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One of the most important indicators of a nation's progress is its economic development and organisations are the agents who bring this economic development by producing, marketing and selling goods and services in the country's market place. In the process of doing so they create employment, growth and opportunities. To be able to do all of these, organisations need able management professionals who can take the responsibilities of running organisations effectively and efficiently. Organisations can hire a management professional from another organisation or they can train and promote their own staff to managerial roles. But the most popular method of recruiting management professionals is to hire MBA (Master of Business Administration) graduates from B-Schools (Business Schools).

Though MBA is a generic name used for all post graduate courses in management, candidates should know about the different post graduate options available in management. The degree MBA or MMS can only be provided by universities, deemed universities, or colleges awarding university degrees by tying up with state/central universities for eg:- FMS (Delhi Univ. MBA), NMIMS (Narsee Monjee Deemed University), JBIMS (awards Mumbai Univ. degree) etc. Individual colleges, including Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) cannot award MBA- they award Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM) or Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) or amy even carry the name Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management (PGDBM) as it is called in certain institutes.

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern
You can find all the latest information about CAT 2020 through this CAT 2020 Notification video on MERITSHINE FLARE. This is our channel completely focused towards B-School Exam preparation. We would keep sharing regular updates with our students through this channel.
Critical Information for CAT2020:
Registration Window : Aug 5, 2020 to Sep 23, 2020
Admit Card Availability : Oct 28, 2020
Exam Day : Nov 29, 2020
Total Duration : 3 hours 2 hours
Exam Slots : 2 3
Section-wise Duration : 1 hour 40 mins

What is the difference between MBA and PGPM/PGDM/PGDBM?
If a candidate wants to pursue her/his career in the corporate world then there is no difference whether a candidate is MBA or PGPM or any other terminology. Depending upon the brand image, pedigree of the institution (which depends on several factors) and the profile of the candidate, along with her/his performance in the selection process of a said company, she/he is recruited.
But, if a candidate wants to pursue a career in Academics then PGPM will be considered as a Post Graduate Diploma and not as a Degree. Hence a candidate having PGPM can go for Fellowship Program in Management (FPM) and she/he will be termed as a 'Fellow' but not a PhD. A candidate having MBA does not have such limitations.
From an IIM Standpoint on this front, President Shri Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2017 and it has now become a law grants statutory powers to the IIMs in their running, including the appointment of directors and faculty members. It gives the IIMs powers to award degrees instead of postgraduate diplomas and PhDs instead of Fellowships.
Every year IIMs conduct Common Admission Test (CAT), as the 1st round, to initiate selection of the most deserving of the MBA aspirants for the 20 IIMs. Additionally CAT scores are accepted by more than 100 institutes (both Govt. and Pvt.) across the country. This makes CAT arguably the most important exam for an MBA aspirant.

Ranking of B-Schools and Career Prospects
There are more than a thousand B-Schools, but only a handful are reputed enough to impart good all-round education as well as give a head start to an individual's career. The need of every management aspirant is different so it is not possible to generalise which B-schools are worth going and which are not. A list of B-Schools affiliated to CAT categorized according to their aspirational value to students and insitute's reputation has been shared below.
Please Note that is just a high level indicative List and NOT a Ranking. The relative performance does tend to change every year based on various parameters.
Candidates should note that placement, though a very important criterion, is but one of many criteria to choose a perfect B-School for oneself. Aspiring management professionals should do a thorough study of B-Schools vis-a-vis
Quality of Pedagogy, Brand Image/Reputation, Research/Consulting work being conducted by the faculty, Infrastructure facilities (both co-curricular and extra-curricular), Location, Student Profile and ofcourse, placements, before joining any institution.
Apart from scanning the Institute's website, it always helps to speak to a few alumni of the Institute to get critical information on all of the above parameters. This interaction can also help one to better prepare for the 2nd stage of the selection process (refer the tab "What is the Selection Procedure?"). Also note that this list is not comprehensive; there may be some more B-Schools which have not been included in one of these categories.

TABLE 1 : B-School Segmentation

Category B-Schools
Crème de la Crème FMS Delhi, IIM - Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Indore, Kozhikode, Lucknow (in Alphabetical order)
Non-CAT: GMAT - ISB; MAH-CET (JBIMS); XAT - XLRI
Crème IIM - Shillong, IIT - Bombay SJSOM, Delhi DMS, MDI Gurgaon, NITIE Mumbai, SPJIMR Mumbai (in Alphabetical order)
Non-CAT: IIFT Exam - IIFT (Delhi,Kolkata); TISSNET - TISS
Bread, Butter & Jam IIM - Kashipur, Raipur, Ranchi, Rohtak, Trichy, Udaipur, IISc Bangalore DMS, IIT - Kharagpur VGSOM, Madras DMS. (in Alphabetical order)
Non-CAT: SNAP - SIBM, SCMHRD; NMAT - NMIMS Mumbai; XAT - XIM Bhubaneshwar
Bread & Butter BIM Trichy, DU- DFS, MBE, MFC, MHROD, MIB, FORE Delhi, GIM-Goa, GLIM Chennai, IIM - Amritsar, Bodh Gaya, Jammu, Nagpur, Sambalpur, Sirmaur, Vishakhapatnam, IIT - Kanpur DMS, Roorkee DMS, IMI-Delhi, IMT-Ghaziabad, IRMA, MICA, KJ-Somaiya Mumbai, LIBA Chennai, NIRMA Ahmedabad, TAPMI Manipal (in Alphabetical order)
Bread BITS DoM Pilani, Delhi School of Management – Delhi Technological University (DTU), LBSIM, IFMR, Bennett University, ITM Mumbai, UPES Dehradun, IIFM Bhopal, FMS BHU, IFIM, SDA Bocconi Asia Center, IILM University Gurgaon, Vanguard Business School Bengaluru, UBS Chandigarh, PUMBA Pune, SOIL Gurgaon, NIBM Pune, Welingkar Mumbai, BIM Tech, SRCC GBO, XISS, ICFAI Hyderabad and others...

Note: The Categorisation is subjective and may not be comprehensive in terms of covering all institutions

Any eligible candidate, who aspires to join a B-School through CAT, is required to register online for CAT first. Apart from this, a candidate needs to fill the forms of the individual B-Schools (except IIMs) that she/he is targeting. For IIMs, candidate needs to choose, in the CAT form only, the relevant programs and campuses that she/he is interested in. The application fees (CAT 2020) for General and OBC candidates is Rs. 2000 and for Reserved category candidates is Rs. 1000.

To know about the procedure in detail you can click on the link given below.

CAT 2020 Official Notification

This year, the Registration is from August 5th, 2020 till September 23rd, 2020.
The CAT 2020 test day is November 29th, 2020.

TABLE 2: Application deadlines to some of the leading institutions

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Essential academic qualifications:

Graduation with at least 50% marks or equivalent (the college-wise cut-offs for eligibility may vary), in any discipline from a recognized University or any equivalent qualification recognized as such by the central government. Those who are in the final year/ semester of their graduation may also apply provisionally subject to the condition that they would submit proof of completion (provisional mark sheet or certificate from principal) before or during joining process.

Age and number of attempts:

There is no age bar for taking CAT, but affiliated institutes may have their own criteria for selection. The same is true for work experience too. A few programs and a few affiliated institutes may have a higher weightage for work experience. The details will be available in notification of the individual B-Schools.

The selection procedure for affiliated institutes through CAT is normally in 2 phases i.e. online examination (CAT) and college level selection (through WAT, GD, PI etc.). The candidates who satisfy the individual B-School's qualifying criteria in CAT will be called by the respective B-Schools for the next round (College level selection)

Phase-I: Online examination (CAT)

CAT is a computer-based but not internet-based test, conducted over 3 hours in the past but this year owing to COVID the revised duration is 2 hours, consisting of 3 sections and instead of the usual 100 questions the number is expected to be lesser this year (may be between 66 to 75 Questions). All questions are in English. There are 2 types of questions: MCQ and non-MCQ. Each question has 3 marks. MCQs have one-third negative marking whereas non-MCQs have no negative marking. Each section has individual time limit of 40 mins this year.

TABLE 3: CAT-2020 pattern

Section No. of questions Duration
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) Expected 22-25 40 mins
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) Expected 22-25 40 mins
Quantitative Aptitude Expected 22-25 40 mins
Total Expected 66-75 120

To know about CAT exam pattern and preparation strategy in detail you can click on the link given below:

Meritshine Flare CAT Prep

CAT is usually conducted in the 4th week of November. Results are normally declared by the second week of January. CAT releases scorecard of each candidate. The scorecard has section wise and overall scaled score and percentile. The affiliated B-Schools have access to the score cards hence the candidates do not need to send the scorecards separately to B-Schools.

If the candidate qualifies in the eligibility criteria of the B-School, according to CAT score and any other criteria*, then the B-School intimates the candidate about the time, venue, and process of the next round provided that the candidate has applied to that B-School. In very generic terms, Category-1 B-Schools call candidates in the ratio 5:1 i.e. 5 candidates are called for every 1 seat whereas Category-4 B-Schools call candidates in the ratio 20:1 i.e. 20 candidates are called for every 1 seat. The call ratio for the other category B-Schools lies in between these 2 ratios.

* Note:- B-Schools have different criteria for different programs. CAT is one of the criteria but there are other criteria too which along with CAT scores determine whether a candidate will be called for the next round. Some of the these parameters would be used to calculate an Application Rating Score to determine whether a candidate would be shortlisted for Phase II and the weights assigned to each parameter may vary across B-Schools. Also, some of these criteria may once again be used to arrive at a Composite Score towards Final Selections and again the weights assigned to each parameter may vary across B-Schools.

TABLE 4: Some of the Parameters used

Criteria Explanation
CAT score Overall percentile score obtained in CAT exam
Class 10th Score The aggregate percentage scored in 10th or equivalent
Class 12th Score The aggregate percentage scored in 12th or equivalent
WAT/GD/PI Each candidate's performance in WAT/GD/PI is assessed and marks are allotted accordingly (refer Phase II below)
Academic Diversity Candidates from non-engineering backgrounds are given extra points to ensure fair representation of students from other streams. The points for academic diversity vary across colleges.
Gender Diversity The IIMs give extra points to female/transgender candidates to encourage fair representation of each gender. The points for Gender diversity vary across colleges.
Work Experience Extra points are given to candidates having work experience. For this, a range is defined from lowest to highest. The points for work experience vary across colleges.

Phase – II: College level selection (WAT, GD, PI etc.)

Institutes have their own process in Phase-II. A combination of activities is used by the B-Schools to evaluate different aspects of a candidate's personality, communication skills and other skills. Some of these activities along with some B-Schools who conduct the respective activities have been listed below:

  1. Statement of Purpose (SOP) [FMS, SP Jain etc.]
  2. Writing Assessment Test (WAT) [IIM-A,B,L etc.]
  3. Group Discussion (GD)/ Group Task (GT)/ Group Exercise (GE) [MDI, IIT - Mumbai, Delhi etc.]
  4. Personal Interview (PI)/ Group Interview (GI) [Almost every B-School conducts PI; very few like SP Jain conduct GI]
Out of the above activities, SOP activity happens either at the time of form filling or at the time of registering for the interview process (after qualifying for the second round).

Final selection

Institutes have their own criteria based on which they make the final selection list. Some institute may consider only the second round scores for the final selection whereas others may consider both the scores of CAT and second round for the final selection as well. In the latter case, the weightage given to CAT scores and second round scores also differ from institute to institute.

Candidates should realise that to perform in a highly competitive exam like CAT, they should be good at both concepts and application. Rather than going through concepts from various sources, one should concentrate on regular practice once the concepts are cleared. Practicing regularly is key to performing in competitive exams like these. Playlists of important concept lectures have been provided below. Candidates can take help of these lectures from Meritshine to strengthen their basic concepts.

Our Paid Programs
While we are yet to start with our CAT programme, our DEDICATED CAT Channel MERITSHINE FLARE is designed to help you ace CAT 2020 and we recommend the aspirants to follow this channel for the latest on CAT 2020 and also, to understand and implement techniques to crack the exam. Subscribe to the channel for a highly intensive preparation.

Our Free Resources (click on the links below for accessing the relevant content)

Lectures for Aptitude Building

Lectures for WAT

Lectures for Group Discussion & Interviews:-

Aspiring CAT takers and prospective B-Schoolers must know the difference between the two types of CAT cut offs that play crucial roles in the admission process. The two types of cut offs are: Qualifying CAT cut off (IIM eligibility cut off) and Final CAT cut offs (IIM call cut off). Lets understand the difference between the two.

Qualifying CAT Cut-offs
It is the minimum marks a candidate must score so that s/he is eligible for an interview call (WAT/GD/PI round) from the IIMs and this is revealed before the CAT result announcement. Meeting the qualifying cut off does not mean the candidate will be selected for WAT/GD/PI round. The qualifying CAT cut off percentiles (which includes Sectional Cut-Offs as well) are announced by each campus in their notification of admission criteria and selection process for that academic year. It is fixed category-wise. The cut off for General category students is high, while for reserved category students, it is lower.
Please Note: The Qualifying Cut-Off is an extremely low figure and may not be a true indicator of the actual percentiles at which Selections happen. It just highlights that if any candidate gets a percentile lower than the number mentioned in the Qualifying Cut-Offs then s/he will NOT be considered for the shortlist in the subsequent rounds. So, in a way, it indicates the cut-off for elimination.

Final CAT Median Percentiles
It is the median percentile score for selection of candidates for WAT/GD/PI round. The final median percentiles (which includes Sectional median percentiles as well) is an idnicative number that is arrived at after the declaration of CAT result and usually Not Announced.
* Please Note: Meeting the final CAT median percentiles does not mean that the candidate will be selected for admission. Also, it does not mean that anyone who doesn't get the median percentile will not be selected. There are several other factors involved including but not limited to the Profile of the candidate.
For General category male students with Engineering background the final median percentile is high as compared to reserved category students, female students and those with non-engineering background.
The final CAT Median Percentiles remain as high as 99+ for some of the top IIMs and 95+ for some of the new IIMs. Again, just to reiterate achieving a 99+ percentile does NOT guarantee an admission into the prestigious IIMs and also, a lower percentile than 99 (say 89) does NOT mean that one can not aspire to reach the IIMs as it all boils down to the Composite Score including the parameters highlighted in Table 4 of the "What is the Selection Procedure" Section. Both scenarios are possible and these numbers are purely indicative, just to show to a prospective candidate the extent of effort involved and ONLY the POSSIBLE chances (NOT Confirmed chances) of admission so that candidates can choose to apply to B-Schools based on their profiles and expected percentile range (using Average performances in Mock Tests as Indicators).

TABLE 5: CAT Indicative Qualifying Cut-Offs (General Category)

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TABLE 6: CAT Indicative Final Median Percentiles (General Category, Flagship MBA Program)*

Range IIMs
99+, Profile & Post-CAT Selection Rounds' Performance IIM A,B,C
97+, Profile & Post-CAT Selection Rounds' Performance IIM L,I,K
94+, Profile & Post-CAT Selection Rounds' Performance IIM Amritsar, Kashipur, Nagpur, Raipur, Ranchi, Sambalpur, Sirmaur, Trichy, Rohtak
90+, Profile & Post-CAT Selection Rounds' Performance IIM Shillong, Jammu, Bodghaya, Udaipur, Vizag

TABLE 7: Non-IIMs Indicative Median Percentiles (General Category, Flagship MBA Program)*

Range B-Schools
97+, Profile & Post-Test Selection Rounds' Performance FMS (Composite Score > 53.4), JBIMS (98+ MAH-CET/95+ CAT), NITIE
94+, Profile & Post-Test Selection Rounds' Performance IIT M, R, MDI
90+, Profile & Post-Test Selection Rounds' Performance IIT D, B, Kh, GLIM, IMT G
85+, Profile & Post-Test Selection Rounds' Performance IIT K, IMI D, KJ Somaiya, IRMA, SPJIMR, TAPMI, FORE
80+, Profile & Post-Test Selection Rounds' Performance GIM, LIBA, NIRMA, TISS, IFMR, MICA
GMAT, Profile & Post-Test Selection Rounds' Performance ISB (600+), XLRI (700+)
Others NMIMS (NMAT Scaled Score 208+)

Selection Criteria across B-Schools - Institute-wise

P.S. If you still have a query, you may write to us at info@meritshine.com.