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Updated: January 17, 2012 15:41 IST

It's time for Plan B

Deepa Kurup
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MBA aspirants must look out for announcements from institutes in the coming weeks. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
MBA aspirants must look out for announcements from institutes in the coming weeks. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Some good institutes have a late deadline for admissions to MBA courses, and aspirants must grab their chance now

The proverbial CAT is out of the bag. With the Common Admission Test scores declared earlier this week – most of the Indian Institutes of Management have declared their shortlists for Stage Two – the entire crowd of over 1.8 lakh MBA aspirants who took the CAT are divided into two categories: those who still have a shot at the IIM dream, and those who did not make the cut this year.

Cut-offs for the IIMs are obviously high – ranging between 95 at the newer institutes and 99.9 percentile – and what students now need to start focussing on is their Plan B. Counsellors, teachers and experts are forever harping on the need for a proper Plan B.

This, they say, helps decrease the pressure on candidates, and of course, gives them something to fall back on if they have a bad testing day.

While many of the colleges have already finished with their application process and are ready with their post-CAT score round, there are several reputed institutes where admissions will still be open. Among the bigger brand names are the IITs – which joined the list of 180-odd institutes that use the CAT score this year – that will start calling for applications any time now.

Further, given that many may not make it to the IIMs, or are likely to not clear the second round involving Group Discussion and Personal Interview (GD-PI), applying to these institutes is certainly a sound move to consider now.

Experts advice students to keep their eyes peeled for any developments, including call for applications or announcements from institutes, in the coming weeks.

Lower cut-offs

Says Ajay Arora, director of the Triumphant Institute of Management Education, “There are a certain number of institutes with deadlines as late as February. For instance, TAPMI (T.A. Pai Management Institute) has extended its date. Other institutes, with lower cut-offs (many in the range of 80 to 90), are also there where students can apply in the coming weeks.”

He adds that students need to now go about looking for data – online and offline – on cut-offs of institutes, their credentials such as placement and faculty qualification and experience, and fees.

Applying to every other institute in panic is not a very good idea either. Individual applications cost between Rs. 1,200 and Rs. 1,500. So it is a good idea to do your research and select the most appropriate college.

Check it out

Experts advice that candidates should first check last year's cut-off marks to gauge their chances of getting into any particular institute. These cut-offs are available with consultants and coaching centres and even on several websites that focus on management education. A good way to go about finding out is to approach the alumni of these institutes.

Says Gaurav Prashad, an MBA graduate from Symbiosis, “The best way is to contact alumni through social networking or register at www.pagalguy.com and similar websites that cater to this segment. It is fairly easy there to track alumni or current batches of the institute and get a fair idea of what cut-offs were. In the process, you may also end up getting some sound advice on how to go about preparing for the admission round, not to mention revealing information on the shortfalls of the institute.”

He adds that students are often naive and do not go looking beyond websites and brochures, which lands them in bad institutes.

Whatever you do, first check the affiliation of the institute, says Nirad, a CAT enthusiast who continues to linger on these education forums on the web well after MBA.

“I have heard of cases where institutes are affiliated to the Distance Education Councils of State Universities but are posing as full-time courses. Students have to exercise caution before they apply,” he explains.

Mr. Arora says that a good way to go about it is to go for the major cities (chances of placement are higher), look at the faculty credentials and then look at the brand name of the college or its standing in the education sector. “A visit to the institute could help too.”

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