From 9 %ile to 99 %ile… A five year journey…


This story is different in the sense that it belongs to a perfectly average person. No IIT/NIT tag, no academic/gender diversity, general category, no super high academic scores to boast of, no ultimate extracurricular and no extra special talents either. He just had a lot of determination, nothing more than that.

Calls: SIBM, NMIMS(did not attend PI),IIFT, MDI, IIMS, New IIMs, IITB, IIML(SM), TISS, NITIE, FMS, JBIMS

Converts: MDI, New IIMS, IIML(SM), TISS, NITIE, FMS, IIFT(WL-did not proceed with the process)

Joined: FMS

It took me 5 long years, 5 CAT attempts, a lot of other MBA entrance exams, a few failures over past years, 2 waitlists, a lot of Parents’ blessings, and even more God’s grace to achieve it. Can’t be any happier, can’t be any more thankful to God.
P.S. Dreams do come true, sometimes it just takes a lot longer than usual.

Highlights

Total CAT attempts: 5 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

CAT 10 VA score: 9 percentile (probably a negative score)

CAT 13: 65.53 percentile

CAT 14: 99.37 percentile

CAT 14 VA score: 99.49 percentile

Finally joining: FMS Delhi

Total work ex before joining FMS: 47 months(at the time of CAT, it was 40 months)

Xth: 82%

XIIth: 80%

B.tech: 68.44%



The Journey

2010 – The beginning

It was the time when there used to be 3 sections in CAT namely QA, LRDI, VA. After finishing QA and LRDI, I looked at the timer. I just had 22 minutes left and VA yet to be started. And then I further made a strategy error! Decided to go through all questions) including RCs. Attempted some 11-12 questions out of 20. On outer, I felt satisfied having attempted atleast a decent number of questions, but deep inside I knew I had screwed it.

Result day:
QA: 99.5
LRDI: 99.2
VA: 9 (Yes! just 9 – probably a negative absolute score)

CAT was my dream after all, which now lay broken on the floor. It was heartbreaking. I was still a college kid, and looking at that score card broke my heart. That night I cried like hell, till I felt asleep on my own.
I had put all my hopes on CAT only, did not even sit for college placements. But after the debacle, found a job and took it. Life goes on afterall.

2011 & 2012 – The wasted years

The job was decent, salary was coming. The thought of CAT almost left my mind. Though I did attempt both of these CATs, but just for the namesake, without any preparation whatsoever. The thinking that it is better to write CAT after some workex further pushed me to ignore CAT. Result: Scores of early 80s in both attempts. Though I bettered my VA performance, probably because now there were just 2 sections: QADI and VALR(was fairly good in LR). Also, there was fixed time per section so I could spend more time on section 2.

2013-The dream resurrects

It was already July when I again decided to take CAT seriously. I already had 2 years of workex and at the time of CAT, it was to become 2.5 years. Now I was feeling bad to have wasted 2 previous attempts.

Nonetheless, I took a test series and started preparing again. Since the time was less, so I did the mistake of skipping basics and directly jump to tests and questions. The job took a lot of my time so I did not get a lot of time to practice, yet I tried to do my best. Days passed and I started giving mocks.
In some of them, I did very good, but in some of them I did very bad, but I kept attempting them.
On CAT day, I did fairly ok, not good, not bad.

Result: 65.53 percentile. I was taken aback. This was my worst OA score ever.
Pathetic thoughts started coming to my mind. Was I not smart enough for it? Is it all over forever? Should I finally move on after 4 attempts?
I took suggestions from a lot of people, but many of them suggested me to move on and put my efforts in the job. That I was already overage for CAT and seeing my past record, it is not wise to carry on.

2014 – The dream finally comes true

After thinking a lot, I decided to give it another strong attempt. By now, all my friends at job had switched to other companies for career growth, but I decided to stay so that I can concentrate on CAT.

I decided that coaching would bring me routine so joined classes in late January. My job demanded more than 12 hours a day and usually I came back home after 7:30-8:00 PM. After having some rest and dinner, the thought of picking up those books after such a tiring day felt like hell. But nevertheless, I almost everyday picked up those books at around 9:00 PM and studied till late night around 1:00 AM till eyes could take no more. Woke up again at 7 Am to go to office and routine continued. On weekends, I went to classes and studied whole day. The mocks started getting better and consistent this time, though VA was still a bit dicey but was improving.

All was going well, when suddenly the pattern of CAT changed. It was now a 170 minute, 100 question test. What was worse was that there was no time boundation for sections, which brought back my first attempt nightmares. I was so tensed that I flunked my next few mocks, before my teacher counseled me. Again, it started getting better. I did a lot of practice. Infinite number of questions, topic tests, sectional tests to improve my VA, and the results were promising.

CAT day – The nightmares of first attempt were still on my mind. The exam seemed easier than usual. Attempted around 42 questions of Section one in just 70 minutes. Now I had 100 minutes for section 2. Being extra cautious attempted 40 questions in section 2. OA 82 attempts, it certainly was a satisfactory performance.

Result:

Section 1: 97.62( was a bit disappointed)

Section 2: 99.49 (After scoring 9 in 1st attempt, this surely was unbelievable)

I almost cried when I saw that result. That satisfaction was to be felt. It really felt divine. 😃

Interviews

As expected, did not get any BLACKI call given my poor academic scores. Only AC were possible with that profile, for which my score was not enough.

For rest of interviews, some went good, some went bad. There was this one question which was asked in each of my interviews:

Q – Why so late for an MBA?

Ans- It has been my dream for 5 years, and it is never too late to wake up to your dreams.

FMS: 99.37 was a low score if we talk about FMS. I needed an extra ordinary performance in the PI given heavy weightage to CAT score at FMS, and considering that FMS PI is usually only 5-7 min process, it was even more difficult. But fortunately, the interview was based majorly on Philosophy, which is my forte, and I did perform very well there. I scored 5/5 in extempore and 9/10 in interview. On the result day, I had a WL of 88, which seemed comfortable, and I converted in the second wait list. 😃

P.S – We all have that dream and we should keep hanging to it. It is never too late. All the best to everyone. 😃


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