GMAT vs CAT Differences

Best MBA BookFor most international MBA applicants, the GMAT vs CAT dilemma is a no-brainer. Right? But you’d be surprised at how many folks who are just starting out have queries such as ‘Which is more difficult – CAT or GMAT? Which one should I go for? Should I use CAT material to prepare for the GMAT syllabus and new format or stick to the time-tested popular GMAT books? Does the GMAT also have nine lives like the CAT?

Well, ok…the last one might be a figment of our imagination. Pretty much like the questions that many who haven’t read Beyond The MBA Hype have about international MBA programs. If you haven’t read it yet, get a copy ASAP.

[Caution: It might shake you up a little…but hey, if you can’t survive a book, how will you take on the real course?]

Most MBA aspirants would be aware that the CAT score is a compulsory requirement for the IIMs and also accepted by several Indian MBA institutes. However, if you are planning to study abroad, the GMAT score is essential. Some of the MBA colleges in India that accept CAT scores may also consider the GMAT score. However the best international business schools where GMAT is an essential requirement would never accept the CAT score. A majority of MBA applicants in India take the CAT, some opt for the GMAT while others are on the crossroads and undecided between the two.

It’s not just a case of which is tougher – CAT or GMAT – it’s more a question of which is more appropriate for you.

To assist you make up your mind, you need to be aware of the various facts, test formats and have a clear picture of how the CAT and GMAT differ from each other.

Test frequency for GMAT and CAT

CAT or Common Admission Test is an all-India entrance exam that can be taken just once a year. The test which was earlier paper-based has moved on to become computer-based since 2009. This year the tests were held from 11th October to 6th November.

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a computer-adaptive test and can be taken up to five times in a year. The GMAT test dates can be chosen as per convenience.

The GMAT test takers also have an option to reschedule the exam seven days before the GMAT test date at an additional fee of $50. Rescheduling the test is also an option for the CAT takers, but the date has to be within the test window and subject to availability, so there’s lesser flexibility on this front.

For those who wish to improve their CAT scores, the waiting period would be one year to re-take the test whereas in case of the GMAT, you can re-take the test after a gap of thirty-one days.

GMAT Test results vs CAT results

CAT test results are announced much later at a fixed date. This year the results would be announced on January 9, 2013.

The GMAT score for the Verbal and Quantitative (GMAT Maths) section can be known immediately after the test is taken though it takes up to three weeks for the official scores to reach you.

GMAT Score validity vs CAT score validity

The CAT score is valid for one year whereas the GMAT score is valid for a period of five years. For candidates wishing to re-apply the following year, those with a GMAT score have an advantage as the CAT takers would have to take the test again.

If you have had multiple attempts at the GMAT, the highest score is considered, however in case of CAT, only the current year score is valid.

GMAT fees vs CAT fees

The GMAT test fee is $ 250 whereas for the CAT, it is comparatively low, INR 2000.

GMAT syllabus and duration vs CAT sections

The CAT has two sections (a) GMAT Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation (b) Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning. Both the sections are timed separately. Each section lasts for 1 hour 10 minutes with a fifteen minute tutorial before the test begins. So the total duration adds up to two hours thirty-five minutes.

In the GMAT, the ‘Analytical writing assessment’ (AWA) section comprises of a 30-minute ‘analysis of an argument’. The ‘Integrated Reasoning’ section lasts another 30 minutes. The ‘Quantitative’ and the ‘Verbal’ section have 75 minutes each. The total time thus adds up to three and half hours.

CAT Test format vs GMAT

In case of the CAT, each section comprises of thirty questions. Candidates have to take the Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation section first followed by the Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning section. Candidates can review the various answers within a section during the time provided. Once a section is completed, candidates cannot have access to it. There is a +3 marking for a correct answer provided and a -1 marking for an incorrect answer. There will be no marks for unanswered questions. Some candidates may opt to skip a few answers instead of providing incorrect answers. Results provided mention the percentile rankings for each individual section and the overall test score.

In case of the GMAT, the test follows a computer-adaptive format. Here, the candidate can view only one question at a time. If the answer provided is correct, the next question displayed would be slightly tougher than the previous one. The difficulty level would increase with each correct answer provided. In case of an incorrect answer, the next question asked would be slightly easier. There is no negative marking here and once you answer a question and move on to the next one, you cannot go back and change your answer. The scores are provided for the Quantitative and GMAT Verbal sections out of 800 and the AWA section has a score on a scale of 0-6.

How to go about it

If you are even remotely thinking about an MBA, read the book Beyond The MBA Hype first.

After reading the book, if you are able to understand and digest the hard realities of an MBA abroad vs an MBA in India, think about the entrance exam.

In case of the GMAT, you need to visit the GMAT official website, and choose the nearest GMAT test center after which you can select the GMAT test date and time as per your convenience and register.

For the CAT, candidates have to purchase CAT vouchers at selected Axis bank locations. This year the vouchers were available from 30 July – 17 September 2012. Online registration can be done using the voucher number.

For those considering MBA colleges in India as well as international MBA options, check if the Indian b-schools you’re interested in consider the GMAT score. In that case, you can just go for the GMAT. So, do your own research and take a stand on which test would suit your requirements and go for it.
Before leaving the site, to get a first-hand experience of GMAT questions, try your hand at this free GMAT practice exam. It’ll only take around 20 minutes to complete. You’ll get a feel for the level of difficulty to expect.

Btw, if you aren’t good with competitive tests, you should definitely read what can happen to those who fail entrance exams.

Also read:
Introduction to GMAT preparation

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MBA Crystal Ball provides professional Admissions Consulting services. Hire us to improve your chances of getting into the top international universities. Email: info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

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


  1. Manish says:

    Hey, I wanted to know if IIMA , IIMB and IIMC accepts GMAT scores of an Indian candidates? I am not able to understand from their website.

  2. Sameer Kamat says:


    You are referring to their conventional CAT based programs, right? Short answer is – they do, for international candidates.

    For instance, IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) accepts GMAT scores from Indian candidates for their PGP, PGP-PMP and FPM programs.

    IIM Bangalore (IIMB) accepts GMAT scores for PGSEM and PGPPM.

    IIM Calcutta (IIMC) accepts it only from NRI/ PIO / Foreign national candidates for their PGDM & PGDCM courses.

    Of course for their PGPX, EPGP, PGPEX courses, it is exclusively on the basis of GMAT scores.

  3. Anshuman says:

    Is der any fees difference in IIM’s for Post Graduate Programme in Management if we take admission through GMAT instead of CAT???Do they charge extra from students admitted through GMAT???

  4. Sameer Kamat says:

    Anshuman, only the test criteria is different, not the fees.

    For instance, here’s the IIMA page that lists only a single fee irrespective of the test score you submitted: IIMA PGP Fees

  5. Shuvajoy says:

    I’m planning to take the GMAT in 2015, & I had a few queries. It will be very nice if you could clarify them.I will give you my entire academic profile so that you can appraise & tell me what I should do.

    I graduated in 2008 from Calcutta University with English Honors. I had two “pass” subjects, namely Political Science & Philosophy. The marks in these subjects are not considered to calculate the percentage in graduation in Calcutta University. So during the selection process, will those marks be taken into consideration? 1st class is awarded if 60% marks is scored. My scores were as follows:
    1st year (only pass subjects)- 40%
    2nd Year (only English, which was my major)- 60.25%
    3rd Year (Only English which was my major)- 55%

    My scores in class 10 was 86%, & in 12 it was 77%.. What do you think my GPA would be??

    ISB Hyderabad says minimum of 2 years of work exp is required for admission. Does it mean 2 years of “continuous” work exp, or 2 years of work exp in total? I’ve been working at LIC Housing Finance Ltd for the past 6 months, but I’m about to quit this organisation, as I’ve been selected as a probationary officer in a leading bank. Now, the date of joining the bank is unknown. So will this break in service period be taken into account??

    Apart from that, I’m also pursuing correspondence courses in MBA from ICFAI University & MA in Sociology from IGNOU. Will the marks in these courses be taken into consideration while calculating my GPA??

    I know the mail is a long one, but it will really be helpful if you could take the pain to clarify my doubts.

    Thanks a lot in advance


  6. khushboo says:

    i want to know dat if i prepare for cat ,will it help me to crack gmat or both the xams have different approach nd strategies for success..n i m from isc board where dey consider best four out of five subjects to calculate the overall this criteria will be levied to calculate my %age or i have to take all d five subject into consideration while applying for cat..or gmat kindly response if u knw anything regarding this

  7. Sameer Kamat says:

    1. Bschools ask for the transcript, which shows them the aggregate as well as the subject-wise breakup. You could get a query or two for the pass subjects. So be prepared to answer them.
    2. Here’s a low-down on Percentage to GPA conversion
    3. The work-experience doesn’t have to be continuous. But if you have breaks, prepare yourself for another justification.
    4. Correspondence courses: You could mention it as an additional qualification, instead of your final degree.

    @ Khushboo: Don’t use CAT material for GMAT. Also, not a good idea to use sms lingo when you are getting advice on MBA options, where written communication skills are so important for success. I had trouble understanding what you’ve written.

  8. Mou Mukherjee says:

    Dear Mr. Kamat,

    I appreciate the effort you’ve put for this website & answering all our queries. I was really wondering what I should do, I can not appear in CAT as I did not have 50% in my Graduation. Whereas, I prepare myself for GMAT instead.
    I would be glad if you kindly let me know whether this fact should bother me in near future. I was checking some websites of the B-Schools in India, mostly accept & recognise GMAT. Will my graduation still come in picture even after getting the qualifying scores in GMAT?

  9. Mou Mukherjee says:

    Additionally, I would also be grateful to you if you kindly let me know about IIFT. I visited their website, however, they did not mention anything for the cut off marks in Graduation other than their own entrance test or GMAT.
    Do you know what is the cut off in IIFT(Indian Institute of Foreign Trade) ?

    Thank you once again for you time & patience.

  10. Sameer Kamat says:

    Dear Mr Mukherjee,

    The GMAT doesn’t have any such qualifying pre-condition. You can go ahead and take it. However, many of the top bschools may have a similar cut-off, so you’d have to be flexible while selecting schools.

    We focus on GMAT based international MBA programs (ranked by Financial Times), so I’m afraid I won’t be able to help out with the other query about cut-offs for Indian bschools.

  11. Deepak gupta says:


    I did engineering in ECE & 2010 Passed out. . I am working in Telecom Industry & not able to give sufficient time for CAT preparation . I have given CAT 3 times but not able to Crack it.( May be due to lack of preparation). This year I am very serious about doing MBA from good institute but is confused wheather i should go for GMAT or CAT as now i am 3 years experienced . So Can you please suggest me which path i should choose. I will prefer to do MBA from India.

    Deepak Gupta

  12. Kiran says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I completed my engineering in ECE last year. Since I was placed in two different companies duringcampus placement, I didn’t bother searching for a job post graduation because generally companies call us within three or four months but due to lack of projects both the companies haven’t called me yet. By the looks of it I will start working by July-August. I am planning to work for two years and then pursue an MBA in UK or US. How much will this break affect my chances of getting into a good university?


  13. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Deepak: The quick answer is to drop CAT and move to GMAT. But the slightly longer (and uncomfortable) thing for you to do first is to figure out why you’ve been chasing entrance tests for so long.

    Do you really have a good idea of what you want from either the CAT based outcome or (now) the GMAT based schools? They are two different ball games to be playing. Some serious introspection required before you jump back into test prep mode. Read this story about what can happen after MBA entrance exams.

    @Kiran: You’ll have to explain what you did during that break. Here’s a little more about dealing with layoffs and career breaks

  14. Naushad says:

    currently i m doing english honours from Hindu college,delhi university,
    i have 9.4/10 cgpa in class X and 82.2 percent in class XII from science stream non medical,
    sIr,is my marks in class 10 and 12 good enough and will it be not a hinderence in getting calls for interview i will give cat in 2014,should i also have to give the justification for changing my stream………

  15. Fahad says:

    Hello Sir,
    Right now am having 4.5 year of work ex and by september it will be 5 year of complete work ex. Gave cat but couldn’t score a decent %ile.
    Now i wanna pursue Exe MBA and shall i go for GMAT??
    If yes, kindly advise me through a action plan to be taken. I have little idea about GMAT.

    Best Regards,

  16. Sophiya says:

    Hi Sameer,
    I am having nearly 5 yrs of work experience in IT domain. I am planning to go for management studies. I have never seriously thought for management. Now i am giving a thought about the same. I want to persue 1 year management program(e.g : PGPM) in one of the top-B schools of India . I want to know wheather i should prepare for GMAT or CAT. Which would be better? And apart from this i want to know your suggestion about 1 year management program and how to go about the preparation . Your suggestion and opinion would greatly help me. Thanks in advance.

    Warm Regard

  17. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Naushad: Sorry, but we can’t help you with CAT related queries.

    @Fahad: Yes, go ahead with GMAT. Start off with where you’ll get the most authentic info about the test, the format, etc. Then pick up a few good GMAT books to start the prep.

    @Sophia: Go for GMAT. Most 1-year full time MBA programs accept it. Pick up any representative program (ISB, IIMA PGPX etc) and check out the official website. You’ll have enough to get you started.

    • Harsh Soni says:

      Sir, Am under graduate and preparing for CAT and GMAT, i want to get an appropriate suggestions that can i prepare for IIM’s bcoz in 10th my percent was 80% but in 12th i scored only 49% and am sure that i can score above 70% in graduation..and the point is that am a “OBC” caste so can i prepare for IIM’S…??

  18. Sagar Asati says:

    I have 81% in graduation should i appear for gmat or cat i am in a great dillema please help me out .

  19. monish kumar says:

    First of all It is a very beneficial forum, all i am worried about right now is GMAT coaching, how much would it cost me approx and how much minimum time is required for a full fledged coverage of the course for an average student?

  20. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Sagar: You haven’t shared anything else apart from your graduation grades. So the only general advice I can give you is to NOT rush into an MBA when you aren’t sure about which entrance exam to take. Hang on, get some experience and then re-consider.

    @Monish: The cost can vary from zero (if you use the free resources available on the internet) to several tens of thousands (depending on whether it is an online course or classroom based). Typically 2-3 months is what most applicants spend on the GMAT preparation phase.

  21. Mounica says:


    I just completed my engineering and got placed in a company. My joining date is in january. I want to use this break for preparation of CAT or GMAT exams. While doing job or when having other activities it is hard to crack it, so wanna complete with exam and keep the score. My question is Which has greater value, getting into IIM as a fresher or getting into ISB with 2 yrs experience? depending on this i should prepare seriously for CAT or GMAT . Please do suggest me.Thank you.

  22. Akshita sharma says:

    Respected Sir ,
    i have just completed my 12th and i am planning to pursue B.A English (Hons.) . i seriously want to get into IIMs for which i’ll be starting my coaching soon . My query is If i take English hons. ,do i stand a good chance of getting selected in institutes like IIM-ahemdabad or , b’lore or even calcutta ..will they see that since this girl has taken English hons. she is not suitable to enter a GOOD IIM .? Also, please suggest if English hons. is not a good option ( if i want to make it to these top B-schools ) . which course is more suitable .
    looking forward for a prompt reply ..
    Thanking you !

  23. Roshan says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I really like your website and am a big fan. A month back I was planning to go in for CAT preparation in earnest. Recently I got through the first round for ISB’s ylp programme and consequently am required to take the gmat within a month (Last date: August 7). The thing is I dont have a preference among the two schools and would like to do well in both
    1) I want to give the gmat as quickly as possible, and focus on CAT again. Is this a good idea?
    2) Can there be collaborative studies? I’ve heard that CAT quant and gmat verbal works. To me it seems absurd, but can something on these lines be done so that I have a good score in both
    3) I recently got a wake up call when I got a measly 650 in the offi. software. I have downloaded Kaplan, MGMAT, MGMAT lectures, bought the OG. What should I follow and what should be my strategy (1 month)
    4) I am going to give GMAT in earnest later on (next year) for sure. Is the ISB programme worth going through such confusion, could you shed some light on this programme? I was rather put off by the fact that even for a 2-year expereinced guy, they have a one year programme..!!


    A really confused soul desperately seeking help.!

  24. Roshan says:

    ^ Just to add to the above, I am currently doing my summer project (8-6 through the week). So I have at max 2-3 hrs per day, and that too not in the best states of minds

    I know for a fact that the ISB has very high standards, and anything below 740 would lead to eventual rejection of my candidature (my resume is so-so with only a decent academic performance 8.5/10)

  25. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Mounica : I strongly feel that an MBA should be taken up after having a fair amount of real world experience. So my vote goes to the GMAT option, but only after a few years.

    @Akshita: You must be the youngest person to comment on our site. But I’m afraid I wouldn’t be the right person to advise you on CAT based options. We focus on GMAT programs, which require 4-5 years of corporate experience on an average.

    @Roshan: Don’t mix up the GMAT and CAT. Choose one and focus. If you are confused, that’s a good signal to defer the MBA plans.

  26. GMAT India says:

    Great post Sameer.

    This paints a much clearer picture of what the two tests are all about.
    Really helpful since so many people get the two exams, scores and their study material mixed up.
    Not to mention try and crack BOTH at the same time. It’s always better to pick one, ANY one and concentrate on that.

    If there are any queries or qualms about the GMAT please visit the GMAT official website:

  27. Sameer Kamat says:

    @GMAT India: Good to have the ‘official’ viewpoint on this topic. Welcome to the blog, GMAT India.

  28. Neeha says:

    I have just completed my engineering and placed in a company. My joining date is after October. I want to use this break for preparation of CAT or GMAT exams. I’ve heard of Early entry option program of ISB which offers deferred admission after 2yrs of Wrk exp. My UG score is 74% .. I have decent extra curriculars. Will my UG % be a hindrance for ISB.? I am not clear If i should prepare for CAT or GMAT. I don’t have a preference between ISB and older IIM’s.. Is it preferable to prepare for both.?

  29. raj says:

    My percentage in grads is below 50%. Can i get admission in IIM through GMAT if i get a good score.kindly advice

  30. Pallavi says:

    I want to appear for CAT 2015 attempt. Currently pursuing from University of Delhi.
    Suppose I get into an AVERAGE MBA college in India through CAT. Can I have the option to appear for GMAT after around 5 years when I will have job experience with me. Will it be beneficial for me to crack GMAT and pursue MBA from a reputed US school…. after MBA from India? Or should I start preparing for GMAT itself?
    What would you recommend?

  31. Upasana says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Appreciate the good work, its the right guidance more than the exam itself!
    I am an IT professional with 9 years of enormous overseas and leadership experience ,I researched a lot many overseas EMBA options and finally zeroed in IIM for the executive MBA looking to the cost and career payback options.
    Please help if I am wrong in my approach
    I need to appear for GMAT which could be done in 2-3 months for enrolling in Executive MBA Programme.
    Please suggest me the Top B School and the apt trade. Many Thanks

  32. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Neeha: In your position, I’d go with CAT. It’s too early for GMAT programs. The official GMAT team has clarified this just before your comment – ‘stick to one, don’t mix up the two‘.

    @Raj: They’ll look at a combination of aspects. For instance , the IIMA PGPX website says – ‘Executives who have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any discipline and have completed 27 years of age at the start of the programme may apply.’ There’s no undergrad cut-off, but there is an age cut-off. Check out the other IIM sites as well.

    @Pallavi: It’s too early for you to think about GMAT.

    @Upasana: Nobody on this site has described their experience as ‘enormous’ so far :-)
    I guess you are referring to programs like IIMA PGPX, IIMB EPGP, right? These are not Executive MBA programs. if you are targeting only Indian programs, the choice is pretty limited (ISB, IIMs, XLRI GMP etc).
    I can’t suggest post-MBA goals based on this info. It requires more introspection and discussion.

  33. Amit says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I am an BE(CSE) with 4.5 years of IT experience. I am earning ~8.7pa. I want to look out for higher education that is going to help me to move at higher levels. I am looking MBA as the only option but i am confused about CAT and GMAT.
    I have enquired and got to know that a 4+ exp is not preferable in 2years full time programme. Also with 5 years of experience i would like to pursue a 1 yrs programme instead of 2 years one.

    I am now confused whether to go for CAT of GMAT. As with GMAT i have only ISB option available as IIM have an age 27 criteria. I am 25 and cant met this. Also, all other colleges doesnt seems to give me higher returns as they have low average packages. I would not be able to spend much more or move outside india for this.

    I am confused which one to go for? Also can you suggest some part time or other weekend executive courses that would help me to grow rather than to have a degree for namesake.

    Looking forward for your reply.


  34. pratik kedar says:


  35. mukesh rathore says:

    sir ….i m persuing b.e. nw …
    i was preparing for cat …
    i want to know the eligibility criteria for iim..
    i hv got 61% in 10 ..
    and 53% in 12 standard..
    and 66% of graduation average..

  36. riddhi says:

    Hi Sameer,
    I am presently working in software compnay Igate.I have a total work-ex of 6 months(Wipro)+ 1 year Igate.
    My academics score are:10th-93%,12th-86% and BCA-80%.
    I am very much interested to do MBA as my post graduation and am currently preparing for CAT.
    What i really want to know is that will GMAT be a better option for me than CAT according to my profile mentioned above?

  37. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Amit: With your experience level, I’d suggest GMAT, not CAT. Also, if possible go for a reputed full-time program, and not part-time options.

    @Pratik: For GMAT, work experience isn’t required. However, all the top schools that accept the score will insist on real world experience.

    @Mukesh: You’ll find the eligibility criteria on the IIM websites.

    @Nidhi: It’s too early for you to consider GMAT based MBA programs. CAT would work better if you can’t delay your MBA plans by a few years.

  38. vineet says:

    I am a final year student of Eng hons. (distance learning) and recently appeared for my second year examinations.
    Result has not yet been declared.
    i want to pursue MBA abroad.
    My query is regarding my eligibility to appear for GMAT.
    I have one year experience of working in a public sector bank.
    so am i eligible to appear for GMAT being a final year student?

  39. Chahat says:

    I have been informed that after scoring good in GMAT, top US B-schools (Harvard, Stanford etc) will select us only if we have at-least 5 years job experience. Is this information correct? Please let me know the correct criteria.

  40. Rahul K says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I have 7 Yrs of Exp. post an MBA (Low Ranked Institute). Now working as manager in Banking Sector & strongly feeling glass ceiling in term of career progression , So looking for doing Ex MBA of 1 Yr. – 1.5 Yr. duration, kindly suggest one, Will it worth doing now to get a significant push in the career.

    Thanks in Advance.

  41. Meryl Mathew says:

    Hi. I just passed my BCOM, n its my dream to study abroad for my MBA…n in order to get some work experience n write the required exams I have decide to take a year off. Now im confused as to how to approach the entrance exams ie GMAT, CAT n MAT….well in case im not able to make it abroad I need to do an MBA in India.So my question is inorder to write all these three exams is it enough I go for a CAT coaching?? Can these three exams be written with the same preparation?? Thnks in advance

  42. nisha says:

    hello sir i got 113270 rank in 2013 iam also a OC student can i get MBA in distance by Govt.., seat in hyderabad plz when will councelling date announce plz reply me on my email

  43. Prachi says:

    Hello! I have a major problem.
    I can afford an MBA abroad and I wish to apply for a deferred MBA at Stanford/Wharton/HBS (2+2) and I’m on the course of preparing for my GMAT. My parents, however, wish that I take the CAT. I’ve a 72% in Economics, that I’m pursuing from Jesus and Mary College, DU. I’ve excellent list of extra-curricular activities (theatre/film/photography) and a fair involvement in community services. I can portray myself in a good light considering my leadership skills (Vice president of theatre society, promotional head for college fest, director of community services at Rotaract)
    I attended the London School of Economics’ summer school program in 2012 for a course in Management (Business development using ICT) and am currently interning at a company in Delhi that’s the largest in the country who provides end-to-end e-commerce services to their clients. My primary job is SMO (Social Media Optimization) under digital marketing and I’m yet to experience more (It’s only been a week since I joined.)
    I have the ability to score well in a GMAT and am willing to work hard on my application for the schools
    Do you think my profile is strong enough to apply for the schools I listed above?

    I understand you cannot simply predict the outcome of my application, but I would really appreciate your feedback on this.

    If IIMs is the place I should also try for, please suggest me a way to go about it.
    Thanks a lot.
    Eagerly waiting for your reply.

  44. Praveen says:

    Dear Sir,
    I have certain queries regarding eligibility criteria for PGPX program.I am currently working as Project Leader for one of the MNCs since Oct 2012.Prior to that I worked for varius Organization such as TATA,Mnda,L&T,in various roles. I have overall 9.5 years of Experience as on date which includes around 4.5 years of Overseas experience (USA and Germany) working for TATA group in engineering Design and development projects.I started my carrier after completing my Diploma in the year 2003 and then I did my engineering degree through Recognized Open university in December 2012.Now I would like to pursue MBA from esteemed institute like IIM and ISB,etc.

    My question to you is:

    1)Am I eligible for the Executive program provided I have Valid GMAT score?.

    2)OR do I need to go for regular PGDM program since I have finished my degree in the year 2012 ?

    Looking forward to hear from you.

  45. Mehek says:

    I have a GMAT score of 630 and 1 year experience.I am not satisfied with my GMAT score and wish to reappear for the exam.I have done my Engineering from a reputed University in India

    I have two options with me.I have three months two study for CAT(I had appeared casually once during my Engineering and had scored 94%) or retake the GMAT exam.

    Can you please help me?

  46. Sameer Kamat says:

    @vineet: GMAT doesn’t have a work-ex eligibility, but most schools do. So hang in there for a while and build your profile first.

    @Chahat: Nope, that’s incorrect. 4-5 years is the average (not the minimum) for many top MBA programs.

    @Rahul: An MBA can help, but ensure that your second MBA is better planned (choice of schools, goals, timing, application strategy). Start with the GMAT and then consider the MBA MAP.

    @Meryl: It’s too early for you to think about the GMAT. Focus on CAT and related exams.

    @Nisha: Not our area of expertise. Sorry.

    @Prachi: A deferred MBA is precisely that – deferred. Which means you’d still need to work for a few years before you start the program. Why not just focus on the work then? If you can’t wait, then the CAT route would be better.

    @Praveen: Quite an unusual profile you’ve got there. My gut feel says eligibility shouldn’t be an issue. But to be on the safer side, check directly with the institutions.

    @Mehek: CAT option might be better at this stage, given your low work experience.

  47. Azif says:

    I am a dual degree (B tech + M tech) student of Indian Institute of technology Madras. I am passing out on July 2013. I have CGPA of 7.51/10 in my 5yrs of the programme. I have got a job @Toshiba, Japan with a decent CTC. I have a strong wish to do an MBA and i have considered few options:-

    1) Give CAT or GMAT now and join for an MBA in any Top-B schools of India(IIMs) in the next academic year. I will have a workex of 9 months by Aug-2014.

    2) Work for 21 months at Toshiba. Try to crack CAT and get admission in any of the 3 top IIMs. Apply for Lateral placements in IIMs.

    3) Apply for foreign MBA from a Top B school abroad after 2 or 3 years workex.

    What are the chances of me getting an admission in any Top B school abroad?. Which out of the above 3 options is best for me?

    Thanks in Advance..

  48. Arpit says:

    Hello Sir,
    I’m curruntly pursuing B.A. Economics (hons.) from Delhi University and have done several internships in my vacations. My scores have been great till date and I’m currently in my 2nd year. After completing my graduation I want to pursue MBA from a reputed college. I wish to do my MBA from abroad but after going through this ‘so helpful’ blog I realised that for abroad I’ll have to have huge work-ex. I want to start my preperations from now on so I’m confused which option to go for. Should I start preparing for CAT or drop a few years to build my profile and then go for GMAT. Also, by the time I finish my graduation I might be having around 1 year of work-ex as I always intern with different firms and companies in my college vacations and otherwise too. Your guidance would be really appreciated.
    Thank You

  49. jithin rahman says:

    Sir I m jithin.i joined btech forcefully in 2010.i had 82 % in my 10th and 69% in kerala 53 % for maths
    I completed 3 years of my only investment was a bunch of backlogs.i dont want to prove anyone and waste 1 year completing my course and another 2 or 3 years to clear all backlogs.i dropped btech this year . I have been an averagestudent throughout my life with minimal amount of participation in extra curricular activities.eventhough it wasnt my field of interest and as i was forced to join btech I messed up with my life career and wasted almost 3 years of my life
    Everything is my mistake.i m responsible for my mistakes .I joined for a bba course in a private institution 2 weeks back which was launched this year.eventhogh the college comes under distance learning supportmcentre (u can cal it as a parallell college) approved by university of provides sap and kpmg certification

    I am 20 years old starting a new life with new insights.i m not gonna repeat my mistakes I want to makeup for all my mistakes and precious 3 years .as of now my main aim is to get into a top mba college.i want to prove myself and my all bloody false wellwishers who always who criticized laughed at me for everything

    Will my academic careers till date be a hindrance for my admission in a reputed college?
    Is an iim admission beyond my reach?
    When to start prepare for mba exams?
    I m planning to do certificate courses in marketing.will these courses aid me to get into feputed colleges alongs with a good cat score?

    I knw my msg is too long.really sorry for that
    Pls help me sir

  50. nikhil j says:

    Hi Sameer,

    My Profile:
    BE Mechanical (Pune Univesity) 2009 Pass out.
    Years of Experience: 4
    Sector: Manufacturing
    Role: Providing Validation consultation to Pharma and food and beverage manufacturing units.

    Planning to appear GMAT in 2014
    Target Institute: ISB 2015-16 batch.

    Reason to go for an MBA: Better package, Enhanced roles and responsibilities. (That’s what i think or i want to think so that i can get enough motivation to go for it)./May be i want to try for a start up later on (it’s just imagination as of now don’t have any plan to justify it)

    So my question is that if i am thinking in the right direction or should i play around with my current role and get firm on what really i want from an MBA and then give it a try?


  51. Ivjyot says:

    Greetings Sir.
    I am a 19 year old student, pursuing B.Tech from SRM University.
    Sir, i don’t find a way, a path infront of me. All i can see, are various threads entangled which lead me towards IIM (which every child dreams of). Yes in other words i am confused.
    Sir, my hometown is Delhi, but i am completing my graduation from Chennai.
    Hence i am confused, whether i should take coaching classes or not. [ Considering IIT coaching had ruined me] .
    And if i don’t will i be able to prepare on my own?
    Sir there are various doubts aswell which i have, if you allow me i would love to be in touch with you through Email.

  52. ROHIT says:

    Hi sir,
    I completed my btech recently..iam placed in an mnc. .joining date in jan…bt den its my dream to do MBA..i gav cat last time n my percentile was around den i wud like to do mba abroad..wud like to giv gmat now n apply to bchools afta 2-3 yrs of wrkex.. cozz of 5yrs validity advantage.. vl der be any diff btw a person who gives his gmat afta 2 yrs n me..if both hav same profiles.. vl dat affect ma admit..
    note-iam not much intrested in Indian not intrested in writing cat again..

  53. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Azif: If you have the patience, I’d suggest option 3. I’m not a big supporter of going for a management degree with very little or no any business experience. In your situation, I’d take the Toshiba offer (Japan posting is great) and not get distracted with what the other IIT batchmates are doing. With the right experience and clarity about your post MBA goals, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to target the good, international bschools.

    @Arpit: Not sure what you mean by ‘drop a few years’. If you are referring to getting corporate experience, I’d call it ‘building your profile’. Positive thinking at work!

    @Jithin: A little off-topic for this post. But here’s what I think. Stop thinking about this as a game to prove to others that you are good. Works better if you start thinking what’s good for yourself, than trying to get even with others. Your best bet right now is to complete the journey that you started 3 years back. It won’t be the best story if you are trying to impress employers or other educational institutions, but it’ll be better than having the tag of ‘quitter’.

    @Nikhil: Good profile, but not the most optimal goals. Get the GMAT out of the way and then let’s talk. We’ll work on tying up the loose ends when you are ready to apply.

    @Ivyjyot: I don’t think you are ready for a management degree yet. Get a few years of work experience and then consider going for another degree.

    @Rohit: Take the GMAT 1 year before you are ready to apply. Some schools prefer a score that is less than 3 years old. Btw, just for the record, folks talking about management education in the sms lingo don’t give me a good feeling. If you want professionals to take you seriously, stick to regular English please.

  54. Jaspal Singh says:

    Hello Sir,
    I really appreciate your work on guiding the aspirants. Well, I just completed my engineering in ECE. I have scored 68.90 % till 7th semester (final semester result is awaiting). I scored 74.40% in 12th an 77.80% in 10th. I am planning to drop this year to prepare for MBA entrance exam. I just wanted to know that will 3-4 months will be enough to prepare well. I really want to go into top 10 B-schools. Moreover, Does my academics are fine to get into any b-school as i am dont have any work experience. Kindly guide me. I will be very thankful to you.


  55. Ranjith says:

    I’m doing my final year and wanted to do MBA in top b-school in india which is obviously iim and i’m thinking that GMAT will be a better option.Do they accept freshers with GMAT scores to PGP without work experience?

  56. Kavya says:

    Dear Sir,

    My profile

    I am 25 yrs old.
    10th completed in 2002 with 76%
    12th completed in 2004 with 83%
    B.E (CSE) – 2004-2009 – 69% (one year break due to an accident)
    From 2009 Oct – 2013 June been working with my father. (Total exp : 3+ yrs)

    Its a medium size contracting company. Initially my plans were to continue in my father’s business but now i want to move out and work for a different company to gain some experience .
    Since its been 4 yrs after my graduation , i think an MBA degree can help me in this change .

    These are some queries i have in mind , please clear them for me

    1. With my profle and a decent entrance score will i be able to get into top B schools.
    2. My main aim is to land in a good job will a 1 year MBA program help me?
    3. Where can i get better placements in India or Abroad?


  57. ROHIT says:

    sorry sir, for talking in sms lingo.
    btw sir, i am planning my mba in, i need to apply in the month of september,october 2014.
    if at all i take gmat this year in the month of october,november. how old my gmat score is going to be, will it be counted till next year that is till the time when we apply to universities or till 2015.
    can i get a good university if i apply with this profile.
    10th 86.4 icse
    12th 90.9
    btech ece -75.7
    wrkex 2 yrs(till 2015)
    (my joining date is in jan 2014,bt presently iam working in my uncle’s software and consulting company as a management trainee.. so by 2015 i get 2 yrs of workex from 2 diff companies).


  58. Akash says:

    Hello sir,

    I have completed my science) form Uttar Pradesh Technical University this year in June. I am not placed in any company till date. As I have no other option than to continue with my higher education I have decided to do MBA and to prepare for GMAT.

    I have got 75% in 10th, 70% in 12th and 63% in graduation with no work experience.

    Now I need to know that should i really go for GMAT at this time with this background, if yes then which coaching center should i join to prepare for GMAT which is best to your knowledge?

    Thank you

  59. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Jaspal: I don’t know whether you are referring to the Top 10 B-schools in India or abroad. As we focus on international MBA programs, I’ll assume that’s what you are referring to. For that, it would be too early. You’d need to have patience to build your profile first.

    @Ranjith: For the reasons mentioned above, I can’t advise you on Indian bschools that accept folks without experience.

    @Kavya: Your profile is more suited to GMAT based MBA programs in India and abroad. Consider taking up the GMAT and then going through the MBA MAP exercise to find out how competitive you’d be for the top bschools.

    @Rohit: GMAT scores are valid for 5 years. So you can use this year’s score in the next season.

    @Akash: Going for an education isn’t an escape route from reality. Your best option would be to continue hunting for the right career break first. The earlier years are always tough. The earlier you get in, the better it will be for you.

  60. Bhargav says:


    I am currently working in a IT company and having 2.8 years of experience. I am planning to take GMAT but i have a few doubts.Please help me out regarding this.

    1) What is the program that would be offered to candidates for selection to IIM’s and rest(in India) through GMAT.Is it the same as the PGDM programme given to students admitted through CAT?

    2) For candidates opting for GMAT instead are they only eligible for Executive Programs?

    3)Is the work experience of around 3 years enough for MBA in IIM’s and the other institutions in India which accept GMAT score?

    4) Is the GMAT also considered for Indian Nationals or only for Foreign Nationals?

    Please help me out regarding the above posted questions as this would be very much helpful in either choosing GMAT or CAT?

  61. Jaspal Singh says:

    Sir I am referring to Indian B schools.


  62. nikhil j says:

    Hi Kamat,

    What do you mean by “get GMAT out of the way and then we will talk”? Do you think my reasons are not enough to justify wheather i should go for an MBA? Please provide valuable insights.


  63. Jayshree k says:

    Hi sameer

    I have 6 years work experience in banking, i am at a senior manager level. My husband is in government service and has recently got transfered to a place where this bank in which i am working is not there and i am facing problem in finding another job due to not knowing the local reagional language….malayalam… i am trying for branch manager position. Will it be good if i prepare for Gmat and do a 1 year Executive MBA from IIM. Will it help me with better jobs through campus recruitments….or i should keep searching for job….

  64. shweta says:

    hi kamat,

    i had done physiotherapy bt i didnt pursue my career as physiotherapist..i hve joined bpo and i hve experience of 5 yrs in then i got gap coz of marriage..since 2010 im nt working….so i wan to know can i give GMAT and apply for MBA in abroad?any help i wil appreciate.

  65. tejasree says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Nice to vist your website.

    I’m holding 3.5yrs experience as an IT Professional. I’m planning for IIM-Bangalore(EPGP) programmes, through GMAT. Apart from GMAT scores and eligibility criteria, are the major considerations to be holded upon to get into IIM-Bangalore for EPGP.

    Thanks in advance, appreciate your time.


  66. MANIVANNAN says:

    Now Iam studying in Civil Engineering in Sastra University, and got CGPA 75 %, and will be completed my course 2015. I hear that, the scope for the future civil are limited, and I am also wish to study the MBA in India.

    please guide whether i can take up the CAT or GMAT test ?



  67. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Bhargav: No, these are different programs for professionals with experience. Depending on the IIM location, you’ll get a PGPX, EPGP, PGPex or other degrees, as opposed to PGDM. Check out their websites for more details.

    @Jaspal: Can’t help you with India CAT based options, as we focus on GMAT MBA programs.

    @Nikhil: I meant it’s too early to talk about strategies when you are targetting next years application (as opposed to this year). So focus on the GMAT for now, get a good score and work on building your profile. Plenty of time for you. Your reasons are too generic, so you’ll have to get more specific. Check out the MBA essays of some bschools to get an idea of what they want to know, so you can start thinking from now itself.

    @Jayshree: By the time you complete the GMAT, apply, get interviewed, accept the offer and begin classes, it’ll be a whole year. So continue searching for a job and GMAT prep can happen in parallel.

    @Shweta: Sure you can apply. You’ll need to have a strong rationale for your post-MBA plans though.

    @Manivannan: We focus on GMAT based programs only. Without experience, your best bet would be to target CAT options (if you are in a hurry). If you can wait for a few years, GMAT options would be more appropriate.

  68. sanjana says:

    sir, i completed b.e ece with 87% this year. even i had distinction in inter and tenth and i got placed in a software company and the training starts from october. but i feel this is not the life one i think. i had great interest towards mba because of seriously highly paid salaries and the life after mba. but until now i do not undergone any coaching in cat or gmat. can you please say me the difference of career if we take cat and gmat. opportunities laid in differnt b-schools and top most b-schools and their requirements for admission .since iam confused .please help me out in this. and even i had little time to prepare\
    whether if i undergo training and work in the comapany fr one more year since i placed already and taking up the test is better or it does nt matter?

  69. supriya says:

    hi Sameer,
    i have 94.4% in 10th and 87.8% in 12th(93.67 in PCM) and 70% in i appeared for cat in previous year but score was’nt good enough to secure iims.i am presently working in a core company.I am thinking of going for GMAT.kindly clear my doubts regarding pgdm and pgdm better than pgpx?? and what are my chances..what should i do??cat or gmat..

  70. Mark Jackson says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I have 64% in 10th and 79% in 12th and 52% in (correspondence) in 2012, I worked for 3 years and started my MBA but i am unable to continue due to personal issues. I would like your advice on how to go about, I was looking for online MBA / Correspondence MBA. Need your suggestions. If so which exams should i write CAT / GMAT ?

  71. Suresh says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I have done my masters in computer application and secured 75% marks, But my previous academic scores are not so great, 10th 65%, 12th 59% and Graduation in BSC is 56%., But I would like to do MBA in good B-schools, If I do my CAT/GMAT well with good percentage, Do I get admission in good B-Schools in India?
    Also I have 10yrs IT experience, due to financial situation I couldn’t continue my studies after my graduations. But i would like to do part time MBA programme in good B-School, so that I can enhance buisnesss knowledge with my career.
    Please advice me on this.

  72. vishnu says:

    Hi sameer, I got detained in final year so.this year I will not able to.write cat .. Can I write CAT and GMAT next year .. Plz provide the information

  73. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Sanjana: I don’t think you are ready for an MBA yet. Work for a few years and then take a call. Read Beyond The MBA Hype to know what happens when folks rush into MBA programs.

    @Supriya: Those are programs aimed at people with different profiles and work experience. If you can’t wait for a few more years, then CAT MBA is a better option for now.

    @Mark: Too many open questions which you haven’t addressed. If you started your MBA, why couldn’t you complete it? Why go for the CAT / GMAT option again, didn’t you cover that for your current MBA (that you left)?

    @Suresh: As a general rule of thumb, the entry barriers to part-time MBA programs aren’t as stringent as their full-time equivalents. So if that’s what you are aiming for, the academic performance shouldn’t be a big hurdle.

    @Vishnu: Can’t advise you on CAT. Too early for GMAT. But here’s another thought – with the liability of a lost year, instead of getting into a tougher academic environment, you could try to get a job and prove your mettle on the professional side.

  74. Kate says:

    Hello Sammer,

    I have done my BMS from St.Xavier’s college – 72%. 10th Boards – 84%. 12th Board science – 77%. 3 years work experience at JPMorgan.
    I am giving the CAT in October. Also looking at giving the GMAT at the end of November- since INSEAD deadline is 27th Nov and ISB deadline is 30th Nov. Is 2-3 weeks enough time to prepare for GMAT after giving CAT?

    How should I go about preparation for the same and also considering college application is those 2 -3 weeks sufficient? Should I drop the GMAT idea?

    Please Help,

    -Stressed and Confused Kate

  75. Phoenix says:

    I’m persuing BBA In International Business. I’m confused to join which coaching Institute? I’m also confused with study materials for prep of GMAT.

  76. Kartik says:

    Hello Sameer,

    Chartered Accountants in India have to undergo a 3 year training called Articleship as part of the CA course, with a CA firm.

    Will this qualify for work experience in any of the B-Schools? Say ISB…


  77. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Aman: Undergrad grades are more important for GMAT based programs. You can take the GMAT whenever you are ready, no issues with that. Though the validity is for 5 years, some schools insist on a score that’s been taken in the last 3 years.

    @Kate: Generally folks spend around 2-3 months on the GMAT preparation. Don’t assume that the CAT will prepare you for the GMAT or vice versa. These are two different tests and needed to be treated that way. Ideally, with your work experience, I’d have dropped the idea of CAT. You seem to be juggling too many things. Focus, my friend, focus.

    @Manika: If you are taking the CAT, put your entire energy into CAT based MBA programs. Don’t mix it with the GMAT.

    @Phoenix: Self-study works best for some, while others prefer some guidance (classroom based or online GMAT courses). TO get you started, here’s the list of the best GMAT books.

    @Aditi: Defer the GMAT plans till you have a few years of work experience.

    @Pavitra: It’s too early for you to consider GMAT programs. Stick to the CAT for now.

    @Kartik: As far as I understand, ISB doesn’t consider the articleship period as work experience. You might want to re-check if the situation has changed.

  78. Pallavi says:

    Will my CAT preparation help in cracking GMAT? Or do I need to prepare for GMAT separately?

  79. Ram says:

    Hi Sir,
    My name is Ram. I have completed my bachelor’s degree with 70%.
    I like to take GMAT but im confused regarding my financial situation.
    So i was opted to write exams in a way so that i get good scholarships.
    Now my question is after i know my scores in GMAT how to find which university will provide me max scholarship.Do i have to apply for universities to check that as i guess the application form itself will cost a lot…….DO universities provide with the percentage of scholarship they will provide based on scores?
    Please help me with that.
    And since i have done my BE in EEE from Tamilnadu,wen i checked for MBA Finance stockholm university in sweden said that i need to have background in Bsc Economics or Business administration.
    Please let me know which university will allow a EEE student to do MBA in Financ and also let me know whether i need to do any course in economics or some thing like that to get a good college that gives MBA Finance..

  80. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Hari: The biggest difference between ISB and IIMA PGPX is the profile of applicants that the two get. PGPX would be a better fit for you. Getting the GMAT score higher will help.

    @Amit: If there are bottlenecks related to preparation, finances etc, why not focus on gaining some good corporate experience for a few years?

    @Kartikeya: Some GMAT accepting bschools – ISB, IIMA PGPX, IIMB EPGP, IIMC PGPeX, XLRI GMP. There are others too.

    @Hari: Part-time experience is generally not counted.

    @Aravind: Around 3-4 years at the time of applications would be good. International MBA programs will expose you to many more cultures and ways of doing business. Highly recommended.

    @Nikhil: Academic grades can be a hurdle for the top schools. Try to excel in your BTech grades as those are more important than 10th and 12th marks.

    @Shivani: MBA abroad will give you a richer and more diverse experience. For bschool selection and application strategy, consider taking up our MBA MAP package.

    @Kunal: You’ll have to explain the gap in the optional essay.

    @Shallu: Typically, 2-3 months of a focussed GMAT study plan should be good. You can skip the CAT and start on the GMAT preparation right now. The score is valid for 5 years.

    @Pallavi: Some folks say it helps to get the basics in place. But it is a far better option to use GMAT material directly.

    @Priya: The top MBA universities will ask for a minimum of 2-3 years work experience.

    @Mech: The 1 year MBA by IIMs are also quite expensive. Pretty close to what ISB is charging. Check out IIMA PGPX as that has a more ‘mature’ set of students.

    @Ram: Many of our clients get MBA scholarships. They start off with the MBA MAP package to get an idea of the MBA schools where they are competitive. Take it up when you are ready.

  81. prabhat says:

    I will complete 4 years of experience in IT by June,2015. Shall I give CAT exam for 2015.
    Because I want to go for marketing.Will it be disadvantage for me to get through IIM as I will be having more than 4 years of experience till I will give CAT 2015 . Please guide me what to do??
    I don’t want to go for GMAT.

  82. faeza says:

    I want to know which one will be more preferable for me-CAT or GMAT. I am student pursuing BA,LLB(Regular) and BA(English hons)(IGNOU). Till now my total percentage has been 75. I scored 68% in 10th and 86% in 12th. I am from a middle class family (well, money matters to an extent)Is it good to go abroad and pursue MBA rather than in home country? What kind of work is preferred as work experience, as for some say you have to get a post of manager, executive or a supervisor that would count as work experience. And do indian institutes require work experience as a criteria for admission? Abroad studying(uk,us) gives more better placement, or india holds more or less the same position?

  83. shalu says:

    Hi Sameer,

    I have a profile that is a little different but I am very clear I want to do MBA only in USA.

    I am a corporate lawyer working with a large company (Fortune 500) for the last 2 years.I graduated with about 95% in XII,70% in Xth and about 59%(thats a good score for my university).I have the right mix for a “Shocker MBA” profile because I have done art and social initiatives at a professional level also.I would like you to suggest if I should wait for another year of corporate work experience before applying for MBA in US because I am aiming at top 25 schools only.I would also like someone to structure my profile as an applicant.Kindly counsel:)

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