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XLRI GMP 1 year MBA: GMAT preparation tips from a 770 GMAT scorer

The average GMAT at XLRI Jamshedpur’s GMP general management program got a boost when Narendran Santhanam got his application to their 1 year MBA program accepted.

He sent in this blog post at 3:51 AM, so you can imagine the kind of workload he’s dealing with as he nears the end of an eventful year. If you’ve been going bananas trying to find out the ingredients that go into a high GMAT score, as Chef Naren’s GMAT diet recommendation includes exactly that – bananas!

How I scored 770 on the GMAT test

by Narendran Santhanam

XLRI 1 year GMP GMAT Preparation 770 NarenThere comes a time in almost everyone’s professional life when one feels he/she has reached a plateau. No more mountains to conquer, and the job becomes less challenging and more monotonous.

And that’s when we start thinking about a change – either a change in the role, a change in the organization or a complete career overhaul.

Such changes can be achieved with or without an extra academic qualification, but the additional knowledge gained with an extra degree just makes the change much more smoother and justifiable.

An MBA is one of the most preferred options as the additional qualification, and that’s what I planned to do after working for almost 6 years in one of the leading IT companies in India.

I joined the General Management Programme (GMP), which is the 1-year full time residential flagship programme at XLRI, Jamshedpur offered for professionals with more than 5 years of work experience.

GMAT Practice
I started my GMAT exam prep in the month of July and I had my exam scheduled in December. I used to prepare everyday for CAT too, so I didn’t have to prepare separately for the PS questions in the Quant section of GMAT. I paid extra attention to verbal questions and spent a lot of time reviewing my answers and why I went wrong.

On the day of the GMAT exam
I knew it’s going to be mentally exhausting and so to regain energy I had taken bananas with me to eat in the breaks between the sections. One of my friends took RedBull – actually a great idea!

My final GMAT score:
770 (Q50 V45), AWA 4.5

The first time I enquired about GMAT with my friends, I was informed that it was way too easy compared with CAT and other MBA entrance exams in India. It didn’t take me too long to find out that they were as misinformed about GMAT as are some people who think Sachin Tendulkar is not a match winner (Yeah, I’m a huge fan).

Sure, GMAT math does not require as good a mathematical ability as does CAT, but it is far more than just numbers. The structure of the exam and its duration demand a very high level of concentration and mental endurance.

Once I decided about my GMAT attempt, I had to decide whether or not to join a coaching centre for the same. After a lot of contemplation and consultation, I decided to join a coaching centre.

I was pretty good at math (I was practising for CAT as well), but my confidence was shattered when I attempted some of the data sufficiency questions as they were really tricky.

Needless to say, the verbal section was all the trickier, as the answers are highly subjective. One needs to practice a lot in order to achieve a high level of accuracy in the verbal sections (especially RC).

In the quantitative section, any mistakes in PS (Problem Solving) questions are unforgivable. They are the easiest of the lot, and can be solved fairly quickly once you have a good amount of practice.

The DS (Data Sufficiency) questions need more attention and time because one can be so confident of the answer and yet go drastically wrong. DS questions require very strong fundamental understanding, so make sure you have your concepts right.

In the verbal section, make sure you are very clear about your grammar concepts because SC (Sentence Correction) questions are the only “non-subjective” type questions in the Verbal Section.

So it’s easier to get the answer spot on in these questions than it is in RC (Reading Comprehension) and CR (Critical Reasoning) questions.

As far as RC is concerned, I normally read the full passage and then proceed to the question since it is easier to answer questions about the tone of the passage, intent of the author etc.

For CR questions, while practising, in addition to looking at why the right option is right, one needs to see why the wrong answers are wrong. This helped me to a great extent in using the elimination technique to arrive at the right answer.

Although this is true for the entire verbal section, it is especially true for CR questions.

The big question is, what material does one need to refer? The coaching institute did provide me with a good amount of training material, but is that good enough?

I want to stress the importance of the depth of the preparation rather than of the breadth. Do not commit the mistake of collecting too much material for your preparation – you’ll almost always end up not being able to complete going through every bit of it.

Simply because there’s just too much of it available on the Internet. DO NOT go on a frenzy of downloading each and every PDF you can find online. But make sure you work on all the problems in the Official Guide (you cannot NOT do the OG).

The last month of preparation should be the most intensive, and one should start attempting the GMATPrep tests in this period and should try to improve the score consistently.

I realized during my GMAT preparation that GMAT may not be as easy as I had assumed it to be. Now that I have written the GMAT, it just seems all the more true.

– Naren

Naren’s photographic memory is matched only by his photography skills. Check out his photoblog. If you want to know whether mixing Redbull with bananas can backfire, Naren sir is here to take your queries. I’m also hoping he wouldn’t mind the occasional question on XLRI GMP and GMAT.

Try this short Free GMAT practice test now.

Read these related articles:
GMAT 780 scorer reveals study plan to crack the exam without coaching
How Daljeet scored a 780
GMAT 790 scorer relied on self-study
How to get a perfect 800 GMAT score

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

30 thoughts on “XLRI GMP 1 year MBA: GMAT preparation tips from a 770 GMAT scorer”

  1. Well…congratulations on the great score. However I will disagree with the fact that Red Bull is a factor of success. After reading a lot of advice on the forums, I drank Red Bull during my 2nd GMAT test. As soon as I had it, my mind started racing fast…fast …so fast that my eyes could not catch up. For every verbal sentence, my mind had already reached the end of the sentence before my eyes were over it. In spite of getting 760 in the practise tests, I was not able to cross the 700 mark and received a 690. On my 3rd sitting, I found out that keeping calm, finishing the AWA in 15 mins instead of 30 and using the rest of the time to relax ur brain and splashing cold water over the face actually helps to bring more focus and concentration during the test. For some people red bull may work well but I assure you for most of us brought up through the Indian system, Red Bull may do more damage than do good.

  2. Dear all,

    This is really a gr8 post, thanks to all.

    I have to make a choice between XLRI GMP(1 yr) and BM(2 yr) program. I want to know if it makes any difference to employers b/n 2yr prog or 1 yr exec. programme and if yes then what should I opt for. Also is there some major difference in terms of salary of job profile ?

    I am askin it here b’coz I want to know your opinion, I m really a newbie in this field so please share your views.

    Thanks to you all.


      • Hi Vishu,

        Would you like to share the reasons why you chose BM over the GMP option?
        It’ll help others like Ashine who are in a similar situation.

        • Hi

          My main reasons were :

          1. Learning spread over 2 years.

          2. More time to get involved in Extra Curriculars.

          3. Definitely 2 years is older and well established than the one year programme.

          4. as far as placements are concerned only time will tell how it goes in my case.

  3. i have heard that red bull makes you lose concentration owing to high level of caffeine. it might help in case of long drives but i don’t think it helps in tests.

    there’s a typo in the first line of the last para, “once should start” should be one should start.

    good article nonetheless.

  4. Guys.. can you please tell me if xlri accepts gmat for a 2 year HRM programme ..boz i would rather go for gmat than xat .. ?

  5. Hi Sameer,

    [Moderator edit: Personal details taken out]

    I will be a former-NRI in a couple of months! With a B.Tech in Electronics & Instrumentation from a non-IIT in south India, I went to Germany in 2003 to study M.Sc in sensor technology and then moved to Denmark in 2006 for work. For the past 7 years, I have been working as an Engineer in a R&D team developing vibration sensors. My core competency is that I am a technical graduate with a European Master’s degree and I have hands on experience in product development. I have also interned at two research centres in Germany including the Fraunhofer institute and hence have an insight into research.

    Now comes the interesting part: I am interested to move into consulting (R&D and strategic management / Product Innovation) …

    (1) What do you make of my profile post-GMP?
    (2) Is XLRI a good name for 1 year MBA in India?
    (3) Is the job market really that volatile in India as the placement stats for GMP reveal?
    (4) Any other career advice


  6. @mst: XLRI is an established name in India for the regular 2-year program. The shorter 1-year program is relatively new, and working towards building its brand. Both are good options for folks who fit the regular profile that these 2 programs attract.

    But rather than focussing on the absolute power of the brand, if I look at what it can do for you, (if I can be brutally honest), I don’t think GMP would’ve been my first choice for someone with your profile.

    As the other options haven’t worked out and you’ve decided to join GMP, your best bet for job hunting is to independently identify roles that match your experience level.

    Use the institution’s resources and do your own networking.

  7. I have a 6+ experience in IT , HR relevant experience for 1.5 yrs. I wanna do an MBA from a premier B school. And I would like to do a GMat rather than any other entrance exams. GMP was little impressive and mathcing my profile. Can you suggest a few more good prgms from India which would serve my profile? I am interested in some General MBA or Hr MBA?

  8. Hi all,

    I have done in 2011 with 68% marks. But unfortunately had a year gap in between. Later joined a Advertising company and worked as client servicing head for 18 months and next i joined another company as Sr.Executive – Corporate Business development. This is my profile. 10th nd 12th being 80+. I wanted to do MBA from a premier B school and thats why i had started my career in sales and marketing. But i want to do a 1 year full time residential MBA. Please guide me the institutes which may give preference to not a so good profile and the exams i should write and prepare for.

  9. @Ashutosh: The lower you go in the rankings, the easier it gets to be admitted. But be careful. Going too low just to get an MBA can be a waste of your time and money. There’s plenty that you can achieve without an MBA.

  10. Hi Sameer

    I am a 7 year experienced IT professional without a very extraordinary extracurricular profile. I secured 660 in GMAT and am looking for a One year MBA course from a premier B school in India. Could you please suggest what suits my profile best or what could be done to improve! Thanks!!

  11. Hi Sameer,

    I am an IT guy with 4.5 years of exp and want to do MBA, will be taking the GMAT on 25th August, . I am in US since last 2 years . I am aiming for XLRi GMP and some other good B Schools for 1 year MBA. I am not so good at the extra curricular . My academics go like this:

    1) X – 81%
    2) XII – 56% (Sudden Drop)
    3) BE – 67%

    Working with one of the indian IT companies in US.

    Can you evaluate my profile for the chances of getting into some elite school in Asia for next year?

  12. Hi, I had this query about XLRi’s GMP program. Is is absolutely compulsory for one to have a supervisory experience in order to be eligible for GMP? Looking forward to your response.



  13. @Deb: The GMP program is meant for applicants with managerial and business experience. If you haven’t got that at work, you could still tap into your extra curricular activities where you demonstrated leadership potential.

  14. working experience of 5.7 years in metal industry in projects & plant maintenance(Mostly E&I troubleshooting and supervision). I am planning for my GMAT and interested in GMP. Could you plz elaborate how GMP will enhance a profile like me?

  15. Dear Sir

    I have done BE. in chemical from DCE and now working in an EPC company for 5 years as a Process Engineer. I am interested to Executive MBA from II’s or any other premier institutes. Is this Engineering role for 5 years eligible for Executive MBA from top institutes ? What are the chances of getting in with GMAT score of 700.


  16. Hi,

    This is Aniket Patil and I have experienced of more than 5 years in IT industry.

    Actually now i am planning for executive MBA and planning to give GMAT by april-may 2016.

    IS there any possibility of carrier path change after completion of Executive MBA?

    I mean to say can someone move into Finance from IT?

    Thanks a lot.

    Waiting for reply

  17. Hi Sameer,
    What would you suggest if someone has to select one from sp jain pgpm and xlri gmp? My domain is finance.
    Thanks in advance.

  18. Hi…
    I am from NTPC ltd..with a gross salary of 11L with pf +medical+pension options …now that the only negative side is that my place of posting and nature of job…(extremely frustrating) i had sat for XAT this yr and have finally converted XLRI GMP 2016 and due for admission…now what should be my join XL or try GMAT for IIM-A/B/C &ISB…?

    MY bck groung is
    BTECH-81% From pvt. College..but within top 5%of my class
    Work ex. -NTPC -6 YRs in OPERATIONS.

  19. Hi…
    I have done Mechanical engineering and is working with Toshiba Powers for last 14 months, previously I have worked in a manufacturing firm for 6 months… I have started preparing for Gmat…. I want to know if doing one year executive mba will suit me more than complete two years course and whether colleges like XLRI and IIFT accepts gmat score.


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