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BW Businessworld

Looking Beyond CAT

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The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a good measure of analytical and verbal abilities of a candidate. The computer-based test, used by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) for selecting students for their business administration courses, helps to identify those who have the capacity to solve problems to a certain extent. However, though useful, the test has serious limitations. We know that creativity is a critical aspect of problem solving and that it is not measured by CAT or even GMAT (the Graduate Management Admission Test), which assesses analytical writing, verbal and a quantitative skills.
We also know that the capacity to think is not enough. The capacity to relate to others, as measured by empathy and sociability (or emotional intelligence), is even more important. We also realise that the capacity to act or execute the ways in which we manage our time and resources is critical.
In addition, aspects such as resilience, risk taking ability and assertiveness are also important to succeed in the field of management. Unfortunately, CAT is not designed to assess these critical attributes.
In my decades of experience in hiring and leading MBAs from all over the world, I have worked with many people with very high scores on CAT and GMAT (including a colleague with the perfect score of 800 in GMAT). I have also worked with others who could not score high marks in the tests, but were exceptional in other respects and many of them outperformed and became special leaders.
So, for those who could not crack CAT, I have something to say: If you value your gifts of creativity, dealing with people, and execution of plans, do not despair. In fact, if you leverage your strengths well, there is no reason why you will not beat all those who have high scores in CAT.
There are three questions that I would like you to ask yourself:
What do I deeply care for?
What do I love most about myself?
How can I leverage what I love most about myself to move towards what matters most to me?
These are tough questions that require one to learn more about oneself.
Once you have gained these insights, irrespective of your CAT scores, you will become a leader who makes an impact.
(Anil Sachdev is the founder and CEO of School of Inspired Leadership)

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