Management Exam

A Guide to Entrance for MBA, Management Programmes in India - Masters in Business Administration

Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most sought after careers. It not only offers high salary packages but the great learning opportunities across various facets of business. The entrance exams test aspirants on their Quantitative, Verbal & Reasoning Ability.

Why MBA?

This is probably one of the most hackneyed and trite question that the graduating youth of today come to face. Graduates today want to do MBA, but have little idea what a manager really does.

Most students are attracted to management education at top business schools because of the high pay packages they get at the end of it. Sure, it is a brilliant career to pursue, but if your ultimate aim is to stuff your pockets, you might just cut a sorry figure in your future life or, for that matter, even in your Group Discussions or your Personal interviews.
Do you have a goal?

Many students who make it to the best B-Schools do have a purpose or a goal in mind. You will be astonished to know that every year about six to eight percent of the graduating managers from top B-Schools join start-up enterprises because of the tremendous learning opportunities that they provide. Almost an equal percentage of students join NGOs or social service organisations. If you know your goal, the two year period at a B-School becomes a pathway to your objective and your learning is more focused.

MBA:Some facts - Just having an MBA degree will not help you. Dig into the reason why you want to do an MBA. Discover your core skills.
  • If you are good at creativity and have an aptitude for advertising, an advertising school is a better option for you than a B-School.
  • Don't get bogged down with the fat pay packages. Salary packages are just a direct function of economic growth. If in a particular year, there is an upward economic swing, salary packages will shoot up. In a year of recession, even the best B-Schools in India find it tough to place their students.

Today, many top notch B-Schools in India offer specialization in different disciplines of business management. 

The Top 50 B-Schools in India not only offer superlative education and learning, but also attract recruiters offering best packages in India.

The top B-Schools either affiliate themselves to a common national level entrance test or take their own aptitude test to select candidates.

Various common national level tests to get into the finest B-Schools of India are: 

  1. CAT: All IIMs' and 100+ more institutes.
  2. XAT: XLRI Jamshedpur, XIM Bhubaneshwar, S. P. Jain, GIM etc.
  3. SNAP: Institutes affiliated with Symbiosis University
  4. MH-CET: Colleges in Maharashtra
  5. CMAT: All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE)

Various individual tests of some other finest B-Schools of India are: 

  1. IBSAT: ICFAI Business Schools
  2. NMAT: NarseeMonjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai
  3. MICA: Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad
  4. IIFT: Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi and Kolkata

S. No.Entrance ExamInstituteEligibilityTentative Month
1CATIndian Institute of Management50% in GraduationNovember
2IRMAInstitute of Rural Management Anand50% in GraduationNovember
3IIFTIndian Institute of Foreign Trade50% in GraduationNovember
4MATAll India Management AssociationGraduation in any DisciplineSeptember, December, February & May
5SNAPSymbiosis International University50% in Graduation(regular degree)December
6IBSATICFAI50% in GraduationDecember
7NMATNMIMS50% in GraduationDecember
8XATXLRI, Jamshedpur50% in GraduationJanuary
9TISSTata Institute of Social SciencesGraduation in any DisciplineJanuary
10ATMAAssociation of Indian Management Studies50% in GraduationFebruary
11CMATAICTE50% in GraduationFebruary

National Level Tests
S. No.Entrance ExamInstituteEligibilityTentative Month
1MAH-CETDirectorate of Technical Education, Maharashtra State45% in Graduation in any disciplineFebruary/March
2CUSATCochin University of Science and TechnologyGraduation in any DisciplineJune
3PAM-CATGNDU, Amritsar / PTU, Jalandhar / Punjbai University, PatialaGraduation in any DisciplineJune/July
5TANCETAnna University, ChennaiGraduation in any DisciplineMay
6OCETPunjab University, ChandigarhDifferent Eligibility for Different courseJune
7UP-SEEUP Technical University45% in Graduation in any disciplineApril
8Orissa JEEOrissa JEEGraduation in any DisciplineMay
9GCETGujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board50% in GraduationJuly
11RMATRajasthan Technical University50% in GraduationJune
12UPMCATUttar Pradesh Technical UniversityGraduation in any DisciplineMay

Selection Process

What it takes?
Stage 1
PBT - Paper Based Test / CBT - Computer Based Test
Every institute has a written test, either its own, or a part of a common test taken by various other institutes. Normally, the entrance tests are of 2 to 2½ hour duration and contain objective type questions.

Specialised Courses

The 2 year MBA program is aimed at making a candidate proficient in all the subjects of management and an expert in one field of management. Generally, the first year of an MBA program focuses on giving a student brief overview of all the subjects related to business. The first year also involves a 2-3 month project based job experience. In the second year, the student is expected to choose an area of interest and select courses from other fields. Broadly, the various specializations that can be opted for by an MBA 2nd year student are Finance, Marketing, HRM, Operations, IT, Systems, International Business and Foreign Trade, Advertising and Mass Communications, Exports, Accounting, Banking, Insurance, Investment, Entrepreneurship, Social Welfare, Policy, Rural, Agri-Business, Family Business and Telecom.
Various Specialised Courses Offered by Top-notch B-Schools in India
Agriculture Business ManagementIIM - Ahmedabad
IIM - LucknowSymbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB)
MANAGE - HyderabadFamily Business Management
Narsee Monjee Inst. of Mgmt. Studies (NMIMS)S. P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR)
Prin L N Welingkar Institute of Management Development & ResearchNirma Institute of Management
Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource DevelopmentBirla Institute of Management Technology
International Business & Foreign TradeIndian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT)
Institute of Management Development and Research (IMDR)Institute of Management Technology (IMT)
Symbiosis Institute of International Business(SIIB)K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research
University Business School (UBS)University of Delhi (DU)
PSG Institute of ManagementInstitute for Technology and Management (ITM)
International Management Institute (IMI)Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT)
Narsee Monjee Inst. of Mgmt. Studies (NMIMS)Telecom Management
Symbiosis Institute of Telecom Management (SITM)Institute for Technology and Management (ITM)
Human ResourcesXLRI - Jamshedpur
MDI - GurgaonMS University - Vadodara
Information Technology ManagementS. P. Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPJIMR)
K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & ResearchSymbiosis Centre For Information Technology (SCIT)
Institute for Technology and Management (ITM)Rural Management
Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA)Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneshwar (XIMB)
Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS)Indian Institute of Rural Management (IIRM)
 Systems Management
IIM BangaloreIIM Calcutta
Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI)Banking
NIBM - PunePetroleum Management
UPES - DehradunIPMG - Gandhi Nagar
MediaMICA - Ahmedabad
SIMC - PuneForestry Management
IIFM - BhopalICFRE - Dehradun
OperationsSIOM - Pune

Exam Syllabus

Quantitative Ability Syllabus
1. Number Systems2. LCM and HCF
3. Percentage4. Profit and Loss
5. Interest (Simple and Compound)6. Speed, Time and Distance
7. Time and Work8. Average
9. Ratio and Proportion10. Linear Equations
11. Quadratic Equations12. Complex Numbers
13. Logarithm14. Progressions
15. Binomial Theorem16. Surds and Indices
17. Inequalities18. Permutation and Combination
19. Probability20. Functions
21. Set Theory22. Mixtures and Alligations
23. Geometry24. Co-ordinate Geometry
25. Trigonometry26. Mensuration
Data Interpretation

Data is given in form of tables, charts or graphs. In this section it is tested that how candidates can interpret the given data and answer questions based on it.
1. Tables2. Column graphs
3. Bar Graphs4. Line charts
5. Pie Chart6. Venn Diagrams
Combination of two or more types linked to each other.
Logical Reasoning

1. Tables2. Column graphs
3. Bar Graphs4. Line charts
5. Pie Chart6. Venn Diagrams
Verbal Ability
Types of Questions
Vocabulary Based (Synonyms Antonyms)English Usage or Grammar
Sentence CorrectionFill in the blanks
Cloze PassageAnalogies or Reverse Analogies
Jumbled ParagraphMeaning-Usage Match
Summary QuestionsVerbal Reasoning
Facts / Inferences / JudgementsReading Comprehension

Vocabulary questions test the candidate's knowledge of the primary meanings of words, secondary shades of meaning, usage, idioms and phrases, antonyms, related words, etc.

Grammar-based questions test the candidate's ability to spot and correct grammatical errors. CAT generally tests knowledge of high school level grammar and includes areas like subject-verb agreement, use of modifiers, parellel construction, redundancy, phrasal verbs, use of articles, prepositions, etc.
Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning questions are designed to test the candidate's ability to identify relationships or patterns within groups of words or sentences.
General and Business GK(Elementry Level)

Institutes like IIFT AND SYMBOISIS have a section for General knowledge which includes question related to current affairs and business GK at elementary level

Salary Statistics

Name of the B-SchoolAverage Salary Offered per Annum (in Rs. Lakhs)Maximum Salary Offered per Annum (in Rs. Lakhs)Minimum Salary Offered per Annum (in Rs. Lakhs)
IIM Ahmedabad16.437.08.0
XLRI, Jamshedpur15.832.09.0
FMS, Delhi15.426.0N A
IIM Indore14.132.06.5
S P Jain Institute of Management & Research, BharatiVidya Haven's, Mumbai
MDI, Gurgaon13.521.07.8
IIM, Kozhikode13.036.06.0
NMIMS, Mumbai12.024.06.0
NITIE, Mumbai11.919.57.0
XIM, Bhubaneswar10.815.07.0
IIFT, New Delhi9.915.55.3
Sydenham Institute of Management, Mumbai 9.614.07.0
IMI, New Delhi 9.518.06.4
Goa Institute of Management, Goa8.816.04.5
Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli8.810.86.0
Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai8.724.06.0
NIILM Centre for Management Studies, Greater Noida8.312.25.0
IMT Ghaziabad8.115.03.6
T A Pai Management Institute , Manipal7.813.55.9
Welingkar Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai 7.513.03.3
LBSIM, Delhi 7.412.65.5
Alliance Business School, Bangalore7.414.64.0
K J Somaiya Institute of Management, Mumbai7.210.84.0
IFMR, Chennai7.212.06.5
NIRMA University, Ahmedabad7.210.05.2
Fore School of Management, New Delhi7.013.04.8
Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology, Pune6.810.05.0
National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad6.813.04.5
BIMTECH, Greater Noida6.88.34.5
BIMM, Pune6.19.75.0
SCMS- Cochin6.08.03.5
Rajagiri Centre for Business Studies, Rajagiri
ICFAI Hyderabad5.710.84.2
IFIM Business School, Bangalore5.69.64.2
JIMS, Rohini 5.512.04.5
SIES College of Management Studies, Navi Mumbai
IMT Nagpur5.59.63.9
PSG, Coimbatore5.48.44.0
B Schools are sorted by Average salary offered.Source: CNBC

MBA Helpline

Most students from different colleges all over the country endeavor to do an MBA course after having completed their graduation. In India MBA has an unparalleled charm for the students and their parents alike. This is probably due to the exceptionally high salaries of the graduates of the Indian Institutes of Management, jet-setting life styles of corporate executives, a pragmatic course of study and a stimulating campus life.
So what really is Management education all about?
It is a Two year full time or a Three year part time course
It Gives exposure to the subjects of Finance, Marketing, Operations, HR and Systems.
It allows Specialization in one or more of these functional subjects.
It helps to develop good logical, analytical and presentation skills.
You get to look at problems/situations from different angles with a view to arrive at an effective solution for the same.
The course teaches one to work in a team, manage time and helps develop a good business perspective.
On an average, you get to study 40 - 45 subjects in the course.It involves written exams, presentations, short projects, case studies, assignments, summer projects, winter projects and any other projects you can get... can do it all in an MBA
Why should you do an MBA?
  • MBA is a Post graduation degree valued by the Industry.
  • People from diversified educational backgrounds join an MBA course.
  • Involves high pressure and time-packed schedule. Really tests one's time management skills.
  • You learn through fun class room sessions, case studies, paper presentations, festivals, seminars etc.
  • The focus is on Knowledge-Sharing across functions.
  • Trains in Team work skills as you learn to work with different people on different assignments and projects
  • Teaches you to balance curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities.
  • Intra & Inter collegiate Case studies & paper presentation contests are common
  • College Festivals, seminars, guest lectures take place frequently.
  • You get to attend quality management seminars within and outside the institute.
  • You can participate in Project presentations and "Best Project" contests.
  • Get to attend quality Management Seminars within and outside the institute.
  • Orients you with knowledge of management functions.
  • Entails better career prospects in terms of job opportunities, career growth, salaries.
  • Teaches you how to manage yourself, your time, people, situations, success and failure. Specialization and other things are just a part of it.
Who can do an MBA course?
  • Any graduate with a minimum 50% marks in the final year under the 10+2+3 (like BA, B.Com, BCA etc.) or 10+2+4 (like BE, B.Tech etc.) system is eligible for a Management Education. Even post graduates can do an MBA.
  • However, non-graduates, who have done a diploma and not a degree course are not eligible.
  • Fresh Graduates as well as Graduates with work experience can do a full time Management course.
  • For part time Management Education, eligibility criteria is minimum 50% marks in the final year plus at least two - three years work experience after graduation.
  • There is no age limit for doing both full-time and part-time management courses.
What is a good score in the written test?
It is difficult for anybody to prognosticate accurately as it depends a lot on the level of difficulty of the test. As a general thumb rule, with a consistent score of around 85+, one has a decent chance of getting a call from one or two of the IIMs.
When should one start preparing for the entrance tests?
It takes a completely dedicated effort to succeed in these tests. For most part it is hard grind, repetitive, and unrelenting. Constant practice is evidently the key to success in the tests. The duration of preparation is, to a large extent, determined by the present state of preparedness. For a candidate who has been in touch with basic Mathematics and English and who has good reading habits, the preparation should commence 4 to 6 months in advance. Other candidates should start early and work hard and systematically. Our experience shows that over-preparation is as dangerous as under-preparation. Candidates are advised not to start preparation too much in advance. Certainly not more than a year in advance. The ill consequences could be fatigue, and premature peaking in the performance. Performing at one's peak is, by definition, not sustainable over a long period. A 100 m and 1 mile race is an analogy. You cannot run the 1 mile race at a speed at which you can run the 100 m race. So, the objective should be learning and constant practice in order to attain peak levels of performance just around the time of the entrance tests.
How should one prepare for the tests?
By now you must be aware of the various attributes of the candidates that are put to test in the entrance test.
  • Command over written English
  • Reading and Comprehension
  • Fundamentals of Mathematics
  • Analytical Ability and Interpretation Skills etc.
Also, the structure of the entrance tests changes every year. So, most of the preparation is anticipatory; anticipating would be the emphasis on each section; anticipating the probable range of questions that might appear in the entrance tests, and so forth.

Skill Development 
Conceptual knowledge
Application of concepts

Development of habits 
Increasing the range of your reading habits
Improving upon your skills of spoken English

Consistent and focussed practice 
On a regular basis :
At different difficulty levels
With a comprehensive range of probable new formats of questions

Continuous feedback 
On the improvements in your performance
On areas needing special attention 

A strategy for taking the entrance tests 
Note that no candidate can be strong in all the areas. The focus of preparation should be to prepare yourself thoroughly in your strong areas so that you do not lose a single mark there. In your weak areas you have to work the hardest to garner as many marks as you can. Further the entrance tests are basically negative, in the sense that they are designed to eliminate all but the fittest. And as the general standard of students improves, the hurdles at the entrance tests get increasingly steep.
How much advantage does a person with a job experience have over the others?
It is clear that work experience has some weightage, though it is not clear exactly how much work experience is good. In standard terms, a work experience of at least one and a half to two years stands one in good stead, while six months is not really known to make a difference to one's credentials. Since, during placements, a lot of companies prefer students with some work experience, the IIMs take a larger share of students who have had some work experience before applying. Besides a number of experienced personnel, worthy freshers do get admissions into various B-schools.
Should my graduation background influence the choice of B-school?
To some extent, yes. For example, arts graduates may like to go for colleges having an HRD orientation (like TISS, XLRI, Symbiosis etc.); law graduates may prefer PM and IR course at XLRI; engineers have been seen opting for a broad range of choices and colleges.
If I am an average student, will I be able to clear these tests?
The whole point is 'How do you define "average"?'. The examination systems in Indian schools and colleges hardly check the students' aptitude and logical or commonsense skills, the two most desired traits in an MBA aspirant. You may be having a very strong potential as far as MBA is concerned, which has been sadly left untouched so far.
What about Communication Skills?
It is very crucial for you to develop these skills as, at the last moment, very little can be done. Regular practice is the key. It has been seen that students getting several calls, at times, are unable to clear the GD and PI stage. Hence, keep preparing.
What specialization should I take up?
This should be decided on the basis of your interests and capabilities, as well as the institute's resources. There is no hard and fast rule that engineers should take up a particular specialization.

Students can specialize in any of the following streams:
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Systems
  • Operations
How to select an institute?
The problem of selection is not for the top institutes; the choice becomes more difficult if you finally get a call from two institutes, which have equal standing in the industry. In that case you can choose the college based on the following parameters:
  • Placements
  • Recognition
  • Reputation
  • Faculty
  • Specialization
  • Infrastructure

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