Choosing a Coaching Institute for MBA Entrance Exams

Ajay Ohri | April 09,2010 04:50 pm IST

Every year, lakhs of bright Indian students compete for the few thousands of seats in good business schools. The successful students enjoy highly-subsidized education at the Indian Institute of Managements and pass out with huge salaries.

The students at good private business schools end up paying much more fees; however, they do come out with a recognized master's degree and bright prospects for the future. A Master's in Business Administration (MBA) is a good degree to enhance your career prospects. In addition, MBAs get a perspective on marketing, finance, law, and thus, gain all round knowledge of business operations.

Why Coaching is Important?
Coaching is important for MBA entrance exams due to the stiff competition for a limited number of seats. An MBA is a once-in-a-lifetime degree, people rarely get the chance to do two MBAs. The business school that you graduate out of remains part of your resume for all of your life. Accordingly, MBAs from better schools get access to better facilities , better jobs, but also better alumni networks (or Business School seniors) that help them in getting a sustained advantage throughout their life. A small change in the percentage marks of individual sections can lead to huge differences in rank or the stature of school that you will get admission into. Thus, coaching is needed to maintain a competitive edge over your fellow students and to help improve There are seven IIMs alone (with more to come) and even if you clear the Top-20 business schools, that will mean you will have to give twenty rounds of interviews and group discussions in March-April. This will have an impact on your preparation as well, besides any failure, expected or unexpected, will only diminish the morale of the person at crucial times. Thus, it is advised not to appear in two many exams, and if doing so, seek honest feedback on current levels of preparation as well as your potential in tackling huge number of exams with different methodologies.

Choosing a Target Business School
Choose only schools that you believe you can clear and are interested in joining. Many people apply to the top twenty business school even though they are actually aiming to join the Tier-B business schools. This not only leads to un-necessary expenses, but also leads to delays at crucial times during the exam season. Unlike GMAT, which can be given all around the year, the CAT and other admission tests are given during certain days.

Preparing for them requires a different frame of mind and different steps.
For example, in CAT the biggest advantage is accuracy and speed of answering as it is done over two hours. In XLRI Admission Test (XAT), General Knowledge helps, while for GMAT accuracy is important because it is spread over four hours. More importantly, group discussions and interviews take up a large amount of time.

Preparing for CAT, MAT, XLRI and GMAT are completely different.

There are multiple areas of assessment in MBA entrance exams. Since most entrance exams have a minimum cut-off for not only the total but for each section, it is important to do well in all of these. Knowing your strengths and limitations in Maths or Numerical Ability, Reading Speed, Logical Reasoning and General Knowledge will help you choose the right effort and time needed for that section.

If you feel you are very good in one section, you'll still need practice to improve your accuracy and speed further. You can also use this to allocate more time in both preparing other sections as well as actually attempting other sections. You will also need this to choose a coaching institute for your specific skills, as is written below.

Types of Coaching Institutes
There are various types of coaching institutes and the only thing common is they all promise you success. Every year, the Indian Institutes of Management churn out more than one thousand five hundred graduates. The past ten years would alone have seen some ten thousand IIM-certified MBAs entering the market. So take all the claims as good examples of marketing and pick through what works for you best.

The types of coaching institutes are: -

Mass Coaching Institutes - They admit everyone, charge a fee and use a combination of classroom and written material. This approach is a relatively less-risky approach, as most people would want to join institutes that claim to have hundreds of success stories over the years. Remember what matters is your own success and the student needs just one seat in the right MBA institute. Try and check the percentage success rate of the institute as in how many candidates successful as a percentage of the total seats admitted. If you have specific weaknesses in one of the individual sections mentioned above, you can go in for specialized coaching.your own preparation and skills.

Specialized Coaching - Generally, mathematics or numerical ability is one area where people prefer specialized coaching as this is the skill that basically needs to be re-learnt as the exams are of the level of high-school mathematics but need to be done in time with as much accuracy as possible. Specialized coaching institutes generally conduct exams to offer a limited number of seats, and this is also because they are unable to provide educational infrastructure for all.

Postal Coaching for Written Exams - The need for postal coaching is because it is relatively less expensive and also offers you flexibility to set your own pace.

Coaching Only for Group Discussions / Interviews - Once cleared with your exams, you can go in for polishing your soft-skills and hone your initial impressions by attending these coaching programs.

Using More Than One Institute / Coaching Material - An optimized approach works best, as each coaching institute's curriculum has its own strength and weakness. Some institutes are very good for English Comprehension Skills while others are better for Mathematics-related studies. The best approach is a hybrid-approach which uses sample papers from previous years, study materials from more than one institute and mock tests. To cut down on expenses, you can form a study group that shares study material. It is best if you take in a lot of feedback from ex-students of coaching institutes to spot the relative merits and demerits of each one. This is best done if you take time on this activity as it is important and maybe even crucial for eventual success.

Choose the right business school, focus on those exams, and choose one or multiple coaching methods as customized to your own need and self-assessment. This will be the first and one of the most crucial decisions for your entrance preparations. Above all, work diligently and at a steady pace, and success will only be an exam away.


Ajay Ohri is an alumnus of IIM Lucknow, and has worked with some of the largest BPOs in India (including two BPOs listed on NYSE).Currently, he is running his own database consulting firm, and is the founder of his website ...

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MukeshKumar on 06/09/10 at 05:39 pm

Ajay, Thanks for the informative article.
As you mentioned "Preparing for CAT, MAT, XLRI and GMAT are completely different.", I'm more inclined towards MAT. Please let me know how can I choose things (books, strategy, resources etc) to crack MAT. I've heard MAT is easier to crack than CAT or XAT. Is that true?


Rakesh on 10/16/10 at 12:17 am


I am little bit of confuse means I am not able to choose a best institute for the preparation of MBA and now a days I am in Delhi...So please tell me what I have to do...for this....I want to do the preparation for MBA as soon as possible so can you please suggest me a best coaching institute in Delhi.

asit on 10/16/10 at 08:54 am


Check articles in this section

i think its too early for coaching as you will go only in 2011 CAT, probbaly prepare your ground work and JOIN CAT coaching in Jan / Feb. In Delhi Career launcher is best.

Mast.Sumit on 12/15/10 at 08:55 am

no comment

csir coaching on 12/18/10 at 12:53 pm

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