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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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Life is all about dreams(2 of 3)

Life is not all about CAT
This is it. I needed a plan B. I could see my one year getting wasted infront of my eyes. I wanted to improve my profile. I applied to few companies. Futures First being one of them. I started to focus on my work at TCS. I put in a lot of effort and became a Project Lead in my very first project. In May, the Coolest Avatar' 11 was launched on PG. I was looking for something to distract my mind and something to add to my CV and so I made my mind on winning it. I put in a lot of effort, 3 weeks to be precise. Ultimately, injustice prevailed and I couldn't win it. (I am really thankful to team Puyrate for all the effort. In reality, we were the true winners.)

Coolest avatar was the best thing which happened to me in the year 2011. This blow brought me to senses and I felt cheated. I realized that everything is virtual and cracking CAT is only real. I used to spend way too much time on PG and it would be a waste if I am unable to crack CAT. A puy is a real inspiration only when he proves all his shared gyan true by cracking CAT, until then the gyan is only noise. I became inactive on PG and I had a lot of free time. I used all of it for my CAT preparation.

On the personal life front, things were not rosy. I was working in TCS and so was my lady. Her parents were putting pressure on marriage and it appeared that 2011 was the only year I had. My parents were also alone at home and my mother was having health related issues. I took the major step of convincing my parents to move to Kolkata, so that we could live together. Now, I had lot of responsibilities - preparing for CAT, Project Lead responsibilities at TCS, supporting my parent and enjoying life with my lady. Today, when I look back, I realize that I did hell of a job at multi-tasking.
I joined TIME and CL. I also got SIMCATs for free. Mocks were going fine and just because I was doing great at my Job, I used to feel a lot secured about everything. I was regaining confidence. Had it not been for TnT, I would have never joined DT'11 but finally, I felt that I owe it to DT'10. I had to redeem my honor. Again met some really very smart people, Smarep was the first one who had total faith in me. He always used to say that I'll do it. TnT was evergreen motivator and there was a time when my lady felt insecure due to the frequency of telephonic conversations, I and TnT used to have. In short words, we were addicted to CAT. Non-stop discussion on mock questions, performance, strategy, slot, chances. It was awesome.

Because of the new pattern of CAT, VA was no more an issue. I also solved a lot of GMAT material and memorized a lot of vocab. I also want to thank .Z. (kshitiz) for forcing me to join Simcats. But on the other hand, I was having serious trouble with Sec-1. I was rarely crossing 99 in sec-1 and I knew that in actual CAT, sec-1 is the only savior. Still, I kept faith and was in touch with the basics. I also knew that mocks percentiles are unrealistic because many people practice previous year mocks and get good at specific question types which gets repeated a lot in mocks. This leads to unrealistic percentiles and people tend to believe that they are prepared, when actually the basics aren't very strong and this is where all the game is in real CAT.

In between, IIM call criteria was released. IIM C betrayed me, it was also taking acads into account. I had to score atleast 99.8X if I was thinking of getting an IIM call. I started targeting 100%ile. Every single time, I told myself that the target is 100%ile.

People say that CAT is just a one day thing. I feel that CAT is a phenomenon. Life is divided between time before CAT and time after CAT. I have lived the CAT life 24*7. People become obsessed, temperamental, have fights, and decide major decisions in life just based on CAT. I would never say CAT is bigger than life but it becomes the biggest thing in life and it is then that a person, who is not born lucky, cracks it.
Life is all about D-Day
CAT'11 : Chose the 4th Nov, 2011 slot. It was Friday. One week before the day, I was very nervous and I caught fever. Appeared in an AIMCAT and a SIMCAT on two days before CAT and I couldn't clear any sectional in any of them. I went to write CAT with zero expectation but as someone said to me that I am overtly optimistic. In one particular Procmock, I had scored single digit AIR and I knew that I had it in me.
Section 1: 1st question, could not solve. 2nd question, could not solve (read it wrong.) 5 mins passed with zero attempts. Felt the pressure. Asked myself to be calm. Took a deep breath. Solved 3rd question then 4th. Attempted all QA questions, except 3-4 questions. Attempted all DI questions. Had 17 mins remaining. Attempted rest of the QA questions except for one. 11 minutes remaining with 29 attempts. Revised all the questions. Last 2 mins. 1 question remaining. This question was from Probability. It was my weak area and I hadn't worked a lot on it, but I always used to analyze the questions from mocks, suddenly I recalled a method and the answer was one of the options and the method made sense. Marked the last question.
Section-2 : I knew that I had nailed Section-1 and I could bet 30-0 in it. Only if I nail VA. Started with LR and finished it in 17 mins. Now, I had 53 mins for VA. I went very slow and analyzed every single option. I was running out of time. I attempted 29 questions and then revised, then I unmarked one question in VA and then timer stopped.

I was happy with my performance. I also did well in IIFT and XAT. I applied for NMAT, thinking that in a particular season, one exam is bound to get screwed so let it be this one.

Life is all about results
CAT 2011 : 11th Jan. Server was as expected down. I could literally listen to my heartbeat. Kept on refreshing the CAT site. Suddenly, the page started loading and a pdf opened.

Overall 99.87%ile (Sec-1:99.93 Sec-2: 95.15)

I had killed the CAT. Yes, I did it. For few people this moment is meant to shed tears of joy. I, on the other hand, was using choicest of words for CAT, Prometric and Normalization. After all this pain, I did nail those %*^&^$^#&%&%. I woke up my parents told them the results. The happiness on their face was priceless. I called everyone and got calls from many. It felt so good to see the happiness people shared.
I also did well in IIFT, XAT, NMAT(although, this was the one exam which I did screw.)

Life is all about calls
IIM A didn't give me a call. I never expected a call from IIM BIKS, and hadn't applied to the new IIMs and ABM programs of IIMs. Now, I was depressed, it was so painful that after all this effort and awesome percentile, I won't get IIM calls. As per my nature, I composed myself and convinced myself to crack any call I had. I had forgotten about IIMs, when in the evening, I got a call from my lady. I heard only "You got IIM C and IIM L call" and I went blank. It was heaven. I was desperate to convert my calls.

I also got call from IIFT, NMIMS (didn't attend) , XL HRM (didn't attend, OMR screwed my QA, so no BM call), MDI, Nitie, FMS.
IIM Lucknow 2012-2014 (PG Dream Team 2011 & 2010)
Life is all about dreams(1 of 3)

There was the Cat, there was an aspirant, there was normalization. Story en..d.


It aint over yet.

This isnt a story which would inspire you to take a bhisma pratigya of Bhagwan jab tak CAT na crack ho jaye, seet-geeta ki taraf aankh utha kar nahi dekhunga , or to become a maggu, or to leave everything on faith, but this is a story which confirms the fact that Billi ke ghar der hai andher nahi and is an eye-opener for all those cribbers who blame it on just luck for not making into IIM after all these years.

Let me put it this way. Its a Hard work wont go unrewarded forever Ver 2.0 story. (Courtesy : r11gupta)

Below is my profile and I cracked IIM Lucknow. I dedicate this story to people who are under-confident because of their bad profile.

10th : 90.2% ICSE
12th : 61.0% CBSE

Grad : 85.2% B.Tech from a random private college.

Work-ex : 20 months TCS.
Extra-currics : Have some but had no proof for them during the time of GDPIs, so almost nil at that point.

Apart from that PG Dream Team 2011 member, PG Coolest avatar 2011 runner-up.

After FMS 2012 interview, I and TnT were returning back to Kolkata. When our discussion came to AIWTSAC, none of us was too keen on writing one, considering that our journey was nothing extraordinary, but I stated that I would write my AIWTSAC, if I convert IIM Lucknow. That would be something extraordinary. So, here I am wasting server space of PG.

Life is 100% intelligence
I was born in a lower middle class marwadi businessman family. Home environment was of studies and studies, to prove this, consider that my elder brother cracked IIT with AIR 729, one elder sister is University Topper in M.Com and almost a CA and other elder sister is a doctor. I never knew what fun really meant. Got cable connection in class 9th and never had a videogame. My father is the most hard-working person I have ever known and my mother is most strong-willed person I have ever known. Sadly, I didnt inherit any of the two godly traits.

Till class 10th, I used to feel that I was born smart. I still hear the stories about how little I used to study and yet I used to perform great in exams. I allowed complacency to plant deep into me at a very early stage. I used to feel that with my smart preparation and good memeory, I could crack anything. With barely a fortnight effort, I pulled off a 90% in 10th. I was on cloud 9, my father put me back to ground with one statement, Your elder brother had scored 1% more with 10 times the effort you put in, but world will value him more. Little, did I know that my father was true, I was yet to meet really smart people.

To add, the greatest sin was already committed. My fathers theory was :-
1 IITian son + 1 IITian son = 2 IITian sons

And I was deported to Bansal Classes, Kota.
Life in Kota was the best part of my life. It was a big leap of faith. I got so lost that I completed a circle and found myself again.
Continuing with my old habit of optimizing time, I appeared, almost unprepared, in the first test at Bansal Classes, topped Physics. Got a under 20 rank in second test. Realized too early, that I was a born IITian and got complacent.

Life is 50% perspiration 50% intelligence
All the unfulfilled dreams of having fun, wanted a bonus bonanza. I started playing LAN games, watching movies, noticing girls and I also started bunking classes. Gradually, I stopped going classes and my results dipped. There were phases when I wanted to make things right but I realized that I wasnt as smart as I used to think or rather world is full of smart peoples who are also hard-working. I created a reality distortion field and convinced myself that I need only six months prep to crack JEE and Class 12th boards can be cracked in a week, same as class 10th. Long story short, I flunked JEE, studied night before the board exams and scored 61% in 12th (barely passing PCM by 2-3 marks). There was an abyss,1 light year of shit and then me.

I was in shock for months. The smarty pants of whom everyone in the family was proud, had turned into a bozo. My ego took such a hit and I got so under-confident and pessimistic, that I used to think of applying for clerk jobs. I could still perform magnificent during the high times but those times were rare. And after a year drop, I ended up in CSE branch of KIIT University. Uncertain of my future and hating my life to the core.
Life is 100% uncertain
Except for few people who ended up in college through AIEEE, everyone else was very happy with their life and was proud to end up there, so they all were in a vacation mode. I never got into acads but managed decent grades because of the below average competition at my college. But, I did read a lot. There were times when I would read Wikipedia for hours. For the complete first year life was black and white and there werent any subtitles. I was flowing with the stream when came the high tide. I fell in love and got committed to my lady. Now there was a motive, a zest to bring back the life onto track.

Not because that I had made it big in life, but just because my life had moved on a bit, I started to become the old person I used to be. My biggest strength is that I make Darwin proud. I can adapt to any situation. I introspected and realized that I had become emotionally very strong. The wind that had swept past me had made me fierce and hungry. I was gradually developing the strong-willed trait of my mother. Old habits die hard and I looked for the shortest route to freedom. The answer was IIM. One tag to wash all the dirt away. Boley to Ganga naha lena. People told me that I was insane and had no chance because of my profile. I always thought that there is one college IIM C which doesnt give a damn about pasts and I will target that. With such little hope, I started my journey.

Life is all about CAT
Now that I had some aim, I was in search of accomplice. Of the few smart people that ended up in my college, one was Ranjeet aka ThE_bmr. Since, our aims were similar we became good friends. My first mock, with zero idea about syllabus or exam pattern, was CAT 2008 paper which I downloaded from TF. I ended up with 148 marks and balanced sectionals. IsLife 100% intelligence?; nope I had my demons under control. I never liked the idea of coaching classes so I never joined one. I was appearing in mocks and was performing decent. I knew about PG though ThE_bmr but I rarely followed it. I just knew that there was this PG dream team which had awesome people.
2009 season
CAT'09 : 98.01 No calls (had applied only for IIMs)
XAT'10 : 98.11 Calls: BM and PMIR. No converts.
FMS'10 : 297 marks. (no call)

JMET : 7XX AIR. (didnt apply anywhere)

Got placed in TCS as one of 252 other bricks on the wall from my college. Damn, I hated my life.
I attended XL interviews. I was a noob and I was so defensive of myself because of my past failures that rejects from XL were no surprise.

Life is all about hanging an IT tag around the neck.
I had experienced the monstrosity called Normalization in CAT09. I had seen the unexpected and brutal CAT result of DT2009. Was this uncertain CAT, a really good idea? I didnt want join TCS and I needed a concrete plan. College was over and I was at home preparing for job interviews. Got some rejects and I again realized the importance of hard-work over the years. Luckily or unluckily, my laptop broke down and I was in Kolkata to buy a new one. I came across TIME centre and involuntarily I went inside and got myself registered for AIMCATs. First mock after months and I scored 99.23%ile. The monster within had awaken from the sleep.

In between, I joined TCS and I used to hate every single minute I spent there. The life I had which I hated and the one which I dreamt of were my motivations. Now, I needed some other people with similar aim of cracking CAT. I got a string of 99.xx in mocks and The_bmr suggested me to apply for DT and UDT. I got active on PG and tried my best to help puys. I posted my nomination on UDT and after that I got my first DT nomination from Alex_Mahone (thank you sirji), who edited his original nomination post. Finally, I made it to DT 2010. I was elated. I felt as if I had achieved something after a long long time.

Season was bumpy and I made the mistake of joining only AIMCATs. I used to get dejected by my mock performances and since AIMCATs were of single flavor, I kept on getting worse and lost confidence. On the brighter side, I made some good friends- TnT, target_cat2010, DOC, techgodajay, .Z. etc. DT confy was fun and I still cherish those hours. DT11 never had the bonding which DT10 had.

2010 season
CAT 2010 : I had appeared on 14th Nov, afternoon slot with DOC and TnT. Paper was very tough. I got the I am screwed feeling, the moment I came out of the exam hall. Results got leaked and I got 91.XX overall with 55.XX in VA. Normalization, thou art a heartless b***h. DOC and I were screwed in a legendary way. Because of my past deeds, I had developed a very high threshold and I was amused by my results. There was no pain but only the deep desire to take revenge.
IIM Lucknow 2012-2014 (PG Dream Team 2011 & 2010)
'JOURNEY AND THE RISKS - When I drove on the roads of my dream institute'

My life, co-incidentally, has followed bottom-up approach. During my engineering days, with some like minded friends Amit & Aakash, I started a magazine Living in the City which still stays our best baby. Immediately, after that venture, I thought of doing an MBA because I always felt that any good business model needs some special skills to replicate it, so that it can work without your physical presence. I discussed about MBA Prep with some seniors and friends and joined IMS Meerut as a student in Jan 08. Found myself comfortable in Quant/DI/LR but always felt lack of confidence in Verbal. Decent Scores in Mocks with an avg. of 91-92%ile but Verbal remained a bottleneck for me.

Those who say luck do not matter; I have a lively example to seal your beautiful lips. In 2008, Verbal Section had odd 40 question while just 25 each in DI and QA, which gave an extra advantage to people who had VA as their forte, still I managed my score in early 90s with some bad 4x.xx %ile in VA Section while 95+ in other two sections. It was the time when I feared to attempt VA and devoted VA Time to other two sections. Somehow, I was lucky and I have converted IMT-N and SIIB in that season, my heart kept saying IIM it should be and I refused the offers.

Came summers of 09 and I was a graduate by now. Started delivering sessions for Quant and DI at IMS and other prep institutes and joined an advertising co. as my Infosys joining was due in Jan 2010. Starting putting efforts on my weaknesses, the phase was beautiful. I came to know about some online forums like PG, TG and started prep in a different way. During that preparation I developed habit of reading non-fiction and biographies; I met some really wonderful people like Simran, Aaquib, Subhankar and many more during same o9-days. This was a beautiful phase of transformation and learning.

CAT experimented this year too and we had to hunt CAT with Mouse, it became a Computer Based Test. I got some 92.xx but harbinger of satisfaction was my sectional scores were balanced with 8x.xx in VA and 95 around in rest. Joined Infosys in Jan 10, already had calls from IRMA, XIMB and GIM as I scored 97.xx in XAT 10 but due to my hectic schedule, distant places, non-availability of flights and many other such excuses, I could not go to attend these wonderful calls and my efforts went void.

At Infy, Mysore days were hectic, but pleasant. It was an opportunity to understand a huge business system for the first time and that too being so close to it. It was an exciting exposure to understand cross-state cultures, JAN-10-LC3 was a mere reflection of the nation we feel proud to live in. Fascination of sky scrappers and beautiful building at Infy could not lure me for a long. My MBA dreams were mine and I was living them every moment. Regret of not attending IRMA, XIMB calls was also creating pressure on me. After my training ended, I got Mysore but I swapped to get shifted to a city where I can prepare for CAT, where I can join the coaching to be regular and Pune was the city, destiny chose for me.

When, I shifted to Pune, it was Jun 2010 and just had a dream with which my mind and soul were inundated; it was the dream of getting into one of the best b-school of the country. Started preparing, but as unexpected, project work, team mates and everything around did not support at all. I continually gave it a hard try. Stole my time from everything I did just to prepare, futile. I just joined a test series as full time coaching was not possible when you work for 12 hours a day. Life was taking me on a rollercoaster ride. I started becoming unhappy as my work was coming between me and my dreams, I was so lost from myself. Came October, I took CAT and applied for sabotic leave, not joined Infy for many months because I knew that I have spoiled yet another CAT and cannot last longer, if I follow the conventional way. Everybody forced me and I rejoined Infy in January and started working there again. This was a period when I went mad about my dreams and read more than 70 books in 2011. When I was in Pune I was either kept myself busy in reading books or hanging out with friends or managing my business. I finally decided to wait till July, time when I completed my bond period with Infy and I immediately resigned.

It was the toughest decision but family and friends supported and I finally moved on. I came back home to prepare and with a wonderful team, we managed our business in parallel. When I study, walls, chair, table, and laptop everything sensed like it was Deja-vu for me. I prepared in the same way in 2009. I joined TIME CP class room programme to stay regular and hence, I traveled every weekend to attend classes there. I also joined CL Test Series for benchmarking. It was a lot to learn there even after I took CAT thrice. Vocab was still a problem for me as I have never felt comfortable in mugging things, so, I developed my own way and built a vocab base of 1500+ in few months. Mocks were also decent with distributed %ile in 70s, 80s and 90s and scored even 99.xx several times.

Life was on stake, it was a now or never situation and I filled forms of all good colleges except MDI (biggest mistake of my life). The D-Day, Nov 4 11, appeared, nothing special, it was alike all previous CATs but I followed one guru-mantra which I feel helped me somewhere Treat Mocks as Real CAT and Real CAT as Mocks. Felt well after CAT but you cannot predict a girl and CAT, so nothing on my expectations board, I just tried to put my best efforts in hunting the animal.

Then the season of results, calls and converts knocked the doors. CAT ditched many potential candidates, expected and unexpected happened on the same day. Felt bad for all my friends with whom I prepared, no difference in the prep methodology but I and few other friends were little luckier this time. Experience of attending GD/PI was awesome. It gave me opportunity to learn, travel across the nation, meet different people and find the keys to open the doors for my b-school.

Dropping the idea to join my dream b-schools like IRMA and XIMB was indeed difficult but I chose the option to join Marketing Mecca IMT.

My journey had nothing special. It is a simple voyage of a common boy who dreamed to launch himself. Life always takes a toll and there are no free lunches. Even, if its out of your hands, life keeps a balance and bestows what you dream but in exchange it takes away assets you already own.
I believe that there is a risk of slipping when you walk, falling when you fly. There is a risk in everything we do but not taking risk is the biggest risk.
It was my decision and I will stand on it, what ever toll life may ask for!
Roads ahead are waiting for the traveler inside me and I am ready to drive the vehicle I dreamed to own for last four years.

PS- To all those friends who are aspiring for this year, my warm wishes to you. May you get what you aspire for! And I really apologize, if this long read was not worth your time.
G\o d s p e e d

Season 2011
CAT - 96.9 %ile ( QA - 95.3%ile, VA - 95.15%ile)
IRMA - 88.25%ile
IIFT - 43.2
TISS - 44.5/100
XAT - Disaster in 70s

Total GD/PI Calls - 22
Calls Attended -15
Final Converts - 13
Rejects - 2 (TISS, IMI)
Closest Calls - IRMA, XIMB, IIT -Kgp, M, DSE, IMT G
Joining - IMT-G
If it does not kill you, it makes you stronger.

Hi All,

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 :biggrin: )

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

CAT 2011:

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( :clap: after all it was in my interest that im working hard :clap: .. 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 :splat: 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

PGPM 2012-14, MDI Gurgaon, Corporate Communications Cell

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).

Results 2012:
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.

Arnold Pinto
PGDM 2012-2014(Operations)

  • #Respect :smiley:. 02 Aug '13.
Regards, PGDM 2012-2014 (Operations) SPJIMR
CAT 2008
The night before the exam, boozed heavily along with friends and partied out loud as the motivation for the exam had already dropped to zero after joining the company. ALmost forgot that I had an exam the next morning

On the C'day , went to the center with spinning head and hangover and vowed to never ever appear for CAT :sneaky: Somehow finished with the exam and came back home and slept. Didn't tally my answers with the keys available as it hardly made any difference. When the results were announced, reluctantly checked it as I knew I would perform pathetic.

WoILaaAAA !!!!!!!! I couldnt believe my eyes... had a 95+ score
At that score, I could get calls from decent colleges which I had applied in the fit of motivation in pre-employment days ... managed to fetch decent calls and converted 2 of them but decided against to join them as I was happy with the job I was doing.

CAT 2009
Quite an eventful year... CAT went online and the dynamics of the CAT prep changed and so did my loyalties towards my company and the job :biggrin:
The job was taking huge toll on me with erratic and long working hours. The night shifts were the icing on the cake. I decided that I was meant to get better things in life and fastened my seat belts again for this year. My normal routine was ...
10 PM to 8 AM - Office ,
10 AM to 3.30 PM -coaching classes,
5 PM to 7 PM - mock tests,
8Pm to 10 PM dinner and sleep and
10 PM back to office with bloodshot red eyes.
But I was determined to crack it this time and was giving my 100% and didnt care for the extra hard work and beatings I was getting physically due to this routine. On the days of evening shifts and weekends, I used to complete the quota of sleep which I used to forego on the other days. My flatmates and friends used to beg me to take rest or else I would break down and burn out in midway. But I had decided that till the time my body is permitting me to give my 100%, I won't budge and step back. Faked a month of jaundice in the office just before the CAT and gave final touch to my preps and appeared for CAT which was in a new avatar this time. The paper went on smoothly and started preparing for XAT which was my next target. Slogged heavily for XAT and on the day of exam, went to the temple before leaving for exam. XAT as usual was a super tough nut to crack and I faltered at many places in the exam and forgot about the differential marking in the mid of the paper. Somehow completed the paper and gave up hopes for that particular year.

On the CAT results day, the server was jammed and had to wait for 4 hours before finally seeing a score of 97. Was happy that atleast would get a couple of calls which I did get by virtue of my score. Screwed up royally in interviews and could only convert IMT-G . At that time IMT-G , with its student unrest over DCP program and strikes and all was looking like a bad option to invest money in. SOme of my friends in IMT-G also advised me not to go there as the situation might become worse. On the other hand, XAT gave me a delight by showing me a score of 98.8 on the computer screen .......
XL called and I went berserk :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
I knew cracking XL would be super tough as its famous for its stress interviews. I joined CL boot camp to prepare for them but was never really comfortable with the idea of stress
On the interview day, the worst nightmare came true when I was asked technical questions about my academics, was mocked left,right and center mercilessly by the panel. Though I tried my best but was not at ease completely and the doors of XL were closed then and there for me.

CAT 2010
After the debacle and humiliation by XL panel, the rage inside me further grew up. Switched my company and joined a firm which was excellent in terms of work culture and pay structure as well. But the MBA bug was still itching in my mind and finally decided to again prepare for the CAT one last time. The relaxed work environment and my talent to keep off the work and assign it to others helped me to get plenty of time for preparation which I utilised in boozing and socializing .... somewhere in July, I realized that it was about time and I should stop fooling around. So there started the final journey towards CAT. Cutoff myself completely from the social world and devoted time for books and quizzes. Joined Byju and that helped me a lot for the pathetic quant skills which I had developed in last 3-4 months
Again managed to fudge the last year's fake medical repords by photoshop (changed the year) and claimed a medical leave of 3 weeks Fudging medical reports in an year is risky but doing it the second time is herculean but wo kehte hai na "everything is fair in love and war " :grin::grin:
Kindly do not try this ... even if you try that, do it at your own peril :nono:

The C'day arrived and gave a decent shot by all means. I was satisfied with my performance and was expecting a good score. FMS , i was screwed :banghead: and missed IIFT predicted cutoff by 2 marks. XAT.... the insane paper was a nightmare and I tore the paper the moment i csme out of exam hall. That was the toughest XAT in the entire history of XAT exams .... and everyone felt the heat.
The next few days were spent in catching up with forgotten friends whom I ignored during preps, partying and fooling around.
The shock of my life came with the CAT results when the screen displayed a score of late 80s
Past two outings in CAT 2008 and 2009 gave me some hopes to improve in 2010 but a score such as this was totally unexpected. Normalisation did me in and now I understood why every year there is wide outcry after CAT results.
I was doomed. Family, friends , colleagues everyone started inquiring and here I was shamelessly uttering the sub standard score.

After a few day, XAT results came out and it was 94.xx% on the screen. That was a little consolation after the CAT results but on reading closely, the score in DM which happened to be in 60s spoilt the fun. As expected XL didnt call me due to my low sectional score in DM despite getting a higher percentile. Managed calls from GIM, XIMB and XIMB HRM, KJ Somaiya, TAPMI.
Converted all except XIMB and joined KJ Somaiya after proper evaluation of the options and analysing all the parameters and I am happy to say that I made the best decision of my life :):biggrin:

In this way, a long journey came to an end only to be replaced by another journey in a B School and life thereafter.

I would suggest every puy reading this post to never ever get bogged down in your life during a lean phase. If you get conquered, your life will never ever be the one you wanted. Struggle, struggle hard and you shall emerge as a winner. Even if you don't win now, the journey of that struggle would make a man out of you and you will be the winner of life.

Never Quit... Never Ever
All the best

Better late than never.... I always wanted to post my CAT story on this thread simply because it was this very place that kept me going when I felt down and out.
Though I am not an IIM call getter nor an XL person but wherever I am, I owe a lot to PG and this thread because the motivation that infused in me after going through this thread was nowhere replicable.

I would start my journey from the early years of my graduation where-in, I initially struggled to keep pace with my peers not because they were more studious or smarter than me but because I had built my sand castles about myself which were washed away on the very first semester of B.Tech when I got a back in a subject with a minuscule CGPA on cards but on the other hand my very own friends were boasting their 7+ and 8+ scores. I had to pick myself up because there was no other option left.... I understood that its either perform or perish because that was the rule of the jungle is - "Survival of the fittest" .
After clearing the back paper in the summers of 2nd year, I somehow managed to avoid further backs and supplementary exams till sem 3 when I realised that despite giving my best efforts, I am still reeling under low scores and that my friends is a terrible terrible feeling. When you see people who work less harder and smarter than you getting rewarded and you despite giving your best efforts are ending up becoming a 5 point someone , the situation is heart breaking and depressing. As a result of all this, I went into a shell wherein I went into acute depression.... stopped talking to people and friends, stopped going out as there was no fun left in me and all sorts of depressing activities which could clearly give the hint to the outside world that something is wrong with me. My friends tried to catch up with me but as I was in my shell, I hardly told them anything which would make me feel further bad and low in front of them.

One fine day, I woke up and promised that this can't be my life forever. If I want things to change, it would be who would initiate that change. I started getting out of the shell and returning back to normal. In that particular semester, I won many extracurricular events in and out of the college and scored a 7+ GPA to be just eligible to appear for the placements
I remember once in a casual conversation with friends, someone was mocking at me because of my lesser CGPA and how that would affect my chances in getting placed. The reply I gave, I believe I would never ever be able to forget in my life. I replied, "To hell with your CGPA scores, at the end of 4 years, amongst all of us, I would be the one who will be working for a bigger brand name with a higher pay than you guys" ..... That aggression changed many a things in me and my life.
My room mate who was the branch topper and used to look down on me in every sense, and used to give me wrong advice on every step was really astonished to see the recovering me :)

The companies started coming in the end of the 3rd year and I got placed in 3 companies back to back. All my friends who were wither scoring more than me or used to boast about their CGPAs at some time or the other, were either left unplaced in the 1st round or were placed in the same company as mine. That alone boosted my confidence and increased my hunger of racing ahead than my peers. After 4 years, I was placed in 3 companies and was quite relaxed and suddenly nemesis struck

RECESSION .... SUB PRIME Crisis .... GLOBAL MELT DOWN became the buzzwords ... and as a result all the 3 companies in which I was recruited delayed their onboarding. The future here was again uncertain and I decided to prepare for CAT. Filled the form in Aug and started preparing. But luck and destiny had something else to offer. In those tough times in the job market, the world's biggest software company conducted an off campus and my college was invited to participate in that. Though I had made up my mind for giving the best shot for CAT but my parents coaxed me for the process and I went. There were around 400 people and the company selected only 18 out of them.... and surprisingly, I was one of those 18
At that time,the reply which I gave to my friend that day echoed in my mind and it was a feeling of instant accomplishment.
Within 2 weeks I joined the company and the CAT preps went for a toss and so was the motivation level as I already was earning handsomely :)


Whatever I wanted to say about the exam and the experience has been considerably watered down after the multiple rejects that I got initially. In over 3 years this phase, after the announcement of the written exam results, has been the toughest. When I had those bad results in 2010 and 2011, I knew it wasn't right and I was super confident I could do well next time. Now I used to enjoy doing the mocks and so writing cat again was not a difficult decision to make. But at the end of all this, when I have justified to myself that I was right regarding my CAT-cracking skills, I am tired. It has been really stressful.
A chronology of the events of my CAT journey would read just like any other. . So I'll just cut to what I really have to say which is very little.

The first thing is reservations. At first I thought they had no part in the selection of gen candidates. But when you see people with very low scores getting calls and converts, it becomes very frustrating.
It is difficult controlling the negative feelings (read envy/jealousy). It was a real test and I did my best. That leads me to my next lesson.

Be good and do good. I think this is all there is to it. Good begets good. So think good things and do good things and you will get them back. I'm sorry if this sounds very preachy but what do I do, it is always true and finally everything boils down to it.

Well, that is all i have to say.

Thanks for reading and good luck to all future aspirants.

Finally the day has finally come, when am about to post my most important journey in life till dateThe CAT

The Motivation
2006:I was about to enter an engineering college. I happened to meet a distant relative, an IIMB alumnus who was doing exceedingly well in life. The respect that he gained from others inspired me to do a MBA from IIMs(BLACKI in those days).I set my eyes on CAT and started preparing with whatever material I could lay my hands on. Then I happened to have a chat with him. He said "don't burnout so early .Take it easy".

Whiling Away
2007: Then I concentrated on engineering studies and whiled away the remaining time.

2008:I was in the 3rd year and joined TIME(herd instincts are too strong you see) super long term coaching for CAT 2009.I religiously attended each and every class.Then,I worked out most of the practice exercises and books.
2009: Mock season started.1st mock I scored 97.xx and in the 2nd mock scored a whopping 99.91 percentile. My friends started teasing me that I was an IIM material. As mocks continued, my performance fluctuated from 90 to 99.

The 7.5
I was not a believer in astrology in contrast to what I am now. It is said every human has to pass through 7.5 years of misfortune in his lifetime called "Elarai"(in Tamil meaning 7.5) authored by Lord Shani Bagwan. During 2009,minor health problems started troubling me. I wasn't able to concentrate on studies. This depressed me and anxiety started engulfing me.CAT 2009 came. It was the first shift to computer based test. No one was prepared for it - neither the IIMs nor prometric.CAT 09 was probably the most unfair CAT exam..wide allegations of glitches, extra time for some candidates, repetition of questions for later batches, re- exam for certain candidates and so on. I came out with 94.34 percentile and it was a shock to me. I felt I should have got more. Feeling of being wronged started affecting me. Got a lone SPJain call and was rejected outright after the interview. The emotions that went through me those days can never be explained in words.


With support from parents I made up my mind for the second attempt. Joined a job and was preparing simultaneously. This time I was prepared for any eventuality."Let me put in my best..am not worried about the outcome "those were my thoughts. My health did not improve though. This time I joined CL Proctored mock. I found the content of CL refreshing though there were only few exam takers. I was performing steadily in the mocks and then came the C day-CAT 2010.I did well with a decent number of attempts. Then came the results night.12 Am - 99.59 percentilewow..a careful look read Verbal99.95(awesome thanks to CL), DI 96.xx(ok) and Quant (85.53 ohgod not again).Lower score in a section got me an astoundingly low number of calls - Lucknow and newer IIMs only. I converted new IIMs but could not convert Lucknow despite what seemed to me a decent interview. Now the dilemma ,whether to take up what am offered or write the CAT again??No way am I going to settle for anything other than BLACKI (despite rebukes from my friends).

Season 3:

Certainly, I felt I was under bad spell of luck. I then went to an astrologer."Yes indeed, you are under "elarai",a period of dullness and misfortune. Your health and luck will certainly improve. Be patient" these were his words. I got back to routine, this time I stayed near my office so as to cut down on travel time and utilize it effectively. I told myself " this is your last attempt, do well..come what may be cool".My outlook started changing to positive,I became more relaxed and started enjoying my preparation. Joined CL mocks and started working on quants zealously. I realized I was good at Verbal and I don't need any preparation whatsoever. Had a decent mock season. Applied to various colleges for backup..I didn't want to continue in the job either, so backup was mandatory this time.CAT 2011 did well, but attempts were comparatively less as I was cautious.
Then came the results: 99.20 with balanced sectionals. Got call from A,I,new iims and host of other colleges.
Converts: Indore (joining),New IIMs,MDI,NITIE
So, thus ended my CAT journey and my health has also returned to almost normalcy.

Final word:

*First, stop giving too much importance to CAT. You are any day bigger than a single event in your life.
*Relax, be cool. More often than not, one who enjoys doing what he does and one who is not too bothered about the outcome emerges victorious.
*Be patient, you will in the end get whatever you are destined for. Famous dialogue that applies to life:"No force on earth can stop what is destined to be yours and no force on earth can give you what is not yours".
*What the CAT journey has given me is more than an admit to an IIM.It has taught me the virtue of patience, positive thinking and a changed outlook towards living life King Size.



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