Should I go for an MBA just after college or Should I work for some time then take a break to prepare for CAT or Should I prepare for CAT with my job. I believe most of the MBA aspirants have faced this dilemma before or during their preparation for CAT.

I too faced the last dilemma even before starting to prepare for CAT. I am a civil engineering graduate and was working in the construction industry for over 8 months before I started preparing for CAT. Those who have an idea about the construction field know that this profession generally has long hours attached to it. So, I was obviously confused whether I will be able to create balance between my work and preparation or rather I should just quit my job and start fresh with sole focus on CAT preparation. The latter seemed lucrative as I was sure in this, I won’t be tired after long hours of work and I could also attend coaching but if I go for the former one, I might have to miss classes on important days at office and have limited hours to myself for preparation.

I decided to prepare for CAT with my job and my logic at time was simple that I wanted security even if I failed in CAT. It was difficult in the start as I had to opt for morning coaching from 6:30 to 8:30 and then rush so as to reach the office by 9:30 am. My duty was till 7:30 pm and then I had to rush home so that I could have some rest before I did my practise. I used to fall asleep while working out problems with tiredness from an entire day of work. This would lead to the same topic being extended over days which could rather be finished in a day. Soon, I realised this was not working for me as I was tired throughout the day and my mock scores were falling. So, I decided to change this as I was sure I am going to make the most out of this attempt.

I begin with planning my day well in advance. I also started utilising my free hours during office such as lunch and evening break to practise reading comprehension or vocabulary.  This change helped me a lot as I now had more time and less guilt to rest in the evening post office hours before self-study session. I also pre-decided topics that I would work on as I didn’t want to waste time in deciding what to study and get confused even before starting for that day. This change helped me in diverting my time efficiently and helped me in strengthening my weak areas as I could focus on them more.

I also used to take holidays whenever possible and use those days to analyse mocks and analyse my progress as well as catch up on rest. I tried to utilise these planned holidays to the maximum by preplanning all the things that I need to cover from mock analysis to topic and sectional test. This change along with the weekend helped me in keeping my sanity and also gave me time to rest a bit and enjoy a bit apart from my hustle between work and CAT preparation.

In short, to create a work life balance I tried different strategies and what worked for me are as follows:

  1. Scheduling your activities for following day beforehand
  2. Pre-deciding on topics that you plan to practise on a given day
  3. Using holidays to catch up on rest and to gain some extra time for analysing mocks and practice
  4. Using breaks and free hours to gain that extra edge

I was scoring low in mock tests at the beginning but I tried different strategies and what worked for me which is also shown in the above article might not work for you. So, it is important to try different strategies for yourself and adapt the one that works best for you in gaining results as well as in creating that work life balance. It is going to be a bit more challenging when you prepare for CAT with a job but dedication and practice can help you sail your boat through thick and thin. I was able to convert my 40 percentile at the beginning in mocks to a 99+ percentile on the D-day and so can you.

To structure your CAT Preparation in an efficient way consider visiting iQuanta website and being a part of iQuanta CAT 21 Course at www.iQuanta.in.
You can also check out and be a part of their Facebook group for peer learning, doubt solving and free material. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Rockthecat

All the best!!!!

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Shlok Shah is a civil engineering graduate from VIT, Vellore and is currently a student of flagship PGPM at MDI Gurgaon. He has worked in L&T Construction before joining MDI. He has a lot of experience in event management and has been associated with multiple NGOs. A great foodie who likes experimenting and a theatre enthusiast. Email: pgpm20shlok_s@mdi.ac.in