CAT exam every year is given by at least 2 lakh candidates and this number will increase in the coming years. CAT exam is often seen as the direct ticket to a top class management job especially via colleges like IIM’s. So. it is always seen as the golden opportunity to start a career in management.

All CAT exam takers face one dilemma: “when to start preparation?“. But those who are working have another: “whether to leave job for CAT preparation or not?“. “Will it have a negative impact on profile?” “What if I don’t qualify and then I will have a year gap?” Such questions are continuously juggling in the minds of such candidates.

Such question do not really have any definite answer. It depends on person, their aspirations, goals and much more. Let’s analyze different aspects one by one.

CAT 2018 is a very great option for candidates who want to switch their career to management or want a high paying job. Not only jobs, the experience you get in your MBA will help you in long run everywhere. For candidates doing a job right now always have the option to do one-year executive MBA after five years of experience.

On the other hand, CAT exam is a very unpredictable exam. With eligibility criteria, admission criteria changing every year it is losing the credibility among exam takers. It is no longer seen as a fair exam to judge the true capability of the candidate. Moreover, its normalization process is very unclear by which test-takers are never able to check their actual scores.

How will you manage time? You are doing 12-hour job and six days in a week. Switch job or not?

Yes, if your passion is MBA and you want to go into management then leave your job and give your 100%. Don’t look for backup plans and think about year gaps and all. Focus on your studies and crack the exam. Tell them about your goals and plans in the interview. Then it will be your energy and passion which stands out in the crowd. Life is worth risk taking and it is only one entrance examination. Give your best shot and take admission in your dream college. You can do a part-time course in the meantime or join an NGO is always a good option. Keep yourself busy and explain your journey of last few months in the interview confidently.

No, you should not leave your job. See if you are afraid of multitasking and not getting time to manage between job and studies. Then the interviewers are not looking for such type of candidates. See in MBA there is a hectic life, you will have to attend classes, seminars and work on multiple assignments, projects, PPTs and other more things. Then how you will able to handle later. So, for that, you can work hard on weekends and spare extra hours on weekdays to prepare.

Apart from this, interviewers are looking for candidates who are able to handle the pressure in the most unpredictable situation. So having a good quality work experience will give you an extra advantage over other candidates. Even some institutions have separate credits for work experience with no gaps for example institution like IIM-B.

A degree can never guarantee you a successful managerial career. It is not a magic wand which will give you a high paying job. Yes MBA is a path to it but not the ultimate road. Imagine you are a part of an organization for nine months, you are feeling stuck now and want to do MBA. Maybe you are cursing your boss or your monotonous IT job but actually, it is the wrong organization or the wrong career path responsible for stagnation. You can always change your job and look for some jobs in management only, then you will know what actually management is. Even if it is a lower level managerial job, you will eventually get a experience for your benefit sooner or later.

Quitting will not affect your chances as much but having the experience of 20 to 24 months is good if you are taking a break. The simple theory is the more experience you have, the more advantage you will have later. Taking a three-month break before the exam is enough, noting that you are atleast known with the topics of the exam. If it is not the case then you can take a 6-month break, in the first half learn the concepts and in the second give tests and mocks.

In any case work hard, whether you are quitting the job or not. No decision is right or wrong. Every decision has its pros and cons. Just believe in yourself and enjoy the journey.

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