Do you need a mentor while preparing for CAT ? YES and here's why!
One of the advantage of growing older is that you get to push your “hard earned wisdom” to the younger generation just by gluing “I am old enough for this” with your theory. And if someone disagrees, you can still handle it with the golden words - “You are not old enough for this”. So while shaping up my thoughts for this article, I reminisced a lot from my decade long exposure with various CAT prep forums and if you disagree with my thoughts; Oh, my sweet summer child! ;)
I have witnessed - as an active learner, a silent watcher, a moderate spammer, an Ok-ish contributor and a decent moderator - how the Online MBA prep segment evolved from a collection of crude discussion threads to the kind of eco system we enjoy today. In all these years, I had the great fortune to connect and collaborate with some brilliant folks who shaped up these forums with their intellect and intent. Some of them paid back and some others paid upfront. But some people took this to a whole new level by making these forums as their purpose, fuelled by their passion – Our mentors.
Almost all of the genuine queries getting piled up in our prep forums can be connected to three areas
- Lack of conceptual clarity
- Lack of preparation strategy
- Lack of motivation/confidence
And hidden in the answers to your questions, lies the solution to your problem – Get a mentor!
An admission to a renowned MBA program is so rewarding; but to prove worthy for it, you need to endure an arduous journey. This journey would test your strength, your patience, your perseverance and trust me when I say, it is not worth to pursue this journey all by yourself (even if you can).
Many aspirants chalk out this "brilliant" plan to manage their preparation without a mentor. They see umpteen forums with unlimited supply of free content and find it very stupid to pay for what is already available for free! This is the biggest (and in many cases, the first) trap in your MBA journey. Find a mentor and here's why!
Time is precious
A decent CAT strategy (for mortals to score 99%le) budgets around 600 hours of preparation, including mocks and revision. If you are planning your preparation from April to October, this numbers converts to 3 hours/day for next 7 months, without fail. 3 hours of quality preparation every single day for next ~200 days! Considering you juggle CAT preparation with your academic / professional responsibilities, this gets trickier and.... scarier!
There are tons of useful stuffs in public prep forums - pure gold material. But you need to dig out a lot of dirt to reach them and the time spend is just not worth it. Your job is not to explore gold mines but to find galleries where these gold and gems are collected, categorized and is at your disposal. (sounds like MBAtious?)
Planning is important
While building a house, we install the footing, seal the footing and once the concrete has cured we go for walls; that too we start the wall from the corner of foundation, and so on. We also ensure that our construction is in-line with the plan and we are building our dream home, not just a pile of bricks cemented together in a foundation! Similarly CAT preparation also demands a certain order and plan. It is very important to ensure that our hard earned time is spend in the right proportion and in the right priority.
You are hit with tons of questions (with assurance that it is all relevant for CAT) everyday and in theory this looks perfect. You are solving CAT relevant questions every day and that too for FREE! Problem is this scheme lacks order and plan. You might solve thousands of good questions but might still fail in fetching a score good enough to knock those B-Schools you are dreaming. I am not saying these forums are not helpful, but these forums needs to be considered as supplements to your core preparation. Your main preparation channel should be well balanced (in terms of content) and needs to be designed with YOUR strengths and weakness in consideration.
Bench-marking is the key
Another serious issue in these forums are unrealistic expectations and peer pressure. You see some God level folks solving questions left-right-centre in the blink of an eye. It is quite possible that you get "Brain Washed" (quite literally!) and start following a preparation strategy which would be counter-productive for your needs.
Yeah, agree. But why we need a mentor?
You can definitely figure out all this stuffs on your own. But it is much much easier and smarter to find someone who already knows it and can guide you. A mentor would have already faced and aced the challenges in the path you wish to pursue. They already know the drill and most importantly, they have seen and supported many others in this journey. I repeat, They know the drill. They know where to slow down, where to speed up, where to rest and where to eat.
Most of the mentors out there are not here just for money. Oh, Come on! they already left a lucrative career and a hefty pay check to pursue their passion of teaching and here we judge them as evil money grabbers who charge for their service. A decent CAT course cost you less than what you spend for snacks a year and repeat after me, a good MBA > Snacks, every single time. And as the snacks leaves you the next day (or same day) a good mentor continues to support... it is a life long bond.
Do not take CAT preparation lightly. Don't go with the notion that you solve ABC book or follow XYZ forum and you are done. It is guaranteed that in this journey you will have your share of emotional breakdowns and heart aches. Yes, your Quant whiz friend will solve your doubts or your IIM waala cousin will boost your morale when you are down. But trust me, having a good mentor is all of them rolled into one. They will inspire you to push your limits and will support in reaching your prep milestones gracefully. So go find your mentor (or 2-3 mentors if required) and pay for it. It's all worth at the end.
Where to get started ?
Finding a good mentor is not that tough as you might think. Many mentors have put lot of their gyan in open forums and at times offers trial classes. Check them out and get an idea about their pedagogy. See how effectively it caters your needs. When you find the fit, lock the deal.
Gear up folks... Winter is coming.. it will get real, soon :)