enabler, facilitator, and administrator of the curriculum at leading business schools in India.

What after CAT?

Now that you have already appeared for the most popular Management Entrance Examination of India, Common Admission Test better known by the acronym CAT, you must be wondering about what should you be doing next. As you wait for the results which are due in the first week of January 2019, you can catch up on the much-deserved rest and family time after the rigorous preparation done for the CAT. CAT is a highly sought-after test which opens the door of a promising career in the field of management for many students every year. The CAT is conducted by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) for admission to the 20 IIMs spread across the country and the scores are acceptable at more than 100 top business schools in India, including SP Jain Institute of Management Research (SPJIMR), Management Development Institute (MDI), Institute of Management Technology (IMT) and ICFAI Business School (IBS). The CAT is spread over three hours and has 100 questions, consisting of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and non-MCQ. Around 2.5 lac aspirants from around the country appear for CAT every year with the hope of kickstarting their management education.

If you too have just faced the difficult task after months of preparation, here is a perfect recipe for you to not only unwind, but also before that help you make the most of your hard work. The most natural response that most aspirants would have, will be to put their holiday gear and take the much-deserved down time to rest themselves. It does sound like a great idea, however you must also consider the possibility of you not being as successful in the CAT as you feel. To ensure that you are not putting all your eggs in one basket, it is recommended that you use the preparation already done for CAT in more management entrance exams and tests. A good starting point would be a few upcoming tests which have similar formats and which match CAT in repute, difficulty and selection of business schools. Here are a few tests that you can consider focusing upon:

GMAT

GMAT is a management admission test which is internationally recognized and conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). It is accepted at the most top management institutes of India and in more than 80 countries of the world. The GMAT is a computer adaptive test which needs to be completed in 3 hours 30 minutes, with four different sections with a total of 80 questions. The sections covered in this test are Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing.

As far as the eligibility is concerned, the GMAT does not have a lot of restrictive criteria. All that it requires is that the aspirant:

  • Holds a valid passport on the date of the exam.
  • Must satisfy the eligibility criteria of the respective university or institution for which the aspirant decides to apply.

The examination does not have a set examination date and can be applied for anytime that the student feels ready to take the test. The test center and date can be chosen at the end of the application process. The unofficial score for the test can be obtained at the end of the test while the official score will be made available after almost 20 days of the exam. The test scores are then valid for 5 years. If you would like to use the preparation done for the CAT exam to good use, a GMAT test can be a great option since it is accepted in top B schools in India such as ISB, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, XLRI Jamshedpur, FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, and ICFAI Business School.

IBSAT

After CAT, IBSAT is the upcoming big management exam opportunity coming your way. IBSAT is conducted by the ICFAI Foundation, conducted once a year and coming up in December, 2018. This is a great platform for the management education aspirants, since the scores of this test can be considered not only for all the IBS Campuses, but also for management institutes such as Adarsh Institute of Management and Information Technology (AIMIT) Bangalore, GIBS Business School Bangalore, FMS- Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies Faridabad, JK Business School Gurgaon, VYASA Business School Bangalore.

The IBSAT is a computer based test and has 140 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) divided into four sections which need to be cleared in 2 hours. There is no negative marking unlike CAT and this can be a big helpful reason for students to maximize their scores.

NMAT by GMAC

NMAT is another popular admission test for entrance in top management institutes of India, conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). The scores of this test are accepted in NMIMS University as well as 25 other B schools in India including ICFAI Business School, Alliance School of Business, VIT Business School, SRM University, Amity Business School and many more. The NMAT has 120 questions of the Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) format and spread over three sections – Language Skills, Quantitative Skills and Logical Reasoning Skills.

The test dates for 2018 has passed however it is a great option to consider for future if it suits the ambitions of the aspirant. The benefit that the students get with NMAT, which they do not get with any other management exam is that, within the admission cycle they can take the test up to three times and their best score will be considered for the admission. This helps in building confidence and is beneficial for students who may get nervous and may not be able to perform their best in a single attempt.

Apart from all these, the CAT aspirants can also spend their time in preparing for the next steps of the admission procedure, such as personal interviews and group discussions. Also the aspirants can use this time to research more about the management college of their dreams and read about the top business schools of India. The CAT and other management tests can serve as a great beginning of their careers.

Reading should be a habit for management aspirants

A great way for anyone to improve themselves in their pursuit of excellence is to develop habits that make them more efficient and effective in their lives. The power of habits can be well explored by studying about the lives of successful people through the ages where you can see how a habit contributes to the success of the person. To create a scope of success in one’s life, the most powerful habit one can inculcate in themselves is reading. Reading helps in acquiring useful information, gaining powerful ideas, inspiring stories, and developing deeper insights on every subject under the sun. Since time immemorial, reading has been the prime mode of people interacting with the unseen world and abstract ideas that can change the course of someone’s lives.

This is especially applicable for people who are undergoing the process of education and hope to create rewarding careers for themselves. Management education too is no exception to this and requires not only the management students, but also aspirants to develop a strong reading habit. This can sustain them through the course of not only their management education, but also subsequent management careers. Management aspirants can gain not only reading pleasure, but also a competitive advantage through developing a reading habit. Some of the key benefits of developing a reading habit to the management aspirants are as follows:

  • Reading the newspaper and business publications can apprise the aspirant of the changes taking place in the business and social world which can give them greater business and social awareness.
  • Reading books that are about business can prepare them for the future management education and careers. These can help create an interest about subjects taught later in the business school.
  • Reading newspapers can help the students develop strong social and business viewpoints for the group discussions and personal interviews which are a part of the selection process of most business schools.
  • The words that are learnt while reading can expand the vocabulary of the students, which can help while the vocabulary type questions appear during the entrance examination.
  • Reading improves comprehension, and thus the reading passage and comprehension exercises which are part of the entrance test become much easier for students who have developed the habit of reading.
  • Reading builds personality and books such as biographies or autobiographies of great people inspire the students to make their lives extraordinary through great deeds and decision making.
  • The good linguistics involved while reading the books work on the communication skills of the students and help in getting better at English.
  • Developing a reading hobby can help you engage your time in a meaningful pursuit instead of wasting it on time wasters that do not add value to your aspirations.
  • Reading as a hobby can come across as an intellectual pursuit and can help you build rapport instantly with interviewers, professors, and older colleagues who are more likely to have reading as a common interest.

To create a habit of reading it is recommended that the students do the following things which can help them develop this interest either from the scratch or build upon it:

  • Create reading time in your schedule: When it comes to reading as a hobby to be built up, the business school aspirants are advised to create a schedule with dedicated timing for the schedule. It is recommended to choose the reading time according to their comfortable hours, either early morning or late night.
  • Start with something you like: If you are not used to reading, then you may develop this as a habit by starting off with something that is in your comfort zone. It will help you in generating interest, and reading of even “light” literature is helpful in building momentum to start you off in the right direction.
  • Don’t limit yourself to physical books and magazines: Although physical books are a great companion for anyone with the reading habit, a great number of reading materials are available on the internet. Many books have kindle variants which are priced lesser and many are available off the web as e-books. Apart from the books, there are also excellent reading websites such as HBR (Harvard Business Review), Forbes, Bloomberg Business, Wall Street Journals and viewing TED Talks can add value to the education.
  • Prepare a list: Make a list of books that can help you gather knowledge about the domain that you are interested in. Without a clear focus you may end up reading a lot of books without getting you the desired results.
  • Work on reading speed: A good tip shared by many experts in management exams is for the aspirants to improve upon their reading speed. This will help them save the precious minutes during the reading passage exercise in the entrance tests.
  • Read a variety of business literature: Apart from reading business literature, the aspirants should also attempt to work upon some case studies to get a feel of how a business school experience is. A great starting place is case studies such as the one available at Case Studies Development Centre of the ICFAI business school.

Developing a reading habit provides the MBA aspirants a huge opportunity to work upon themselves and prepare for the demanding life of leading business schools in India and beyond. It is highly recommended that the business school aspirants use it to their advantage. The reading habit can be a good friend and a faithful companion on the journey to a bright career.

Case Study Teaching Approach by B Schools and its Advantages

The management education has been constantly evolving and in the past years the avenues have opened for the best B schools in India to get creative. This involves employing some very creative and experiential methods of learning which make the students tread the learning curve in an accelerated pace. It is quite different from traditional classroom learning which relies heavily on lectures and which does not involve the students by providing only one-way communication. To effectively maximize the learning that is taking place in a classroom, the modern faculty members resemble very less like the traditional professors with a lot of knowledge but rigid teaching methods. The modern faculties in contrast work through facilitation of a thought process for the students to apply their intellect and create a shared understanding amongst students.

To achieve this, the modern-day faculties of leading business schools in India use methods such as guided discussions, project works, problem analysis and case studies. This prepares them for real world challenges that are waiting for them once they cross over and take assignments in the corporate. The students develop the methods of applying the theories and principles that they have learnt in the classroom and understand the impact that they make in various situations. To achieve this in a classroom, using case studies has become a very popular and useful method of instruction for both, faculties and students alike.

What is a Case study?

A case study is just like a scenario or example that forms part of a narrative and invites the readers to analyze the situation or take decisions. The available information is limited to the one provided in the case study and requires the students to carry out the analysis based on this information. Some of the fundamental properties of case studies are as follows:

  • Cases involve decision making scenarios or problems which are required to be solved. They may also involve a review of policies or procedures.
  • Most case studies are based on real life scenarios to create a sense of relevance to the education of the students. These become effective tools by providing a platform to develop application of their learning.
  • Case studies method was originated in the business and since the cases are based on real-life, they make the abstract concepts learnt in classroom come alive.
  • The case study requires discussions among the students in large or small groups; therefore, collaborative learning takes place.
  • The social nature of case studies enables the student group to explore the different and sometimes opposing views of a case, and work towards a solution working with the information provided in the case.
  • Cases are an effective tool for the students to develop an objective and analytical bend of mind and therefore they make an excellent tool for helping the students grow intellectually and clarifying the fundamentals of a subject.
  • Many times, the cases present diverse views with no single right answers. This provides an excellent stage for considering morally or ethically ambiguous angles of a subject and help the student appreciate the different parties of the case.

Why use case studies?

Apart from the obvious, there are some added benefits of using the case method and that is why it is used in the leading business schools in India. Here are few benefits of using the case method:

  • Higher learning engagement than traditional form of learning. It generates a lot of interest among the students and gets them more involved in the learning.
  • It is active and leads to introspection within the students. The result of the case study provides a student with instant validation to their learning.
  • The doubts and unresolved queries that the student have, can come to surface and the students may be motivated to find their own answers by taking part in the case study and follow up discussion.
  • Mirrors the real world, by running simulations and scenarios from the real corporate world. The case studies help the students build their prospective and develop the rational way of operating in the real world.
  • Includes group work and therefore builds skills such as conflict management, assertiveness, communication, collaboration and decision-making ability and skills.

Integrating in curriculum

To include the case studies in the curriculum the faculties are usually inclined to use case studies as a method of reinforcement or evaluation post a module, as a quick reiteration of the lesson that has been learnt. The faculties also need to develop their own case studies which deal with the matter at hand or lesson. A great alternative to this is to find a relevant existing case study that helps the faculty drive home the point.

An excellent resource for this purpose is the ICFAI Business School Case Development Centre which is Asia Pacific’s largest repository of case studies and teaching notes with the count reaching up to 5500. These include the most selling cases, specifically designed to be applied in the MBA/PGDM/PGPM program and has real world scenarios. They also have structured assignments at IBSCDC, which is a very innovative product.

Case studies can help the students grasp the subject matter with ease in a short and concise manner without losing the essence of the session. They build interactivity and energy in the classrooms of the top management colleges in India. That is the biggest reason of employing case based learning while preparing the students of today to become excellent management professionals of tomorrow.

Top National Management Exams in India

Management education in India has come up as a highly sought-after path to create a valuable and bright career for the youth. Every year, there are millions of management graduates who pass out of the MBA, PGDM or PGPM courses, and join the hunt for a high paying job in India or abroad. The starting salaries of the business graduates passing out of top b schools in India have been very high compared to many other professional courses in India. This is the reason that the entrance examinations for these courses are extremely competitive and difficult to master. A little bit of awareness can help the aspirants for these exams and tests in a big way by helping them explore all the options that can set them on the right path.

While most students who have the expectation of cracking a management entrance examination, only concentrate on CAT, they also need to be aware of other tests such as XAT, IBSAT, GMAT and others which can open-up new avenues for them. This article lists out the common tests that can help you get admission into the leading business schools in India of the student’s choice.

CAT (Common Admission Test)

  • For the most students who are preparing for the management entrance the CAT is the first one that comes to their mind and it is the most popular management entrance test in India.
  • There is no shortage of CAT accepting colleges in India and that accounts for the popularity of CAT.
  • It is attempted by many students and gives the students to get admitted to the prestigious IIMs as well as about 100 business schools.
  • In the current format the CAT is a computer based test with multiple choice questions divided across various sections and conducted in technological partnership with TCS.
  • The CAT aspirants are required to secure at least 50% CGPA scores during their graduation and students from any AICTE or recognized university can appear for the test.
  • Students in the final year of their graduation can also apply and take the test.
  • The CAT has three sections, called Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Verbal and Reading Comprehension and 100 MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions).
  • In the recent years non-MCQ had also become part of the test and while the MCQs warrant negative marking the negative marking is not applicable for the non-MCQ questions
  • The difficulty level of this test is considered high and the students need to decide whether this would be a viable option for them to take

XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test)

  • XAT is the entrance test for the XLRI.
  • Like CAT, for XAT, the aspirants are required to secure at least 50% CGPA scores during their graduation from any disciple and students from any AICTE or recognized university can appear for the test.
  • While XAT earlier used to consist of both subjective as well as objective questions, there are changes in this format and it is expected to only have objective questions in coming years
  • The XAT has four sections Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning, Decision Making, Quantitative Aptitude & Data Interpretation, and General Knowledge
  • For every right question the aspirant gains one mark and for every wrong answer the student loses .25 marks through negative marking
  • 3 hours long the XAT is considered the toughest of management entrance exams in India

IBSAT

  • IBSAT is a computer based management aptitude test by The ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education
  • Requires minimum 15 years of education (10+2+3) or (10+2+4) to qualify
  • IBSAT requires 2 hours with sections such as quantitative techniques, data interpretation, data adequacy, vocabulary, analytical reasoning and reading comprehension.
  • The test has 140 MCQ based objective questions with 1 mark awarded to each correct answer.
  • The best part about this is that there is no negative marking that the student should worry about

SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test)

  • SNAP is a national level entrance examination primarily for entrance in the 15 institutes governed by Symbiosis International University.
  • SNAP is two hours long in test duration with 130 questions (as opposed to 150 in earlier years) and based on computer instead of paper based test.
  • There are 110 multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and 20 special non-multiple-choice questions.
  • In regards with scores, each MCQ grants the candidate 1 mark for every correct answer and deducts 0.25 marks for incorrect mark. The scores of both positive and negative marks are doubled for non-MCQ i.e. 2 marks for correct answers and deduction of 0.50 marks for incorrect answers.
  • Apart from Symbiosis, many other premier business education institutions such as ICFAI Business School use SNAP scores as a qualifier for admission in their management education programs

GMAT

  • 5-hour long GMAT is widely accepted in many top business schools, including ICFAI Business School
  • The test has 80 questions to be completed under five sections; Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal Section
  • GMAT is unlike traditional entrance exams since it is a computer adaptive test, which means that with each correct answer the candidate would be posed a more difficult but higher value question
  • An incorrect answer would push the candidate to an easier question with lesser marks, however it does not have any negative marking
  • Aspirants can choose the order of sections for questions to appear for better control and flexibility

Passing the entrance exam of a prestigious business school can be a solid step towards building a robust career. It must also be noted that may top business schools in India also accept the score of more than one management entrance test such as ICFAI business school accepts GMAT/NMAT by GMAC/CAT scores (from 2016 onwards). These candidates are exempted from IBSAT as a qualifying examination. To have a great management career one must first decide the right business school. To get to the right business school one must choose the right test. Matching your caliber to the right test and the right `institute that fulfills your needs can save you time and energy.

Is only mock test enough to prepare for CAT or other management exams?

As the popular saying goes “The Rome was not built in a day’ and the same is true for an entrance exam for any MBA/PGDM/PGPM course. Cracking one of these exams takes months of careful planning and preparation and could be your entry ticket to a bright prospective career going forward. Today the management courses that are offered in the country are among the best in the world, and top b-schools in India such as ICFAI Business School also attract talent from all over the world.

With all the lucrative opportunities that await the students once they enter the magical land of management schools, comes also the unique challenges. One of the biggest among these challenges is getting admission in a b-school, since they are very stringent with their admission procedures to ensure the quality of their education.

Admission in a Business School

The b-schools regulate this process through admission tests such as CAT, XAT, GMAT, IBSAT and many more. The difficulty does not lie with the amount of the syllabus that is covered by the tests, but with developing the applicability of the knowledge that has been learnt.

A little guidance in the direction of how to prepare well for these tests can go a long way in making a difference in the student’s preparations and confidence level.

Mock tests measure your preparation level

Almost anyone who has ever been through one of the mock tests can vouch for the value they provide in your overall preparation. The mock test is a simulated test with real questions asked in the management entrance exam of your choice, complete with answers and scoring.

Attempting the mock test is undoubtedly a smart decision since it can tell a lot about your preparation and where you stand compared to the other students. This is especially useful since just passing the entrance exam is never the goal of most aspirants. To get admitted to the management course of your choice, you must score better than other aspirants of the test and score in the highest percentile.

The other benefit of the mock test is to find out which area of the test are you scoring well at and where do you need to put in the effort to score higher.

Visiting the fundamentals

While the mock tests are incredibly important, it is not the sure shot way to prepare for these real entrance examinations. The tests have a limited number of questions asked from a vast syllabus and by only attempting mock tests you may run the risk of leaving out a part of the syllabus which may come up as a question during the D-day.

The other reason not to depend solely on the mock test, but focusing on the fundamentals is because they work on your subject knowledge and get your scores higher in mock test and the real thing. Although the curriculum covered by the tests is usually of school level only, as you start preparing you may realize that your education may have left gaps in your understanding and some fundamentals on a few subjects are not clear. Revisiting the fundamentals and working to get better at them will also make you feel more confident.

Practice sample questions

Although the mock tests do a good job of looking at not only how well are you attempting a few sections and questions they also elaborate on how much time are you spending on each section. Balancing the time that you spend on various sections of the test is one of the key factors in your success. To get better at individual sections of the tests, it is recommended that the aspirants attempt the sample questions. This helps the students in understanding the trend of questions and gives them more time so that they can find more effective ways of tackling difficult problems.

Understand exam structure

The most basic yet often overlooked step to this process is understanding the pattern for the CAT and other management exams that the student wishes to attempt. This helps the students understand the nitty gritty of exam and sets the expectation about the questions that they are likely to encounter. Most of the entrance examinations have similar exam patterns with common sections such as Verbal Ability, Logical Reasoning, Numeric Ability, Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation.

Although these sections may be present in two entrance exams, they both may differ in the number of questions and the distribution of marks that each section has. Another big variable is the scoring pattern with or without the scope of negative marking. These factors may make the student differ their strategy for each entrance exam.

Prepare from reference books and study material

There is an excellent selection of reference books that has been available to all management exam aspirants along with a plethora of study material. A reputed coaching center that specializes in management entrance exams can be an excellent source of study material and reference books.

Those who wish to attempt the entrance exams through self-study and do not wish to enter a coaching institute also have a lot of options available in the market. The students can get their hands on sample papers and well-established books to guide them.

Form a study group

A lot of students who have successfully cracked an entrance exam for leading business schools in India such as ICFAI Business School have highlighted the important part that a study group or circle has played in their preparation. The study group keeps each other motivated and a lot of preparation takes place through peer discussions. This furthermore helps in preparation of later stages such as group discussions and interviews.

The students can follow these steps to effectively tackle the many challenges that they face while preparing for CAT or other management exams. It will not only boost their confidence but also keep them on schedule for the examination.

Difference between MBA/PGDM/PGPM

Management education has come up as a very lucrative and career defining field of studies for the fresh graduates worldwide. Doing your post graduate studies in the field of business management can lead to the development of skills and knowledge necessary in this demanding field of work. Selecting the right business management course is the first and most important step that the student takes towards starting a new career in this field. The graduates these days are spoil for choices for their pick of right institute and courses, with options ranging from MBA to PGDM to PGPM courses with subtle differences separating the three.

For many other non-management courses in India, the differences might be much bigger and choosing the degree over the diploma would be a no brainer. That is not true in the management courses, where the offerings are all more similar than different and all have their own strength and weaknesses with no clear winners. It is easy to get confused and subsequently feel lost while selecting the right course leading to a big bright future. The choice becomes even more difficult to make when you consider the fact that some of the most highly prized management courses at top B schools in India are a mix of all three types, and all have excellent prospects. Here we explore all three to understand the finer difference and make an informed decision.

MBA (Masters in Business Administration)

The name of the course MBA has been synonymous with the management education in India and has maximum number of courses being offered under it. The MBA programs are offered throughout India and they have an excellent reputation in the market. There are a few things that set an MBA apart from the other management courses, such as:

  • MBA is a “Masters” degree course (10 + 2 + 3) offered by leading business schools in India.
  • To offer an MBA, the institute must be accredited by a university which enables the B School to award the degree.
  • MBA courses are universally accepted and they enable the students to go for their doctorate program effortlessly from any university in the world. This makes them an excellent choice for students who wish to pursue a career in academics or research.
  • The management institute has less autonomy over the course since it is regulated through the accredited university and they can’t change the curriculum very frequently.
  • Usually MBA degrees are considered more theoretical than the others with a strong academically focus.
  • MBA can be offered in a two-year format for students who have just finished their graduation in any stream and in a one-year format for students having some work experience (2 to 5 years) after their graduation.
  • Broad focus on management education with more emphasis on classroom based theoretical understanding of the management subjects.

PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management)

PGDM is a course which is alike MBA in time and execution, but usually is more expensive than an MBA. The course PGDM is more flexible than an MBA but less standardized since the PGDM course does not require an accreditation from a university. There are a few more things which set a PGDM apart from other management courses, such as:

  • A PGDM course is awarded by autonomous institutes which are not affiliated by any university.
  • The fact that they are not regulated through a university gives them a little less stability but more control over their curriculum.
  • Since they are diplomas and not degrees offered by affiliated universities, many students prefer MBA over PGDM courses.
  • The PGDM courses are more specialized and are aimed to provide better focused on a specialized field of management, such as Human Resources, Supply Chain Management, Retail, Sales and Marketing and many more. An MBA in contrast, aims to provide education in a more balanced way across all fields of management.
  • The curriculum of the PGDM program is more specialized and less comprehensive; it covers less ground than an MBA program.
  • A PGDM institute must have approval from AICTE to be considered an equivalent of the MBA program.
  • Perception of the B School plays an important part since a PGDM from a sub-standard institute may not have any value to the student
  • PGDM alumni need an MBA equivalent certificate to secure a job at international market.

PGPM (Post Graduate Program in Management)

Apart from MBA and PGDM, there also a third category of post graduate management education called PGPM. PGPMs are flexible certification programs. The Institutes may freely collaborate with other institutes or societies to put together a specialized offering. Some of the salient features of this type of course are:

  • Usually opted by professionals.
  • Offers a lot of flexibility in learning.
  • Course is more fluid and adjusts well to suit the need of the hour.
  • A more budget friendly option compared to full time MBA or PGDM.
  • Industry driven and business centric approach with often faculties from reputed MBA or PGDM colleges.
  • Does not focus on creating ground for further academics or fellowship.
  • Entrance is the combination of entrance examinations and experience cut-off as specified by the institute.

Understanding the crucial difference between PGDM, PGPM and MBA is required for the students who are looking for a career in the management field. Understanding this can help them choose the right course for their management education and differentiate the offerings of top business schools in India. These courses are professionally oriented and can create a big difference in the career path of a fresher and experienced professional alike.

What is important in a B-school – Faculty profile or Infrastructure?

The business schools are the new age melting pot where a lot of bright minds from all walks of life gather around and try to build their career in the field of management. For thousands of students in India who make part of the batches running across various top business schools in India, a lot depends on the learning experience. The b schools that continually produce great results and are ranked among the very top; a lot of emphasis is placed upon every aspect of the student experience. Two vital elements of the leading business schools in India are the Faculty profiles and Infrastructure. A robust faculty profile creates the confidence in the students that they will be well taken care of and guided by experts with many years of experience. On the other hand, the infrastructure plays an important part in the modern business school experience by enabling the students to operate to their full potential and explore their interests.

Deciding upon the most important factor among faculty profile or infrastructure might be a herculean task, since both plays an important role in the enablement of the students. In this article we will explore what might be a few points to consider about the impact that these factors individually have on the life of a business school student. We would also try to understand how do the top business schools in India such as ICFAI Business School place a lot of emphasis and care in maintaining these factors.

Faculty profiles

A very important part of the learning experience, the faculties of a business school can make or break the overall experience of the students and arguably the most important part of the business school. A great faculty can generate interest in the dullest of the subjects and a mediocre faculty can drain away the interest a student has for a subject. Here is why the faculty profile matters a lot:

  • Reputation of a business school depends upon the success of the alumni and the quality of the development brought forth in the students and the quality of faculty directly impacts this.
  • Faculties who are seasoned and have been part of the corporate world develop real world relevance of the instruction and can share practical examples of applying the learning.
  • The business experience also comes in handy when the faculties use interactive and discussion based learning methods such as case studies to illustrate the lessons learnt in the classroom.
  • The reputation of the faculty helps propagate the reputation of the B-school that they are associated with and well-known faculties can be a big reason in students joining the business school.
  • Faculties are the custodian of the culture of learning in the campus and they help create a healthy enthusiasm towards not only their subject but also studies in general.
  • Faculties are responsible for identifying the talents and development areas of the students and coach them adequately to realize their full potential.
  • Faculties bring in a sense of discipline, curiosity, focus, and perseverance in the students and serve as a positive influence in the student’s life, sometimes even years after the student has left the campus.
  • Faculties have powerful relations with the corporate world at large through a continuous stream of ex-students, ex-colleagues from previous stints at work and contact with other academicians. This helps in fostering strong links with the corporate world and helps in internship and final placements of the students.
  • Faculties can provide relevant and effective insights regarding the curriculum and their feedback can help shape the curriculum in a way that is both industry ready and intellectually challenging to students.
  • Faculties, through active participation in research in their respective field and publishing of their research papers and articles, can contribute greatly to showcase the intellectual quality of education carried out in the business school.

Infrastructure

Just as a faculty adds up to the intellectual environment of the campus, the infrastructure affects the physical aspect of the campus by creating a conducive environment for the students and staff alike. The infrastructure has several parts that come together to create a positive environment for the academics to take place. These parts include:

  • The strategic location of the campus enables easy integration with the corporate world. Many of the business schools are situated near the big financial centers of the country such as ICFAI Business School has campuses in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Pune, Dehradun and Jaipur.
  • Many campus infrastructures support outdoor activities such as swimming pools, gym, football or cricket grounds, and indoor court for games such as Badminton, Basketball, Squash and Volleyball to promote a healthy lifestyle.
  • The IT infrastructure through Wi-Fi and well-equipped computer labs provide for students to research their field of study while some such as ICFAI Business School are also equipped with simulation software to enable real-time business driven decision-making simulations.
  • The IT infrastructure also allows for specialized teaching software to run seamlessly such as ICFAI Business School runs SAP, SPSS, SAS, iThink, Rational Rose, Eviews, Microsoft CRM, AutoCAD, Cadian Advanced CAD etc.
  • The libraries equipped with not only the latest installation of the software, but also volumes of physical books, including latest editions enable students to study and research while working on various business cases and take references.
  • Many libraries also have computerized catalog systems for easier and efficient administration as well as access to various databases to grant easy access to countless pieces of information to support the students.

Comparing the faculties with facilities could be a futile discussion trying to prove one being more important than the other but individually these both are integral part of the business school. As students write their own stories and prepare themselves for the prospects, they need support of both to reach their full potential and a bright future.