Update : The Journey continues…
It has been a great feeling to come back to this sacred thread after 2 years to finally give you all guys some updates. As my “Original Post” was about how an ordinary guy can achieve extraordinary results, the theme of this section of my post would be to hopefully share with you my genuine and honest experiences in what we call as one among the new IIMs – IIM Kashipur with a small tagline coined by me – “A startup of dreams!”
So well, yes there were dreams that I would wanna make it into an IIM… I finally did…the first day…feeling was great!! I am finally in an IIM. However, as I had visited IIM Ahmedabad earlier, I did realize that things here are going to be different, challenging and hence interesting…just the way I like it. The good thing was that this year the batch was more than 3 times the seniors strength and hence I was hoping the experiences I would gain would be far more enriching. And boy was I right!! ( )
So the first day I enter, I see this small but beautiful make shift campus (independent of any university though) where there were a handful of professors, a hint of newness and a texture of something big that this place would turn out to be in years to come. We had the official registration and welcome ceremony but what was the most interesting thing, and for which I must praise my seniors (who were just 2 batch of this campus and were instilling those activitites which are trademark of the IIMs and other major B Schools) was – The Induction. In all probability, all those who have been to decent B-schools already know what Induction is all about and for all those who will be joining in years to come, I am not going to be a spoilsport and hence would let you all experience this amazing activity in your respective B-schools. Trust me this will be an experience of a lifetime and therez a very strong reason why I am not divulging the same to u all!
Apart from Induction, there won’t be any more suspense from my side in this installment of my post and I hope this post would help some of the puys who would be facing the New IIM Dilemma in years to come. So lets start with acads, being a lazy engineer, I was in for a shock with the amount of work that a student puts in a B-school. Its as if you are totally transformed into a workhorse! Assignments, quizzes, term exams, events, seminars, guest lectures, PPTs, committee selections, club selections and what not! U name it and that thing exists at IIM Kashipur. It is here that I finally understood what “student driven” campuses ACTUALLY mean. So as always, I went for the toughest committee (yes you guessed it right) and got through after a long and tedious process. To this day and for the life ahead, I am sure, what this committee has taught me (being a startup IIM without any established alumni pool etc.) would be something I would cherish forever. And as I was a lazy lad for pretty much the whole year I never got into any club as a core member (academic or otherwise). There were plethora of them – the committees – alumni relations, placement, corporate relations, mess, infrastructure & IT, academic etc and the clubs – Marketing, finance, Operations, Movie, quiz club, Photography club etc. So day in and day out I was handling acads and committee work as a regular student would be required to do.
The one reason why I joined IIM Kashipur was because I wanted to gain an experience of starting new things (yeah faff, I Know and so I never did anything for first two trimesters ). However in the third trimester I realised that so many intitatives were already taken up by my batchmates – new clubs like literary club, Music club, Biker’s club (with support of our beloved director who himself is a kickass biker!) had sprung up already. So then, I thought of trying to implement a few ideas of my own which were a legacy in other cherished B-schools. The first one was that of creating a yearbook, to which the literary club happily obliged by making me an honorary member. However, more than me it was the efforts of the people in the club that actually made the yearbook happen for our seniors and started off with the practice for years to follow. Then, there was an idea of an annual b-fest called Excelsior which was a daunting task at that time itself and focused on the case presentations and simulation events of business. I really loved the idea but discussed with its initiators something much more bigger and grand to be called the B-fest of IIM Kashipur in the next year which included excelsior as a part of it. And behold, it was in 2014-15, for the first time IIM Kashipur organised Agnitraya – festival combining sports, culture and business all together with performances from Sunburn campus and other film stars as jury members being the highlights of the event. The last intiative – the closest for me was that of founding an academic club along with 5 other really passionate people – the HR club of IIM Kashipur which obviously did the regular club activities that all clubs were supposed to do but was also the only club of IIM Kashipur to galvanize and organize the Annual HR summit outside Kashipur – in Delhi… a big challenge in itself that also revived the event for the years to come! It was a tremendous experience to handle speakers, logistics, event management etc remotely from a place called kashipur to organise an event 220 Kms away in Delhi.
Ofcourse the pressure of summer internship was mounting and with Marketing as one of my majors, landing up one in an FMCG was something that was a dream come true. The learning experience and the mistakes that I did during my stint at the company is something that will be a lesson throughout my life. Being a fresher, this was also my first actual corporate experience.
Finally the first year ended and came the juniors. This was the period when we were the driving force and experience of being seniors was something exceptional especially during the phase of Induction of our juniors. Subjects went past, GPAs moved like sinusoidal curves ( ) and then the pressure of final placements started to get over me. The people I was competing with were the best of the best. The friends of mine, were all equally anxious coz this was the time when dreams finally turn to reality. This is the defining moment of one’s professional career. Something every parents want their children to kick-start on a high! However, life wasn’t easy at this juncture. Companies came and went by, every next disappointment much more shattering from within than the previous one but with just a smile on my face.. I carried on. It was after some struggle that finally, I got to hear the good news in the month of January. I had been placed! It was a dream come true. I had got into one of the major marketing brands of the world with a decent double figure salary and a good leadership profile. What more could a graduate want? While my own placement was done, I knew the job is just half done. I went back towards toiling hard and trying my every bit to excel in acads and committee work that I was entrusted with. If there were any friends that I made during this college, most of them were from this very own committee of mine and the ones that I would cherish forever. I knew each and every member of it was trying everything they could possibly do to get results and that finally taught me what teamwork is all about.!
So yes, I know that there has been a huge hue and cry about whether the New IIMs can deliver the way old IIMs do? Who will go to this never heard of place called Kashipur? How good are the placements? What about my learning?? How are the faculties? Whats the ROI? What about exchage programs? What about my comforts, facilities and emotional bonding?
Well, If therez anything that I have to say, it has to be this – the new IIMs (whichever, they may be…my judgement is based on my experience in IIM Kashipur!) are an IIM for a reason. For any other private college, to achieve the results these IIMs are achieving (in terms of placements, Corporate events wins by their students, internatonal exposure etc.) would be a dream for even the first 10 years of their establishment. Granted, that there is a lot of scope of improvement but thats what startups do. They evolve. I couldn’t have been any more satisfied than the experiences which I gained here cos for sure I will be using them when I am starting up my own venture. The news that this batch would actually shift to the permanent campus – a first amongst the new IIMs, that there have already been highest international final placements consecutively for two years during my stay amongst new IIMs and that highest international CTCs are pretty much touching the same figures of a few relatively older IIMs are all heartening to see with the fact that overall medians and top 25% and 50% landing up with great offers proving to be an icing on the cake. The never before taken intitatives of setting up our own community radio, a quiz right in the middle of the Corbett Jungle or creating a graffiti on a wall are all some crazy yet unique experiences that I might never have experienced in any other premier B School!
It has been rightly said by someone – A man is a product of his choices! And I beleive whatever tough decisions I took (in terms of joining a new college in contrast to joining an established one) have all worked well in my favour and have made me what I am today – a confident B-school graduate now rearing to go for his next stint – the ground where an excitement of altogether differrent level awaits – The Corporate.
I would like to thank all those who read this update fragment patiently till the very end and would suggest them to make some adventurous choices (ofcourse thats just my opinion) and learn somethin new while you are at it.. All the best guys! May the force be with you!
A participant of IIM Kashipur – PGP 2013-15!
The Original Post
Joined: IIM Kashipur PGP 2013-15! (A startup of Dreams!!!)
Hey puys! I am not a great writer and maybe not that perseverant as well as so many people on this thread have been. However , i think, owing to the sanctity of this thread and to contribute my least bit in fulfilling its purpose of existence, I still would like to give my experiences of CAT..however this is gonna be one marathon post (for which i apologize, because i still dont know what i am doing is right or not, but would definitely like to get ur opinions…however…only after i have made the entire background clear….)
Flashback (till CAT 2011)-
This is after my class 12th exams got over…I have been an ardent visual gaming fan…be it samurai video games, tekken large format consoles or the recent computer games..i have always had this one thing been intriguing me. So, i figured, why not make a career out of it… i had heard just like most of us that in India , engineers and doctors are paid heavily and u enjoy a luxurious life etc. etc. My parents, however had been very kind in never forcing me to do anything (infact my dad had warned me before itslef that science is a difficult stream and i should think about commerce…but being a kid then and having secured 84% in Xth with top two subjects being of maths (91) and science (86) , i figured… “I ACCEPT”) So went in with science and screwed up my 12th with 68.8 percent on board and 3 long months of holidays standing right in front of me and no engg entrance exams done well on my part (because i joined coaching in 12th itself and had school + coaching from 7 AM to 9 PM…but excuses are for losers, arent they?) Fine, if engg is what it takes, I thought I would damn well become an engineer (but in computer science ONLY)…took a drop…went to KOTA ( :P) and then started preparing..working hours and hours and came into top 150 student which was a big jump from being 450th student when i entered these coaching classes….everything was going on smoothly…but then cam 1 month of terrible disaster…chicken pox..all studies gone haywire..(again, no excuses… it happens to everyone, right?)..so gave the exams……came to know about an entrance exam by SAE university and Assam university JV in India for getting admitted into Visual game designing and development…gave it…got 50% scholarship…but soon the happiness died out coz my dad wasnt convinced with the infrastructure as well as the conventional (B.A.) degree…and i dont blame him..he only wanted the best for me… results of engg exams came…cleared in a reputed private college and failed at all other exams so came the dilemma… I was offerred a non CS branch in the private college ….tried going to local engg colleges…”4 Lac plus donation and he can get into IT” was told to my father right on my face……i decided..i will go to the reputed private college because thts what i earned on my own rather than asking dad to donate money like water.. One good thing, I could upgrade my branch to CS in this college if i score a well GPA (above 9) as first year is common here…my dad loved maths (topper at his time)…and i almost had a killing ego for being very good at maths so i figured i will do well in engg (its maths and phy only rit?) in my first year and get upgraded to CS…hence came firs year…i became the guy who stayed in his room..or in his class..studyin all the time…being made fun of for not enjoyinglife in one of the most chilled out campuses of india…but then i had self beleif..i have my own reason for doing this, isnt it?..then came first sem result …reached 8 GPA..went into 2 sem thinking ..i need to fight a little more and became a proper tensed ‘geek’…result..on the very day before my Maths II exam…i fall sick…vomitting…and finally giving the exam…it was all over… i knew it when i gave the paper..dreams shatterred…its not meant to be…results came… i flunked in it… GPA..6.7… , ask for revaluation (internals – 40/50..which is excellent in engg..but in the exam, missed by a wafer thin margin).. immeidately applied for retest..passed…but as per rules…given the lowest E grade…and so my CGPA went to around 7.8…time came for upgrades.. and it turns out, i can get into 14 of the 16 branches but for CS and ECE..i was in a branch tht was considered as the lowest..being mocked off as well in college…i can take 13 other branches..hell..they r not CS…so i sat one night going thru the course content of this branch and CS to my astonishment i cleared quite a few misconceptions..CS was filled with programming, mathematics, circuits etc..and this branch with graphics, photoshop, advanced C++ (including animation) etc…. I had applied to get upgraded in 5 other branches but thought..this branch right here, has atleast some connection with gaming while all others r fancied and tough to crack as well…next day morning on the last day…asked for withdrawing from upgrades and persist witht this so-called “underdog” branch..when i was home , i knew i had hurt my dad for gettinf flunked in maths…and i wud be hearing a lot from him..he just said.. “It’s Ok” and i saw tht dissappontment in his eyes…
I went bak…1400 KMs from my home to the college..now with a point to prove…studied hard and at the same point again had to cope up with the jokes of being a geek…however this time around i secured in every semester above 9.3 and guess what ? with the best grade (A+) in maths..hence went till 6 semester in engg…
I was topping charts and then came placements season in 7 semester…got thru 2 comapnies…but then came the harsh reality…low packages…recessions etc etc….got a notion again…MBAs are paid highly in India…gave CAT without any decent preparation in 2011 with a really intelligent friend of mine…she got 99.XX and almost all good colleges…for which i was proud of her as she hadnt been placed till then but had been trying so hard for her placement and CAT at the same time..I howerver stayed at 89 and consloed myself…i did this without studying….then came some happiness…i finally got offerred for an all expenses paid 8 semester research scholarship in Germany…tht made my parents proud like anything..first kid from the family to go abraod..and tht too on scholarship!..Did my projeect..came back and was given gold medal for being the branch topper at the convocation and was with those really few friends of mine who actually cared (and most of whom were not even from my branch.. but became my flatmates..and thorughly enjoying with them my last 1.5 years of engg)..
After a good German summer, the reality dawned upon me…enough of enjoyment dude…what about job now? I had given up one of the options already and the second one wanted me to join in september in ahmedabad where my aunt lived…my cousin..who was excellent in commerce and did her CFA as amongst toppers in ICFAI…she advised me..why dont u give CAT…i thought to myself..she must be kidding rit..CAT is not an option…i just returned in second week of june,,,and CAT will be in October..how much time do I have? besides I dont even know anything of commerce…but what other option do I have?..low paying IT job wont be what i want to get into (I am not a CS engg afterall and i dont know if i wud be able to excel there)…however during my stint at the college i ensured my interest of gaming was alive and participated in basic animation workshops of autodesk 3Ds max and other such advanced workshop…however it was there that i met a professor who taught us entrepreneurship development, who made me realise after looking at my interest in gaming to why not make an own enterprise in gaming? It just struck me…the positives..there have been so many children like me who would love to pursue this career…negatives…I dont have tht high technical knowledge, neither the resources nor the know how of how to do business as such?…realization…maybe its MBA afterall, I should go into International business or operations (being the only branch tht actually is universally applicable for any comapny and is involved in actual making and delivering of the product!)..maybe i can work in such a comapny…take some experience and at the same time get some capital as well!…but all this was too far ahead…its just 4 odd months and there are 2 lakh aspirants…i dont know if i can do this…so reluctantly, on my cousin’s persuance…i joined this coaching institute which i hadnt even heard of…this institute ,was differrent..I had to give CAT my best shot however at the same point of time not only get engrossed in studies just like i did in my 2 sem in engg..so i had to be differrent as well…i wasnt knowing how to say it or tell it…but then during the orientation by COO of this institute…i just heard that word…i had to be “Street smart”. I took a totally different outlool for CAT…while most people went after solving maximum questions…i went to knowing how to leave questions…(didnt have much time to prepare too right? ) i tried to understand tht at the end of the day, its not attempts that ,atter (it took me 15 online mocks to realise that) but actually the accuracy that matters. I tried to be hyper selective in studies…few topics are always less no matter how hard u prepare…5 major ones bein – numbers, PnC, Probability, Coordinate geometry and special coding patterns…similiarly verbal too required either very good grammer with lots of previous reading (which usually engineers dont posess)..like differences in advise,advice…ingenious,ingenuous etc … or u should be good at LR and RCs…i knew reading novels is a luxury i cant afford and DI too had quite some logic driven caselets that are hard to crack…so what do i do..how can I be street smart enough here?? I decided… I shud ccover these topics superficially in quant (just basic formulas and already known techniques of remainder finding etc in numbers , patterns etc..because anywyas on that day , these clicking is anyone’s guess)…and similiarly lay higher stress on parajumbles and do keep on readin 4-5 RCs a day ( coz they along with LR , which comes easy to engineers in most cases can make up approx 24 odd questions of section 2)…and as fro DI (which usually has 9 questions out of 30, I decided to do only first question of each set (making 3 questions) and just glance through other 6 questions and try only if i can create a proper link). The remaining quant , however, had to be thoruough..so i ensured i went through last papers and mocks i gave and kept myself reinforcing in time-work,TSD,Sequences, normal geometry,Quadratic,Inequalities etc. and these would make up approx 23 odd questions (including DI ones of course) and can happily glance thru other questions and try if i can do them or leave them peacefully…..
The D- DAy – 31 October…CAT 2012
So I had a perfect strategey..however CAT is known to throw surprises…this i learnt on the day of my paper…I went thru the quant section..and after 50 minutes of perseverance I realized.. I have just done 14 questions in quant section…so again i was faced with a dilemma…to got thru the guesses and do 5-6 more questions or to do 2- more questions and move to next section…my brain told former…and gut..the latter..(attempts vs accuracy…here we are again.. :P) so there i was , at the end of 1st section…i had made just 17 quant attempts …then acme the verbal section and as always..owing to loads of RCs I had done…started off with 2 RCs..finished them off quite swiftly..and glanced thru grammer..answered 1-2 questions, went to LR…answered 2 sets but the third one was tricky…wasted 7-8 minutes and now there were choices…either the RC and 2 PJs left or this full logic set of 4 questions…time left- 8 minutes…fine..PJs started…completed both in 3 minutes…5 minutes for an entire RC!! This was gonna be challenging!..went thru…last 3 seconds…n finally attempted the last question in total disarray…came out realising I had made 24 attempts in verbal which seemed OK…however…then came the discussions..and it turned out everyone was happy..and i was hearing people saying they had made 55 , 53 ..etc attempts in my ears…i realized…my attempts ..17 + 24 = 41!!! So CAT will test my underlying principle beleif of Accuracy over attempts…and I had the bad feeling..I might have been wrong all along..
Results – 10th January 2013
There had been other exams and everything else I gave… i was prepared for the worse…what more could I have done with less than 4 months of preparation, I was atleast smart (or so I thought)…whatever it may be…I will accept it…I gave it my best shot..5 AM in the morning (i had slept at 2 becaus of anticipation) i get up by messages of people askin my results in CAT…and then keyed in the loogin at prometric – result –
Verbal – 98.56,
quant – 95.66
overall – 98.36
Was i amazed? U bet I was! Was it luck ? maybe …Did my approach work? (Hell yeah! )
I was finally happy…this was amongst the most clinical preparations I had made.. I knew battle is far from over…thereare GDs n PIs n all…I also got thru NMAT with 211 score…SNAP hopwever was at 93.56…start the GD prep ..but that story is for some other time…as of now.. converts include
IIM KASHIPUR,VGSOM IIT Kgp ,DoMS IIT chennai, IMT G, TAPMI,SIBM-B,SSBM,LBS (fin), NIRMA,NMIMS (BM,CM,bang,Hyd but NOT core)…got waitlisted in NITIE(difficult to convert though),SIIB and still expecting results of – baby IIMs, IITs (except mum)
I dont know if this would help anyone, I dont know if MBA would help me later in my goal itself!.. however, i applaud ur patience for actually going thru this all but the only thing that i can tell as far as CAT is concerned is..guys its not that tough to clear cat..u only need to identify ur strengths and WEAKNSESSES as well (so that u can leave those questions just like there a few deliveries to be left alone in cricket)…I hope the future test takers excel in the exam (however, CAT is just the first step..but as the say “well begun is half done!”)..I do owe my success to my parents who today are very proud of me , my friends at this institute who were there all the time besides me and worked for strainght long hours of morning 9 Am to evening 6 PM apart from our own individual studies…I am satisified with what I did..and once again sorry for such a lengthy post.. :P, I just hope it helps…and do give me ur opinions too