Gurpreet Bhati, currently a student of PGPB6 at MISB Bocconi, did his under-graduation in Engineering before deciding to pursue a career in the dynamic world of Finance. Fondly known by the name “Guru”, Gurpreet is known for his analytical skills, quick problem-solving capabilities and love for numbers. He also has to his credit scoring an impressive 220 on his NMAT test last year, making him a part of the top scorers in the country. Here’s a quick tête-à-tête with him…
Q.1. How was your experience with NMAT? How many times did you give the test?
NMAT by GMAC being a two-hour test is not a very exhausting exam. (other competitive exams are generally 3 hours). I gave the exam once.
Q.2. How is NMAT different from CAT? How does the preparation of NMAT differ from the preparation of any other exam?
NMAT will test your speed along with analytical skills. CAT on the other hand has a more difficult question set as compared to NMAT. The other major difference is the negative marking in CAT which makes accuracy a very crucial factor in case of CAT.
Q.3. How did you manage to prepare for NMAT and other exams in the same time frame?
As speed is the most crucial factor in case of NMAT, I would recommend that the aspirants should practice as many mocks as they can (also keep a check on time while taking the mock, as that will assist you in developing a good speed).
Q.4. When did you start your preparation for NMAT? How did you go about preparing for the different sections in the paper?
I started preparing for CAT in the final year of graduation. CAT preparation was enough to get acquainted with the knowledge set required to crack NMAT; the only thing I needed to work on was speed. I solved around 30 NMAT mocks (and timed them) to get ready for NMAT.
Q.5. What are the different resources you used to prepare for the exam? Did you give mocks for this? If yes, which one?
For studying, I used the CAT material provided by TIME (it was enough for NMAT and other exams as well). For practice, I joined Hitbullseye’s test series.
Q.6. What was the sequence of the sections you followed on the day of the exam? Why did you choose the same?
Most people start off with sections where they are strong, but I did the opposite. I started with language skills, followed by logical skills and quantitative skills in the end. I chose this pattern because I need my mind completely fresh when I deal with English, while on the other hand I can do numbers in my sleep as well!
Q.7. What was your strategy for the D-Day? Does the fact that there is no negative marking affect your preparation strategy?
Except for the selection of the section I would want to tackle first, there was no particular strategy as such (I don’t study on the day of exam). The fact that there was no negative marking didn’t have a direct impact on me, but subconsciously it gave me a boost because I knew that even if the answer was wrong, I wouldn’t be paying for it. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that you should solve each and every question. If you are not familiar with the question, please don’t waste time on it as time is a valuable resource. Just tick mark one option and move on.
Q.8. How did you prepare for the PI? How was your PI experience?
For PI just make sure that you know your CV inside out. It would also be beneficial to read up on some current affairs.
However, most of the candidates were asked questions related to their work experience, if any.
Since I was a fresher, they asked me questions about my interests (football, chess, finance), my graduation, and also some current affairs.
Q.9. While giving mocks how well did you start scoring and how did you analyse it to reach 220? Any cheat sheets?
Initially, when I started the mocks, I started with quants, followed by logical, and communication skills in the end. I scored in the same order as well; highest in quants while in English I was not even reaching the average cut-off. I tried reversing the order and tried attempting communication skills section first post which my scores started improving. Initially my percentile was between 85-90 but towards the end I started scoring above 95 percentile.
Q.10. Why did you choose to join MISB Bocconi?
The main factors that influenced me to join MISB were the international faculty and the exchange semester at SDA Bocconi in Milan. This sets the school apart from the other B-schools.
Q.11. Which other calls did you get?
Apart from MISB I only applied for NMIMS Mumbai.
Q.12. What are the new things (personal development/professional) that you learned during first two months at MISB?
To be a good manager one should have a high analytical IQ as well as behavioural IQ and that’s what I was looking for in a management program.
I was always intrigued to learn the overall functioning of an organization and that is exactly what we started with in this PGPB program. Subjects such as Organizational Design and Behaviour and Leadership and Change management gave me an in-depth knowledge on the same.
Group and simulation exercises clubbed with case studies further helped me understand and dive deep into the functioning of organization. Studying with exchange students has also been a great add-on and helped me understand people from different cultures and the various outlooks and perspectives in solving these problems.
To sum up, the first few months have been really insightful and I am looking forward to the rest of the program.
Q.13. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any message for the test takers?
Practice, practice, practice. Speed is crucial in this exam, and the best way to master the art of time management is to practice as many mock tests as possible. Do not be stressed, as we generally tend to slow down under pressure. All the very best!
NMAT by GMAC 2016 high-scorer
MISB Bocconi PGPB6 student