Should you consider CAT if you are already earning 10 – 20 lakhs per annum

If you are earning well, should you bother about CAT? While multiple factors and personal elements would go into making this decision, there is one rule of thumb. Assuming salary is your sole motive for CAT, then: 

– If you are earning less than 10 lakhs, then consider CAT as one of the options. You can take admission in top colleges through CAT and reach a good pay scale. 

– If you are earning more than 20 lakhs, please don’t even bother considering CAT. Preparation efforts, future uncertainties & opportunity costs of 1-2 years are not worth it. Chances are you can reach a better payscale building on your current career. 

– If you earn 10-20 lakhs, your post-MBA job will be on a similar scale to your current career. In such cases, you should consider if there are additional factors to consider beyond salary to consider CAT and then make an informed choice. 

Beyond salaries, there are multiple other reasons why you should consider CAT. 

Change in career profile: You are enthusiastic about opportunities you can get post-MBA. These include consulting, marketing, sales, finance, operations, general management & startups. While the opportunities exist, you need to thoroughly analyse what kind of profiles you would like to get into post-MBA. Students often make this uninformed decision and end up in another job they dislike. Also, various other upskilling options are available to make a career shift, including opportunities in your own company. You must research all the options before making a final decision. 

Promotion to a management position: You are stuck in your career for a while and need to move up the ladder within your company or industry. An MBA degree can help you break this ceiling and help land coveted leadership positions in various companies. While this is possible, please understand that achieving a leadership position takes some time, even after an MBA. And there are ways to climb the ladder by taking up other upskilling opportunities. 

Own startup: MBA gives you the necessary tools to become an efficient employee in the managerial field. You will go through the basics of marketing, sales, operation, and finance and quickly build up your knowledge and skill set. While these tools and skills become handy for creating your startup, it costs you two years’ academic fee and two years’ salary (opportunity cost). Also, MBA doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to get an idea automatically just because you have studied management subjects. Most MBA grads in India end up working a corporate job. Even the fast-paced curriculum at IIMs doesn’t give you a breather to work on your idea in parallel to your degree and placement rigour. So unless you are motivated and have buffer backup, starting up is a challenging task right after your MBA. 

You must thoroughly research all the options and consider why you need to do an MBA. Even after the visibility, there will be factors beyond your control. A recession year can ruin your placement chances. Your current company can go for an IPO when you are busy doing an MBA, and your colleagues might make good fortune by then. But that uncertainty is present in every walk of life. Once you are sure of your goals and reasons for MBA, it will be a fulfilling journey. In addition to career progression, you will also experience the country’s best management professors, an elite peer group and a plethora of knowledge which will be helpful for life. Also, you should consider a long-term view of your career while making these decisions rather than short-term benefits.

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