About this discussion

Last updated

Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

*Download the FREE 'The Best of All I Wanted to speak about CAT' ebook*, a compendium of the best posts on this thread. Use this thread to detail how your CAT journey went. For any query, use the threads available across the forum.

Follow this discussion to get notified of latest updates.
Page 8 of 50   

I never ever imagined that someday I'll be writing in this thread. Not because i didn't believe in myself but because i was unsure of treading the path of the corporate world in the first place. I did my 5yr integrated MS in chemistry from IISER kol (one in a set of 5 new institutes established by MHRD to promote science in India), and a research based job or a P.hD. would have been a natural extension. I was planning to take GRE and go abroad for a PhD at one stage. But there were few factors which changed the course of my career and as it turned out, my life.

During my 3rd yr at college, I met a beautiful girl and in 3 months we fell in love. As we got serious into our relationship, I realized I need to stay in India and get myself a settled and successful career. MBA was always in the back of my mind because I felt MBA as a course suits my character and personality, but i never gave serious thought about it. But then during the spring of 2010, i made up my mind to go for an MBA. My father didn't like my decision; he wanted me to go for PhD. But i was adamant.

I joined AIMCAT and started studying. I did not study for hours but I was regular. Though my initial percentiles were disappointing, i was gradually improving with every test. I hit 97 percentile once but mostly my scores were in the range of 85-90. In the meantime, I kept in touch with vocab for GRE till June, which was in October, thinking of it as a backup. But after June, I focussed fully on CAT. 'She' always motivated me, supported me and even discussed with me about my preparation and studies. I even once hit a terrible bad patch but she took my studies out of that shit.

I took GRE and TOEFL and scored reasonably well (1390/1600 and 109/120) considering my lack of preparation. On the D-day, i was satisfied with my exams but a bit worried about DI sectional as i only attempted 12/20. I spent too much time on quant(attempted all). After CAT, i screwed up IIFT (coz of GK section). FMS and XAT were not satisfactory either (96 and 94 %iles respectively). So, finally all my hopes were pinned on CAT results. I was expecting 99+ but i knew CAT can be a bitch sometimes. In the meantime, I applied to 2 universities abroad for PhD, coz of my father's pressure.

Finally the night came when results were declared. My friend came and told results are out and he got 98.75. I almost ran to his laptop and entered my SR number with 5 people behind my back, all gazing at the screen. I saw, 99.71 it was, with 99.86 in quant, 98.49 in verbal and 93.36 in DI. Everyone picked me up and after 5 mins, I realised I could barely walk because of the pain ...

In few days time, i received the following calls- C, I, Ranchi, MDI and ABM calls from A and L. So it was now down to GDPI. I joined TIME GDPI classes but the pressure of thesis submission was enormous at college. It became tough for me to manage the two things at one time. But I tried my best to take as many GD and PI sessions as possible. At this time, I got an offer for PhD at National University of Singapore with a handsome stipend. But my eyes were stuck on IIM. I had two advantages prior to the GDPI stage- the advantage of having a different background (pure science graduates are not many in any campus) and the advantage of being from an Institute like IISER (I came to know it was very famous among professors)

After the marathon GDPI season in which i had 7 interviews, it was the time for final results. Though initially wait-listed in few, I converted all finally (except C where I was wait-listed at 24). It was like a dream come true. Everyone was so ecstatic. Even though I feel I had blessings from my elders but I have no hesitation in saying that without my girlfriend, IIM would only have remained a dream for me. She has the biggest hand in my success and I can never forget that. I can also never forget my friends who have supported me throughout the preparation period.

From my experience, i can tell u one thing for sure. Success is nothing if u don't have someone to celebrate it with- Friends or family who care about your success. Therein lies the joy of success. So don't get yourself so much involved in studies that you miss out on the real charm of life. CAT doesn't need that, study smartly and enjoy relationships, parties and above all, the Life.


Its amazing to be writing on this thread. I have found great inspiration from the stories told here and it is time I thank all puys who helped me thus far to be able to share my experience here.

It started, as it always does, during the engineering days. My wing-mates and I, as early enthusiasts, joined the coaching classes for CAT 2008 in the 3rd year. After attending a few classes and although I found them useful, I decided to discontinue the classes as I figured it interfered with my Sunday morning sleep. The only section, I learned, that needed more preparation for me was English and I quietly started preparing for it by improving my reading speed, enhancing my vocabulary etc.

It was not until later next year when the AIMCAT season started in July that I really got into CAT preparation. I was scoring around 95 percentile in these tests and had a fair amount of confidence early on. I took a lot of tests and did some analysing and found my skills in VA were poor. My DI was no good either and I had developed a fear of DI in my mind. I continued my CAT preparation along with regular college work, but as the AIMCAT season progressed my performance didnt improve much and my scores never crossed 98 pc. Still I was under some sort of delusion that I would crack CAT. On the C-Day, 16 Nov, I messed up a little by spending a lot of time in VA, as the test format was 40-25-25 questions in favour of VA rather than the normal 25-25-25 distribution. Otherwise I thought I had done decently.

Soon I was to discover that it was not good enough. On the day of the results, 9th Jan, I was extremely disappointed to see a 98.53 percentile score and no calls. Many of my friends from college got admits in IIMs the same year which only reinforced my wish to appear for CAT next year.

This time I thought I will do everything it takes. I started my preparations early. I practised a lot; my VA improved considerably and reading became lightning fast. But still the improvement was not as much visible in the mock test scores as I expected. The test was online this time around, though this fact didnt bother me. On the day of the exam, I found the paper to be quite easy. I had attempted a decent number of questions and thought I may get a few calls. This time I wrote XAT as well and scored a very good 99.83 which I thought was a good prelude to a similarly high score in CAT. Due to CAT fiasco that year, results were declared quite late. To my utter dismay, the result was a mere 98.01 percentile. Boy, was that frustrating. Even lesser than my previous CAT score and all the hours of preparation seemed a waste. I had an interview call from XLRI and although I wasnt very keen on it, I decided to appear for the interview. The interview was quite a routine one I thought and I did decently. As a relief, after the miserable performance in CAT, I found that Id converted my XLRI call.

I disappointed a lot of folks, especially my family, by not joining XLRI. The stakes were higher this time and the pressure was enormous. I was tired of getting the shorter end of the stick all the time and I really wanted a win. Only the odds were stacked against me.

I had been in the job for quite a while now, and the work load was slowly increasing. I was doing well there, in fact I was enjoying what I was doing at work so that part was good. There were days during my CAT prep when I felt low and it seemed like dj vu but I kept my morale up. I scored quite a few 99+ percentiles in the mock tests which cheered me up. Also I ensured not to feel down by the occasional low scores.

On the C-Day, I noticed that I was particularly calm. The paper was easy and I attempted all the questions except a couple of them. The feeling I had after the exam was a good one but that is the same feeling I had after my previous CATs too. Meanwhile, I won a few rewards at work which was a good diversion after long months of CAT preparation and I let myself to some enjoyment.

Come the day of the result- 12th Jan, I could scarcely believe what I saw in my laptop screen when I entered my CAT registration number- a 99.99 pc overall with 99.97-QA, 99.85-DI, 98.75-VA. It was a dream come true. I dont think I had tears of happiness ever before in my life. Later in the day the shortlists started to come out, and as I had known by then, they always come together- happiness and sadness. I didnt get calls from IIM A and B. After the initial disappointment (of not getting a call from the dream b-school IIMA) passed I didnt worry as much as there wasnt anything I couldve done about it.

I focused my energies to convert the calls I had. I had a great time preparing for the GD-PI phase. Be it attending mock GDs, interacting with old pals for advice, or the actuals, I learned a lot from the experience. Although by the time of the first couple of interviews, I was not completely prepared, it got better with time, ending with the final interview for IIMC. I have briefly shared the GDPI experience in my other post.

On the day the final results came out, 18th April, I was ecstatic to get the final admit call from IIMC. It was one of the best feelings you ever had. I had waited for so long for it and imagined in my head endless times how it would feel, yet the feeling at that time couldnt have been better. It also felt like the end of an era in my life and a beginning of a new one.

Unless you are a born-intelligent types guy or girl, it takes a lot of hard work to crack CAT and an inspiration. For me it was about living a dream, or maybe impressing a girl who used to sit next to me, but more than anything it was about keeping a promise I made to a very special person. If you look around you will find your inspiration too. And as the saying goes, It aint over until you win.

All the best!


1 Year to Transform Your Career - Great Lakes PGPM

Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM 2015-16)

India’s leading One Year fast track MBA program for candidates with 2+ Years of work experience.

Application Deadline(Extended): 31st Jan. 2015

Apply Now

-Global Faculty and internationally benchmarked curriculum

-Accredited by AMBA, UK (PGPM & PGXPM Programs)

-Ranked 7th by Outlook & Business Today in One Year MBA Programs (2014)

-Ranked 10th by Business India in Top B-Schools (2014)

-Avg. CTC of INR 11.43 Lakhs p.a. for PGPM 2013-14

Learn More

Part 3

So here I was sitting with all these rejects. Also, my ego used to get badly hurt. Most of my friends had made it big to a top B-School. Some made it to IIFT, some to NM. They were all celeberating while I was just attending them, not having a single worthwhile convert in my hand. Initially I had made up my mind to go to ICFAI Hyderabad, but I remember on the bus trip of MICA when I met fellow puy akshay.vannery. He told me to try hard for next year & that ICFAI does not justify my abilities. I took his advice

To be conitnued..........................

Soumiran Banerjee MBA-IB 2011-2013 Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi

The purpose of this post is not to motivate people but to warn them what never to do while preparing for CAT. My experience with Indian MBA industry (Yes it is an industry going by the money making) has not been pleasant at all and all I wish is that others do take the precautions I never took.
Declaration: It would be my conscious effort not to reveal names and places. As my intention is not to degrade any region people or place but just to warn others.

It all started in 2007 when the economy was gung ho and things were rosy in IT industry. I was an average engineer in an average college where the Infy, TCS and the likes recruited regularly. Got a decent job but dad was adamant on me being an MBA. (yes I come from a small town where parents reign supreme). So started the MBA dream. Joined CL and was a sincere with an on and off note.
Things started rolling to 2008, where I tool CAT, JMET, XAT and what not. In those weekly tests I was usually not the brightest bulb but many times was in 96-97%ile.
With this kinda performance CAT was a dream but still with full gusto went ahead and got 80%ile.
Here I would like to make a special mention to all those administrators in B-Schools who keep the last date of form submission just a day before the actual exam to cash in on the rat race frenzy. Hats Off to them as they amply demonstrate Nobility and Profitability are opposing ends.
Anyways continued with the razzmatazz and gave XAT and NMIMS. Funny, thing about NMIMS missed the cut off by a narrow margin. (But did not blame the luck even once, I blamed my performance).
Then came XAT, where I without any hopes (Legend has it, its tougher than CAT) went ahead. Expected a good performance, and pleasantly shocked I got 97%ile , I don't know how,but now started a bigger pain. All venerable names had closed submission a day before exam (included GIM, XIMB etc.) and I was left standing with filling up XLRI- which had been filled much earlier due to dad's insistence.
People ask me why fill XLRI and not GIM at-least , and I tell them logic is not available when you need it most.
So found out this supposedly great institution accepting XAT score. Made big promises and showed high ethical standards like not disclosing average packages and all that.
Managed by an ex-IIM director it looked to be on the path of becoming great soon. So, without wasting a moment did the due-diligence on:
1. Contacted seniors.
2. Checked out companies coming for recruitment.
3. Unofficial data on Average package in past.
4. and some other thing....

It shone bright and as soon as I cleared GD, PI decided to join it up. This was 2008.
To my horror it became clear the very first day that the ex-IIM dude who was the president was an autocrat leading the entire gamut to naught. The college prided itself to be the fairest of all in selection and having no quotas yet I found more than 40% of students from a particular state. Almost all seniors rued theri decision to come but I foolishly concluded that it was too late to change course.
The college had a disproportionately high no. of non-hindus (I put on record that my intention is not to offend anyone) and hence, holi, diwali celebrations were not permitted in open even though some of the Sunday mornings the rule was forgotten. What was even more shocking was the pure lies in hostel accommodation. We were shoved in small rooms in numbers higher than what was promised in the brochure. And the cherry on the cake people getting high not on alcohol but cannabis. The allegations of bungling with answer sheets to favor a few were always present too. Most profs had little industry experience with the exception of a few highly talented ones. And the kind of personal control exerted there on every part of life reminded me of the Orwellian 1984 horror.
Placement season 2010 came and me being an engineer tried in IT. To my horror only one of then came and that I could not get through.

So, was left jobless. But thanks to a banking giant went in sales. Things have been just a little less than OK ever since. I am paid less than industry average. Get abused regularly by boss (Everyone is the target so its a part of life now.) Lot of field work is there so have lost a lot of weight in this north-Indian heat.
Someone might ask why wait 1 year and post, the reason is now I find my engineering buddies earning almost equal or more than me being only graduates. THey work in plush iT offices while scrounge the roads for leads and a question keeps popping up in my head "What if?????"

My advise to all aspirants:
1. Take CAT if you want to be an MBA not because somebody wants you to. I was not even aware that Sales and Marketing are different functions uptill the course beginning.
2. Be resourceful and summon all your energy to find about the college you intend to join. Use PG contact seniors etc.
3. Don;t rush into this decision it can make or break your life.
4. Losing the first time is not the end of life.
5. But most importantly if at any point you feel you won't get what you want, cut your losses and move. Chuck the course for a better opportunity or trying to create one, because sentimental remorse and guilt take you nowhere.

I have a lot of other complaints and a lot more advise but I think this would do good to forewarn others and i don't want to dirty this sacred thread as people refer to it with my litany of woes.

However, what I can say every morning I dread the heat work and abuse and just wonder "What If???"

The college I am talking is not **** kinda college. It is well respected and if I remember correctly PG had its first perception based rankings in 2008. Its rank was in double digits and a good one. On a healthy side.


This is a very sacred thread, which I only read till now, and never dared to post . Before I proceed, let me tell you folks that I'm not a CAT Cracker till now and won't ever be one, but nevertheless, I'm happy with season 2011 and wanted to share my MBA journey.

I landed up in engg(in 2005), like many the others - just another degree with no particular love for the subject. Passed time in the 1st and 2nd year with not much of serious prep stuff but occasional fiction and non-ficition books.
I enrolled in CAT coaching in IMS, during my engg.2nd year and took the classes. Back in those days, I was in Bhubaneswar and used to juggle between engg, college placements prep and CAT Prep(which wasnt very tough!).
In Feb, Infosys had come to our college and I was selected in its placement drive. I was taking mocks and was preparing for OMETs as well. However, the preps were lacking the heat required to crack CAT. I could hardly touch 90 percentiles. Towards sept, I had completely lost heat and wasn't sure If I should continue with preps or not. In between, semester exams came and went and I was still clueless. Finally, the C-Day was on 16th Nov, the last pen and paper CAT was held. I gave couple of other exams as well.
The results came one after the other. Little did I know that 2009 was the worst ever year in my CAT Journey. FIrst came JMET - AIR 2118(not enough for any call). CAT was a fiasco with no IIM Calls. Didnt apply other Non CAT instis(didnt wanna waste money seeing my performance in mocks!) .
IRMA gave me a call with 99.5 pcntile and NMAT also gave me one with my initial rank before GD-PI being around 1800.
I wasn't really sure about IRMA and the rural mgmt thing and I was also fighting NMAT with a low score and no work-ex. After thousands of debates over whether I should attend IRMA and NMIMS GD-PIs, I decided to attend.
I converted IRMA and was offered a Management quota seat in NM. I never wanted to join Infy in the first place and Infy had offered a Date of Joining in Nov 2009. So I was weighing my options of should I or shouldn't I join IRMA. It was the most difficult and most changing decision I've ever made. I consulted many many folks from IMS, other seniors, PG etc, and finally made up my mind to join IRMA .
IRMA started college from June 8th 2009 and before that I had taken a loan for 1 lakh for the first year fee. I started attending college and the classes. Went to the initial field work and induction stuff. I was never however convinced that rural mgmt was my calling (I've highest regards to IRMA and nowhere do I intend to question its quality. It is just that I run after certain different things in life, which the institute was not offering).
I was confused as to what should I be doing. I had a loan riding on me and the prospect of going back home and waiting to join Infy till Nov and then work in Infy was very intimidating. But rural mgmt was clearly not in my mind . I discussed matters with my folks, and close friends but was still very very confused.
Finally on arnd July 17th, after some 1 month of classes, I made my decision to quit IRMA, and came back to home in bhubaneswar.
July - Nov 2009:
When I look back, this was one such phase which I never ever wanna recall.Everything bad that could possibly happen, heppened. The loan was no longer classified as a study loan, and so the interest rates shot up to 16%. My decision was not an economical one. Folks were visibly freaked out and there was a lot of depression. The fact of joining Infy again with college folks was insulting. People mostly never understood my reason for coming back and everyone thoguht there would be somethign more to it.
I kind of shut myself out from all friends except for few close ones and wiled time doing all the paperwork for joining Infy and stuff. I wanted to take up some job before I joined in Infy, but got stiff resistance from folks. Dropped the idea of everything. Didnt feel like preparing for CATor OMETs again and was worried about the 1.2 lakh loan even before having a job.
Nov-Dec 2009:
Joined Infy much to my chagrin and disappointment and went through their training. People claimed it to be tough and stuff but honestly speaking I used to wind up everyday by 5.30 and used to read the tonnes of non-fiction books in the Mysore lib. I was still in refusal of society and friends.
In the the Mysore Library,I read a couple of very good biographies and books which inspired a lot!1 Looking back I must say good books and good friends have a lot of importance in life! Am really thankful for getting hold of such a good library .
I got posted to Pune in May 2010 and worked there for 3 weeks. For some urgent project requirement, I was transferred from Pune to Bangalore permanently and joined Bang in June. Life was changing quite rapidly and I still had no plans of giving CAT or OMETs. My managment dream was almost over and parents were insiting on marriage plans.
It was my bnglr roomie and another close friend of mine who spoke to me to take up preps once more. I clearly lacked a goal/purpose in life, back then. I gave it a thought initially but wan'st much inclined. However, I used to get a lot of free time. In spite of being in a full time project I managed to wind up by 5.30 and was getting bored already. My friend again spoke to me about having a purpose in life and realizing dreams.
So, I finally decided to take up prep again and by 15th june, was searching all coaching instis again. I joined TIME test series and started taking tests seriously. I scored much better in this season with averaging around 95pcntile. I never touched the coveted 99 pcntile though :shocked:. I gave other OMETs as well.
It was tough to prepare this time around without the comforts of home. The office pressure, and other pressures were there and it was tough to study everyday after winding up in offyc. Literally all weekends were hectic. It was a tough saying no to friends when they insisted for movies, eating out etc . Had to control .
Finally the C-Day arrived and I gave CAT. I walked out quite confidently, and this time around I applied to other Non-Cat exams keeping in mind my good performance in mocks. But destiny had other plans for me.
In OMETs I gave NMAT, FMS, and JMET.
The first result of the season was again JMET. I got an AIR of 1359 this time around. It wasn't what I was expecting, but who said u get what u expect in MBA results . I knew that IIT B,D and KGP are chucked with this rank. But I was okay to consider IITM,K and R as well. The congrats calls started coming and folks were happy, but I was waiting for 11th. Then came 5th Jan with FMS results and I was elated to see my name in the list. My close friends, roomies and folks were happy for FMS and I was truly ecstatic. Then came CAT. Now this was the disaster of all results and again I got no call from any IIM. I dunno the vague normalization ka jhol, but then losers cant complain :splat:!
Finally NMAT came with the result and I was called for the GD-PI.
So much for the calls. Then came the frantic 2 months of GD-PI preps and workshops and newspaper reading and opinion forming and knowing-anything-under-the-sun quest!
My GD-PI season started with IIT R , followed my NMIMS, IITK, FMS and IIT KGP. I wasnt very much worried about this stage coz of the relatively okish feedback that I used to get in the gd-pi workshops etc.
Then came the time for results, starting first with FMS! The day was 18th of March and the next day was Holi. It was a convert and my first and most coveted convert!! All the results came after FMS and I converted all the 5 calls I had for the season .
Folks were and are still very very happy! It has been celebration since then.
My Learnings:

Not being philosophical but life has its share of ups and downs. The ups teach you many good things, but the downs show who really matter to you the most!!

Also, I'm indebted to PG for all the gyaan and prep tips that I got from this wonderful site.



Part 2

So here I was. My life was in a total standstill. I was not sure, what I wanted to do with my life. Then, one day my sister came from Pune (she was studying there). She told me she was going to have a crack @ cat 2008. She had come with her IMS study material, so that she could be regular with her studies. I glanced a look @ the books.Saw that there were questions on a topic called para jumbles. Solved, 25 questions from that particular exercise. MY sister came & asked me what am I doing. I showed her what I was doing. Then she started to check how many I had got correct. With a jaw-dropped look she came back to me & told me it was a Level-2 exercise of the workbook. I had cracked 25 correct out of 25. She told me to give it a shot at MBA this year. However, I ignored her advice, probably I was still in love with medicine. At this moment the CAT notification was out. My friends in college had bought the form, they were very keen on MBA. Seeing them, I decided to buy the Application form. Then, one friend told me to enroll in CL's Test Series, did so. Then one by one the mocks went by. The scores were usually pathetic, from as low as 34%ile to occasionally getting 80's. However, in 1 mock I was able to manage a 93 %ile.

However, my prep was very poor. Never really worked hard to deserve even an 80 %ile. Hence, when the results came out for CAT 2008, I was actually satisfied to see my score @ 80.56 %ile. It was the only exam in which I had appeared in that year. Considering, that my preparation was of zero level I had made up my kind. I was going to appear again for Cat 2009.An endeavour had begun.

Joined full time class room coaching @ CL. Initially, getting on equal terms with engineers particularly in QA was a real challenge. There were classes when when I would just have no clue, as to what was going on. However, slowly I was able to make myself comfortable with the classes. Then came the mocks, this time my performance was much better. Quite a few mocks, my %ile was in high ninties, with highest in Proc Mock5, scoring 96.78%ile.
Then came the exam season, I gave only CAT,XAT,NMAT,SNAP. The last exam was XAT on 3rd of Jan. Then, the results started to pour in. Initially, expected things to turn out good. The first result was ICFAI, I got a call from it. Then, came SNAP in which I got a score of 98.75. Seeing it @ first I was very happy, I thought I have sureshot call from SIBM-Pune. Filled forms of SIIB, SCMHRD as well. First out was SIBM-Pune, did not get the call. Still, I was not disheartened I thought that still SIIB, SCMHRD shortlist was remaining. However, I will never forget that particular day of 22nd January, 2010. This is how it went, morning SCMHRD came out with the results. Status read "not selected for 2nd phase."
Still i try to calm myself, hoping for the best in SIIB. However in the evening the same results are out.I do not make it again. And just when I thought, this the worst that can happen XAT results come out. A measly 83.45 %ile. I tell myself that this is all over, sad & dejected I start to work for my NMAT exam, only 7 days away.Gave my NMAT on 2nd Feb.After, recieving so many shocks I decided to change my strategy, now I would go all out over the paper & leave my conservative approach aside. The paper went well, then the CAT results were out on 28th Feb. Came another shocker 80.88 %ile.:shocked:

And then the very next day, came out NMAT. Initially, I did not even bother to look at the score, I thought that one more reject is on it's way. Then, my friend called me up to tell me what I had done, scored a shocking 268 (99%ile). Managed to get 91 correct out of 96 attempts.

Then that confidence acted as a boost for MICAT. Got a call from MICA too. However, all that good work was undone by my lack of prep for interviews got rejects from both NMIMS & MICA. At NMIMS I was told by d interviewer I was not fit for MBA.:shocked: Hence, a frustrating season came to an end.

End of part 2

Soumiran Banerjee MBA-IB 2011-2013 Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi

When i started preparing for MBA , I was in my 2nd year Engg . I was told by my faculties that you are here to learn skills which would help you to get a seat in the best B-Schools of the Country . Throughout my student life i was an above average student who always wanted to find some shortcuts to success because of laziness . My Parents wanted me to take up Science and i agreed for them . Did quite well in boards 2006 . But I was never hopeful to get through a good engineering college in my first attempt so took admission for Eco( Hons) in Kirori Mal College , DU . Luckily i got call from VIT, Vellore and changed my plan again because my parents wanted me to do that . I could never figure out what i wanted to do so i stuck with my parents decision . The day i took admission in engineering my father told me ' Beta , This is just the first step of your career . MBA is the next thing we want from you . Start preparing for atleast 1 hour from today ' .
I was confused whether i was doing Engineering or an MBA . I started my Engineering journey on 29th july 2006 and cleared all my exams in 1st attempt with a CGPA - 8.86 in 2010 .
Never wanted to do Science ; Got a good %age in boards for Eco(Hons) in DU .
Never wanted to do Engineering ; Got a core engineering job ( TVS Motors ) .
Not interested in MBA ; But wanted to do that for future growth ( yeh meine 1st cheez seekhi thi life mein). tab tak meri life clay jaisi thi ki kaise bhi Mold kardo .. .
Prepared well for MBA as saw many serious aspirants preparing around me . Some of them didn't even sit for placements :lookround: . I took help from my friends around me and prepared well for the exams . My first exam was JMET and did quite well in that . Then came CAT , XAT and FMS . All were fine . Happily i waited for results . 1st came JMET and i got a dream rank - 122 . Would have got all the calls but opted for only B and D . Well , this was the only call this season . Only IMT-G was my call through CAT . No XAT , No FMS . Cleared IMT -G of those 3 and planned to drop an year . chalo bhai tab tak naukri karte hai.. thode paise kama ke bhi toh dekh le.. ... I was in my training period where i was made to take various tests so that HR can come to know our strengths and weaknesses . People with good technical skills got Rnd , Operations and people with good analytical skills got Quality , production . And the left outs whom they thought are useless in terms of Engineering were put into marketing . I was one of them. Then i realised that Engineering was not my cup of tea . Chalo bhai Marketing karenge .. Sales badhayenge.. . Then came an another surprise 4 were put into Sales and 1 in Service . I was the odd man out . I fought with HR as to why Service and not sales ? I have not come here to wash bikes .. After all these fights they gave me Sales and Service and i walked out happily .
I would never forget what that lady in HR told me ' You are good with people and so you can handle our customers and dealers ' .
Thought a lot after that . Made a thought for HR as my company took 4 months to know our strengths and weaknesses and hence i respected its decision . 2010-11 Planned to appear for CAT , XAT , FMS , TISS . 1st 3 were horrible scores would be posted later on . Got a call from TISS and was happy for something in this season . Gave its interview and was confident for a convert . Then came results and i got a WL-6 and going by last year trend my dream was shattered as last year only 3 students cleared . I had made up my mind for HR in october'10 when that lady told me . And finally after 23 years i could realize my goals .
On 4th May , 2011 my dream turned into reality and i cleared my Dream college - TATA INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES - HRM & LR .

People would be thinking that this persons ID reads IIM-A but his dream college is TISS . Strange ?
I would just like to share my learnings which most of you must be knowing . Its not about doing something which gives you success but its about doing something which gives you satisfaction and even a small success would mean a lot then . You will feel much more happier if you do what you want to do and that would give you a complete feeling of satisfaction . Just remember one thing " Life is long -one college, one exam, one degree, one accident or one misfortune can't define it -one always gets a chance to prove his worth, provided he carries on . "
These lines have changed the way i looked at my life . These lines are by the famous aka The Bmr ( Ranjeet Pratap Singh) . Wishing all of you the best in life . Hope you all do well in your future endeavors .
Never Give up ! Either you achieve what you want or you try till the date you change your mind .
PG has helped me a lot in my preparation . Lots of material is available here . I have always loved posting on pursuit of happiness . Paagalguy rocks ! Really happy to have such a forum and would love to be a part of it throughout .
I am soooo happy today that i could be the part of this thread .
Thats all i wanted to speak about CAT . Phewwww !!!! I am sorry if some bragging was there but thats my life on page . Few more things are there but that would make it too lengthy . Abhi MBA college mein bhi jaake sheets bharni hai.. :lookround: .

Season'09 - JMET -83( Rank -122) Season' 10- TISS -(53.2 Written)
CAT -95.4 CAT - 96.xx ( DI-60.xx)
XAT - 99.2 ( VA-7

Regards ,
Jatin Gulabani
Tata Institute of Social Science
HRM & LR - Class of 2011-13

So the time has come for me to write on AIWTSAC. Not the story of a guy who made it big, getting into IIM's, XLRI et al. This is a story of a guy who is trying to learn from his past mistakes, & is still in the process of learning. Here is how it goes.
Was an average kid in my days at school. People around me always said that you have amazing potential. However, throughout my school life was a rank average performer. Never very serious about my acads. Then came the big turnaround, lost my beloved uncle in the beginning of 2005. I was going into my standard 12th, suddenly a huge change took over me. Became very serious about my studies. Tried hard to prepare for CBSE-PMT, however it was always a race against time. Did not make it. Thought about taking a drop, however the conditions in my family forced me to go against it. Joined a local college, enrolled in B.Sc course in Biotechnology there.When I came into the college, I was like a highflying hotshot. Excelled in everything from acads to sports. Fell for someone & got into a relationship, life was going on so happy. However towards the end of my 1st year in college this confidence became arrogance. Basically stopped working hard & wasted all my time hanging out with friends. In the meanwhile, gave my second attempt to clear the medical exams. Cleared CBSE Preliminary, however again in overconfidence relaxed a bit too much before the Mains paper.The result was expected, non selection in Mains. Then few of my classmates told me to prepare for MBA. Completely ignored their advice & prepared again. However,just 2 months before my entrance, there was my sister's marriage . Tried in vain, but again the same fate awaited me. So my dreams of becoming a doctor were over.
So, here I was sitting with my scorecard, knowing there was no chance for me to get into medicine. But I thought that I still have my love to count on. I went out for a vacation for 2 weeks to get over the hangover of not being able to make it.I happily returned from my vacation, just to get the rudest shock of my life. She had dumped me & started going out with my classmate. And just to make sure I was screwed, the results of 4th sem were out. My personal life was wrecked, my professional aspirations were wrecked & my graduation was wrecked. Now,I did not know what to do

End of Part 1
Soumiran Banerjee MBA-IB 2011-2013 Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi
Section 3:
My tryst with CAT

I am a kind of person who works very hard and fail big time during exams and my exam scores were never a mirror of neither my hard work nor to my satisfaction. I had been trying for CAT for the past 5 years and hence got so much to write.

CAT 2006:
Everybody in my hostel wing gives GRE or CAT. Why not me? Planned a trip to Ooty and gave CAT' 06 in Coimbatore(on the way to Ooty) just like that. I saw many beautiful girls and we friends were discussing the same before the exam. The exam was more of another semester exam. The noteworthy things about CAT'06 are the shift from 4 options to 5, reduction in the no: of questions and extension of exam duration to 2.5 hrs. But I was unaware about all these. People said the English section was the toughest in the history of CAT. (English section was framed by an economics professor rather an English professor in CAT'06-this is what I heard).Again for a guy who have not read anything will never be able to guess whether the paper is tough or not (Like some college sem exams). Missed my hall ticket. Checked the result through the score card kept in our indoor letter bag kept unopened till March 2006 and it was around 82% with 45% in verbal.

CAT 2007:
I liked my R&D; job very much. Faced with numerous challenges and was totally obsessed with it. Gave CAT'07 just to maintain the repo with my friends and relatives that I am there for the CAT hunt. Ended up with 70% with negative scoring in English. The mere negative marks in English instilled a bothering-Am I actually capable for clearing the verbal section?

CAT 2008:
Started the preparation for CAT 08 with my friends, a group of 6. We all joined TIME Aimcat series. I used to get around 90% in quant and DI but in verbal never crossed 80% even once. I made the biggest mistake of competing with my friends just in overall by which I spend less time in verbal (around 20 min) with the notion that even if I spend 50 min I will not cross 80%. This is the first time I am appearing for CAT with so called serious preparation. I did not sleep the night before CAT. The wrong things started just with this.

During the exam I made all the possible goof ups. Attempted all the wrong questions, did not go through the questions first before answering, and made a whole lot of careless mistakes. I knew that the game is over the moment I stepped out of the exam hall. 3 of my friends got into IIMs.

CAT 2009:
I just need to answer this one question: What am I actually doing? I was way low in morale and was having the lowest confidence possible in me. I spoke to my company seniors who are pass outs from IIMs and understood the actual roles and responsibilities of an MBA and collected the needed words from them. I was outright told by my parents that this is going to be my last attempt and words got spread to all of my close relatives thereby adding a lot of emotional tension to my preparation. One of my remaining 3 friends got married and gave up and now the league started with just me and my friend. We joined full time weekend classes and enrolled for mock exams. I started reading economist, editorials, novels and whatever my hands get on. This time focus was only on clearing the verbal. I completed all the 20 novels by Sidney in this year alone including "The Other Side Of Me" thinking that it will help me. I enrolled for the first day, first slot in the new avatar of CAT 09.I received calls (phone calls) from almost all my close relatives and friends wishing all the best days before my CAT which aggravated the fear "What If I don't clear".

Totally fumbled on the exam and did not know which section is Quant and which is DI since there were no sectional de limiters and to add to this there were more Data sufficiency questions in both the sections. The mere thought of the poor decision to book the first day first slot brought down the confidence during the exam itself. Ended up with 88% but with 96% in English but an all time low of 60.xx% in quant. Was openly humiliated by my friends and relatives and I was left with only one option - Accept that I am not worth for IIMs. Told to my parents that I am done with the exams and they can continue with what they want. My friend joined ISB with his GMAT score.

CAT 2010:
It was around May I thought why not one more time with not even mentioning to friends, parents and relatives. This mere feeling that nobody will know my failure gave me the comfort to prepare for this. But in what way I can prepare? I still remember that I almost cried on the day when I opened my quant material and this time I was the only one left. I slowly increased my preparation hours. Moved from few minutes to few hours and then to 4-5 hours regularly. I always liked preparing for the competitive exams. The exam went and came. In our slot quant was the toughest and I attempted just 9 questions and was quite contended that I need not wait for my result and nobody will know my failure this time.

I checked my result and you know what- I obtained a 98.16% with 91.16% in quant and instantly had a feeling that I am going to get calls from BLIK since I had already done the permutation and combination in 2009 itself based my acads and profile. As expected got calls from BLIK along with Rohtak, Raipur and Trichy. Now I know that I am going to make it up. Did not join any coaching institutes for I just want to present me as an individual without any bias. Gave the interviews and the result came one after the other. As expected converted BLIK and Rohtak,Trichy,Raipur.

The damn feeling of not achieving something which you truly want will haunt you throughout your life. Never ever give up. Perseverance is more important than anything for cracking the CAT. Just focus on the controllables.
Section 2:
About CAT as such as an exam?

A junk exam where a group of guys make it without any preparation whereas another group, despite having good aptitude, fail to make it.
A funny exam where throughout the mock CATs you score way better(around 95%).But on that day things do not work for you and end up for one more attempt.
A stupid exam where your sectionals (after exam being computerized ) go down by around 20% for a single question mistake and end up missing the sectionals.
A weird exam where different yard sticks are used (based on the slot) yet they say 99.xx % above are only eligible. How in this world it is possible for them to eliminate a person with 99.58% and accept a 99.59% despite two taking their exams on different slots?
The supposedly perceived as ridiculous criteria of some IIMs - Heavy weightage to academics, treating CAT score near to naught, belying the requirement of CAT to perform well across all the sectionals(some IIMs had sectional criteria of 55%) etc.

Some of these thoughts were running in me for the past 4 years which is one of the reasons for me not clearing CAT earlier.
Please have the trust in the exam. I have given CAT 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010. I have seen all that the deserving candidates always get selected, may be with some delay. Don't even have a speck of doubt about the integrity of this exam. This exam is devised with the best possible. Can you do anything to change it? Not at all.
All I wanted to speak about CAT
This writing consists of three sections

Why MBA?
About CAT as such as an exam?
My tryst with CAT.

There are 4-5 paragraphs in each section. There is no time limit to complete the reading.Each section can be done independently. In distributing your interest over the three sections, please bear in mind that you need not read each and every section. If you lose interest and it makes you feel soporific you can skip.

Section 1 :
I want to do MBA from IIMs. Why?

I do not like the current job I am doing.
The word "Management" sounds majestic.
Girls will be spellbound behind me if I am a MBA from IIM?
The media reveres the MBA degree.
Fat packages.
I can make my whole relative and friends' agape with envy at me!!!!

Believe me if you are pursuing CAT for any one of the above reasons, I feel extremely sorry for you. You may still succeed but it will be without purpose. Please speak to as many RELEVANT persons ,with the required credentials, as possible to understand what an MBA means and check whether this is what you really want to do in life.

Among the factors aforementioned let me elaborate only the package part. Most of the IIMs do not disclose the median of the salary offered to their students. This clearly indicates that some few students influence heavily on the average package. I have come across many of my colleagues and friends mentioning that they might have earned more if they had continued in the technical domain itself rather the managerial one.

Many studies have pointed out that the 2nd and 3rd grade jobs in engineering (I am an engineer) have better quality index than their counterparts in management and some students even from IIMs end up in 2nd and 3rd grade jobs in management.

Pursue an MBA with an intention that it will bring in the needed satisfaction in both your work life and personal life. Do it for a cause.

I didn't stretch myself in terms of preps and kept the weekend-mocks-followed-by-outings-in-the-evenings strategy intactI believe it's extremely important not to cut yourself off from your normal activitiesas it is, CAT has a lot of pressure associated with itso enjoying the preparation phase is very essentialat the same time, I wanted to leave no stone unturned in terms of being prepared for any unpredictable conditions I might encounter during the test..so at times, I simulated crazy situationstook mocks with reduced timings, did RCs when I was extremely sleepy and could hardly comprehend anything, wasted 15-20 mins intentionally during a mock and let the pressure mount, read articles while listening to my i-pod so that noises ceased to be a distraction, took 2/3 mocks back to backthe percentiles definitely reduced in these cases, but that didn't matter, the exposure to these situations didI was never a believer in too much of strategy, strict time distributions, categorizing questions, buffer times et alI used to keep things simple and solved questions as they came and hence often during the test, things didn't go as expectedtherefore, my aim was to simulate such situations during prep stage so that the pressure did not end up spoiling my C-day

Office was becoming more hectic and there were a couple of occasions when I attended for an hour PG meets held near my workplace and as everybody else left, I went back inside office at 9:30 in the night to finish off pending workmy project was having delivery scheduled two days prior to my CAT slot and I could barely touch any papers during this periodbut somehow, this did not bother me at all..I had the experience of scoring well after being through a much worse prior-to-CAT period last year and when I ran a slight temperature the night before CAT, I almost looked upon it as a good omen!

A fight to the finish

3rd Novemberthe test started well, first I tackled QA- in which I usually used to do well and was confident about clearing cutoffsnext up was DI which had been my weak point, especially calculation-intensive questions, and I took a longer time in it, crosschecking answersI usually used to do VA in the end and finish off the entire section in 30-35 minutes and it had more often than not provided me maximum returns in minimum timehere also, I had around 32-33 minutes for my VA sectioncompleted all standalone questions and had 21 minutes left for the 3 RCsah, it was going to be so comfortable!I started off with one RC, couldn't make head or tail out of it, reread it many times and the next moment I saw the timer on the screen12 minutes left and not a single RC question answered yet!for a moment I panicked, one slip in the sectionals and the C call would be out of the pictureI knew it was make or break time, the negative thoughts could wait..and this is where the crazy practice schedules came to the rescue..I could absorb the pressure and use it to concentrate more..everything fell in place and just before the timer ran out, I had completed what I had to..Prem had told me after last year that I tend to perform well under pressurewell, if someone had said that to me after my first CAT, I would've reacted ROFLafter this performance, I felt he might just have had a valid point

Results once moreGame Over or Game On?

3rd Janwas in office when I received a call from Sharmaji that CAT results were out..I couldn't believe that it would be out so much earlier than the scheduled datemoreover, I heard the results of some of the most consistent performers, including him, and they had got nowhere near what was expected..this surely couldn't be itnevertheless, I needed to check my resultbut for me, far too much depended on this one resultand I decided to wait till I return home..unfortunately, by then the 'leaked' link had disappeared and 12th had been put as the official results day, as initially scheduled...the next 9 days were simply agonizing..all the effort, all the sacrifices, all that I dreamt of depended on this one scorecardadded to this was the apprehension from the shockingly low scores seen by so many who deserved morewere the percentiles for real?...if yes, there was every reason I might also become a victim of normalizationdid I have it in me to fight another season?

12th midnight and the results were outthe servers crashed as usual and it was more than 2 hours before I finally managed to get throughfirst attempt-timed outsecond attempt-loading, loading

99.88 overall with good balance across all sectionsYES!..I had cracked CAT once again and had managed to justify the faith reposed on meheck, I had even managed to improve my percentile, by whatever margin it might be..so, that small challenge had also been wonI was elated and there was also a feeling of relief at the results...last time, I was a relative newbie and nobody had expected much from me.this time, the expectations had been enormous and it felt good to live upto themone minor slip and the knives would have been out from all sides..plus it would have been termed a case of misplaced overconfidence.however, only the battle was over..the GD/PI war still had to be won..and I knew the difference between calls and converts far too well!

The most important part of the results was that for the second year in a row, I had managed the call I wantedI had a few other IIM calls, but somehow, the others didn't matterI had a gut feeling that nothing was going to stop me from getting into Joka this time around!

The lull before the stormor maybe, the other way round!

Preparations started in earnestI attended a couple of bootcamps and achievers' workshops but other than that, decided on self-preparationI didn't want stereotyped answers and also did not have enough time to attend classesby now, I had been posted to another office in the outskirts of the city..it was 25 Kms from my place and poorly connectedthe long hours in office, coupled with the 3 to 4 hours of travelling time daily made it extremely difficultI concentrated on utilizing the smallest of times I managed to eke out in reading whatever I could in current affairs, from different sources, and also preparing all kinds of questions on my personals

Meanwhile, my managers had come to know about my results before I had told them anything (I wonder how!) and called me over to know about my plansI talked about the upcoming GD/PI stage and that I would be requiring a few leaves in between during the prep phasethey readily agreed, a little to my surprisea few days later, during the very the first leave I had takenI got a call from office in the morning, followed by many more during the day from my vertical manager, allocation manager, supervisor, where the tone of the conversations was harsh, to say the least, and the content unmentionable.bottomline, I could hardly study anythingI went back to office and decided to take no more leaves in return for a one week leave just before and during my interviewsthis was agreed over mailthe workload continued to increase..a resizing of the team was done in which another person willing to work was released and sent to bench whereas I was chosen to continuea few days before the planned leave, suddenly I was told that no leaves could be sanctioned and I had to report to work even on my interview datesand if I had to attend PIs, I needed to travel 25 Kms to reach office in the mornings, travel 50 Kms to reach the interview centre in the afternoon and after completing it, return to the office to stay back till late nightall this despite having informed two months back, having ensured all upcoming deliverables and identified who all was to look after my workwhen senior managers in an organization expect you to actually skip your IIM interviews and stay in office, you don't see any point in arguingthe next couple of days were disastrousthey employed all kinds of tactics to pressurize me, including personal attacks over phone, escalations to the HR and almost forcing me to resignthis undoubtedly was the toughest phase for me, it really became a test of how much I could take and still have the courage to keep fightingI could've taken the easy way out and resignedit might sound silly, but once again, what held me back was my egoI had promised to myself that I will quit only on my own terms..it was the will to win and prove others wrong which kept me going

What I read and studied in the the last 5 days was probably more than what I had during the last few years combinedit had become an obsessive desire to succeedI had one chanceit was all or nothingI had no backup plans, in MBA or professional lifeI hadn't applied to any other institute under CAT and with the condition in office, continuation for another year had become almost impossibleit was absolute stupidity but I only was responsible for getting myself into this situationthankfully, getting out of it was also entirely in my handsit was a simple equation-perform or perishand I had to succeed at any cost

A date with destiny

24th Marchmy IIMC interview..a second date with my dream, a second chance to convince the Joka panel about my worth as a candidate and about my passion for C.the pressure was immense but one stroll around the campus soothed methat is the beauty of Joka..some institutes intimidate you, Joka welcomes you into its armsthe process started.there was a 5 minutes essay, I was happy with what I wrotethis was followed by the best GD I've ever hadthe ghosts of last year had been exorcised, the PI was the final barrier which needed to be overcomeand I wasn't going to miss this chance for anythingthe interview was a breeze..I felt in a different zone altogether, and was actually surprised later at some of the answers I had managed to come up with on-spotloved the entire process and came out satisfied that I had given my best-a feeling which I didn't have after my last year's PIbut experience had taught me that interviews are highly unpredictable and nothing was certain till the final result comes out

The final countdown

Again it was a long waitC had come up with its results around the 10th of April for the last few yearsthis increased the anticipation with periodic F5s but nothing materialisedA and B had mentioned 18th as their results day and since C hadn't come out earlier, that had to be the dayit was a sleepless night on the 18th..results were expected anytimeit was the most anxious and tense few hours I've ever experiencedthis was the moment of reckoning..will I finally get to achieve the dream?..will all the pain, suffering and hardships finally bear fruit?what if I miss out again?...a thousand doubts and as many dreams it was afternoon when I received a call saying results were outI checked for my name and voila!..I had a straight convert and was finally going to my dream instituteI was elated, ecstatic, overjoyedbut more than anything else, it was the satisfaction of proving to myself what I always believed in, despite all the odds and against almost everyone's advicefor me, it had always been C the dream, C the destinyafter missing it by a whisker last year, finally it was going to be C the destinationI would be a Jokar from June!..the feeling was sheer bliss!

Parting words

This story is not about heroicsrather, it has problems a lot of people have faced and will face during their preparation phaseand I have seen many deserving people give up and settle for much less than what they are capable offor me also, some of these issues tested my limits of endurancebut I persevered and stuck to my dreammy passion for CAT and IIMC and desire to prove myself helped me overcome all the obstaclesand if I could do it, anybody canso, never ever compromisenever settle for anything less than what you feel you deserve..you can't be denied every timeand believe me, success after having experienced failure feels so much better!

Amidst all the ups and downs of the journey, Pagalguy has been the one source of constant support and motivation for mewhen mock scores plummeted, the AIWTSAC posts reenergised mewhen I did well, the mind-boggling scores by puys reminded me of the competition and how much better I needed to becomewhen I felt totally down, the encouraging PMs from puys I had never interacted with provided solace..that is the magic of Pagalguyand of course, being a part of UDT, I had to do justice to its spirit.. huge thanks to UDT, KDT and all puys from the bottom of my heartwithout you all, I would never have managed to reach here todayand
even after entering IIMC, I shall try my best to repay the help and support I obtained herelast but not the least, I would like to thank my parents for supporting me despite not approving of my choices..and the special person in my life who has been there by my side through all the zeniths and nadirs and who believed, trusted and showed faith in me all through

A simple advicedon't stop enjoying life because of CATCAT does not require slogging..and never look upon it as some exam to be crackedfor me, CAT was far from being the most important thing in life, but it had surely become a part of my life!...there will be setbacks, there will be failuresbut don't lose the self-belief, the will to fight and never let anybody else tell you what you can or cannot doyou haven't lost anything till you actually quit..persevere, make some great friends in the process and just give your best without putting unnecessary pressure on yourselfbe passionate about your goal, chillax, enjoy the journeyand nothing can stop you from achieving your dream..because CAT is a different game altogether, a game where passion has a strange way of trumping logicit's won in the mind!


An alternative link put up in PG helped me access my scorecard.I typed in my credentials and was overjoyed to see my results99.83 overall with balanced sectionalsI jumped in joy that I would finally manage the C call and with C and A in the bag, I expected a few others too

Sadly, as the shortlists came out one by one with increased weightage on profile(read: past marks) every other IIM didn't even find my score worthy of a shortlist and I ended up with only C and A callsyes, MDI was also there but I never wanted to pick up that form and had done it only on my parents' insistence...nevertheless, I had big calls and my entire focus was on converting themonly problem was I had not done a single GD/PI in my life till then and I had less than 3 weeks to the two most important interviews in my life, scheduled on back to back days

Counting my chickens before they hatched

I attended two workshops where I got the basic idea of how to proceed with my prepsincidentally, my study partner during this stage turned out to be Prem bhai, who himself had bagged C,A,L calls..every evening, we had long conversations over phone where we discussed current affairs, ways to tackle PI questions and planned about what all to do when we would get into Cwe became good friends and the philosophical conversations with a drunk prem_ravi are certainly memorable!it was an enjoyable preparation phaseand it gave me a wonderful mentor and friend, who has been a constant source of support and motivation since then

Two days before my A interview, I got a shocker from office.I had been allocated to another project and had to report to Chennai the very next dayI looked at all possible ways to defer it a bit but nothing worked and I had no other choice than to inform my manager about my upcoming interviews and stating that immediate relocation won't be possible for me at that pointthis worked in the sense that they sent someone else in my place..but though I had worked diligently throughout the year, this one incident ensured that I became marked!

22nd March was my A interviewit hardly gets bigger than this as your first PI ever!....the essay went decent which was followed by an absolutely dream-like interviewI could answer virtually everything they asked meI came out of the room smiling and was almost sure of a convert..the next 24 hours defined my seasonfor the only time in these two years, I turned complacentfirst ever interview, that too in WIMWI and I was sure of a convert..this feeling got to mefor the only time during my entire preparation period I had a feeling that next day's C interview could be taken lightly since I already had A in the bag23rd was C GD/PI date..I hardly managed to speak in the GD and couldn't come out with any new point due to my lack of focusno sooner had I exited from the GD room that I came back to my sensesI was letting my dream call slip away due to my stupiditytried making it up in the interview which went much better but since the PI was short, the GD impression must have got carried over and once more, I returned with a feeling of not having given my best

Just before results were to come out, another announcement made the headlinesfor the first time in the history of the institute, seats in IIMC-which were supposed to go up-were to be reduced for the season due to accommodation issueswith my performance and after this new development, I expected at best a waitlist

C was out with its results soon and as expected, I had been waitlistedI had nobody else to blame but myself for the resultthough all was not lost yet, the chances were quite slimhowever, since a decent performance got me a waitlist I became more sure about my A convertI felt really bad about missing C but gradually reconciled myself to the fact that A will be my destination for the next two years and waited eagerly for the A final results

It was a long wait and I was in office when it was finally declared on a Monday eveningI couldn't wait to return home and decided to check then and therewith eager anticipation I typed in my Reg No. and was greeted with the message:

"Your name does not figure in the list of selected or waitlisted candidates for admission into IIMA PGP 2010-12"

The end?or a new beginning?

I was shellshocked...this was a devastating blowhowever hard I tried, I couldn't come up with a reason for a straight reject..no matter how many times I relived the PI in my head, I doubted whether I could've given a better interviewbut here I was..rejected outright, not even a waitlist!

Suddenly everything had turned upside downit was a feeling of utter hopelessness...having the two most coveted IIM calls, I had never considered this scenario where I wouldn't be able to convert even one..was I really that bad?..whereas I had planned to celebrate my A convert, the next morning I reported to work in the same office..everybody knew about my CAT preps and my percentile and wanted to know which IIM converts I eventually hadquite embarrassingly, I had none to show for

MDI came out two days later and I saw my name 75th on the merit listbut instead of feeling happy about the convert and high rank, I was engulfed with sadness thinking about the fact that even a part of this performance in the places that mattered could've made my current situation so very differentI knew right there what my decision should bePrem called up and the first thing I told him was "I am not joining MDIit's either IIMC this year or CAT '10"...we had a long conversation in which he rebuked me for being silly and emotionalhere was a person who had seen it all about CAT and hence his advice had a different weight compared to others'but I had already made up my mind and hence was adamant..I still remember the part when he advised me not to take so big a risk since I couldn't better my written percentile and I contradicted himfor me, it was an additional challenge to live upto now

Amidst all this, I and DON (who, due to the vagaries of 'normalization', had got a percentile much less than what he deserved and did not have IIM calls but had converted MDI) met one day and had a long discussion, he trying to convince me to join MDI and I trying to convince him about another attemptit was a tug-of-war between dreams and practicality..heart and mindnaturally, no logical conclusion could be reached and neither of us managed to convince the other and went away with what each of us had decided earlierwhen someone of his calibre wasn't risking another attempt, what was I thinking of myself?

It was ironic that I was waitlisted in the institute I most wanted, was rejected in the one I most expected and converted the one I was least interested in
...the previous year's trends showed that I still had a chance at IIMC but I somehow had the feeling that it would be a very borderline caseI prepared myself for the worst...pressure was also mounting on me from different sources to take up MDI, considering the uncertainties associated with online CATpeople tried to coax, cajole and make me see reason.. but comments like ".stupid mistake", "..you'll regret the enormity of your blunder later", "..you're missing the chance of a lifetime" only helped strengthen my resolve people called it foolishness, arrogance, obstinacy and what not...all I had against it was my self-belief...this phase also showed me how the reaction of people changes-both in positive/negative sense-based on your successes/failures

When all was said and done, my waitlist had not converteda season which promised so much had ultimately ended in major disappointment..there was no point discussing what if seats had not been reduced, what if results for all IIMs had come out together as always, what if waitlist movement trends had been followed...there was no place for ifs and buts...the bottomline was I could not convert and that was the only thing that mattered...I realised that nobody remembers what percentile or calls you had...the only thing that counts is where you ended up..I had no regrets about not joining MDI but felt gutted about getting calls from arguably the two best MBA institutes in our country and converting neithermost worrying part was the feasibility of another attempt..the only reason for the A reject could've been my past profile and I couldn't change that nowwith the increasing weightage on past acads, other calls were virtually out of considerationmy only option was C, and with high sectional and overall cutoffs, one minor slip and I might end up with zero calls, however high the overall percentile...was all the risk worth it only for one institutebut then, hadn't that institute been the dream all along?

I will admit though that what sealed it for me at this stage was my egonot ego in terms of boasting or looking down upon others..I believe anyone who has interacted with me will agree with thatbut ego in terms of the expectations I have from myself...I hate to lose and never give up when faced with a challenge, especially when others think I cannot do itthere were certain personal issues..plus the reactions and comments from my managers in office when they learnt about my results were pricking to say the least and they gave me the example of another girl from the dept who had scored a "great percentile while also doing her work sincerely" and was going to pursue her MBA from *** B-school she was a "role model" whereas I "had not been serious in my work", "showed inflexibility by not deputing to another city when there was urgent project requirements" and despite this, had not managed to convert my callincidentally that "role model" had a percentile in lower nineties and was a reserved category candidate, which I got to know only by checking the final results PDF of that instituteI had nothing against her, but the comparison hurt badI chose not to reply anythingand though I knew that things were going to get worse from then on, I vowed to myself that I would not quit..I will fight once more and if I had to leave, I will convert IIMC and then leave on my own terms

The season was over but the dream was still unfulfilled...I had a lot to prove, to myself and to certain others and signed off with a promise that I shall be back!

The season of reckoningredemption or downfall?

Season '10 startedand it was a feeling of dj-vu..same routine of mocks, analysis , percentiles began all over againthe toughest part about this period was getting last season out of my mindevery mock I took, the thoughts about the same one in the previous season resurfacedwith every percentile, comparisons with what I had got in that mock one year back came up subconsciouslyI knew however that I'll never be able to replicate last year's prep schedule againthe basic knowledge was already there and I needed practice to keep in touch but much more important would be the mental aspectthis time it was all in the mind!

As expected, I was allocated to a project with far too much of work and extended timelines12-14 hours in office became the normthis left hardly any time for preparations..I solved a few puzzles sent via chain mails in office, read articles online whenever I had the time and reduced duration of lunch to accommodate reading the daily newspaperat times, I wondered whether all this was worth it, but then the desire to prove myself and the dream of 'the land of the seven lakes' kept me going..one good thing about my company was some stalwarts in PG also worked here, albeit in different citiesI had the privilege to have periodic group chats over office communicator with legendary puys like Naga and sarcastix

I also started attending PG meets regularlymet some amazing people like first_timer, ashish13dec, Leonayas, AnandJJ, subhakimi, abhishek_sharma, 2010target, pk_gt1 and others and this is where I realized the reason behind so much hoopla about peer-groups in MBA and life in generalsome of the brightest minds in the country helping you, inspiring you and motivating you to better yourself while sharing great friendships all along makes the journey so much more specialgot selected as a PG Madcapz and then was chosen to lead UDTlittle more than a year back, I used to look at this team in aweand now I had been chosen as its captainlife does come full circle!...but then, the responsibility had also increased manifoldthis had to be
the season


AIWTSACwell, this sacred thread has been an inspiration for me all along..over two seasons, I've read and reread the stories with awe and admiration and finally, I feel that I've earned the right to post here.this one is likely to be really long, so kindly bear with meit's a story of being deeply passionate about something, daring to follow your heart over practical difficulties and justifying the risks taken in the processit's a story of how dreams do turn into reality

Early days

CATI don't remember when was the first time I came across the term but during my engineering days I kept hearing about the reverence associated with IIMs and the people who manage to crack CAT and get into the hallowed portals (after going through the process, I feel that CAT is a simple examit's the hype around it which makes it so complicated)somewhere down the line I had decided that MBA is what I wanted to dohowever, I was under the impression that CAT is just another exam which had to be cracked for a nice comfy futurehad also heard from some 'wise' souls that it's more beneficial to do your MBA after working for a whiletook their advice a bit too seriously and whiled away my time while most of my batchmates were preparing and appearing for CAT in the final year of college..I couldn't see the point in trying to prepare for an exam I had decided to appear for two years laterI'll enrol in an institute and prepare the year I take CAT-was my nave thinkinglittle did I know then that CAT ain't just an exam, one doesn't mug up for it before taking it..it's a journey which changes one's life!


I was always a good student in terms of results, consistently being among the rankers in a reputed school which churns out toppers year after yearbut for whatever reason, my performance in Boards as well as engineering entrance was good, but certainly not upto expectations-mine or others'...in the process of thinking about the future, I had probably not paid proper attention to the present..when you get less in Boards than in Selections ( the other way being the standard practice out here) and when after your entrance results friends who've known you for long come and tell you "We just can't believe your rank..we were sure you'll get much better"-you can't but help feel that you've messed it up where it really mattered..but more than anything else, I knew myself that I had not performed to my potential..there was a sense of dissatisfaction and unfulfilment..

The journey begins

Fast forward to July '08completed my graduation..but joining was deferred and I had lots of free time in my handswas getting tired of the extended break..had a change of mind and decided to enrol in an institute for some preparation, more to kill boredom than anything elsebut I fell in love with the type of questions, the pattern and the materials from the very beginning and decided to appear for CAT '08 itself.. had very little time in handstill, preparation was quite decent, took a few mocks, where I was scoring well, and went to the centre on C-day feeling goodalas! the next 2.5 hours showed me what CAT was all abouta tweak in the paper pattern immediately swept away my comfort level and provided the initial jittersI couldn't solve the first few questions and here panic began to set inas time passed and I could see the sectional cutoffs slipping away, I couldn't solve the easiest of questionsscrewed up royally in time management between sections and had to leave the sitters, darkened wrong bubbles and made a total hash of things..came out of the exam hall not knowing what hit me

Was disappointed with my performance but deep down I loved the challenge and had decided that this is what I wanted in life and will not rest till I get itas Prem bhai (prem_ravi , for the uninitiated) had once said- "give CAT to feel it"..one couldn't have put it better!

Looking back, I realize where I really faltered in '08 were lack of exposure to different problems one might face, inadequate practice as well as not knowing what my strengths and weaknesses werethe results came out and though I had no IIM calls, I scored a respectable 97.3%ilehaving prepared for only a couple of months and not having been able to give my best in the exam, it was a decent score and gave me confidence that with preparation, I was capable of doing much better next year

Imbibing the essence of CAT

My company joining date came soon and among the people joining with me was rik_12we had been classmates in schoolI knew he had given up Shillong last year for another shot at the biggiesbut it was during this training period that I really saw his passion for CAT and determination for the IIMs..I observed from very close quarters the dedication he put in during his GD/PI preparationsand incidentally, I could see that his entire preps revolved around a certain website called PaGaLGuY.com! this was my introduction to the forumgradually I started browsing through the threads and came across loads of interesting stuff and some amazing peopleso many 100 percentilers, BLACKI call getters at the same place, was simply awe-inspiring..in no time, I was hooked

Meanwhile, rik_12 converted and joined IIMCtill then, I had never researched about the individual IIMs but now I heard and read about the culture in different institutes, the opportunities an MBA degree provides, the specializations, the campus lifes and the parameters which characterize a particular institutethe more I learnt things, the more I was thankful that I had messed up my first attemptthere was so much to learn just by being in the process and I virtually knew nothing the previous yearstories about life @IIMC fascinated me and the first time I saw some official pics and videos of the Joka campus, I decided that this was the place I wanted to beby now, the CAT and IIMC bug had well and truly bitten me

The Game Changes

Just as I was planning about ways to leverage last year's experience and kickstart my preps, came the sudden unexpected announcement that paper-pencil days were over and CAT '09 was going online!

Though this change had been supposed to kick in over the next couple of years, nobody expected it to be so soonall past strategies were to be thrown out of the windowrepeaters had lost any advantage they had since it would be a whole new ballgame for everybodyalso, what will the pattern be, how will questions vary across slots, how to practice RCs on screen, how to take down DI sets from the monitor, whether tests will be adaptivethere were so many questions and hardly any answers

It was disappointing initially but I felt that this was also an opportunityif I could attune my preparation to the new requirements, I'll have a great chance since all past advantages would be nullified by the online CAT...I decided to look at the positive side of things and promised to bell the CAT with the mouse!

Season # 2

I jumped into preparations with full enthusiasmit was around this time that I met DON@IIM... it's hard to find someone more devoted and committed towards the IIMs...this was his second season too and interacting with him, whatever little doubts I had about postponing my attempt to next year was resolvedthis guy was a stud in both QA and DIand he could blast any mock to shredsincidentally, we had our respective offices in the same buildingwe started discussing regularly and made it a routine to find some time out and meet everyday afternoon in the ground floor lobby where we discussed quant problems, strategies and any new tips or tricks we had come acrossI fondly remember those stimulating discussions and the way we collaborated over cups of tea to find out innovative solutions to so called "tough" quant problems are still etched in my memory

Things were going wellthe mocks started and I was doing decentlyI had made two simple promises to myself, first was to try and improve a little every mock from the previous one and the second was not to repeat the same mistakesin office, I made it a habit of delving into the Quant, DI and Verbal threads in PG whenever I had time and understanding any shortcuts or easier solutions I came acrossMoreover, I had shifted my entire preparation online since I felt that familiarity with solving questions online as well as staring long hours into the monitor will only help me condition myself to the new formatI even read story books in PDF just to improve my reading speed onlinealso, I tried to take even the unproctored mocks in the centres to simulate test conditions betterthere were days when I reached the centre by 7:30..took a mock, reached office by 10:30worked for a while , browsed the quant thread, did a bit of analysis and then finished off the remaining work and returned after 10 at night..I knew that once the work pressure increased, I would hardly find time and hence I had to develop a strong base soon which would hold me in good stead in the future

Meanwhile, DON could no longer stand the stupid work assigned to him and quit his job to join TIME as a faculty.this meant an end to our regular meetings and in my office, I didn't find anyone who shared my interest in CAT..so then onwards, it turned into a lone battleI was doing well in mocks but the office work was gradually increasing and I was losing the zeal at timesI badly needed some kind of a boost..luckily, I got twoit was around this time that CL came up with its percentile predictor and in the very next mock, I had scored a 99.99 percentile with projected CAT '09 percentile as 100!...well, I knew better than to attach too much importance to the prediction but the 99.99 obtained was my first really high score and it strengthened my belief that on my day, I had it in me to compete with the very bestthis was followed by selection to the UDT, the team I always identified with and aspired to be a part of but with the quality of people around, never really thought I had a chance..this was a huge confidence-boosterI now felt that I belonged to this stage and at the same time was motivated to justify my selection through my performances

Mock scores improved considerably after this with a string of 99sone thing I decided to do during this time was not take too much stressI had read many stories of burnouts and did not want that to happen to meI took one or two mocks on weekends, always choosing the afternoon slots and spending the evening in outings with friendsthe weekdays were spent in analyzing the mocks in detailI was confident about my preps and was looking forward to my CAT slot on the 2nd of December

An unforeseen roadblockwill it play spoilsport?

Two weeks before the test and I suddenly felt a terrible pain in my lower backwhen the pain did not subside, the doctor was consulted and he said it was a case of sciatica which required complete bed rest for some days this was a real setback since I had booked the slot for the last 2/3 mocks during this period and now I would be missing out on the final thrust in my prepsplus there would be no reading on the computer since I was told that sitting on the chair might aggravate the problemI was apprehensive that not practising for 2 weeks will affect my performanceso I decided that I'll maybe look through a few formulae, do a few sums and puzzles while lying downnext morning I woke up with viral fever, and of a very bad kind.I had temperatures of 104-105 and even with strong antibiotics, it didn't come down below 102I felt very weak and any kind of studying was out of question since I was having a dreadful headache even if I tried reading just the newspaper headlinesmy parents asked me to forget CAT for the time being since travelling to a centre and spending 4/5 hours there wasn't feasible at all when I could hardly sit up in bedbut I was adamant that whatever happens, I would not miss my CAT slotstill the thought about the entire year's preparation going to waste was a real dampenerall the effort that I had put in over the past year flashed before my eyes and though I was sure I would appear for CAT, I wasn't at all confident about how my performance would bewith 3 days left for CAT, I received a phone call one evening

" Hello, am I talking to skr?"


"This is prem_ravi calling from Pagalguy............"

The next 5 minutes passed by with an absolute motivational monologue..all I could do was nod in approvalhe had heard about my illness from rik_12 and called me up to boost my confidencethat was the first time I was interacting with such an iconic figure in PG whereas I was little more than a newbieit was a heart-to-heart conversation and by the end of it, I felt renewed vigour within meall I did the day before CAT was solve 3 sectional tests back to back despite still being in painI knew that I had prepared well and at that point of time, the fact that I hadn't done anything for the last two weeks was irrelevantonly the performance in those 2 hours 15 mins would matter and I felt confident about doing wellI was absolutely calm during the test despite a few wrong questions and invalid options and came out of the centre knowing I had done decentlybut with so many slots and 'normalization' coming in, nobody could predict the resultsall one could do was wait and watch

Results timeelation or desolation?

All the chaos of servers crashing, questions not loading and CAT retests taking place for some meant that the results were delayed indefinitelyfinally they were scheduled to come out on the 28th of Feb, more than a month after the initial scheduled datethe results came out in the afternoon and as usual, all sites crashed soonbut A had come out with a PDF of shortlisted candidates and I could see my Reg No. in itI was extremely happy and felt that whatever their criteria was, an A shortlist meant I had definitely done wellonly question was whether it was good enough for the high sectional and overall cutoffs in C-the call I always wantedfor people finding this strange, let me provide you with an insight- I had been so enamoured by C over the course of the season that at times I visualized the C auditorium to calm myself down before a mock and to remind me of what I was targetingI respected A, but I desperately wanted C


If I can do this, anyone can. Its just the question of having the right Attitude and not hesitating to take that one last step.

Till my seventh standard, i struggled to pass. I failed in almost all the exams, sneaked through in the annual alone. I started improving myself and entered a decent college if not a IIT or NIT. Various reasons tempted me to prepare and write CAT 2009. The journey began.

College was not very intensive, i got time to prepare, but i didn't make use of it. I didn't prepare well enough and it showed in the results. My CAT 2009 score was way below par. A 88.01 percentile with 79.xx in DI, 83.xx in Quant and 87.xx in Verbal. Ofcourse, the examination wasn't an ideal one. I did not get the timer properly in the screen for almost an hour, after which i was provided a watch. It was too late by then. But, I didn't deserve more. My mock test scores were way below par. To be very specific, i cleared the Verbal cutoff on only 2 occasions out of the 23 mock tests that i attended (TIME mock test series). I was never among the top 500 in any mock. I never saw a 99.xx. The best percentile i had scored was 93.xx. I was as ordinary as you could get. CAT 2009 was done and dusted. Failure. I failed in almost all management entrance test. JMET i had got a rank of somewhere around 1200. FMS, XAT, SNAP, IIFT were all failures. I was stuck. Such a majestic failure meant i was not given any clue how to proceed further.

It was also the final few months in college. Time passed away just like that. Eventually it was over. I had got offer from a good company, took it. Shifted to bangalore. I knew it had to be CAT.

This is when i did a lot of introspection. This is where it all started. I got to know the importance of having the right attitude. I had to learn dedicatedly. I had to enjoy learning. More importantly, I decided on something like this. "I will give my hundred percent while preparing for CAT 2010. If i still can't crack it, it's not the end of the door". Now, how do i develop these inside me? For that, I defined the purpose of my MBA. I imagined what i wanted to do. Etched it deep inside. That gave me this much required Attitude, which i believe, took me all the way.

Strategies changed, preparation was lively, learned to exhibit discipline while attempting a mock. Mocks were enriching. But CAT 2010 was fast approaching. After 4 months of prep, i gave CAT 2010. Started with VA. Did 18. Moved on to QA. Couldn't do the first couple of questions. Tension. Then there was that golden 30 mins. Did 16 of the remaining 18. Then DI. Did 16. I thought i had done okay, but wasn't satisfied especially with QA. Then there were other exams, everything went okay.

Results. JMET rank 298. All IITs call. CAT 99.70 (QA-96.66, DI-98.54, VA-98.99). Call from all IIMs except K. FMS no call. IIFT no call. XLRI BM call.

I was still the same person who gave CAT 2009. The difference was my attitude. I was willing to face failure this time. A failure in mock made me more serious rather than De-motivating me. I was more focussed.

Interviews. There were good ones as well as Bad ones. In interviews, you need luck to be on your side (At least for ordinary people like me).

Converted IIM-A. :)

According to me, CAT is more of a mental thing. You just need to be mentally prepared. It will threaten you. But it cannot eat you. Only you can crack it.

PS : Last year, i was here, searching for some inspiration after so many failures. Will be very happy if the post helps a couple of people.

Its 'A' for a reason. 

Follow This Discussion

When you follow a discussion, you receive notifications about new posts and comments. You can unfollow a discussion anytime, or turn off notifications for it.

14332 people follow this discussion.