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Flashes (Part 2)
Midnight Ruminations (Part 1): http://www.pagalguy.com/discussions/all-i-wanted-to-speak-about-cat-25002933/34089336
The story is the same as faced by most of the students in India. Plus Two, no idea what to do, tanked the JEE, tanked the AIEEE, went to Manipal hoping to be a Bond and fared much less than any self-respecting Bond would. I remember getting backs (failing subjects) in the initial semesters and not knowing what to do about it at home. My parents are generally my most staunch defenders. They have always defended their son and seen him shine. But even they were flabbergasted. Mediocre result was a given. All I could do is pray for no backs. Basically, I faced the same situation of non-identity that the best and worst do. My mistake was- I failed to apply myself and make amends.
How do you completely destroy yourself? The most common answers will be in love, in smoking and drinking or in drugs. I disagree completely. Excess of anything destroys you right? Wrong.
The only way you can completely destroy yourself is when you start to accept that you are only good enough to be where you are currently. Accepting mediocrity is the surest suicide. I came damn close.
There are 2 things that had a major impact on me. That changed my outlook.
December 2012 - I land home after another average semester. For the first time ever, only dad comes to pick me up. In the car, he reveals to me that mom has cancer and breaks down. Me? I am stunned.
The cancer could be recovered. After the initial anxiety, we learned to deal with it somewhat. We still never let mom do any major task. She was undergoing her chemotherapy sessions and some days were tougher on her than the others. But my mom was a fighter. She never let us approach anything negatively. Looking at her hustle and bustle around the house, you could have been forgiven for thinking everything was perfect. Even in the hospital, people were flabbergasted she took it so well and asked her to write a book on positive thinking! She taught me to fight against the odds. I promised to never fail again.
May 2013 - I had improved somewhat but still felt I was in that rut. This self-assured Doctorate student from IIM Calcutta comes home. He is from Dad's company. He talks to me a bit. The next day he tells Dad I am meant for much much more than what is being doled out to me!
This might sound like idle praise to some of you but to me, it meant the WHOLE FREAKING WORLD. For someone who did not even know if he would get placed at all, praise was hard to come by. Parents also seemed to have accepted my condition. And then viola, he came and CHANGED everything.
Suddenly, I wanted to be what HE saw me as. Suddenly, I was the guy who didn't want to prove his future mentor wrong. That day I started studying for CAT 2013.
Ps - Next post has CAT 13 details. Sorry if I am going slow. I don't want to make these posts tedious reads.
4 years, 4 attempts. Error 404 - IIM not found
Posting on this thread was long awaited. Whether I do justice to it or not, is for you to judge.
A bit of background - I have always been an average, non-phodu student. And I dreaded Maths. I dropped a year and still could not crack any IIT or NIT. Needless to say, this was the perfect recipe for being treated as shit amongst friends and relatives. It was frustrating, to say the least. To make things worse, I stayed just 100 metres away from a top NIT. To look at it every day, to aspire and then to finally realize you are far below their standards is not exactly an uplifting feeling.
I just didn't want to study in an engineering college in my state (most of them concentrated in only one city) and be around 'friends' and relatives again. I chose a college far away, in an unheard of place called Shimoga. I deleted my Orkut (yes, Orkut) account. I wanted no contact. Even if I came home on a semester break, I met very few people. Everyone else seemed to do better than me and without me.
I had studied a bit seriously in the dropped year and this came in handy during engineering. Also, the competition in the college was just average. It was not too tough to take things lightly and still end up in the top 3 or even at the top. I hardly took the achievements seriously. There was no pride in being amongst the best there. The regret of not making it to a top college always remained.
It was in the 7th semester that I thought I had a chance to make things right. I had this plan- "Make it to an IIM. Any God damned one. I don't care if it is old or new or a baby one."
The first attempt (CAT 2011- 83.xx %ile, XAT 2012 - 77.XX)
It would be unfair to say that I was just testing the waters. I was serious. And I wasn't good enough, again.
Perhaps, the average competition in my college had made me forget that there were other brains in the country and many of them were better than mine. I was barely able to complete the syllabus and had taken 1-2 mocks. I failed to gauge the level of competition and hence, the pathetic score. Also, quant was a major cause for concern. Memories of 12th came back to haunt me. I thought I tried better than my scores suggested. But then, those thoughts don't matter.
The second attempt - I pushed harder.
I was fresh into a job that I hated from day one. I tried harder than the last year. I took a few mocks. My quant skills were improving. But, my mock scores were in the range of 85-90 %ile, no matter how hard I tried. The end result- CAT 2012 - 93.47 %ile. I didn't take any other exam like XAT etc. I just wanted any damn IIM, remember? The result was not good enough, again. And the taunts returned. A few so-called-friends said, "jab aukaat nahin hai toh kyun itna udte ho?"
The third attempt (CAT 2013)- perhaps, the most important one.
It was for this attempt that I worked the hardest. I barely took 3-4 days off after the CAT 2012 results. I made a study plan and vowed to stick to it.
The plan was -
Weekdays - 4+1 hrs.
10 mins - plan topics for the day
20 mins - Speed Enhancement Tests
30 mins - Reading Comprehension
2 hrs - Quant and Data Interpretation
30 mins- Word meanings
30 mins - The Hindu editorial
1 hr (optional)- Quant and Data Interpretation again if I get the time.
The next day - just replace 2hrs of QA & DI with VA & LR. Rest remains same.
Weekends - 8+2 hrs
10 mins - plan topics for the day
20 mins - Speed Enhancement Tests
30 mins - Reading Comprehension
6 hrs - Revisit areas that need practice. Study weak areas in QA/DI/VA/LR
30 mins- Word meanings
30 mins - The Hindu editorial
2 hrs (optional) - Solve problems marked as important / difficult if I get the time
I made every effort to stick to the above plan. I used a
stopwatch on my cell phone to keep track of the time spent on each activity.
When the stopwatch ran, I had to concentrate only on studies. If I got a phone
call, got up to drink water, or a loo break (whatever) , I stopped the
stopwatch and did those. Stopwatch resumed when I was back to my books. It became a habit after a few days. My
flatmate wondered why I had a stopwatch on my phone screen all the time
I have lost count of the number of parties and outings I skipped in order to stick to the 4+1/8+1 plan. My social life diminished to almost zero. I took up a flat very near to office. The area was a bit more expensive, but it took me just 5 mins to reach office. I talked to very few people at office. Any free time I got, I utilized. While my boss and colleagues took the 1 hr lunch + sutta break, I gobbled up my lunch in 15 mins. That way I could pull out the stopwatch and get 30mins before they returned. Also, I hardly took any break. When at office, I replaced my cigarettes with nicotine chewing gums. Not as much fun, but they save time. The shops were not very near to the SEZ and a sutta break took at least 30mins. All I wanted was to finish off my work ASAP and get around 30-60 additional minutes to study at office. I still remember the day when there was a function at office and everyone was there, enjoying. I was holed up in my cubicle completing my work. Thereafter, I found my way to the vacant library. I told to myself all this was going to count someday.
I also cut down on the number of minutes spent on talking to
my gf. I made it a habit to mail her the daily status report of whatever I had
studied the day before. Damn, even my manager asked for a weekly report, not a
Study->Work at office->Sleep->Repeat - this summed up my life.
It was not always possible to put in 4+1 hrs on weekdays and 8+2 hrs on weekends. It was taxing, to say the least and sometimes the vella instincts took over. But, I had a pretty decent 70% success rate, i.e. 7 days out of 10 I was able to stick to the schedule. The rest 3 days, I missed it by a margin - either small or huge. But, there was no single day when I hadn't touched the books. The 1-2 optional hrs made me push my limits. There was hardly any day when I slept thinking that I was done for the day. Usually, it went like this - plan for a 20 min nap -> end up sleeping for 2 hrs -> study for 40-60mins -> sleep again.
In a few months, the mocks scores started improving. I was scoring in the range of 95-98%ile.
39 days to the C-DAY - it gets all messed up.
The day was Friday, the 13th (of September). I met a freak bike accident. I had a bad ligament tear on my waist and a gaping hole in my knee. It left me completely bed ridden. No MBA this season, I thought.
But then, my gf was not sure if she could wait that long. She is from an orthodox South Indian family where they like to marry off girls (and boys) early. Waiting for me to complete my MBA was difficult, but adding an extra year to that was nothing short of rebellion for her. The MBA had to be done, this season. I had no other option.
I had my laptop brought to the hospital bed. I could not get up and sit upright. Having a
man lying down whole day with a laptop on his chest was quite a sight for many
By two weeks, it was clear that there was no way I could nail CAT from a hospital bed. My mock scores dipped. They were in the range of 88-92%ile now. Against all medical advice, I decided to move to home. I cut down heavily on painkillers and had my doctor prescribe a less sleep inducing one. I told myself, "It is just an orthopaedic problem. I am not suffering from Cancer or AIDS. A bit of rest and I will do just fine." It was a bit more painful at home, but a lot quieter. I could study and take mocks in peace.
A week before the C-Day
I could barely walk, but the mocks scores were on an all time high. I had scored 97-98+ in the last few mocks. I had spent much of the last month just taking and analyzing mocks. I decided not to take mocks any more. I just analyzed past mocks and brushed up the equations.
I came out of the examination hall feeling I should have done 3-4 questions more in each section. I didn't feel it went as well as I had expected.
As nothing could be done about CAT now, I thought about giving XAT a serious try. I solved and analyzed all available mock papers I could lay my hands on. The XAT went reasonably well. I knew I had done the best I could have.
The results and calls -
The results started pouring in. CAT was 97.11%ile. I got calls from the new IIMs. Finally a call from IIMs I thought.
XAT was 99.88%ile. Got calls from XLRI-BM and HRM. I hadn't applied to any other institute.
The XAT score worked wonders to boost up my spirits. I was slowly, but surely getting the feeling that I can make it to top institutes. I had read @Zzeke's post before. I knew what it took to get into XL. To put it shortly and honestly, I can say I tried just as hard.
The first interview was XL-HRM followed by XL-BM 3 days later. The interview centre was XLRI, Jamshedpur. I fell in love with the place. The whole campus had a welcoming air to it. I was floored by the humility of a few people I met there. You never feel it is the place of the arrogant elites. That day, I just knew I wanted to be in one of the top institutes - either old IIMs or others in the top 10.
The HRM interview was chaleble types. There were plenty of highs and lows. I was banking on my XAT score to see me through.
The BM interview was cool. There were no low moments and I was able to answer almost every question, most of them technical. I had a hint of doubt about a question which was opinion based - something related to AAP and its policies. Rest all was cool. I was confident of converting the call, though I didn't say that to anyone who asked.
The next interview was for the new IIMs. They blasted me for everything, ranging from acads to CAT%ile to my work ex, to choosing Bangalore as the interview centre and almost everything under the Sun. According to them, I was good, but not good enough for their standards. I tried to handle the stress interview the best way I could. I put up a smile and defended my position calmly.
At the end of it, when I came out of the interview room, I
could barely suppress my anger. I cursed under my breath, removed my tie, shoved
it into my bag and walked out with a whole tray of biscuits wrapped in a napkin.
I hope they brought another tray for the participants waiting for their
It was my flatmate's birthday. I was just going out to get some booze when someone in XL Whatsapp group pinged that the results were out. I felt a chill down my spine. I checked the results -
XL - HRM - Straight Reject. I expected a waitlist at least. But, never mind.
XL - BM - Straight Reject. WTF?
I refreshed the page a few times, but the result was the
same. I tried to keep my cool and went out to bring the booze. As I rode the
bike, I ran the interview over and over again in my head. All the sacrifices I
made, all the hard work I put in, I remembered everything. I had to stop the
bike by the side of the road, just to cry. I do give the bullshit about "men
don't cry" but when the moment came, I found myself no stronger. I called up my
gf. The call went unanswered. I called up my father - unanswered. I hadn't
cried in a very long time and now, how badly I needed a shoulder to cry upon. To
this day I don't know what more I could have done in that interview. XL messed
up the results this year in 2015 and it took a PG post to make them realize
their mistake. May be, they did the same in 2014 too. (Sour grapes, I know. But,
they work just as fine to console your mind
A few days later, the new IIM results came in. I had
converted four of them. May be I had handled the stress interview well.
My gf too wanted me to join. "What if it's not XL? It's still an IIM". I was too tired of explaining things to people. I just said, "Google the difference. As for the marriage, tell me when and if you want it. I shall be ready." I don't know what she Googled, but she called me up after a week and said, "I will wait for one more year." This was the best thing I had heard in a long time. I don't know why she chose to be so patient with a 3-time loser. Thank you Google!
The 4th attempt - CAT 2014 (damn, I am tired of typing. Thank you if you have read this far)
I contemplated quitting the job to prepare. Moreover, the work was not challenging enough and I hardly talked to anyone on office. But, the CAT is unpredictable and justifying a jobless gap would not have been easy. I decided to stick to my job. I proactively tried to get into stuff that was a bit challenging and interesting. I joined the Toastmasters club and met some amazing people there - the certificates and awards came in handy during interviews. It was here that I met @anwesa09 - the most helpful individual I have ever met. Having her help at all stages was the biggest advantage I had this year.
I was somehow at peace this time. I knew I had nothing to lose. I was not afraid to fail again. The study plan was essentially the same as last year. I analyzed all the past mocks and was ready for the CAT just when the mocks season began. The mocks started with a paltry 93.xx and jumped to a 98 in the next one. A few mocks later I was scoring in the range of 99.5+. F*ck yes! Not worrying about the future was working for me. I maintained an average OA of 99.5+ for the next several mocks. The CAT pattern changed. It caused my scores to dip to 95-98 range for a while. I pulled up my socks and was scoring the 99.5+ before long.
The CAT/XAT/IIFT exams and results
By the time of the C-Day, I was not in awe of any 99%iler. There was respect, but no awe. I also applied for a few top institutes other than IIMs this year.
IIFT - 44.xx marks .... GK :/
CAT - 97.68%ile
XAT - 98.38%ile
The funny part - I had a 99.xx in quant in CAT with VA screwed and a 99.xx in VA in XAT with quant screwed. I felt mocked by fate. But then, f*ck fate.
The calls, interviews and final results - IIFT, SP Jain and an out of the blue IIM -I and S. No XLRI call as I had just 70.xx in XAT QA.
The first interview was for IIFT. The essay and GD was cool.
The interview was okay-ish. The low point was when they asked me questions
related to my father's job and qualifications. I doubt whether my father could
have answered those
SP Jain's process went smoother for me. After the SPJ interview, when @anwesa09 asked about it, I just said, "Nailed it. If this doesn't convert, I wonder what will." But, I had felt almost similar about XL last year. So, a hint of doubt remained.
I was asleep with a hangover when SPJ declared its results. A friend called and informed me about the results being out. I just acknowledged and fell back on to the bed. I didn't want to relive last year's disappointment. I told myself, "Better to get a good sleep and be prepared for it. Also, checking it a few hours later won't change the results."
I woke up at 1pm to see quite a few missed calls and pings
about SPJ's results being out. Also, I faintly remembered talking to a professor
from SPJ when I was half in my sleep. I logged in to check and it was official -
I had finally made it! What better way to cure a hangover than to get a couple
IIFT was a ding. And I decided to skip IIM-I and S interviews after SPJ's results.
From aspiring and failing to join anything with an IIM tag to skipping their interviews, I have come quite a long way. If I can do it, any average Joe can. But, this is not the end. As someone said, "Life is a race and there are no winners. You just qualify for the next race."
(For those of you who did scroll down quickly - SPJIMR Class of 2015-17 it is.)
Looking at the posts here of many aspirants, I can't say that my journey was as difficult as many but it was tough and many a times, depressing and filled with anxiety.
So let's get started, it's a long post...
Calls: IIFT, NMIMS, IMT, SIBM, SCMHRD, FORE, IMI, Nirma Converts: NMIMS, IMT, SIBM, SCMHRD Interview not attended: FORE, IMI, Nirma Joining: NMIMS Bombay
When I thought about writing CAT for the first time
Let's go back to 2010, it was the summer vacation after the second year of college, I was interning at an NGO in Ahmedabad when I first joined an institute for CAT Prep in June 2010. I was supposed to write CAT in 2012 but had joined the year and a half long course to cover everything from scratch. Those were great days, everything was going fine, I was good at it, was getting good scores in mock tests and was in the good books of the faculty members until August 2011, campus placements. I got placed on Day 0 in one of the niche firms and dropped the plans to join a B School in 2012. I stopped studying from that day. I wrote CAT in October 2010 for the heck of it and secured 91.xx percentile. I hadn't filled any other form and I knew I was not going to get any call with these digits. I was fine with it as I anyway was not planning to join any school the next year. I had made up my mind to work for two years, as it was one of the Big 4 I was joining in June 2012, and then study for the exams while working.
Suddenly one day my company decided to delay our joining by six months from June 2012 to January 2013. This put me in a spot and made me think over my previous decision to not to join a school. Did I make a mistake as this would put a gap of 3 years, rather than 2, between my graduation and joining B-School as per my plan? And what was I supposed to do for the next six months? I was bit disappointed with myself at that time. But what was done was done. I decided to utilize these six months productively and joined the Diploma course in Financial Management at Ahmedabad Management Association thinking it would ultimately help make my profile better.
Prep Journey Commences
came January 2013, I started with my job in Bombay and I totally loved it. In
October I voluntarily sought transfer to Bangalore so that I could rent an
apartment to myself (because, cheaper rents in Bangalore) and study peacefully
for the exams. Now this is where the tough time starts. I joined weekend
classes at TIME in Bangalore. Attended few classes initially but didn't find them useful, as they taught just the
basics in the classes which I already knew. I then started solving their
materials at home. My daily schedule was like this: I got up at 9, set out for
work at 10, reached office at 11 after a tiring commute comprising of walking,
autorickshaw, bus and office shuttle. Then left office at 8 in the evening
usually (when I was not required to stay back late till about midnight because
of calls etc.) and reached home at 9 tired after the same commute. Had dinner
and then started studying from around 10 PM and went on till 2-3 AM dispersed
with an episode of Suits or Arrested Development. Then on weekends, my entire
day was spent in solving TIME material till the AIMCATs started. This was a
disaster. My first AIMCAT fetched me 97.xx percentile. This was good but less
than what I had expected as the AIMCAT was simpler compared to the other
nightmarish AIMCATs that followed. In the remaining AIMCATs my percentile
varied widely, from 70-92. I was demotivated because the tests were tough and
my percentile was less. I started skipping an AIMCAT or two in between. I used
to sneak Pagalguy threads to see the level of difficulty and used to give only
relatively simpler AIMCATs. Yet my percentile was stuck in the 70-92 range.
Those were hard times, I had no social life, all I was doing was working and
studying. And studying was not giving me satisfaction enough. Coming home after
giving AIMCATs put me into deep thoughts about what I would be doing in CAT,
how much would I score. Would it be enough to get into a decent B School, if
not, with the kind of scores I am getting, would I get into a decent enough B
School post which a job will pay me more than what I was earning already. All I
could talk with a friend of mine at work over lunch was my anxieties and fears.
She was tired of hearing my whining but I couldn't help it.
During this phase, I realized that I was good at simpler speed based questions but not so much at the CAT level questions. I now also started focusing bit more on the speed based sets and stopped giving AIMCATs altogether towards the end as they used to depress me. I used to occasionally try to solve the questions from the AIMCAT pdfs provided though. As CAT grew closer. I started solving additional questions from IMS' 500 must do questions for CAT. That raised my confidence a bit. I also took online test packages for specific exams like SNAP and NMAT, those helped a lot to make me familiar with the pattern.
Exam season begins
First came September CMAT. Though I didn't want to get into any B-School which took CMAT scores, I gave the exam to see where I stood. As it is a pretty simple exam, I was able to do well in all sections but GK. I thought that the regular reading of newspaper (I was reading Mint) would be enough but I was wrong. I then started going through the Pagalguy GK threads, the weekly pdfs, TIME static GK module, additional GK questions over the internet and anything pertaining to GK I could get my hands on, also bought GK e-booklets online from various websites. I knew that GK was going to play a crucial role in SNAP which was a speed based test and I was aiming to crack, also IIFT.
Then came The D Day. I was anxious and didn't know how I would fare as the pattern was different and the AIMCATs with their experiments didn't help me gauge that either. The questions were too simple to believe but I still marked the questions in the range I was comfortable in as I didn't want to take the risk of negative marking. I marked the answers for 68 questions. 30 in Section 1 and 38 in section 2. I later realized that this was too less when I looked at the number of questions folks on Pagalguy had attempted. The CAT percentile predictors floating around were still saying that the number of questions I had attempted and with my accuracy, I should get more than 97 percentile. Well that was a consolation but all these predictions were wrong when the results arrived. I got 90.83 percentile, which was even less that 91.xx which I got when I wrote CAT in college without studying in the last 2.5 months. I was disappointed deeply. With all the efforts I had put in, I at least deserved more than 91.xx percentile of the last time without preparation. I could picture myself continuing in the same firm, though I loved working in my firm, but couldn't see myself working in Technology Consulting for a longer term. But with these scores, a good CAT score accepting B-School was out of picture.
Results continue, interviews take place. Then I got call from IIFT, my score was only a little above the cut off, also being a GEM, I had a disadvantage because of the reservations and the grace marks to girls. I attended the interview, my first of the season, it was little short of a disaster. I was asked weird questions about religion and spirituality and being an atheist, I had little idea. I said whatever I could think of at that time and came out. I knew this interview wouldn't take me anywhere. Then came results for NMAT and SNAP, both being speed based tests, I was able to fetch 99+ percentile in both. I went to Bombay and Poona for NMIMS and SIBM & SCMHRD interviews. First came SCMHRD and SIBM. SCMHRD interview was ok, definitely above average, the panel was not able to make out why I wanted to join SCMHRD with 2 years of experience as the pay would be already comparable to what I was earning in my Big 4 firm. But the SIBM interview was the best. The panel was impressed with my responses and presentation and I was sure to convert it. Then I went to NMIMS Bombay for the interview, the interview there too went well though not as good as SIBM. Meanwhile I gave IMT interview in Bangalore itself, it too went well barring the last moment when they asked me to solve a mathematical problem ( I mean come on, who asks that in the interview, isn't this meant for exams?).
Final Results arrive
SIBM, the best of the five interviews I gave till that time and which I was
sure to convert. Waiting List - 70. SCMHRD - WL 110+. This depressed me a lot.
Felt like if I couldn't convert SIBM, others will bomb too. I took to working
from home to cope with the anxiety and thoughts about my future. There was
nothing that could cheer me up. But luckily NMIMS result came out 3-4 days post
it and I was selected there. I knew no bounds of glee. The words 'SELECTED' on
my screen were like a treat to my sore eyes. I got into NMIMS, I was going to
Bombay, the only city I am proud to call home in India. Then IMT result came
and I was in WL, but I didn't mind. I was going to NMIMS. I had three more
interviews remaining, I didn't even attend those.
PS- In last few days, all - SIBM, SCMHRD and IMT got converted from Waiting List. I am still joining NMIMS.:)
Midnight Ruminations (Part 1)
This page has success stories. People here inspire me. This forum is uplifting.
Right now, while I sit here banging the keyboard furiously, there are certain lessons I recollect having learned. These lessons are/were a direct result of the last years of preparation, of moulding, of having people to discuss with and of self-realization.
The most important lesson anyone could teach came from the most unlikely source - me.
All of us, in varying degrees, crave for stability, for security. We want to feel we are treading the right path because that makes us feel secure about life. What is the best path to tread? No one has any clue. Then how can someone tell? How do you know you are going right?
The best answers always come from inside. I realized that the biggest deciding factor of how I was faring and how I would fare was - me. The mind knows where you err and why you err. When you are at peace with the mind, you know you are heading the way you need to. I had lost this peace a while ago. I found it only recently.
Once burned, twice shy. The 6 years it took me to regain my internal zen have also taught me the fragility with which it can be lost again. This war has made me a fighter. I will not let go of what I have got because I know how it feels to not have it at all!
PagalGuy as a forum has made me meet some great people. With that comes appreciation. I appreciate @vineetjain111 and how he made it so big with what he had. I appreciate @shashwatdgr8 and how he dealt with last year's set-back and rocked the world this time around. These are just some names. I appreciate so many people for the effort they put into these exams.
This thread and the ones linked to it is the story of my effort. I would never claim that it is at par to the level of such esteemed individuals. The only reason I share is because I want you guys to know, the fight is totally worth it.
Remember, in the end, only the man in the mirror can tell you how successful you are. Only he has these answers.
Because "This post is long,read it at your own risk" is way too mainstream.
"Don't expect a fairytale ending". My father always used to tell me.
This experience of mine which i am jotting down isn't a fairytale either.
The end is yet to come and I am not sure about the time when it actually would.
I've written CAT thrice already.The first attempt was when I was in the final year of college. CAT '11 it was. I used to spend my time sleeping during the day,bunking classes at will.My days were spent in reveries. I was not even daunted by that giant mustachioed college professors stature either who had seen me only twice during the entire semester.It was a 4 year long holiday that was about to come to an end. I signed up for TIME's correspondence course to tackle CAT and its henchmen(the other MBA entrance exams).
The package arrived in a week and I opened the package with the joy you can only see on a kids face opening his birthday present.
That was it. The package lay there for the next 10 days gathering dust.On the 11th day I tried to venture into the realm of the unknown when i took out the 1st quant book from the package. It seemed all familiar yet alien. I sat down and decided in my mind that I would solve one entire lesson that day. I began the arduous journey and the very first lesson on simple equations started giving me the jitters.I solved 2 entire exercises and left the last one for some time later.That 'some time later' actually came way too late.In fact I didn't open that booklet again.
YEAR 2011 & 2012
It was the first week of September when I got placed. Subsequently I lost all my inhibitions. I decided to appear for IIFT and CAT only. Every evening used to be beers and Mary-Jane. Besides I used to live right by the beach.It was just a 5 minute walk so getting all comfy and a bit spoilt was easy. The exam season began. CAT was a disaster as I had hoped it would be. My room-mate was sitting right beside me during the CAT exams.A studious one,he scored a 99.xx!
I managed a 68 percentile and I was still the same procrastinator extraordinaire. IIFT was just the same as well.I scored a 29.xx overall.
The glasses clanked and continued to spill beer as college was about to come to an end.
I received the letter from the firm I was placed in to join them in the 1st week of June 2012. The location was supposed to be Noida.
The training program was difficult to cope with. I managed to barely scrape through after 3 months of training during which I hardly did learn anything useful(is what I feel). I didn't appear for CAT or any other exam that year. However,I was unhappy at my work place. I couldn't see my self going any where. I decided to 'study seriously'(which is an oxymoron in my case) and crack CAT and other exams.
It was quite early when I started preparing. Mid-February in the year 2013 is what I recall. I still had those same books from the correspondence course I had subscribed to earlier and I decided to make full use of them this time.
I Signed up for AIMCATs as well in May. I solved the entire package within the next 4 months and moved on to the online sectional tests that had been provided by TIME.I worked pretty hard that time.Took some time off from work. I used to spend an entire day sometimes solving Quant and DI. I had Filled up the forms for CAT,XAT,SNAP ,IIFT and MICA as well. AIMCATs were cruel to me.I managed a couple of mid 90s and several mid 80s. I still believed that if not a 99, I might manage a 95+ at least in the final show. The season began as I took the exams one after another. Soon enough the results started pouring in one after another. CAT was surprising once again.Apparently normalization had devoured up my marks.I scored a 77 %ile overall and found it difficult to fathom the fact that I bungled up once again. XAT was a shocking 78.
SNAP was a 94. IIFT 39.84. Didn't make it to the GE/PI round in MICA. I was all devastated and disillusioned.
I still wanted to make it to a premier MBA institute. I was more interested in MICA though.Writing silly rhymes,analyzing market trends,studying how excessive consumerism would spell doom for human beings one day,how target audiences are identified for a particular product; I believed that MICA would be the one whose hallowed portals would honor the love I harbor for the institute and for its curriculum.
I decided to appear for the various entrance tests once again.i.e. the 2014 Season.However there was a change in plan this time around. I decided to ditch the books completely. I wrote a couple of AIMCATs and that was all the preparation I had done . The results were as follows:
NMAT:207 (super lucky me ! )
So,what this did was it made me a bit happy.Without the least bit of preparation I fared fairly if not failing completely.
I made it to the next round for MICA. Again,I appeared for GE/PI without any preparation whatsoever. My interview was a good one if not a stellar one I should say and so was the GE. I didn't land a spot offer but got into the MERIT LIST.
I was wait-listed(51) finally when the results were out.I cursed my luck and I withdrew my candidature subsequently because a 51 was too unlikely to convert MICA.
XAT had helped me to get a call from GIM as well but I didn't appear for the interview. The NMAT score was taunting me and I felt as if it was intentionally making a mockery of my present state of affairs.I hadn't studied at all so I wasn't as much disappointed as the last time. With this,the season came to an end and I found my self still on that same pedestal of uncertainty and confusion.
So,you see.I am still stuck at this same place I was before. I would be completing 3 years at work in a month. I still feel miserable when I have to leave for work everyday.I am trying to hate my job a little more now. Doing this helps me to study even harder especially when I see the face of my snobbish manager.
I am looking to make one final push this time. The 2015 season is probably the last one and I am hoping to make it big this time.
I had signed an armistice with my books a month back and we are getting along pretty well now.
That is the end of my random ranting folks.
Hoping this would uplift the mood of several people who are very much in the same condition as I am. If reading this made you smile then it can't get better for me. I love seeing people smile and making them smile.
Now it is the time,
To plan the course of my journey ahead,
The path I need to follow,
Or create a new one instead!
I made it to IIM Calcutta for the 2015-2017 batch. This achievement will always hold a special place in my life not only because I made it to the prestigious Joka but it also strengthened my belief in the saying that if you work hard enough, the whole universe conspires to help you. I will keep my story short. Hope this inspires somebody to go achieve his/her dreams.
The story starts in a clichéd manner. I was not able to get into the IITs and this did hurt me a lot, probably because it was the first significant failure of my life. Working so hard for 2 years with a single goal in mind and finally not being able to make it does make you question your abilities. But anyways, I made it one of the top engineering colleges through AIEEE. Engineering was never my thing, and I sincerely believe that you cannot succeed in what you are genuinely disinterested in, no matter how hard you try.
Next obvious goal seemed to be the MBA and what better than the holy trinity. Not only I would get my escape out of the pathetic engineering world, it was also boost my ego after the IIT debacle. The CAT journey started in 2012. I was unable to secure a summer internship in college, so decided to stay back during summers and prepare for placements and CAT. Prepared sincerely till the D-day but was never confident of my preparation. The score was 98.xx, not something I wanted. Nonetheless, I was able to secure a 17lpa software job so decided to take the plunge in the job world but the spark to redeem myself was still alive.
Now the CAT preparation would be terribly difficult to manage along with my hectic job, but I didn't realize this initially. Anyways, started preparation for CAT 2013 in June as soon as I started my new job. The days became tough. Worked in office from 11am to 7pm and then, the CAT preparation from 9 pm to 2am, all this time with a single goal of making it to ABC. The D-Day came and so did the results with a pathetic 92.xx . Life was testing me and I was breaking. Earning around 1 lac per month was not making me happy. I had a non-existent social life with not many to share my feelings with. But I knew I had it in me to rise again.
CAT 2014 preparation started and I wanted to give my all. Hence, joined a weekend coaching class, purchased all the material, MOCK test series, etc. I had to do it this time. The work at office took a back seat. I was ready to face the consequences at work but not ready to compromise on my dream. The pressure to make it this time was getting to me. My mind was pre-occupied with the thoughts "What if I don't make it ?". CAT became an obsession. This was dangerous had I not made it this year. Now, the D-day again came for the 3rd time. Tried to stay calm but the never-ending question was still staring at me.
The results came for CAT 2014 and the score was 99.63. I was going through some time at work. But, everything was forgotten. My joy was limitless like I had achieved everything. All the sacrifices I had made for the past 3 years finally paid off.
I gave interviews for BCL among the top 4 IIMs and converted CL. I have made a lot of mistakes in these past 3 years but I believe they have played an important an important role in shaping me to what I am today. I would leave you all with this : You can achieve whatever you want if you set your heart to it.
One can love me or hate me...BUT can't ignore my HARD WORK
10th - 93.86 % (Gujarat Board)
12th - 88.76 % (Gujarat Board)
UG - 70.86 % (till 6th semester, aggregate wise 6th in my class, CGPA would be above 9) (Electrical Engineering, FTE, MSU, Baroda)
The story goes back to first year which I completely enjoyed by playing cricket and computer games. Soon I was getting bored of playing computer games and I was having "extra" two hours that too unlike my other classmates who went for tuitions in college. One day an idea struck me to utilize those "extra" two hours. Then I got to know that one of my seniors had got 99.27 %ile in cat and realized that students from my college can also perform well in exams of national level.
I searched about cat and came to know that cat is about Maths and English.
In the vacation of
I knew with the percentage given by my university I will never make it to IIM A. Though IIM A was my target. I made
Now I want to tell people from where
Now it was the time for Maths preparation. I had joined TIME and solved the QA-1 book within a week then the same chapters I solved from Arun Sharma. I faced difficulty in doing "Numbers" on my own though with the determination and persistence I grasped the concepts.
Cat 13 results were out. No one from seniors crossed 99
I knew because of reading I got
AIMCATs season started. I was getting around AIR 500. With some more practice I was getting around AIR 300, except a few cases where I score too low or high.
Placement season started and I was rejected by two companies in GD process. So it was very demotivating to my preparation as I was aiming IIMs and I am not able to get through campus GDs.(Later, I was placed in the company I was targeting.)
Exams season started. I did not go for CMAT as speed was my strength and thought I won't be able to utilize my strength. I took NMAT and result was out on the day before cat. It was 231( 99.806 %ile) with 103( 99.993 %ile) in QA. I was on a high as I knew I have to replicate the same performance the next day). CAT went well. IIFT, the next day, was a disaster as I was in no mood of taking exam. And results started pouring. I got a call from IIFT (98.03 %ile) and was extremely happy. SNAP went well . Then the CAT results were out. And It was a disaster.
Overall: 98.45 %ile
QA/DI : 99.32 %ile
VA/LR : 90.61 %ile
I was completely hopeless with this result and knew it is going to be cat 15/16 and again in no mood of taking XAT. I got 99.6993 %ile in SNAP and I realized that it was just bad day and I can perform better in cat. Soon I got calls from IIM
I started working on my communication skill and it was improving, slowly though. IIFT interview came and as expected the topic was very general and no one allowed me to contribute in the GD. I knew it was a reject. The next day it was
Indore and NMIMS interview went well. But I doubt my indore convert chances due to low graduation score. I wanted to postpone my MDI interview so that I get enough time to improve my communication skill and I managed to postpone it to 24th march, Bangalore. The day came and I performed very well as per my standards and satisfactorily overall as I can't dominate GD.
Finally MDI results were out and I converted HRM. Though I would join it only if convert PGPM. Indore was a reject.
So here I am ending this. Hopefully I will covert PGPM and would be joining MDI this year or it will be cat 15/16.
Finally I wanted to thank all my friends who believed in me all the time and motivated me during the toughest times and especially @chaka for helping me in the interview process.
Update on 28th june
I was upgraded to PGPM from PGHR on the 2nd list (16th June). And it has been 2 weeks since I joined MDI. The schedule was somewhat hectic so i am uptading this post now.
Disclaimer : Not a (CAT/XAT/IIFT/SNAP) success story.
Intended Audience : My friends who are still active on PG + People who are remotely interested in HR course from TISS
The beginning :
It was the year 2008-09. I had this brilliant idea of cracking CAT and making it big in life. I had made my plans - "B.Tech + a 2 year work ex = Perfect MBA profile". The first 2 attempts at CAT 2010 and CAT 2011 were merely for testing the waters. I had been anointed as "Verbal Goddess" by great puys in season 2010 itself. As a mark of mockery, my CAT VA and VA-LR scores in 2010 and 2011 were 89.xx and 74.xx respectively.
Great Expectations :
I was working in TCS. Took a leave of 21 days before CAT 2012. The result : 5x.xx %ile in CAT. XAT gave me 76.xx. Had a call from XIMB-RM, converted it and did not join.
Meanwhile, life had other plans. I heard that TISS had changed its entrance exam pattern. TISS NET had 95 objective questions with 25 GK questions. I did not have to write subjective answers ! Gladly, I plunged in to write the test without pondering over questions like "Is this the right course for me ?" I took the written test and was able to complete the entire 100 questions in 20 minutes flat. Same was the case with other candidates. QA section had a very memorable question - "What is the square root of 16 ?" Yes, you read it right. GK section had questions like "What was the reason behind formation of Sachar committee ?" Needless to say, GK was the determining factor of the test. The written test results were out. Cut off was 86. I scored 87. I was called for PIT/PI. The pattern had changed that year. We were supposed to write an essay for PIT and face the interview panel. Since it was the first year of TISS NET, there was hardly any time to "prepare for PIT/PI". I came across a preparation thread in PaGaLGuY and interacted with other shortlisted candidates. Essays were written, reviewed and opinions shared. I still had no answer to the question "Is this course right for me ?" or even "Am I the right fit for this course ?" I went for the PIT/PI to Mumbai. There were 2 essay topics, we were supposed to attempt any one of them. I chose the topic "Patriarchal outlook of Indian society". The topic "supposedly" was from my comfort zone. I wrote an essay and scored 35 out of 50. In the interview, I scored 38 out of 75. The end result - I was rejected. It was very difficult for me to accept the fact that the people I supposedly "helped" had made it and I had not.
CAT 2013 had a similar story to tell. The only difference - For TISSNET, the cut off for written test was 72. I had scored 71. The worst that could have happened. I had begun to believe that this was the end. 4 attempts in 4 years and a single convert from XIMB RM course. And the reject from TISS hurt badly.
The last season :
Nothing miraculous happened in CAT 2014/XAT 2015/SNAP 2014/ IIFT 2014. Got a call from NMIMS Mumbai for MBA at a written score of 210 and eventually converted it. Paid the fees in time. At least I was going to do an MBA somewhere.
XIMB BM too gave me a call (owing to domicile category) and I converted it. My interview experience is here
TISS NET gave me a call this time. Cut off was 75 and I scored 76.
It was time to avenge the prior humilation (read : reject).
The preparation for PIT/PI was more centered towards myself. I figured out what the course was and my expectations from it. It took me days to frame answers to questions like "Why HR ?" , "Why TISS ?", "Why HR after IT ?" Since I had over 40 months of work experience by then, I made observations about my organisation with respect to HR policies. I also brushed up on frequently asked questions on trade unions, etc. A couple of my friends like Animesh were generous enough to help with materials and links from various websites. To be on the safe side, I brushed up my engineering basics (and realised that I had forgotten most of it) and subjects like 'Organizational Behaviour' that was taught in college. Also, I read a few issues of magazines like "People Matters". It helped me form an opinion on contemporary business issues involving HR. I was actively involved in reviving the Toastmasters Club at office this year. It was a kind of HR activity and I enjoyed the same. It gave me access to several people and content that I loved to work with. All this while, I did not put any extraordinary effort towards the entire process of TISS NET and PIT/PI ( I took my time to sleep, catch up with friends, work at office, etc). However, I had spent a lot of time (over the year) reading various books and thinking about them. Did not take up any interview coaching classes or mock interviews with anyone.
For the essay part, I did not put any special effort. The D-Day arrived. At 9 am, we were given the essay topic "Patriarchal outlook of Indian society". Yes, it was the same topic as the last season. I attempted it with S-P-E-L-T technique in mind ( S-P-E-L-T stands for Social - Political- Economic - Legal - Technological aspects of an issue). In 2013, I had written about 5 pages. This time it was about 4 pages. I cited examples from recent happenings, quotes from books that I liked and so on. I felt I needed to write more on the topic. The invigilator literally pulled the sheet out of my hands. In 45 minutes, that was all I could do. I spent the next month (till results were declared) in apprehension. If only I had the time to write some more lines ! The scores were out. I had scored 42 out of 50. A pleasant surprise !
I waited for a couple of hours for the interview. During this time, I glanced at my notebook (had made a fat notebook that contained almost all parts of my preparation over a couple of months). I decided not to spend much time on it and interacted with fellow aspirants and seniors. That eased the tension a bit. (In my last attempt of 2013, I was the first one to be interviewed, right after the essay). I was in Bino Paul Sir's panel. Prof. Rao and Prof. Vijayakumar were seated as well. I entered the room and greeted them. It started with "Tell me about yourself" and moved on anticipated lines. I was asked questions on DAF,my company's HR policies, status of women in the corporate world. Prof Vijayakumar asked me the question "How did you prepare for this interview ?" The words numbed me. I had prepared for this interview but was never prepared for this question. I regained my composure and blurted out , "I brushed up subjects like Organizational Behaviour from college". He asked me to talk about leadership theories that I knew. I knew nothing about it and said so. He asked me something else that I was able to answer. To end the interview, Prof Sarala Rao asked me about my take on OB and HR as a whole. When I answered, Prof Vijayakumar chipped in "Now you are sounding vague." He re-framed my sentence and asked me to clarify. I stuck to my point and at the end of it, he smiled. I left the room. For the next month or so (till results were declared), those words haunted me - "Now you are sounding vague". However, there is nothing you can do after an interview except waiting.
The results were out. I had scored 59 out of 75 in the interview.
From 38 to 59.
It took me 2 years but I did it. I had made it this time.
Joining TISS Mumbai HRM.
5 years. 5 calls. 4 converts. The first reject turns into the final convert.
Would like to thank each of the puys and pirls here. All of you deserve special mention. And you know who you are.
P.S. : A very long post indeed ! Aspirants can use this for RC practice
My life; My story
Read it or don't read it. I don't care.
Love it or hate it. I don't care.
There are two kinds of people, leaving aside the reservation quota, who make it to IIMs every year. The intelligent ones and the ones who acquire enough knowledge over the years to appear to look like the intelligent ones. And it took three years for me realise that I'm neither.
As with most of the others I fell in love with CAT as soon as I came to know about it in 2012. I had just joined TCS and I was care free and enjoying my life. One day, sometime in September 2012, I had a chat with one of my colleges who briefed me about CAT. The seemingly simple idea that "how hard can an exam be that tests basic English and Mathematics at 10th standard level" grew within me that very day. The very next day I applied for CAT using an Axis Bank voucher having just a month's time to prepare. I knew I won't be getting the percentile that I aspire within a month's time. I set my goals on CAT 2013. CAT 2012 was just a trial run.
The clichéd background story (Science student- Engineer- IT employee)
I was always good at mathematics. It was always less preparation and more marks throughout the school days and I went on to get a 100% in 10th standard CBSE board exam 2006 with an 81% overall. This gave me enough confidence to take a shot at the revered IIT-JEE. One year down the line I realised I was no IIT material but AIEEE and NITs were within the sight. I slogged for one year and got a sub 10,000 all India rank in AIEEE and 88% in 12th CBSE board exam. But fate has its own way of saying f**k you.
My grandma passed away with just two days to my Mathematics board exam. I was completely devastated and I was in no mood to take the exam. And results showed up as expected. I got a meagre 80% in Mathematics. So getting into Anna University was completely out of the equation. Meanwhile my parents were at the verge of getting a divorce. And just a week before my NIT counselling their fight took an ugly turn and I had no parent to accompany me to my counselling. I finally joined a private engineering college in Chennai which was supposed to be a backup after abandoning my seat at NIT-Trichy.
BTW I forgot to mention that I too had a love story. I'm blessed to say that my first crush was my
first girlfriend. We had a great time together throughout the 12th
standard. With all the combined studies we did together for IIT-JEE, AIEEE and board
exams we ended up getting the same percentage. It was one awesome year with her
My college life was great. I made new friends for life and had an awesome time. Apart from travelling 80kms every day I maintained a CGPA above 8.5. Mu-Sigma came for placement and I screwed up in the interview after clearing the test and GD. Finally I got placed in TCS and I had no regrets until I heard about CAT.
Will be continued in the next post.
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