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Part - A
Five years in the making...... Hence, this one is going to be a long long one..... apologies in advance for the same!
You learn lessons throughout your life, at all stages of your life but the funny part is that you never know when and where you will have to apply them.... my life is full of such lessons....
Born and brought up in Kolkata..... have seen a lot of downs and some ups in life. My parents have worked very hard to provide for me by sacrificing their own needs and provide for me and I am wt i am because of them and onli them. There were times when my mom had to stay hungry to feed me well, there were times when she had to feed me burnt khichdi and I remember her telling me this with moist eyes (she kept this from me till very recently). This made me stronger and determined. I resolved to ensure that this never happens again and this became my main motivation to do well in life
Childhood was tough for me. Was ragged in school for reasons I can't fathom even now. Was under-confident, was over weight and had difficulty talking to people. That hunger to succeed was not there in the beginning either. However in hindsight overcoming these problems was what made me what I am today. It taught me that every problem can be overcome if you try hard enough.
I have always been a very carefree, careless lad who never cared that much about studies...... somehow used to score decently in school exams which kept my parents from giving me a sound thrashing.... Though my parents and teachers were always of the opinion "Agar padh leta to 1st aata" but I always felt "1st aake kya hoga, ratoo ka thapaa lag jayega". At that tym I was oblivious to how this world works and how capability without hardwork is useless.
Then came the 10th boards which were supposed to be a wake up call for me but alas I was as laid back as ever (kaun itna padhega). However, I remember one sentence that my maths tuition teacher has told me "Dekho u give ur best for ur boards, but remember one thing this doesnt matter as much as doing well in Entrance Exams does". At that time I wasn't even aware of what entrance exams were (yea, what an idiot i was to have not known what even IIT JEE was when I went to Kota the next year to prepare for the same). Gave my boards gt 83% and went to Kota (Bansals) post that which proved to be a turning point in my life for the first time in my life I was without my parents left to solve my own problems. It was an eye opening experience and made me come out of the protected world I used to reside in before that. Lost close to 35 kgs and came bk to Kol as a fitter and sorted out individual with clearer goals.
My journey towards CAT started way back in 2002...... I remember having a discussion with mom and dad discussing about doing an MBA post my engineering & orienting my choices according to that. Coming from a Marwari business family I ultimately aspire to start something of my own and hence, MBA will provide me with a very good platform to exxplore, network and gain some good experience before ultimately giving it a shot! So gave IIT JEE, AIEEE, missed an IIT seat by a few ranks (had an extended merit list rank) due to lack of preps (in Quants
College days passed like a breeze....... however, i found frenz who were like minded and we used to solve Quant and LRDI problems together. I still remember trying to solve the famous "Erdos number" set in my 1st year with my frenz in that crowded room of ours. Solving that set gave me a kick i din kno of till thn.... This gave me a feel of the passion I was gonna feel in the future for this exam, for the colleges I will dream of getting into. Motivated as I was I joined Career Launcher, Kolkata at the end of my 2nd year. Used to travel down every week to kolkata for classes from Dgp.
I knew VA was my achilles heel and I had to improve on the same, however I had no idea as to much I needed to improve. CL really helped realize that. Speed tests, Daily practise problems, grammar classes made me realize that I actually needed to improve a lot. Started reading rigorously, read like 30 books in close to 3 months underlining all the words which i couldnt understand and browsing the dictionary for them. Started conversing with my frenz in English as much as possible. Started using flash cards and using the words consciously on a daily basis. Flash cards are a very good tool to improve ur vocabulary but regular usage and revision of the words is a necessary exercise. I used to keep a small notebook with me all the time where I used note down the words learnt thru the flash cards and revise them on a daily basis whenever I used to be free. All this helped me increase my reading speed 2 fold and improve my grammar and other verbal skills
Quants, however, was my strength and I always knew that. Always used to do well in classes, sectionals, etc. Hence, the ante was always up in that front. However regularly solving the DPP sheets and problems on Pagalguy helped me stay a notch ahead of competition. Another thing that helped me a lot was the spontaneous mathematics I used to involve myself in. I began to fall in love with numbers and used to play around with them a lot. For ex if a car used to pass by i used try to play around with the numbers on the number plate, phone numbers were another thing that i used to play around with.on Solving problems (L1 and L2 esp.) from the Arun Sharma's book Quantitative aptitude helped me a lot (i kno a lot of ppl wont concur with me on this but the book reeli does help). Theory wise Total Gadha and testfunda material also helped sharpen my knowledge with their awesome tricks, shortcuts and examples
That was a short gist of how i prepared for CAT and this was all i did in terms of hardcore preps. Post that I never prepared per se and it was all mocks after that!
Point to note here is that 1 year of sound preps is enough for CAT post which composure and a little bit of luck is all that is required (which didn't come in that easily in my case
Start of a memorable journey with Pagalguy
I joined PG in July 2009 (phew I am an oldie
Sometime during my 3rd year in college I met @Satwinder in Dgp and we held the first PG meet in Dgp. Also became a madcap for PG
Through him I also got to know about the concept of Regional and National Dream Teams. Couldn't apply in 2009 as I joined a bit late. However, these teams played a major role in shaping my journey when I see it now
Mocks version 2010
Mocks according to me are the most important part of preps. My tryst with them started in 2010. I still remember getting 70%ile in my first mock. This however improved with time and I consistently used to score above 95 in most of the mocks. Gained a lot of confidence as a result and was up and ready for CAT when it came for me (atleast I thot so ).
Here is a snapshot of my mock scores in 2010:
This was my first CAT and as I stated above I felt well prepared. I booked my slot for the first week of November and was well pumped up. Luckily I got placed in Mu Sigma early into the placement season which meant I had a decent back up and hence, that kinda pressure wasn't there. The stage was all set for me and I thought I will manage well. Me and one of my college mates (who had also been with me in CL) had booked the slot together. The registration process tuk place smoothly and there were no tech glitches.
I started off with QA and attempted a decent amount (16 afai remember). Then moved on to VA where i attempted 19 in gud time which left me with LRDI and around 35 minutes which wasn't that bad. However, after being unable to solve a couple of sets I panicked (the preconceived notion that LRDI was obscure and tough in CAT 2010 did me in) and messed up the paper. After some ill - judged attempts I managed to attempt around 11-12 questions and the time allotted finished. I knew I had screwed up LRDI but there was still a glimmer of hope.
Waited anxiously for the results hoping against hope. I remember the results getting leaked and my friend (the same friend who gave CAT with me) sending me the result via email after expressing disappointment. It read as follows:
CAT 2010: 96.18%ile(QA:98.xx%ile,VA:97.xx%ile,DILR:57.xx%ile )
As expected LRDI screwed me big time. No calls from anywhere.
XAT 2011 was a disaster too as I knew I had messed up DMLR and ended up with:
XAT2011: 96.55%ile(QADI:85.xx%ile,VA:99.xx%ile,DMLR:69.xx%ile )
NM and Symbiosis called but i gave them a miss to give CAT, XAT another shot coz deep down I always knew that I can do much better.
Meanwhile I had landed my 2nd job at ITC Infotech and decided to pursue the same in Bangalore. At that time my focus what totally on CAT and I thought being in ITC will give me time to prepare for CAT while being in Mu sigma wont. Later on I realized how wrong I was but again a lesson in life
[Note: This is a post on the user's CAT journey that has been captured in his own words. We have not edited it in any way when publishing it as an article. Cover image is from http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up]
Hello puys ,
Note : this is a long post . very long .
My name is Sarfaraz and I am from Chennai . I am an above average Hindi speaking guy who did not give much importance to studies especially during school , and for early couple of years of my engineering college .
10th : 84% (CBSE)
12th : 82% (CBSE)
B.E Electronics & Instrumentation (Anna univ ): 70%
My falling in love with CAT exam :
It was the winter of 2009 when my girlfriend had just broken up with me . I was pretty devasted and was in a stage where I felt completely numb. It was such a difficult time that my only priority was to survive and take each day as it comes. However , with support of close friends (a big thank you to them ) I managed to normalise myself and atleast take an interest in doing something. I started exploring , asking questions and just trying to do the right things . Feels pretty pleasant when one starts to consciously do the right things . It was during these times that I got fascinated by world of MBA,CAT and IIM's. I also started visiting Pagalguy frequently . Slowly , as I got to know more , I came to realise and fall in love with the fact that management education is something I am passionate about and would like to know .
Along with this , I did two mistakes. I fell in love with CAT as a way of getting back at my ex as she had called me a loser, good-for-nothing , no self-respect guy etc . I was stupid enough to think that if I crack CAT then my Ex would be filled with regrets and I would like it :-p. LOL. Also , I had'nt cracked JEE nor AIEEE after my 12th so I was often tagged as a kind of loser by elders and CAT seemed a perfect opportunity to prove myself to them . Also , It would help me Move on . My brain and heart seemed convince to take the plunge in the world of CAT and MBA.
Lesson learnt : Once I cracked CAT I came to realise that elders love you unconditionally and just because you don't crack some stupid exam doesn't have to affect relationship . They have just one concern , i.e whether you are delivering value to the world . ofcourse, its your responsibility to make them understand that . most of the time its not difficult. And your ex-gf is an ex for a reason because no matter what you do it doesn't matter to her . The only thing you can do is respect her decision to choose someone else and enjoy the fact that you would be getting a better one, sooner than later. And since you are the one who has been wronged, God provides you from sources you couldn't imagine .
CAT Preparation Phase (Feb 2010 - Nov 2010 approx 10 months ) :
I along with my best friend joined BYJU's classes since we attended a few trial classes and found the classes to be useful .I wasn't impressed with TIME or IMS classes. However , we did join TIME's AIMCAT series and IMHO I think they are the best out there.
BYJU's classes happened on weekend mostly and the classes focussed on teaching shortcuts , planning and techniques to crack the CAT . I also started taking my college coursework more seriously and strangely I felt interested in doing it. I also joined AIESEC , which really helped me in developing my leadership and social abilities. It was an interesting and fulfilling time filled with learning. I was quite surprised by way things turned out as 6 months back I was numbed out guy and now I was loving the way things turned out and clarity which came with it.
AIMCAT's started and despite my best efforts I couldn't score well. I did not give up , gave all the 16-20 aimcats and successfully never crossed 65%ile except once. But one good thing I did was to analyse every aimcat like an addict and only attend byju's classes. By mid sept I had become obsessed with AIMCATs . Despite not crossing 65%ile , I did not lose hope (afterall I handled a breakup so I can handle this Aimcat failure) and kept analysing , improving myself and taking AIMCAT after AIMCAT.
And puys this cycle is crucial (practice->analyse-> practice->analyse ) . Its in these cycle's that you come realise your strengths , you as a person improve , connect on a deeper level to CAT exam and I think this is what differentiates the winner's . Also you come to face some emotions which probably you wouldn't have encountered before.
CAT 2010 season:
So I was writing CAT , JMET(for iit mba) and IIFT . In terms of preparation I had byju's classes and about 20 AIMCAT's to show.
Result : Flunked all . Scored badly . Couldn't get any interviews.
I felt pretty stupid because I thought I had put in so much hard work and the result showed opposite.
But a little voice inside me said that my journey is not over and I actually felt emotionless about the whole result issue. Instead I just felt calm bliss that I can move on . Atleast I gave my best and that's what matters.
However , I was more interested in getting a quality business education and I did not care whether I get it from IIM's or someplace else. Afterall , its more important to be well educated. So I started researching B-school's and came across HULT . I did some more research and I was pretty impressed with what they were offering and how it was being offered . It was a one year course, world class faculty and they had a campus in dubai (one of my fav place) . I decided to apply and got admitted based on my acads and AIESEC experience. Meanwhile , I also took an interest in my final year project and the result was pretty interesting . So , I am done with my engineering course and have a few months before I head to Dubai for my master's course in International business (MIB) .
In this few months I came to realise that I was still a CAT addict. And I used to write AIMCAT as sort of timepass , cope with any bad situations , happy situation . In about 3 months I would have practiced and analysed around 10 AIMCAT's and the results were surprising . I was scoring minimum 80%le. One important thing I noticed was that I was practising Aimcat for pure joy with no expectations or pressure. Also , this time I was doing Aimcats for pure self-satisfaction and not as a way to get back at ex,or prove myself to anyone . I felt much better after taking aimcats.
MIB Time ( Oct 2011- Nov 2012):
So I head off to HULT dubai and the busy life of a b school takes over. Honestly , I think the US system of education is a lot better than indian system. You study what is needed and in way which makes you learn and educate. HULT curriculum involved a lot of team assignments , quizzes and not to mention the faculty comes from world class b schools like Harvard, Berkeley etc and also from the corporate world.
It was during this time that I came to realise the fruits of CAT my prep. (CAT journey improved my decision making, analysis , number crunching and basically I could just do acad things faster and smarter effortlessly). It felt like the story of bamboo. When you have classmates from across the globe and diverse cultures , the learning experience takes a whole lot different meaning and its enriching . During this time I made a good set friends , had lots of fun and probably fell In love with a south girl .(the south girl left the course by term1 and I ended up feeling disappointed but not sad as there were convincing reasons for that to happen ) .
By the time I completed the course, I also managed to get an internship and I soon realised that employment is not something I would be keen on and following that I got fired from the internship . It was a troubling time for me . Also got cheated , let down by some people on whom I had put a lot of hope and faith. Somehow managed to not let all this affect my acads. . However, the experiences of the past had strengthened me such that I was able to graduate with top score and got an acad award also . It was a really good strong happy moment for me. By nov 2012 , I decided to return to India and become an entrepreneur.
In the midst of all this I managed to practice aimcats , thanks to pagalguy forum I got acess to many aimcats.
The Entrepreneur writes CAT 2013 :
I came back to india and through a friend of friend got involved in starting and running a startup dealing in mobile apps and augmented reality . It was a tough time and I realised doing a startup is much better than doing an mba and leading a corporate-ish life. Startup will teach you a lot about business than any number of years at b-school.
So in the midst of all this startup running, I still found time to take Aimcats and to my surprise I was clearing the cutoffs quite well. Even then, I wasn't sure if should take CAT 2013 . but then a loved one passed away and out of an impulse I felt determined to take CAT and dedicate the win . (I still don't know what prompted me take this steps)
I fill up the forms, book my exam date and chill. With a few weeks left for CAT just practiced some aimcats and took it without pressure. The attitude was IDGAF CAT exam. So I take up the cat exam , answer questions for which I know answers. However, this time I have more than 80 aimcats (spread over 3 years) to show for as prep but no proper effort before the exams.
So I almost forget about CAT as I got busy with work . Results declared and I did not bother to check . Did not feel its worth it. A few days later an Email pops which basically said "You have been selected for GDPI for the New IIMS (RRTUK)"
So I go for the GDPI with no prep. Wrote the essay and attended the interview. Answered the usual question but had a tough convincing the interviewers about "y iim mba after doing business and a USA business degree" somehow managed to convince them.
Finally in month of may 2014 , I get an email saying that I had converted for 2 IIM's and waitlisted for other two. I can't describe how happy this moment made me. It truly made me believe that dreams do come true if pursued with passion and perseverance. I danced with Joy . But at the same time , I strongly felt that I am not ready to spend 2 years at a b school and spend lot of money . I would rather use that money to develop my business .
I rejected the admission offers. !
My friends and to an extent my family couldn't believe that I am rejecting IIM's admission but then with a little explanation they understood .
Some of the takeaway's from CAT journey which I think might be useful to Aspiratnts :
1. CAT is an exam which needs prep but also smartness.
2. CAT is not the end of road . there are awesome things than CAT Exam if you can find it.
3. If your plan is to do MBA , job and then do business because you will have experience then please drop the idea . You can right away start up a business and learn as you go . In two years you know much more about making money and business than an MBA. There are financial benefits to it too.
4. Do CAT because you "want" to and not because you "have" to or "prove" yourself to someone.
5. Hard work never goes waste . It always repays well in some form or the other , sooner or later.
6. Priortise, plan and focus on what's important.
7. Don't go by what society says or what status quo dictates. Just do what you feel morally right and good about.
8. Since you only need to succeed once , it doesn't matter how many times you fail . Learn from your failures and stick to your dreams during your darkest times . the dark times prepare you for your success .
9. Keep visiting pagalguy (or similar CAT sites) for inspiration , preparation and staying in tune with CAT .
10. CAT is an exam which might improve you for the better . So, IMHO its worth the effort.
11. Basics are important . Some realise it earlier , some later . I realised it after about 40 Mocks.
12. Its OK to fail . Whats important is whether you think its worth trying again and can execute it.
13. Practice , Analyse and learn from mocks . the more the better.
14. Get into the mindset of getting IIM Admission than percentile scores. (Why? because with the different admission criteria's and normalisation of score , the probability of successfully predicting a score is unfavourable. And also it's the the reason why I have not mentioned my scores )
15. Take CAT with a chill mind. Its just another exam anyways J
16. As a bonus , GMAT exam looks much easier and smoother after your CAT prep.
Good Luck to all CAT Aspirants.
Got admission to IIM but rejected it and decided to continue my business .
I don't remember exactly when I logged in last time here at Pagalguy and to my surprise, the interface has changed lots. I really had a hard time figuring out how to post in the relevant sections and I hope I am posting it in the right section. I had been banned before at PG for posting stuffs so I hope I am posting it in the right section. First of all, why return to PG after so much time and post this today. Well, I was telling a junior of mine today if he has heard of pagalguy.com. He was asking online resources for CAT prep so to be honest, I could not think of anything else other than PG. Although, I still don't have a clue how to post a smiley here. Everything has changed here. (Coming from a PG veteran- Gaawd, I miss the smileys)
My tryst with CAT started in my third year of Btech. Arun Sharma used to come in our hostel mess and in our common halls and used to tell us, we ought to want CAT as bad as we would had wanted a breath if we are dying of cancer. Well, lots of us were motivated and given the discounts he was offering, we were inclined to join his coaching classes. (Arun Sharma, the CAT related books writer) Cl also chipped in with scholarship offers and I managed to bag second position at their Lucknow centre. Cool, 8k off on fees, well enough for our liquor parties to last for a week at least. Well, I was a ranker in the CL scholarship test so naturally, though no need to study much. In my mind, I was already in most of the IIMs and I didn't even considered JBIMS or any other college with names like SPJIMR or you know, SIBM, lots of colleges that I wanted to target after I failed twice in CAT (missing the PG smiley here, the one with the logo) So, took CAT first time, failed, got 77.73 percentile but since I think rationally to justify my failures, I thought that so what, have a job and who cares. CAT next time. Everything went smooth, smooth like I had always imagined, job to fulfil our daily needs of ciggs and liquor and parties and what not, and on top of that, I was blindly in love so failure in CAT did not even fazed me a bit.
And then, at the threshold of what is called the real life, bang. Gf left, after I had the left the job to prepare for CAT with her, yeah, life does plans out that way. So now, what, CAT, that can redeem me of my sins, and if I make it, I can look myself in the mirror at least. Was very dejected, and yeah, I used to cry too back then. Let me take you back down the memory lane. I was shattered, dejected, and used to cry on the over bridges near Polytechnic, Waves, if anyone is from Lucknow, will know the places I am talking about.
Was bouncing back from Cl kapoorthala centre to Cl Hazratganj centre and it was pretty scary at times, manoeuvring in the traffic. So FMS got included in the list now and was quite determined to make it this time. Bang, results, no success, ha-ha, and then, decided to move to Bangalore.
Bangalore, I love this city. This city has been very kind to me (if you take out the occasional chats with cops that ends with me and my friends in their custody). Used to go to job interviews, well, I even went for call centre interviews and had made up a story to tell back home telling why I have joined a call centre after leaving a job before. Well, got job in HP. And again, the dream started to take its course. AIMCATS, SIMCATS, these words were like, let me tell you, the best things that I knew that time. Like a new-born baby says first time, a word and everyone thinks it's so awesome, I was in the same phase. AIMCAT 19, marks, ohh, you topped, I got this, damn, will bounce back next time after some time at Purple haze Kormangla, tried my best to bounce back the next day. Didn't had many friends back then, so PG was all that I had, in terms of friends too.
People learn lessons from their mistakes, but I had a knack for thinking that what I do is the best, so again, left job, went full fledged with CAT, FMS and yeah, MAH CET has now got a place in my list of exams and (missing the smiley). so, results were not as I expected, crashed in CAT, missed FMS by borderline ( around 38 marks If I remember- and yes, 38 marks is what I call borderline) and MAH CET, 98.73 percentile.(phew, finally, I can also boast of a percentile) so, in nutshell - no job (again), no admits and everything was lost. I even thought of consulting a psychiatrist back then. I still remember the day FMS results were out, I called up one of my friends, and cried, no, wailed. He said, it's okay, maybe it was the first time in ages that you studied hard, it's ok to fail, try harder next time. But I had not motivation left, I was at the lowest of my life. So low that I used to think, what I will do now. All my friends are at so good places, what I will tell my parents, what will happen to my life and all the dreams that I have had, they just shattered. Fast forward next year, luckily, there was an exam called SSC, got through and opted for Bangalore for posting (I love Bangalore). Well, in college I used to think that two to three years after college, I will be riding the bike of my choice, will be partying more, well, personally, I love purple haze marathalli for that ( they let us smoke too) unlike other joints. And there I was, boarding a sarkari bus, and by the time I reached office, all my nightmares had turned into reality and was facing the reality staring in my face in the form of ladies (above 50) as my co-workers (missing the smileys), among other things that made me think what I had done with my life, and how I had ruined it with my own hands. Back at home, everyone was at least thinking that I had now settled for something, not the thing that I had wished for my life, but yes, had a sarkari job, and was trying to portray myself as happy as I could. So was the frustration that I had ended up myself in jail for beating up cops near a pub.
Wait, then, the miracle happened, I had a hobby, in college days, of uttering the word open source. Open source, yeah, I had the hobby of uttering the word every now and then. So after my job, I used to come and see the packages offered by various IIMs and then do my open source thing. Started dreaming again, of having a company, a small one of course, I still fear of dreaming big, since I failed so many times. Dreaming got intense, started taking leave from job more often and one day, lady luck bestowed her showers upon me. Got my first contract and finished it in a week. The long lost of dreams of having the package of 20+ Lpa and all started taking its course again. Yeah I still laugh at it, it happened last year, 2013 started, and I was on the road of getting the dream. Well, my purpose of cracking the CAT was to have a big fat pay package that enables me to do what I want to do. This time, I was not going to give it up. I worked for 16-18 hours a day, applied for leave at office and yeah, I resigned too from office. No, how can you do it again, 7th pay commission is around the corner, how could you do that, was the response from everyone I knew. Once you start failing, people believe that you will always fail and even the slightest thing that you get, they will advise you to hold on to it. No, but I wanted to do it. I resigned, and worked lots. I worked round the clock, seems I mentioned it, before 16-18 hours a day (missing the smiley) results: I have two employees now, both are based out of India (and both are, umm, what's the smiley for saying they are so cute), and the ITR that I filed last fiscal was more than the yearly salary that I used to get at HP. I have a small sort of company right now, and I have clients all over the US and Australia (I don't want to work for UK clients since they ruled us and all, personal vendetta you see) My senior officers at my office call me up to ask that If I have some sort of opening for their sons (missing the smiley) Feels like a dream. But to get here, I had to go through lots. I still remember the day when I crossed that magical figure that I had set up as a benchmark for my financial success, I didn't knew what to do. I went to the Central Mall, BODYSHOP, and purchased the eye mask there, to pamper myself since my eyes hurt lots after crying. I am very fortunate that I got what I wanted. And yes, maybe, I had not wanted CAT that much, because, I see here, people who had wanted it so bad, had got it.
The_hate, the doc mod (shashank -FMS inspiration for me that time and probably these people will be my inspirations in time to come), burning_desire one of the most beloved friends I had at that time at PG. Not only am I doing what I wanted to do (utter open source, among other things) I am doing it from where I want to do. Currently I am in Bangalore, since I love this city. Life could not had been better for me than this. Even though the manager of Purple Haze kormangla has warned me that if he sees me again in the premises, he will have me kicked out, I still go sometimes, thinking that he won't recognise me. After all, once you start yelling "This Place shicks", the managers tend to do that it seems.
The dream is still there, it's still there. I could not make it to the colleges that I dreamed of, but I did something worthwhile. I can now see myself and tell myself that I am not just some guy who gave up because he was tired to continue. There are many tear shedding stories, instances where I had sat numb, staring in the dark, and thinking that life is over. I hope I have not diluted the sacredness of this thread in any manner. Life does rewards us, we just have to dream that reward and work towards it. I could not clear CAT in three years and I saw the success that I had dreamed of in just one year. That makes me think that I was not committed that much to CAT prep and just wanted to crack CAT to prove my self-worthiness to others and me. Now, I just try to prove to myself and maybe that is what matters ultimately. We have to dream the dream for ourselves, not for any other person, not for your gf, not for your parents, it has to be you.
Seems boring now, this gyaan, so will end now.
[UPDATE] I will not be writing any exam now, CAT, or any other for that matter.
I wish I knew these a couple of years back- My
ruminations that may help you
I am working "in a stable job" since 2009. I gave CAT 4 times from 2010 till 2013.U may ask y CAT? Every endeavor in life has a trigger moment and mine goes like this, I gave CAT because I was content with my job and so my mind thought this way-being content means I am rotting and starting to lose intellectual skills. I was self deluding myself. Around the same time a intelligent and trustworthy friend of mine(who is not from IIM-C) told me how cool IIM-C is, how vibrant the campus is and what an IIM-C alumini can do. Vaguely I remember him telling me "Indira Nooyi...math and extra curricular heaven...place to be among all IIM's" Road to IIM-C is named CAT so I decided CAT it is!
Trigger moment aside other reasons include,
1. More opportunities to collaborate with a(the) intellectual, like minded and ethnically diverse opposite sex. I was shy and from a boy's school. I didnt use opportunities to change in this area during Undergrad.
2."Mr.ABC from IIM" tag means u r intelligent and branded for life that way. A sense of accomplishment. Self deception again.
3.FB being the way of life reading newsfeeds of close and many times unknown college/school friends which read like, "coverted the coveted IIM call" "feeling elated" "by gods grace..." made me feel,
(a)I was missing out
(b)I didnt do enough and was being dumb
(c)When will I get to post these messages? In short I felt "peer pressure"
Out with all the correct reasons for Y I took up CAT I must admit that all the time (during my 4 attempts) I kept churning out reasons other than these honest ones to keep me going. They did just that "kept me going"
After 2 long years of preparation I became very confident of acing CAT from 2013. Particularly last year, 2014, the year I came very close. But somehow I didnt get there.
Out of CAT fever and now pursuing different things in life I was subconciously introspecting the causes for my not clinching the exam. And today morning I couldnt work and couldnt think of doing anything other than writing my thoughts.
Coming to what you guys must have come to read in the first place. Maybe someone, someone like "me of 2012", may be able to put his senses in the right place.
Here I go,
1.There is no perfect study material or perfect place (tution) to learn Quant, English or DI. No one can teach you what is required to ace CAT. Stop searching and reading forums on the above subjects. For Quant,DI-Solve questions For English- I dont know. I did very well(i am being v humble here) in this section of CAT but lost out last year due to verbal. Maybe reading helps. I never read to improve english and I only read those which interested me. I started reading v late, 3rd yr in college. Never too late and its always difficult to begin with, not reading anything.
2.Excellence is incremental and only happens step by step. "Camera of Iphone 6 plus is great but IPhone 1st gen had the dumbest of all if you look back" Small steps towards improving ur aptitude is the correct way. Dont expect too much from yourself and stop comparing performances.
3.Minus scores in mocks and continuous flops will make u feel worse and depressed. Acknowledge and make fun of yourself and move on.
4.Dont plan too much and dont make timetables for prep.
5.Dont read success stories et al for inspiration. Solving the next problem is inspiration enough. Never feel elated when someone praises you for your supposed skills.
6.Dont think too far ahead i.e like during prep dont imagine being in an IIM interview and play roles. Dreaming too far ahead is bad for health.
7.Indulge yourself in a game.Team game. No I am not talking of chess here. I took to carrom last year and what started as mindless striking of coins slowly took hold of me and now my analytical skills have improved leaps. I am able to realise that myself.
8.Accept ur reasons for giving CAT even if they are very dumb. Write them out like me. Share them if u feel OK. It will definitely help you and a lot others.
9.I read a lot of philosophy books. I like them. Osho et al. They helped me improve my english tremendously i think. But they killed the "Ambitious" me. It was one of the most trying phases of my prep life. Think twice before philosophy.
10.I read this somewhere when i was preparing for CAT. "CAT is not the end of the world." True this. Most of the guys who prep'ed with me have left to join IIM's and other insti's. Some are still with me. Some still trying. I should be feeling distraught.I should be feeling depressed. But I am not and it is very surprising because during prep days I even repressed myself from imagining not clearing CAT.
I finally move on.
All the best puys!
As i write this post, I have completed (I presume) a term at IIM Bangalore. Back at home, with Term 2 about to start, I felt I would pen down my thoughts in this sacred thread which motivated me and kept me going for 4 years. I still remember the AIWTSAC of Rohit Gupta and @the_hate I remember these distinctly because, whenever I was down, I had always looked upto these posts which kept me going
- Pretty long post
X - 92% (Tamil Nadu)
XII - 97% (Tamil Nadu)
B.Tech(IT) - 88% (2009 passed out - Private engineering college at Chennai)
Category - General
Any remarks - Just another General,Engineer, Male who had 53 months of IT experience when he cracked the CAT
I was just 8 months experienced at the IT Industry. A faccha, who wrote CAT in October 2010. There was no real preparation and hardwork this time. Wrote CAT owing to "What are you going to do with your life" question. As expected secured 78%ile. Had calls from a few Tier 2 B-schools and was rejected by all of them in their GD-PI
My nerves started to beat faster now. I became highly insecure of my position. Was not sure where life was taking me. I gave a deep thought and was convinced that MS wasn't my career choice. I wanted to pursue an MBA, and from an IIM. With the kind of preparation and mindset I was in at that point of time, this seemed to be a tough ask. I was out of touch with acads for over 2 years. My work needed me to be at office for nearly 12-13 hours. I initially wanted to take a test series alone and prepare in the remaining time which I got by myself. I went to CL, Tambaram on 7th May 2011. I should say this was the beginning of a change. I met Ajay Zener, an IIM A Alumnus. He was the most genuine and awesome person to talk to. He apprised me of CAT and the strategies to take CAT. I understood that my base wasn't strong and that classroom coaching would enable me to strengthen my base. I joined the CL full time classes and started attending them religiously. Every class was a unique experience. I interacted with serious mock maulers and some best brains. I could see that I was improving slowly and steadily in this process. I still remember, my initial scores were 24/180 in the mocks.. Slowly it improved to early 40s and touched 70s fetching a 90+ percentile. I started to follow a crazy schedule. I came back from office at 9 PM. I slogged for CAT upto morning 2 AM. Slept and again studied for CAT from 6.30 AM to 8 AM before leaving to office. I covered pretty much all concepts by August and gave nearly 15 mocks before giving actual CAT on October. My best score of the season was around 94 percentile. To admit, CAT 2011 was a pretty simple paper. In fact my first question was a simple area problem from co-ordinate geometry. I performed to the best of my ability. I scored a 202 in NMAT and screwed up IIFT/ XAT. I stayed hopeful of CAT . The results were out and dreams were crushed. An amateurish 80 percentile. My quant had gone good. But VA had hit an all time low of 61 percentile. I had no other calls. I had 2 years of experience in IT. I thought, I will try harder..I was decent in all concepts, but there wasn't an area wherein I was strong. So i decided to work harder again.
This was the year wherein I decided to put in all my energy and effort once more. The mistakes of 2011 made me realize several key lessons. I started to slog much early, as early as February. I completed all basic books of CL once more and started with the mocks from April. This time, I touched the 98 percentiles quite a few times. With experience, My work slightly relaxed at office and I started to stay full time at CL Tambaram. I used to be back from office by 8 PM. stayed at the center and studied till 3AM. Got back at 7 AM and practiced problems till 9.45 AM and left straight to office. I realized that everyday, I should do a bit of QA, VA and LR-DI. As days passed, I was frequented by the question "More than 2 years in IT ? Not leaving abroad ?" , "CAT is all about luck..dont waste your life dreaming about it..Try GRE". I quietly set aside all these. As August approached, I became very sharp at all concepts. I was helping several of my friends with quants and I was determined to crack CAT this time. I was able to articulate the concepts very well. If you are not able to explain a concept in simple terms, you haven't got it enough. I checked myself to ensure I had learnt everything the right way. I solved more mocks and sectional tests. Early October, NMAT came and I secured a 215. This slightly boosted my spirits. CAT went like a breeze. I thought, I had done well. A well-connected study group or in other words a friends group was formed at CL tambaram. I also got to know many nice people from PG. Can never the bunch of amazing people who shared loads of their knowledge to the threads. It was January and I was extremely eager to view my CAT results. As I checked mine, my heart stopped..80 percentile again with balanced sectionals though
I started everything again. Even more harder effort this time. Sleep took a backseat and I got engrossed in solving QA and VA.I completely forgot about the end result. I thought, I am going to give one best shot. I also concentrated on my work to improve my profile. As March came, I took up the basic books of TIME/ CL and some other sources and finished them. I had also solved all papers of CAT. I found methods for DI and LR and sharpened them. I started concentrating exclusively for CAT. For RCs, I developed a skill of skimming passages to identify if i can/cannot solve them.The last three months became an obsession towards CAT..I was able to recognize/solve almost every Quant problem I was in the All india ranks of CL and TIME many times. My mock scores reached a 140+ with >100 scores many times. I also cracked a 99+ score 7 times at the mocks.This time, I filled every form which I could. I wrote NMAT first and then wrote CAT on the first week slot. To our dismay, CAT 2013 turned to be a tricky paper with lesser attempts. My Quant section did not have arithmetic. But I solved all DI and attempted nearly 18 questions. The Quant paper was indeed challenging. Moving to VA, the LR sets turned out to be tricky. Having solved 10 Lr questions, I saw the clock and my heart froze..45 mins were gone and just 25 minutes were remaining. I checked the RCS...Of the three 2 were philosophical, I left them. 1 was simple and straightforward. I cracked all 3 questions. Since I was good in Vocab and EU, solve every other question within 20 mins. As the exam ended I had attempted 37 questions.. I thought it was over and I had to take either an NMIMS or some other college
NMAT results were out and I had scored a 218. Felt relaxed (Atleast I can join one college now). The other exams went well and the big day of CAT results did arrive.I was scared and in no mood to check it..Finally I did and it was a jinxed 97.9 percentile (93.9 in QA + 98.9 in VA. QA had done me in, but the damage wasn't so bad). General cut off for IIM Shillong was instantly announced and it was a 98 overall.. IIMS was out, so was IIMK.
I had calls from NITIE, MDI, SCMHRD, IIM-Indore, NMIMS, New IIMs IMT, XIMB and SPJIMR
3 days later, I checked the site of IIM B. To my surprise I had a call from IIMB. Now when you are close to your dream, you feel energized somehow. Now I knew that to overcome a 2 percentile shortage at CAT, I had to give a real good GD-PI. I started studying everything..Current affairs, Credit Crisis, Eurozone crisis, Obamacare, US Healthcare (Since I was working in Healthcare-IT), Basics of economics, Banking, Acads. I felt the 30 days of GD-PI would transformed me greatly. I developed a perspective towards everything. I conveyed my call to my Manager and he provided me some leeway to prepare. Finally the day did arrive March 03,2014. I went to IIM B campus. The WAT went very well and so was the Interview.
As I received the following mail from IIM B, I cried out my heard ,
Congratulations! Indian Institute of Management Bangalore is pleased to offer you admission to the Post Graduate Programme in Management (2014-2016).
After many years, after so many rejects, I felt peaceful.
A few of my thoughts
1. Never let anyone decide your future. We are adults. We should think and take our own decisions.
2. Believe your intuition. It is always right.
3. Great things take time to happen. Persevere and wait for your turn.
4. You can never change the result. You can only make your chances bright. So slog and do whatever you can
5. The World around us is seldom clear in their thoughts. So better turn a deaf ear to unproductive comments.
6. Surround yourself with people better than you and who bring about positive energy. Lucky for me I had an awesome mentor, Ajay Zener at CL,Tambaram and a bunch of awesome buddies
7. Finally never give up, Tough times do not last long, Tough people do.
BTW I converted all my calls this year except SPJIMR.
Good luck puys ! Never thought would write a post here
PGP 2014-16 Batch
I have gone through so many experiences on this thread and I have to say the emotions have been infectious. Every time I stumbled upon a really huge post, I would think to myself, " God! How can one write so much!"
My relationship with CAT began in 2010 when I first appeared for it in my 7th semester of B.Tech. I was just testing the waters so I ended up scoring an average 86.x. I had my mind set on work experience so forgot all about it. Then came 2012. My work experience had definitely given me a reality check and I realized a technically inclined career wasn't the thing for me. And so, I was reminded of my past love, i.e. CAT <3
My workplace had been stressful (thanks to a chauvinistic and egotistical manager). It was August already and I was yet to kick-start my CAT 2012 preparation. My preparedness was nowhere up to the mark. Knowing I hadn't put in much efforts, I knew the outcome wouldn't be very pleasant but there's always a part of you which is forever hoping for miracles! Then came January 2013 and brought with it my CAT score. Meager 84.59 %ile was all I got :/ I was kind of taken aback. I sooo wanted to leave my job that I followed the page @CAT 80-90% ! Lets make the most of it
Being employed meant I was mainly left with the weekends and a few hours after the job (which I mostly managed to waste). I did as much as I could on my own but joined IMS test series which kept me in check. Appeared for September CMAT, scored 242, ranked 1013. My confidence for CAT went a notch higher. Knowing this was my last attempt and not wanting to screw it, I convinced my managers to let me take off from work before the exam. D-day arrived - 31st Oct, 2013. I wasn't happy with my performance, to say the least. My attempts were less and so were the chances of cracking it. But then, CAT has its ways of surprising you
So, here I am today, joining MHRM at IIT KGP. Thanks to everyone who helped me in any way in my journey. Special thanks to @arpan.m for telling me about this program
Lessons learnt : 1. It's never too late to follow your dreams. 2. Keep exploring the world, keep challenging yourself. Life is an ongoing adventure. 3. It's okay to be stupid sometimes
Advice to CAT aspirants : 1. Be regular in your preparation. 2. Apply to as many colleges as you can, even if you think they're out of your league. (I regret not filling up MDI/XIMB) 3. Appear for all the exams. You never know which day is yours. 4. Lastly, CAT or even MBA is not the be-it-all. There is life beyond it.
All the best guys! Cheers to the new beginnings!
PS: It wasn't that long, was it?
After contemplating a lot whether I should write in this thread or not, I decided to pen it down on this sacred thread. Though I am not an active member in any forums or threads of pagalguy, but every day since last 2 years I am visiting this website. But I regret how come I never looked into this thread. It was in february 2014, during my GDPI preparations when I first got a link to the_hate sir's post and came to know about this thread. So today I am sharing my journey in this thread though it's not a special one.
Since my school days my father had a dream of me being an IITian. He always encouraged me to try for JEE but like most of the average students I also ended up getting into a Btech course in a not much renowned college. I was always an average student from my school days and even in my Btech I never thought of beyond enjoying life and getting a job. I enjoyed my whole 4 years without any further goal and ended up getting a job in IT sector. But as I was from a core engineering background I didn't like my job at all. This was one of the most depressing periods of my life. While I was working in the IT sector I also kept trying in my core sector. But the thought of going for an MBA came to my mind in dec 2011. I was just telling one of my friends cum colleague about a senior of my school who was in IIM A. I told him that my father also dreamed of me joining a premier institute. Then suddenly my friend asked me about my acads and I told him that I had 81, 71, 79 in X, XII n grads respectively. The very next reply from him was that forget about BLACKI, you may end up in IIM kashipur if u try hard. I felt really bad and low after getting such a reply and decided to give a try in this rat race. A month later I resigned my job and returned to my home sate to join a core company. In march 2012, I bought the study material from TIME and started preparing for CAT 2012. Being from an engineering background I was comfortable with the quant section but in verbal I was too weak and even today I don't have a good hold over my verbal skills. My preparations were going at a good speed, I solved many quant questions. I started reading The Hindu and worked upon my vocabulary. Soon the mock season started. I started giving mocks and through out the season my %le varied from 50- 85. During the whole season I always found people talking about analyzing the mocks but personally I never did, for which my mock scores always varied a lot. I booked my slot on 28th oct 2012. I also gave XAT ,IIFT,NMAT. ON 9th Jan the CAT results came at around 4 am and I was shattered to see a miserable 60%le in CAT. I cried and cried for almost 2 hours. Then in the evening I went to a friend's place and drank there till the last drop. I called my dad, cried on the phone and told him that I couldn't fulfill his dream. He consoled me saying it was not the end. Other results also poured in and each one was disastrous. I scored around 63%le in XAT, 37 in IIFT, 190 in NMAT. I lost my confidence and remembered my colleague's words. My parents kept encouraging me and asked me to take a break for some time.
After 3 months I again thought
of giving one last attempt to these exams. Again enrolled myself for the
AIMCATs and this time instead of solving too many questions, I analysed the
mocks and worked upon my accuracy. It was reflecting in my mock scores as in
2013 mock scores varied from 75 to early 90s. Then The D day arrived, 7th nov
2013. This time I even asked my family panditji to find a good date within the
So finally, I made it to a premier institute. This journey is not just about making it to an institute, it has taught me many things in my life. I am a very changed person with much more patience and goals in my life. I have learnt to handle pressure, analyse situations and most importantly to keep calm. I am really thankful to my parents, gf and all my friends who believed in me and encouraged me through out my journey. Thank you Pagalguy, even you had a major role in my success. ATB to everyone.
Dreams do come true.
IIM Indore PGP 2014-16
I think its finally time to put my story on this thread.
Finally it's done. IIM Lucknow it is. Peace -- for now at least. The destination, for which I set out on in the month of January, 11, has finally arrived. The journey might have been over, but it was one I'd never forget. It's this journey which I'd like to share here, albeit in brief.
I'll start from the beginning. January, 11 it was. I was in the 4th semester of college life. Life was going well. Then one fine day, brother got a PPO from a multinational bank, in a foreign locale, with a hefty pay-package. Brother happened to be from IIMB. So, management it was for me. The only problem is, I had no idea what a CAT paper looked like. I knew it comprised of Maths and English questions, but little more.
My 1st reaction. Maths, could be managed, but English – hmm. So, work on English began. First came 'Word Power Made Easy', then the most revered Hindu editorials. Voila -- slowly, slowly my vocabulary started to improve. September came, and I, along with many friends joined CL. After few initial classes we decided not to attend any more quant classes.
April arrived, and with it the Test Series season commenced. With high hopes I gave my 1st complete CAT paper. Result – 66 marks and 85 percentile.
Cat paper – 28 Oct, 13. Quant gets f*****, but English acted as the saving grace.
December, 13. I got placed, and so decided not to apply for FMS. I even gave XAT half-heartedly as I wanted to work for a year or 2.
I ended up getting 99.51 in CAT, against expectations. Quant – 97.34, English – 99.51!!
Soon it was July, and I joined a Global Fortune 500 company, where I had little work to do. So, all-out CAT it was. TIME's AIMCATs joined CL's test series as part of my ammo in my battle against the prometric. 50 tests in 4 months. This was how I decided to prepare for CAT'14. No part tests, no sectional tests. Only full length tests, and that to 50 of them.
I deliberately chose the slot for Cat, 14 same as that of cat, 13(Yes, superstitious I am
As expected, I didn't get an A or B call. I had no intention of joining K, S or the new IIMs (maybe they gauged this fact during the interviews. Got straight rejects from all of them
The interview season started in February. I decided to take 2 leaves per week from office for preparation. Covered everything I could find under the sun. From HR questions, to technical ones. From questions asked in past years (thanks to Pagal Guy's 'Previous Years' experience' thread), to potential questions related to my work profile. However all this came to no use as my C interview lasted no more than 7-8 minutes, resulting in me getting a straight reject from both their profiles
However, L wasn't this cruel to me (they did however give me a moment of scare, showing rejected status before changing it to converted moments later) A good WAT, GD followed by a decent interview, had raised my hopes. As it happened, L turned out to be my 1st and last convert of the season. I knew I had screwed up my K interview, but seeing S release a wait-list of 700, and not finding my name even in it was disheartening. Even the new IIM's didn't bestow their kindness on me. But the important thing, from my perspective, was that I converted my 2nd best call.
Still many self- doubts remain. How could I convert only 1 of the 4 calls? How bad were my C and K interviews that I couldn't convert even a single new IIM? Will I be able to ace the interviews during the summers, and final placements? Is my profile good enough?
But still the excitement of getting into a top IIM is enough to suppress all these self-doubts – at least for now. And also a little nervousness is good, it keeps you on your toes, prevents you from getting lazy (This is what I said in my L interview when asked 'you look slightly nervous'
With this I'd like to bid adieu. Thank you Pagal Guy. You have been really helpful. I hope this post will help someone who might be in a similar spot I was 1 or 2 years back.
My post here should have come in 2012. It didn't, and I'm glad it didn't, as the story wasn't complete then. It is now
I joined FMS Delhi in 2012. I have graduated now, and when I look back I realize that God has been very kind to me. I always heard people say that everything happens for the best, I realized this in the last week of January 2014, and how! The dots connected backwards so beautifully, it all seemed like a plan. And the moment at which I had this realization was, well, just bliss
Through the story I will refer to the dots numerically, which will all magically connect at the end
Warning: This post is long, very long! But I promise you, it will be interesting.
My story begins when I was in class 12. I was, like many others, preparing for the IIT JEE. Somehow I always knew that I wanted to do an MBA from IIM later and so I wanted to get through an IIT to get the 'tag'! I wasted most of class 11 whiling away time as it was the first time I was in a college of sorts(In Mumbai we have junior college after class 10). Studied hard in class 12 for JEE, but missed getting a rank courtesy a single digit score in Chemistry. I was very disappointed! Did ok at AIEEE, got an AIR 7000 and geared up for an NIT. This is when my dad told me to not go to an NIT but take up Chemical Engineering at UDCT Mumbai(regarded as the best Chemical Engineering Department in Asia). Now as you may have guessed, I absolutely hated chemistry, I totally despised it. The logic my dad gave me here was that since I was going to do an MBA anyway, UDCT was as big a brand as an NIT and I could stay at home in Mumbai and 'enjoy'(I would come to realize how untrue the brand bit was in the next 6.5 years). He was at his persuasive best and I was sold. He told me to not worry about acads, and have fun at engineering, and then crack the CAT in my final year. It sounded like a plan! This was dot 1.
Oh and btw, I took the boards like they were a joke, assuming "no one ever looks at 12th marks, I'l be going to a top engineering college, that's what's going to matter". Got 72% and I flaunted it to my friends who had better marks but a much worse rank at AIEEE, the brash kid I was.
While at UDCT, I decided to follow my dad's advice. I had fun! Barely went to classes, fooled around all the time, and studied just enough to pass. I firmly believed that since engineering academics have no connection with management, they would have no bearing on selection to a management school either. On the other hand, extra-curricular activities and positions of responsibility are what B schools value the most. So I got involved with different clubs at college, organized many events and huge fests, and became the General Secretary of the student's council in my 3rd year. All throughout, my academics were in the early 60s, way below the average of the batch. This was dot 2.
It was in February of 2010 that I started seriously preparing for the CAT. My term as GS of the college was about to end in a few months and most of the events for the year were done. I had time, a lot of it, and so I joined IMS with some of my college friends. As I had expected, quant came to me naturally. I was good, very good. But as I had not expected, I was struggling in VA, and I mean struggling! I remember getting single digit scores in SimCats and AimCats in VA multiple times(this was the time we had 3 sections, QA, DI-LR and VA). So I wasn't the most voracious reader around, but I had always believed that my English is good. So why this was happening was just not making any sense. I took more than 25 mocks in 4 months, and not in a single one did I manage to get more than 80%ile in VA.
I had almost lost hope, when I decided to approach things differently. I realized that my preparation in VA had not really matured. I was repeating my mistakes, and with each mock my confidence was sinking. So at the end of September 2010, I decided to not take another mock for a month and focus on VA only. My CAT was scheduled for 9th November. I picked up all my mocks and began to analyse the VA of each and every one of them. I spent almost 3-4 hours per mock, thinking of different ways to reason each question, specially the RCs, to try and frame an argument and jot it down, and then read the explanation to match their reasoning with mine. I could see that with each passing day, my confidence began to grow, my accuracy began to grow, and I my reasoning had begun to replicate the reasoning of the book. I remember taking my next mock on 30th October and scoring 99.xx%ile in VA. Boy was I pumped! This moment was so huge and I was so happy, that my dad decided to take me for a beer with him. In the next 10 days I took 3 more mocks and scored in excess of 98%ile in the VA section of all of them. On the morning of 9th November, 2010, I left home nervous, but confident. I was satisfied as I walked out of the exam centre, hoping that I had done enough.
The only other exam I took was the FMS entrance (those days FMS had their own exam). It was a speed based test, not my style. I did pretty badly. I knew this was one exam I would never be able to crack as its just so not attuned to my skills. Even though this meant that one among the top 5 schools in the country was already out of reach, I wasn't too concerned as I expected to do well at the CAT and have a clear shot at ABC and have L as back-up. Now if my memory serves me correctly, IIM A and IIM L did not have very stringent acads criteria for calling till CAT 2009. Calls were primarily on your CAT score. I think for A you needed 70+ in 10th and 12th and L was probably similar, or atleast that's what I was told by some of my seniors. IIM C obviously had no acads criteria for calling students, it was purely on the basis of the CAT acore. So I was under the impression that once I get a good CAT score, I will get multiple calls, and converting these calls will not be hard as my communication skills are good. The CAT 2010 results came on 11th January, my birthday and the day did seem reasonably lucky.
My results were:
OA: 99.66 --> Satisfied
QA: 97.8 --> Surprised/disappointed
DI-LR: 96.65 --> Very surprised/Very disappointed
VA: 99.26 --> Absolutely thrilled
I was satisfied. Now I waited for the calls to come in, which I thought were a formality. And what a surprise I was in for! I would come to realize that all of the extra-currics and PORs were not that important after all, and it was acads that were taken most seriously. Thanks to my wonderful acads(72 in 12th and low 60s in grad till then), the only call I got was IIM C. I felt cheated.
That's it. One shot to realize my childhood dream. And I said to myself that the one shot is all I need. But again, the overconfident person that I was, I did not prepare very well and was caught off guard during the interview when asked to defend my abysmal acads. As I walked out that door, I knew I had squandered my chance, and I was right. Reject from IIM C, my dream college! This was dot 3.
Life beyond CAT
In the meanwhile, some good and some not so good things happened. India won the world cup and I was at the stadium!! Thanks to my good oratory and analytical skills, I got a job with Ernst & Young in their Climate Change and Sustainability Services practice as an Associate Consultant. And my engineering days were over, and my final aggregate percentage was 60.04%, 3032/5050 in 8 sems to be precise. Had I gotten just 3 marks less across 8 sems, my aggregate would have been below 60%. This was dot 4.
I started my job in July 2011, and I really enjoyed it, at least initially. I travelled to client site a lot and handled some key projects myself. But I knew that my goal was IIM C and so I began taking mocks again in September. It was about now that I read an article on PG which said "FMS to accept CAT score from 2012 onwards". I breathed a sigh of relief. I thought to myself that now I have 2 options. However FMS was option 2. Considered making XL option 3 but didn't. This was dot 5.
I knew that with my acads, to have a real shot at C, I must aim for as high a score as possible at CAT, higher than the last time. Took CAT 2011 without much fuss and did ok, but not as well as I had hoped.
The results were:
OA: 99.65 --> A touch disappointed
QA-DI: 99.75 --> Satisfied
VA-LR: 95.15 --> Disappointed
I was lucky to get an IIM C call in spite of the fact that they introduced 10% weightage to 10th and 12th marks this year for calling. A few days later, I also got a call from IIM L(abm) and FMS.
This time I was not going to repeat my mistakes. I joined a reputed gdpi class in Mumbai and attended the sessions religiously. I wasn't really interested in ABM, so was going to give L a miss, but went for it for practice. Did well, and it gave me a lot of confidence. Next was C, and after the interview I had a strange feeling. I answered most of what they asked me and the discussion was smooth, but something was wrong, and I couldn't put my finger on it. As the say, "Feel nahi aayi". And not to my surprise, I was rejected by IIM C again! Now I had begun to doubt myself all over again, but for different reasons. I was supposed to have great communication skills, so why was I getting rejected by IIM C again and again? This is a question I have not been able to answer till today, but in hind sight, I'm glad this happened. This was dot 6.
Next the IIM L(abm) results came and I was in. This was reassuring, as I knew that I did have it in me to clear interviews. It gave me a lot of confidence for the FMS process later that month.
A day before the FMS process, I realized that FMS has a minimum graduation score criteria, and it is 60% for engineers(it was 60% for engineers, was relaxed to 50% for all streams from 2013). My score was 60.04! 3 marks lesser across 8 semesters of engineering, and I would not even be eligible to apply to FMS! Before the process I thought to myself, "this seems like this it is meant to be, its destiny". And the process was smooth, and I was selected!
It was a mixed feeling. On one hand I was very happy that I had converted a top 5 B school, but on the other hand I knew that this was the end of my IIM C dream!
Life at FMS :)
When I was joining FMS, my dream job was Tata Administrative Services(TAS), which is one of the most coveted jobs in the Indian B school fraternity. I genuinely believed I could make it to TAS. But it was only during the summer internship process when I realized that if with my profile, if getting into FMS was a big deal, getting out with a top job is next to impossible. The first 3 lines of my CV had 2 lines which read 72% and 60%! And contrary to what I had believed, no one outside Mumbai knew UDCT, no one!
I was still hoping to get some shortlists from general management or marketing profiles with my barrage of extra-curriculars and PORs. However, I did not get shortlists from any but one consulting company(my workex was consulting so they shortlisted me but didn't select me) among the first 35-40 companies on campus. It was only after this that I got my next shortlist from a small niche consulting firm and was selected. By this time, close to 60% of the batch had been placed. My friends were worried for me, but I held up a brave face saying its only an internship, but I knew that the problem was grave. If I would not get shortlist, I would never be able to show the companies that I was actually pretty good. So I knew that my CV needed some serious ramping up, as in the finals too I was not going to get shortlists easily. I would have to earn them.
I was holding a POR at FMS in my first year, I decided to not contest for any position the next year. FMS is pretty relaxed post summers so I had a lot of free time to build my skills and CV, and still have all the fun in the world. I focused my energies on corporate competitions and live projects to bring in some academic flavor to my profile. I worked hard, very hard. One after another, I won the campus championship of 4 major corporate competitions. I also maintained good academics at FMS, being among the top 25% of the batch. In the summers, I got to work on strategy formation for a fortune 25 client. I was also one of two people to be selected to represent FMS and India at an event in South Korea. So come finals, my CV had started to look a lot better, but I was still unsure if I would get any major shortlists in the finals with my way below average 12th and grad scores.
Edit: One of the competitions that I won was organized by a major Indian conglomerate who used to offer PPIs to the winners from every campus. This year however, they decided to not offer PPIs as they were "over-hired". I was extremely disappointed. It was a general management role which I would have happily accepted if given the chance. This was dot 7.
P.S. A PPI is a Pre-Placement Interview which if you convert, you have to accept the job and you are signed out of the finals process at FMS.
The dots connecting
Owing to the small batch size of FMS, and the fact that many students had PPOs and many were placed in the laterals process, the number of people competing in the finals was a lot lesser than in the summers. And with my improved profile to go with the reduced competition, I was one of the 40 people shortlisted for the process of TAS, one of my 3 shortlists on day 0. I knew that this was my chance to make it big! And as luck would have it, the final interview was with three directors of Tata companies, all three of whom were from Mumbai. When I said I was a chemical engineer from UDCT, I could see how their eyes lit up, they knew!! I clinched my fist under the table. We then had a 5 minute discussion on what makes the UDCT stand out globally etc etc, and they spoke more than me!! They absolutely loved the college, and almost completely overlooked what had been my Achilles heel forever, my past acads. Then one of them asked me, "how have you managed to maintain reasonable acads in spite of doing so many things?"
It was an "ab rulaoge kya" moment!
I guess he was referring only to my FMS acads, like he was not concerned with my past acads at all!
I had a great time in that interview room, and sometime later I was told that I had made it!
This was the moment of realization! My choice of which engineering school to attend, FMS accepting CAT score, my being eligible for FMS so narrowly, my consecutive rejects from IIM C where I may have never gotten this shortlist with the large batch size, my not getting that PPI which I would have happily accepted, suddenly all of this made perfect sense! And as I said at the beginning, this moment was bliss
God's ways are strange and the dots always connect backwards! Everything happens for a reason, everything happens for the best
Thank you FMS Delhi! You truly are the Red Building of Dreams
FMS Delhi 2012-2014
TAS batch of 2014
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