Prepping for MBA isn’t a fairy tale – My Story!

Finally I am making a post on this sacred thread… The thread which is always been source of inspiration for me ever since I came to know about this wonderful world of Pagalguy.

Well to be honest I have neither cracked CAT nor got admission into top B-school like IIM A/B/C or XL . After 3 season of preparation all I could manage is a single decent convert.

This story is not a fairytale like the most posted on this thread. This story is more about the struggles and lessons that I have learnt throughout the journey.

In this world, there are people that are born with great talent. And then there are people who have to fight an extra bit to make up for the lack of talent. I believe that I belong to later.

Early life– In the early days of my school life I was not a bright student by any stretch of imagination… This could be easily interpreted by the fact that I was never able to score more than 75% till class 10th…

Sometimes circumstances can completely change your outlook towards a thing. And I first realised this fact when I was in 9th standard… That was the time when my family were going through a very tough phase… My younger brother was diagnosed with a learning disorder… Since my parents were not able to give much time for my studies, I was sent to the tuition classes for the first time … And that was the first time I started taking studies seriously… I was lucky that I found two very good teachers in next 2 years, who completely changed the way I took studies… Gradually my performance improved and I started scoring well… All the credit for that goes to them…

24th May 2003, the day class 10th results were out… I had scored 87%… And this was the first time when I saw my parents happy after seeing my result…

Suddenly I could realise that expectation of people around me had increased… 2 years back they were not sure whether I would get the marks which were required to take stream of my choice and now they were talking about IIT-JEE… It was much like comparing Irfan Pathan with Kapil Dev after string of good performance in couple of series…

Now the focus shifted from regular school studies to entrance exams… And I found it difficult to cope with the pressure… It showed in my class 12th result where my marks had taken a dip… Also I could not do well in engineering entrance exams where I scored just 34 marks in JEE screening and got a rank of 25278 in AIEEE…

For the 1st time my confidence got shattered as I could realise that I was letting down the people around me…I decided to take a year drop to give one more shot at entrance exams… Initially my parents opposed my idea but then somehow I convinced them…

IIT Preparation- I joined a relatively unknown institute close to my place in Delhi for the preparation… Month of October had come and gone by and I was still struggling in my preparations… That was the time I felt ‘it is now or never’. I decided to devote myself only to studies. I cut down myself from everything, friends, sports, entertainment and almost everything. For next 6 months, every day I devoted at least 12 hours to study. Study and sleep were the only things in my daily schedule. And after couple of month of hard work, result started to show. I had almost double my mocks score. Things were going fine but still there was a small doubt in the mind. Whether I will be able to clear the final hurdle…

9th April 2006, the D-day… Ultimately the small doubt which I had about my capabilities proved out to be biggest roadblock between me and my goal… I was fully prepared with the entire concepts but the mental preparation was lacking.

8:00 AM,the bell rang for the exam to start. Exam that could change my life. First there was 2 hour physics exam, a subject which was my strength. Started attempting the paper, try to solve few sums but was unable to get them. Suddenly lost all the confidence. Clock was ticking and I was unable to solve even the easiest of problem… Around 30 minutes had gone and I had barely attempted a question. I started to feel that my dream would perhaps always remain a dream. Somehow I regained my composure and attempted the paper… As I came out of my exam hall, I knew I had messed up all my hard work… Went without any expectation to attempt the other 2 sections and they went like breeze… I learnt a very important lesson that day- No matter how much you prepare or study ultimately it is the mental strength which will make the whole difference on the D-day for any exam…

A month later result started to come out…


UPTU SEE- 363 rank, AIEEE- 7023 rank… And I missed IIT JEE by a question in physics (I had got 41, cutoff was 48)…

I decided to take admission in a government engineering college in Lucknow. The pain of missing out a golden chance was always there in the back of the mind.

CAT Preparation-

After 1st year of engineering I started to feel lost like a average Indian engineering student who feels that this is not I have expected from this course and perhaps engineering is not meant for me. However Life moved on and I started looking for alternatives.

The thought of MBA came to my mind during 3rd year of engineering. Few of my friends who were in final year of graduation were seriously preparing for CAT and I felt motivated seeing them. I decided to enrol for classroom coaching after the 5th sem…

CAT2009– It was in June 2009 when I first started my preparation seriously… Quants and DI was my strength and VA was my area of weakness. I started attempting mocks and could easily realise this fact… In VA ,at best I was one question away from the cutoff and the rest of the times I used to get very low scores (even single digit scores). I realised not being a reader was hurting me badly, since RC’s are considered to be make or break section in VA. I started reading newspaper daily… Plus I used to read something that could really bind my interest (mainly sports related stuff)… Apart from that I also used to solve atleast 1 sectional test daily.

My performance in VA gradually started to improve as I knew my area of strength and targeted them (like I was good in verbal logic so used to make sure I get them right).

Just when I started to feel comfortable, my preparation got hampered as I had an eye infection due to which I had to leave my preparation for a month. All the momentum that I had gained was lost. When I resumed my preparation , I made the mistake of over burdening myself… During the dussehra break, I attempted around 10 mocks in around 10 days. The mistake I made was that I was not analysing them. As a result there was a huge variation in my scores. I was not learning from my mistakes and kept repeating them. I realised this fact and I decided to take a break from mocks and for 10-15 days just analysed my previous mocks performances. I could easily make out the error which I was making in the mocks.

One month was still left in the CAT exam. Slowly I started to gain the momentum. I made sure that I was not getting saturated my preparing excess. For the last one month, I mainly focussed on revising basics.

C-day: 6th Dec 2009– The first CAT of my life. There were much controversies which had surrounded the online CAT and there were apprehensions whether the test will get over smoothly or not. Learning from the IIT JEE debacle, I went there with confidence. Didn’t much think about the other factors and remained focussed on my own performance.

Attempted overall 45 questions, with around 15 in each of the three sections.

Other exams- Had filled IIFT, FMS and NMAT as well… Didn’t write XAT as the exam was clashing with end sem exam…

After few days ,result started to come out… Had performed dismally bad in IIFT and FMS… NMAT was also a disaster…

In between this, I got placed in Tech Mahindra.

After a long wait CAT result were out. I had scored 97.87%ile (VA-94.67%ile, DI-94.27%ile, QA- 95.45%ile). Got calls from MDI and IMT-G. The long wait from exam to results brought a change in my thinking. I thought about joining the job and delaying my MBA plan owing to personal reasons.In the end, I skipped both the calls. I also decided that I won’t be taking the CAT atleast that year.

Introduction to world of Pagalguy –

Engineering college ended and I started waiting for my joining…It was the same time during which I become active on Pagalguy. Rahicecream who was one of the very active users then, became my first friend on this forum. CAT was still out of my mind but somehow I got hooked up to PG. PG becomes an addiction mainly due to its awesomeness.

Meanwhile, in September 2010 I got my Tech M joining at Pune. Training was a very short one there and quickly I was assigned to a project. Within 6 months, frustration started to creep in and I felt running away from that place. CAT was the option with which I decided to go.

CAT 2011- In the month of June, I started my preparation. Joined test series. Preparation along with office workload was a new experience. I realised that I needed someone who can be a source of constant motivation. One of my college friends who was working in Mumbai joined me in the preparation. We used to attempt sectionals/ mocks daily and then discuss it on communicator in whatever free time we got in office and on skype after returning home.

As preparation was going on, I joined some study groups which were active in Pune. It was through them I came in contact with deepak_pgi… He was the first puy that I ever met. Then PDT was formed and I was a part of it. It was there I came in touch with few other puys anshul_mechie, manish_harodia sir and thinkace, who were very active on the forum.

Preparation was going smooth… I didn’t used to score too high in mocks(scores were majority in 90-95% ile range) but from the past experience I knew mocks score don’t matter much.

Then came the C-day… Paper was on easier side… I attempted 52 (27 in section 1 and 25 in section 2).Accuracy in section 2 was always going to be a factor.

NMAT and XAT were the other two exams I was writing. NMAT went fine. XAT had a big surprise with decision making sections. When I came home and matched answers from various institute keys, I was getting around 38 overall with 11 in DM. According to institute that was enough to fetch both the calls from XL.

Then result started to come out. 1st one was CAT. I ended up with 96.80%ile which was even lesser than the previous attempt. Section 2 did the damage with 88.8%ile.Though with that score I still had slight hope of getting new IIM’s call and IIT calls

3 weeks later, XAT result was out… It was an absolute shocker for me… I had scored 95%ile with 71%ile in DM (5.16 marks). One more mark in that section and I could have got both the calls.

The season ended with a lone NM call. After the XAT shock, I had made my mind to give one last shot. So didn’t prepare much for NM call. GD-PI went below average. Didn’t had much hopes from it.

As expected, I got a reject. My friend who was all along the preparation had converted NM. A month later he converted SJMSOM and left NM for it.

CAT 2012-

So it was time for one last shot. Life wasn’t easy. Workload had increased so was the office politics.

Activity on PG had also reduced . Somehow I was not able to motivate myself. Month of July had passed and I was struggling with the mocks. Mocks score had taken an astronomical dip. 2.5 months before CAT, I decided to take a break. Went for the vacation for 2 weeks.

It was the time when different regional teams being formed on PG. It was then I first interacted with Abhishek aka dreamer87 who was a part of PDT. He was the one who kept the thread alive in the initial stages with his motivating posts. The improvement which he showed within a month was quite amazing. He and Anshul were the ones who really motivated me. Preparation was back on track thanks to them.

Meanwhile, when I returned from my break, my office had shifted to a different place. I decided to take as less work as possible in last two months of preparation and devote some time to preparation during office time. At the new office I met a college friend who was also giving a last shot at CAT. So I got a company with whom I can discuss about preparation in whatever idle time I was getting.

In a matter of month, fortunes seemed to change completely. I was feeling very confident… Perhaps was in the best form of my life

Finally the much awaited CAT started… Many of my friends who were done with it gave there review… CAT was bit tricky this time around… I had taken a 10 day off before CAT… Gave NMAT in this period just to settle the nerves…

At last the day arrived… 31st October 2012. I was in very relax and confident frame of mind. Paper started. Section 1 went like a breeze and I had attempted 24… Section 2 had one tricky LR set. I spend 15 minutes on that. Apart from that rest paper was fine.

The wait for CAT had started. In between gave other exam. Some went fine some were not upto the expectation. XAT turned out to be a disaster where I was getting a very low score in VA.

Finally it was result time. CAT website went down in the midnight. I stayed awake to check the results. After hours of wait I checked my result at 5:45AM and it showed 94.29%ile against my name with 96.20%ile in section 1 and 84.69% in section 2. This result was a huge set back as I felt that my best effort was not enough to get over the line. That was the time when I felt it was very difficult to motivate myself. Luckily I had people around me who gave me ample support at time.

So I decided to make most of any little opportunity that was going to come in my way.

Soon other results were out. I had messed up XAT with very poor VA score. Got 99.40%ile in SNAP and 219 score NMAT. So I had 3 calls. SIBM-P, SCMHRD and NMIMS.

Next stage was always going to be difficult as I considered GD-PI as my weak link. With average profile much work was needed to be done. Joined GD-PI classes where I got some valuable feedback from Manish sir. I discussed a lot with all the friends about myself and my achievements and analysing my strengths thoroughly, which I could project during PI. My friend who was in my office who was preparing with me helped a lot in zeroing in all the answers pertaining to PI that could have been asked.

Finally GD-PI started. SIBM was below average with bad PI. SCMHRD and NM went fine and I had some hope with them.

Then the final result time arrived. 1st was SIBM and it was a reject as expected. Then a week later got a reject from SCMHRD which meant that only one hope was left, NM.

5 March 2013– The day NM result was going to be announced. At around 6PM, saw the final result thread on PG. After trying for half an hour the result page opened and I saw ‘Selected’ on the screen. At last there was something to cheer about. Finally I got my 1st convert. Though it was not a big convert but it was the reward of all the hard work I had put in.

After much thinking I decided to join NM as I saw no point in continuing with a job I did not like. So perhaps this was the best time to pursue MBA if I really wanted to. Plus the fact , CAT is too unpredictable to rely on and with most of the institute only considering CAT score, it is always a gamble.

I dedicate this post to all who were there with me all the times, especially the tough phase. I realise that already this post is too long, so restraining myself to name a particular as the list of people who helped me at some point of time, is endless. Thanks to each and everyone who were the part of this journey that taught me a lot. Some of you have become integral part of life, and I hope this bond carries throughout the life.

And special thanks to Pagalguy for providing such a wonderful platform that has given so many friends and memories.

Before finishing this post, I would like share my learning to all who have the patience to read this long post.

1) Never ever make an exam the most important thing in your life– This is the mistake I committed during my IIT preparation. It is ok to give extra attention and study harder for an exam. But never take the failure in an exam personally. For months I could not forgive myself for messing up the IIT-JEE. This affected the way I performed in the initial days of my engineering.

There are people who left their job for CAT, which is not the right way to go about. Infact it puts extra pressure on you to perform.

2) If you are willing to learn then ultimately you would learn. Past doesn’t matter much– Ultimately it is the willingness of a person to learn from his mistakes that graduates him. We have seen many example on this thread itself that how a simple person who is willing to learn can achieve great heights. Ultimately it is the extra effort that separates extra ordinary from ordinary.

3) Mocks score doesn’t matter much – The biggest myth that people have in their mind is that if they are not getting good mocks score then it is end of road for them. Mocks is just to analyse where are you lagging and how can you improve. One of my friend who prepared with me never crossed 99% in any mock. But he crossed 99%ile twice in CAT. So mocks are just a way to build exam temperament.

4) Getting into a B-school is not the end – Getting into a good B-school is just a start. It is true that getting into a B-School could open up many options but it is not the only way to achieve success. There are people who are Non-MBA and they are more successful than MBAs. So it is all about making most out of the opportunity.

5) Lastly, circumstances never remains the same, ‘Har underdog ka din aata hai’ – Sometimes you never know what future has in store for you. A small incident can change your outlook towards the life. When going is tough just remain composed and wait for the right moment. You may struggle in our path, it is fine but at any stage you should not give up. Always back your abilities. What matters how you finish things off. Taking a small example before ending this post , Whenever MS Dhoni wins a game for his side, nobody remembers the dot balls that he had played earlier in his innings. What people remember is the last shot !!!!!

Though your dreams be tossed and blown. Walk on walk on with hope in your heart. And you’ll never walk alone. You’ll never walk alone…

[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]