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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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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!

  • 43 Likes   8 Comments
  • good one. 13 Dec '14.
  • Inspiring one and served at the right moment. Cheers to u.... 15 Dec '14.
Sayantani Ray @sayorina 3

Inspiring one and served at the right moment. Cheers to ur optimism, guess we all need it at one point of time. Thanks for the post, it is really nice (y) 

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

My profile

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

CAT 2010

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

CAT 2011

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.

CAT 2012

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 thought whether this was some jinx associated with me ! I felt very quiet. I moved on to NMAT, gave the CD-PI and converted NMIMS. Now I took the big decision of my life. I am not joining NMIMS, Mumbai. NM had declared it's average package as 14.5 L. I already had 42 months of workex in IT. Many felt I was getting old (goddamn !! ) Everyone around me thought, I should join a B-school without fail. I went upto Ajay sir and conveyed him my desire of not joining NM.  Ajay supported me and asked me to try once more. He was the only person who believed in my dreams and asked me to try once more. Some guys asked me to join NM quoting the placements, some asked me to try an Onsite opportunity from office quoting the returns. I guess I did the best thing under these perils. I shut myself for sometime and proceed with my dreams

CAT 2013

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

Natarajan Ramachandran,

PGP 2014-16 Batch

IIM Bangalore

  • 215 Likes   57 Comments
  • @axeey Of course Akshay :smiley: Good luck with your re.... 13 Dec '14.
  • amazing post... just loved it.. ur dedication n zeal for .... 13 Dec '14.
PGP 2014-16, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
Natarajan Ramachandran @nramachandran 2,702

@axeey Of course Akshay Good luck with your results !! 

namami ambashtha @Nemmo

amazing post... just loved it.. ur dedication n zeal for ur dreams...

Hi Puys!

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!" Some people have a way with words (and I envy them :P) but I am not that good so I'd keep it short

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  I applied to a few colleges (read 3) to which applications were still open. To my surprise, I even converted one of them. My confidence soared and I decided to take one final shot at it. So, I pulled up my socks for CAT 2013.

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 Result: 95.13! I know you're thinking it's only 95.13 and not 99.13 but I was super happy! I remember having my eyes welled up with tears of happiness almost instantly! I knew this was my ticket to an awesome MBA college and I would finally live my dream

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 and @dragster   for the constant guidance. I Hope I make the best use of this awesome opportunity!

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! (y)

PS: It wasn't that long, was it?

  • 89 Likes   81 Comments
  • Good luck! (y). 29 Aug '14.
"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. " - Steve Jobs

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 CAT window ( I am too superstitious). I went to the test centre with a calm mind. I attempted 16 and 17 questions in qa and va respectively and tried to maximize my accuracy. I gave other exams also. Then the results started to come. I scored 39.xx in IIFT, 187 in NMAT.  Seeing these results, I thought I have again failed and wasn't hopeful at all for remaining results. On 14th Jan 2014, without hoping much and less fear I checked my results almost an hour after declaration. The very next moment I screamed out and let all frustrations come out. My mother came running to me worrying something bad had happened and I said I scored 93.28(QA 93.96 VA 86.xx). I knew I got what was needed as I am from NC OBC category. (That is why I was thinking if I should write about my journey in this sacred thread as I don't have a God like score.) My father came rushing from my uncle's house hearing my screams. I just jumped and hugged him. It was one of the most happiest moments of my life. I called my gf and told her that I made it this time. Next I got 91 %le in XAT. I knew I'll have a few good calls and I need to convert them at any cost. I didn't give any interview in my last 2 years, so I was a bit worried and started preparing for GDPI. I had calls from IIM K, I, all 6 new IIMs,NITIE, XLRI HRM, Vgsom, SJMSOM  and IIT D. My first interview was for XLRI. It wasn't a good one and I knew I won't make it. From there on I had almost 6 interviews scheduled in next 2 months. After performing badly in XL, I knew that I had to raise my performance and with every next interview I became more confident and performed better. The GDPI results started to come. XL was the first one and it was a straight reject as expected. The next one was NITIE and even that was a reject. My NITIE interview was good but I was shocked that I didn't even make it to the waiting lists. I was again in that depressing state but my gf said,” you'll make it to an old IIM and all the IITs”. As I am very superstitious, I believed her words like anything because whatever she says, that comes true for me :P. And once again it did come true for me . I got my vgsom results and with a category rank of 15, I was finally sure of doing an MBA this year. And after that I converted most of my calls by converting  IIM Indore, kashipur, Udaipur, Sjmsom and was waitlisted in IIM K and raipur.

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

  • 36 Likes   20 Comments
  • really inspiring all the best buddy. 23 Nov '14.
  • @sid2222000 "*it is tougher to get into the mumbai local.... 16 Jan.
Calls: IIM K,I,new IIMs, XLRI HRM, NITIE, IIT B, IIT kgp, IIT D, IMT, LIBA Converts: IIM I,Udaipur,Sjmsom,Ka,IIT kgp,LIBA Waitlisted : IIMK wl91,IIM Raipur Skipped: IMT, IIT D Rejects: XLRI HRM, NITIE
amitabh das @amitabhdas 1

really inspiring all the best buddy

one last time . @Chirayu2404 1,365

"it is tougher to get into the mumbai local during office hours than it is to find a job in mumbai! " true that!

Salute sirji...A jaaoge aap.

I think its finally time to put my story on this thread.

Read only if you can bear the length, its pretty long

Its not very inspiring or special but its mine and will always be special to me.

So, I knew I wanted to go for my MBA right from grad but though I would do it after gaining some work-ex. That, I think, was an error-not the work-ex part, but the not preparing, not trying at all part.

So, I graduated from a top College in Economics with above average scores but not brilliant ones.

My 10th & 12th grades were great though (94 & 95)mg

I was placed in a research and analytics firm and I liked it there. First few months had to be spent adjusting to life as a working person as opposed to a vella college student.

Hence, didn't think of CAT that season as well-CAT 2012.

Then started the panic-I was moving towards completing a year in a firm which I loved doing work which was not satisfying as it was getting repetetive, not having taken CAT even once.

Time to take action. Joined coaching in March 2013 thinking I would be regular. Work was hectic but manageable.

May 2013-a problem in my project at work and all hell broke lose.

At a time when I should have been focusing on CAT prep, I was spending days, night and even weekends in office, trying to salvage the client, correcting errors made by the person who had been handling the client before me and had quit by then. The client had multiple projects across teams and was the biggest client of the company so I couldn't screw it up.

August-things settled, client pacified. I started taking mocks to realise I was majorly screwing up quant. verbal was my saving grace.

I was scoring in 80-85%ile range in quant and 95-99% in verbal.

Then quant scores started dipping, work kept becoming hectic.

I applied for study leave which was approved (3 weeks). Was planning to book a slot for 10th Nov but was blatantly told by the organisation that a senior wanted to take off at that time hence I would have to take CAT by 21st October.

Had no choice but to accept-booked the 21st October afternoon slot.

Had given up hope of doing well in light of my continously falling quant scores, and the 95%iles (not good enough) in verbal. Took the prep leave anyway.

Thats when I actually started sitting in my coaching centre with a teacher who encouraged me and convinced me to give my best in whatever time I have. Was nervous but decided I had nothing to lose. In the words of my teacher, "You've already paid,Jaake de bhi aa"

So, 21 October 2013-CAT day

Went in nervously-I was attempting CAT for the first time.

Quant-Tough like the trend was. managed to solve just 16 Got stuck in a DI set and never recovered. I was flustered by the end of the section.

Moved to Verbal.

LRs-Very tough.

I had been consistently doing well in Verbal in all mocks and LRs are my strength so was surprised.

After some struggle, was able to solve them. Attempts-24 (used to go over 26 in all mocks)
Thought section 2 went decent as my accuracy was pretty good in verbal.

Spoke to my teachers saying section 1 was screwed....was convinced I lost my chance but they said if my accuracy was 100%, I should make it above 95% in quant and verbal they knew I won't screw up.

I wasn't convinced. Randomly applied for job switch to a seemingly better job-management consulting.

Got through; quit my last organisation on 10th Jan with a heavy heart (I had an awesome 20 months there because the people rocked!)

14th Jan-result day
Checked: OA: 95.13%ile
QA: 95.6%ile
VA: 90 %ile

Couldn't believe my eyes. VA had screwed me up.
Joined the job.

The B-School lists started coming out and I didn't check any. Was forced to check by friends to see I had received a call from S....had already received a profile based call from SPJIMR, received more calls from I, MDI, and finally L.

Was thrilled to know I had an outside chance of making it to L though I knew it would be tough with the low CAT score. Heck the call itself was unexpected at my percentile.

Meanwhile, the job was screwed-I was surviving on 2 hours of sleep everyday, working 18 hours a day.

There was no chance of preparation. Had to just struggle to survive.

Somehow went for the NMIMS interview, dozed off during the orientation, rocked the CD, PI was a stress interview but I was chilled out because I was so unprepared anyway
Answered about 30 questions, didn't answer 2. I had gone just for prep since I had no time to prepare otherwise.
Verdict: Converted with merit rank around 80 Didn't join, didn't book a seat.

SPJIMR-screwed since I couldn't defend why a grad should get in while there were 2 people with a CA and CFA respectively.
Verdict: They moved to round 2, I didn't.

Fell ill, Fought with my boss, went back home for 10 days. (Mumbai to Delhi)

Took the Shillong interview aise hi, screwed it up.
Went for L interview was extremely nervous as I had no time to prepare.

GD went well, stopped people from digressing, made contributions, started the GD.
PI was very chilled out-discussed projects and I had no problems in any work-ex related questions ever
Had poetry as a hobby in the form somewhere so was asked to write a poem on the spotp
Wrote-they were happy.
Messed 2 particular questions on stats on Indian economy but answered all other questions on the Economy with a smile (am an Eco grad).

Came out of the interview satisfied but unsure since the CAT score gap was still there and L gives 38% weightage to CAT even in the final merit score.
Came back to Mumbai, worked hard again.
Skipped the MDI interview as I decided to take CAT again and aim for A/B/C/L/XL in case I didn't get through.

Was unsure about IIM-I....was waiting impatiently for L results.

Result day: I was in office, the link for results had been leaked around 8pm and i was checking the inactive link impatiently.
9 o' clock we packed up to go home and I was stepping out when I got a call from a friend who had been checking for me and he said, "You made it"

I couldn't believe it! My team(they knew about my wait) said, we'll wait, you check the results!
So, at 9:30 PM, I was standing in the corridor of a client's office, opening my laptop to see the message,
"Congratulations! You have been selected for PGP at IIM-L"

I screamed out of joy! Certainly one of the happiest moments of my life.

The past year just wizzed past my eyes-the problems, the 18 hour workdays, the interviews without preparation, the desperation, the hope.

If not for L, I would have quit my job to prepare....it would have been a year of self doubt, I was safe.

My teachers suggested I wait for a year-aim for A/B/C, I decided to join L

My first CAT season remains my last CAT season (thankfully!)mg

I skipped the IIM-I interview, it was a couple of days after the L result was declared.

Today is the last day of my job, its been a tough 4 months here-screwed up boss, torturous life which I don't wish for anyone else. I have learnt a lot of patience and resilience here and hopefully that will help me in HEL(L)

Can't thank the pagalguy team enough because though I have been a silent member, its been of immense help.

Signing off.
IIM Lucknow
  • 67 Likes   21 Comments
  • @rahuljaat Thanks bro! :smiley:. 08 Jan.

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. rolleyesI 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. Why -- It was beneath our dignity (However, now when I look back at it, I feel the Quant classes helped more than their English counterparts.)

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. F***. The next 3 tests also the same story continued. Thoughts in my mind – 'maybe I require another year'. However, I gave all the tests, and bingo—the marks started to improve.

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!! But I got calls only from the new IIMs. (Travails of a GEM + a 7 pointer. I'll leave this for another day :D). However, the result acted as a real confidence booster, and I knew that with a little better exam anything was possible.

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 ). After the paper I knew the exam had gone well. I was expecting the very best. It might seem exaggeration, but I'd be lying if I say a percentile of 99.89 didn't disappoint me at first. However what was interesting was the reversal in sectional percentiles from last year (Quant – 99.91 , English – 97.31). In the meanwhile I screwed up my XAT 2nd time in a row. Couldn't even clear all the 3 sectional cutoffs.

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 ). So, C, L and FMS were the 3 options I decided to pursue seriously, in that order. However I don't know why, maybe because of the lack of infrastructure or the desire for an IIM tag, I was never really inclined towards FMS.

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 latermg) 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.

  • 25 Likes   8 Comments
  • CAT'14 :astonished: ?. 27 Sep '14.
  • Plz share ur profile n ur engineering college too... 20 Oct '14.
new life @anup.suraj123 9

Plz share ur profile n ur engineering college too..

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.

The beginning

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.

Engineering days

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.

CAT 2010

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.

CAT 2011

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

Vineet Jain

FMS Delhi 2012-2014

TAS batch of 2014

  • 249 Likes   92 Comments
  • i am unable to find the post of keeler drummer on this th.... 23 Dec '14.
  • Thank you very much, way too kind @ishusanwaria Thanks .... 24 Dec '14.
Anita Chopra @anitachopra.pqr 34

i am unable to find the post of keeler drummer on this thread , heard a lot about it . Can somebody share his post ?

Vineet Jain @vineetjain111 2,031

 Thank you very much, way too kind @ishusanwaria 

Thanks @atishagupta Good luck! 

My journey of this MBA season was so rigorous and thrilling that even if I say all I had to say, there will be something left. Still below is something which, I hope, can be interesting.

The beginning and prep

It all started in April of 2013 when I was slowly getting bored in office after enjoying 1 year GET period on site. Prior to that my only exposure to CAT was sometime during my 3rd year of engineering when I opened my neighbor's CAT book and realized humse na ho paega after going through verbal section.

Anyways those were childhood days, MBA was the only option in front of me now so I decided to start preparing for it. I purchased e-test series and started self prep after office hours. Life was cool for 2-3 months with little office work and that too with a great team. Then came July and 2 old and stagnant projects were dumped on me. I tried to resist as I knew my CAT prep would be affected by this but I didn't knew that no one can win over HR. They bought my ego in discussion and I displayed heroics (read stupidity) and accepted transfer. Work pressure started increasing day by day and by August end work pressure was really high as I was assigned 2 projects at a time and it involved lot of travelling but by that time I was addicted to test format and work pressure hardly mattered. After giving various practice tests I realized that RC is the section which can dig my grave and I cannot leave prepping RC because I had already left prepping grammar and vocab. My mock's score ranged from 85 to 95 with RC always playing foul in game and by chance if scored decent in RC, DI was spoiler. I was just not able to perform decent in both RC & DI at once. The only solution to overcome this problem in front of me was extensive practice. I used to practice all the time while travelling, between lunch breaks and obviously during my normal morning time dedicated to CAT.


And finally came 10th of November. I attempted 16 each in both the sections and felt that I could have attempted at least 2 more in 1st section. I guestimated 96-97 %ile provided nothing stupid was done by me in exam. Came 14th of January and I woke up around 1 in afternoon as it was a much needed holiday for me. I was brushing my teeth when I recalled that results would have come by now and opened the website. Contents from my mouth fell on key pad when I saw overall %ile. 99.89. I closed and reopened it 5-6 times to verify but it still displayed 99.89.

After CAT

Two weeks later, after getting congratulated, as if IIMs are now in my pocket, by friends, family and relatives whom I hardly knew, I was sitting and wondering how to convert the calls I have got as I had around 20 days only for the 1st two interviews which were SPJIMR and IIM-L. Now the biggest problem in front of me was my job as even though my projects were almost over my boss had asked me to sit on site and overlook pending construction activities. I knew it was not at all possible for me to prepare in that sort of condition and as days were passing, pressure and desperation was mounting on me. Finally I took a long leave on the risk of job termination unaware of the fact that the battle for next 2 months is going to be mentally much more chanllenging compared to the one I won but I was aware of the fact that interviews has a lot of weight in final merit list and I wanted my name on at least 1 of those lists. I used to prepare 3-4 hours daily and was jobless for remaining time which was very difficult for me to pass.

Interview phase 1

Some how days passed and came my 1st interview of SPJIMR. I entered the center with lot of excitement but came out with a reject. That was highly demotivating and my confidence level was on the verge of crashing which I couldn't have afforded as IIM L interview was a day after. I tried hard to forget what happened in the interview and sleep but was unable to avoid that dark night. I gathered all my confidence which was left in a day and tried to build some by reading some stuffs which I thought might be relevant to the interview and reached for IIM L interview. That process went really smooth and my interview was more like a discussion on my job experience. I was not able to make anything out of it but was kind of feeling good after the interview but I stopped myself from sinking in that feeling because I had to prepare for my biggest call, IIM C, which was after four weeks.

phase 2

And then started the chain of sleepless nights with frustrations creeping in due to lot of free time and the biggest demon was fear of ending up with no converts and losing job. I tried to overcome these negative thoughts by reading lot of relevant articles and talking with fellow call getters. Came 12th of march and I was sitting in the interview room with 3 panel members in front of me, 2 of them with 'lets see what have u got' sarcastic look and 1 with 'I hardly care' look. Entire interview was debate on socio-economic situation and policies with all 3 interviewers shooting questions at me and I responded back with half baked and some really stupid points but 1-2 points were killer.

I left the room with a really bad feeling but I had little hope due to the fact that call to seat ratio of C was low. Any how it was over and by mid april all my other interviews were also over with my insomnia growing by this time.


I was just sitting and smoking on the evening of 16th April when my friend called and asked about C result. I became little shaky and asked him to check as I was not having internet that time. WL-77 he told and I was like are yaar ab L ke results tak wait na hoga then suddenly it occurred to me that I had PGDCM call too and asked him to check that. WL-5 he told and I knew that was as good as convert. The feeling following that was simply awesome and knowing that all the hard work has finally paid off, I had the best sleep in years that night and the nights after that with IIM L , S , MDI also getting converted.

Now that when I thought about everything I did and faced during last 1 year, while writing this, I realized that converts or no converts, I am proud of what I did.

  • 26 Likes   9 Comments
  • Congrats man :smiley:. 18 May '14.
  • (Y). 12 Aug '14.
Mera naam Jokar

As I pen this down I cannot describe the feelings, emotions, and adrenaline running down my veins..(Tread with caution .This post is gigantic and might bore you off ...read only when u have enough time..)

Here is how and why it started...Recap..

Always was a top ranker in school since childhood. Had scored 93% in Xth.But somehow lost track in class 12 and could not make it to even a NIT.Secured a mediocre rank is state engg entrance exam and could only make it to a private engg college.

This debacle was too much for not only me but for my entire family and relatives.Even friends were shocked. I went into a depression for the 2 months post results. Did not meet anyone or take up calls. For mom this was an even bigger failure having always stressed the importance of getting into IIT/NIT. Few of friends who went to IIT and NIT started displaying their t shirt logos during vacations..And I severed all childhood contacts. Period.

Went to college but for the first 6 months did not make even a single friend. (Had realised that having too many friends was one major reason why I was here today). Was not that interested in Electronics and lost more hope when I learnt that the only way I could make it big was thorugh GATE or CAT. Neways did not decide upon anything yet. Meanwhile my cousin was also staying in kol and we became very good friends and I started enjoying the life of freedom in kolkata. Left studies completely and even forgot that I was still a student.

1st year over. Below average GPA's made me realise during the summer break that this way I will land up nowhere. Took some time and then decided I would go for CAT. But i was very low in confidence at that time having screwed all entrance exams. Heard about the exam being very competetive and getting into one of the top 5 colleges namely A,B,C,XL,FMS takes a lot of determination...

CAT 2011..(The immature year..)

Nevertheless I started my journey but had no directions. I started off with Norman Lewis and build my vocabulary very rigorously. This initial phase was very interesting and I enjoyed a lot. Joined TIME classroom in june 2010.Went to classes very enthusiastically. But as I soon could realise, it wasnt helping me that much. One year passed, I was in final year.When I went to write my fisrt mock I had no clue of many questions.I got to know about pagalguy from a friend in the month of Oct 2011. Browsed through Quant thread and I was aghast with my level of knowledge. (Except for Pnc and and algebra)I could hardly solve anything. I knew then, that CAT 2011 would become just a formality now.Went to the exam hall half heartedly. My roommate took the seat beside me. I somehow got overexcited with Quant having been able to solve first 5-6 question in quick time and breezed through the paper. Va was tough that year. Attempts: QA26 VA24. I was thinking even though I was out of practice and had not rechecked any question I was sure to get 20 correct atleast.I was very happy untill the day of the results. Jan 11th. QA 65 VA 83 OA 75.xx The result screen brought back those very memories of entrance exams and I for the first time did not show any emotions. I sat with a placid face.I could nto make head and tail out of anything... Did I get 20 incorrect in quant out of 26 was what I was thinking.My roommate called up and said he got 91.xx overall and he was kinda happy as we had gone without preparation..But the result that turned me around was of one of my collegemates. He had suffered a similar trauma like me, unable to get into a top engg college. He secured 98.6 in his first attempt and converted NITIE finally. I checked the results of some of the Pagalguy stalwarts and found that many had scored surprisingly very low in one of the sections.

CAT 2012...The year of slogging ..

I knew that I had my task cut out, if I were to even continue with my dream of getting into a reputed B-school. Neways, this was one of the turning points in my preparation. I started solving quant like hell form that very day. PaGalguY Quant thread became my home. Started solving questions from there and within 2 motnhs I was a certified Pagal(only with the help of quant thread, not bakar). Meanwhile I made some very good friends in pagalguy, and preparation went on with full pace. I and my roommate started solving mocks of previous years. We somewhat abandoned the outer world and concentrated only on preparation.Then came the mock season. Enrolled for CL and TIME basic.1st proc I was in toppers list with 95%ile and to be honest that was my 1st ever serious mock and I was happy. Then the wrong move.. I over pressurised myself. Set daunting targets without working out strategies. Thought I need to get 50+ in quant having practised so much in quant thread.Took the mocks as if they were real CAT and as a result Scores started dipping from 2nd mock onwards. I was getting extremely frustrated. On seeing a familiar question I was pushing myself too hard to get that question correct within 30 sec. As a result I ended up with mediocre scores in 80's

Meanwhile I got placed into 2 IT companies.. Accenture and TCS. Chose TCS even though it would put a Aam Admi stamp as I thought of long term gains in choosing a company with relatively less stricter rules.Went to hyderabad just 1 month prior to cat. New place, new environment, etc took a toll on my prep. 3 days prior to cat I wrote PM 10. Scored 108.

Went to the exam hall a little tensed as I knew that I was much better prepared than last time. Memories of Quant thread gave me confidence. But QA was very tough and VA was okayish. Attempted 20 and 24 resp. Did not write XAT or IIFT as I knew preparing amidst all the new brouhaha in a new city wont be possible.(A big mistake..I later realised...). Results came...And once again I was devastated.. QA 91, VA 89 OA 91.5. I was beginning to feel I would never be able to crack any entrance exam. Its better if I switch job and take refuge in PSU bank etc.

CAT 2013 ... The year when all the dots joined....

Post results till march/april I was completely clueless as to how I would shape my career. Images of living a genteel life were fast vanishing...and then came the big turnaround...

I became very good friends with the girl who sat beside me in office. She is a telugu and 2 years senior to me. But unlike others in the office something was very different in her. I loved talking to her. And she reciprocated the same. She was pretty reserved in the office with her other colleagues but she enjoyed my company very much.

I narrated my dream to her and all about taking CAT that year.(as I had decided that this is going to be my last attempt at the feline)..She somehow empathized with my dreams completely..She took up my dream as her own and treated me like a 5 year old kid, promising me gifts after every mock. I started studying from mid may...revising old mocks etc..But something inside was bugging both me and her...It had been only 2 months we had met... But it seemed like we knew each other for more than 5 years...One day she was telling me about her the then ongoing marriage proposals and I instantly said can u wait for 2 more years for me..? She was surprised but very happy with fact that finally I had come up with the thing..And her answer....YES..

Both were happy but we knew instantly that our families wont accept.

Reason 1. Girl elder.

Reason 2 Girl telegu brahmin , boy bengali.

If anyhting I knew I had to get into a top college, as that would be my only saviour. I would then proudly be able to stand up to face the world.

With this I went into my 1st mock... Excited, but I did not pressurise myself. I knew a lot had been happening in life lately and it was diffcult to get things going right from day 1. I planned that whatever I knew I would attempt, rest I would simply skip and check at the last even if that meant I was skipping questions from my favourite areas. Result:99.36%ile.Both of us were ecstatic. She promised me that she would take me to a new place or restaurant after every mock.

I enrolled for TIME and IMS as well. Wrote the 1st Ims mock again a 99 plus %ile.1st Time mock and Iwas the city topper in VA..Everything was going in a way I couldnt have imagined better. Mid august, and my scores averaged to about 97.5... I nominated myself for UDT and surprisingly was selected as the Captain... I was very sceptical in the beginning to be a member of such a coveted family leave aside being the captain.. But my gf always reposed faith in me..She always said that she believed I can do it at a time when even my parents had lost much hope after my continued failure since class12...

If ever I was wee bit sad after a mock, her presence and words comforted me and I started focussing on startegies.Ther were weekends when she had made many plans of us hanging out after my mock but only to find out that I was in no mood to talk about anyhting else having experienced a bad mock. But she never pegged me or got frstrated herself. She sat down beside me and constantly encouraged to concentrate for the next mock.

I struck a perfect strategy in Va becuase of which my scores consistently crossed 60 in every mock i took. She cooked and brought food for me to my flat,and drove me to every mock center (as distant as 20 km from wehre I stay.)so that I could save time for my studies.....I applied for XAT and IIFT as well and booked CAT on 1st nov...The day before CAT I was completely chilled and relaxed. We were roaming the streets of Hyd like free birds at 12 am in the night.

Then came the moment.. She dropped me at the center and wished me good luck....While I was waiting for my exam to start looking at the computer screen, I was cursing the bloody exam. (To ease my nerves... )'So what if I am not able to beat the hell out of u.. My life would not end..I have a lovely girl and I would be happy...'

Neways.. Started the paper. Qa was tough as was already the rumours...Neways I proceeded with a cool mind. Went through all the questions... Few were very tough and I did not even waste a second on them.. Rest I rechecked.. Attempted 22.

When I switched to VA.. i felt very confident as I had the backing of consistent 60+ scores in the last 2 months prior to cat. Rc's were tough. Still attmepted 9/10. One Lr set was easy. Second set I left 1q. When I came to the 3rd set I could not solve it due to contradictory clues.Rechecked it thrice only to find out that it wasworng. I wasnt nervous .. but only cursed and abused the paper setter...(i was expecting a wrong question having experienced the same the previous year...).. Neways... did not even bother to attmept the grammar and phrasal verbs. Proceeded with PJ, PC's and FIB's. Attmepted 22.. I knew I had attempted decent numbers in both.. Only worry was accuracy. I had a long history of screwing up exams with poor accuracy. In the mocks leading upto cat, my accuracy had dropped in QA. So, in effect I wanst that hopefull ....or rather I did not want to pin any hopes, having suffered the pain of failure many times by now.. I was so hopeless that I did not apply to FMS..:(

Next came IIFT .. I screwed it up due to one wrong strategy and calculated my score...a measly 43.xx. Suddenly, I started feeling nervous again about the future.. This time it was not only about me alone.. it was about both of us..I started feeling tense as to how I wouls stand up and face my parents leave aside her. Time was running out and we knew that we had to tell our parents soon as it was getting difficult for her to ignore all the marriage proposals she was getting. I was thinking if it isnt this year, I will not get another year.. Besides i had run out of steam, after so many failures.. one more and it would permanently hamper out future..With all this in mind I started preparing seriously for Xat. Solved mocks of IMS. Compared scores with other DT and UDT members. Devised a strategy.. This was going to be my first well prepared XAT( having skipped it the previous year)

Alas.! The paper was extemely tough. All 3 sections were tough. I was scoring somewhere in the mid 40's in the mocks.. Here I was 10 min remaining, attempted 17 in VA, 6-7 in DM, 9-11 in QA..

I knew XAT was gone, even if I consider that the paper would be very tough.. I was sure DM would play the spoil sport. I was very sad that day.. Cat was as always very unpredicatble, coupled with my accuracy issues..IIFT screwed.. And now XAT...Did not care to check the solutions...

Slowly results time arrived.. I was feeling very hopeless the night before 14th JAN.. I was telling my gf, dont expect anyhting... i am feeling bad for u.. despite so much effort and sacrifice by u, I will not be able to give u perfect gift..She insisted, 'dekhna tumhara achha hi hoga... I am sure'... But still I had no hope.. We knew results would be out by 9 am..I asked her to check mine as I considered myself cursed..:P She entered the details..The screen flashed...My eyes went straight to the Overall perentile section.. ............................................99.43................................................:)

I shouted at a voice which would make even the dead curse me from their graves...I checked the individual scores.. QA 99.21, VA 97.1 OA 99.43... The next moment I started crying loudly... Called up my mom, and for the first 3 mintues only cried and cried and cried...She started crying as well...Dad later told me the way she started crying, he thought that something must have happened to my grandmother..:P .Posted in FB the result screenshot ... The thing which I wanted to do so badly for such a long time.....

But soon the enjoyment was cut short becuase of the IIM's and their criteria. Did not get a call from A,B,C,L,I. Only calls IIMK, S, SPJAIN,MDI, NITIE, IIT B. Somehow, I was dejected at not having a single call among the top 4 IIM's. That feeling made me regret about XAT all the more... If only i had attempted a little more in DM..

Jan 31st came.. My gf called me up while I was at office and told me that I had got 97.21 with QA 88.69, VA 92.5 and DM....94.5.. :o.. I instantly felt she was my lucky charm.....I got the Coveted XLRI Hrm call. I knew. Now I have 2 colleges to fight for and I would give my everything in this last lap...Joined CL pdp programme.. Was mentored well...

Interview season started...

SPJAIN was a reject in the first round.. I became very nervous.. After all the excitement, expectations has soured from every corner... Evryone already had been saying 'tum to IIM jaoge..' and Here I am with only XL and IIM K to fight for.. XL interview was in Bangalore, and somehow I wanted to take my lucky charm with me... I knew deep inside that if she is with me then I would definitely succeed..

As I hadhoped for, XL interview went exceedinlgy well... I could manipulate the interview towards my preapred areas and answered everything ...Did well in the GD too...

Post XL interview, I did not study much and just went to every interview a confident stance..

Attended IIM K interview and did well in the gd but with a average PI I was not that hopeful.

I decided, If I convert a biggie, I would immediately tell my parents about my relationship. And I even planned to take her to my home.

April 7th 2014 7: 20 PM..

I heard that XL Results have been declared. I immediately called up my gf and asked her to take me home where she would be checking the results. I could have checked it in my mobile almost 1 hour back.But i did not. On my way back to home my heart started beating at the pace of usain bolt. She checked the result and said.......

XL HRM waitlist No 6.

The shout returned. The ecstacy returned. But this time it was relief... It was mission accomplished..Childhood dream to study in a reputed institute finally came alive.. When I look back and reflect it still feels that may be I am in some sort fo dream... It was like answering all those critics with a bang... i cannot describe better of what it was....

One after the other results came..

Nitie, MDI both convert..But then came the next biggie.

IIM K. @ibanez asked me my credentials over phone checked the results.

IIM Kozhikode converted.And I made up my mind..XL would remain close to my heart and I would never forget 7th april 2014 for the happiness it gave me, but it was going to be God's own campus.


In short If I have to write a message for all fellow aspirants who are struggling just like I did from 2008 to 2013.. I would say, 'Hard work never goes unrewarded forever and never ever give up in life..' . I never lost the belief in myself that I deserve the best, during my entire journey.

As for me I still have a long way to go far as career and relationship goes... Have a lot of struggles ahead of me..But today as I write this down, I am feeling very confident of the road ahead of me..I will work hard and I dont fear to compete with the best of the best.

P:S would write a separate post for strategies in interview prep...

Signing off,

Captain UDT13,



[Koustav Pal]

  • 201 Likes   96 Comments
  • Hi Koustav..Wish u all the best for ur future :smiley: .... 30 Aug '14.
Media Cell | IIM Kozhikode 2014-16 
Mitt Ash @mittash 12

Hi Koustav..Wish u all the best for ur future I just wanted to ask u about the number of years of exp u had while joining...I am currently having 4.5 yrs of exp in IT.Was wondering if it will make any difference? Thanks in Advance

How a clueless girl stepped up and made it to an IIM


I'm a General, non-engineer, female. I'm skeptical whether my story can inspire anyone, but it surely has been one hell of a ride (that ended up in helL ) for me, so thought of penning it down just for records.


I did not score a great percentile in CAT, getting into an IIM may be a wish but was never a realistic dream for me.

I had below average academic record, no formal work experience, absolutely no extracurricular activity after school, in fact, I had no idea what am I going to do with my life after college gets over! I was studying (was I?) Biotechnology and was enjoying my life to the fullest. Every one of my class had made plans of career in final year but I was still clueless. There were two prominent choices, Msc or MBA. I wrote competitive exams of both, the CBEE (Combined Biotech Entrance Exam) and CAT. I was not much concerned about why should I go for either of them. I didn't qualify the CBEE and scored 55 percentile in CAT '11.

My friends started advising me; CAT is not for people like us to crack. It's cracked by engineers, IITians and all big shots who have excellent mathematical skills and extraordinary brain. I found some weight in this and gave up the thought for a while and continued having fun during final days of college. In every small or big exam I have done last minute study, by borrowing notes from here and there and somehow scored average marks.

After packing my bags from college, on my way to home, my brother asked me €œWhat's the plan? €? and I was silent. He continued, either you can go for Msc or you can go to IIM for MBA. (Are you kidding me?!). I reached home and found CAT study material waiting for me!

Anyhow, I started focusing on CAT as it seemed the only choice. I studied diligently, day and night, for coming 4-5 months. Finished syllabus in 2 months, then took a CL mock only to realize that I could hardly solve 4-5 questions in maths and hit 15-16 wrong in verbal. That was a sinking feeling. I started getting depressed and sleepless nights. It was September and I stood nowhere. With just 1 mock, everything seemed to have ended. Words of my friends were echoing in my ears and expectations of family flashing in eyes. I deactivated fb, blocked my boyfriend's no. from phone without telling him (he was a big distraction in my path, I'm yet to meet a guy who can encourage a girl for higher studies rather than putting easy choices in front of her), cut-off from all sorts of friends and focused only and only on CAT'12. It was no less than a battle of life for me where almost everything was on stake including my life. (I had no plan B if I could not crack CAT).

Results: 68%ile in CAT, 48%ile in XAT and similar performance in other exams too.

With each failure I was getting more and more triggered. Surprisingly, the results could no longer depress me or falter my determination to make it to a top B school. Instead I evolved more and more with each failure and faced them all with a tough smile on my face. By then, I knew why I needed MBA to fulfill my dreams and nothing could change my direction now. I was getting crazy and passionate for this MBA and IIM dream now!

This change in attitude toward my goals in life, in 1 year, was itself an accomplishment. I felt proud on myself that I'm able to- at least- think about my life and take my own decisions.

I started working for a startup- which later on induced the entrepreneurship keeda inside me too- and prepared parallel for CAT '13. I forcefully made reading as my habit and apart from news (which I already used to read), I made myself read good novels and editorials of Hindu and ET on a daily basis. Among online sources, livemint is my favorite. I have come to know so many diverse and awesome things about life through Philosophy passages in RC. Gradually, reading became my hobby.

Mostly, I used to read Hindu with my dictionary on and a notebook beside to write down new words. In my initial days I didn't even know words like 'haste' and 'conviction' (now I laugh at myself). My big fat notebook was slowly getting filled and my vocab stronger (at least for CAT level). For quant, I tried a lot focusing on my weak areas but as exams approached, I focused only on my strong areas, practiced them and forgot about everything else. I knew basics about every topic but never cared to know what a 'chinese remainder theorem' or a 'wilson's theorem' is. (Though, heard these names in quant thread a lot). I emphasized on DI, TnD, Profit and Loss, percentage, average and only basics of PnC, probability and other dirty maths.

Even this much was very difficult for me. I could never get my name in CL's toppers' list. But I kept on practicing, analyzing and practicing.

Exam season:


93.28 %ile in CAT, 50.66 marks in IIFT, 96.78%ile in XAT(Couldn't clear Quant cut-off)

Calls from IIFT, IMT-Ghaziabad, IMI delhi, IIM Lucknow ABM

GD/PI season:

I considered IIFT as my best call; IIM L seemed too good to be true. How could I convert at such a low percentile with nothing special in my profile? I focused on IIFT, it became my dream college. I read all business news, made notes, learnt facts and figures related with Indian Economy, practiced answering all probable questions I could think of. I used to visit Zzeke's post daily to see whether I'm anywhere near to his interview prep.

Something was wrong on IIFT day, I got really very nervous after reaching there. Essay went ok, but I could hardly speak in GD and was given a chance in the end to conclude. PI was even more terrible. I knew I was not getting in there.

I had IIFT reject (I didn't even make it to waiting list) when I went for IIM L WAT/PI. My mind was abnormally relaxed and pretty chilled out as if I had nothing to fear. I was reading Geeta sitting outside the PI room waiting for my call. (I have it in my phone and I was on 'karmayog' chapter). I went inside. I was unable to answer most of the acad based questions thoroughly, but maintained my composure. Rest of the questions was politics and elections based and I answered all of them. I was explaining how presidential elections happen; they stopped me in middle and said ok, we're done.

Meanwhile, I got IMT Ghaziabad DCP which was the lone offer I got this season. My parents were not ready to send me to Dubai, but my brother was, and I was eagerly waiting for IMI result so that all this tension can be sorted out.

Result came, and it was a straight reject.

I cried, cried and cried for hours. Was it IMI that made me cry? No. It was disbelief, a loss of faith in my own capability. I had toiled for days and nights not taking care of my own health, and got nothing in return. I lost faith in my own hard work. After this, I promised myself I will never cry for these results. Every time I felt low, there was a voice coming from inside 'I will not let you cry'. I felt tougher and stronger.

One result was yet to go and odds were all against me. I couldn't convert college like IMI, how could I even think of IIM L?

One day (27th April, Sunday) I was strolling on pagalguy and read 'ABM results out'. A result is a result. Heartbeats gone up, hoping for a miracle. I became the most optimistic person on this earth. Entered my CAT ID and email, pressed enter.

It was a 'Congratulation!' message. I didn't know how to react, I was silent . Told everyone in family, all were enthralled and excited. I had just one feeling in mind; finally, I got something. I just converted my best call and it came in a totally filmy way. Like 'Chak de..', last ball and one goal to win!

The girl who was clueless about her career after graduation, has just made it to one of the finest B schools in country. It's not IIM that makes me happy, it's the transformation in these 2 years that I feel good about. The state of mind and the emotions that I had that time would be belittled if I could arrange them in words. There is no way I can tell what it was like seeing the proud face of my Brother, Mom and Dad.

All's well that ends well. But if only this was the end. This is the beginning of something far more crazy and trying. I hope I make the best of this opportunity offered to me and come out as a bigger, better and brighter person in life.

For those who don't want to go through the whole story, the crux is-( actually the gyaan from my side )

-Never take the judgments by other people about you seriously. No one can know you and your ambitions in life, better than yourself. Dream high, but also, keep judging yourself very seriously.

-Hard work can make any damn thing on this earth possible. I have always heard this, but now I truly got the meaning. A hard worker can never be a loser.

-The moment you stop thinking about results, the moment you become far more efficient in efforts. Keeping one eye on result leaves only one eye for the real work.

-Last and the most important, never ever put everything on stake for this CAT, MBA or anything. Always have a plan B ready. This again makes you steady and more efficient. (Though I took a big risk by not doing so, I don't advice this to anyone).

Thanks a lot for spending your time reading this. Have a great life.

[Note: This is a post on the user's CAT journey that has been captured in her 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]

  • 160 Likes   78 Comments
  • enlightening post!!. 10 Feb.
  • _/\\_. 10 Feb.
IIM-L PGPABM, 2014-16

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