This is a question that pops up most frequently in the aftermath of the CAT and rightly so since this is a big career call that one has to take.
This question is usually posed by three sets of students
- those who have got CAT percentiles that are not good enough for their dream institutions but will suffice for colleges of lesser repute
- those whose CAT percentile is disappointing but can look forward to something positive from the other tests
- those who know that there is no way anything is going to happen this year
It is not over, yet
For the first two categories of aspirants the single point agenda should be to see the season off to the very end. At this point do not think about a re-take.
Do not fritter away this useful interim period in anxiety and despair, about the results yet to come and about the results that are already out.
Anxiety and despair are natural reflexes and one is bound to feel these things but both do not result in anything. What is important is that you quickly rebound. Ask yourself one question what can you do in terms of actions right now to maximise your chances this year.
If you are in even with remote a chance to get a call from the colleges you have applied to, then your first task would be start preparing for the WAT-GD-PI rounds so that you can convert the call as and when you get it.
First convert, then reject
Some of you would have applied to a few colleges as a back-up. You know you will get a call from those colleges and have a percentile good enough to convert them but are now faced with the question of whether it is worth joining them.
If you get a call from colleges you have applied to, first convert the call, you can decide to reject them later.
There have been many cases in the last few years of aspirants not even attending the interviews of new IIMs!
Imagine you get a call from the new IIMs (K,R,R,R,S,T,U) or the baby IIMs (Amritsar, Bodh Gaya, Sambalpur, Sirmaur, Visakhapatnbam and may be a couple more) you should attend the WAT-GD-PI process and convert them.
Remember that the odds of converting a call are only 20% since on average the IIMs, counting all of them, call at the last 5 people for every seat.
The professors at the new IIMs would have taught at the older IIMs at some point and they would be taking your interviews. Can you get a better dress rehearsal for your dream-IIM interview if you want to re-take? Is there a better platform to genuinely test yourself in the WAT-GD-PI scenario? I don’t think so.
So while the college might be new, the people involved in the process belong to the IIM fraternity. It is one thing to believe you are good, it is another to get that belief validated by succeeding.
Suppose you don’t get a call for the India team but get a call from the India – A team, will you refuse to play?
Imagine this, if you convert a new IIM, decide to give another shot and get a call from an older IIMs next year, would it not be great to tell that panel that you converted new IIMs but believed that you could aim higher.
The same would apply to a non-IIM college as well.
A few of you know that you might get a call since you are slightly above the required percentile range but are sure that even if you do a great job in the WAT-GD-PI you might not be able to convert it since your percentile is just above the line. What I said above applies to this group as well — you will not get a better dress rehearsal, so go in there and do the best you can.
Should I apply lower rung colleges or should I re-take the CAT
The answer to this question depends on three things
- your evaluation your ability with respect to the CAT
- your evaluation your mental state when contemplating another attempt
- your evaluation of our aspirations
Let us try to make this a bit objective by making it a Q & A situation
YOU versus CAT – ABILITY
The first question you need to ask — is this the best shot you could have given? Was this a full-fledged, completely-immersed-into-CAT attempt? Do you believe you have given it your all? Answer of all these questions and then answer the question below.
Do you believe that you have maxed out and can go no further in terms of percentile if you give another attempt — YES/NO?
YOU versus CAT – STAMINA
The next question is whether you have enough mental fuel left to go through an another year. Do not count the attempts that you make just like that. Is this your first or second or third fully serious attempt?
Have your attempts so far taken so much out of you that you dread the thought of another attempt despite knowing that you can get better — YES/NO?
YOU versus COLLEGE
What do you think of the options in front of you right now? How do you view yourself vis-a-vis the options you have?
Do you believe that all you need is a decent degree and a decent break and will make the most of the opportunities you get irrespective of the brand or do you believe that your aptitude, your profile and your ambition deserve a better college than the options you have in front of you right now — YES/NO?
If your answer to all the above questions is YES, most importantly the third question, then you should NOT RE-TAKE, apply to colleges and get in this year itself.
In the previous post we had looked at the top-30 colleges and the percentiles for them, other colleges you can apply to at various percentile levels are given below:
If your answer to the first two questions is YES, but to the third one is NO, then you should evaluate other options such as the GMAT but there are a few pre-conditions, which I will deal with in the next post.
If your answer is NO to all three then you should definitely re-take the CAT but also evaluate the GMAT depending on your profile and aspirations, which as mentioned will be taken up in the next post.
These are not easy questions to answer and I am sure there will other personal considerations that you would need to factor in but you need to sit down and chart out the way ahead.
There are many more fish in the sea
But just remember that there are lots of opportunities that are still open such as MS in Operations related areas like Supply Chain and Procurement for those with an Ops background, MS in Business Analytics, Management Information Systems (MIS) for those with an IT background, Masters in Management for freshers and regular MBA options both in India and abroad through GMAT. These are options that I will take up in the forthcoming posts.