CATtitude

CAT, the mother of all MBA entrance exams in India, is not just a test of knowledge, it is a test of determination and nerves. Among all the species of the cat family it is the most vicious. You need to have a CATtitude – the right attitude to catch this CAT by its tail!

Three ingredients that go into the making of the CATtitude are motivation, focus and perseverance.

Motivation: Ask any person who is successful as to what motivates him/her, and, very likely, the answer will be “goals”. But first, there are the dreams. A dream is a vision of the future, of how you see yourself in the future. If you look forward to being the head-honcho of a top corporation (dream), then you want an MBA qualification from a top B-School (goal). This is your motivating force. Interest is also an important motivator for a student. So is a desire to learn. When you link these two things together, you create success. Often success in an endeavor leads to more interest and a greater desire to learn, creating an upward spiral of motivation toward a goal you have established.

Certainly, you need some intelligence, knowledge base and study skills, but if you don’t have motivation, you won’t get far.

Focus: Okay, so you have dream and you have a goal.This is where the action starts. Have you set clear objectives? Objectives are the things we do to achieve our wants (goals) in order to be what we dream ourselves to be. For example, I need to prepare for entrance tests to get admission to a top B-School. A SWOT analysis (analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) will give you a clear picture of how you will build on your strengths, how you will get rid of your weaknesses, how you will identify and seize opportunities and how you will overcome environmental threats to achieve your goals.  This helps you come up with a plan.

So, focus is all about self-awareness and setting clear objectives.

Perseverance: Perseverance, commonly referred to as “stick-to-itiveness,” is the ultimate success guru-mantra. Nothing can take its place. From learning to walk to riding a bicycle, our childhood teaches us that failure only occurs when we stop trying. It’s a lesson many of us need to revisit in our adulthood. Specific to CAT, make a study plan day-wise and date-wise. Schedule to take preparatory tests regularly. And stick to the plan religiously, whether you score very well or other-wise. Apart from the 20 IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) CAT scores are used by almost 250+ B-schools for short-listing candidates for interviews. Different B-schools have different score criteria for short-listing candidates. So even if you have not cleared the score criterion for an IIM, you may still do so for FMS (Faculty of Management Studies, DU), ranked among top 5 institutes in India. Regular testing enables students to identify niche institutes to apply to. Whatever be the performance, you can achieve your goals by fitting into the right B-school. If you are in a particular score range, you can be reasonably sure of getting a call from the Institutes you have applied to.

Every test is preparing your guts for the real thing! Remember, perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another!

7 habits to develop a CATtitude:

1. Be grown up! This means take responsibility for yourself. Say “I can do it!” Identify counterproductive habits or thoughts and dump them! For example,

  • Grousing about studies, family, friends or your environment
  • Blowing small issues out of proportion
  • Dwelling in the past
  • Viewing yourself as a victim

2. Get support! You deserve to be around folks supportive of your aspirations. Get positive re-enforcement in form of books, movies and other entertainment media that nurture your spirit

3. Avoid negative messaging!  Some people may be critical of your aspirations. They become “dream stealers.” When you are overly concerned about what others might say, you might lose your drive and let your dreams fade away.

4. Keep YOUR pace! It’s different from the pace of others. You must be competitive but do not worry about things you cannot control. Plan your work and stick to the plan

5. Seek the truth! To make effective application decisions, you must take the responsibility of analyzing your performance objectively and perceiving reality as accurately as possible.

6. Live healthy! Energy and stamina are musts for perseverance. You need them for focus, resilience, optimism, self-confidence, clarity and intensity.

7. Don’t quit! Perseverance is the common denominator for success. So powerful is perseverance that failure cannot exist in its presence. Failure happens when you quit.

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