MBA Entrance exams are the reason you are reading this blog. First off, it is important to understand that there is a difference between applying for MBA Entrance exams and applying for MBA Colleges. We will have another blog discussing the latter soon. Once it is up, you can find it linked here.
MBA Entrance Exams
It is that time of the year. As always, the buzz is all about – how to apply? Where to apply? Which exams to write? What’s the last date? etc. We will answer all of these questions in this blog article.
What MBA Entrance exams do I apply to?
There are quite a few MBA Entrance Exams to keep tabs on – Lets get some clarity on these. This will be a brief introduction about the various MBA entrance exams. The order, in which the exams have been listed, is based on the number of students who write this exam (which is a likely indicator of the importance that the exam carries).
CAT is the biggest fish in the sea. Anybody that wants to do an MBA in one of the top MBA Colleges across the country should write CAT. CAT is conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). Every year roughly 2 to 2.5 lakhs students compete for 4000+ seats across the 20 IIMs. However, a large number of non-IIM institutes also admit students based on their CAT scores. As of 2019, roughly 110+ institutes accept CAT scores.
Almost half of those writing CAT also write XAT. This is thereabouts of 80,000 to 90,000 students. XAT is conducted by Xavier School of Management, Jamshedpur formerly Xavier Labor Relations Institute (XLRI) on behalf of XAMI. XLRI is probably the only premium MBA College in the XAT group. But just like CAT, many other institutes accept XAT scores for admission. There is a big overlap here since many institutes accept both CAT and XAT. XAT is important because it can give you a second shot at getting into a fantastic B-School if you have messed up CAT.
We have entered a narrow territory here. This exam, as the name suggests is conducted by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) for their MBA in International Business. Though a specialised MBA, students get jobs across the gamut of domains as any other b-school. Around 50,000 students write this exam. There are three branches – IIFT Delhi, IIFT Kolkata and IIFT Kakinada (yet to begin its operation). IIFT Delhi has always featured in the top 10 b-schools. Up until 2018, IIFT used to be 2 hour intensive pen and paper exam but from this year onwards, IIFT has switched to a computer based test.
NMAT is a relatively new exam. Probably less than half a decade old. NMAT stands for NMIMS Management Aptitude Test. This exam is conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) in association with Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai for admission into the NMIMS MBA programs. GMAC is the same body which conducts the global level exam “GMAT” for entry into foreign B-schools and for executive MBA programs in top Indian b-schools (including IIMs). Roughly 50,000 take NMAT every year. The number cranks up to 70,000 if one considers the second attempts. This is slightly different from other entrance exams since this exam can be taken twice over a period of two months by booking a suitable slot.
SNAP stands for Symbiosis National Aptitude Test. Yet again, this exam will give you shot at a narrow range of colleges under the Symbiosis International University (SIU). There are 16 institutes under this university that offers MBA in different specialisations. Some noteworthy programs are offered by SIBM Pune, SCMHRD Pune. The test taker count is similar to that of NMAT. SNAP is easier to crack compared to the other Management Entrance Exams. Historically, SNAP has tested General Awareness as part of the exam, however has removed it for 2019 edition.
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) conducts TISSNET for their various PG programs in Arts and Humanities but what attracts an MBA aspirant here is their M.A. in Human Resource Management & Labour Relations (HRM & LR). This program is a really good option for people with inclination towards Human Resource Management. It is considered equivalent to an M.B.A in Human Resource Management by the industry. About 30,000 aspirants take up TISSNET every year. TISS has 60 seats in the HRM & LR program. This is a simpler exam and far easier to crack. The paper is skewed towards General Awareness section with a standalone weightage of 40%. It is important to note that there is no negative marking for incorrect answers.
MICAT and IRMASAT
Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Ahmedabad conducts MICAT. This is compulsory if an aspirant is looking to join MICA. Apart from a valid CAT/XAT/GMAT score, MICAT scores will be considered for the final admission. MICAT is conducted twice per season and one can choose to write either one or both. The best of the two attempts will be considered for selection.
IRMASAT is conducted by Institute of Rural Management, Anand for their admission process. Previously, it used to be a qualifying exam, however it has been included now as a part of the GD-PI process and carries only 10% weightage in the final selection.
MAT, CMAT, ATMA, etc…
There are a few other national level exams like MAT, CMAT, ATMA which will open up doors to a few Tier 3 MBA Colleges. Other state level entrance exams like MH-CET, TANCET, KMAT, TSICET etc are useful if you are looking to join a b-school in your home state.
As a special mention, GMAT is included in this list of exams that can open up b-schools in India. As mentioned earlier, this is conducted by GMAC. The scores are accepted by over 2300+ business schools across the world(And about 40 schools in India). Anybody with a reasonable amount of work experience (2+ years) looking for graduate management program (MBA) should write this exam. GMAT can be taken throughout the year.
In India, a valid GMAT score can be used to apply to the Flagship programs of a few MBA colleges namely – SPJIMR, ISB, GLIM. Beside this, B-Schools like IIMs, XLRI, etc. accept GMAT scores for their executive MBA program. It can be taken up to five times a year but no more than 8 times in a lifetime. Two attempts must be at least 16 days apart. Annually, around 200,000 students across the globe take this test. GMAT is a bit on the expensive side ($250 per attempt).
If you’ve prepared well for CAT, almost every other exam is taken care of. Just make sure you take a few mock tests to get comfortable with their format. However, GMAT is different – In the way it is conducted (Computer Adaptive Test), what portion gets tested, what question templates get tested. So, you will need to train yourself exclusively for GMAT & if you’re looking for a good GMAT Prep buddy, Wizako’s Online GMAT Course is the place to look for.
MBA Entrance Exam DeadlinesFor more information regarding any of these exams, follow the links by clicking on the exam name. Click on Last date for Applying to sort the table based on Deadlines.
|Exam||Date of Examination||Application Begins on||Last Date for Applying||Admit Card Release||Exam Results|
|CAT||Nov 24, 2019||Aug 7, 2019||Sep 25, 2019 (Extended)||Oct 23, 2019||1st Week of Jan, 2020|
|XAT||Jan 5, 2020||Aug 23, 2019||Nov 30, 2019 (without late fee)|
Dec 7, 2019
(with late fee)
|Dec 20, 2019||Jan 31, 2020|
|IIFT||Dec 1, 2019||Sept 9, 2019||Oct 25, 2019||Nov 11, 2019||Dec 11, 2019|
|SNAP||Dec 15, 2019||Aug 16, 2019||Nov 23, 2019||Dec 2, 2019||Jan 10, 2019|
|NMAT||4 Oct - 17 Dec, 2019||Jul 2, 2019||Oct 3, 2019||-||Jan 3rd week, 2020|
Dec 7, 2019
Jan 25, 2020
Sep 4th week (Open)
Nov 26, 2019
|MICAT 1: |
Nov 25, 2019
Jan 16, 2020
|MICAT 1: |
Dec 3, 2019
Jan 22, 2020
Dec 23, 2019
Feb 14, 2020
|TISSNET||Jan 2nd/3rd Sunday, 2020||Oct 15, 2019||Nov 13, 2019||Dec last week||Feb 1st/2nd week|
If you have any specific queries, comment on this post, We will answer them!
Anyone interested in MBA should definitely take up as many exams as possible. As the saying goes, “Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket”. It is always a good practice to have multiple options and hedge your risks.
This wraps up the blog. Bookmark this link to take a quick look at what MBA Entrance exams to keep tabs on and it’s deadlines. CAT 2019 application which was supposed to end today (i.e., 18th September, 2019) but has been extended to 25th September, 2019 (As usual). Make sure of filling CAT 2019 Application form as soon as possible to avoid last minute rush/server down/payment errors. Check the following Video to know how you should apply for the CAT 2019 examination.
Sasidhar Swaminathan, creates content for 2IIM. Potterhead. Loves Reading. Spotify is my go to place.