For most of the MBA aspirants, CAT is the only exam that can take them to their destination, as most of them want to do MBA only from the IIMs. And along with the IIMs, many other top colleges of our country take CAT for short listing students for their colleges. As a result CAT becomes this really “big” exam which everyone who wants to do MBA must crack. But if the exam is of so much importance, then why do we have it just once a year. How can the IIMs or any other college for that matter choose potential MBAs from just a two and a half hours exam? All of us agree that sometimes we do have bad days when nothing works according to the way we want and we do end up screwing our whole day, and even if we are potentially capable of performing better on the other day. And if IIMs in their defense say that students should be able to perform well on all days then I feel that is not possible. Even a Narayan Murthy or a Bill Gates can have a bad day! So I feel that they should have at least one more CAT in the year (and two more will be just fine) to select the right students. This can go a long way in reducing the pressure that the students face. They may say that by giving half an hour extra in the paper, the students were more relaxed but then trust me, for me (I took CAT) and for many others who took CAT, the extra half an hour didn’t really help. In fact, there was extra anxiety relating to the extra time that was given.
Before the CAT exam, you really want it to come soon and get over with it but now when the CAT is over, you feel there is a vacuum, a very strong feeling of emptiness and more than that the bad feeling that ‘oh I could have performed better’ because no matter what, we can never really be satisfied. And then if the CAT goes bad, you get a jolt because all the effort you put into preparing for the exam for months get tested in those very crucial two and a half hours. Isn’t the whole feeling of studying like crazy for more than two months, for those two and a half hours a bit insane? After it is over, you actually look at all the things (that you loved doing) you sacrificed. All those dinners, night outs with friends, those long hours of chatting on phone, that feeling of meeting new people (sometimes guys, may be a potential boyfriend), going for movies every week and basically just hanging out with friends till late in the evenings. Sacrificing all that and now after CAT, getting back to the same things which we enjoyed earlier seems impossible! Now sometimes I wish that CAT had never gotten over, and especially when it has gone bad, you cannot even enjoy the after CAT feeling as you are again at the same place where you were before you started studying for it and that big question ‘what to do next’ yet again looms over you.
Though we have more exams for other MBA colleges but they are obviously not considered as important as the CAT and that is primarily because of all the hype around IIMs. Frankly speaking, sometimes I just fail to understand all the hype around IIMs! Of course, you get an awesome start if you are from IIM but what after that? After the start, the only thing that matters is your ability to handle all the pressure in the corporate world, to think creatively and innovatively and to be able to integrate all the available resources and create a successful enterprise and I feel no two and a half hours exam that is held only once in 365 days can decide anything.
I’m sure by now you must have realized that I’m being such a critic of CAT because it didn’t go quite well but I seriously feel in the interests of many, some changes need to be made. And one can identify with me only if he/she has taken CAT seriously.