And that good news came. Out of 42 months, we can do industrial training in last 9 months. I opted for that opportunity. Had a hang of the financial markets in the free time. Sounded interesting. So wanted to do something in that area. The resume was good. So didnt find it difficult to get into a medium size brokerage firm as an intern in Equity Research Department. The first day in the firm, and I knew I have found the love of my life. This is exactly I wanted to do in my life. Entire sins of the past were washed out.
By this time, I had completed my B.Com. So was eligible for CAT. The first time I heard about CAT is when my mother advised me to take it. I searched more about the exam. Found out about IIMs, their illustrious alumni, the campuses they boast of, the respect an IIM guys commands from his relatives, friends or colleagues. Another target was set to get into IIMs. It was almost after 6 years, I was doing anything related to Quant seriously. Although didnt join any coaching or test series, because of lack of time during internship, secured a decent percentile of 95.xx. Didnt take any other exam. Still the main aim was to complete CA and not MBA. By the way, got a IIM S call, didnt apply to any Non – IIMs. Just wondered if a proper English Medium schooling would have helped more than a vernacular schooling to get better marks in Verbal Ability.
The internship was over. Meanwhile, the CA Final examination came. Cleared. Was happiest day in the life, not because of getting one of the most prestigious degree in India, but by the thought that now my internship was over and I will never have to open the CA books again. Filled the CAT Form again. Joined SBT 2010. Got to know about great people like Super Xero, the_hate Saar, Pendy Saar, Gabby Sir, Doc Saar. Learnt a lot from them. This time I applied to some other institutes like FMS, XLRI & S P Jain also. Meanwhile got selected in Futures First as a Gold Futures Trader in International Gold Market (COMEX). Sort of a dream job for me. The question of doing MBA again took a back seat. In no way, I was going to go for MBA in that year. Had FMS, K & SP Jain calls. Attended only FMS. Anyway, there was no chance I would have left FF experience for MBA.
PaGaLGuY has been really instrumental in my life. I got my first job (after CA) because of networking on PG. A Futures First guy on PG (Vivek.Varendra PGDT 200 forwarded my resume to the organisation. They called me for the selection process. Travelled all the way from Mumbai to Gurgaon. When I arrived at their office, saw a few IITians & NITians waiting for the process. Cursed myself for wasting few thousand bucks and time in the travel to a place, where I was any way not going to get a job with such a competition. Those who know FF, know about their Quant Heavy Selection Process, beating IITians was not my cup of tea. But I only thought so. At the end of the day, I was the chosen one. Felt satisfied that I have it in me to beat these IITians in a quant heavy process.
Futures First Experience was the Game Changer. Its full of IITians & IIMites. Everyone is intelligent and you have something to learn from everyone. The job is high pressure. Stakes are high. I was doing quite well. Not to boost of myself, but set a 1 lot pit record of more than 3k dollars in a day in the 5th month itself. Again beat my own record just after 2 months with more than 4K dollars in the 7th month. Markets were turbulent. America was downgraded by S&P;, a thing which didnt happen in the worst of the periods of 2008-09 had happened in 2011. Markets were volatile. Particularly Gold was playing havoc, with breaking all time highs. The environment was scary. After 8 months in FF I decided to call it quit, giving in to pressure.
I had to decide if I want to do MBA or not. I filled the CAT form. Came back to Mumbai and again joined the equity research department of the same brokerage firm. This time I was sure of doing MBA. This time or never. So filled top 10 colleges according to PaGaLGuY 2011 rankings. Cleared CAT with 97.12% with 89.97% in VA :oops:, enough to miss the IIM B Call by 0.03 percentile (remaining profile was as per their standard,may be better so the only hurdle was VA). Although received IIM I, IIM K & SP Jain calls. Meanwhile, XAT results were announced and received a XL BM call. Now I had 4 calls out of top 10 institutes, I needed to clear just one. The only strength I have is passion about finance field. My communication skills suck, my vocab sucks, my personality sucks and I am very bad at generic answers like Why MBA. So the task had been cut out to revolve entire interview about finance. First was S P Jain..a little bit of finance. Second was XLRI overall a decent interview but had just 97.8 %ile in XAT so chances were quite low. Then came IIM K, a very generic interview, in which I felt like walking out in between:sneaky:. The only remained was Indore.
Meanwhile, S P Jain results came in, I was waitlisted. XLRI came in and saw a reject and I was nervous. Second day after XLRI results I had Indore Interview. I was shievering. I had already screwed K interview. So this was my last chance. Actually nervousness helped, I became more desparate to convert this one. Also god listened to me and almost 80% of the interview went about financial. The moment I was out of the room , I knew if the selection considers only interview marks and not the CAT Percentile, this has to be a convert. K announced the list and I was again waitlisted at a high number. Anyway, after meeting those professors in K interview, I would never have liked to see their face again. Indore again give me waitlist. Meanwhile, S P Jain cleared and a few days back, Indore also cleared. So joining IIM Indore this year.
I am certainly not the best person to tell you how to write the CAT. I can just tell one thing that, its a circle. Prosperity –> Recession –> Depression –> Recovery –> Prosperity. Its applicable to economy. Its applicable to our life. You just have to survive the bad phases and make merry in the good phases !!
[Note: This is a post on the user’s CAT journey that has been captured in his own words. We have not edited it in any way when publishing it as an article. Cover image is from http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up]