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CAT v/s GMAT, MBA in India or Abroad: Prabhat Shares Why He Didn't Choose the IIMs

Prabhat Agrawal, a graduate of BMS from Delhi University, scored 730 in GMAT and decided to pursue his masters from ESCP Business School. He also appeared for CAT, in which he scored 97.9 percentile with very little effort because from the very beginning, he desired to study abroad than in the top B-schools of India.

In this post, Prabhat has shared his experience of appearing for both CAT and GMAT, highlighting their differences and suggesting how to approach them together. He has also shared why he chose to pursue a masters in management abroad than from the IIMs.

Towards the end of the post, Prabhat has talked about his interest in the Ed-Tech Industry and about an endeavour that he is currently working on - TheTutorist.

CAT vs GMAT Prabhat Agrawal

Interview Excerpts

Q: What is your background?

A: I have grown up in Delhi and completed high school in Commerce. As a teenager with an inexplicable love for travelling, I was drawn towards photography early on. Interested in business education, I sought to pursue Management as a career and enrolled in the Bachelors in Management Studies program at SSCBS, Delhi University. At SSCBS, I continued to pursue my interest in photography and further broadened my horizon to film-making, organizing events, business case competitions, film making and even graphic design.

For my masters, I decided to go to ESCP Business School, one of the premier business schools in the world. Soon after starting my masters, I realized my passion lies in working in the Education-Technology industry which is why I decided to join TheTutorist.

Q: Having appeared for both CAT and GMAT, how does the preparation for these two differ despite sharing the same subjects?

A: While they share the core subjects of English and Mathematics, CAT and GMAT couldn’t be more different from each other. To start with, CAT has quite advanced questions in Quant (Mathematics) while GMAT goes a bit easier on it. However, GMAT tests students with the Verbal (English) section which usually becomes the differentiator when you aim for a 700+ score. GMAT takes a much more critical approach to all questions as there is underlying reasoning to find the answer to any question, be it in the Verbal or the Quant section.

In my experience, the optimum strategy to prepare for the GMAT is to master the concepts in its syllabus and then spend the bulk of your time practicing mock exams. I was able to score a 730 (Q50, V39) after attempting at least 20-30 mock exams of the GMAT, carefully analyzing which my weaker sections were, then revising that section before taking another mock. Doing this consistently for 1-2 months can make a big difference in your score. The official guide books are the most reliable and accurate source of study material. I recommend using their online tool to simulate mock exams using practice questions from the guide books. To get a grip on the concepts, Manhattan Prep has easy to understand books which explain the concepts quite well.

While I did not pay a lot of attention on CAT preparation, one effective strategy I have seen work is mastering one section you feel most comfortable with, so much so that you are confident of scoring in the high 90s percentile. Following this simple yet quick strategy enabled me to score 97.9 percentile with my English section being the star. The strategy with CAT changes because it’s syllabus is not as well defined as in the GMAT and trying to cover every single topic can eat up a lot of time.

Q: Why did you choose to pursue your Masters in Management from ESCP Business School, and not aim for one of the top b-schools in India?

A: I chose to study abroad because of the difference in the approach to education as compared to Indian B-schools. At ESCP, there is a much broader concept of what business school education is supposed to be, with students taking a keen interest in activities other than the case studies taught in class. Participating in panel discussions, pitching at start-up competitions, or even participating in networking cocktail events enhance the experience of studying in a top-tier business school while nourishing you into a future leader.

The curriculum at ESCP also includes gaining professional experience in the industry of my choice, which prepares students for a successful career, be it in the corporate world or through the entrepreneurial route. I chose the latter and joined TheTutorist, an exciting ed-tech start-up, as the Director of India.

Q: What is TheTutorist?

A: TheTutorist is a matchmaking platform that allows individuals to share their knowledge with the world. From a student’s point of view, we give them access to personalized and live lessons from tutors for more than 400 skills, at the cheapest price.

From a tutor’s point of view, TheTutorist is a marketplace where they can expand their client base as well as use our analytics and organizational tools to tutor their students effectively. We work with tutors to help them improve their tutoring skills, optimize their curriculum and provide insights to help them enroll as many students as possible.

Q: How is TheTutorist different from other platforms like Coursera and Udemy?

A: While platforms like Udemy and Coursera have played a massive role in normalizing online education and remote learning, the progress has come at an expensive price which we feel are paramount to the entire process of learning: a lack of flexibility and a personal connection between the tutor and the student.

TheTutorist’s matchmaking feature allows students and tutors to meet their counterparts who share similar interests as them and create a deeper bond throughout the entire learning process, which has lately become purely transactional in the last few years.

Since all classes are conducted live for a student or for a small group, there is greater flexibility in the content which is covered in each lesson. Students can interact with the tutors before enrolling in a course and choose to spend more time on a topic they want to know about in detail, or even customize the course to fit their needs.

Q: Where do you see TheTutorist in 6 months?

A: The next 6 months will see us expanding our presence in India, with our main focus to get as many high-quality tutors and students on the platform. By the end of this year, we are aiming to have more than 100 tutors and more than 1000 students actively engaging with each other. We are actively collaborating with universities and student associations to reach students. We envision TheTutorist becoming one of the prominent places to up-skill yourself in many skills such as Python, Drawing, Music, GMAT, CAT etc.

Q: How did you become passionate about working in ed-tech?

A: I have always aspired to be an entrepreneur in the education sector with a company that empowers educators. I see huge potential in the education sector in India for innovation and disruption as it has stayed quite stagnant for several decades. Working in the education sector, I aspire to improve the teaching mechanism for early education in India. With my roots in India, I believe I have an edge for understanding the unique challenges and problems faced by educators here.


So, this was an interview interaction with Prabhat on his journey of making it to ESCP Business School and finding his passion in the Ed-tech Industry with TheTutorist. Hope you found the interaction to be of value.

A sincere gratitude to Prabhat for coming forward and contributing to the blog :)

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