My MBA prep journey has been beyond just preparing for CAT, and hence I would like to share AIWTSA - Entering MBA. I've detailed all my lessons and insights in this blog. Do give a read!
But my point of writing this post on this platform is not just to share this article. I have been amazed by the kind of support and motivation this community gives to each other. Too bad that I discovered it at the fag end of my journey.
So I would love to share with you yet another example of how ANYTHING is possible in life, no matter how improbable it might seem on paper!
My background - GEM with 8/8/8, graduating from a decent Tier-2 college with work-ex of 3 years in core industry. Gave my level best in the last attempt, only to end up with a mere 91.85 percentile.
I shouldn't even dream of getting into the top 10. Or should I?
Long story short, I am writing this as I complete my first day of orientation in SPJIMR. A college that is highly regarded as one that accepts only those who have been toppers in academics. An interview process that is unlike any other, one which tests all kinds of limits.
And I still managed to make it. How?
Frankly, even I have no answer to that. But if I want to attribute this result to anything, it should be to the attitude I went in with.
I poured my heart and life stories into each of the questions asked in the form. The form asked you to look deep within, and I did.
For the interview (which happened in February when I had barely took a breather from all the entrance exams), I just went through anything and everything I could find online about the college. I clung on the values showcased by the college that were the most dear to me. In this case, it was its unparalleled focus on social upliftment that I would then slide in to some of my answers.
Of course, not all things were as convenient. I was waitlisted at a spot where it was impossible to predict whether I would be able to make it (this resulted in desperate scrolling through previous year PG forums to find some hope). After 90 days of wait, just before the program commenced, I finally made it!
So my biggest takeaway from this experience was that literally anything and everything is possible in this journey. Don't let pre-conceived notions bog you down. I am aware that my case is an exception rather than the norm, and fate/destiny had its part to play.
But what matters is you doing an MBA from an institute that is fairly respected. You need to fall in love with the challenges and opportunities that this program brings , rather than burdening yourself by fixating on the means that makes it happen.
For more insights on my journey, do read the post. Cheers!
I will try to keep it short.
CAT- 99.93 (99.29/99.4/99.81), XAT- 98.64
Profile- 9/9/8 GEM Fresher
Calls- A, C, L, K, I, XL-BM
Converts- L, K, I, XL-BM
The journey started in June 2020 when I entered my final year of graduation; I had decided to go for an MBA but was not sure between GMAT and CAT, owing to no work ex. I decided to go for CAT. The preparation was the best part of the whole damn thing, and I loved every second of it. I was starting the day with reading novels or aeon essays (reading is almost 80% of your VARC preparation), solving puzzles in the afternoon, and ending it with a sectional test of quants. This was my routine for four months of rigorous preparation and the only thing which kept me sane during the lockdown. The things back at my college were not good, covid save me big time; my pointer was plummeting from mid 8s to low 7s. I knew that I required a 99.7+ at any cost, and that too will only get me calls from C and I. I decided to go all out for CAT and not prepare for campus placements, a gamble I was willing to take.
Preparation – I started with a couple of mocks assessing my strengths; I scored surprisingly well in VARC, DILR was bad, and QA was rusty. I knew that I couldn't rely on one section (something that I learned from JEE prep.), so accordingly, I prepared individual plans for all three and giving them equal time across a week. (Pro tip- Prepare a timetable weekly, not monthly)
VARC – Read from AEON essays regularly and solve mocks. It would be more than enough. I joined VARC 1000 by Gejo when my score started decreasing, and I have to say Gejo is great. The best thing about his course was that he focused on basics – JUST COMPREHEND that's the only thing you can do with VARC, and it comes with consistent practice.
DILR- Start with Elites grid playlist, go for variety rather than solving five sets on the same topic; it's about building patterns, and the more you practice, the more patterns you will learn. Set selection is very important, so keep solving and noting down new types of sets; you will get to know which is your strong point and attempt those in the actual paper. Even if you are very good with DILR, leave the set after 8-10 mins and move on if you are not able to process it.
QA- For the first phase of preparation, get the fundamentals in place and solve a lot of questions, focus on speed after a month or so. QA will test your patience because there is no limit to the difficulty of the question; keep solving and revising that is the only way to excel in QA.
I halted my preparation just to sit for placements and have a backup because, with all the preparation, you can never be sure. CAT is 70%- Preparation, 20%- Composure on D-Day, and 10%- Luck. Luck can be anything, from the DILR set you choose to the first RC that flashes on the screen, so having a backup helps with the composure part, and most of the time, it will be enough to cross the finish line.
D-Day Slot 1
I knew remaining calm was key, I just decided to give it as a mock (easier said than done), but with all the preparation and reading stoic philosophy, I was indeed confident that day.
VARC didn't seem difficult as people made it out to be afterward, l made a crucial decision at last whether to skip para jumbles due to less time or leave out some questions of RC, I went with the PJs, and thank god for that I won't be writing this AIWTSAC had I gone the other way. It was a strange decision because I always left out Pjs during my mocks. Luck was with me that day.
DILR- Relatively easy section, solved all but one of the sets, the change in the pattern didn't affect because the sets were simple.
QA- Could have done much better, copied a question wrong, and lost five minutes.
The time from CAT paper to release of answer keys was strange; you can never be sure of VARC, so I gave some XAT mocks just in case things don't work out well.
I was shaking while uploading my answer key on cracku, and it displayed 134.
Percentile predictions were 99.7-99.85.
It showed 99.93, and I never scored this high in any mock; I got all calls except Bangalore.
Interview Prep. and Results-
IIM Ahmedabad was the sole reason I stayed motivated throughout my prep. and it was the only straight reject I got. Interviews went well, especially IIM A, but at the end of the day, it was not meant to happen; I was not interested in even checking the results of other institutes. It took me a month to come out of the trauma, the worst month in my entire life. After a month of speculating what I could have said differently and what else I could have done, mock PIs were great, but in the end, nothing mattered. I vented out to my friends about the education system, reservation, and diversity. Everything seemed unfair, and it was as if the game was rigged; meritocracy was not awarded. After a month of crying and sleeping here, I am writing this today. I will be joining IIM Lucknow, and maybe it is for good.
I would really like to thank the whole PG community; I spent more time on PG last year rather than Fb and insta. From logging in to PG after giving mocks to reading previous year's AIWTSAC just to stay motivated, it was a great experience knowing you guys. Congrats to all those who will be attending Bschool this year, and best of luck to those who will be attempting CAT 2021. PG will always remain in my heart.
"You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place."
I'll keep it short I have decided to pursue CAT 2021 :) CAT 2020 :- VARC 93 Percentile (90 % accuracy) DILR 96 Percentile (Full accuracy) QA 50 Percentile (Half accuracy) OVERALL 90 Percentile Converts :- KJ Somaiya NMIMS (All except Mumbai) IMI Kolkata and Bhubaneswar IMT Nagpur and Hyderabad I'm gonna make sure that all the preparations come to fruition this time :) My mistakes, So that you don't make them : 1. I procrastinated during prep to avoid difficult questions. 2. After attempting only 9 questions in DILR,I panicked and wasted my QA. 3. I converted all my calls but due to 1. I lost my chance to even better ones. Tips(Words I live by now) :- 1. Hardwork 2. Consistency 3. Patience
Thought this page would've more engagement, Linking my AIWTSAC, in case anybody wants to read!
AIWTSAC'20 This journey is more about learning from failures than boasting about successes. Read it with a patient mind if you really want to make it worth your time. It was 2016, and like all the CAT Aspirants, I had joined the rat race to ace the dream of studying at one of the top B Schools of India. Given my profile, I knew that IIM Calcutta (Joka) would have been my best call. And I started preparing with great enthusiasm to chase this dream. But then, it was never about how good were you; it was always about how better were you than others. I had to outnumber roughly two lakh candidates to make it to Holy Trinity. Sadly, it took me 4 years to correctly estimate this number. CAT 2017: DILR was my strong area. In fact, there were hardly any mock tests where I had failed to secure less than 99.5%ile in DILR. This kind of reliance on one of the most uncertain sections of CAT brought much deserved trouble to me. Although, managed to score a 98 in one of the toughest DILR papers (CAT’17 Slot 1), ignoring the preparation of the other two sections was nicely reflected in my overall score. Result: 96.91%ile (85/98/96) Calls: CAP, Shillong CAT 2018: “Confidence is a very sensitive element. Both lack and excess of it kills!” While I worked on my VARC and QA sections this year, I made sure that DILR got completely ignored in the process. This overconfidence during my preparation made me panic when I encountered a difficult set in the exam. That one set was enough to break my entire confidence. Another year of preparation went in vain. Felt like giving up on my JOKA Dream, and settle for a decent B School. In fact, I had started appearing for my interviews but… (Save that story for another day) Result: 98.2%ile (94/90/99) Calls: IIM K, SPJIMR, MDI, CAP, Shillong 2019: Took a break from CAT, and tried to shift my focus to CA Exams. But deep down, that feeling of not being able to do justice to CAT was killing me. Since, I had cleared first two exams of CA in one shot, friends and family were quite confident that I will clear both groups of finals in one shot as well. Nobody knew that I was still eyeing the bigger fish. JOKA was the only thing on my mind. Could clear one group of CA Finals in November’19. Appeared for CAT without prep to check where I stood then. Result: 98.08 (91/89/99.64) 2020: People have started taunting. Friends are making fun of my ways and methods. Every time, I thought to quit, this link made me believe that I could do it (What is the most inspirational CAT Entrance Success story you ever heard?). Against everybody’s wishes, I decided to appear for CAT again. Thanks to lockdown, I could start my preparation from May itself. Made a great group of 4 serious aspirants delivering excellent peer learning. Things were going smooth as mock scores were improving and previous years’ preparation gaps were getting covered. It was mid-October; my parents and I got diagnosed with COVID. I had to hospitalise my dad, and ensure that we all recovered smoothly. It was almost 3rd Week of November, when things felt normal. I knew that there has been damage to my prep, but was very thankful to god for not letting the virus get better of any of us. I didn’t give much time to studies one week before the exam because I was quite confident about my preparation this time. In fact, I spent time with my friends, meditated, solved Sudoku puzzles and just revised few QA formulae. On the day of exam, I just told myself one thing, “Trust your hard work and preparation!” Result: 99.91%ile (98.93/98.89/99.88) Calls: IIM Calcutta, Lucknow, Kozhikode, FMS Converts: C, L, K JOKA it is! A lot of people wished me on my success. But my immediate family, and best friends (Sagar and Ayushi), ensured that the journey was cherished more than the results. After all, they have all lived and *enjoyed* this journey with me. The sleepless nights, continuous pressure, undue taunts, lack of confidence, fear of failure; everything got negated with the support of family and these friends.
“Mann ki Baat” | My AIWTSAC 2020 |
It’s somewhat a different aiwtsac. I have not converted any IIM BLACKI calls, but still this one is special for me.
So the journey started in 2019 when I decided to write CAT. Cat’19 was my first attempt ,so just for the sake of getting used to the exam pattern, I wrote the exam and got 83.38 percentile. I was satisfied by my results as I gave the exam without any preparation. I got the boost and decided to give a serious shot to CAT’20. I started my prep and enrolled myself in the year long class room programe. I was working at that time, so I decided to join the weekend classes. Everything was going smooth until the mock season started in May’20. In the very first mock I got 55 percentile and was completely dejected. In the next 2-3 week, I gave more mocks but the percentile hardly touched 70’s. Even after going through all the basics and solving plenty of questions , I was not seeing any improvement in my mock scores. I still remember calling my Dad telling him “This is beyond my level. I am not good enough for IIM’S”. Finally I decided to take a break and I resigned from my job. I came back home in July and again started my prep with full force thinking that things will get better now.
I know many of you will relate that there are times when we feel that we are loosing it and even thinking of quitting it so as to escape the situation. That time my father told me one thing which created a huge impact on my overall well being. He told me that “ beta, sabse bada regret voh hota hai jab yeh lage ki kaash me mehnat kar leta tab toh aaj kuch ban jata”. He told me that irrespective of your results, give your best, no matter what will be the final results. By the D day I attempted more than 50 mocks and in none of the mocks I crossed 90th percentile.
D Day- When I reached my centre, I was so nervous that I was literally shivering. Things which I have not even thought about started coming to my mind like “ This is my last attempt as I already have a gap year and if not today, my dream of getting into an IIM will end”. As a result, I screwed my paper and scored 71 percentile in CAT’20. It was the end of my journey. I still remember that I stopped studying for the next few days as my percentile was good enough to shatter any level of confidence. After taking a 2-3 day break I gave all the remaining exams. Now you guys must be thinking that I must have aced xat and iift. If yes then you are completely wrong.
For reference these were my results-
Cat- 71.09 percentile
XAT- 79.76 percentile
IIFT- 69.87 percentile
NMAT- 233 AFTER 3 attempts
SNAP- 98.2 I cleared the cutoff by 1-1/2 mark.
I got some confidence after my results came out,as now I have reasonably 2 good calls, SIBM Pune and SCMHRD. The interview journey started with SCMHRD which was average and I was not very happy with my performance. The next interview was of SIBM pune which went well as per my expectations.
Verdict- Converted SIBM PUNE
I know my story is not something which can inspire who is aiming for top 10 b schools but still there are many people out there, who are putting-in, a lot of efforts but are still not fairing well in their mocks. Just wanted to tell them, give your best. Don’t loose hope. You just need one exam to get into your dream b school. Even if you are not doing well, just remember one thing that you have to fight till your last entrance exam and things will surely fall in your place. If I can, everyone can.
Hope it helps and Best of luck to all the future aspirants.
Linking my AIWTSAC here, give it a read only if you have nothing else to do :) https://www.pagalguy.com/discussions/cat-2017-18-results-exam-date-notification-pattern-admit-card-information-pagalguy-38717690/111263298992801