MBA Expert Answers FAQs on Choosing a Business School

Shubhangi Pandey updated on : 04 May 2016

Gautam Puri, CAT & MBA guru at Career Launcher, solves some of the most dubious questions on how to choose the right B-School

Q. How should a student go about making college applications right after taking CAT and before the results?

A. A student should honestly assess his/her performance in CAT. Within a few days after the exam, it becomes common knowledge that what was the difficulty of the paper and how many attempts were the average number attempts. Understanding the range in which the candidate might score he should apply to a few colleges considering the optimistic percentile in his mind and some other colleges considering the worst case percentile.

Q. What factors must a student consider while taking up a college?

A. A few factors that should certainly be considered while taking up a college are:

1. Industry Reputation & Placements – understanding about how is the industry response during the summer placements and final placements. Finding what companies from which sectors are dominant in hiring from that B-school.

2. Courses and Specializations – finding the best courses and specializations of the B-school. Assessing whether they are in-line with the candidate’s aspirations or not.

3. ROI – Return on Investment

4. Location – This affects the kind of companies that hire and also the opportunities of summer internships.

Q. Should the specialization have an impact on the choice of a particular B-School?

A. If the student has complete clarity about what he/she wishes to pursue in the future, then specializations should certainly be looked at while choosing a B-school. To exemplify this, consider an aspirant who is sure about pursuing an MBA in Finance. Such a student would most likely choose IIM-Calcutta over IIM-Ahmedabad, obviously due to IIM-Calcutta’s world-renowned finance course.

Apart from this, good B-schools offer specialized management programmes. For example, XLRI’s HR programme, MICA’s programme in communication or IIFT’s programme in Foreign Trade. Such institutes are good places to be at if the student is sure about his aspirations.

Q. While considering a college for admission, is it a right thing to look at the various college ranking? What are the credible sources where one can find authentic college ranking?

A. More than the exact ranking it is better to look at colleges in terms of clusters. For example, IIM-A, B, C, L, XLRI, FMS and alike belong to the top- most cluster. This way we are taking almost an average of all the credible rankings that are usually followed. Within a cluster, choice of college comes down to the few factors mentioned above i.e. specializations, placements, location etc.

Q. Older and established institutes such as MDI or FMS vs. a newer IIM (Shillong, Kozhikode, etc.). How must a student decide when stuck between two such options?

A. The comparison should be based on the 4 factors mentioned earlier i.e. Placements, Specializations, ROI and Location. Considering this specific example of MDI vs FMS vs New IIMs, FMS would certainly stand-out in terms of ROI. While IIM Shillong would lose out on the location aspect, FMS and MDI would stand out here. Another thing to be kept in mind is that, with the increase in the number of IIMs, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Shillong can no longer be considered as ‘new’ IIMs.


Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman & MD, CL Educate Ltd. (Alumni- IIM Bangalore)

Gautam brought a wealth of corporate experience when he joined Career Launcher in its formative stages in 1996. He has overseen CL's rapid expansion and has been instrumental in creating its unique courseware and delivery methods. Connect with Gautam Puri on his blog

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