TAS program has a track record of delivering some exceptional managers and business leaders since its inception. It is no wonder that such a prestigious program would put its aspirants through a rigorous selection process.

The selection process for the in-house aspirants could be especially more difficult because the sheer number of in-house applications received and the lack of adequate information and guidance regarding the program. Their counterparts in the MBA campuses have the advantage of seniors who have gone the experience and HR interactions.

For the benefit of the in-house TAS aspirants, we are breaking down and analyzing the selection process of TAS:

GMAT:

The first step of your TAS application would be to submit your GMAT scores. Traditionally, the cutoff for the TAS application has been 650. Obviously, one should aim to get as high a score as possible.to improve the chances of selection.  GMAT score could be a deciding factor when there is a close contest between you and another aspirant. Especially, candidates who are lacking in the academic track record should try to compensate it with a higher GMAT score.

Key Considerations: Through your GMAT score, the selection panel is looking for your basic aptitude, problem-solving and analytical skills.

  • Hence, make sure you give your best in this round; you could enroll yourself into a training institute or online classes for extra support. However, don’t worry if your GMAT scores are not off the charts, if you are scoring well in all the other departments you may still stand a strong chance of making it.

Application:

The TAS’ application form is pretty exhaustive. The application process is no less than an Ivy B-school application process.  The application asks for information from all aspects of your life. Right from your professional experience, academic record to co-curricular activities the application covers your entire profile. Additionally, candidates also need to fill in “B-school essay” type of forms which ask for the Statement of Purpose, Goals and Career Plans.

Key Considerations: It is obvious that your professional and academic details will give the selection committee an insight into your profile. However, the essays will help them judge you as a person, your aim in life and how your TAS program is aligned to your long term goals. This is basically an opportunity for you to introduce yourself on paper. Hence, take your time and do a good job at it.

  • The essays need to be well-written in terms of language and content. The STAR framework could be helpful in finishing this task. You get your essays reviewed by friends and professionals to avoid any mistakes. When it comes to the application, make sure you are listing down all the major achievements and aspects of academics and professional career. Shortlist the best aspects which will make their way to the final application.

Chairman’s Group Discussion:

Chairman’s group discussion is no regular group discussion. The whole format of the Chairman’s group discussion is very unique. Here, every candidate is given a mini caselet to analyze. Every candidate needs to present the case as a Chairman to others in the group who are unaware of the case. About 5 to 8 minutes is allocated to each candidate to present their views on the case and 1 minute is given to conclude it. Every other person in the group would be getting the same opportunity to present the case given to them as a Chairman.

The results of this group discussion are announced almost immediately after the discussion and the selected candidates get to attend the case study presentation round on the same day.

Key Considerations: This round can be the real testing ground as the most number of applicants are eliminated in this round. The percentage of candidates that go through the next round when compared to the ones attending this round is very low.

  • The selection committee would be looking for key leadership skills such as analytical, interpretation and communication in this round. Your arguments will reveal your thought process and level of understanding of business concepts.
  • This round would need ample practice as it is different from any other group discussions you may have participated elsewhere.  As you are expected to present as the Chairman, you need to be clear of what kind of leader you want to project yourself as. Try doing a few cases from the internet and present it to your friends and family with the time frame so that you are better prepared.

Case Study Presentation:

The case study presentation necessarily needs to you to analyze, evaluate the case and present answers for the questions posed. The case, questions and the presentation templates are shared with the candidates who are shortlisted at the GMAT score level.  Half an hour is given to each candidate to present the case in front of a panel which may follow by a quick interaction with the panel.

The cases given here are taken from a few of the best business education sources and are mostly lengthy in nature. You would get almost 3 weeks to prepare for your presentation. However, it may not be as long as it seems because the cases would generally need extensive research and intense business knowledge.

Key Considerations: The panel will primarily look at your understanding of business concepts and presentation skills. Hence, it goes without saying that your presentation needs a lot of practice.

  • Your solutions to the problems given in the case need to be economically feasible and financial viable while also considering other key business segments such as human resources, operations and customer satisfaction.
  • Make the most of the interaction time you would get with the panel to convey the aspects of your personality that are not expressed in your profile as the panel would be having a copy of your profile at the time of the presentation. Be ready to face questions which are not related to your presentation.

Final Interview:

The final interview is conducted in Mumbai. The interviewers would generally be three to five CXO’s of Tata group. The interview may last about 1 hour on an average. Candidates are generally given an opportunity to lead the interviews.

Key Considerations:  The interviewers would have a copy of a form with your performance details in previous rounds. Hence, be ready to answer any questions related to them.

  • You can look at four major aspects in which interviewers may ask questions.
    • Your profile:  These questions are something you should expect. Questions regarding your academics, professional experience, co-curricular activities and your long term goals and how TAS would help you.
    • Knowledge of TATA group: As an employee of the group and as an applicant. You need to have extensive knowledge of the group and its key milestones. You could refer to books like Tatalog – Eight Modern Stories from a Timeless Institution- Harish Bhat  and The Creation of Wealth – The Tatas From 19th to 21st Century- R.M. Lala for your preparation.
    • Domain Knowledge: You could expect a handsome amount of questions regarding your job domain and experience. If one of the panel members come from the same business segment or company as you do, you can expect some intense grilling in this aspect.
    • General business knowledge: It is a very important trait for aspiring business managers and leaders to be aware of the business world and the  conditions of the economy. So, expect a few questions in this department too.

TAS is a very tough selection process to crack; however, it is not impossible. It takes months of preparation and practice. When done the right and focused way, your hard work will bear fruits. All the best for your prep and the test.