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Its "success" (maybe after meticulous preparation or rise from ashes type) which has been the theme of inspirational stories
all thorugh this "sacred thread".I feel my failure (although on this day , I am yet to have confirmed any admission offer -
with final results to be declared although I am almost sure of making through the waitlists (thanks again to the domicile
quota for Orissa candidates in XIMB) can be even more inspiring about what all can go wrong - to the point of frustration and
I know this is "save it for blog" stuff - but PG - rather this "holy thread"...i simply could not stop myself :D...here it
Story before -
Decent enough grades till graduation (84.4% in CBSE Xth, 80.2% in 10+2), and joined Mechanical Engg in the "elite" "pedigree"
"Oldest Engineering College" of Orissa - UCE, Burla (inception year 1956) , I thought it was quite an achievement. Although
I joined Mechanical stream(year 2002), still the appeal of "MIT phenomena" (Male - IT engineer - this was and even today is
predominant phenomenon in Orissa prompted me to be sincere enough to keep my "MIT" option open by changing my branch to
either Electrical or Electronics. I did that with my scores in 1st & 2nd sems (again achievement no.2 - actually those who
had changed our streams on the basis of sem scores had a sort of 'rockstar' aura around them - and I was no exception, I
clung to that feeling). Planned for GATE exams , thought it would be a cakewalk.When 3rd sem i realised how much depth i had
about my courses. I didnt ever cross the 70% mark barrier after 3rd sem till 8th (consistently scoring in 63-68% range
whatever be my approach).These semester results provoked me to rethink about GATE plans, by 5th sem I had shunned the GATE
idea completly...so what to do now then (i didnt knew since when, but that had been a subconscious urge in me that atleast I
will definitely have a Master's degree, maybe family was the main motivator here, but it had been assumed and inherent all
Prep Stage -
Started off with CAT preparations by end of 4th semester, purchased those Abhijit Guha, Arun Sharma, M K Pandey (Banking
Reasoning book) and subscribed to B&M; chronicle . Looks picture perfect. Now comes the loopholes - it was full time
residential college, so hostel life is pretty cluttered (although the best enriching phase of anyone's career - same for me
too). Make a routine, follow it for a day and flunk it the very next. Smoke and booze sessions fill up most of the timetables
- bunking course classes, messing up assignments, additional memory devices - everything that can be expected from hosteliers
(many puys would concur with me on this).
But whatever be the 'masti' factor, I was determined to bell the CAT - atleast more determined than many of my batchmates
with whom I shared those booze and smoke sessions. Scattered look at those chapters of the books (it was sort of a 'nobel
prize' to solve couple of LOD 3 problems chosen by someone else after a booze/smoke session) , casual reading of magazines,
even at times I was addicted to novels (thinking it would improve my RC skills), thought freecell & solitaire to be better at
improving reasoning skills than any book - I had my own way of preparing - nothing systematic - no regularity - but I was to
'bell the CAT'.Seniors making through the IIMs were 'demigods' to me. I simply dreamt about myself in the same status
(sometimes these were day dreams, sometimes hallucinations under 'smoky' influence).
By start of 2005, I was almost done with my prep books (I thought it so). Purchased some old second hand TIME & IMS materials
by Jan- Feb and showed the same sincerity level with my huge collection of materials (I was proud that I had the whole prep
material at my disposal - and this was enough to push me into the IIMs - forgetting completely how messy was my sincerity
with all those prep books).July- Aug 2005 CAT notifications out - bells started ringing - now I carried these TIME/IMS stuff
to classroom and started rather showed off solving them there - escaping our prof's eyes. Naturally I shouldnt be hoping my
sem scores to improve, rather thought CAT to compensate all my disgrace.
Here I missed another interesting mis-preparation aspect - TIME people were conducting Mock tests in college classrooms, I
made it a point not to attend them ever (I did save some 3000 bucks - but I was of the belief that I can score more than
anyone else who appeared for those Mocks) - this I would now say was my biggest mistake rather cardinal sin - but then I used
to think this as my "confidence".
Nov - CAT 2005 - around 60 attempts - I didnt know then there was something like section cut offs - overall cutoffs -
nothing. I had been preparing my own CAT. When I came out one of my friends Somesh (he was another CAT..err MBA fanatic - he
was determined ,of course not my type determination but in real sense, to join a b-school in 2006) talked to me about the
sectional attempts, what could be the possible cut -offs - it was like I was listening to 'rocket science stuff in Chinese'.
Further prodding revealed the facts about sectional /overall cutoffs.Then I realised the importance of prospectus' details.
Still I had fared well enough by my standards. Although didnt expect any IIM calls still expected it to be around 96-97 odd.
I had applied to MDI, NITIE, IMT & SPJIMR by then (next best insti to IIMs). CAT result out - final score 95.36 % - pathetic
in VA section though(something around 40s-50s). QA & DI were decent (around 95 in each section). I thought I scored in my
strength Quant Section (this was actually a self created demon which would destroy me later).
I got GD/PI calls from IMT, but could just crawl through - confirmed HR.But I had a strong bias against HRs (maybe repeated
rejection in campus selection interviews ignited this bias) - whatever be the reason I didnt join IMT- HR.
"Catch up period"
April-May 2006 - My engineering honeymoon period was over (mandatory 4 years with no back papers - thanks to my booze/smoke
sessions that destroyed all my sincerity with studies - helped India increase its unemployed 'qualified' youth poulation) -
but I knew that I had to crack CAT - maybe the magical thought itself kept the hopes alive in me. Till June 2006 - I thought
to stay back at home, prepare hard for a year and get through the ivy league insti. but then who would accept a engineer who
had been doing nothing for a year but just preparing for stuff that he had learnt during school days - but those answers i
would seek once i get the GD/PI calls - i thought so then. I was into serious preparation - May - June 2006 - joined coaching
institute at Bhubaneswar itself, got myself completely into CAT prep mode - then I realised what all I had goofed in those
prep books that I thought I had completed earlier. I hadnt even had a complete look of all varieties that a lesson posed.
Anyway better late than never I thought. By June end 2006 I was done with all those prep books purchased two years earlier
(this time i had a real feel of the lessons). But now what? The coaching inst materials neednt be read all day - I realised I
was wasting my time - literally wastage of time devoting whole day for CAT.
July 2006 - I moved out to Bangalore - to atleast try for job, i neednt make any excuses atleast in PI stage.CAT 2006 being
the target - again joined full time classroom course with TIME (not sure what affinity with TIME folks) in Bangalore and
started applying for Job interviews.By september I was through - got a job in an Indian IT company "Wipro Technologies"- my
plan of MIT was successful now - but there was a catch - my joining date got delayed by 3 months - December mid . CAT 2006 in
Nov. With having secured something - I went back to my messy ways - same hanging around, boozing, missing the TIME coaching
classes (but religiously collecting TIME materials on schedule).
Expectedly CAT 2006 - pathetic 78.XX percentile - but atleast something paid off this time - XAT 2007 - made it through for
XIMB (Orissa domicile after all) & GIM...could convert none of them. But thought that picture isnt as bad - I still have a
job , can try it once more
Did quite well enough in job - couple of awards, customer appreciations - onsite assignment - it was all happening for me.
"But I had to crack CAT" - only Mock Tests - AIMCATs (same TIME folks - they have earned quite few bucks from my failures).
Same project pressure, meetings, code issues, incident /problem tickets (run-of-the-mill excuses , I never fell short of
them) - in spite of these excuses - MOCK TESTS. Regular in attending AIMCATs (used to score around 90-95 range whichever
tactic I tried) - but "consistently fickle" in analysing the Mocks. I never used to give a second look at the mock tests
after those 2.5 hrs. But it was sort of a 'ego' issue now - "I had to make into the ivy league inst.".
CAT 2007 was bound to be no different with such messy effort, in fact left for the onsite assignment on C-Day itself (Nov
18. Excitement of first overseas trip, 3rd shot at CAT - all happening on the same day. I thought I did well enough - even
had no ime to discuss the paper with friends - finally by the time I was back after 2.5 mnths CAT was out - I had no idea
till then about my expected percentile range - absolute blank. Hadnt applied anywhere else - only IIMs. Results finally out -
Thought that "providence has something huge in store for me" - I am meant for IIMs - maybe next time - even I have a couple
of colourful feathers of Onsite work-experience up my sleeves, should be a cakewalk if I give another sigh at CAT 2008
From Feb I had made up my mind, that this year (for 2009-2011) I "will" make it through. But same story again - AIMCATS with
TIME . 5 days of work 9 AM to 8 PM at office, 8:30 PM to 11 PM TV,complete sleep, friday night
booze, saturday - magazine, movies (or occasional look at lessons/formulae - whatever came in my grip) - this was in brief
summary of the routine I had been following.
But "I will crack CAT" - whatever be my activities, I will make it big on C-Day , I will perform couple of notches better
than I do with Mock tests.
All through the Mock Tests and even in the exam hall, I always start off with QA (i feel its a disgrace as engineer to have
something else as strength section) - but due to the same "mental block" I fare pretty awful in QA section, while perform
exceptionally well in VA section (be it CAT, XAT - all through I have never scored less than 90 percentile in any VA section
in CAT or XAT - prompting me to believe that first attempt CAT 2005 VA score maybe was an aberration) . Now not that VA is my strength, even till date I think QA is my strength - but performance shows something
else. There has been simply no resurrection till date - I consistently repeat same mistakes each time, I appear each exam
with the same bias/prejudice.
Finally Nov 16 2008, my performance was no different from the mocks - but with the "mock effort" i wasnt cracking CAT, I
tried something different "guesswork". I attempted 5 VA questions with "blind guesses" - 'RAM, LAKHAN, SITA type' - all 5 of
them were wrong. Checked performance with few tutorials' , I was getting in the range of same 90-95 percentiles "wondered the
story might have been bit brighter, had I not tried "something different""...but I was strong willed - its enough now,
whichever inst i get through, I am definitely going for it this time. Enough is enough. This was my fourth attempt, I was
getting impatient at the same CAT stuff (well words arent enough to describe impatience - many puys would have gone hrough
the same themselves)
Applied for a couple of inst in the 90-95 percentile range (final score CAT 2008 93.66 percentile). Screwed up IIFT big time,
thought JMET went well enough (until results said I had not qualified), thanks to Orissa domicile quota in XIMB - XAT score
of 91.66 percentile also gave me a GD/PI call.
Finally gd/pi calls from IMT (nagpur), TAPMI, MICA, SIMSR and XIMB - nothing spectacular performance in any of them - but
neither bad ones.
Now confirmed with IMT (N), Waitlisted with XIMB , rest results awaited.
Almost confident of getting through XIMB, i value this much much more- it means a lot to me. I couldnot correct my
flaws/habits - inspite of which I made it through, i certainly feel I have acheived something "finally got rid of this CAT
stuff" - my routines are my own "no more section bias, no further mocks" - its all over this time - finally.
Guys after so much of "pakaoing" strict no-no 'learning from my failures' , all this shouldnt be done ever -
1)Never mess up your schedules - fun is part of life - not the complete picture - right word would be "DISCIPLINE"
2)Too much preparatory material isnt an asset - rather practising whatever one has is the most important
3)Never take the Mocks lightly - these are actual confidence builders, and its where the real preparation bears fruit
(atleast it gives one a chance to 'fail' - which the real CAT doesnt)
4)Regarding CAT sections, never have any prejudice/bias for any section - all sections can be equally rewarding, equally easy
- never does one get kudos for proving one to be strong - its bottomline "CAT score" which matters
5)Never flunk your priorities - setting and identification of priorities is the foremost aspect
6)Its never late, impatience isnt going to help - work out what you want, rather than compromising what you get
7)Finally never never never evr make any wild guesses , calculated guesses after elimination of options is fine (but that
wont work with CAT now coming with 5 options per Q).
Enough of "bakar" now PUYs...do PM me your comments/groans whatever you feel...
That was a terrific post Chandoo.....
But..er........that raises the BIGGEST question!
Is it really necessary to prepare for CAT?
Am no kidding here guys.......
Its been my belief that CAT is just an aptitude test and it requires no preparation!
All CAT does is test your 'basic' language and analytical skills.A majority of us would be able to answer most of the questions if given infinite time.So CAT just puts one under 'pressure' because you have 150 questions to answer in 120 mins.In a way,CAT just simulates the working condition one might face when he/she becomes a manager.So CAT does nothing but assess an individual's potential to work as a manager!So why prepare for it?
Again,look what happens when you prepare....(There are people who prepare for 2 years or even more!Please!Am not trying to demean their efforts in anyway!).......When you prepare for an aptitude test like CAT,you are continuously pushing youself to become something that you are actually not. You might even crack CAT.......but believe me!its not the 'real you' who has cracked it......you may not be able to reproduce such a result at all times!For those 2 hours you had 2 years of preparation.......you WILL NOT have 2 years to prepare for every two hours in your work as a manager!Preparation can only create a pseudo-aptitude to crack CAT on that day.....nothing more!It infact spoils the chance to assess ones 'real' aptitude!
Btw,..... I got calls from ACLIK.........n i did not prepare for CAT.Absolutely nothing more than the 2 hours i spent taking the test.
Well!I would love to read the responses!
Not sure how much of this post will help people but I wanted to put forward my view so be it :D
My Journey towards an MBA degree began with CAT 2006 and ended with CAT 2008. No i wasnt successful in securing an IIM seat and yes I did get into a tier 2 B School (as they call it). Yes I am NOT going to NMIMS Mumbai which conducts an exam which can be called a light hearted imitation of a math textbook and wren n martin put together ...(it really is puys so dont laugh) . And yes after having got 97.56 % in CAT 2008 and converted IMT G and IMI D i am taking up IMT G and not NMIMS...
But there my friend...the story ends. And here's where my 'All i wanted to say about CAT' begins..
As a person who is now out of the race, I can tell u quite accurately tell u what happened and how i did it. Lets begin objectively.
What i Did :
- I studied too much. I mean I had office for about 10 hrs everyday and den i used to come home and hit the material for 4 - 5 hrs. ALso, during the busrides to and fro, I used to solve papers. This went on pretty much for 4 months.
- I started expecting too much. Some of this prep paid off in the mocks and I started getting 98 above regularly. Quant i used to ace along with DI. VA wud be variable. On an average 85% above wud be my VA %ile.
- I started getting tense. WIth Great Expectations came tension. Killer in this situation.
- I wanted to finish too much too fast. I had finished 90% of the TIME material (except the test papers at the last). And i kept on goin till september. Fallacy - Revision and coolin of nerves not done :(
Result - DI screwed in CAT. 73.4x %. No IIM, MDI, NITIE SPJAIN etc etc etc....
Well, this is where i guess i start the real part of this so called essay.
Puys - remember 1 thing very carefully. A school doesnt make u or break u. Yes it does give u an 'initial' edge over others by the brand image, but then that is all. Having been in the industry for measly 18 months but having interacted with ppl from IIM C grad working in Hong Kong, IIMA grad workin in Mumbai, NM grad workin in Mumbai, IMT senior frm my college (NIT Allahabad btw) I reached a conclusion - derived from all what they said. At the end of the day, all that matters is whether ur able to deliver the goods. If ur a Product manager, r u able to meet the demands of the customer frm the product and incorporate it in the product for better sales ? If a financial manager, r u able to crunch those numbers and come up with good assesments of investment opportunities for ur clients (just one of the thousand jobs)..
the answer to these questions is of paramount importance. the brand, image and all that, cease to exist.
Cuz, just think about it - the books r the same, the content the same, the principles taught the same, the problems t solve in the industry - same.....
Hence the only thing that matters is how well u grasp the situation and act accordingly - how well u manage. And believe me puys, at this age (average age of 23 of all MBA aspiants and 1st yrs) its pretty difficult to un learn and relearn anything. By this age, ur thinking process and analytical thnking and reasoning have matured. U r what u r mentall by 23 or 24. SO from now its WHO U R that matters.....the MOST.
yes it does matter where ur from...cuz lets face it. If half of indian industry is from IIT/IIM or both then they wud certainly go for their juniors - cuz they knw that if they were gud their juniors wud be good too...
But then, that is where it ends. After that, after the 'creamy layer' has been recruited and the 'tier 2' ones r recruited too, there begins that fight - for which ONE HAS TO BE PREPARED. this test is even more difficult than any exam (CAT is like child'splay if u think of it). Cuz in this test, u r tested on ur ability to slog ur ass off, ability to think and analyze, and ability to present and communicate - OVER A PERIOD OF TIME.
This is what we shud be prepared for. the exams ? naaaaah. they come n go....like the rain every year.
But eventual success - that eventual seat as the CEO, MD, Chairman. - that wud remain longer.....the memory wud last longer....the sweet taste of success wud last longer....
Here's wishing that all PUYS reading this and the ones not reading this turn out to be the next bright face of the Indian Industry.
All the best !!!
U better be good.....cuz am competing
For people who think & feel that its easy to advice than to follow, read my earlier posts in the same thread & wait for my this year's all I want to speak about CAT post to understand
Believe me, you haven't lost anything till you are alive.
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