The selection process for the Top B-Schools in India typically comprises of two stages.
STAGE-1: ONLINE OR WRITTEN EXAMINATION
The first stage is usually a 2 to 2.5 hours (CAT is of 2 hours 20 minutes) online or written (depends on the exam) examination that tests the students on various skills (English, Math, General Awareness and Business Awareness) through multiple-choice questions with negative marking for wrong answers. English and Maths are further subdivided into different areas:
· Quantitative Ability – Arithmetic
· Quantitative Ability – Algebra
· Quantitative Ability – Geometry
· Reading Comprehension
· Verbal Ability – Grammar
· Verbal Ability – Vocabulary
· Verbal Ability – Verbal Reasoning
· Data Interpretation
· Data Sufficiency
· Logical Reasoning
CAT is the entrance exam for more than 160 management institutes across India, including the 19 IIMs. The online exam is conducted every year in the month of November and the GDPI round takes place from Jan to April. The academic sessions begin in the months of July-Aug.
CAT focuses on general aptitude (English, Math, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning) which are key areas tested in most competitive exams such as Bank PO, SSB, Campus placements etc. Even Civil services, GATE etc give some weightage to GA. What makes CAT special is the quality of opportunities it opens for you and therefore the nature of competition. The exam is quite rightly seen by many as the mother of all management entrance exams. However, this also means that your preparation for CAT will prepare you for a good part of a lot of other exams as well.
XAT is the common entrance test for the Xavier group of institutions; XLRI, XIMB and XISS. Apart from these institutes, several other reputed institutes like S.P.Jain, LIBA and GIM also take XAT score. Usually conducted in January, the exam tests the aspirants on their General Awareness, Business Awareness and Essay writing skills, apart from their English and Math skills.
IIFT is the entrance test for admission to the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi and Kolkata. The test score of this entrance examination is used for admission for programmes offered at IIFT’s New Delhi and Kolkata Campus.
The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) was set up in 1963 by the Government of India as an autonomous organization. IIFT is one of the premier B-schools in India.
CET (Common Entrance Test for Maharashtra) is for admission into the management institutes of Maharashtra and includes reputed institutes such as Symbiosis and Jamnalal Bajaj. The aspirants are also tested on their Visual and Verbal reasoning skills apart from the English and Math skills.
NMAT (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies), IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi), NITIE (National Institute of Industrial Engineering), IRMA (Institute of Rural Management, Anand), and TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai) conduct some of the other college-specific written tests.
SNAP- Symbiosis National Aptitude (SNAP) Test is a common written test for the admission to all the Post-Graduate Institutes of Symbiosis International University. Written test is mandatory for admission into any Post-Graduate programme offered by the constituent institute of Symbiosis International University. However, it is only the first step. In addition, a candidate has to undergo the selection process of the desired Institute to qualify for the admission to the Post-Graduate programme of that Institute.
IRMA was established in 1979 at Anand, Gujarat with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), the Government of India, Government of Gujarat, the erstwhile Indian Dairy Corporation and the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). The rationale behind its installation had to do with providing management education, training, research and consultancy support to co-operatives and rural development organisations in India.
The genesis of IRMA is owed to Dr. Kurien's work with dairy co-operatives, which revolutionized the dairy industry in the country. It was founded with the belief that the key to effective rural development lies in professional management. Professionalising rural management involves synergising specific yet unmet needs of the rural sector with the formal techniques and skills of management professionals. Linking the two are the ‘rural managers' graduating from IRMA after undergoing a two-year diploma (PRM) programme in rural management.
STAGE-2 : PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT
The second phase of the entrance examination is conducted for those who are short-listed on the basis of their performance in the first stage. The institutes use various methods to assess an aspirant’s communication skills as an individual as well as within a group, motivation levels, written ability, ability to handle stress, clarity on career goals and objectives, awareness etc. This is typically done through Personal Interviews, Written Ability Test and Group Discussions. Some institutes like XLRI conduct only Personal Interviews.
The final selection of a candidate is usually based on the cumulative scores achieved during the Written Examination and the Personality Assessment stages in addition to some other factors such as past academic record, work-experience and extra-curricular accomplishments.