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If not, then what: Alternatives to CAT 2017

  Now that the CAT results are out, many of you may not have scored as per your expectations. But don't give up hope, because all is not lost. In this article, we explore other options that you might want to look at.  

The Advanc’edge Team

It has been a month since the CAT 2017 results were declared. For those of you who scored as expected (or perhaps even better), it is time to rejoice. And there will be many of you who would have fared lower than your expectation. In this article, we discuss the other options open for you in case you have failed to crack the CAT.
So, in case you feel that your CAT scores are not that great and you might not get admission into your dream B-school, you can explore these three different paths.

Option 1: Retake the CAT

The first and foremost option is the most obvious. Wait for another year, prepare again, plug all the gaps that you feel still remain, and take the CAT again in 2018.
If you think this doesn’t seem like the ideal option, think again. In this one year, you can actually increase your chances of getting an admission into your dream business school.
If you are a fresher, the best course of action is to start working somewhere, preferably in the field in which you would want to specialise. This means that when you’re taking the CAT next year, not only do you know more about your preferred choice of field and career, you’re more confident, and, of course, you have a year’s worth of work experience. This adds a lot of weight to your profile, as the selection process at all the institutes includes a weightage for work experience.
If you are already working somewhere, use this additional year to plug your gaps, as mentioned before, and do something that adds to your profile. Get involved in community service, start a serious hobby that you can build into a passion, learn a language, get an additional certification. Think of this extra year as a gift you can use to make sure you crack the CAT next year.

Option 2: Other tests

Then there are the other tests, of course. If you’ve already registered for and taken the SNAP, NMAT, TISS, XAT, etc, you have already covered your bases. A good score in any one of these tests will ensure that you are halfway to a good business school.
Even if you hadn’t registered for these tests, there are lots more to do. To start off, take tests like the MH-CET. This test is the entrance exam to some top business schools in Maharashtra, including names like Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, etc. Similarly, the other state specific tests are TANCET (Tamil Nadu), ICET (Andhra Pradesh), PGCET or KMAT (Karnataka), etc.
You can also choose to get enrolled in niche programmes like the Business Analytics programme at Praxis Business School, Kolkata. Given that Data Analytics is becoming one of the most important aspects of an organisation’s functioning, the demand for quality business analysts is growing, and Business Analytics programmes offer a highly successful career option.

Option 3: International education

Finally, the third option is to explore getting an MBA degree from an international university. Naturally, this has its own advantages and disadvantages, but it is certainly a viable option, especially if there are programmes that begin in 2018, which means that you don’t miss out on a year at all. To pursue an international MBA programme, you will need to write the GMAT. Reportedly, the GMAT is easier than the CAT, which is said to be the toughest MBA entrance exam. The advantage of the GMAT is that it can be taken anytime during the year, which means you can prepare for it and take the test when you’re most confident. So you can always prepare for both the GMAT, as well as to retake the CAT in 2018.
One of the best takeaways from studying at an international university is the diversity of your peers. With a class comprised of students from 10 or 11 different countries and faculty from across the world, the learning experience is almost unparalleled when you consider the exposure you get. So, at global MBA programmes, since there are individuals of so many different nationalities in one class, students end up learning not only from their professors but also from their classmates.
Today, European universities top most of the lists, with European business schools having the seven highest 5-year MBA gains in the world. For instance, at IMD (Switzerland), students have earned US$2,11,000 five years out of school after arriving in Lausanne, Switzerland with a median salary of US$84,000. This equates to almost three times the pre-MBA salary!
Moreover, graduating students are placed in companies across the world, which leads to even more exposure in terms of culture, markets and workforce. This also means that the students get access to a large network of alumni who are working in companies across the world.
Another advantage of an international MBA is that except in the US, most programmes are a one-year or 15-month course. This means that students don’t have to invest two full years to get their MBA and get a career boost. In fact, one-year programmes are also slowly becoming popular in the US, as business schools look to offer an alternative to students who don’t want to be out of the workforce for two years.

MiM programmes

Finally, there are also Masters in Management (MiM) programmes offered in institutes across the world. MiM programmes are designed for people in the early stages of their career – right after their undergraduate degree or after about a year on the job. Most business schools do not even require or ask mandatorily for professional experience for their MiM programmes. The programme is mainly targeted at candidates with non-business related undergraduate degrees such as in Humanities, Science, Arts or Engineering, and at those with a background in business studies.
The length of MiM programmes are also usually just a year, and include a compulsory internship. As for tuition fees, MiM programmes are cheaper than MBA programmes. While tuition fees at the most expensive full-time MBA programmes can reach as high as €70,000, the most expensive MiM programmes cost only around half of that.
The primary disadvantage for most Indian students is the cost involved in getting an MBA from an international business school. However, that disadvantage too is slowly fading, as more and more institutes have started offering scholarships that can go as high as even the full course fees. Apart from this, getting loans for studying
at an international institute is far easier today than ever before; this adds to the affordability of these international programmes.