Which Forms to Fill: Every MBA Aspirant’s Dilemma

  • Sep 26th, 2017
Cost of filling forms for some of top B-Schools of country
Table 1

For someone appearing in CAT for first time, the reaction is something like, “Seriously! Is this how much I have to pay for only a form?” and for seasoned players it goes, "Oh no, the cost has gone up again!” 

Yes, we are talking about the treacherous task of filling out application forms for B-Schools. 

Paying for forms is only one of the long list of cost considerations that any aspirant has to take care of, and this list usually starts with paying for coaching institutes, then for exam forms, moving on to college forms, and finally admission fee. When every penny counts, and the list of B-Schools in country is never-ending, one dilemma that every aspirant finds himself in is, “Which forms to fill?” 

And to answer this question for you, Career2NextOrbit team took upon itself to run a detailed analysis of cost associated with the process of form filling, and come up with a 2-phased exercise that can help you decide better. 


Categorization & budgeting in form filling

Phase 1: Categorization

This phase includes, preparing list of B-Schools beyond which you will not consider taking admission, and then categorizing them. Every business school of this list should find place in either of following 3 categories based on best, average and worst possibility of your actual CAT score:

- Category 1: ASPIRED REALITY: This category will include B-Schools which you might take admission in if you have the best case scenario score. Because IIMs do not require you to pay separately apart from CAT, they may be thought of as default application. So, add B-Schools other than IIMs.

- Category 2: ACCEPTABLE REALITY: This list will include B-Schools to which you are willing to apply in case you do not score as good but not as bad either (average scenario score).

- Category 3: THRESHOLD REALITY: This set will include the B-Schools which you may take admission in, in case you get your worst case scenario score. B-Schools in this list also mean that beyond these, you will not take admission in. 

Please keep in mind that the best, average, and worst case scenario scores will vary for individuals. To estimate these scenarios for yourself, refer to your score in Mock CAT tests. 

With that done, you are ready to move to next phase of process.

Phase 2: Budgeting

In phase 2, we are going to talk about how to spend money on phase 1 B-Schools. Few things to keep in mind here are:
1. Keep a figure in mind which you would feel comfortable with spending on the form filling process, i.e., your budget. 
2. Another thing to note is, when we talk about forms, this cost can be segregated into: 
a)    Cost of Exam Form, and 
b)    Cost of College Form 

While for IIMs, cost of form is the only cost that you will have to bear, for other B-Schools cost of applying is different from cost of examination form. For exams other than CAT, like XAT, SNAP, NMAT, sometimes the cost of applying to school may be included.

Here, take a look at cost of some prominent MBA Entrance Exam forms:

Cost of some prominent MBA Entrance Exam forms

The cost of filling forms for some of the top B-Schools of country in 2017 is shared above in Table 1
A closer look at this data will show you that if you have a budget of INR 15,000 (exclusive of budget for exam forms), you will be able to fill approximately 10 forms. Moving further ahead, the question is, for your budget ‘X’, how would you choose the B-Schools to apply to?, Here is the our answer:

Spend 60% of X on Aspired Reality
Spend 30% of X on Acceptable Reality
Spend 10% of X on Threshold Reality

To help you understand this better, here is an example. Suppose, based on your performance in Mocks, this is your estimate of score in CAT:

Best Case Scenario: 93%ile
Average Case Scenario: 90%ile
Worst Case Scenario: 85%ile

And average scenario score in exams other than CAT. 
If your budget is of INR 10,000 for filling application forms (exclusive of exam forms, here is what your categorization of colleges might look like:

List of B-Schools for 3 Scenarios

For the above case, please note that IIMs have not been considered, as cost for IIMs is included in cost of CAT form.

Now, if I have INR 10,000 to spend, I may apply to, IMT Ghaziabad, SCMHRD, IRMA, TISS (Cost 5410), FORE, IMI (Cost 3650), and IFMR (Cost 1500), total cost coming out to be INR 10,560. 

Or to your preferred assortment of schools. And, that’s about it. We hope this article makes your journey to your dream B-School little easier and helps you narrow down your list of B-Schools to apply to. For any comments and queries, feel free to reach out to us!

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