I have asked this question to my subscriber list
How do you choose your B-school?
I got some predictable answers. Now this is not ground-breaking information in choosing your Dream B-School. It’s just a bit of common sense.
But while choosing it, the weightage was given to ratings on websites & package (ROI) which is obvious and accepted to a certain degree but that’s not the way you should carry out your B-school selection procedure.
Now, I am not saying rating on websites and package is not important, in fact they are important and I am not telling anybody to settle for
mediocre salary package.
But there is a big problem
See the rankings
Now, what the hell these 2 rankings signify?
Let’s look at first chart
IIM-A: Process (86/90)
IIM-Calcutta: Research (80/100)
Look at second chart
IIM-C: Learning Experience (208.1/281.5)
FMS: Placement Performance (145.8/173.5)
What these statistical ratings signify?
Maybe they are correct and based on rigorous data points but that’s not the point. It might be a sound statistical representation of it but normal student doesn’t care about it.
Can you figure out what they meant when they said (153 out of 202.5) in selection process?
This information is pretty useless unless you are just seeing the rankings.
Now-a-days, the rankings are also biased; websites are paid large sums of money to inflate the rankings of certain B-schools.
Think beyond IIPM, go figure.
But most students resort to this route because it seems easy and you can easily rationalize it by saying
“I chose XYZ based on its rankings on ABC site.”
It’s easy to avoid any responsibility of your bad decision.
Some students actually take the time to do actual research to find out their dream B-school but most of them just believe the ratings or biased opinions of others (especially forum trolls and clueless people)
There is a way to stand out of this competition; there is a way to get disproportionate results by front-loading the work.
How to use Front-Loading to get Disproportionate Results and Save Money in the Process?
It’s fascinating to see people spent tons of time in studying for CAT, tons of money in coaching classes and tons of money in test-series but
when the time comes to choose right B-school, they don’t have any time to do research.
Ironically, if you suggest that they focus on doing a few Big Wins (e.g.,actually doing deep research about institute, getting on phone with
real people), the very same people will claim they’re “too busy” to do that.
This is a fascinating wrinkle in human behaviour. People will continue to do something – even if it doesn’t work – instead of potentially
trying something that might actually work but is novel (and therefore scary) to them.
Why most people are getting into perpetual spiral of doom when it comes to choosing their dream B-school until they are brutally slaughtered or finally get lucky by sheer fortune or sheer talent to get into some good B-school?
There are 2 questions which bother every MBA aspirant when it comes to choosing B-school
1. Would I want this college?
2. Would I get into this college? (How I can maximize my chances?)
If you get satisfactory answers to these questions you will feel justified about your decision.
The problem with rating is nobody wants to go to college which has low rating, everybody wants higher package, everybody wants better
faculty, everybody wants good alumni based, everybody wants better package.
They want to go to heaven but they don’t want to die.
But do everybody has chance to get into IIMs or XLRI?
Failure Expectation is required.
When I tell this to students, they feel like I am telling them to quit on their dreams.
You can’t get into IIM-Bangalore (because your academics are f**ked up, unless you get 100%ile in CAT, you won’t get IIM-B call)
And some people call it as “Quitting on your dreams”
People say “I don’t want to be a quitter. I am confident I am gonna get into that B-school.”
This is not “Quitting”
If you have practically screwed up practically in every area of your life then expecting to get into top b-schools in your very first attempt is not realistic, it’s delusional and I am not going to motivate you by telling you that “You can get admit wherever you want to go”
Some people say “Having Backup seems like I am quitting on my dreams.” which I find equally interesting and intriguing.
These same people when get rejected by their dream B-schools , change their attitudes overnight, just like they never wanted go there
in the first place. (a bunch of hypocrites) saying “I never wanted to go there anyways”(lol)
Have a plan to get rejected from your dream b-school.
If you prepare for the worst and do your best, I call it “Optimistically Pessimistic” attitude (i.e. expect things to go wrong and behave accordingly)
These people take it personally and mourn over their losses and troll Pagalguy afterwards.
Treat rejection as normal part of the process.
Just like the poor folks who think they are going to get consulting job at Big 4 strategy firms after they get into IIMs realize that they are not even eligible to apply to them because of their poor academic record in school and college.
Is it quitting? I don’t think so.
I will tell you when quitting is OK.
Ask yourself this question
Are you quitting out of strength or quitting out of weakness?
If you quit just because you are plain lazy and not willing to learn and improve, too bad for you.
If you quit because you’ve determined that you’re headed in the wrong direction, then you’re quitting out of strength.
And you should quit as fast as you possibly can, so that you can WIN at something else i.e. getting into B-school where you have possible chance of getting instead of spinning wheels and getting into perpetual black hole of B-school applications
What it means is understand that no matter what you think, everybody won’t get into top B-school like IIMs, XLRI, FMS etc etc.
Aiming for them is a good thing but being overconfident of your abilities is a different thing.
Failure expectation is a good thing especially for people who really want to get into good B-school.
Now good is a relative term, it can be taken as “good enough” B-school for you.
Having big dreams is OK but having Road-map is even better.
It’s about having contingency plans in place. You don’t want to get freaked out when you are rejected from first few B-schools.
Having a Road-map is not an afterthought, this is a well thought out thing everybody should be doing when they are applying for any b-school.
A few years back, when I got into this CAT thing (2008 to be precise)I had a friend who was so overconfident of his abilities that he only
applied to IIMs. There were only 5 IIMs at the time.
Whenever asked he used to tell us “I will rather not do MBA than to do it from a B-school other than IIM“
Now, looking back, I see it was very detrimental decision but
interesting thing is this
When results came he was devastated, he got close to 85%ile despite scoring topping in AIMCATs, SIMCATs.
Then next year he did the same thing, again he was slaughtered with
90%ile and didn’t get anywhere.
Now he became wise and started applying to different colleges and started with a job. He got 96%ile in CAT, got calls from IIFT and other
B-schools, so he gave CAT again next year while working and applying to different colleges, he got 99.6%ile and got IIFT, MDI, IIM Lucknow, 5 new IIMs, NITIE and all others. He converted IIM-C call.
Now not everybody is willing to give CAT 4 times and hope for 99.6%ile, not everybody will get that much percentile even when
you attempt it for multiple times and that’s not what you want to do.
You obviously don’t want to set records in CAT, you want to get into good enough college which matches with your abilities, academics,
long term goals.
CAT is unpredictable exam, it’s not like other entrance tests (except XAT) where your predicted score and actual score might have significant difference.
So not keeping any backup plans is like shooting yourself in the foot.
There are also other things to keep in mind, like your academics, gender bias, work experience, your interview performance and lot other things come into play…so you really can’t predict what’s going to happen with your results.
I know few 100%ilers didn’t get IIM-Bangalore call or couldn’t convert IIM-A call.
The point is anything can happen, despite having everything on your side, you can still fail, now you can always continue doing job and give CAT again and again but that seems like not so wise decision.
Now real question is How to choose your Dream B
Now, you might think of IIMs as your dream B about it is not at all wrong
and you have become tunneled vision, then you need to take a step
back and realize that it’s not the best way to go.
4 Step Framework to Choose Dream B-School
1. Get Proactive
2. Build System
3. Front-load the work
4. Keep backup options
What most people do when applying to B-Schools ?
They don’t have a systematic approach. What they have is series of random tactics.
These clueless people hide under the hood of facebook groups, pagalguy, doing pointless research on google. The answers they are getting from unqualified people is blind leading to another blind.
Now, I am not expert in this area because I don’t have to. There are various resources easily available which you can ethically exploit to get this insider information. (There is nothing really insider about this information)
I have helped hundreds of students to get clarity over their short term and long term goals using this ethical exploitation method which I teach them inside GD/WAT/PI Revolution Program. Almost everybody used this method came back to me with much more clarity than before. I am going to teach it to you here. Actual method has built in twist to it.
There are few criteria which will help you to choose B-schools you
should apply to
1. Your percentile in last 4-5 mocks
Your percentile in mocks is a fair indicator of your performance in actual CAT unless you are planning to write actual CAT in mentally
deranged state. If you see some patterns of your percentile, you will get a fair idea about where you should apply to.
You can check out range of percentiles for the same B-school scored by students in last couple of years to see whether you have real chance of getting there by talking with real people.
Now this is a broad indicator. There is no step by step plan or foolproof approach to do this.
Note: When in doubt, AIM high.
There are always cases where students see huge percentile increase/decrease in actual CAT but these cases are outliers, not the norm.
2. Check Eligibility Criteria
Why this is important?
Because no matter how strong your dreams are, you should know minimum percentile or score is required to get there. Check my criteria for applying to B-school.
Check for any other criteria regarding academics, work experience, extra-curricular activities etc. before you even think of applying there.
3. Check their placement records.
Now it might be the case that, you are not getting to see the real picture taking into consideration how B-schools inflate their packages
to attract crowd, but I will tell you what to do about that later in the process.
4. Check out courses they offer, their faculty, their alumni base, internships, scope for other skill developments (if that’s one of your motives) Also see for career progressions of the alumni.
For some people, they give preference to location over other things,that’s your personal choice, after you weigh pros and cons of your
decision; decide which the right course of action for you is.
I will explain in detail what you should do later.
The best thing you can do is to get in touch with people who just got there, talking to people who have completed the 1st year, also with
people who passed out and are working for 2 or more years. Ask them intelligent and insightful questions, it forces you to do research.
So you get current picture about internships, PPO, Faculty, Alumni base, placements and other factors.
Most importantly you want to evaluate options about what is going to happen after you start working, what scope you will have, which type
of work you will get to do, which industries you can get into etc etc.
Does it require work?
Hell, YES. It requires work and time but it saves the agony you will feel if you don’t get into any B-school or get into mediocre B-school.
I have seen clueless people applying to everything from IIFT (foreign trade), XLRI (HR and BM), NITIE for different streams. (I am also guilty of doing it)
It’s because they haven’t done any research, people justify their inclination for BM in BM interview and likewise in other interview…because they are clueless about the future and after they pass out they get into field switching business until some field of their liking sticks (which I think is OK to a certain extent)
This is how most people do, aim in the dark and see what sticks and what doesn’t.
How to use Window Shopping Strategy to quickly narrow down your possible B-school choices?
If in your research you found out that XYZ college is really good but you are really not sure about it, you connect with real people from
college, ask insightful questions about placements, faculty,
curriculum, internships, future prospects etc.
Zero commitment and No Risk.
You might save your money on applying to it if you don’t find it fits the bill.
The question is how to find out these people.
These are some ways, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Email, Pagalguy.
First of all, facebook seems to be the good option to get introduced for those who are studying at that particular institute (1st and 2nd year)
Contact one or more of the admins in a polite way and request them to get in touch with relevant people who might be able to help you.
Use this template
I happen to find you out this facebook group while I was researching my B-school options (mention about what you found out)
I have a few questions regarding XLRI selection process and (mention other areas where you have concerns with)
Can you kindly introduce me to someone who I should chat with? I’d love to learn more about it so that I can see if that’s the right fit for
If not, no problem.
When you get in touch with them, ask for their email address or phone numbers. Some people are wary of giving phone numbers directly,
email is given easily. If you get their personal numbers, that’s the best thing you can have. Make sure you don’t constantly bug them.
When you are sending email, use this template. (Please don’t copy paste it for God’s Sake, model it) Ask for permission before you send
Greetings from (your name). I was doing some research on XLRI
, I noticed that you are (tell him/her why you are contacting him and also tell him how you got in touch
I am a quest to find out my dream MBA institute and would love to ask you 3-5 insightful questions about your experience there. My
number is XXXX
Do you have time for 10-15 minute phone call?
(Mention all the available timings)
If those don’t work, I can work around your schedule.
P.S. I am sure you are busy, so if it’s easier for you I would be happy to send questions via email. Thanks again.
After you get confirmation from him, to confirm a call, use this script
Looking forward to our call tomorrow. I’ll call you at 10 AM at 123456789. If there are any changes, please let me know.
I have researched and found this out
(Show him/her you have actually done real research)
Talk to you tomorrow.
Other strategy to get in touch with people who are working currently is to go to Linkedin and get introduced through common
connection or message them.
Most of the times, there won’t be any common connection or option to message.
Here is the trick you can use
He is not in my connection list so I can’t message him directly.
He is 3rd degree connection, now instead of spamming him or sending him connection request, just look at the groups he has joined
Join open groups for the time being.
Now you can send message to him without doing any shenanigans.After you message him, and then ask for either phone conversation or
email conversation in the manner I mentioned.
Sometimes, you can even get in touch with them through twitter if they are active there but that’s not the best possible way to reach them.
Follow-up with them, build real relationships.
Now if you do all these things, there are still some chances of failure which are beyond your control but you won’t fail because
1. You didn’t do your research properly
2. You kept no backup options
3. You were totally confused/overwhelmed with sheer no of choices
Rinse and repeat this process for every college you are planning to apply after doing deep research.
1. Apply to all top notch institutes (Tier 1) no matter what (you can choose to exclude some of them based on my suggestions) The no of institutes you want to apply to is your choice depending upon exams you are going to give. (if you are giving XAT, apply to XLRI, if you are giving SNAP, apply to SIBM Pune, if you are giving IIFT, apply to IIFT)
2. After you are done with it and when it comes to choosing Tier 2 institutes (backup options) depending upon selection criteria,
your percentile and other factors (including your research) zero in on few institutes.
3. Use window shopping strategy to further narrow down your choices. Do shallow research to identify the right institutes before going deep into it.
4. Discard institutes which you don’t find suitable in shallow research by actually talking with right people.
5. For remaining ones, get in touch with right people who are currently studying from the same institutes or working in a JOB (alumni base) using strategies I mentioned above, ask insightful questions.
6. Based on the responses, discard few more options and further narrow down your choices.
7. Apply to the institutes you finally have (or use further logic to eliminate few more options)
This guide is part of my premium course “CAT Preparation for Working Professionals” which is very essential for getting maximum out of your CAT Preparation and maximizing your chances of getting calls from Top B-schools.
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