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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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Today, after interacting with many puys, and going though a 'flashback' of my life, I have decided to tell the entire story....in its raw, naked form. I had thought I'd wait till the IIM results, but then, I thought my 500th post needed to be special.

Till high school, I used to be a fairly good student. I scored 85% in my X boards. Then, I was sent to Delhi from Solan (a small town in H.P.) for IIT coaching, coz I was identified as a 'bright prospect'. But, I had always wanted to be a cricketer. So, with renewed vigour, I completely gave up studying, and turned to cricket. I wasn't a bad player, but then, I wasn't exceptional either. It was more of a rebellion against authority.

Anyhow, my scores dipped, and I barely scraped through Class XI. I didn't improve much in Class XII. Another issue I faced was that I felt I was being discriminated against by the majority ethnic community, in my class. I flunked my pre-boards. The school called my parents, who were horrified to know that their supposedly brilliant son was flunking. My folks had to plead with the authorities to let me sit for the XII boards. Anyway, I somehow managed a 67%.

I studied a bit for Engg. entrance exams, and cleared a few. Then, I got admission to PEC, Chandigarh. Again, I wasn't quite convinced with studying Civil Engineering. Consequently, I flunked an exam each in my first two sems. In the third, I was out of action for 6 months, with a near-fatal road accident. But, to quote Charles Dickens, 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.' That accident changed my outlook towards life. I learnt many lessons, and I guess I matured a lot in those 6 months. After that, I worked heart and soul to get life back on track. Eventually, I scored 61.9% in engineering.

By then, I had been written off as a bright star who had lost his glow, by family and friends. So, I decided to shift base, and move to a different city, away from everyone. That's when I took up a job at IBM's BPO in Gurgaon. I appeared for CAT '02, without any preparation. To my surprise, I got 97.5 percentile, and a call from UBS, Chandigarh. (That was the only place I had applied to.) However, I was not confident enough, and messed up the GD and interview. I was devastated, but went back to my job. After a few months of good performance, I was promoted as a trainer. Next year, I filled up the CAT form again, but chickened out of appearing for the paper. I spent another couple of years in my job - got another couple of promotions, and lots of accolades. But somehow, all my past failures haunted me.

I switched jobs, and came to Genpact in 2005. Once again, I settled into a reasonably comfortable life. It needed a jolt to break me out from my world of computer games and books. Being a Liverpool fan, I tuned in to the Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan. Liverpool were trailing 3-0 in the first half, and I was seething with rage! They went in at half-time like losers, who'd given up. But after 15 minutes, I was surprised to see Gerrard charging out of the tunnel, followed by his team. Their body language looked surprisingly positive, and it baffled me. And lo, after 15 minutes, I was jumping with joy. Liverpool - 3 goals in 10 minutes!! Eventually, they won. I didn't rejoice, dance, or whoop with delight. I took my bike, went to a peaceful place nearby, and cried like I'd never done before.

In those 90 minutes, I had found vindication. I saw myself in the team that came back when everyone, including ardent fans like me, had written them off. I realized that all was not lost, till I decided that it was. I went back, and decided to give my fullest to my job. For another year, I drove myself hard. I was quickly recognized as an efficient and good worker. Still, I couldn't bring myself to exorcise the demon of CAT. Then, life changed...

Late in 2006, a girl at office, who lived en route to my house, asked me for a lift. She and I had a small conversation. I dropped her home, and forgot about the incident. A few days later, the 'lift' became a routine affair. And before I knew it, I was deep in love with her, and vice-versa.

After listening to the story of my life, she would bring up the subject of an MBA, and I would nervously change the topic. Then, she also talked about getting an MBA and joining a coaching institute for preparation. So, on a weekend, I took her to IMS, TIME, CL etc. We discussed the options, and concluded that TIME sounded best. We went back next week to sign up. That's when she dropped the bombshell. It wasn't her who was signing up, it was ME!! I was reluctant, being more keen on a part-time MBA, but she asked me to give it just one shot.

Despite my reluctance, I joined. And I took the first mock they gave. Score 99.xx. I regained a bit of self-belief and vowed to give it 110%.

I had enrolled for classes in Jan '07 at TIME, and began studying hard. Days became weeks, weeks became months. I found that when the mock tests began, I would always score in the region of 95-96, but never beyond. It began to frustrate me. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't score above 96. The faculty were extremely supportive and counselled me regularly. Two of the teachers, Mr. Banerjee, and Mr. Pankaj, always had positive things to say. They sat with me, to understand my issues, and advised me at every step. Tanveer Sir (writetotanveer), who was part of the faculty, was especially encouraging and inspiring. He was the one who introduced me to this wonderful world of PagalGuy.

Still, by September, I only had one 98+ score to my name. And if you plotted my scores, you'd get pretty much a straight line - in the 95-96 zone. Essentially, I felt like I'd just be knocking at the IIMs' doors but not getting in. Meanwhile, things were also getting tough on the personal front. The girl, who'd been by my side through all those times, moved on with life. Life had once again, come full circle. I lost interest in everything. Appeared for one of the mocks, and walked out after only 45 minutes, unable to focus. The result showed me 79 percentile. That's when I remembered the day a team in red had refused to die out, and had come back to beat all odds, and belie all predictions.

I began preparing again, and decided to give one final thrust, always keeping the Reds in mind. Come D-day, I felt I was ready. Tanveer Sir met me at my center and told me, "Mr. Singla, dimaag thanda rakhna. Ho jaayega." And well, if not spectacularly, I think I have done reasonably well for myself with a total of 7 calls from top-league institutes.

Today, that team in Red is almost on the verge of another historic victory. Today, I'm on the verge of getting into a b-school. Today, a lot of pundits consider the Reds a strong team, and rate their chances highly. And today, I've suddenly become the blue-eyed boy. I don't really care if the Reds win or not. They tried hard, and gave their best, so they'll always be heroes to me, irrespective of the win. I will always worship them, and go back to that famous day in 2005, whenever I need them to motivate me.

Puys, I guess as long as one is prepared to show enough heart to fight it out, one can never lose. MBA or no MBA, b-school or no b-school, if you have that fire in you, that zeal to succeed, you will make it big in life.

Also, comparisons are part of life. It may feel natural to you or to others, to say XYZ has 4 calls, 5 calls, 6 calls, etc. But remember, no two individuals are the same. Can you compare a sprint champion with a marathon winner? No, right? Why? Both of them are winners, in their own way. But if others around you are sprinters, don't lose heart. They may get their trophies after 9.7 odd seconds of hard work, whereas you may have to spend 2 odd hours running to win yours. But, believe me, it'll be much more precious to you!

All the best everyone!

Update: That team in Red lost that day, but I made it to quite a few b-schools. I'm proud of them, for doing what they did. And yes, even today, whenever I have those doubts about myself, I go back in time to watch that historic match...


My struggle for CAT 05 isnt an epitome of struggle but more of survival as the time period I had was, very less(4 months). I started preparing Aug end and CAT was in NOv. But the real struggle was to get out of the mindset that I had made - Not to go for higher studies.

Had attempted CAT just once i.e. CAT 05 and thankfully that was my last attempt as well. I was so drained by 4 yrs of engg that I had decided that no more studies. When I joined (oct 2004) Tech Mahindra(erstwhile MBT) and had to undergo 3 months training (which had loads of exit clause) my decision : to not to go for further studies became even stronger.:sly:

How did I suddenly decide write CAT 05!!
I'll start with what 3-4 stories that made me write CAT 05

- Room mate:Was living in Pune with my college friend and both of us were working in TEch M. He wanted to prepare for CAT 05 and hence, called his mother to stay with us for 6 months so that he can slog it our for cat without worrying for food, washing clothes and taking care of house.

-PM:Like every boss my boss wasnt great either and I always wondered how could he become a PM, then I came to know he did his MBA from XYZ college and thought I could do much better than him .

- Peer Circle: Most of them had decided very early that after BE they will take 2-3 years of work ex and then would do there MBA but they in the process they would attempt CAT every year and hence, use to talk a lot about it.

- Dad: He did his MBA from Osmania university(part time) as he is in Indian AIr force and always told me that MBA is a piece of cake especially after doing E&C; engg. Go for it, you will do well. I always knew that he is pushing me to go for higher studies which I didnt want to do.

- X factor: Was the final spark that I made me decide that I need to do MBA. My x's mother(as she is a close family friend) called me, and said -"she has got into a college which has been rated 25th by India today's B-school ranking.She is doing very well and has already made a mark in 2 months of college."
This was it, what ever she could do, I could do much better.

So the initial plan was to write CAT 05 for practice and will slog it out for CAT 06.

While I was fighting it out in mind to attempt cat or not, PG happened to me in jul 05. One my friends told me that you can get free mocks from this amazing site. And soon I found that site was very useful and helpful.

Since it was end of August I couldnt find a new batch starting at any of the coaching centers instead they had batches starting for Mock series. So joined them.

Since, I knew that cracking CAT 05 will be tough and hence, focused was more on JMET as I had a realistic chance of cracking it.

After that I decided that I started looking out for people who could help me for my preparation but sadly I couldnt find many as most of them thought I couldnt do it the same year or they thought they needed to focus on there preparation. Hence, finally had to prepare on my own.

The lesson I learned was there are loads of people who wanted to do MBA and crack cat but dont get a starting point and hence, I made sure that I reach these people via PG. Its no surprise to me that my first post was in Apr 06 i.e. 10th months after I joined PG and i have reasonably well in these 2 years to reach out to newbies.

Only thing i like about stone in my path is, when I cross them, they become my milestones! 
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It was the astronomical salaries at IIMs that caught my attention the first time. I was still in school then. Dint think much of it.
As far as i remember, my first serious pursuit of career was in cricket. i was 4 yrs old when i saw a Sachin tendulkar on tv. Fell in love with the game. Played it like any other kid in india would, always dreaming of myself donning the india colors.
I was a class topper throughout my academic life. My parents obviously had other plans for me.
I finally convinced them to send me to a cricket camp when i was in class 5.
At the end of the camp, the coach asked my dad to let me continue as i had potential.
I remember those days, used to wake up at 5.30 in the morning goto practise, return at 8.30, hurry to school n be punished for coming late almost daily:. Returned home in the afternoon n again play cricket wit frens till we could no longer see each other.
I was in class seven when i went for the open selections for the state team. Everyone told me, dude u need a reco to get in. There were abt a 1000 kids i think.
I went with my mom... i had already forced her to buy me the spiked shoes so that i look in the right 'attire' a day b4 the selections. Reluctantly she bought me the shoes.
I tried my hand in the selections.. noone even noticed i bowled. I went straight to one of the senior selectors n told him..."I am from so n so cricket camp. My coach is so n so. I am a leg spinner."
He looked at me, n i donno wat made him say, ok bowl 6 balls, we'l see.
I did pretty well. Was in the list of the probables for the state team the next week. Dint make it thru to the team, but i was quite certain tat i was gonna go there soon.
Things changed fast. I was in 9th standard when my parents got real worried abt my interest in cricket instead of studies where i was still topping the class. There was some tension n i think i was frustrated with them not seeing my interest.
Add to that i saw more n more of the corruption n manipulation that went on in the selection process... I still dont remember wat triggered it but one day i just woke up n decided tat i wasnt goin to pursue cricket.
That was my first blunder.
Life went on. Topped the school in the boards, made it to the best coll in hyd and was a topper there as usual. I sometimes regret being so good at getting marks.
My high scores sealed my fate. I had to do engg bcoz in the place i lived in it was either engg or medical. Noone tot of anything else.
Made it into a decent engg coll n after much tot took up ECE bcoz it was the flavor of the season. My mom wanted me to take it up more than me i think. But i was ok, graduating out was not an issue for me.
My interest in cat increased when i saw my sis prepare for it. She used to struggle thru memorising everything, words, formulae n try to solve them in no time,etc etc...
I tot ....:w00t:i saw her mock papers n said ye toh baaye haath ka khel hain.
A few months into my engg i was certain that i had committed the second blunder of my life by taking up engineering. It just wasnt me. And to add to my problem i was still scoring the marks. Noone, from my family to frens to peers believed that i wasnt really fit to be an engineer.
I was pretty good at other co-curriculars right from schooling. Debating, elocution n all were my passions...
They helped me gain that confidence in my abilities and made me more open to learning abt diff fields n areas instead of remaining a book worm.
Nov. 05 i joined time to start my prep for CAT. Deep down i was confident that i could crack the test. And call it my arrogance or foolishness, i had done enuf research to find out that IIMs were not the best in the world and told myself to not give them the hype tat others around me used to.
I enjoyed the classes at TIME but wasnt really preparing seriously.May came n the mocks started. I began feeling the heat. My scores always hovered in the mid nineties with occasional 98%..
Simultaneously, i was leading the IEEE branch of the coll. I had worked hard to become its chairman n i wasnt willing to relax on my contribution to it even though i had CAT coming up.
Got placed in cts n wipro. I tot i had something to fall back upon in case i dont do well.
I was everywhere, never said no to a single activity in coll or outside.
Somehow, managed to hold myself together n went to give CAT with an open mind.
Saw the paper... 75Q... the same pattern as the last mock cat which was so tough.
I decided that i would be careful n do only those tat i could surely answer.
Started with VA my strongest section... n hardly marked anything. i kept calm n decided to be more careful in QA n DI.
My over carefulness resulted in me working on each problem slwer than i normally would.
And by the time i realised tat the other two sections were for phodofying time was up...
I knew i wasnt upto the mark.:(
After that i ignored the other exams.wrote them just for the heck of it.
Results came.. 95 percentile with above 85%ile in each. Got calls from tapmi n mica. i was totally pissed with life. I dint want to join an IT company bcoz i knew tat my skills wud never be used well here. So decided to try my best to get into either insti.
i have this habit of telling myself that no matter where i study, i can do well in life. i really never gave a damn to the reputation of any institute. Maybe that made me less passsionate in my pursuit of the IIM seat. I was always told i was arrogant and it took me two CAT debacles to accept tat.
Anyways, results of other instis were coming out n i was nowhere in the lists. Then came what seemed like a gift from the almighty
i was shortlisted in spjain for the interview.
i tot that aft all the struggle, mayb GOD has decided to be a little kind. I worked like mad for it. read every post on the spjimr thread in PG. attended every session at TIME n made notes of every possible question i cud be asked....
Those 2 months of prep, i forgot every other worry in my life. I just wanted to go to SPJIMR. First round of interview in bangalore... i did awesome.. beat my own expectations. Got thru n was called for the second round at mumbai a month later.
In between i attended tapmi n mica calls too. The prep for spj helped me in these.
Last interview, was spj 2nd round. It was the day India lost to sri lanka in the world cup.
My interview was b4 the match. The process was same as the first round but i dunno wat hit me. I was nervous like never b4. Mayb the fact tat i was so close to getting in got to me.
Entered the room and dropped my folder. Aft tat it was all downhill. hardly spoke in the grp interview. I knew it was over.
Waited for the results.. got thru tapmi n mica n made up my mind tat i would join tapmi if i din make it spjain.
But the day the spj result came n i dint make it, i knew i had missed out on a golden opportunity.
My mom kept tellin me tat i could do well in tapmi too. I agreed but somewhere inside i knew i was compromising. It was just one hour which had spoilt my chances.
I still remember, one night i kept walking up n down in the drawing room while others slept trying to convince myself to goto manipal.
Next day when my mom n dad were discussing abt arrangin for the fee for tapmi i broke the news... i wanted to take CAT again.
they were supportive.
The plan was to spend the couple of months aft engg tat i tot i would have b4 joining the job to prepare full time at home.
But things changed again. 2 days aft my exmz ended cts asked me to join in bangalore a week later.
My parents asked me to wait for the wipro joining, but by that time i was so frustrated that i just wanted to get away from hyd. i joined cts promising myself that i would work harder this time.
CAT part II
Training was tough n i was never on bench Got into a proj which had a nov deadline to meet. Slogged at work but kept the faith.
I had joined the TIME mock series and was doin better this time. avg in the late nineties.
I was quietly confident that this time i could crack it.
But then, on the D-day i was not good enuf again. a measely 90%ile overall.
i knew it the moment i handed over the paper.
6 months of living away from home, not a single movie on any weekend (ok we all love watchin movies.. hyderabadis especially
), going to office on weekends just to analyse my papers away from the din tat existed in my PG, all seemed to have gone down the drain. And i was incredibly frustrated with work.. I almost felt trapped...
Next sunday came n i went to iift's entrance test with the worst possible mood. Anyone who wud've brushed me the wrong way wud have had some serious problems i was sure.
I was literally waiting to rip the paper... Fortunately, i think, i finally got the passion tat it takes to crack a bschool exam in india ...
IIFT results came n i was on the shortlist.
Wrote some other exmz too.. snap, xat, nmims with more confidence. But i wasnt very serious again. I just wanted to convert iift.
Slogged again. joined time classes n on the day of the interview did ok. Was not sure if i was good enuf bcoz everyone else seemed to have such awesome interviews.
The other call was nmims and did ok in tat too. IIFT result came n i dint find my name on delhi list... i had skipped a meeting just to wait n refresh the result page.. my hear t was pounding when i opened the kolkata list...
phew i was there..: dint have to go thru the pain of scrolling down...
I knew that my struggle to get into a top bschool had finally ended
n it felt like heaven.

I want to make up for everything that i dint do during my 4yrs of engg. I want to work til i drop n still love every bit of it. I know i will bcoz finallly i think after a rather boring life where i did so many things half heartedly i am at a place where i feel i belong...
I dunno what's gonna happen 2 yrs later but the next 2 yrs i will live my dream. :)
And I shud mention PG before I end. I haven't interacted with many puys personally, but the spirit and the passion makes me feel that there are more like me around. I never felt that way when I was in engg. Everyone wanted to get a job n tat was abt it. Some wanted to goto US bcoz they could earn the dollars n bcoz their distant relative had made a fortune there.
Here at PG I found ppl who just wanted to follow their passion with a single mindedness tat I hadn't seen.
The stories of success and the tribulations tat some of the puys have mentioned in this thread have moved me and inspired me.
I realise that there are some wonderful ppl out there whom I know n hear all because of PG. This is much more than a information source for me.
I will be here for a very very long time to come.
On second thoughts, I think I have said more abt my life than CAT itself. But I've typed of things that I think of when I look back at the journey that brought me here. I dint want the story to be incomplete.
Just want to thank everyone here at PG for giving me company in my journey.
And yeah, special thanks to my parents who after all do believe in my dreams. And one of whom is actually on PG!
PG rocks!
This thread is considered by many/any of the CAT aspirants in PAGALGUY as a holy thread. Your hallowed thread has been cleaned & opened up for your valuable Posts..Before cleaning up, this thread figured 92 Pages & now 31 Pages ie out of 920 Posts, 610 posts were only Spam.Now, this thread is free of unwanted Posts. Request you all to cooperate to keep your revered thread clean. From now on we will keep cleaning (hope, we don't require to) this thread every now & then..
Keep Posting/ Inspiring ....
Success retained me as a boy, but failure(s) made me a man IIM Calcutta - Class of 2012
My story pales in comparison to the inspiring ones one might read on this thread. I was never planning to post on this thread. But After reading Hameed's post and talking to him, he told me to write here for those souls who have a specialized career in mind. They mustn't feel left out of the mainstream. I write this post for them and for anyone who wants to achieve whatever they aim for.
I can't tell you how to crack CAT, because I haven't cracked it yet. I can't tell you what you should do to get a 99 %+. I don't have any test acing strategies nor do I have any expertise in any field. But what I can share with you is my experience.

March 2003:

Gave my XIIth CBSE board exams and had done pretty well. I come from Gujarat where there is no entrance test for Admissions into professional courses. Admissions are based on the performance in the board exams. I never even bothered to study for National Level Enterance examinations and filled my IIT JEE and AIEEE forms just for the sake of it. The very next day after my boards, I fractured my right hand and the doctor said that it will take atleast 3 months to heal. I was unfazed , as the entrance exams never mattered to me. Took my papers with left hand.
Results: IIT JEE ..Kicked out of the screening
AIEEE: Secured a rank decent enough to get into NIT Surat.
August 2003 - April 2007 :
The best years of my Life. Found a wonderful group of friends and A superb Bunch of seniors . Whatever I am today, I owe it to these guys. I felt that I couldn't have better Mentors and Companions in the formative years of my life. Realised the advantages of studying in a NIT.
Somewhere in my 3rd year, I started my preps for CAT. I took up CAT because I realized technical stuff is not my cup of tea. So took the default CAT route. Joined IMS and was attending regularly.Meanwhile discovered PG .Browsed a lot but hardly posted. During my 3rd year got an opportunity to work with The Times of India. Freelanced for them for almost a year. That's where I developed an inclination towards Media. But as the one year passed, I realised that though I was good at writing, Content creation was not what exactly I was looking for. I felt I needed to go beyond the content part and more into the business, planning and execution side of it. But I had a zilch idea of how to go about it. One day, my mentor at IMS talked about going for niche institutes like TISS, IRMA and MICA. I went and checked PG and found threads dedicated to MICA. I was able to see some enthusiastic aspirants talking about trying hard to get in. I developed contacts with Chuck_gopal and he told me a lot about MICA those days, taking the pains of answering my stupid queries, though he himself was an aspirant. Slowly, I started getting inclined towards MICA. As time flew past my fascination only grew.
Nov 2006:

Took CAT, did ok and ended up with a 95.xx. All hopes of getting into a regular MBA were dashed. I still had MICA in my hand. I started my preps for MICA GE/PI and did what a usual aspirant does. By then, I had already been converted into a MICA fanatic. I was pretty confident of making it to MICA as I felt I had done my bit (or so I thought). And how wrong I was! Had a decent MICAT and GE. But the PI was just okayish and they didn't really ask me anything.When the results came out, I was shocked. I didn't make it. Following is my blog entry post result.

The verdict is in. I'm out. The last nail in the coffin stuck deep down my dreams. On the 22nd morning the omniscient omnipotent omnipresent almighty guided me towards the computer centre and I logged in. He has his own strange ways of doing things. It always happens that whenever I get a reject, he would empower the website servers to work full throttle and ensure that the skies fall upon me at the anointed moment. He will also ensure that the more confident I am of getting somewhere, the faster he will bring me down. When people around me expect more from me, he ensures that I will let them down in some way or the other. And when I succeed its hardly noticeable, it's like the bird causing a blip on the radar, highly inconsequential yet disturbing. I have been a person who had a lot of confused dreams, half baked aspirations, ill conceived notions and loads of things happening around. But the last two years have been so weird that I can hardly put all my experiences in words. I have seen peaks of ecstasy and have touched the nadir, been overwhelmed by events around me and been crushed, rejoiced for days altogether and felt completely lost again, found new avenues, explored new horizons and then was down in the dumps, I been admired and been despised, I have triumphed and I have tottered, been victorious and have been victimized and vindicated, did things I never would have done, missed things I would've died for, accepted some things at face value, worked hard and got nowhere, lost something on the way and treaded the boulevard of broken dreams.I feel similarly about my dreams. Dreams that were never meant to be, dreams that shouldn't have been seen. I was probably happy, but then I left the safest shores and ventured out into the unknown, took my aspirations to a new level , strived for it, worked for it and then everything came crashing down. I suddenly feel everything going wrong and getting messed up. But looking back at 20 years of my life, I have just this to say
There will be times when you would despair
There would be times when you feel defeated
There will be times when you feel rejected
Hold your thoughts and ponder
Wait a while and remember
Don't judge yourself from a day's experience
For what you are today, was not made in a day
A failure is a way, I believe
To see yourself in a different light
In a different perspective, through your own inner eyes
You rejoice in success
You analyze in failure
For failure is a queer teacher, it will teach you things the hard way
It won't facilitate, it won't accentuate,
It will hit you hard in your face
But if you get bogged down, give up or simply stop
Do it at your own risk, kill yourself, albeit in parts
They can take away an opportunity, they can take away a chance
They may take away the world from you, and make you penniless
And you are down and out unless
You see with your inner eyes
The potential, the passion, the talent, the energy, the enthusiasm
The spirit, the will and most importantly the faith.
You will see yourself
In a totally different light
For these are the things
No one can take away, no one can change
No one can tamper, no one can suppress
Because this is all what you are about.
I consoled myself saying that I still have a good job at hand. Graduated and joined Accenture at Chennai in June 2007.
The Chennai Phase:
The time I spent in Chennai was superb courtesy puys. I was lucky again to find a wonderful peer group in them. I got back to serious preps in August and took the Sim Cats. This time around I was much more clear in my head. I was taking CAT with the sole intention of getting into MICA. I was doing decently in my mocks. I wrote CAT 2007 and felt I did ok.But when I came back and checked my answers, I was in for a shock. I fared pathetically in Verbal and DI. All my hopes of getting into MICA came crashing down.I went ahead and filled my MICA form. I was damn pissed with myself and wrote the following mail to chuck

I have checked my scores.
And after checking them, I dont think that MICA would be interested in
giving me an interview call.
I have screwed up royally in DI and Verbal keys are ambiguous as usual.
So it seems that my dream of getting into MICA will have to wait.
I was reading Shantaram the other day and i came across a line there.
"Luck is what happens when fate gets tired of waiting "

Sincerely hoping that IIM's feel that i deserve a better Verbal score
and MICA feels I deserve to get in.
But all that will have to wait, because things dont seem to be
happening well this time around.
Still going ahead and filling the MICA form.Will require your inputs on that.

I didn't prepare a thing after this. But I still had faint hopes in my heart. So religiously worked on my MICA form.

CAT results were out. I was in for another shock. A pleasant one. My Verbal % ile rocketed to 97.xx thus pushing my overall %ile to 94.xx. I felt redeemed. I spoke to Chuck and he said I should make the cut. I jumped into MICA preps and was consumed by a passion like none other. I did extensive preparations for my GE/PI , even to the extent of devouring a text on Media prescribed by MICA for Term I . I researched heavily on MICA and worked on each word of my MICA form. I just wasn't ready to take any chances.

13th March 2008.

The Big day.Here goes my experience.


After the horrible interview, I felt like killing myself. Whatever I had prepared , seemed to have gone down the drain. The next week passed by in the anticipation of the results.

21st March:

Exactly 1 year after last years reject, got a message from Chuck saying that the results are out. He asked me to check my mail. There I found a mail from the Admissions which said

Form #: 5656


Congratulations ! You have been selected for the PGPCM 2008-2010.

My mind went blank. I just stared into the screen like an Idiot . I was now a MICAn.

A few learnings:

1.Dont take CAT too seriously.Its just an exam. There is life beyond CAT and the IIM's.

2.Never buckle under pressure. I learnt this from my mom, who single handedly brought up my elder sister and me without anyones support. I feel my task was much much easier than hers.

3. Accept failure. Understand why you failed. Move on.

4. You are probably 20/25/30 . You have your whole life ahead of you. Dont kill yourself for failing in life. We all fail. It all boils down to how hard we take on ourselves.

5.Keep focus, specially if you are aiming for a niche institute. You will have your moments of self doubt , the lure of going for a regular MBA, Fat salaries. Be prepared to take the risk of taking up a niche course. Battle your insecurities. All this because you are still ahead of most people. You already know what you want to do.

I dedicate this post to all those who have supported me, prayed for me, and been there for me, I needn't post their names, because those will be the ones reading this post. Its because of people like you that I can see myself as I am.


In 2005 I happened to meet an old man, he was 95. In his 50s he had lost a part of his family and a hand in a train accident. A devout Muslim till then, he found his faith dwindling. And so he began his walk, he started from Kerala and walked for 5 years, stopping for rest and earning some money along the way. He traveled all the way by foot and reached Mecca. His faith forged, he returned home to serve the community. At 80 he lost his eyesight. At 90 he could see again without the help of an operation. At 95, when I met him, he strong as an ox and still serving the world.

My 5 year walk is but a stroll in the gardens in comparison to the trek to Mecca mentioned above.


My 5 Yr Walk 2003-2008
Jan 2003, during my 2nd yr in BE, I was keen on doing my GRE. After a discussion with a friend of mine I was convinced that CAT would be the way for me. Its another matter that my friend ended up doing MS in Purdue.

Feb 2003 I registered for TIME classroom course. I knew I was not eligible for CAT that year but then starting early never hurt anyone. Classes were at 6 in the morning, and I was loving every bit of the prep. I can't say I was anywhere near ready by November; my mocks were in 80s and confidence low. CAT turned out a disaster, and when it was cancelled I was happy and decided not to take the repeat test.

Feb 2004 I registered for IMS classroom course, and hooked up with a couple of guys Ram and Bobby who were in my class and were serious as hell about cracking the cat. Those days were awesome. As time went by and mocks came around the tension was unnerving and exciting. Ram introduced me to PG where we could check our performance in comparison to others. By the time October came I was peaking and got a couple of 98s and one 99 with balanced sectionals. 2 weeks before CAT my Bro contracted chicken pox and I was only one home to help him as I had my 7th sem study holidays going on. 5 days before D day I contracted chicken pox too. I was devastated, my dad suggested I give cat a skip and try next yr. I was adamant, and we landed up in the exam center. I was running a 100 degree fever, and the itching never let up even for a minute. I had worn full hand shirt with a buttoned up color and even a cap to hide my condition. During the test I tried hard to concentrate and was able to do DI and VA sections satisfactorily, but during QA fatigue kicked in and I slept for about 10 mins. I knew it was all over. I cried for 2 days, and then began studying for Sem exam. I wrote 7th SEM in an isolated classroom and got around 80% without copying.

Jan 2005 brought results, DI 96%, VA- 97.5%, then QA 59%ile..Overall 94.xx. It sure was over. MICA deadline was extended and I decided to apply. The GD/PI was in IIM-B. When I visited the campus I realized what I had just missed. I came back determined to give cat again. Ram had missed the bus too, so he was off to the US to do his MS, and bobby had no IIM calls so he decided on continuing his work and giving CAT 05. I did not meet them again.

March 2005 I registered in PG and found later that I had converted my lone call, but the response date had gone by and my seat was forfeited. Just as well, come May 2005 I registered for TIME test series. One of my best friends decided to take cat and joined me. But during June I got a job and I had no time for prep. I only used to turn up for tests and my scores were down right bad. In September I stopped prep and decide I will give it next yr. But I had already applied for cat so took the test. Got around 90.xx.

My friend who had joined me in prep had converted his lone K call and was off to god's own campus. Meanwhile I was doing well in my Job and had even taken to writing. I had joined some writer's clubs and was seriously deciding to pursue a career in writing.

May 2006 the CAT bug bit me again and registered for IMS classroom course. My friend's convert had inspired me and another good friend of mine decided to join me this time. He was in Hyderabad, so our discussions were all on phone and we used to inspire each other. All this time I was doing the writing thing too and just to test the waters I was also writing to Dept heads of Creative writing departments of universities around the world. They had taken a liking to the samples I had sent and were ready to take me in. Some Univ's had options for publishing my material if I joined their MA course. I was so excited that I stopped prep and gave my IELTS in which I did very well. In Dec 2006 something happened and I realized all of a sudden how lost in my own world, I had neglected my family and how I was being purely selfish in pursuing my dreams. I realized that in lower middle class families dreams are dreamt as a family and not as an individual.

Jan 2007 My friend got B, I, K calls, converted them all and joined B. As for me I took the cat too, its an addiction u know. I got 97 in verbal and 77 each in QA and DI. Overall was 92.xx. I decided to get back into the rat race and finish it once and for all.

June 2007 I enrolled for TIME and IMS test series. But my prep did not really kick off until I joined the BBLT team. I came to know some wonderful people who inspired me and supported be throughout. I met with Obsessed_bout_mba (Raghu) and we plotted strategy together. Special thanks to deep_agarwal, tanveer bhai, marijuana_user, justlikethat and the ever helpful HarshaRocks who really helped me during my low times.

During conversation with my friends in b schools and after a lot of self analysis I decided that HR would be my chosen field in MBA. So I decided to apply to XAT too this time. I also applied to whole host of colleges as I did not want to risk it.

November 2007 CAT came I was sucked in by pressure; I had missed one whole page of QA questions which had 3 doable ones. With 92 in DI and 97.5 in VA, QA again proved my downfall with jus 77.xx. Overall 95.35 - this got me IMT-G, MDI-HR and GLIM calls. SNAP brought me SCMHRD.

Jan 2008 I decided to chill before XAT, I partied hard for new years and managed to get sober enough to give XAT. I had given all my simcats in Stella Maris college where the chairs have pad on the right arm rest, this was very uncomfortable to a rather chubby person like myself and I had bitched about it on PG too. But I had gotten used to it, which stood me well as Stella became my XAT center and those chairs were more inviting than being a put off. XAT was a breeze, Jan 18 results came and I had 99.08 (split -95,96,97) and it got me both calls in XLRI and XIM-B.

I did decent prep on my own for GD/PIs and did not rely on and institute. I managed to convert GLIM but I forfeited the seat because I believed I had done well in xl interviews. I managed to convert xl-pmir and was waitlisted at number 2 in xim-b. MDI-hr waitlisted at 163. Scmhrd cleared gd but missed out on final list. IMT-G I skipped the GD/PI.

I needed 5 years not to crack cat, because I did not crack it even then. But I needed 5 years to learn what I wanted from life.

During the period of May 2007 I was really down and had taken to drinking alone and roaming the streets of Chennai on weekends. My friend who had made it to B called me up told me to "just give it one year, things will turn around". It sure did, for in March 2008 I was with him in his campus for the MDI interview. It was there that I saw a familiar face, my friend told me he was a senior who had just passed out. He was bobby; my 2004 study partner. He must have made it in 2005. Sitting there I realized, that things happen in their own time.

I am eagerly waiting for my xl-pmir call letter to reach my home, to be able to tell myself that this isn't a dream. For someone keen on HR I can claim to have got my dream course. My journey has just begun; I have a long way to go.


The Old man died a few months later. The important thing is he did not die when he lost his family, he did not die on his way to Mecca, he did not die when he was blind, he died only after having conquered all odds.

To let go when you are down is easy.

Rock on!

PS- I had to overcome a lot of fear to get myself to post here. I hope It has been of some use.

I've read quite a lot of inspiring stories here.. but one thing i noticed quite common among all these was that... the ppl who have managed to get the sacred calls after a some tough yrs of struggle.. r those who had just missed the cut in their previous attempts.. i mean who just missed it by a small margin...aren't ther any Puys out ther who hav risen from low scores to great ones?? would be inspiring to read abt their struggle n especially their difference in preps of both years!!

Still the posts here r too beautiful for words!! some give u that strange feelin in the pit of the stomach... that wow... dreams do come true!!

Keep posting n inspiring ppl!!

Well I'm not really a case of "rising from abysmal to very high" but thought that I could atleast throw some light as to what were the differences for me over the couple of times I appeared for CAT('06 and '07)......Sorry to test everyone's patience with such a long post

During my engineering, my father always used to tell me that you should be an MBA otherwise it's very difficult to do well etc etc etc. I didn't think it was true at all or had any worth(I still don't). His comments were basically due to the high packages that were given out, which I didn't really think of a reason at all.

I never thought about MBA. I was a purely techie guy, who used to like programming but was also keen on solving puzzles, number crunching etc. I got into a full fledged GATE coaching in my final year and ended up with a decent 95+ %ile but at this score, no IITs and for M.Tech in India, it's just the IITs or nothing.... But even before I got my result, I got to know about various aspects of technical study in IITs..... What all they study, the type of work they get etc... And frankly I didn't really like it, because although I was good at programming but certainly didn't want to do it throughout or looking at the bigger picture, didn't really want to be associated with software throughout my career..... So even though I was quite happy with my result(given the fact that I only attended coaching and didn't really study a lot myself), I decided not to give it a go again..... I had secured a job in the 3rd year through campus as a software engineer(like umpteen others) and decided that I'll take it up for now and decide after gaining a bit of experience.

Now, let's go back in time a bit. CAT '05(during my final year). I didn't appear for it but many of my friends did. After the exam, I just took the paper and spent 2hrs solving it, strictly following time schedule. To my amazement, I did very well(according to the answers provided by the coaching instt). Although it's a completely different proposition taking the exam at home rather than at the exam hall, but still that filled me with a lot of confidence(perhaps a bit too much). I felt as if I'd wasted a year.

Anyways, for CAT '06, alongwith my job, I joined a test series of a leading coaching instt. I performed well right from the start to the end, barring a few blips here and there. What I did was, every Sunday I just took the mocks, gave my everything, came back, saw those solutions where I went wrong and that's all.... Come Wednesday, most of the time, I used to get 95+, with many 98+ scores and an odd 90 or two. So I was pretty satisfied and to some extent, was a bit overconfident that I could crack it(I'd always said this right from my college days, but these scores just reinforced my belief). More so, because I beat my roomie hands-down. It may sound pretty lame, but many people do have this subconscious thought process.

I continued, took tests, scored quite high and was satisfied. Then came the C-day. I was pretty cool throughout the exam(don't normally have nervous bouts or something... quite cool that way) but still, the moment I came out after the exam, I knew that everything's been wasted once again but given my so-called confidence on my abilities, I still expected a %ile of around 90!! I don't remember my individual sectional %iles but my overall was only 79.62 %ile..... never ever got this low. And my roomie, well he maintained his status.... 91 %ile. Was quite disappointed but was pretty sure after that, I wanted to go for CAT again. I also took SNAP in '06 but unfortunately, I was down with fever and had to leave after just 45 min..... so didn't even check the results.....

Meanwhile, office life was getting to me. Didn't really had to do anything meaningful, but still had to slog. As I expected, I was a good programmer only by college standards and nothing more. For CAT '07, I joined the weekend classes of another coaching instt this time. I religiously attended their classes but again, the intensity kept fading every now and then. The good part was, after the '06 debacle, I was level-headed and knew that practice and exposure to variety of questions would do me good. Confidence is required a lot, but over-confidence..... not at all(you are bound to fall flat with it). Attended few classes, missed some but my performance in the classes was good enough. Enough for the teachers to look at me for almost every answer(good impression in the least time )

Mocks started, performance was not by anyway close to how I did in '06. I was consistently in the 85-90 range and every section hitting sub-50 levels at some point or the other. As far as I can remember, my lowest were
Eng: 54 %ile
QA: 36 %ile
LR: 45 %ile
Overall: 64 %ile

These figures were unimaginable for me in '06 but this time round, I took them quite well. One way of explaining these scores is that I experimented a lot in the mocks, something which I didn't do at all the previous year, only because I was hell bent then on maximising my scores. This time, I was looking at the bigger picture, not at the things in between. Not that mocks and their scores are unimportant. These scores did hurt a lot and I really kept thinking that how could I stoop to such low levels(I still had some of the confidence of '06 remaining, but thankfully, that was channelized well enough). Before every mock, I used to think about how the paper pattern could be and what would be my strategy. I also prepared a backup plan everytime, just in case I didn't think my main plan would work. And another thing, I won't start solving straightaway. I would give myself some time to go through the paper. These things I never thought about in '06 and my approach was thus, a lot different this time round.

I continued to get average scores in mocks, sometimes even poor. But I continued working on things, especially at home. Also, what helped was that I got fed up of my job and also realized that unnecessary slogging meant that I was not able to devote time for studies properly. Thus, left in Sep end and did quite a bit of studying since then. Didn't really study long hours(never a proponent of this) but ensured that I meet specific targets. My move(of leaving the job, with no backup) got a lot of flak from all quarters, including my father, but I was sure of what I was doing.

By the end of the mocks, I zeroed in on one strategy and one backup as well.... The two which have been most succesful for me, irrespective of paper pattern, difficulty etc etc. I came up with a bit of a different approach. Since my reading speed was decent and me being good enough at LR, I thought to combine the two :). At the start of the paper, I thought to go through all the caselets in the LR/DI section and not solve them then, just read and see whether I understand or not. Then, if still some time's left(from the 5-7 min I kept aside at the start for going through the paper), I go through some QA questions, that's all. Then I continue normally, Eng, LR and then QA. I found this approach extremely helpful as I didn't really have to think a lot for LR as I'd already did a bit of thinking while reading the caselets. Although this is what I found helpful, it maybe utterly disastrous for someone else.

Come CAT, I again went in cool and this time, things were falling in place I knew I messed up in English just after I came out but overall I knew I did quite well. Appeared for a host of other exams and performed reasonably well overall. Here are my results:

CAT: 99.12(Eng: 66.1, QA: 99.0, LR: 99.37)
IIFT: 29.5 (cutoff 30.5)
MAT: 99.86 (799.5/800)
JMET: 1904 rank(qualified but very poor )
SNAP: 85.25
NMAT: rank 222(out of 38000, around 99.42 %ile)
XAT: 92.3

English did me in, else I should have been able to get calls from atleast 3 IIMs. Anyways, although I'm not yet a CAT-cracker, but still think that I've undergone quite a lot of change in my approach preparing for CAT and probably this approach would help me a lot throughout.

My learnings:
1. Strategize a lot, especially a day before a mock
2. Experiment a lot with your strategies. Try to find the right one for yourself by the end of the mock season.
3. Don't be afraid to try #2 above. Fear of failure is one of the biggest causes of failure.
4. Analyze your mocks but don't waste time over topics that you're sure you won't be attempting. Not saying that you leave out topics unnecessarily. Like I always found Geometry very difficult and didn't really put in a lot of efforts there. Just did the basic stuff in it. In the mocks, I read the geometry question, think for a while, move to next if I'm unable to solve(which is the normal case )
5. Keep a cool head. Nothing should bother you. As someone said, you have to be really cold-blooded to do well.
6. Be confident, but don't be over-confident.
7. Believe in yourself. The ones cracking CAT are not extraordinary beings. They become extraordinary because of their efforts. Anyone can do it, it's just a matter of belief, preparation and a bit of luck(although this part plays the minimum role)

I've read quite a lot of inspiring stories here.. but one thing i noticed quite common among all these was that... the ppl who have managed to get the sacred calls after a some tough yrs of struggle.. r those who had just missed the cut in their previous attempts.. i mean who just missed it by a small margin...aren't ther any Puys out ther who hav risen from low scores to great ones?? would be inspiring to read abt their struggle n especially their difference in preps of both years!!

Still the posts here r too beautiful for words!! some give u that strange feelin in the pit of the stomach... that wow... dreams do come true!!

Keep posting n inspiring ppl!!


I know this is a sacred thread but i feel i must post something about prem sir's post.Reading your experiences have brought tears to my eyes.Its a story of one man's battle against all odds... a story of sacrifice and dedication. A truly inspiring story for all, those who have achieved their dreams and those who are yet to do so because dreams never end. It teaches you that the one thing you should never do in life is to give up but to struggle on even if things dont go your way.
Sir, I havent interacted much with you but I have followed a lot of your posts on quite a few threads specially the way you have always encouraged the DT and the UDT teams and all the loads of good advice you have given us drawing from your own experience and from the bottom of my heart I would like to thank you for the truly selfless way you have worked for others. Proud to know you sir and i can guarantee that you are made for much bigger things than just getting into a BSchool,you just need some time to get over this disappointment and you will be back where you belong,leading people. All the best sir and continue inspiring us all.

Posts made in 2006/07 after CAT 2006 results :-
CAT 2007 & Beyond:-
I still remember how My wife, My Parents (Contrary to 2006),AbhiG1, Rosogulla, Anupamwillreturn, Prahalad85 & others convinced me on 8th May 2007 to go about giving CAT 2007..On that day I was shattered, Results were out, situation was beyond my control still could garner whatever balance energy with which I was left and started the journey yet again towards what that time appeared to me as my destiny "IIMA".
The moment I decided to give CAT 2007 ie May 2007 I started talking to myself saying that "This year I will not compromise on Family values, I will not be a Monomaniac, I will work smarter than Harder & what not".Infact I promised the same to my wife.
I decided why dont I start teaching, which will eventually help me in my own preps. Getting a part time Job with Time was not a problem as the Director knew me well (as a student).Started teaching from the last week of May...
The Schedule was 5 days of office work, after work its to sit with the basics & then 2 hours with family..Saturday first half for family..Then second half of Saturday till Sunday evening teaching..First 2 months it was OK OK..Then I started feeling that I was getting worn out, still continued...
This is the time 2 important characters joined the bandwagon...AnirIIM & Cimbaiash Nitin..We decided to prepare together...The Plan was like after every mock CAT we will have telephonic calls to discuss on the paper....After a month an important Character came into my life "GREENSPAN"..Dhosth kum Bhai Jyadha.....
At some time during July, I got an offer from HP & I decided to accept the same with lots of ifs & buts...
Life looked tormenting..A new Job ambience forced me to work 14 hours a day, couldnt spend time for my family as promised..Couldnt give those additional tests which anir, nithin & spammy could give ..But kept on saying "Ekh test kum daenae say kya farakh padnae wala"..Always believed that CAT is crackable & to top that feel, scores of 99.98 in QA (Simcat) & 99.97 in DI (AimCAT) added to my belief that this time Iam really really close...
Mock after Mock my scores were improving unlike 2006 Mocks which were fluctuating a lot...
Just one month before the Exam I went through some personal issues both at Home & Work (I cannot explain them now)..These issues were actually huge in magnitude for me to handle..I started loosing the three essential things to crack CAT , "Concentration, Peace of Mind & Time to prepare"..So many guys here came in support, tried putting me back to form, but I never realised I was actually drowning.....
But again I didnt loose confidence..But CAT had something else to offer me as a proof for my over confidence....Couldnt do well in my strongest section..
Those 2 & 1/2 hours my mind wasn't working..It started thinking about all those problems I was going through along with the pressure to solve a tough QA section....
Came out dejected..Knew that I have lost the Battle...Didnt want to speak to anyone..was cursing at my own self for whatever has been happening & how I have given room to the problems to encapsule me which under normal circumstances would have been the other way round...
Felt really ashamed to step into the class to teach QA...Felt really lost and this debacle pushed me to look at XAT in way of taking revenge especially in QA & the results showed that with a 98.xx in QA...
Jan 8th
Results were declared......
Got to know my scores....
Was in office, couldnt react ie didnt want to..Reached home after loafing here & there...Was chatting with anupam at 1.00 AM thats when I started feeling that pain..Tears started rolling down....The feel that "Bye Bye IIMs" was eating me..
Jan 18th
XAT Results day..
Site was not working...
Called up Harshad..."Bhai, GMP sae call hae, congrats"..I was actually Jumping..Happy Indeed..Thats fine..I have a call to prove something (Btw got a NMIMS call too)...Started showing that same old vigour..Felt that this call would be a rescue for the situation in which I was...
March 7th & 8th
Still rememember how Viggy was motivating me & pushing me & how the interview went...
Rest all history......
Looking at the whole thing, I feel Iam much matured than what I was in June 2006 when I joined PG...Iam sure, I will come back as the same old person whom you had met/known/spoken to..All I need is that feel, which will make me strong again , out of the cross roads..A feel, which will make me believe "Iam born today, Problems are of yesterday - before my birth".Iam sure with your wishes I will gain it....
In these 2 years I have learnt so many things about Bschools, Life in B Schools, Placements & what not (without actually being in a B School)...I also realised something called as true love from people here....I have no qualms....(atleast now), More than an MBA seat I have garnered the affection of so many guys here, which is more than an IIMA/XL seat.....
I actually enjoyed the whole process like any one here say 23-25 years of age..Competing with each other, pushing each other ...UDT actually has a place for me , 2006 - Member, 2007-Captain & 20xx-a permanent coach
As I always say, "Never give up for any reasons..You are just close to your dream"..Believe in your dreams, because those dreams belong only to you & you have the responsibilty to fulfill your own dreams.....
Never say'This is difficult I cant do"..No never, everything is possible (look at my own case)......
Never think PG is just a forum ..A Big No..Its filled with emotions & passions as what you have, its filled with blood & feeling, It smiles when you smile, it cries & stands behind you when you fail....
Most of all, never doubt your own self in whatever you decide in Life as its your life, you know it better..once decided never step back..
As far as me, I havent decided anything as I never decide things when my emotions are high/low..Will take some time but will surely inform my family ie you....I personally thank each & everyone who shared my pain, who came out with contingency plans, who believed in me more than I believed in myself & soon...
I wont thank PG as I am gonna be here for the next few generations to come....
Keep the faiths high
Ps: Watch out for this ID - after 20 years, "Formydad'sdream"- My daughter will come as a PUY yet again as Prem_Ravi 2
Success retained me as a boy, but failure(s) made me a man IIM Calcutta - Class of 2012
Finally, I get myself to post here, the most sacred thread on PG. I wanted this post to come after April 11th but certain situations have necessitated the need for this. I need to clear the air about a lot of things to make my stay at PG as happy as it has been till now.
First things first, Im a B.Sc. Microbiology graduate. Well, I initially wanted to do an M.Sc. and PhD. But sometime in August in my third year, I realized that I would be terribly unhappy cooped up in a laboratory for the rest of my life. Id done quite a lot of PR for my college fest and it seemed really interesting. So, yes! PR was it. It was already too late to take CAT 2006. So I didnt even fill the form (though later I realized I shouldve, just to know my position). I decided to come back home, get pampered for a year and target CAT 2007.
I came back to Jaipur in May 2007 and joined PT. The first 2 months was a Vital course, no mocks as such, not very demanding. I was still getting used to exercising my brain, what with just mugging up lots of answers, equations and diagrams for 3 years. Those 2 months gave me a broad orientation of what the actual CAT prep was gonna be like. Mind you, my aim at this point was MICA. I graduated to the Regular course in the 1st week of July and my mocks (Prac-CATs) started immediately. The 1st one was on July 8th. Hadnt really started studying till then.. AIR 141. I was pretty happy..
The next 2 weeks disappeared into thin air. I was too busy meeting friends et al. Prac-CAT 2.. My moment of realization. I came back and calculated my score. 51 (out of 100) in DI, 33 in Verbal and 20 in Quant. Total-104 (Im sorry to go into such details, but this actually was the turning point..). I was ecstatic.. AIR 8!!!! Now it was time to do some introspection. Me, AIR 8, was pretty unbelieveable! I realized that Quant would be my nemesis. Id forgotten all the basic concepts, and without those cracking CAT would be impossible. LR and DI, I have no clue how, were my strong areas. Verbal was something I ignored throughout my prep, having a very sound foundation in English and being a voracious reader (see how it backfired later!)..
A big question in my mind was my blank year. So I enrolled for this 1-year PG Diploma in Management at an institute here..
Somewhere between Prac CAT 2 and 3, I had the opportunity to go to Ahmedabad. I decided to go and see the Mecca of Management. That visit, coupled with my Prac CAT 2 AIR, I believe, gave me the drive and motivation to do really well. I came back and plunged headlong into preparing. I was basically concentrating on Math. I did the sheets regularly and brushed up on some basic concepts from Class IX and X NCERT books. I did some chapters like TSD, Work and Time, Number Systems, Probability and Geometry from Arun Sharma as well. For DI-LR, I just did the sheets given at PT regularly. I continued to ignore Verbal..
Prac CAT 3 and 4.. AIR 8.. But I was still scoring miserably in Quant..
Came Sept 2, took MAT. Since I couldnt take the Prac CAT that day, I took it on Monday. That was my worst ever!!! AIR 178.. I was taken aback! A lot of personal problems were bothering me at the same time. I was incredibly disturbed for a couple of days but a discussion with my mentor at PT, and I was raring to go again! After that, there was no looking back. Infact, Prac CAT 6 was the first mock where I cleared the cutoff for Quant. I did well in all the mocks after that, was always in top 10.. I cant forget Prac CAT 9 when I was AIR 2..
Somewhere here, my focus very casually shifted from MICA to IIM-A..
I did not have a fixed strategy, nor did I try different strategies to see what worked for me. My test taking technique was devoid of excel sheets, comparisons, analysis et al. I just did whatever I felt like in those 2 and a half hours. It worked for me for 15 Prac CATs, I assumed it would work on the day of CAT as well..
Somewhere in the 3rd week of Sept, the MAT result was declared. I got a 99.99 percentile. I mention it here coz that also acted as an impetus, made me believe that I had what it takes. I believe that the most important requisite to crack CAT is confidence, the belief that one has the potential, that one is not that bad and can hold her own amongst 2.25 lakh aspirants..
This trend went on throughout October, lots of studying, eating, sleeping and talking. I wasnt on PG at this point of time (I so wish I was!!!) I had decided to not study a lot during November, so I did whatever I wanted to in October itself. In the 2 weeks leading to CAT, I just took the Sunday mocks, read a lot of books and solved puzzles.. I had also marked some important questions in my Math sheets and Arun Sharma, so I went over them again..
By the day of CAT, I had revised my entire material thrice. Verbal was still being ignored a lot..
The D-day arrived. I got up early, got ready, read the newspaper and made my way to the Centre. Got the paper, 25 questions, thank God no surprise there. I started with English. Dont why but I just couldnt concentrate for the first 15 min. I read some of the RCs, they didnt make a lot of sense to me so I moved on to EU. Kept shifting back and forth. 45 min, I attempted 18 questions. I moved on to DI, found it really simple. 45 min, attempted 20 questions. And then Quant, all the time left, attempted 16 questions. I was pretty happy with my performance after the paper. Various insti keys gave me 54 in Quant, 32/42 in Verbal and 60 in DI. Highly satisfactory...
Now this was the time I joined PG. Kept taking all the exams after CAT.. IIFT, MAT, SNAP, NMAT, XAT and FMS.. I logged into PG immediately after every exam.. Such an amazing time!
Anyway, came Jan 8th.. Here Im copy pasting from my post on the CAT results thread..:
After CAT, I knew my Quant (54) and DI (60) scores were great but Verbal was kinda dicey, (32-42).. But I knew I was safe coz my lowest was 32.. IIM-A was my dream.. I even went to Ahmedabad to check it out.. Have been thinkin of nothin other than IIM-A for months..
Yesterday, the CAT site was down.. I got my result through the SMS service.. Saw a 94.7 in Verbal and I knew I'd missed it.. But still.. Couldn't stop prayin and hopin.. Finally, my score card opened.. There it was.. B,C,L,I,K.. I lost it.. For one hour, I couldn't stop cryin.. The worst moments of my life.. It was so unexpected! I was so sure I'll get it, as was evident from my signature.. I was wonderin why somethin like this would happen to me.. I worked so hard.. I didn't wanna do anythin.. Didn't wanna speak to anyone.. Didn't wanna go to B.. NO! My dream, the one thing I've really wanted in life, was gone.. A hadn't called me..!
After that one hour of incoherence, I realized that what I was doin was very wrong.. My family was so happy but I was takin it away from them.. I realized that it is not the end of the world.. B has its own virtues, which may make it a better place for me than A.. All this is self-consolation, I know.. But I don't really have any option now.. I'm jus gonna work very very hard now.. Gonna convert B anyhow.. And then, maybe, sometime in the future, when I become a very successful corporate woman, A would regret it..!
My score:
Calls BCLIK..

Well anyway, I decided to move on. My results after CAT were great! My mother was so happy, and that is what mattered to me in the end. For her, getting to any IIM was such a big deal.. Now I have my eyes set on B, going to rock the place! Ha!
My entire journey through CAT has been fabulous. I've learnt a lot. I firmly believe that now I look at things in a broader perspective than I did earlier. For a Microbiology graduate with little or no understanding of the economy, maths and business, this journey held its own surprises. Thankfully, my entire interview process has been very smooth so far. I attribute it to my mentor at PT and to those puys who sent me such supportive PMs when things weren't that good. Believe me guys, it meant a lot..
I would also like to grab this opportunity to apologize to anyone I've offended, willingly or unwillingly. It was never my intention to do so. Believe u me, I mean absolutely no harm. It is a natural human tendency.. but why does it happen? When we are all preparing, we're on the same side. As soon as one of us makes it and the others don't, why're we on different sides? Aren't we together all the way?

i ve had a tremendous run till my 12th..acing wateva i wanted to...
come grads...acads dip a bit cos i had better things to do...romance and ethanol and football.. by the las year romance was a clear winner..yea..it took a good 3 years of passin out for y folks to get convinced..n yea i married the person who i ve loved the most..
now for the career part..first half of my career with a software major n second half with a defence major company..the interim saw me givin four CAT s in a really
haphazard state of mind thanks to watever i mentioned earlier..99+ i believd wud b a
cakewalk when i all i got was the 98 s and the 97 s...

2004- 97..no calls
2005-98.11 IIM B cudnt attend the interview cos i fell sick
2006- 98.54 skewed percentile no calls
2007 97.7 L K IITB

had my L n K interviews..thanks to my low percentile knew needed n extraordinary
show in the gd.pi s which dint happen..did go well..but not quite wat s required
IIT B was good..m really bullish bout my chances with IIT B


4 years into it i kno wat it really takes..it takes hell a lot of grit to get thru
..n more than anythin u ve gotta be damn
tough mentally....the moment u view CAT emotionally i think ur makin it more diff for urself..of all the geniuses i ve known they ve got in cos they were in check of their emotions when givin CAT...well for those who werent ,they were in better check of their emotions in their subsequent attempts...

all that is needed is a cold blooded thought process...
u ve got to clear the cutoffs for 2 sections n u ve go to ace one section..
evryone has some or the other way which works for them..it cant be taught in any damn coachin insti..

well even if aint gonna clear L K or IITB one thing for sure is that i m gonna be there for CAT 08---much better prepared..n with a tougher mindset..well i think it s a game..some of em make it early..some late..but for those who believe in themselves it s jus a matter of time....

This is a wonderful thread and I had made up my mind to post here if I managed to make it to a good b-school. Did I succeed in my quest? Well, guys, to find that out, read on. A lengthy post for sure, so not for those who despise reading .
I still can't recall exactly when I began thinking of CAT and MBA. But if you have spent your entire life in Ahmedabad u surely can't miss the IIM-A, Vastrapur. Man, it's such a grand place. Sometimes I wonder who is more great - the students studying there or Louis Kahn, who made such a beautiful structure in red bricks. Actually I would have loved to give CAT 2003. On 13-July 2003, Sunday, I was going through the CAT advertisement in the Times of India. Just then the phone rang and my friend was on line. He gave me THE news - I had cleared Group-1 of CA Final, but not the Group-2. Hell, that was the worst day I had had in my life (Actually, the worst day ever till now). My first failure in life (atleast till then:)). I knew CA is tough, but still, I thought my slogging and donkey work from Jan-03 till 11-May-03 would take me through. And believe me guys, those 5-odd months were absolute nightmares. My schedule was nothing but to be surrounded by a mountain of CA books (Anyways, my CA journey might itself need another post:)). But the failure rankled deep in my heart. I know it rankled my mom. That made it worse. There's no one I love more than my mom. I had slogged only for those 5 months, my mom has slogged her entire life. It took me a lot of time to get over it. So well, group 2 was due in Nov-03. So good-bye CAT 2003.
CAT Journey
Fortunately, I passed Group 2 in Nov attempt. Then, in April-04, I had a chat with my cousin. It was she who drilled in me that I should aim for CAT. So with all gusto, I jumped headlong. I didn't take up any job. My dad said, "If you are giving CAT, let there be no distraction. Just study. That's all." I joined PT classes for regular classroom classes, including mock CATs on Sundays. Mock CATs, and even classes, were going fine. I was scoring among the top 3 students in my centre (Of course, that doesn't give me any credit - my batch wasn't exactly top-notch). Mocks were ok, with some really good scores in high nineties. Of course, I had problems in Maths, and rarely if ever could I clear the cut-off. There were some days where I cried after checking my performance - too pathetic. The D-day came. CAT 2004. Did as best as I could. Don't remember my attempts, etc. The score - 92.32 percentile. Gave IIFT, FMS, NMAT, XAT and SNAP. Got calls for IIFT, NMIMS, TAPMI and SCMHRD. The GDPI for last three were bad. IIFT was good. But got rejected in all.
So one year down. Nothing gained. No job. With some help from my Bombay based masa-masi, got a job in Bombay. Shifted to Bombay in June 2005. This was for the first time I had gone out of Ahmedabad for a long length of time. Enrolled for Time CAT 2005 test series. My performance was average in the mocks. The Day arrived. Gave the paper. Got 94.9x percentile this time. Didn't give too many tests that year.
By now, I had changed my job from ABN to ICICI Lombard. Again, the CAT bug bit me. So decided to give another shot. Again, I enrolled for Time mock series (And I have stuck to Time since). Same rigmarole of giving mocks, sacrificing some precious spare time in studies. This CAT 2006 was the 75 questions one. Didn't know what happened, but didn't feel good. Results confirmed my suspicion. Got 77 percentile. Had also filled up for US-based CFA level 1 exam, which was a fortnight after CAT 2006. Had not studied a word for it due to CAT. Read something in that fortnight but to no avail. Failed in CFA too. A pretty expensive failure. Then it seemed like my cup of woes had overflowed. Btw, I converted MFC (Master of finance and control, DU, Delhi). But as I was a CA, felt it was not worth doing. Had I been an engineer would have surely taken it. (But then again, if I had been an engineer, I wouldn't have taken so many CAT attempts in the first place:)).
Was geared up for CAT 2007. Same sequence of events - change of job; mocks; and the failure in cat too - got 88.xx percentile. Felt so bad after the CAT result. I knew within I had a poor exam, but well, we all love Alexander Pope so well (even though we may not know him), for he said "Hope springs eternal in the human breast, man never is but always to be blessed". I too was hoping against hope that Lady Luck would smile upon me. But hell, I blame God for creating a LADY Luck. My luck with girls has been pretty awful, and if Luck was going to be a lady, I should have known beforehand. Damn for this late realisation. I was desperate to get into a good b school this time. So filled up MDI, IIFT, XLRI, FMS and NMIMS. Out of these, I managed to get calls from IIFT and NMIMS. The GDPI is over, and final results are out. I have made it to IIFT Calcutta with a merit number of 6 and have a merit rank of 325 in NMIMS. So I hope I shall make it to IIFT Delhi. I am not joining NMIMS, will go to IIFT Cal if Delhi doesn't happen.
My views on MBA and CAT
All MBA aspirants dream of making it to IIMA. More so, when u see the place almost everyday. Man, I really loved the place. It had an elitist notion in my mind. CAT is no doubt a tough exam. But the toughness is all in the mind. If u ask me, there are surely other tough tests in India - IITJEE, UPSC, CA, CS So I have to admit that on the day (or days in my case:)) it mattered, I became jittery and lost my nerves. At this rate u all would be wondering how am I alive if I have such weak nerves. I do believe the reason I lacked proficiency, or a mental block, in maths was because in 9th standard, a few chapters in physics (Time, speed, distance; force and acceleration; weight and mass; and such other topics) were not taught. And since I knew I was not going to opt for science in +12, I didn't study them on my own. So friends, never ignore anything in school. U never know what may be required later on in life.
I for long held that the CAT paper is anti-non-science people. I had been out of touch with maths after +12. Even in +12, we had more of statistics and business maths than traditional maths. So I felt a sudden disadvantage. But I can't complain too much. I had always felt that I am great in verbals. Afterall, there has to be something in English for a person who began reading newspapers since 4th standard (ok, I only read headlines then:)) and who loves reading very much. But alas, this knowledge of words and comprehension never got translated into performance on the D-days. Infact, in CAT 2007, my english percentile was the lowest out of the three!
I also believe the MBA's are grossly over-paid. That is a sad fact. I too experienced the same in career. I know many MBA's from even unknown colleges earning a lot more than I did, or do. I have a few mba friends. They also tell me that mba is all about learning how to speak in a group, how to act knowledgeable even when u don't know a thing about something. This sexing up was never taught to us in CA. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I can state that knowledge-wise, you can't beat a CA. Come-on yaar, we spend atleast 4 yrs learning law, direct tax, indirect tax, costing, financial accounting (Amidst all this, we are also studying for our B.Com. and doing our articleship). But I admit, what we don't learn is how to talk, how to present your views, how to be diplomatic. For this, one surely needs to do an MBA. U know, in Gujarati mba stands for: "mane badhu aavde", meaning "I know everything". Companies pay mba's more not because they are intelligent and knowledgeable, but because these people have passed through one more screening process which is acknowledged as great. Let me assure you, the screening process of CA is also top-notch, or atleast as top-notch as mba one is, but the general impression is that a CA is suitable for a limited role, and an mba for more diverse and challenging roles.
Why I am doing mba
I am doing MBA solely from a career point of view. If companies want mba's more than others, or should I say, more badly than others, it surely pays to acquire a management education. Yes, there will be learning for sure. Learning from professors, industry people and the peers. But then, two years, without any income, is not such a great way to do this. I am not saying my doing mba, something I always aspired to, is a pyrrhic victory. Sure, I will make some great friends, meet some amazing people. And yes, the reason for mba - a good profile at a good pay - too will be realised. People say mba will b a grind, lot of hard-work. But I have gone through hell in CA Finals and come back to tell the tale. So I am sure I'll easily handle whatever mba has to throw to me. Well, if these words are all bravado or true, you shall know in the not too distant future.
It has been a long struggle till now. I have known no holiday, no enjoyment in great measure. College life just came and went, but I never saw much of it - with articleship and CA going on simultaneously with college what option did I have? My parents too have not gone out for vacation, as everytime I would be tied up - either CA, or CFA, or MBA (Only during the last Diwali did I arrange for them and my sis to go on a holiday to Coorg and they loved it. I was busy with CAT 2007.). Now, I hoped to relax and resign as soon as I got a good b school. But alas, the stock markets, and goddamn US economy, has other ideas. All my savings is in markets - directly and indirectly. So to survive in my two yrs' of mba, I have no liquidity whatsoever. So I shall work till may-end and take a month off before I join mba. Hope there are no further problems with my boss and HR, please.
So, you would be asking, is there anything left to ask for or to do? Well, yes. As u would know, my luck with ladies is very bad. But if I have managed to get Lady Luck besotted with me this time, may I ask for more favours from other ladies, may b in mba:)?
Gosh, people, if u have managed to read the entire thing, my Congratulations! I appreciate your patience more than my writing skills :). PG rocks man. Though I am a late convert I hope to make maximum use of it and make some really good friends.

Right ho. After that crybaby post of mine a long time back


it's time for a better post. Sorry this damn thing is a year late, but hey!

Okay, so people who know, know that I'm a one-institute person. I wouldn't have anything other than MICA. Why?

Simple. The curriculum and the profile offered to MICAns appealed to me. I didn't care too much about money. I wanted to get into Account Planning, and MICA was the best place to learn it. Yes, even better than the IIMs.

The story, now. I'll keep it as non-boring as possible :whatthat:

Heard about this strange little thing called CAT. Decided Engineering was not my thing (about 2 months into Engineering ). In my third year started preparing with some amount of enthu. Along the way, saw MICA on a IMS magazine and fell in love. I wanted! Badly!

So back then, things were fairly uncomplicated. Aim for MICA, study hard for CAT, get into MICA. Simple, no?

CAT 2005:
Went off well. I really didn't want a huge percentile. I knew MICA mandated just 95 percentile, and I got it. 95.55 to be exact. Happy. Got MICA call. Whoohoo! But thanks to the lateness of the MICA call letter, I couldn't attend any GDPI sessions from TIME. I knew GDs were my Achille's heel. And yes, I was studying in this quaint little city called Thrissur in Kerala. While not exactly shanty, it was not exactly teeming with MBA aspirants.

MICA 2006:
Effed up my GE (Group Exercise, as MICA calls it), badly. PI was a dream. But no convert (for gory details and the emotional turmoil, check that above link).

It was obvious I was not going to give up on MICA. Now way! I had a job with Accenture in hand and decided to continue with it. It threw a lot of things into perspective. I could prepare harder, focussing less on CAT and more on the PI and stuff like that.
Hell, I knew I'd get a call - after all, MICA required just around 90 percentile. I knew I'd have to clinch it at the PI stage - my strength. And MICA for one, wants you to be sure about what you're getting your feet into.

CAT 2006:
I prepared like crazy. I read magazines, websites, analysed ads from agencyFAQs, networked with seniors (and got royally ragged for that ) and did whatever I could. Practiced interviews before going to bed, wrote down answers and possible counter-arguments in a nice big book...

This is not counting the fact that I used to spend hours over mockCAT papers. My method was simple - 'if this question comes for CAT, will I do it' approach. If yes, crack it. If not, balls to it, move on. I never used to grind my arse over Quant - I just made sure I had done enough to get a 75 percentile in each section - so never used to take too many risks or do too many. Just do enough, maximise in main section. Not bothered about 90 percentile in each section and all. This is the first huge advantage you have when you decide you want MICA only

Honourable mention here to Tamil Nadu Electricity Board for cutting the electricity late at night every time for no special reason... The mosquitoes and the heat meant I couldn't sleep, work on the laptop or read, so spent it solving CAT questions in candlelight :biggrin:

MICA 2007:
Got a call, as expected, and gave an excellent GE and a super PI. Still was kinda apprehensive.
Went back to Chennai.
Went to Iron Maiden concert next weekend \m/
Next week, the results came out... I was effing ecstatic!

The results were uploaded from 6 in the evening but the MICA guys screwed up a bit here - first uploading names of all those who gave the MICAT... So obviously everyone got through And then corrected the list... So I was sceptical all throughout... But when the final admit letter came at around 2 in the night... WOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!

Three years of waiting, two attempts and all that hard work - finally paid off. And I'm loving it! I just love what MICA is offering. As I sit this, typing at 2:11 in the night, in my girlfriend's room, listening to Joe Satriani on my headphones, helping out with the admissions process for the juniors, working on a couple of projects, going to do my internship in Tata steel in a couple of weeks, going to look forward to a career in advertising after this, and having a great second year with a new guitar and my band - it all seems to have been worth it. I'm just loving this place...!

- CAT is overrated. MBA itself is overrated
- Saying the above to an MBA aspirant is pointless
- What matters more is, what you want, and what you think you will be fitting in with
- Money should really not matter for the first 3-4 years. Enjoying your work and LEARNING is what matters, really
- Never give up on your dreams. If you do decide to compromise, do something that you like doing (giving up MBA dreams to pursue in software for example, is a bad bad bad bad decision)

And once you're in a BSchool...
- What matters is how much YOU take out of it. I've heard lots of people cribbing about MICA and how they're not getting enough out of it. The truth is, any place will give you as much as you want to get out of it. My roomie studied 'people' when he was working at TCS. I believe a person who is dedicated enough can learn anything out of anywhere. Be it IIMA, MICA, or that MBA institute on the terrace outside your window. Yes, that one only.

That's it


A Mallu Accent is just a Hyundai made in Kerala. http://www.facebook.com/ChucksComicsAndStuff

After reading the awesome stories of some of the brilliant folks here, my story might pale into insignificance, but I'll narrate it, nevertheless.

I used to be a fairly good student till Class X (85%), but somehow I lost my bearings in Class XII (67%). My run of poor scores continued in Engineering. In my four years, I barely scraped through the first division, with 62%. I graduated from college in 2002, and immediately got a job (off-campus) as a trainer with IBM Daksh. I had to shift base from Chandigarh to Gurgaon. I planned to appear for CAT, but I had no time to prepare. So, on the day of the exam, I I took the plunge with virtually no preparation. I didn't expect much, but I found (to my surprise) that I had scored 97.5 percentile. I had filled up only UBS, Chandigarh, apart from the IIMs, and that was my lone call. However, not being prepared for the GD/PI, I had no answers to questions like 'Why MBA'.

Obviously, I had a tough time in the interview. I resolved to appear for CAT only after I found an answer to this question. But then, I got into the rut of a job, started doing well there, and my CAT dreams lay forgotten for nearly 5 years. Then, at around the end of 2006, I started thinking about an MBA again. However, my thoughts were more on the lines of a part-time or distance learning course. I wasn't really sure of what I wanted.

Then, one day, I accompanied a friend to a coaching center, coz she wanted to prepare for MBA entrance exams. Later, when we returned, she suggested that we could attend coaching together. I was initially reluctant to target a full-time program, but she encouraged me to give it a shot. I appeared for one of their mocks, and to my surprise, found that I scored over 99 percentile in it. That gave me enough confidence to go ahead full steam.

I enrolled for classes in Jan '07 at TIME, and began studying hard. (Unfortunately, this friend could not join with me because she had other commitments. ) Days became weeks, weeks became months. I found that when the mock tests began, I would always score in the region of 95-96, but never beyond. It began to frustrate me. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't score above 96. The faculty were extremely supportive and counselled me regularly. Tanveer Sir (writetotanveer), who was part of the faculty, was especially encouraging and inspiring. He was the one who introduced me to this wonderful world of PagalGuy.

Still, by September, I had not been able to break my jinx except once, when I scored 98+. I was at my wits' end. In extreme frustration, I walked out of a (2 hour) mock test after just 50 odd minutes. However, to my surprise, I found that I had scored 79 percentile in that test. Funnily enough, that experience gave me enough of a boost to believe in myself.

I began preparing with renewed vigour, and decided to give one final thrust. Come D-day, I felt I was ready. Tanveer Sir met me at my center and told me, "Mr. Singla, dimaag thanda rakhna. Ho jaayega." And well, if not spectacularly, I think I have done reasonably well for myself with a total of 7 calls.

I'm not sure if it is proper for me to advise anyone, but I'd just say that, "Quitters don't win, and winners don't quit." I'm not a winner yet, till I convert my calls, but I'm not a quitter either.

So, all you puys, forget about winning or losing, make sure you give it all! Just don't quit, ever! No one says it's easy, but then it isn't impossible either, right? Go for it, and get there!


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