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  • My MBA story. How I got a 100 Percentile and didn’t join an IIM

    Hello Puys. Hope all of you are doing well. Been quite some time that I posted anything of note on PG.

    😃

    The trigger for this post? I recently came across one of the
    latest posts on “All I wanted to speak about CAT” by @sid2222000 and wanted to
    share the same from my side as well. Being an oldie and an active
    member/moderator/employee/DT captain/editor circa 2009-11, I was always coaxed
    to write something about the journey but couldn’t. I guess, on a holiday, with
    enough motivation to write something, I have finally managed to recollect and
    record something that might be useful to future CAT aspirants and might give a
    bit of insights into how I went about CAT.

    Statutory warning: A lot of gyaan to follow. Those who know
    me on PG can vouch for the same!

    A long long time ago in
    2004

    Till then, a conventional life had been led, with dreams as
    limited as to which college should I go to next and how should I study to
    achieve the former. Why should I go for a particular career choice was not
    thought about and the consequences, not planned. I managed to bag the last
    merit seat in Grant Medical College, Mumbai (one of the best in the country as I
    would later realize). It was a dream come true and for someone who was the
    proverbial frog in the well, it was an opportunity to experience a lot of new
    things.

    2004-2008

    Apart from a major personal setback, things were pretty
    smooth on the academic front. MBBS is a stretched out course that gives you ample
    time to grow academically and so, there was no major issue on the academic
    front. However, as time passed, I began to realize the need to have a plan for
    the future post my graduation.

    When you get into a medical college, almost everybody is set
    to land up a seat at a post graduate institute in medicine or surgery. Over the
    previous 4 years, I had realized that I would not like to practice for the
    remainder of my life and so, getting into medicine or surgery would not make
    sense. I started looking for options and found that an MBA was interesting for
    2 reasons – it was something that would add something to my personality (mock
    me all you want but I genuinely feel that MBA is somewhat a glorified
    personality development course with content addition as a by product) & the
    process seemed inviting to someone like me who had a knack of cracking aptitude
    tests (how wrong I was into thinking that one has to only crack a test to get
    into a B-school). I had never ever thought of the specialization aspect and was
    single-mindedly focused on just getting into a good B-school (a mistake in
    hindsight).

    As is the case with many CAT aspirants, I Googled “MBA after
    MBBS”. These 3 words changed the course of my life and I landed on PG. After
    trying and testing the forum (back in those days, PG had a simple interface), I
    finally signed up for the website in Jan 2008.

    2008-2009

    I started getting active on PG, started seeking help from
    senior puys including @puri.pallavi, @implex, @estranged_gnrs, @rmbt,
    @deep_agarwal and many many more. Seeking help turned into helping others and I
    took a liking to the concept of PG and the helpfulness of the users. The
    entirety of 2008 was spent well in understanding the various aspects of an MBA
    and how it would make sense to do one at that point in time. As has been the
    case many a time, it was a matter of deciding first and then finding means to
    justify that decision.

    I had made it to the PG Mumbai Dream Team (in spite of not
    being a CAT taker that year) and had a wonderful time discussing strategies and
    learning from fellow aspirants like @implex, @navneet023, Nitin,
    @iitr.abhishek, @smarep amongst others.  

    Come 2009 and I had a happy surprise call from
    @estranged_gnrs to ask if I was interested in moderating the forum. I had been
    pretty active in the previous months and was looking forward to playing a more
    important role with PG in an official capacity. I started attending PG meets; AIPGM
    2009 was my first meet and I had the opportunity of meeting the likes of
    @ganeshiima, @iim.maniac, @try4it, @harshadk, @puri.pallavi, @pushkar84 and
    many more. I vividly remember sharing the dorm with @pushka84 and @ganeshiima and
    wondering if it was a good omen (both of them were on their way to IIM A that
    year and as it invariably is with a CAT aspirant, I had already taken a liking
    to WIMWI). Mumbai meets were fun and I remember a time when we used to go to CL
    to have meets with the Mumpuy junta. I managed to get into the prestigious
    Pagalguy Dream Team and had a wonderful time with @Sammael, @NeverG!veUp,
    @r11gupta, @ThEbmr, @silentassassin, @vipul88, @prakharc, @Explorer_Gagan,
    @varun.garg.pec. Never ever was a moment when it was not competitive and never
    ever was a moment when it led to tension between the teammates; one of the few
    representations where online interaction is as fruitful as meeting someone in
    person (we might have met only 3-4 times in total but still know each other a
    lot better than that). PG was defined by the sanctity of online interactions
    and this was the epitome of that thought.

    The exams were passing at a fast clip. I had a fair amount
    of confidence in my ability but never felt from within that I could dream big. All
    my previous attempts at gaining excellence had fallen short by some distance
    (starting from my 10th standard to my medical entrance where I had
    almost fallen short of getting into GMC). I felt that I could be content
    getting into a decent institute and would need a stroke of luck if I were to
    make it to ABC. CAT came and went and I was not really happy with my attempt
    (same slot as @WarriorWithin, my batch mate and a very close friend from GMC
    who later made it to IIM L). The paper was a bit strange and I was not sure if I
    had done justice to the paper. IIFT, FMS and SNAP had passed uneventfully and XAT
    remained.

    2010

    I had never taken XAT before and had heard a lot of stories
    about it being unpredictable and incredibly challenging. In an era where
    solving previous year papers would allow even non serious aspirants to get some
    footing, XAT came across as a breath of fresh air. The paper was challenging
    and I found it to my liking. I merrily went around solving questions and when I
    had finished, I had attempted 71 questions out of a maximum possible 100 odd.
    Came out and got a call from @r11gupta and we were mutually shocked at the
    disparity in attempts (he had attempted 55 odd but had a knack for being
    extremely accurate). I was stunned at my attempt. All keys showed that I had
    done decently enough to get both the calls from XLRI. The belief had started
    returning.

    Results came out and I was indifferent to see a 98.26%ile in
    CAT. I had not expected a huge score but had always felt that a 99+ was on the
    cards. More shocking was that I had missed the GK cutoff in IIFT by 0.8 marks
    and the LR cutoff in SNAP by 1.5 marks. So, here I was without a call yet with
    FMS and XLRI results pending.

    As expected, I managed to bag both BM and PMIR calls from
    XLRI with a score of 99.96%ile. FMS was kind enough to give calls although I was
    sure I had barely scraped through. Got a consolation call from MDI through CAT
    and that was it.

    Now came probably the biggest learning of my life. I had
    taken GDPI extremely lightly and was banking heavily on my diverse profile and
    written score to get through. My answers were half baked and being a shy and
    reserved person, I could not muster enough courage to talk to people and get my
    answers reviewed. Disaster struck in my XLRI and FMS interviews and I failed
    miserably in all 4 of them.

    But surprisingly, in spite of the failure, I was
    surprisingly happy about the outcome as I was not prepared to enter a B-School
    at that point in time and needed more time to reflect and clarity. I was sure
    why I wanted to do an MBA and how I was not too keen to enter the healthcare sector
    but I had reservations accepting that I had made a mistake in the past and was
    looking forward to changing it. I realized that it is impossible to convince
    someone about something that you are not convinced about and promised myself to
    take care of this in the future. Post my FMS interview and non-conversion, I had
    spent a few days with @ayush13 at his home and the amount of belief he and his
    mother put into me were amazing. I realised that I could make it happen given
    another opportunity.

    Maharashtra CET still remained and I took it with a clear
    mind given that I had nothing to lose. Had some in depth insights from
    @prasad.sawant, @nikhil.john, @murtz and others and it really helped. I ended up
    scoring 179/200 which is probably the highest score ever in CET and had managed
    to exorcise my internal demons (the one thing that really gave me happiness and
    I don’t mean to come across as arrogant, was that, I had managed to score a
    mark better than @PatrickDsouza Sir who has been a source of inspiration to
    many CET and CAT aspirants). I believed that I could top a test (might sound
    trivial to many but for me, it meant a lot). GDPI happened and I managed to get
    a 211/240 which has not been breached since then. The previous highest was a
    201 and so, I knew that if I were sufficiently relaxed and had my mind clear, I
    had it in me to get into the top B-schools in the country. I had my first bite
    of the publicity pie and my first interview was with PG which was probably @laj’s
    first article on PG.

    I chose to forego JBIMS (I didn’t apply to the institute)
    and was looking for options as to what should I be doing in the interim year. I
    had a few options from TIME, TestFunda, E&Y. I was planning to pick one
    amongst them that would not harm my CV much and would be a good learning
    experience. And then PG happened. @pagalguy and @estranged_gnrs called me up to
    discuss a prep platform that was in the pipeline at that point in time and little
    did I realize that it was an interview. I was not at all prepared for the same
    and lacked the maturity to put in some amount of thought before going for an
    interaction at that point in time. In hindsight, I gave probably what was an embarrassing
    account of myself and I am grateful to get an opportunity at that point in time
    in spite of that.

    I started writing articles for the homepage and started
    gaining popularity. I was appointed captain of the Pagalguy Dream Team 2010 and
    it was a tremendous experience all over again. Made great friends in the
    process and rarely had I encountered a more talented bunch of individuals:
    @the_hate, @geminite, @abhishek_sharma, @TnT, @hbz_316, @Scuderia, @Samurai_X,
    @.Z., @nik.nat, @murtz and @varun.garg.pec, @targetcat_2010, @Alex_Mahone and
    many more.

    My mock scores had started rising and I was pretty confident
    of a fruitful year:

    Mock Scores Repository 2010

    The dynamics shared was completely different from what I had
    the previous year. This year, everybody was determined to score crazy and make
    a mockery of the entrance tests. And mockery they did.

    On a personal front, I had started to gain a bit of
    confidence. Although not fully open, I started interacting with people around
    me. That PG was with me during that point in time was a big help although I am
    sure I have given everybody at the PGHQ few sleepless nights wondering if
    hiring me was indeed a correct decision. It was the start of my development
    though and I would always fondly remember the year I spent with PG. I discussed
    my interview answers with almost everybody at the HQ and there was some
    feedback waiting for me that helped me gain insights not only into the
    interview process but as to how the interviewers thoughts and how could I be
    one step ahead of them.

    CAT came and it was a laborious slot to say the least. On 14th
    of November 2010, on Children’s day, afternoon slot, 3 people suffered a
    similar fate – @abhishek_sharma, @TnT and I. I understand when an exam is
    difficult and it is fun to crack such exams too (XAT 2011 comes to mind, more
    on that later) but there is a thin line beyond which, it becomes incredibly
    frustrating. Add to that an unclear process of normalization and you are almost
    about to pull your hair off. I was sure that DI/LR was a bit too annoying (50 row
    tables with simple calculation based questions that required one to scroll up
    and down and left and right) but managed to fight it out. Verbal was a breeze
    and I always had faith in my quant abilities.

    IIFT and SNAP were swatted away and I managed to get calls
    and convert them quite easily. FMS was a breeze and I knew I had rocked the
    paper big time.

    XAT was next and fond memories from the year before made me
    look forward to this new challenge. And what a challenge it was. 3 sections,
    with an unequal number of questions and marks, questions ranging from 1-markers
    to 5-markers and the test taking fraternity was surely stumped. I could clearly
    see people in the exam hall rattled and a few almost cried after not making
    enough headway post the first hour. Sample this: the test was of 250 odd marks
    and the cutoffs were predicted to be around 35. I was happy that I had done
    justice to the test and was looking forward to the result.

    Results started trickling in. FMS had given me a call and I knew
    I could convert it given my huge written score and the 70% emphasis on the
    same. XLRI gave me both calls, after a bit of a mishap when XLRI faced some
    technical glitch which was reported on PG (by yours truly; in hindsight, it was
    pretty acerbic and I had to probably pay the price for it during my interview
    ;)).

    Then CAT struck. On the night of the 11th of
    January 2011, I entered that zone when people don’t know whether to be happy or
    sad about a particular event. My scorecard showed 93.79%ile with a 55.84%ile in
    verbal. I was shocked beyond belief and could not move away from my pc for an
    entire day. All the dreams I had of making it to an IIM were squashed and I could
    not think of a thing that I could have done to correct the history.

    A lot of support was shown from my friends at PG and I was
    glad to have such motivating people around J

    I fought my way through the XL BM interview which was
    probably marred by my vengeance article on PG a few days back 😛 and managed
    to convert my FMS call and decided on joining the same.

    The team did pretty well that year with a few exceptions:

    DT 2010 Scorecard

    Now, all happy stories on this thread have come to an end at
    this point in time. But iss kahani mein ek twist hai 😉

    FMS started and I had a wonderful time there. The
    opportunity was amazing and I had a fair bit of idea as to what I should be
    expecting and what were the things I should take care about. I had a clear
    picture of what I wanted to gain from my MBA (development on personal front
    with some positions of responsibility, a change in my career and some added
    content). I loved the institute and am extremely proud to be an alumnus. Summer
    internship came and I was happy to come out of it with a TAS offer (for the
    uninitiated, TAS has an approximately 2 hour Group Discussion and is probably one
    of the most sought after company on campus). The GD demons were put to rest and
    I was happily in FMS, with a TAS offer and in the Media Relations team.

    All this while, the fire still burned within me. The question
    of what went wrong in CAT 09 and 10 was still unanswered. CAT had become more
    than an entrance test to me. All this made me take CAT once again in 2011. The
    only people who were aware of this were my mother and @neha.visionary who had
    secretly smuggled me a CAT application form. I registered on the last day and
    there was only one slot (morning, which I hate) and one center available. CAT
    had shifted to a new pattern and so, I was not prepared at all for what lay
    ahead. In hindsight, it helped me that I was under no pressure. I had no plans
    to switch, had a good internship in hand and was in line for entering the
    Placecom at FMS which is kind of a big deal. The test went by and I was really
    happy with my performance. I had managed to finish both the sections 10 minutes
    before the time ran out and had checked and crosschecked at least a couple of
    times. I came out of the exam hall, called up my mother and said, “I won’t be
    surprised if I score a 100.”

    The results came out in January. I had scored a 100, the
    sweet smell of success. I was sure of not taking up admission into an IIM and
    so, did not appear for any of the interviews. The only take away from the
    result was the belief that I could do something substantial at a big stage. The
    demons had been exorcised and here I was, living the dream I had started out
    with.

    Fast Forward

    FMS was a wonderful experience. I got into the placecom and
    had a wonderful time there. Learnt a lot from the faculty and peers and ended
    up with a job in Sales with ITC. After completing 20 months with ITC, selling soaps
    and shampoos and agarbattis across first coastal Andhra Pradesh and then the
    entire Andhra Pradesh, I am entering a new beginning once again…

    Am extremely thankful to all who have read through this huge
    post, and all those who are on PG who make PG the wonderful place that it is.
    Kudos to the team who keep the site running, fulfilling dreams of thousands of
    aspirants.

    PS: A few names I want to mention: @seba_catrpillar, @cutie.pie,
    @sweetgalshruti, @justtj, @first_timer, @abhimukh19, @visionIIM-ACL, @rajaramvarun, @varnicat,
    @soumik.ganguly, @shreyas_nitt, @kinji@PG, @anwesa09, @barclaysboss,
    @uglyduckling, @Amodh, @rahicecream, @subhakimi, @naga25french, @Crysis,
    @ravi.tejapalla, @Clark-kent, @ajaigovindg, @astha_a, @severus_snits, @QuintEssence,
    @writetotanveer, @manish.harodia, @pari123, @priyalli, @Rooney7, @inshulchawla,
    @The.Raven, @vineetkhn, @vivekkahn, @vineet.nitd, @spirit11, @grondmaster,
    @chuck_gopal, @harry4u9, @Psychodementia, @raghav507, @wHiTe_HoLe, @pendyal,
    @lehmannbrothershereicome, @sumitrocks, @diablorulez, @deep_agarwal, @UtsavGambhir,
    @deepu, @arion5, the entire Dream Teams and Underdogs Teams of all years.

    PPS: I have not been able to name many of the puys here
    owing to my poor memory. I am sure I would be forgiven.

    PPPS: This has been bigger than I had ever thought.

    PPPPS: Any grammatical errors are to be forgiven. This is
    straight from the heart without any edits.

    Moral/s of the story:

    You can have 0 idea about what you are going to do in the
    long term and still end up experiencing a lot of good things; having goals is
    important no doubt but being farfetched doesn’t help either

    Your friends, relatives, well-wishers might all make sense
    at some point in time and you might come across as a very confused individual, but
    at the end of the day, it is your choice that would matter

    Doing an MBA at the right point in time is extremely crucial
    in how your career would turn out to be; the question why MBA needs to be
    answered not only from an interview’s point of view but for yourself to know if
    this is the best you would want to do to yourself over the next few years

    Getting into an institute might be a dream for many and even
    yours at certain points in time, but it always helps to be rational rather than
    getting carried away at times (letting go of institutes after topping 2 tests
    was not easy and people still ridicule me, but I was sure of my decision both
    times)

    Trust in yourself, put in hard word and it won’t go
    unrewarded.

    (This article has been written by a PaGaLGuY user so largely left unedited to retain the flavour).

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