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How to prepare for senior management roles

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August 28, 2008 10:39 IST

What should you do if you are not too good in Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension?

Are there any specific strategies you should be looking at to improve your sectional scores and accuracy?

You already have a job but are confused if you should quit it to appear for CAT 2008 and do an MBA first? More importantly, how should you prepare yourself for a senior management role?

To answer these and many other CAT-related questions, Sanmeet Sidhu, assistant general manager at IMS Learning Resources Pvt Ltd, hosted a chat with GA readers on August 27. For those of you who missed the chat, here's the unedited transcript:

Jitendra asked, IS it good to join a crash course i.e. a fast track course at this stage... or one should keep his learning what he is doing ?

SANMEET answers, It depends on your level of preparation and whether you took the CAT previously or not. You should ensure that you are thorough with the concepts and then graduate to applications.

I asked, What should be the strategy for the next two months?

SANMEET answers, Since you have to ensure competence in all identify the sections you are weak in..and put concerted efforts there. The cut offs have to be met in every section. Segregate the areas in terms of concepts and applications and acc customise your RC and DI are more practice intensive, while PS is more concept sensitive.

lalit asked, i have 46% and 56% in 10th and 12th following 76%in btech and 7.82/10 in M.Tech Am i eligible for iims?

SANMEET answers, yes you are ...eligibility criterion is 50% in graduation

Vik asked, Do you think one should opt for online study for main examination especially if you can't take time out during the day/

SANMEET answers, You need to feel the pressure in a group. Group study will also help you to benchmark effectively. If you are working, i am sure you can explore a weekend option.

vicky asked, I dont have gud % in my ssc , hsc and in graduation. Will IIMS consider give me a call if i do well in CAT ??

SANMEET answers, IIM-A and IIM-C call students for the GD/PI round on the basis of only the CAT score, whereas the rem 5 IIMS assign weightage to all, IIM-B gave 20 marks to CAT score, 15 to 10th , 10 to 12th, 15 to college and 5 to work ex in calling students for the GD/PI round. But yes,your final selection at any IIM is a function of all these variables. It is a profile based selection.

BabaBakait asked, what are the advantage of extra curriculars in iim admission Please hear me.I have not extra curriculars achievement .will I get admission ???please please please

SANMEET answers, The IIMs appreciate your ability to learn from source apart from academic also, and hence the importance of extra curriculars. But if you haven't been doing so, pl maximise your performance along other parameters like CAT score, graduation %age, GD/PI etc

Ketan asked, Is it too late for start preparing for CAT?

SANMEET answers, . Furthermore, it is an aptitude test, so you can never be late at any juncture. You just need to see how much conditioning i required. I suggest you take a diagnostic test to see where you stand vis a vis various sections of the test and then take a decision.

Srikanth asked, Any tips for improving DI accuracy with a gud speed?

SANMEET answers, DI has two aspects to it--Data comprehension and data processing. You need to respond o questions depending on on your comfort level in these skills. Speed is a function of the right pick of questions. Ensure that basic arithmetic tools like tables, ratios etc are in place. Try speculating at times.

sfvwdsfv asked, What should be the strategy for DI- Reasoning based or calculation based? and WHat do you you think is the possibility of DS questions appearing in CAT?

SANMEET answers, DS questions saw a comeback in CAT 2007 afer two years. The moment students start forming an opinion abt the paper, it gets dispelled.You have to approach the paper with an open mind and not look at these issues. Reasoning and calculation base would depend on your comfort level and the number of questions from these domains. eg in CAT 2006, out of 25 quest in this section , only 5 were cal based, whereas the rest were reasoning based.

bmsharma asked, Does english matters a lot?

SANMEET answers, lets call it the written part, it is verbal reasoning and RC, both require critical evaluation skills and not just english At the GD/PI stage, it is your ability to connect and not just english. So i guess, you shld look at it from a larger perspective.

viky asked, how should i divide time for all the 3 sections?

SANMEET answers, The task is to meet the sectional cut apportion out time judiciously..make sure you respond to 40% of the questions in a section with 90% accuracy. Having done that , graduate to the next section. Once you have done this, and you still have time on you, milk your cash cows.

sidd asked, hi i have not been able to clear cutoff in di section in mock tests.i dont get time to practice much.any tips??

SANMEET answers, DI has three aspects---Data Interpretation , Data sufficiency and Logical reasoning. All three areas in the test are practice sensitive. So you have to take out time and practice religiously.Slot it out into data comprehension and data processing and put efforts accordingly.

krishnan asked, Hi, I want to understand as to how different is preparation of IIFT and XAT in comparison to CAT prep? What should be the area of focus? Also its said that these exams are tougher than CAT, is it true?

SANMEET answers, Please do not be opinionated at any point of time..whether they are easier or diff is not the a trend analysis and find out the areas which are different than the CAT eg, IIFT has a section on general knowledge so you need to be thorough with current affairs and general awareness. XAT require you to write an essay at the end of MCQs. so practice effective writing. By and large your verabal and quant areas would be taken care of in the CAT prep.

saur asked, Sanmeet, suggest about some preparation tips for persons like me who have just started. may be something about study material

SANMEET answers, It is an aptitude test, so you can never be late. But yes,take a diagnostic test and identify your strengths and weaknesses and an action plan will evolve from there.Brush up concept areas and quickly graduate to applications.

Gaurav Garg asked, Hi Sanmeet, I am planning to start preparing for CAT'08 from next week. I have appeared twice in CAT and scored 90 & 95 percentiles though I failed to get admission in colleges at interview stage. Both times I failed miserably in English section but scored heavily in Quant & DI. This time I want to give some special focus to my language skills. Please suggest me some books in that regard. Thanks

SANMEET answers, The last two CATs have validated that the english part is more about critical evaluation and verbal reasoning. Try reading between the lines and try connecting with the passage in the RC area. Practice atleast an hr everyday. Also, try placing this section between the two other sections while taking the test. Thats the time when your concentration levels peak

vijay asked, Hello Dear, I want to hoe difference between CAT CET GMAT

SANMEET answers, The commonality is the verbal and quant part. In CET there are no well defined sections and there is a stiff element of visual reasoning. No negative marking GMAT is a computer adaptive test and the questions are generated depending on your response to the prev questions. Additionally, there is a section on analytical writing

absolute007 asked, How many tests one should take in these last 3 months?

SANMEET answers, As many as you can analyse effectively, say one or two per week

sanjay asked, Hi Sanmeet, i am software professional, having 4 years of experience. I am planning to do MBA from abroad

SANMEET answers, I think it is a wonderful thought. Take the GMAT with a three to four month prep. If you are targetting the fall of next yr, you shld have taken the GMAT by oct or max first week nov. Look at the top ten B-schools

Pradnya asked, Hi I hav been taking CAT classes from IMS for the past 1 year. I clear Verbal easily without any preparation, but im not able to even attempt 5-6 questions in DI and Quant. Im really in a fix now. i know concepts, but whenever i see the quant section i go blank. what should i Do?

SANMEET answers, The cutoffs for quant section was around 32% in Cat 07 for IIM-A, you just reqd around 10 quest out of 25--a hit rate of 40%. ...segregate the paper sidewise and start picking 2 quest on every side ...don;t look at the bulk,your efforts need to be contextual, so keep a vigilant eye on the DI your approach depends on whether you are comfotable with calculation or comprehension

shankar asked, What is the main scorer and easy subject in the CAT exam.

SANMEET answers, Take a diagnostic test and understand the pattren. Trends keep on changing...the once upon a time easy to score verbal section has seen the lowest cut offs in the last two CATs..

amit asked, hello sanmeet wanted to ask that do we have to apply for the non iim institutes for admission?

SANMEET answers, aim at the IIMs , but create a choice for yourself--the number of non IIM institutes you shld apply to depends on your porfile and your performance in the diagnostic tests..

ajay asked, sanmeet, could u pls tell me regarding some text books which r very handy in CAT?

SANMEET answers, It is n aptitude test...but still you may revise your concept areas in math by refferin to ICSE mathematics by O.P Sinhal and in English by ref to High School Grammar by Wren and Martin...Read aggressively and be open to analysis

ravi asked, Hi Sanmeet.... (Kindly Advise) Is CAT (2yr MBA) right module for professionals with 10 yrs + experience or one should opt for (1yr MBA) Executive Management Prog of IIM-A or IIM C.

SANMEET answers, No...i don't recommend the CAT to this target the Top Management and Global Leadership Programs ...for eg the IIM A PGPMP or the XLRI GMP or the IIMA PGPX, the IIMC PGPEX, the IIML IPMX etc..they are all one yr programs and prepare you for senior roles in management

vishu asked, Hi sanmeet I have around 4 years of experience .. I have filled the CAT form. What should be my Target percentile and what colleges should I look for?

SANMEET answers, Target come from your aspiration the best , the IIM A...the cut offs last yr were---99.3 %ile overall and 95,6%ile in ech section...look at the IIMs,SP jain, MDI, NITIE (if you are an engineer)...additionally, with this exo, you shld take the GMAT and target Wharton, INSEAD, Darden

Arnab asked,  For qualifying to the top Non-IIMs institutes, is it required to clear the cut-offs in all the three sections?

SANMEET answers, The CAT is a gateway to a good number of B-schools. Top B schools surely require a certain level of competence in each section and hence the cutoffs...howver, lower rung B schools are not very stiff with this criterion.

SANMEET says, This is all we have time for , today. Until next time, may mail your queries to


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