What after CAT exams?

This is a personal experience intended only as “sharing my experience.” 

I have been asked many a times that even after having a
decent CAT score what went wrong in the interview phase. I first appeared for
CAT in 2013 when I was in the final year of engineering. I Got 99.15 percentile
which was not good enough for major calls but still had plenty of good ones.
Those were the colleges I would have been happy to pass out from. But nothing
materialized. I Gave CAT exams again the next year, got 99.67 and now I had better
options and a bit of experience as to where I lacked the previous time. So here I
am going to share a few points of what I feel were the major issues.

COMPLACENCY

Yes. You read it right. All the time I was preparing for CAT
and other entrance exams I was being told that it is the big deal. Get a good
score and colleges will welcome you with open arms. No one, not even a single
person I came across who said, ” Dude, the real thing starts when you’re done
with the written exams”. So yes, complacency seeped in. After all 99+ score is
not an easy thing to achieve. But I am honestly telling you people that the
real thing indeed starts post these exams. 
The amount of sheer resolution to work hard needed during the 3 months
post these exams is much more than you need during the 10 month preparation for
them. Getting a score is one thing but getting a convert is a different ball
game altogether.

GETTING THE RIGHT
MENTOR

This is one more aspect which plays a crucial role in your
post exam days. You will see numerous debates on all forums about which
institute is better than other for GD/WAT/PI preparation. But nothing is good until you get a direction backed by knowledge of the mentor. Even when you join
any institute, you have to have a mentor who tells you from time to time on what to
focus on, how to go about handling typical questions, how to keep yourself
motivated all the way through because 7-8 interviews stretched in a 3 months
period does get tiresome. This mentor can be anyone, any friend/senior of yours
who has done it all, any particular faculty member of your institute you can
look up to for help/guidance, or any professional you know or even your dad who
had a great exposure in his profession.

KEEPING AN OPEN MIND

Let me explain what I mean by this. When we have quite a few
choices we tend to start on a selective note. Like I had calls from MDI,NITIE,
IIFT, NMIMS, IIT-D & B, IIM S, New IIMs & MFC. So I started with only a
selective few in my mind. It was like I was making choices before the process
has even started. It led to me maintaining lower than the optimum level needed
in the process.  It is good to
desire the best option, but never ignore the others. You can’t always hit
the bulls eye but hitting somewhere on the board also fetches points. Each
interview, no matter for which institute will add some value so prepare well for all.

KEEPING UP THE
MOMENTUM

It is a long process. Fatigue is undeniable. But you got to
keep up with it. You got to develop the habit of learning. Like if you read a
2500 word editorial you will surely come across 2-3 new ideas. You then
have to read about those ideas and may be think of a way to bring that into the
conversation you might have with the interviewer. Prepare relevant things that you come across. And as
I said a mentor will help you identify those relevant things.

But I hope these few points are enough for the start.
And you all people who are adept at doing analysis of mocks will be able to do
analysis of their own experiences as well. In the end it is a learning process.
Look for your shortcomings without being too self-critical and also without
putting 100% blame on the system. The systems loopholes cannot be helped but putting in efforts is in our hands.

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