How to build profiles for admission in colleges

 | July 23,2012 09:34 am IST

In last couple of years the admission process has evolvedevolved towards bringing more profile related parameters into the admission process than mere CAT/MAT/XAT scores. But was the change inevitable? Why did we need this change at all? Do IIMs not have faith in their own entrance tests?
Well we have loads of questions on our mind but no straight answers.

In this article I wanted to share a few possible explanations of why the change has come about and what we can do about it.

The change has come about due to a lot of parameters, Firstly b-schools are trying adapt international standards of giving admissions where your essays, your academic background and industrial exposure and finally the CAT/ MAT/ XAT scores are been taken into account. Secondly and may be more importantly, Its industry demanded, Industry demands consistent academic records for candidates applying for their firms, criteria changes; Industry demands more number females applicants in their firms,  criteria changes. Finally b-schools themselves feel that they want people from diverse backgrounds for the benefit of the whole process of learning itself if more than 50% of the people come from IT experience or let say are engineers , they feel it hampers in creativity of thoughts which may or may not be true.

Lets take the second point first, B-schools are changing criteria because industry demands it, meaning they want to select people who are place-able material and I think there is no harm in doing it, we know these are academic institutes but at the end of the day, everyone wants a good placement... Similarly, every b-school wants to show better placement reports with better figures and better diversity in terms of sectors covered.

Lets take the first point; I feel there is no harm in using different parameters to judge candidates and giving them admission as long as its not biased against a specialization, let us say engineers in this case who form the major quota of applicants in most of the colleges. Using creative ways of selection is good; it gives more number of people a chance to compete for better colleges.

I have an issue with the third point, When people say they want to see more English literature background people or doctors in their colleges to increase diversity and improve quality of learning, I have a serious issue with that, it feels that when they interview a person they dont judge him/her individually but rather they tag people as Engineers, commerce grads, doctors, which is more like stereotyping than finding creativity at the individual level.

Ok enough of ranting about why profile based calls etc, the million dollar question is how do I make my profile attractive and how do I make myself a place-able material?

First of all think and think why you are running after MBA, if you are running after it then, which field interests you, which fields you have inclination towards. Well if you dont know please find out, read more about this, talk to current b-school students or alumni.

If you say that you want to be entrepreneur, and then please have a plan, dont say I want to run a idli chain , answer these questions about your plan: what , why , when , where , how .. Do some research, typically people want to be entrepreneur would have done something about their idea, expand it more, and talk to right people about it. For interviewers, intent matters not just ideas, they are happy if you are willing to go that extra mile.

If you want to build your profile, there are loads of certifications in finance from NCFM- to CFA/FRM, so read about them. Similarly for IT and Operations there are various certifications.. For marketing you can try to work in loads of startups which have positions in marketing research and sales, find time to work for short period of time, it will help you increase your knowledge.

The easiest way to learn is to talk to people who are working in the industry and ask them if you can assist them in some work, however mundane it may seem, you will learn something or the other and believe you me along with intent, practical knowledge matters. 

If you are interested in a topic or domain, you should be able to think, make opinions and talk for hours on it and you cant do that until you read, discussion and gain knowledge.

CAT has evolved to a much easier level, B-schools have evolved to a much stricter admission process and the question is have you evolved? Are you ready to change and adapt? Or you are still at the cribbing and resisting phase?