Preparation for CAT exam for MBA.

Getting into a B-school is not a cakewalk. It’s a tough journey where you go through months of preparation & mocks, multiple competitive exams, gruelling GD-PI and then you may get admission to a B-school. If you have been away from the academic scene for a few years or are jumping from one degree to another, pursuing an MBA is a huge investment, so it is better to brace yourself and make sure you are well prepared. So, if you’re planning to start your MBA journey this year or next year this article is for you!

Get your basics in place: As soon as you enter a B-school you will be fast-tracked to prepare for your summer placement interview along with academics. Most of you may not be of a management background like the students from engineering, BMS or BBA. Hence, a good idea would be to go through the basics of what the MBA has to offer. You don’t have to deep dive into the topic but be sure to understand the core of the subject. Here is a list of the concepts which can be handy when you start your MBA journey:

  • Finance & Accountancy: You need to know what accounts and finance are all about. Assets, liabilities, entities can sound to be overwhelming at first but when you start reading and practising it becomes familiar. Topics to be covered-
    • Balance Sheet
    • Profit and Loss Account
    • Cash flows
    • Accounting ratios
    • Concept and methods of depreciation
    • Golden rules of accounting and journal entries
    • Discounting

You can refer to YouTube videos by Khan Academy or Gagan Kapoor for better understanding or even take up a course on Udemy or Coursera

  • Marketing: The basics of marketing start from understanding a consumer and product and how do you advertise and sell the product. Topics to be covered-
    • Basic terminologies (need, want, desire, demand)
    • STP
    • 7Ps of marketing
    • Promotional methods (ATL, BTL, TTL)
    • Product life cycle
    • Market segmentation
    • Branding

You can refer to “Marketing Management by Philip Kotler” also you can take up some courses on Coursera from some reputed institutes

  • Economics: Economics and Finance run hand in hand. You need to understand how demand and supply determine prices and how does a producer decide the production point. How does RBI control the money supply? Topics to be covered-
    • Microeconomics (Pertaining to individual decisions)
    • Macroeconomics (Monetary policy & Fiscal policy)

Reference material for the same would-be class 12th economics textbooks and YouTube videos by Khan academy. Your focus should be to just know the concepts

  • Operations & Strategy: Case solving is an important aspect of an MBA. It is important to have good problem-solving skills as an MBA graduate. Topics to be covered-
    • Different frameworks such as SWOT, PESTEL, BCG matrix, Porters 5 forces
    • Linear programming (Can come in handy for execution)
    • Probability

You can refer to “Case in point” for various cases and learn the strategy and framework required to solve the cases. You can find resources from various universities covering the entirety of the frameworks.

  • Do a short-term course: Before you start your MBA try to get at least one certification related to your planned specialization. You might not get much time once you start with your classes, hence it would be a good idea to get take up a course before that. You can do a course that is related to the specialization (that you would eventually choose in the 2nd year), or it can be a generalized relevant course like Accountancy & Finance, Basics of marketing, Google analytics, Communication skills, Google Adwords, Advanced excel etc. However, make sure you get the certification for the same because that will add value to your CV.
  • Build a good resume: Most of the B-schools have summer placement lined up within 8-12 weeks upon commencement of the program. Hence, start working on your CV as soon as possible, as you might not have enough time at your disposal once you are bombarded with multiple lectures, assignments, quizzes, presentations, and competitions. And before you realize it, top firms would start recruiting from your campus and you might end up losing a big opportunity. Include all your relevant work experience and achievements which are aligned to your profile and makes your case stronger for the role you are aiming for. You might get a specified CV format from your B-school as well but it’s better to have a draft in hand so that it makes your life easier later on.
  • Learn Microsoft Excel & PowerPoint: Excel & PowerPoint will be your bread and butter in MBA. While a lot of us are comfortable with these tools, it is required that you progress further and master them. You’ll be dumped with assignments and competitions which will require you to extensively use these tools. Almost all your projects during your MBA will require you to work on excel, so try to learn the basics as well as the shortcuts that can help you to optimize your time during your case study competitions and assignments. From Pivot table to analytics, you can do wonders with excel. B-schools put a lot of weight on your presentation skills, and if you want to score good, you might as well brush up on your PowerPoint making skills. Powerpoint is a powerful visual medium that can actually make or break your presentation.
  • Start networking: Networking is the soul of a management degree. It provides you with a platform to express your ideas and gives you opportunities to come across new ideas. Before you join start getting in touch with your seniors and alumnus and get an idea of how to go about your life with an MBA.
  • Start reading business books & newspapers: Start reading good books, autobiographies & newspapers relating to business. As a management graduate, you should stay updated with the current business happenings in the world. These can become a talking point in GDs and PIs for your placement interviews
  • Update your LinkedIn profile: If you have already updated in your LinkedIn profile there’s nothing to worry about. But if you do not have a LinkedIn profile then it is advisable to create one. This will help you expand your network; you can connect with the alumni and seek their guidance in times of need.

MBA is no doubt an expensive investment, so give your best to make the most out of these two years. Learn to multitask, manage your time efficiently and prioritising your tasks. These things will be your saviours during your MBA. With all these in place, you are well equipped to start your MBA journey.

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