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Everything about MBA entrance exams…# 3

By Vaibhav Mittal
In Featured
Apr 6th, 2009
Vaibhav Mittal

Vaibhav Mittal

Hello All,

How are you?

First of all I thank you all, for a great response to the last article. And special thanks to Bhuvanesh, Garima and Vipul for contributing towards helping MBA aspirants and my articles. And very special thanks to Mr.Ajay for morale boosting of all of us and his best wishes.

I am not happy, at all, from all the guys who have read the article, for I have asked in the last few lines of the article #2, to let me know how you feel after following the schedule for at least 5-7 days. NONE has so far posted any feedback on that. Shall I assume that all you guys are only interested in reading what to do and how to do and not at all interested in actually doing it. If that is true than guys all my efforts will become just the GYAN, JUST THE GYAN, and I will not be interested in writing any more in that case. Guys, as I mentioned in my post #1 that it is you, who extracts everything out of me, and not me who gives you anything/everything, you will have to start extracting before it’s too late. See, as a manager also, u have to utilize the resources which are available. Resources won’t come to you always, and tell u this is how u can utilize us (resources). Isn’t that true? If yes, then I suggest that you all start acting like managers and not as CLERKS.

Anyways, as I mentioned in the last article, I am devoting this article to Maths section of CAT.

My first question to you all is: are managers supposed to be good at Maths? Personally, I doubt. Look into the roles of Finance, Marketing, HR, IT/Systems, and Production etc managers. What has an HR manager to do of Maths except calculating salary increases? What has a marketing manager to do with Maths except analyzing the data to find out what kind of growth opportunity exists in the market? What has a Finance manager to do with Maths except thinking of ROR, ROI, WACC, and P & L.? If those are the only things required for various managers, why the hell you should study No. System, Time-work, Time-Distance, Perm-Comb, Prob, ratios, Geometry etc etc. What has geometry to do with any function of Management?

Let’s understand 1 thing simple. IIT-JEE asks for P, C, M, why, because these are the subjects which have to do something with every branch of engineering and U will study these subjects in the 1st year as well. CPMT asks P, C, Biology (Botany, Zoology), why, because these are the subject which have to do something with every branch of medicine and U will study these subjects in the 1st year of MBBS, as well. And same is true for all the entrance exams; you talk of CA foundation, Bank PO, Bank Clerical or whatever. Basically, whatever is going to be of some use to you in your future jobs is what is asked in the entrance exams. Right??

So, now the question is what’s going to be of some use as a manager to you? Is it going to be English? I am sure all of you will say, YES, for the simple reason that today business is not restricted to a particular geography or region, it’s rather cross borders and so a common language is required. Fair enough explanation of English being a part of Managerial aptitude. What else is required to be a good manager? THINK. THINK. My answer to that is COMMON SENSE, which is what is the most un-common thing these days. ‘Thanda matlab coca cola’ a simple theme developed by Coke to market their product in India. Do they use it in any other country? No. They understood one simple thing that Indians still calls a cold drink, THANDA. And they exploited this word. Isn’t it common sense? For that matter Pepsi could have been the first to think of it. Where will I invest the 500 crore profit I had in last year? Will I buy stocks, Will I put up a new plant, will I issue dividends, will I let them be idle in banks, will I buy competition (M&A) etc etc. Answer to this is, where ever I think is higher ROR for me, I will put my money there. No doubt, later I can turn out to be wrong sometimes. But then that was my perception/calculation of returns in what I invested my money. Isn’t it common sense? All the financial tools are secondary unless and until we have this basic understanding. Once we have this basic level of understanding then things like Black-Sholes model, Product Life cycle, what motivates People except money will come into picture?

So let’s go back. Should CAT be asking Maths? Answer is a plain NO. And dear friends, I after writing 13 consecutive CATs am telling you a fact that CAT DOES NOT ASKS MATHS at all. WHAT IT ASKS IS PLAIN COMMON SENSE.

Here are some examples.

Q: In rectangle ABCD, Point E and F trisects the base DC. What is ratio of Area (tri AEF) to that of rectangle? CAT 2001(if I can recall well)

Ans: How most of you will do it is: Area AEF/ Area ABCD = ½ x EF x AD / AD x DC = ½ x DC/3 x AD / AD x DC = 1/6, which is the right answer.

Now as per me that’s not Manager-Sense or common sense. How I will approach is: Diagonal AC divides rectangle into 2 equal halves. DE=EF=FC, the 3 triangles ADE, AEF and AFC have to be equal. Therefore, Triangle AEF is 1/3rd of Triangle ADC, which is half of the rectangle. So 1/3rd of half = 1/6th.

See, I have taken more words to explain, but when I am doing it in exam, I will just draw 2 lines, AE and AF and immediately mark the answer. 3 seconds job. What do u say? MANAGER’s job is to visualize. Isn’t it?

Q: In rectangle ABCD, Point E divides DC in the ratio 1:3. If area of triangle ADE is 7 sq cm, find the area of rectangle? CAT2000 (if I can recall well).
a) 28 sq cm b) 42 sq cm c) 56 sq cm d) None

Ans: How most of you will approach is: Area ADE = 7. So ½ x AD x DE = 7. So AD x DE = 14. So AD x DC/3 = 14. So AD x DC = 42. And that’s wrong.

Those of you who are cautious will not write DE = DC/3, which DE is not, rather DE = DC/4. Using that you will get the right answer which is 56 sq cm.

Anyways, this above is a Maths teacher’s approach, and not mine. My approach will be: Triangle ADE is 1/4th of Triangle ADC. So Triangle ADC = 28 and so Rectangle = 56 sq cm. And I will take 4 seconds to do it in exam.

Guys, this is how you will do, after doing the 1st question. In CAT, how actually I did was: A line drawn from E parallel to AD, say touches AB at M. Now Triangle AEM is also 7, so rectangle ADEM is 14, Which stands on 1 unit base(DE), so on 3 unit base(EC) area will be 42, so total area is 56 sq cm. Howz that??

Now, I can keep solving questions here in the same fashion. I can solve almost all the questions of every CAT in the same fashion. Guys, you may believe it or not, I take 15 odd minutes to exhaust the Maths section, typically doing things as explained above.

Now, the more important point. How am I able to do things this way? There are things which by chance, I have been doing since early childhood. I hope all of you remember some problems like A & B went to a book shop, each purchased a book worth Rs 25…………………..Where has 1 Rs.gone? Hope you are able to recollect the old problem. Typically, we after a small effort use to leave that after trying for a while. My problem was, I use to try such problems till I use to find the answer. So what’s the lesson for you? Managers are supposed to keep trying till they have the solution? Right? No, not exactly, that’s how u develops eyesight for what is missing. Once developed, that eye sight pays in long run.

Second, I solved Shakuntala Devi book, when I think, I was in 8th standard. And not like most of my students. I didn’t use to refer to solutions ever, except for the answers. Unless I had tried a question 7-10 times, I didn’t use to refer to solution. Matter of chance, I was able to solve almost 95% of the questions in those many attempts. Typically what happens with my students is, after 1 try or maximum 2, they will rush to see the answers and here u have KILLED an opportunity for ur brain to develop. What can any teacher do now?

Third, even till date, when I am not able to solve a question, I will keep thinking of it, especially while I am driving. And will you believe that formulas like ‘Product of all factors of N=a^m x b^n x c^p………..’ I have derived while driving. Hey guys, I am not suggesting that you think while driving, but then what about the time you spend in Metro or Bus, what about the time when you are waiting for ur turn a doctor’s clinic, what about the time you are waiting for a bus etc.

Fourth, I use to share the best tricks I have made with my friends. We use to debate and ended up many times in fighting and spoiling our moods. But then end of the day, we ended up making lot of shortcuts. I remember many till date, how a particular short cut was derived by us, who ended throwing full cup of tea over whom while discussing (arguing actually)? This on 1 hand helped us gaining knowledge through sharing, on other hand the tricks were memorized because of the incident.

Fifth, I use to carry a diary, full of formulae I have read in a particular class, till that date. And I use to take it out of my pocket whenever I was in bus or at doctor’s place etc.(I missed my turn at doc’s place many times, hope you won’t). This habit made me derive many formulae on my own, of which I have never ever read the proofs or derivation. Imagine if u have derived a formula yourself, can u ever forget it and the concept behind it.

Sixth, since class 9th, I have habit of writing every single penny I have spent. What I use to do was, in morning while getting out of home, I use to count the money I am carrying. And when I was back home, I use to count it again. The difference, u know, is what I have spent. I use to think where have I spent, and I use to think till I can figure out every Rs.1 spent. This made my BODMAS solid, and I bet even today you can’t beat me in calculation, calculator allowed for you, not for me. Understand this guys, CAT won’t make you multiply 3456672 with 21344289. But then u will come across 34 x 47 type of simple calculation quite often. If you know that the answer is a little more then 1200, about 1600, that usually serves the purpose. Difficult na. No, not really, see 30 x 40 is 1200. So answer is more then 1200. Further 4 and 40 is 160 and 30 x 7 is 210. So the answer is 1200+160+210=1570. I hope that suffice to all. To those it does not, they can add 4 x 7 = 28 to 1570 to get 1598. Guys, you may not believe, when I was typing, I asked my friend who was sitting on the next table, to give me 2, two digit numbers. He gave me 34 and 47 and I immediately replied that their product is 1598. He said I am kidding and he checked and was amazed to see that it is correct. So the lesson is, when you like numbers you can be fast @ speed of light. Ok ok, speed of sound. Is that enough for CAT? I believe yes.

Lastly, I can keep giving you such tips to no end. As of now I am stopping for Ansh will say, sir no more space on mbatutes for your future articles. Lolzz… Anyways, don’t start following these tips. And say it’s too much. And be where you are. We all, including me, avoid working by saying it’s too much, just that if we start somewhere, slowly and slowly, with time, we end up doing so much that in the end we wonder if it were we only who has done so much. I, in my research (which is going on) these days, counted the pages which I have studied (of various case studies) in past 10 months and was amazed to find out that I have studied more than 12000 pages. I am wondering that it cannot be me who has read all these cases. But then I can’t deny my hand writing on all these papers.

Will wait for your comments, not on the article but on your progress.

Will also look forward to the suggestions on what next you expect from me.

I am planning of lecturing now, starting next article….so what’s the topic you all want….Vedic maths, number system or what else…

All d Best. VM

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31 Responses to “Everything about MBA entrance exams…# 3”

  1. pratik gupta says:

    Really the article of VM was really helpful and providing a boost of confidence for the students preparing for mba and other exams..sir,the thought u gave while writing this article that one should try to develop formulas while waiting 4 bus and so on seems ridiculous bcoz even i like to such type of stuff bcoz i find it interesting and sir from your side,i would like to get more help on vedic maths,geometry and permutations n combination…last one sometimes confuses to the great extent…

  2. rajiv says:

    good job sir though u have shared all of this with us but still sharing all this on this platform where not just us anyone can come n learn from your experiences z a gr8 help n m sure everyone will agree to me on this n m sure this time NS z not going to scare the hell out of me!!

  3. navdeep says:

    where do u teach????

  4. Harhit says:

    Hello sir, I loved your tips and your advice. Can you please post some videos on Remainder Theorem and if possible, geometry as well?

  5. Prerna says:

    hello sir,
    thanks for the valuable advice.
    sir please will suggest best book for cat quantitative section,as i m a average student in maths.


  6. Lim says:

    You are a very intelligent man.

  7. snehi kumari says:

    your each word helps me and all those students who really want to crack cat.sir,thanks a lot for a real guideline.

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