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There was a light in the end of the tunnel. If not IIT, I had a go at ICAI. Registered for the first level of chartered accountancy exam. Okay, great. Still no IIM dreams yet. My image of commerce requiring lesser studies crashed. Now I had to work hard. The best thing was I was liking the course. Again secured all india rank in the first level. Started getting the letters from Big 4s inviting me to do the CA internship with them. Life was good again.
BSE Sensex was marching towards all time high and so was my life. But the future of both were in the dark clouds (okay exaggerating what happened to markets was worse than the life)
CA Internship. The most dreaded word in the CA Course. 42 months is not a joke.
Meanwhile, the 2nd level exam (CA Inter) was done with and again secured an all india merit rank. Was not as happy as the first one but still it was a huge confident booster. By this time, my obsession for all india rank in CA exams died. The articleship continued and the life became more boring. Recession had creeped in. So overall mood was down.
BSE Sensex was daily making yearly low and so was me. But again, the fundamentals of both were strong and just a few good news were needed for both to bounce back.
[Note: This is a post on the user's CAT journey that has been captured in his own words. We have not edited it in any way when publishing it as an article. Cover image is from http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up]
Always had a dream to write on this sacrosanct thread. So much so that, I wanted to convert a good B-School so that I write on the thread. It will be more of, what I want to say about my life rather than just CAT, as CAT formed just a little part of life. (I hope, the post is not counted as a spam)
Life had been good in childhood. Parents felt, their son should learn in his mother tongue (Not because they support sena or mns, but because both made it big in spite of their Marathi medium background). So joined a local Marathi school. Hardly used to be in the top 5 ranks in the class in the school exams, but always topped the school in every state & national level competitive exam came in my way. Just like every other Indian student, till ninth standard, everything was fine. No expectations from parents, relatives and most importantly from myself. :)
But then board exams for 10th standard came. Since I was not much interested in Acads, I knew , though I will do reasonably well but was not expecting any miracle. But the miracle happened and secured a merit rank in the Mumbai board. Topped the school when it mattered the most. And that was a surprise. The decision of choosing the stream one wants to pursue after 10th, is one of the most important decision in the life. I knew there exist 3 streams: Science, Commerce & Arts. Heard from people that one needs to study hard in science stream. So decision became easier. I had to choose between Commerce and Arts. Being a son of a chartered accountant, it became easier to choose commerce. At that time, I didn't know about CA etc at all. Neither the decision of taking commerce was based on the probability of IIMs giving extra marks to candidates from commerce background in their selection process. At that time, had not heard about IIM at all. :o
So just to minimize the studies, took admission in the one of the best commerce college in Mumbai. And 11th was a breeze of air. I really didn't have to study hard. Smiled at myself. 12th was also the same. Though a little bit more study than 11th , it was easily manageable. Then the reality started setting in. What did I want to do in life. Probably I had completed just 20-25% of the life, what about the remaining 75-80%? The news started coming in about my friends getting into IITs & NITs. Never knew the glamour associated with these institutes earlier. I felt, I have done a blunder by choosing commerce.:-( Seeing the friends who couldn't clear the first level of NTSE exam making it to IITs, I felt, being the NTSE holder, I had equal chances if not more to make it to these esteemed institutes. I felt I have done injustice to myself. Depression started creeping in.
[Note: This is a post on the user's CAT journey that has been captured in his own words. We have not edited it in any way when publishing it as an article. Cover image is from http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up]
My journey towards CAT and an admission is almost a straight driven process.. No twists and turns worth mentioning.. but would like to post the experiences in one of the sacred links that helped me immensely during my preparation.
It all started off as discussions with my frnds who were aspiring to pursue their highers and were seriously preparing for them. Being already placed in my 6th sem at Infy, neva dreamt of other job ( Infact knew very less how the life of a software engineer looks then .. was just happy to be placed and get a salary.. a typical mindset :nono:) . Paid for TIME coaching series along with couple of my room mates.. It was an awesome time , in fact the most happening time of my grad days.. College used to be shut down generally due to telangana agitations.. If at all college is opened, classes are a rare thing to happen..late night gossips..parties.. discussions..what not !! weekends to TIME classes and mock exams.. I have a passion towards competitive exams since school days.. so never took exams easily.. Mock scores ranged around 85-98 percentile.. Skipped some of the classes but never took easy on mocks.. Trust me, ANALYSING the mocks is a very crucial thing that definitely helps to improve(pehla gyan )
CAT went online that year.. but after the exam i was confident of scoring the similar way as in mocks.. It was 95.64 % and got a call from IIM-S.. I guess my strong acads also helped me in securing my 1st IIM call ( i still remember the day it happened ). Then enrolled for TIME GD/PI preparation.. It was a time when things started moving from OK to worse.. As said, was having a high time with frnds and completely neglected the preparation owing to sheer over confidence.. It was only when i dinged the interview that i realised how much i've gone wrong.. It might sound silly but wasnt that easy for me to get over the reject.. I felt i've let down myself by wasting a year long preparation with negligence and over confidence
Then went on to join Infy in a month.. Leaving some frnds at Hyd and taking some along with me to Infy :-P
Life @Infy is beautiful .. Seriously, ppl tend to say that it gets heavier with books , exams again.. but believe me , u get ample time to do all the stuff u would luv to do.. I would always say if u r a fresher, dont miss a chance to start ur career at Infy.. (Note the point "start" ). Got a call from IIM Ranchi in the middle of my training sessions.. attended but could not make it.. Dropped the idea of writing CAT2010 as i thought of giving myself some time to think and plan properly
By April 2011, became an active member in my project team @Bangalore.. It was a nice team to hang out with, being the junior most guy among them.. The only problem was with the timings as we were supporting applications for an US client we had to work in their timings
Now that i've got settled into a project, applied for TIME mock series again and to start off , the points i wanted to improve upon were
1. To increase the score compared to previous attempt.
2. To prepare simultaneously for the GD/PIs which i neglected last time.
Initially it was tough to adjust the timings as working from 2-11 PM for couple of weeks, 10 PM to 8 AM for another week.. and then manage time to write a mock almost everyday, analyse.. Go thru PG links for preparatory stuff.. Even referred Intermediate books for basics .. Go thru couple of newspapers, editorials and then get some time to sleep during daytime.. After an initial struggle, got habituated to the timings and managed time to prepare( after all it was in my interest that im working hard .. doosra gyann). As days marched by, preparation became intense and by the end of September , it was so intense that myself along with my roomie were reading random links and materials whatever came our way
The D-day came and was quite dissatisfied with the way i had given it ( probably bcoz of huge expectations that i had put on myself). Gave other exams as well IIFT, XAT.. But with a feeling that If i get a good score this time, i shudnt screw the GD/PI process, continued to keep track of newspapers and stuff( teesra gyann) .. When the results were out, it was around 12 PM in the night and we were able to open the link by 1 PM and i was like with the results.. It was 98.95 with both sections above 98.. quite relieving in fact..
The calls started coming in .. and finally after sorting them out. was like.. B,I,S,new IIMS,FMS,MDI,NITIE.. Got an IIFT call also.. which was my 1st interview of the season..
Was quite excited and continued my preparation.. Started attending the interviews .. I felt some interviews went awesome, some good, some disastrous .. The interview panels i met were like AWESOME.. It seriously surprised me that they knew almost everything on this world( atleast i felt that ) .... But my excitement started to drain when the results started to pour in.. with outright rejects even from those colleges where i felt the interview went properly..
Rejects do make us strong.. but initially it is always depressing..U need to take it.. same was the state of my mind too.. The way in which some of my frnds supported me thru out this is something i'll always cherish..
Finally after an year long anticipation, it was an MDI convert, which im gonna take it without a second thought..
If i was asked during my under grad, i would have said in a premature manner , 'no college other than an iim, ain't not gonna join' .. but now after getting into the process of preparation, discussions with peers,seniors and of course pagalguy.. im not going to leave an opportunity studying at MDI... after all what i need is quality education and peer group which am sure gonna get there:clap:
Things i want to pendown in my complete prep :
1. Work pressure always seems to be a hurdle for employees but, trust me, u need to start at some point so as to be in the race.. and start it ASAP.
2. Continuity is crucial in any prep.. Don't miss any timelines that u plan for urself.. just treat them as a pill specified by a doctor.. never miss it
3. Analysing the mocks is as important as taking the exams.. if not more..
4. No matter how ur exam went, don't lose ur track in preparing for GD/PI.. with this normalisation and stuff we never know what's in the store..
5. U get a call, convert it.. Don't let overconfidence take over you..
6. After so many rejects in GD/PI i aint gonna guide in that process there are many able puys here to help in that case :) but just one thing.. stay calm and believe in urself thru out the prep
PS: I believe am not that bad at interviews and fared well this year too :banghead::banghead: .. but we never know it in an interviewer perspective.. Stay strong and all the best for every1's preparations.. All the best
I owe a lot to this forum for such wonderful preparatory stuff.. and wonderful ppl guiding in every stage of the preparation.. Thanks PG :)
MDI 2012-14 it is
Now that I have taken a lot from Puys, I think it is my turn to return the favour.
The Engineering situation
Well, everybody did that so gave AIEEE and enrolled myself in NIT Kurukshetra in 2006. I was a kind of bookish boy with little extra curics in school.
I started reading novels in the first year and discovered the world through them. Reading became a habit, rather an obsession with me. Again, I skipped extra-curics, but did only co-curics. In the 3rd year, the engineering situation started bothering me. The technical profession seemed too stiffling to me. The though process is limited to the answer of yes/no.
Gentlemen, start your engines!
Lets begin with MBA preparations! Joined weekend classes in CL-CP. Was literally dejected everyday as saw people solving questions in micro-seconds. Still I trudged along and managed good mocks culminating in 96%ile in CAT. IIFT and XLRI did not call. Got SIBM-P call, didnt attend as I had a cushy job with an investment bank.
Making the history to repeat itself
2010 and I gave CAT again. 75%ile !!! Got calls from IIFT and XLRI. GDPI went so bad, that I would have myself rejected me. IIFT came up with results and my doubts were confirmed when I got a straight reject. Pinning my hopes high on XLRI-BM meant that the failure would hurt even more, as another reject was in store. Depressed and dejected. It may sound silly but the movie, Scent of a Woman kind of changed me. The ending speech by Al Pacino about integrity and a strong character inspired me.
The preparation conundrum
I worked to build my personality alongwith preparing for exams. The only thing that would occupy my mind is how to develop a robust, ethical and a wise thought process. This would help me not only clear my exams, but in the GDPI process also. Then in 2011, I gave CAT, XAT and IIFT. CAT again was below expectations 90%ile but XLRI and IIFT again called.
The IIFT process went exceptionally well. Essay, GD and PI all went well. In the PI I realised the importance of building thoughts through knowledge. We discussed about globalisation and other economic phenomena. It was great. XLRI-HR interview was also good. They asked me to solve the Eurozone crisis from an HR perpective! I say, this GDPI season went rather well.
The day came. IIFT results were to be announced. I was doing the same thing for 2 years. Bored. Hopeful. Scared. And confused. My father broke the news that I have been selected into IIFT-D!! Come on, a person who got straight rejects once knows the importance of a straight convert! I could savour the taste of victory and resigned then and there! Then came another good news. I got a waitlist in XLRI-HR, not that it matters as I dont want to study HR.
The very thought of doing what I have always wanted is what motivated me. I thought that I may drop a year and try again for IIMs, but hell, CAT is just a day in the bigger scheme of things.
The aspirant reading this, yes my friend, you, strive to become wise, think of a contradictory viewpoint and challenge everything. Think like a leader now to become one in future.
I first came across this thread sometime around May-June 2011. (Actually, to be more precise, I came across the eBook with the same name which contained a few of the many experiences posted here). Ever since then, I have dreamt of posting on this thread (and hoping that my post also makes it to the next edition of the eBook). But that dream (along with the dream of making it to one of the top-20 premier B-schools in India) took a big bad hit the day the CAT results were announced.....
But well get to that part a little later. First of all, let me give you a short introduction about myself. Right from my childhood, I excelled in academics. To cut a long story short, I passed my Class 10th & 12th with flying colours, did well in the Engineering CET and landed in one of the premier engineering institutes in Maharashtra. After graduating as a Mechanical Engineer in 2009, I got a job at a reputed engineering & construction conglomerate. Till that point, I wasnt sure whether to go for an MS or an MBA. On one hand, I was a technically oriented person so I thought an MS would be the right choice, but on the other hand, I knew that an MBA would better groom me to handle managerial roles.
MBA Season 2011: Around 15 months into my job, I got a sort of an epiphany and decided that an MBA is the right career choice for me. But the epiphany came in a little late because by that time the deadline for the CAT forms had already passed. The only exams I could give that year were the JMET & Mah-CET and just as I had expected, I didnt do well in both of them. After all, I had started preparations in November. But at least I got a hang of giving MBA entrance exams...
MBA Season 2012: To ensure that I definitely make it to one of the top-20 B-schools, I decided I would take the CAT, XAT, SNAP & NMAT. I purchased courseware from Testfunda, joined the SIMCAT series of IMS and studied for around 3-4 hrs daily. Whenever I would get time at work, I would read some articles on how to do well in CAT (my personal favourite being the articles by Arun Sharma). I also found some of the articles on Pagulguy (especially the ones by Ravi Handa) very useful. I went through the usual process of filling up exam forms & B-school application forms. I took 16-days leave from work (on the pretext of my cousins wedding) before the CAT. However, by that time, there was a small part of me that knew that a 99 or 100 %ile was out of the question, based on my performance in the SIMCATs. But I still kept my hopes up and decided to give the final CAT my best shot. On the D-day (or C-day to be precise),I ended up attempting 43 out of 60 questions and hoped this would be sufficient to get me at least a 95 %ile which I hoped would land me calls from the IIT schools of management (JMET was scrapped from that year).
9th Jan 2012- Got a profile call from S.P. Jain, Mumbai (henceforth referred to as SPJIMR). Was excited about it but at the same time, I prayed that I would get at least an 85 %ile (which is the minimum score required to be eligible for interviews)
11th Jan 2012- CAT results were announced. I ended up with a shocking... wait for it... 85%ile. The first thought that came to my mind was GAME OVER... TRY AGAIN NEXT YEAR...!!!
Fortunately, my overall percentile and sectional scores were sufficient to get me an interview call from SPJIMR. I also did well in SNAP & NMAT (but not in XAT) so to summarise I had the following calls: SPJIMR, SIBM-Pune, SCMHRD, NMIMS-Mumbai & Great Lakes, Chennai.
GDPI: Now that I had 5 calls, I was confident that I would convert at least one so that I would not have to appear for CAT again next year. I put in every possible effort in preparing for the GDPI. I joined IMSs GDPI preparation batch, read a lot of current affairs online and from the newspaper, prepared answers to the usual interview questions (such as why MBA, strengths, weaknesses, etc.) and went for all but one of the GDPIs (skipped NMIMS as it is known for Finance and my interest was in Operations). All my GDPIs went well. As far as SPJIMR is concerned, I cleared Group Interview 1, appeared for Group Interview 2 and was shortlisted for Immersion.
Kahaani Mein Twist: Now heres the part where my story differs from most of the other MBA aspirants stories. Once the GDPI results were announced, I was shocked to find that I was rejected by SPJIMR & SCMHRD, was waitlisted by SIBM and had only converted Great Lakes. Although I was happy about having a convert and the fact that I wouldnt have to continue at my dead-end job anymore, I was deeply hurt at not having made it to SPJIMR (truth be told, I had fallen in love with that college after having attended their Immersion program). Unfortunately for me, the course at Great Lakes was to start in April, and by that time even my SIBM waitlist did not clear, leaving me with no option but to pack my bags and board the train to Chennai.
Great Lakes turned out to be 1000 times better than what I had pictured in my head. The infrastructure (in terms of classrooms and hostels) was awesome and the professors were simply great. I was happy that I had taken this decision of joining Great Lakes.
About 3 weeks into the course at Great Lakes, I received an email from SIBM offering me admission to their PGDM program (since the waitlist up to my no. had cleared).Now you would expect me to jump for joy and head out to cancel my admission at Great Lakes. But nothing like that happened. I did not feel even one bit of happiness. I just ignored that email and continued with my life at Great Lakes. (To this day, I am not sure why I reacted that way.)
About a week before I joined the course at Great Lakes, SPJIMR announced an increase in its seats from 180 to 240. This was actually supposed to happen for the next years batch but thanks to AICTE, it happened this year itself. As a result, there was a tremendous movement in the waitlists and a small ray of hope for rejected candidates like me that the waitlist would get exhausted and the rejected lot would start getting calls. Unbelievably that hope turned into reality. A week after I received and rejected the SIBM offer, I got a mail from SPJIMR offering me admission to their PGDM program. I cannot find the words to describe the excitement and elation that I felt in my heart. It was after a very long time that I felt such ecstatic joy. I was afraid I would get a heart attack with all the excitement.
The long and short of it all is that I accepted the offer from SPJIMR, cancelled my admission at Great Lakes, flew back to my home in Mumbai and decided to pen my experiences on this forum.
1.Have confidence in yourself. If I was never confident that my low score would get me into SPJIMR, I would probably have not done well in the interviews.
2.Learn to handle the anxiety and stress after the exam results and GDPI results are announced.
3.Be patient. Waitlist clearing takes a lot of time.
4.Shit happens. Just because you get a waitlist or a reject doesnt mean theres something wrong with you.
5.Never underestimate any B-school just because it doesnt feature in the top-20 B-school rankings.
6.Most importantly, believe in things such as fate and luck.
Finally, I would like to end by stating a line all puys on the SPJIMR thread used a lot: Hope is a good thing, maybe even the best of things. Dont lose hope.
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