All I Wanted To Speak About CAT 2019 Edition – AIWTSAC 2019

“Part of the journey is the end.”
This group is for stories of all those people who got into their dream B schools after years of perseverance and determination. It is about their journey, their efforts, their highs and lows. Read on, may you find your inspiration here!


Hello there PG family,

Here is my AIWTSAC, one unlike any written before, because it is coming before I have any converts. I hope I do have some by the end of the week but that will not make a difference to what I would have written any way. You might want to grab a snack or some coffee before you open this link. It truly is very, very long. Unfortunately a journey of nearly three years cannot be put into a shorter heap, at least I was incapable of doing so. 

To my peers who already have converts : I await your triumphant AIWTSAC's and your comments on mine. Many, many congratulations. 

To everyone else: Have at at it.

Here goes, the first AIWTSAC of CAT 2019: 

PS: Keep the comments on PG, notoriously difficult to reply properly on the blog. 


Not sure if this belongs here, since it us usually the absolute best who do this. 

Never thought that I will be writing this post. But more than for anybody else, I want to do this for a certain set (definitely a large set) of people. It will be for that particular set of people, who perhaps in their heart already know that maybe 99.7+ is really really tough for them, but they know that they will put in all their heart into the preparation, and be consistent, till the very end. Unlike most people who had a 99+ in almost all mocks they wrote, I think I had that much in maximum 5 mocks in the entire season. If you relate to me, please read on.


1. Consistency is the key: There will be times when you'd score 99.5+, and there will be times when you might barely touch 90. The percentile in the mocks really do not matter if you cannot squish and absorb every ounce of detail they provide. Maybe I would break it down for you section wise:

VARC: Make your own strategy of the order you want to attempt this section in. No order is absolutely correct. You do not have to answer each question of an RC you have read, it is fine to leave that one difficult question. VA part is doable. Remember, you need those 6-7 questions out of 10 correct to get an awesome VARC total. Give VA its fair share of time, it WILL give you the returns. Don't expect to give it less than 10 minutes, and expect your TITA PJs to be correct. 

DILR: You cannot make a mistake in choosing the sets. I repeat, you cannot. Even more if you are somebody who starts feeling that, now that I have invested 5 minutes in this, let me put 5 more and get the answers. One wrong set, and you're out of the game, specially in CAT, because it will pile up pressure on your head. Remember, you need to score maximum, and not solve complete 4 questions of the set. Again, make your own strategy, but ensure you choose the right sets. 3-4 sets WILL be doable. Nobody is going to put less than 3 doable sets in an exam and give you 60 minutes to attempt those. The doable questions are right there. PRACTICE PRACTICE and your eyes will find the doable questions.

Quant: As somebody who had the basics, I can only tell you to practice. There was a time when I started giving QA sectionals for fun. If you just know how to solve all the questions you'd see in a complete mock season, you should be good to go. Sounds easy right? It isn't. 

To accomplish all this, you'd need to put in those efforts, and hence - consistency. You'd have bad days, and you will feel like the task is tough, but you will be fine if you keep going.


2. Prepare yourself mentally: Most underrated thing. Whatever strategy you have decided for each section, keep reminding yourself about it. It is super easy to deviate from the plan when you are in the moment, and the timer is running, and you feel things are slipping. (CAT 2019 derailed people right at the very start with a different from usual level difficult VARC section). No matter what happens (obviously leaving out if there's an absolute change in format), try sticking to the plan. 


3. CAT is important, but it is only a step towards the goal. Everybody talks about scoring in CAT, and preparing for CAT and all that. Please know, that CAT is maybe just 50% of your work. The grind starts after CAT, when you are expected to know your past acads, current affairs, mathematics, ethics, career goals, politics, geography, mythology, and I dont think there's an exhaustive list. So prepare yourself for a long long long marathon that ends in April/May/June and not Nov/Dec.


That's all the gyaan I have for everyone. As for me, I will keep it short. 

My past acads are 10/93.2/78.18. 

78.18 in grad makes me a single digit dept rank holder out of ~200 in my college, but again it is too less, since colleges have relative scoring and there are people with 9.5+ CG which when converted to percentage, makes my 78% too low. 

25 months workex at the time of form filling.

So anyway, I am not a pessimist, but a realist, and I kind of knew that IIM A and C were going to be really tough for me since they require me to score 99.7+. I do not mean that I don’t think that I can score that much, I can. But it isn’t something I would really break my heart for. IIM B and L – those were what I was aiming for. XLRI BM, FMS – right after B and L.

Prepped hard, took a 1.5 months leave from office, told them that I am writing CAT. Exam went well, results came out and I had scored 99.21 (Sectionals close to 97,98,99). Lucknow calls came in that same night, and I had it ! Great start, and I was already pumped up.

Next few days, A – Regret. C – Regret. Knew it. Took it well. I was waiting for B.

K – Regret. Thanks to the 10 marks of diversity (either academic or gender – you get 10). Still ok, waiting for B.

I – Regret. Wow. 93.2% in 12th too low. A 95% in 12th gets a call with 95 percentile. I don’t get it with 93.2% in 12th and 99.21 Percentile. Still took it, fine. I wanted B.

Same night, I see a message on one of the prep groups. B calls out. In the gym, on the treadmill. I rush to the locker room and open my laptop (went directly from office to the gym). I literally pray to God and make a wish before pressing Submit – and Boom! Regret.

Very depressing! Very very depressing. I thought I was gonna get it. If you think the percentile is too low, B has a unique criteria. They have quite high weightages to literally every parameter, and hence consistent profiles usually make the cut. Anyway, I am super depressed. Talking to people to know what went wrong, is there any glitch or what.

Days go by, it sinks in. There’s no IIMB call. 

Eventually XLRI BM came in. FMS came in. MDI came in. SPJIMR came in. Didn’t fill any other forms.

Now is the exciting part, I spent the next 50 days reading every random shit I felt was important for the interview. And believe me, it is going to help me even beyond the interviews. Like I mentioned previously, nobody tells you about the post CAT prep, but trust me, it is definitely ENDLESS! You can go on and on, and the panelist can still ask you a very random geography question!

Results as on date:

SPJIMR IM – Convert

XLRI BM Jamshedpur – Reject

IIM Lucknow – Convert

FMS – Haha! - They made a joke of the process

MDI – Convert

And one last thing. PagalGuy is a beautiful forum. I remember joining this for motivation, finding people who are genuinely in this journey with all their heart. One request to everyone, while it is okay to crack some occasional jokes on entities like RR or Xatman or anyone, please keep this free of memes and other crap. There used to be a time when every post here would be right on the point, helping someone with something. Sad to see the current state where there’s so much crap that finding all that good stuff isn’t easy. I think I have spent more time on PG than maybe FB, or Instagram in the last few months. This is a beautiful family. Grow by growing others, and you’d get the fruits! 

Goodluck to everyone, DM’s open. Would love to help or talk.

Edit: Joining IIML, my best call of the season :)


As Cobb makes an excellent point in the movie Inception: “An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.” The smallest seed of an idea to give CAT, to get into a top bschool was planted by me in the second half of 2016. Little did I know then about the arduous journey which I was about to commence. So here is my story which is enriching and exhausting at the same time.

Some decisions are not in our hands. In the race of life, many people have head start. It is our willpower and hard work which help us to win the race or sometimes you never win at all. I completed my schooling in the Vadodara and Ahmedabad from vernacular (Gujarati) medium school where I learnt everything in Gujarati till 12th standard. At that time, I didn’t have much awareness about JEE/IIT; all I wanted was to get into one among the top colleges of Gujarat. When I entered college, I realised that how I was living my life like a frog in the well; unaware about the real and competent world. It was an eye-opening experience for me as I came to know about my pathetic reading speed, below par writing skills and non-existent English-speaking skills. I definitely didn’t have a head start in the race of CAT.

All my friends who were having similar background as mine told me not to go for CAT as very small number of students from vernacular schooling are able to get good percentile in CAT. However, I was ready to fight tooth and nail for it. I joined coaching classes in the second half of the year 2016. I had a misbelief that joining coaching class was a half job done to succeed at any competitive exam. Nevertheless, reality struck me hard when I attended VARC classes where I realised my poor vocab, nadir comprehension skills and inability to speak properly in English. My mentor suggested me to start reading novels and newspapers daily. The next day was the first day of my eternal relationship with reading. I started reading editorials and novels religiously. I had set a target to read one novel a week and I could see the improvement in my reading and writing skills with each passing day. I read around 40-45 novels within a year but the biggest demon of speaking fluently in English was yet to be tamed. Fortunately, in this journey I met a wonderful girl who supported me like no one did. She gave me an idea to join Toastmasters Club where I had to give speech in front of 30-40 people. I was a member for 9 months and this experience made me more confident about speaking.

Let’s come back to CAT. I have sharpened all my weapons; it was a time to fight the war. I gave my first mock around 6 months before CAT’17 and scored around 82 percentile. Then onwards, it was a roller coaster ride. However, I was able to reach 97-98 percentile range in the last few mocks. I never crossed 98.5 percentile mark overall and 95 percentile mark in Verbal in any of the mocks.

We all know that sojourn is a part of every journey. For me, it was getting placed in one of the largest automobile manufacturing company somewhere in early November of 2017. All the CAT preparation took backseat and I became more focused on my semester end exams and job. 

My first encounter with CAT was neither motivating nor demotivating. I got 91/95/95 and overall 97 percentile. I didn’t attend MDI and new IIMs interviews. I was very excited to enter the corporate world. 

The excitement soon faded away when I realised, I had to live in a small town named Mehsana, travel by company bus everyday for a total of 90km which resulted in total 12 hours per day for six days/week. It was hell of a task to motivate myself to study after this demanding job. But as we say, every cloud has a silver lining. I met a group of fellow GETs who were also CAT aspirants. We all started preparing for CAT’18 from August. We motivated each other, shared doubts, took mocks simultaneously etc. All of these made CAT preparation less daunting.

I never stopped reading newspapers and novels after CAT’17 so when I started giving mocks, I could see the improvement in my verbal score. I was scoring good in the mocks. I crossed 99 percentile mark in many mocks; I was confident of scoring 99+ in actual CAT as well. 

My second encounter with CAT was disheartening. I scored 97.x/91.x/98.x and an overall 98.45 percentile. Scored below 93 percentile in IIFT & XAT. Moreover, that year I didn’t fill the forms of MDI, IIT B etc. I had only three calls: SPJ, NITIE and IIM Indore. However, this happiness of having calls from three bschools was short lived. Got eliminated in the first round of SPJ, performed horrible in Indore and missed NITIE convert by a whisker. The last reject was NITIE and my eyes were filled with tears. I was really demotivated; I wanted to give up on CAT, I wanted to leave my job. I stopped caring about my health and lost lots of weight. I was on the lowest point of my life. I took a rest for few months; went to Mount Abu and Rajasthan with my friends. It really refreshed my mind and I was ready to embark upon CAT journey for the last time. 

This time, I chose a different strategy. I bought test series of TIME, CL and IMS. I started giving mocks from June onwards. It was difficult to spare time after 12 hour job but I put all my efforts as I knew it was now or never. I still remember the Sundays where I used to give 2 or sometimes 3 mocks a day. This year I gave around 60-70 mocks and scored 99.5+ in 7-8 mocks and 99+ in 20-30 mocks. I set a target to score 99.66+ in CAT as it was needed to get a call from IIM C. Due to my 95/86/70 acads, there was almost no hope to get a call from IIM AB.

I took 10 days leave before CAT and gave the 8-9 mocks of CL on the same time of actual CAT during those days. The final encounter with CAT: It was my day for sure. I started with RCs; after 1-2 RCs, I realised the difficultness of verbal. Completed all RCs in 47 minutes and attempted total 33 questions in the first hour. Next was the DILR. I found some sets very easy. I solved 5 sets in an hour. Throughout mocks, I was scoring 99.6+ in Quant and I was confident scoring in similar range in CAT as well. Attempted 31 questions in quant. When the CAT response sheet was released, I was in my company and checked my answers in the lunch time. It was overwhelming to see 71 marks in verbal and disappointing to see 65 marks in Quant. However, I performed well and as per my expectations. Got 71/51/65 = 187 in slot 2 and scored 99.85 percentile (190.38 scaled). I performed well in IIFT and XAT as well. (99.86 & 99.17 percentile respectively)

My experience of three years had made me well aware about how GEMs are brutally rejected by various IIMs due to past acads. I knew IIM AB were out of reach but somewhere inside a corner of my heart, there was a hope for IIM L call which faded away on the same day when I got to know that I was rejected by IIM L just by 0.29 Composite Score (equivalent to 1.4 marks in CAT). I didn’t get call from IIM AB and K as well. I saw a ray of hope only when I got an interview call from IIM Calcutta. Got a call from IIM Indore as well.

Next two months were all about reading newspapers, revising engineering subjects and rehearsing WHY MBA answer again and again. I gave 9 interviews of different colleges. All that is left was result.

On 30th April, I received a big blow. I got waitlisted in NITIE. With good interview performance, good CAT score and ideal work ex, I was sure of converting NITIE but luck was not in my favour. 

Finally, on the day of 13th May around 5pm, I received a news that IIM Calcutta released its result. I hurriedly opened the link, entered my credentials and clicked submit button. Then followed one of the longest waiting periods of my life. Each second was feeling like an hour. All the hard work, strategies, sacrifice and emotional turmoil were in front of my eyes until the moment I saw the first word on the webpage. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Yes, I converted IIM C. And that marked the fitting end to the most wonderful chapter of my arduous journey. I know struggle is not over yet but I have all the rights to cherish this very moment for which I have waited for three years.

I cannot appreciate enough the contribution of the PG community throughout. So many polls about scaled score vs percentile, sharing memes, taking and giving advice, speculating about result date and what not!!

Summary till now:


Converts – IIM C, I, MDI, IIFT Delhi, some new IIMs, NITIE, FMS, IIT B

Rejects/Waitlist+reject later – IIM S, XL BM



Long post alert : If you want to kill some time, come with me. I will tell you a story. This is the story of an ordinary boy with extraordinary dreams. The boy who refused to give up. Marred by inferiority complexes for most of his life, how he tried to rise above his fears. 

Here it goes :-

8th May, 2020 : IIM Ahmedabad was about to release its result anytime. I was checking the website in every 4–5 minutes for any notification. I have never been so restless in my life. And how can I not be, it’s IIM Ahmedabad after all, the college which I am dreaming about since last 4 years. Every minute was feeling like an hour. Finally, the moment arrived. It was 12:57. My mother was ironing clothes beside me. A message popped up on one of the telegram groups. Results Out. Time stopped. My heart froze. My fingers went numb. Somehow I managed to open the website. It was there. The results were really out. I opened the link. Every single moment from last few years started revolving around in my head. This is it. This can be the moment I am waiting for all these years. This can be the day where my life changes completely. All I have to do is to spot the word “congratulations” on the results page. I entered the credentials, the website started loading and finally it was there. My name and CAT ID were there. Below those, a line was written - “ We regret to inform you that ….”

It was all over, in a second. All those dreams, I could hear the echo of them shattering inside my head. In a very feeble voice, I told my mom, “I got rejected”. I did not want to face anyone at that moment. I went straight back to my room, locked myself in. Another failure had just been added to plenty of others. I couldn’t hold back my tears. All these years of hard work went in vain. Or maybe that’s what I was thinking. Few more surprises were waiting ahead for me….

Four Years Ago 

July 2016 - It all started when I was in 5th semester of graduation. I was standing outside college library with a friend. He was discussing various career options after graduation. He mentioned an exam called CAT. Although, I had heard the name, but did not know much about the exam. Further, when he told me about the syllabus which comprised of Verbal ability, Logical reasoning and Quantitative aptitude, I immediately felt that this is something which I’d love to do. I went back to my room, did more research on the syllabus and decided to prepare for CAT. This might sound stupid, but honestly, when I started preparing, MBA was not my primary aim, I just wanted to score good in CAT.

Next day, I went to market and purchased some books and started preparing. Since I was preparing for CAT 2017, I had a lot of time. I started working on basic concepts of Quant and Reasoning. Slowly, I gained momentum. Entire third year of graduation went towards preparation and building up concepts. Then started the most important part of preparation : Mock Tests. I took the first mock test somewhere around May 2017 and scored a total of 85 marks. I did not have any idea about how good or bad that score was. For all my queries, I always had one constant friend - Quora. For each and every thing, I used to come here to seek a solution. Answers from CAT stalwarts helped me immensely throughout the preparation. 

College placements were never in my mind, because, given the very less knowledge of core subjects, I never thought that any company would ever select me. Placement season started.

17th August, 2017 - I became the first student from my branch to get placed. The feeling was amazing. I couldn’t have imagined that ever. It was one of those days which changed my perspective about myself, the day when I stopped doubting myself. It bolstered my confidence, and I became even more focused towards CAT.

I consistently started scoring 95+ percentile in mock tests, which further boosted my confidence. After going through a lot of Quora answers, I came to know that if I want to aim for one of the older IIMs, I have to score at least 99.5+ percentile. So, I was aiming for a high percentile in CAT 2017. My mock scores had also improved a lot, and I was ready to bell the CAT.

26th Nov. 2017, Exam Day - To be honest, I was very well prepared, and the consistently good mock scores had given me the feeling that I can do well. But things don’t always go the way you want them to. When I came out of examination hall, I knew that I have messed it up. Verbal was never my forte, so it went average. The notorious LRDI of CAT’17 also hit me hard. QA also didn’t provide much respite. I knew that somehow I will manage to cross the 99th percentile mark, but it was far from the result I wanted.

I came back to college. Totally disappointed and frustrated with my performance, I crashed into my bed, kicked out few things inside the room and did what I always do to vent out any stress or frustration - I play. I picked up the Badminton racquet and headed to the court. I played for next two hours straight without any break. I went berserk on the court. I could break every single shuttle that day. After this hysteria, I came back to my room and felt slightly better. I decided to take another shot at CAT. I promised myself that I’ll not sit back and relax. I can’t let the months of hard work go down the drain. I will come back, stronger than before. With a job at hand, I didn’t have to worry about a backup. I decided to take another serious attempt alongside job. Now, waiting for results was just a formality, I already knew that I won’t be getting any good college this year.

8th Jan, 2018 - It was 10 in the morning. Results were announced. 

CAT 2017 :-

VARC - 95.13 %ile

LRDI - 98.64 %ile

QA - 98.59 %ile

Overall - 99.18 %ile

It was a disaster. The score wasn’t even close to what was required for a good college. As expected, I did not receive a single call from IIM BLACKI. A slight ray of hope emerged when FMS released its shortlist. I cleared the cut-off by 0.04 marks. So, there was a chance of converting the call only if I score full marks in the GDPI. But, I couldn’t, and got a straight reject from FMS. I was shattered. I decided to take a long break, enjoy the last semester of the college to the fullest, and then start the preparation again for CAT’18. College got over in May 2018 and I came back home. I had two full months before joining the company. Now was the time to pick up the pen and paper once again and fulfill the promise I had made to myself. The promise to succeed, the promise to rise up again. I identified what all went wrong last time and worked a lot on my weak areas. Everything was back on track. I was ready to conquer the CAT this time.

Job started in July. Preparation got interrupted for a month. But, thanks to less workload at job, I gained the momentum back quickly. Mock tests had already started and I was consistently scoring 98–99 percentile in every test. Everything was going great. This year was gonna be mine. I was confident that I will be roaming around in an IIM by June 2019. But… 

25th Nov. 2018, Exam Day - A complete Deja Vu for me. Yes, I again messed up the paper. Verbal was easy, but I couldn’t capitalize. Another below par performance in LRDI, and QA being super tough, didn’t show any mercy on me. But surprisingly, when I came out of examination hall, I was in a much better mental state than I was last year. Life had taught me how to handle failures.

Again, waiting for results was futile. I had a strong feeling that I would get a somewhat similar percentile as last year, which means, no college for me this time also. On 1st Jan, 2019, when everyone was busy celebrating the incoming of a new year, I knew that there was nothing new in this year for me. The results were out :-

CAT 2018 :-

VARC - 92.21 %ile

LRDI - 98.9 %ile

QA - 99.28 %ile

Overall - 99.19 %ile.

This time I was not furious, instead I was laughing. I was laughing at myself. I could improve my percentile by mere 0.01 in one year. That was shameful. Again, I did not receive a single call from older IIMs. This time I couldn’t clear cutoff of even FMS. I was feeling so stupid. Here I was- Two failed attempts, Two 99+ percentiles, Just one call in two years and ZERO convert. I was feeling very low. But you know what, giving up was never an option. The thought of quitting never came across my mind. Instead, I geared up for another attempt. ONE LAST ATTEMPT. I knew that I had the capability of scoring good. I knew that I can certainly do better than this. This time was gonna be my last attempt at any cost. I told myself that it’s enough, you can’t keep writing CAT every year like idiots. This has to stop. 

Again, I took a break for couple of months and got ready to fight my demons in April 2019. As I had already completed the syllabus thoroughly in earlier attempts, all I had to do was to find out what went wrong, and what can I improve. It was a Do or Die situation for me. I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned this time. Mock season began, and I started to score good in almost all the mock tests. In almost every test, I used to scored more than 99.5%ile. There was still something missing. I strongly felt a need for a group of serious aspirants with whom I can discuss all my doubts. I headed to the most popular platform for MBA Aspirants - PagalGuy. I spotted a few good scoring people and asked them to join a WhatsApp group for mock discussions. It worked like a charm. I found over a dozen of aspirants with similar ambitions as mine, people who have seen multiple failures, people who were not afraid of watching big dreams. We helped each other a lot, pushed each other to their limits. The dream run continued. I was consistently scoring good in mocks. 

November was approaching, and so was the fear of another failure. I couldn’t help thinking that what if I manage to mess up this time also. But somehow, I kept on going. Exam day was here.

24th Nov. 2019 - Things never ever go perfectly fine. CAT 19 saw one of the toughest Verbal exams in last few years. And fittingly, it was my weakest section. Somehow, I attempted 30 questions and moved ahead to LRDI. Thanks to immense practice, I did not face much difficulty in the next two sections. When I came out of Examination hall, I was certainly feeling better than last two years. Although not very sure, but I had a feeling that things might go well this time. 

4th Jan 2020 - Result Day. It was 10 in the morning. The results were out.

CAT 2019 :-

VARC - 95.47 %ile

LRDI - 99.96 %ile

QA - 99.93 %ile

Overall - 99.93 %ile

I screamed with joy. The wait was over. Finally I had a percentile which could make me happy. Messages started pouring in. I was on cloud nine, until IIM Lucknow released its shortlist in the evening. I couldn’t clear the cutoff. It was first major setback after the results. Subsequently, other colleges started releasing their interview shortlists. I got an interview call from IIM A,C,K, MDI, XLRI, FMS, NITIE and few new IIMs. Phase two of admission process had started. Being a person having a very average profile, I had to start the interview preparation early. All the interviews got completed by April end. Now started the longest wait of my life. IIM Ahmedabad and Calcutta were my dream colleges. I was direly waiting for results. I was waiting for a moment that could change my life completely. First result came out on 1st May. NITIE declared its results. I got a waitlist at which it was impossible to convert. It was shocking to me. But since this result was not very important for me, I didn’t get affected. I was waiting for 8th May, the day when IIM Ahmedabad was about to announce its results.

8th May, 2020 - IIM Ahmedabad was about to release its result anytime. I was checking the website every 4–5 minutes for any notification. I have never been so restless in my life. And how can I not be, it’s IIM Ahmedabad after all,  the college which I am dreaming about since last 4 years. Every minute was feeling like an hour. Finally, the moment arrived. It was 12:57. My mother was ironing clothes beside me. A message popped up on one of the telegram groups. Results Out. Time stopped. My heart froze. My fingers went numb. Somehow I managed to open the website. It was there. The results were really out. I opened the link. Every single moment from last few years started revolving around in my head. This is it. This can be the moment I am waiting for all these years. This can be the day where my life changes completely. All I have to do is to spot the word “congratulations” on the results page. I entered the credentials, the website started loading and finally it was there. My name and CAT ID were there. Below those, a line was written - “ We regret to inform you that ….”

It was all over, in a second. All those dreams, I could hear the echo of them shattering inside my head. In a very feeble voice, I told my mom, “I got rejected”. I did not want to face anyone at that moment. I went straight back to my room, locked myself in. Another failure had just been added to plenty of others. I couldn’t hold back my tears. All these years of hard work went in vain. Or maybe that’s what I was thinking. Few more surprises were waiting ahead for me…

12th May, 2020 - Just when I could recover from the previous shock, IIM Kozhikode announced its results. I opened the website, entered my credentials. You are waitlisted at 339 in general category. I went blank. I could not believe my eyes. I confirmed with few of my friends whether it is possible to convert at this waitlist or not. Everyone said no. I was devastated. Not just because I got rejected from IIMK, but because I was running out of options. Every failure was piling up on the preceding ones. Never in my life have I felt so low. In my eyes, I was just a bundle of failures, nothing else. 

Next Day, 13th May, 2020 - I was sitting in front of office computer, staring blankly at it. IIM Calcutta was about to release its results anytime in this week. And it was the only hope left for me. All these thoughts were eating me up. Just when I was at the lowest point of my life, a message popped up in a group. C results out. Oh my god. I can’t describe how I was feeling. I immediately opened up the website, entered credentials, and the site began to load. 

Congratulations ! You have been selected for admission to the MBA program….

No. This couldn’t be happening. This is not true. I re-read the entire line once again. This could be some error. I checked the details. My name was written there. Yes, it was true. Just when I was screaming and celebrating the happiest moment of my life, there was a knock on the door. I opened. My mother was standing there. How beautiful life is. Fittingly, the most important person of my life was standing in front of me at the most happiest moment of my life. I ran downstairs, told other family members. I had never felt so happy in my life. I came back to my room and started jumping like kids. It took me more than 2–3 days to realize that after all these years, I have finally made it to one of best B-Schools of India.

I can’t describe how thankful I am to have so many amazing people in my life, who supported me at every step. 

People reading this, If you see a dream, you go and chase it. You might not get the desired result always, but the journey will definitely be worth it. You don’t have to prove someone wrong, you just have to prove yourself right. Believing in yourself is the best thing you can do to yourself. Good-Bye :)

AIWTSAC 2019 #6

“A gem can never be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”

It all started in mid-August 2017 when a friend of mine from work urged me to take the CAT that year as he was taking it too. Since I had done reasonably well at aptitude tests throughout my career, I thought of giving CAT a go. Before ranting about the journey that I have had, here is a brief background of myself:

After being a consistent topper in school right until Class 10, I started dedicating an unholy amount of time and attention to extra-curricular activities at what is probably the most crucial time that shapes a student’s career in India (more on this later). As a result, I was consistently punching below my weight when it came to academics and finally had my fall from grace moment when I didn’t do too well in the Class 12 board exams and the entrance tests that followed (PCM was never my cup of tea probably). That affected the kind of college I got into. I ended up studying Computer Science and Engineering from a not so good college (Tier 4/5) and landed a software development job at an American company in Bangalore out of campus in 2016. Although the nature of work and the money was good for a start, it was nowhere close to my ambitions and the targets I had set for myself.

Coming back to the journey, I registered for CAT 2017 and forgot about it. Work continued normally and on the morning of 26th November 2017, I found myself sipping hot coffee in the canteen of a polytechnic college in Mysore, completely unaware of what was about to unfold, and how it would change my life for the next couple of years. Meanwhile, my friend who had prepared for this with some level of sincerity was sitting across the table (coincidentally he was allotted the same center) rushing through TIME’s list of formulae and a plate of idly at the same time! ;)

My strategy was simple; since I had nothing to lose (or gain), I had planned to only attempt the questions I knew I could solve. How important set selection is in DILR became evident to me that day as I could barely manage 7-8 attempts by the end of the hour. I was confident about my accuracy though and as I had done after signing up for the test, I forgot about it considering the disaster DILR was. When the results were out, I was pleasantly surprised to see a 93.2 OA on my screen, especially because this happened without flipping a page in preparation or looking at the format of the exam beforehand.

This result instilled a sense of confidence (oh how I was about to fail!) in me, that I was meant to be in the 99 percentile club on this test, go to ABC (lol), and redeem myself for all the underperforming that has happened in the past. Therefore, CAT 2018 it was, and I signed up for an online course, which I would not name, but yeah, they also asked me to buy an android tablet with the course ;)

Months passed by and I was enjoying the shortcut based approach that was peddled for QA (mistake #1). Somehow, the results weren’t coming through and I couldn’t break into the top 500 in the AIMCATs, so by the end of October, I had to recalibrate my targets and I thought to myself, that I’ll just try to breach the 99 percentile barrier, and settle (noob mistake #2) for IIM K if I get in. I had a target of 25 attempts in quant, based on 2017’s results (mistake #3) and was confident that I could somehow manage to make the first two sections work for me. It appeared as if everything was on course, I was satisfied with my VARC, DILR performance and then QA 2018 hit me like a truck. I had solved only three questions by the 30-minute mark and I knew that I had screwed up. I ended up with 10 attempts in QA, 3 of them wrong.

I was so dejected after the exam because I knew that I had missed the sweet spot, I was at 2 years of work experience at that time and had just been promoted at work. Acing the CAT and getting into a top 5 B-School would’ve been so ideal. Alas, it was not to be. When the results came out, I had an 81 percentile score in quant and 96 overall. This gave room for so many ‘what-if?’ questions, and I sat down to think.

By now, I was invested in the idea of an MBA as I didn’t see myself going up to the very top of the technical ladder, and honestly, it wasn’t something I wanted either. So, with all the courage that I could muster at that time, I decided to take the exam again, one final time. I knew where the problem lied and I knew what needed to be done to fix it. So everything should be pretty straightforward (or so I thought).

This time the mock scores were much better, I was constantly in the top 300, occasionally breaking into the top 100 (AIR 45 was the best I could do). But that was mostly due to my VARC scores, I was still not performing up to the required levels in QA. In July, a bombshell dropped in the form of a task where I had to develop a new feature at work. An interesting problem to solve, but one that would require a significant amount of research and effort. I thought that this would be a huge setback for my preparation but I managed to hang in there, sometimes barely, but just did.

Switch to October 2019, and I knew that a major rejig was necessary. I was only solving anywhere between 12-13 questions correct in QA and was not able to break the 15 question barrier. Something major needed to be done. And so I did. I went berserk on sectional tests for a whole week and put VARC and DILR on the back burner. I solved as many mock papers as I could. Worked and reworked on my strategy, 3 round approach, 15*4 approach, 15/8/3 approach, you name it. I looked at how CL mentors solve the QA section and scoured for some inspiration there. By the end of the week, I was at 20+ attempts, and 18-19 corrects in QA. I was happy that I could get to this but I knew it would not be enough for a 99.8+. Therefore, I recalibrated again and set a minimum target of 99.5 percentile. Little did I know that it would not be enough for L, K either. I took a week off from work before CAT and gave 3 mocks in that week. I scored 164, 155, and 132. That 132 did raise a few jitters but it was a tough mock and I just let the thought go.

Fast forward to D-Day, and the entire experience was good, I was happy with the way DILR went and I managed 21 attempts in QA. Far from extra-ordinary but meeting my goals. When I came out and realized that the VARC was the devil this year, I was hoping against hope that my most loyal companion does not ditch me when it mattered most. I was somebody who used to attempt fewer questions and rely on accuracy to take me through, and a tricky paper with many incorrect attempts was the last thing I needed at this time. Thankfully, that did not happen and I did manage to surpass my goal, just. 99.60 OA, 96.6 in QA.

I was prepared to get all the good calls (Not AB, maybe not even C, but the others). Now, this is where the real meat of this AIWTSAC starts. This year I learned, that to achieve anything, there are some important steps involved. Three major ones being:

  1. The required effort (Defining Trajectory)
  2. Accepting your current level (Defeating Mediocrity)
  3. Striving for excellence (Discovering Glory)

As most of you might have figured by now, I did not receive calls from any of the BLACKI IIMs, or SP Jain. I was shattered, to say the least. To my mind, the idea that someone who’s ranked 20,000th in this exam has the same standing as me just by the virtue of not being an engineer or male (yes, K, this is for you) was beyond sanity. How well I did at an exam 10 years ago, judged how worthy I was to join a B School right now. The kind of teachers who were grading those papers, the kind of marks that were mainstream, none of that mattered. Pure numbers and nothing else.

Every time a friend would ask me how I did and congratulate me for the score with things like “Ab toh Ahmedabad pakka?”, I would feel a pinch in my heart and murkily respond, “Dekhte hain, kya hota hai.”

Nevertheless, as I had already learned to do in the last couple of years, I picked myself up and started prepping for the FMS interview. FMS was the only shot I had at a Tier 1 B-School and I wanted to grab that opportunity with both hands. Soon, IIM-S, MDI, IIT-B, IIFT, followed and the interviews were a breeze in all of them. However, I had my eyes set on FMS, I needed to get there, my preparation deserved that reward, I felt. On 27th May, a friend texted me saying “fms out”. I felt my heart sink right there because I knew that if they had released the results directly based on CAT score, I had no way of making it. I was right. Not in the admit list. Not in the waiting list. So, the elite B-School dream was officially over.

The key takeaway from this journey is that realizing your constraints and setting practical goals is extremely important to prevent heartbreak later. I was not fortunate enough to have mentors who would advise me with a certain number that I needed and instead fell into the trap of the coaching institutes that glorify anything beyond 99+ as an exceptional feat.

Another important learning is to accept one’s fate and learn to make the best out of it. You are a GEM with poor academics? You know that someone else will get a better convert than you will at probably half the marks that you secured? You know what? That is the hand that you’ve been dealt. You know the amount of preparation you’ve put in to reach here and now it is up to you to make it worth the while. And so I will. I will take up the best admit that I get this year and strive for excellence wherever I go. Remember the third point from the list I mentioned earlier? Maybe it isn’t time for Discovering Glory just yet. But soon, it will be.

Now, I will leave you with this wonderful line by Martin Luther King:

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.

All I want to say about CAT (2019 edition) 

This is the second part to my AIWTSAC . PART-1 :-

Last year I wrote the above AIWTSAC soon after FMS results were out. I felt defeated, sad and honestly heartbroken. Worst of all, I saw the disappointment that my parents felt.

"Potential" , this is a word often used (not the physics definition) to describe people's abilities. I was told throughout my life that I had potential, I was told this during my JEE prep, again in engineering and then during my CAT prep and this raised my parent's hopes every time but I was unable to deliver on this until now.

Like most AIWTSAC stories, I'll start with when I thought about writing CAT. After a disastrous JEE attempt in my 12th standard, I ended up with a miserable 10kish rank in JEE advanced accompanied by a miserable JEE mains rank thanks to my poor Board exam performance. I was a good student till 10th but started getting ambitious only after 10th so this JEE fiasco meant that I was heartbroken and extremely low on confidence. I joined PES University solely because I didnt have the confidence to take a drop. I swore when I entered the college that this wont be my last degree and that the next one will be from one of the best colleges in the country.

A year into college, I had a group of 4 brilliant friends, all of whom were similarly dissapointed with where they were and this meant we worked hard in college to get good grades, try to do multiple projects and take on internships. My college had a provision of taking up courses from other departments in the summer and I picked management ( I was already sure that I'm not interested in most of electronics except computer networks). This was a good decision in hindsight as I loved these classes and made up my mind to pursue a masters in management. 

I spent some time taking advice from seniors and my dad and then sometime researching about the possibilities and finally decided on an MBA from a college in India. During my third year, in December 2017, I joined Time's classroom program to prepare for CAT. 

I am an avid reader, I love novels and try to read as many books as I can. This had unfortunately taken a back seat during the first two years of engineering but I decided to revive this habit in line with my goal. Math came naturally to me and so my preparation was majorly focused on DILR at the start. I finished off the modules for QA and DILR by April 2018 and then started attempting mocks. I took a small hiatus during June - July for my internship and only took mocks at that time. My preparation was now revolving around mocks, analysis and then working on my weaknesses. By now DILR had grown into my strength and my QA was also good but my VARC was quite shaky and my accuracy in VARC wasn't good. Yet I was doing pretty well in mocks and started dreaming of the top IIMs. CAT 2018 was unfortunately a disaster, I messed up and scored 

VA :- 68.55 (97.61)

DILR:- 42.04 (98.23)

QA :- 52.07(98.78)

OA :- 162.66(99.36) 

My academic profile

10th - 86.33(ICSE)

12th - 84(Karnatake State Board

Grad - 8.81 - 80.6% (PES university , ECE)

The only calls I had was FMS and IIMK, both of which were outright rejects.

Most of my friends make it to amazing places. My room mate got into Purdue for MS while two of my best friends got into their dream companies. I was initially so heartbroken with CAT that I wasn't sure if I should try again. I spoke to a few friends/seniors who took CAT multiple times and they said that I should take a look at the criteria and the take a decision. I spoke to the one man who generally has all the answers Karthik(@SmileyKRK), who knew the criteria's of all the IIMs and had answers to any queries at his fingertips with data to back up whatever he said. After looking at my profile , he said that I would need ~99.7 for IIMC, 99.95+ for IIMA and IIML calls and that even a 100%ile might not be enough for IIMB and IIMI. Looking at my options I decided that I would aim for 99.7+ and try to get into Joka , I changed my tagline in PG to read "IIMC it should be ,CAT'19 it will be" , this was inspired by Mayur Arora who was one of those folks who inspired me to try again.

5 months from Jan'19 to May'19 was the most hectic time of my life. I was working 12+ hours a day at my intership from monday to friday, working on my college project on saturday and then preparing for GDPI on Sunday. I eventually decided not to join the firm because this experience showed that i would have to compromise on my CAT prep which I refused to do. I joined a computer networking firm as a Network Consultant and the initial few months were just training. This was the firm I had interned with during the summer of 2018 and I knew their work cultute was much more relaxed and that I can concentrate on my CAT prep

I eventually rejected the PPO and took up an offer from the firm I had interned in during the summer so that I would have more time for my CAT prep. I first worked out where I went wrong in CAT'18. 

The first problem I uncovered was my over reliance on DILR, my score was pushed up solely on the basis of DILR scores in mocks and in the odd event that my DILR was not very good , QA would save the day but during CAT'18 QA being tough meant that my score would not get that push it required from QA when I had a bad day in DILR. So my first task was to improve VARC. To do this, I started reading more, I would read atleast one novel a week and spent all my free time browsing quora, reading articles, etc .

The second issue I found was that I panicked in CAT'18 when I was not able to solve a few questions initially in QA. To overcome this, I had to create artificial pressure in the mocks. I did this by accident the first time when I fell asleep in the last few mins of VARC and woke up 10 mins into DILR. I soon made this a practice and this helped clear my nerves immensely during CAT'19.

My preparation this entire year revolved around attempting mocks, analyzing them and then working on whatever my weaknesses were. Unfortunately for me, this mock season was riddled with issues, I scored very poorly in most mocks and struggled throughout the year. This meant I was not as confident as I was last year and was mentally preparing myself for a third attempt.

I stopped preparation a week before CAT'19 and spent that week purely going throught the Verbal section of all the mocks I took in the season and tried to figure out where I made mistakes and which kind of questions I went wrong in. From the comprehensive analysis that I performed, I realized that para-summary was a weakness and most of the RC questions I got wrong were silly mistakes which could be solved to an extent if I reread that part of the passage once or twice when in doubt. 

My QA analysis showed geometry was my weakness and so I decided to avoid geometry questions at the start and decided to do those questions at the very end

Nov 24th, 2019 - The perfect day

I was alloted the morning slot at a centre around 20-30 kms away. In the morning, My mother asked me if I was confident of scoring well, I answered honestly that I was not even expecting to get as much as last year and that I was prepared to try again and again till I get in. I believe this attitude change helped me from getting nervous. I drove out to the centre with my father and reached an hour early and spent that time just chatting about politics with my dad. I got into the exam hall and I prayed, meditated and started attempting the exam with an sense of calm, I never felt before. 

I breezed through the Verbal section .I felt the RC's were tougeher to read and I read the same paragraph multiple times in a few questions just to get a hang of what the Author was trying to convey. The questions were also quite difficult with a lot of double negatives but the options were wide open and I solved 33/34 questions leaving a para summary question. 

DILR on the other hand was much easier than I expected. I started every strong , solving 3 sets in 15 mins and I was 5 sets down in 30 mins. I finished off almost 7 sets with 15 mins on the clock and started solving the last set which I just couldn't solve. Eventually found that for two questions in the set there was a direct relation and I was able to remove two options from both questions. The remaining options both corresponded to two different scenarios, both of which seemed correct , so I marked the questions following different scenarios so that one would be correct for sure and the other incorrect. I ended up attempting a whooping 29 questions.

QA was decent and I managed to solve 30 questions but with a couple of debatable guesses.

My final scorecard looked like :

VARC : 85.53 (99.99)

DILR : 79.18 (99.99)

QA : 77.28 (99.84)

OA : 241.99 (100) 

This meant that I would recieve calls from IIMs A,B,C,L,K and FMS. 

I also secured 99.914%ile in XAT20 and got a call from XLRI BM.

The next part and the probably the most important part of the journey is the GD/WAT PI that follows.

I was once again lucky to get a really cool schedule . My first WAT/PI was CAP on 12th Feb followed by IIMK , IIML then after a gap of one week I had IIMA , IIMB and IIMC scheduled with a gap of one day in between each PI . XLRI BM was the last one on my list on March 15th before FMS in April (which never happended).

CAP was a breeze where the panelists were impressed with my job and my CAT percentile. IIMK was the most satisfying for me because I was humiliated and thrown out of the interview a year ago and this time the interview went really well. IIML was a short interview but I felt I aced it and this built a lot of confidence before the holy trinity.

My IIMB interview was in the campus at Bannerghatta and I reached the campus with a lot of confidence on the back of my previous interviews but it just wasnt my day. I was mocked for my acads and I endured a 40 minute stress interview where the panel laughed while picking on me throughout the interview and destroyed my confidence. I was pretty shaken up afterwards and spent the next day just trying to clear my head before the next two interviews. I had already known that my chance was almost zero at IIMB thanks to their criteria and the interview was the final nail on the coffin . My IIMA interview was comprehensive and I couldn't make out if it was a good interview or not. The next interview was probably the most important , Joka was the only college on my mind for an entire year and I wasn't ready to screw it up and I spent every waking moment preparing for it and trying to learn from the mistakes I made in my previous interviews and my IIMC interview was probably the best I ever gave. XLRI BM interview was also pretty good and apart from the first 5 minutes where Father Ozzie , a prof at XLRI and one of the interviewers, gave me a lecture on my firm and Silicon Valley in general , it was a good experience.

The COVID-19 situation went on to delay all the results and after an agonizing wait IIMA released their results on 8th May. I had until then convinced myself that my chances arent great and was preparing for a reject but as soon as someone told me that the results were out , I started to panic and the nervousness exploded. With shaking hands, I opened the iima page and then the results link and then my heart exploded , this time with happiness as I read " Congratulations ...". I typed "converted" on the Dream Team 19 Whatsapp group and just sat down for a few minutes. 

This was when I realized that I made it, I got an admit from the best B school in the country. The best part though was the happiness in my parent's eyes when I broke the news. They were so so proud that it hurt.

This was followed by an expected direct reject by IIMB and then I was stuck with the next issue ( One I was happy to have ) of which to choose between IIMA and IIMC but that was cut short when IIMC waitlisted me and I decided to join IIMA and applied for the defered admit option the result for which is yet to come.

Calls :- IIM A,B,C,L,K,S,CAP(Applied only for Ranchi) , FMS , XLRI BM

Calls attended :- IIM A,B,C,L,K, CAP and XLRI BM

Converts:- IIM A,C, K, FMS , XLRI BM

Rejects:- IIMB

Wait lists:- IIM L

The reason I wrote AIWTSAC last year was that I was hurting and I just wanted to express it , while the reason for this year's AIWTSAC is that I hope people who are hurting realize that time heals everything and that picking yourselves up and trying to run again is very important.

Many people helped me in this journey , most of all my friends and brothers in the DT . The people who were preparing alongside me in the DT included an ISRO scientist who rejected IIMK twice and is now joining IIMB( @jbk.hcyju   ), an IITB grad who felt IIML just isnt good enough and is now joining IIMA ( @abhisheknambiar ) , an Infosys employee who made waves, garnered a lot of love and support in PG and is now joining IIMC( @Arsene96 ), an ex-Deloitte employee whose love for data and logic had him become a DILR faculty at Time and has made a spreadsheet widely available which shows waitlist movements and minimum cutoffs , he will be joining FMS this year  ( @SmileyKRK) , a CA who loves tech and an engineer at heart and also scored over 99.9%ile in CAT and is now joining IIMC ( @kifilshah). We also had a JU gold medallist who will be joining IIMA ( @ramkikkr ) , an NITK grad who earns more now than what majority MBAs earn and yet his love for learning pushes him to join IIMA his year( @Manish15597 ) and an NIT Nagpur grad working in Mastercard will be joining IIMC . We also had a couple of SBI POs - @Bhimana - an inspiration for most folks from an underprivileged background as he stands tall and @Parag1208 , a musician , poet and a meme lord who will be joining SPJIMR (Marketing) this year. @harleenv was a quite observer and oe of the only two females in the DT and will be joining IIMA while @theprk and @Bhavnish123 have converted MDI but are waiting for converts in IIML and FMS respectively. We were guided and coached by some DT'18 stalwarts especially @abckl_123 whose presence and guidance kept a lot of us calm throughout the journey.

Two folks couldn't unfortunately make it to their dream colleges this year but will be going for CAT'20 and these two are very strong individuals and will not stop at anything less than the best.

A bit of gyaan to all the folks who will be attempting again,

I have seen a rise in negative posts , be it against any institutes diversity policy or reservations , etc. Please do realize that you not making it to the institute you deserve is not just because of them. The first and most important realization that is essential is that you find your own flaws and work on fixing them , coz even with all the reservation and diversity points, most top B schools still have a large chunk of GEMs. While I did enjoy the occasional meme about RR , most of the memes and posts are quite toxic and I would suggest avoiding any sort of negativity as that can get people down. @Arsene96 is one of those few souls who have fought impossible odds , take inspiration from examples such as his and move forward.

All the best for CAT'20 . 


My defer application has been approved , so will be joining IIMA next year .

Signing off,

Ashwin Harinarayanan

IIM Ahmedabad Batch of 2021-2023 

PS- Have been wanting to write this sign off for a looong time 😄 

This AIWTSAC is coming from a complete stranger in PG. Also, it's not a frustration post. It's just that I read the AIWTSAC by @Arsene96 and @ashwinhari and they kind of helped me relate with them and it made me feel relieved that there are other aspirants as well who didn't make it in their first attempt yet they tried and finally achieved what they were actually capable of. However, my case is a little different. Most of those who don't get a good college in their first attempt feel like they have underperformed. In my case, I have always exceeded expectations. I have never studied a bit in my entire life. I was always content with passing with good enough marks and enjoying life. My twin sister used to sit 3-4 hours after school to finish homework and revise lessons and I would play the entire day and then just copy her homework without fretting a bit. People used to devote their entire 2 years to clear JEE and I used to run errands and go for lunches and watch every newly released movie in a theatre. People used to cry about scoring fewer marks in the practice test and I was crying because India crashed out of the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia. I used to feel proud of proclaiming myself as a backbencher. Studying and scoring 90 was too mainstream and boring for me. So when I scored 80+(78-79s without best of 5) in my 10th and 12th without studying much, I had already exceeded everyone's expectations ( My twin sister scored 90s, btw). And when I managed to clear both JEE mains and advanced, it was the icing on the cake. My parents were overwhelmed. And I had, according to everyone, over-performed. Hence I was pretty much satisfied with whatever I did, and joined a Tier 1 engineering college in Mumbai, studied just enough so that I would never have to think about KTs, pretty much explored every part of the dream city in my initial years, and joined many clubs and participated in every College Activity. And So when I became college cultural fest head in my third year, I thought I was already doing and achieving more than what my peers were achieving with much more effort. Also, those clubs and Activities gave me a taste for management activities. I realized I enjoy leading teams, organizing activities, participating in these so-called management events, winning a few en route. So during last May, when many of my close seniors made it into ABCLIK and XLRI, I had made my mind to attempt CAT. Yes, they had warned me that I'll be needing 99+ to have a real shot but my laid-back attitude told me ki Jo Hoga Dekha Jayega. I joined TIME and IMS test series, and from my first attempt itself, I was scoring more than what any of my seniors scored in CAT-18. Hence I thought good b schools are possible. The naive me didn't have much clue about reservations and stellar acads back then. I was more than happy with my scores. Again exceeding expectations. Hence I would just give these two mocks a week and then spend the rest of my week enjoying my final year days, partying, going for outings, and all. So much so that I was partying two nights before CAT-19. The Day of Cat-19 I had the afternoon slot and reached well in advance. Dozed off for around half an hour and woke up feeling fresh for my first big test. Now VARC has been my strongest area and I was thinking about completing it within 40 mins so as to have another resting period before DILR( I had developed a habit of resting between VARC and DILR because VARC passages used to tire me a lot). However, CAT-19 had something else in its mind and I barely managed to complete it with just a minute or two remaining which led me into a panic zone. However, I took some deep breaths and started for DILR. I went through all the passages and decided the 4 sets I'm going to solve( Someone had told me 4 sets were pretty much enough for 99percentile). To my amazement and later horror, I finished the sets within 51 minutes. And because I hadn't earmarked the 5th set in the beginning, I went along with a tough set and couldn't manage a single question in the last 9 mins. Still pretty much satisfied, I proceeded with the easiest Quants section as of now, and solved 26 questions within 54 minutes, and did nothing in the last 6 minutes because I wasn't brushed with the concepts required to solve other questions and I didn't want negatives. And on 29th November, when the official answer key came out, I had scored 68 in VARC, 44 in DILR, and 56 in Quants. 168 OA, some 99.44 Percentile. Again I had exceeded expectations. Same with IIFT's 96 and XAT 99.802 Percentile, I was on a bandeau of exceeding expectations. That is when I started having some unrealistic expectations. That I'll be joining a Top IIM in 2020. First time in my life I was not feeling above average but actually a topper. But then like every good thing had an end, calls started coming out and I hadn't got a call from BLACKI. It was a strange feeling to be disheartened by something you yourself wasn't serious about some months ago. And now in May with straight rejects in XLRI, NITIE, FMS, I can now fully relate what it is like to be a GEM with low acads. I had started thinking that E in GEM shouldn't stand for expectations. But then I came across posts by Arsene and Ashwin and met with People like @IIM_Groot and @MohitMehar and all those brilliant guys on our WhatsApp Group and realized these guys had gone through much more and actually gave their hearts out for the exams and still didn't gave up hopes and Finally managed to get Colleges like Calcutta, Ahmedabad, FMS and here I was venting about missing out on colleges in just my first attempt and that too without even giving my hundred percent. I think I had some innate aptitude and I never utilized it to my full potential, I felt bad when I didn't convert XL, because I didn't give my best and there's a thought lingering that if I had prepared for it, things would be different. I never realized that preparing for this exam and anticipating its results actually helped me in progressing. I'm a much-improved version of myself than I was a year ago. Preparing for the Interviews helped me realize the importance of current affairs. Reading newspapers and editorials helped me develop opinions. I have realized the importance of grabbing the smallest of opportunities and learning all the way through. I have realized no better how much I have scored, there's always an opportunity to improve and people around you are ready to help if you're really focused on improving. And that may be having hope and dreams is the best of things you could ever have because then you'll work your way through to make sure you realize those dreams. And you should dream big because you are not an average or just an above-average person, you're a GEM and being a GEM is indeed invaluable. Hoping to make it into a top tier college next year, and expecting to again exceed my expectations! "We may not start right but the end is something that is on our hands, if we wish to achieve something and do everything we can for it, nothing can stop us from realizing that dream" All the best for your B-school life and all the best for CAT20 for those who are still in contention


Hello PGites, Many of you know me and many of you don’t. I have been on PG for over a year now and I thought I would finally share my journey with you all. It can be a bit lengthy than usual but that’s because it kind of sums up my 2 years journey of CAT. 

I’ve been itching to write this AIWTSAC for almost a year, ever since I read the last batch’s journey. However, I couldn’t post it earlier as I had to wait for the dust to settle so that I could see my path ahead clearly. Thankfully, I do now. 

Now before I go ahead, I would like to mention a few things about myself. I am a huge AVICII fan. I still remember that before every mock I took I would listen to “WAKE ME UP”. The lyrics and the music related to me a lot. I watch a lot of shows, there would hardly be any good show that I have missed. But keeping the interests aside the two words that define me the best, would have to be “Average” and “Inferiority-complex”. All the people I’ve met on PG or outside would know so. 

Now coming to the journey of this average person, like most engineers who’ve aced CAT, I also once dreamt the JEE dream of joining an IIT. Slogged for 12hrs a day from the very first day of 11th Std. I put in a lot more effort than most did because I knew I was average. “Average” that’s how I was defined in school and the same in present as well. I did everything I could, joined a coaching, solved thousands of questions and wrote hundreds of tests. I thought I had prepared everything, learnt everything but the naïve little me hadn’t learnt how to handle pressure. What happened next was expected, I had a panic attack on the D-Day and bombed the exam. Parents expectations, Teachers expectations and my own ambitions had become too much for me to handle. That was the biggest hit I ever got, watching 2 years of efforts go down the drain in just a couple of minutes. Then came the sorrow, the depression and the regret! I did clear mains but couldn’t get what I wanted. Later I Just joined a college based on the State engineering exam. That was UVCE, under Bangalore university. 

Fast forward 2 years, I’m in my second year of Engineering. Hated my course, hated my college but mostly hated my situation. It was time for a change I tried everything from coding to core projects to even considering Masters abroad for a brief moment. 

It was during one of those days I came across the almighty word “CAT”. I still remember it clearly; I was having a cup of tea totally clueless about my life ahead when my mom mentioned it. To put it in her exact words “CAT kyun nahi kar leta, maine sunna hai IIMs bohot acchi jagah hai”. 

(Translation: Why not take up CAT, I heard IIMs are a great place to be)

At that moment I laughed it off telling that if I couldn’t crack JEE how could I crack cat. That evening I talked about this with a really great friend of mine (Lokesh). Whenever we meet up, we talked either about Dark humour or how shitty our life was. He was my colleague who was with me in the trenches during the JEE war slogging non-stop. But the irony is he didn’t let it be, he googled CAT, made me go through the syllabus and forced me to research more on it.

Well that’s where it began, we all need a small push to get our life Kick-started once again and this was it. For the next three months I used to reach home by 3pm eat lunch and sit with my laptop go through Quora, go through private blogs and read about Students experiences in IIMs and other top B-schools. I was in awe, I was jealous. Even I wanted to live in those dorms, roam the beautiful campus and learn amongst some the best minds of the country.

This lit a fire in me. It was a shot once again at redemption, to get that IIM tag, to repay my gratitude to my parents by at least a little for all the sacrifices they made for me. I wanted them to one day proudly attend my convocation at one of the holy trinity "IIM ABC"

CAT was more than just an entrance exam for me, it was now a means to prove my worth, to prove my mettle and a way to make my family proud. 

I joined TIME coaching in JUNE 2018 for the 1.5 year batch. Attended regularly but soon enough realized that the competition didn’t exist there and the teaching was too slow. 

Then joined online ...... and Facebook groups introduced to me by another good friend (Adil ). This turned the world upside down for me. Meeting such great talents, comparing tactics and competing with others to get higher mock scores. It was during this journey I came across two legends @haveyoumetharit (VARC God and now a great friend) and “ Rishi Mittal”(The youngest 100iler). Seeing these two inspired me to work harder so that I could beat em one day. 

Remember I mentioned I had “Inferiority-complex”. Well here’s where it gets exciting. This inferiority complex of mine kicked in, made me think I am just an average person who hasn’t achieved anything in life. This complex kept my feet on the ground, made me work 5 times harder than I ever did. Soon the results started to show.

From scoring 78 in January 2019 to scoring 150-160s in October 2019.The process was not easy, there were several bad days where I just couldn’t go on, couldn’t score well and almost gave up, but a 15 mins pep talk with my family and friends set it right. The improvement was unbelievable. But it was not over, I gave many more mocks in Sept, Oct, Nov. Gave mocks at even 3 am in the night and got up at 9 for college. Analysed them at 11 am in college during the class, in the bus and even while eating. The madness to excel and to prove myself cannot be explained but all I could think of then was the end product. The convocation at a reputed IIM. 

Fast forward to the D-Day, my exam center was 25kms away and my parents drove me to the exam center and waited at the center for me to finish. The irony is that on the route to the exam center, there exists a particular college, which many people dream of entering. It’s none other than the great “IIM Bangalore” at which I never had a shot of getting in. I asked dad to stop outside the college for some time as we were well ahead of the afternoon slot given. For 10 mins I sat still staring at the logo reminiscing the past, all the hardwork, the countless days spent working, the sleepless hours, the entire CAT journey as such. Rather than be nervous, I was Grateful. Grateful for the opportunity, grateful to my parents for their never-ending support, grateful for the friends I made who helped me at any given time of the day. I knew It then, I did all I could and whatever happens I will never regret.

Isn’t it funny, how an average kid who had an inferiority complex and panic attacks during exams, had grown so much in just a year and half. That was the beauty of the CAT journey. In the preparation of just a 3hours exam I had grown this much mentally and spiritually. 

I then gave my first and last attempt at CAT. 

I won’t talk about the paper as many have already done so. But after the exam I had no regrets. I knew I did a few silly mistakes in quant as well as attempted lesser in VARC than usual but I was relieved that this time I did not lose composure. Here is the outcome.

CAT 2019: 

VARC 55.49 (97.18)

DILR 68.23 (99.92)

QA 57.65 (98.43)

OA: 181.38 (99.74)

Acads: 91/89/65 GEM Fresher EEE background.

Coming to the WAT PI journey, I had calls from C,FMS,L and a few others. I have 65 in grads so AB was never an option. The goal was C or FMS. I enrolled for TIME and IMS GDPI prep. Turns out they were not useful to me at all. They were really chill and it didn’t help me at all. I hardly had 2 mock PIs at both. An absolute rip-off. But I thought I could prep myself and so I did. 

K and L destroyed me, insulted my very existence because I had no hobbies worth their time. C was a good experience where I expressed myself but again a few bouncer math questions and probability distribution ones caught me off guard. MDI and IIFT were a breeze as I did great at GD and WAT, maybe that was why I gave a solid PI. FMS well never took GDPI which is both good and bad. 

Then the COVID took over the world, an extremely testing period where people were worried about themselves and their families. Doctors and Policemen out there working really hard to keep us safe, but the selfish me only ever thought about the results. Day in and Day out all I thought of was the results throughout April and May. Then on May 8th came A and B back to back. I did not have a call from either but I do remember that I cried that day after looking at people converting. All I could think of was why was I not given this chance?  It’s not as if I worked any lesser than them. But I got through this with the help of some people whom I will talk about later. Then came the K reject, which was obvious. Then C results, which I was eagerly waiting for, I got waitlisted at 180s. I did not know how to react, for a minute or two my mind went completely blank. Soon I got back to reality and talked with a really great friend of mine Harendra who as well got rejected after a great interview. We talked about how life is B***h for an hour that day. Couldn’t sleep for next few days.

Imagine Getting up every day with a goal, a dream to pursue and then that dream is suddenly stolen from you. That’s how it felt, every morning hence, I thought to myself what purpose do I have left now, what should I do and the answer was nothing.

On 26th night came out a list at 10:15 completely unexpected. I got 15 missed calls in a span of just 10 mins. I have almost made it. FMS released their list in the most bizarre way. 

So now I have FMS and MDI as my future possible options after 2 years of a dream dreamt. So what about ABC? What about the dream of me taking my proud parents to the convocation in ABC? Those were the lingering thoughts I had and still do. 

So Did I fail? Yes absolutely ABC was the goal. 

Am I sad? I was after C but not anymore because I had the time to accept the situation. However, I had this talk once for 15 mins where I talked to my MOM-DAD and apologized for letting them down once again after C results. They told me “Just wait you will go where you are meant to go. ABC is just a tag, you did everything you could if not even more! Now just wait for fate to take you to your next destination. One where you are meant to be, one where you will fit in”.

Be it FMS or MDI I just accepted the situation and now I will be on my next journey. I don’t know yet where, don’t know when (Thanks COVID) and don’t know-how. However, I will not stop for sure.

That was my journey but how can I forget the people involved in it. The ones who played the biggest role in it. The countless friends I made in the journey.

First off would like to thank one of my best buds Mahadevan who was my constant supporter in college! Lokesh for pushing me at the right time!

Adil and Vamsi hoping you make it to A by next year this time.

Then Cometh the countless PG legends I met The humble @ashwinhari , The legend @Arsene96 , the awesome @onepoorGEM , the ever so sarcastic @Bazinga19 , the poetic @IIM_Groot , the inspiration @Bhimana and definitely many more whom I couldn’t mention at the moment.

Then comes the bestest people I met @haveyoumetharit and Swarnima. Thanks, Harendra for helping me cope with the rejects not to mention the constant supply of dark memes and swarnima thanks for calling after every result. It really meant a lot guys.

Not to forget @karthikmadkekar the partner in crime (YKWIM), for always giving me support to face on these rejects!

During the gap of 2 months and results, I would have gone insane if it had not been for a certain important people. From several groups of spamming was made the ultimate Spamming group ever, which had the darkest of memes, lamest of jokes, and the best of people. They made the wait lesser and the rejects easier.

Shekhar’s lies, Nilesh’s Voice notes and secret identity, Lakhshya's constant support and motivation, Hemang’s Tu SP Jaa, Anto’s saint advice, Parag’s dark humour, Manjeet’s profanity vocabulary, Adi’s rant+messing with people, Dilip’s Connections in DU, Khushal’s dange and show off, Devansh’s Nationalism, Parth’s rare support, Praveen’s rap battle, Amol’s RR after NITIE, Shivam’s Astronomy stint which went viral on PG to soumik’s one sided stories to suyog's Underappreciation of my memes. I am extremely grateful to you people for making this journey even more exciting especially in the toughest phase of it.

Thus comes an end to the journey of an average person who aimed for the moon but made it amongst the stars. The one thing I’m most thankful for is that I have no regrets and if I did, I have learned to accept them. 

"Time is the second most valuable commodity that money can't buy, the most valuable is still 'real' friendship and 'real' friends. I am glad to have stumbled upon some people that made my life more miserable, yes, you read that right, that's what real friends do!" 

The Epilogue was provided by none other than, you guessed it right, @IIM_Groot

Alert: It is a long post by someone with not so great percentile but if it motivates even a single person, I would consider my journey and my post to have served the purpose.  

It all started in June 2017 when an engineer from tier 2 Btech college, having extremely poor mathematical skills decided to attempt the CAT exam.  

This decision had its own caveats. The exam required relatively strong quantitative skills to trump the exam and my quantitative skills were as poor as it could be. I was that kind of a person who would run away from maths-related subjects during graduation owing to my disliking of the subject itself primarily because of an extremely weak foundation. Moreover, the realization that IT was not my cup of tea(I actually lacked the desire and zeal needed to grow in IT) acted as an impetus that strengthened my decision of giving CAT a try. Contrary to the conventional mindset that people have of engineers, I knew that I not only had to improve my language skills but also had to work on my quantitative skills. 

 Attempt 1 

On 24th June 2017, I enrolled myself in a super long term batch in the TIME CP branch. On 7th July I attended my first class at TIME. I distinctly remember that day. Fully enthused, ready to give all to ace the exam. But, I had a misconception that enrolling in an institute meant 80% of work done and that merely enrolling would improve my aptitude. Soon I realized that not only was I bad at quant, but I was terrible at DILR and VARC. This meant I had to work on all the 3 sections from scratch. 

Cat was just 4 months away and I had realized that considering the amount of time needed to improve myself, this attempt won’t be much fruitful. I thought of skipping CAT17 but my brother insisted that I at least give it a try. So I decided to give my 100% no matter what the result would be.  At that time I was in the 7th semester. Preparation for College Placements was something that demanded most of my time and hindered my prep, but considering my aptitude, I realized that keeping a job as a backup might act as a wise decision. I decided to get placed as quickly as possible so that I can devote more time to CAT prep. But after getting rejected in multiple job interviews, I decided not to sit for interviews. I tried to improve my aptitude as much as I can but lack of time and a large aptitude gap to bridge acted as an impediment. I could only manage to give 2-3 mocks(with scores ranging from 50 to 65) till cat17. 

 On 26th Nov I gave cat17 in the second slot.  

Section:(scaled score/percentile) 




Overall scaled score=73.6

 Overall percentile=68.61%ile 

 Calls: NONE 

Convert: NONE  

The results didn’t surprise much as I knew I was not even close to my best. 

 Attempt 2 

Then I decided to give cat18. I made sure to get a job by January during my 8th semester. My job was to start in July so it provided me quite some time to improve myself. I completed most of my TIME booklets by July as I felt I might not be able to give sufficient time to cat prep during my job. Then I gave my first mock that year and scored 108! I realized maybe my hard work has finally started to pay off.  

To my surprise, I had improved myself a lot in quant( from 13 marks in cat17 to around 35 marks in mocks seemed to be a big achievement). I decided to up the ante from thereon. But regular fluctuations in my mock scores started to affect my self-confidence. It led to me doubting my very decision for going for cat. I still remember a long discussion with my brother and family members who insisted that a bit of hard work and I might achieve what I desire. All this sparked something into me that motivated me to try again. 

 Mock after mock I became frustrated, felt dejected, and doubted myself. But the beauty of my cat journey has been that even though I fell quite often but somehow I learned to pick myself up each time in the hope of a better day. And believe me, HOPE is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane(these ain’t my words but I firmly believe them). The hope to succeed led to me giving my best even after a demanding job. I gave whatever time I could during my office hours to cat prep. I would carry a piece of paper with me so that whenever I could manage to sneak sometime I could practice. I would get up early in the morning to study for cat. My shift timings(12.30 pm to 10 pm) at the office, facilitated me in studying early in the morning.  

During this attempt, I took 22 mocks and my overall percentiles hovered from 77%ile to 92%ile and slowly my arch-nemesis (quant) had become my companion. 

 Months passed and I gave everything I could to cat prep along with the office. On 13th Nov, I gave NMAT and felt really happy after my exam. The exam kind of acted as a morale booster. Then came the big day 25th Nov 2018 first slot. This was my first attempt wherein I was fully prepared(my cat17 attempt was where I lacked practice and concept clarity). Trying to overcome the butterflies in my stomach, I went into the exam hall. As soon the exam started I tried to stick to my strategy of solving questions. I found VARC and DILR to be a bit easy(though I couldn’t capitalize) as compared to cat17(maybe because I was prepared). I was really happy when quant started as I felt this is where I would score the most(during mocks I usually solved 20-25 questions in quant with close to 80% accuracy). But little did I know that cat18 quant would haunt me for the next few months (and in my CAT19 attempt as well).  

After 30 mins, I had solved only 4 questions and my mental state was like that of an emperor who is seeing his palace burn right in front of his eyes. Alas, I couldn’t do much. My lack of flexibility and strategy to adapt to such a situation in the exam took the better of me. I was in such a shock after those 30 mins that I tanked the whole quant section. I could only manage to solve 11 questions. I still remember that I had close to 2 mins left and my eyes were filled with tears. I knew it was over. I didn’t have the courage to face my father who was waiting outside the exam hall. As soon as I told my family about my exam and how bad I tanked my quant section, there was a bit of disappointment. It seemed they had high hopes from me and as I said HOPE is a dangerous thing. I realized I had not only tanked my exam but also their hopes. Soon dejection led to self loathe.  

But my family was quick in letting me overcome those troubled times. If I had someone who always stood by my side, no matter what condition I face, that has to be my family(primarily my elder and younger brother). My family tried to refresh me and help me ease the burden that I carried after tanking my exam. Then result came:  

Section:(scaled score/percentile) 




Overall scaled score=104.63 

Overall percentile=90.74%ile  

NMAT Overall score=217(English cutoff not cleared)  

Calls: NONE 

Convert: NONE  

Unlike the last time, this time the results shattered me terribly. Even though I felt I had done reasonably good in VARC and DILR, the scores and percentiles didn’t suggest that.  

Deep inside I knew I had failed again and I knew the reason for my failure as well- rigid mindset and lack of adaptability. Setting aside dejection and self-loathing, I knew what needed to be tamed. I took a break for 1 month and geared up for cat19.  

Attempt 3

 I started preparing for cat 19 in February. I knew that this would in all certainty be my final attempt. This time I had my basics covered already but had to brush up my concepts so I decided to redo my study material by may. Post that I purchased IMS and TIME mock series. I began to devote most of my time to mock tests. I would give 1 mock every 6-7 days and try to understand what all went wrong. 

 I maintained a small notebook wherein I noted down all the important concepts and questions. With each mock, I tried to improve my weakness. I tried to formulate a much more flexible test-taking strategy wherein I would improvise myself based on the difficulty of the section/exam and not go with a preconceived notion. 

 This time the prep phase was different from previous ones as here I just needed to polish myself and fine-tune my strategies.

 During mocks, my scores started to fluctuate again but something was different this time. I felt frustrated and dejected but never gave up. The journey in itself gave me the strength “to fall down 7 times but get up the eighth”. There were days when I felt really bad looking at my single-digit DILR scores but soon I would find myself again giving a mock irrespective of what score I got. This has been the true beauty of the journey. It has taught me to try until I succeed. 

 I gave close to 35+ mocks this time with my overall percentile hovering around 95-97%ile and occasionally hitting that coveted 99%ile mark. I gave NMAT on 11 Oct and got 228 with all sectionals cleared. PHEW!!Finally some luck.  

Then came the D-Day. Nervousness took the better off me and I was unable to sleep till 4.30 am and had to leave home for the center by 6 am. With 1.30 hrs of sleep, I went to take my final shot at CAT. I knew I had messed it by not sleeping well. The horror show started with a daunting VARC section. Tough RC’s coupled with my sleepless mind again led to me losing my calm in the exam hall itself. Flashback of Quant of cat18 and my fiasco and lack of self-management at that time flooded my mind. But this time it was not like quant of CAT18. I told myself it’s now or never and to stay calm and try to solve whatever I could.  

After the exam, I knew that I had again tanked(I literally hate this word but no better word to explain my performance in VARC). I knew I had done exceedingly well in Quant but VARC seemed to act as a spoilsport. But this time I had a HOPE that maybe I can clear VARC cutoff by a whisker.  Then came the results: 

Section:(scaled score/percentile) 




Overall scaled score=163.18 

Overall percentile=99.24%ile  

NMAT Overall score=228  


Convert: NMIMS, IIM Sirmaur, IIM Vizag, IIM Udaipur, NITIE, MDI-G 

Results awaited: SJMSOM, IIT D 

Post seeing the cat result I had tears down my eyes. This journey has been one heck of a ride with ups and downs. Never had I ever thought that it would be so long and cherished. Not only did I get my dream college(MDI-Gurgaon) but also learned a few things: 

1)There is no substitute for hard work.

2)HOPE might be dangerous but as Samuel Johnson said ‘The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure, but from hope to hope.’ 

3)Have faith in yourself. Your hard work will pay dividends. It might be the case that there could be some delay but honest hard work will never go down the drain.  

In the end, I would like to thank PagalGuy Family for helping me stay motivated. I would like to thank my family for helping me during my ups and downs. 

I would like to end by saying if a person with extremely weak quant(score of 13 in cat17) can end up getting a score of 74 in cat19 then everyone else can.    

Liverpool took 30 years to win the EPL again, my 3 years were worth the wait.

*Way damm too long, 3 year ka story*

TLDR: Acads:10(CBSE)/95.2(CBSE)/90.7(IIT-Mech) 1YR exp Core 1yr gap

2017 CAT 94.77 VA❌ So no calls

2018 CAT 98.96 Calls:K❌ I✔️(HRM) MDI✔️ (HRM) CAP ✔️(Everything) IIFT ❌(DI =0)

2019 CAT 98.16 VA ❌ IIFT 99.32 ✔️(Delhi)

XAT: Never crossed 80% in DM

My journey began 3-4 months before the CAT 17 exam when I saw a friend (Eshan) scribbling something on a notebook while looking at a thin white book with blue borders hidden between his legs n the bag during a HSS elective. The last time I did this is back in my 12th readying for JEE during a English class and not paying much attention to it. (Foreshadow #1) I asked him what it was and he replied that it was a TIME material for CAT which was an MBA exam. 

See at that point I had known about the foreign B-Schools and their requirement of a minimum of 2yr exp. So I was more focused on the Placements and didn't bother research about the Indian ones hoping that they too took from GMAT. After finding out, I thought why not give it a try. So I took the TIME materials which were heavily discounted to ₹5k started with QA as usual as it was needed for my placements and kept the VA part for the end. A month or two after, I gave my first and last mock of that season which got me 70%tile. Then I just stopped using it altogether and just stuck with solving the books. Even bought the Arun Sharma series but didn't bother solving anything beyond LOD 1. (Even today I don't think thats necessary but if one needs some extra practise as they have completed everything, it seems to be a good one) One of my lobby-mate Abhishek (Tharki Lobbyist: TL #1) was preparing too so I used to lend him the books. November came,I boarded a early ass bus (Morning Slot) and gave the exam with not much expectation. TL #1 and Eshan had in the evening slot and chilled for some more time. Then came December and along with it the Placement season. TL#1 got placed in FICO and I got into JSL since I was not interested in those PSUs and nor those coding jobs. Warren Buffett had played his jaadu in my mind and now I was really into getting into a management school. A week later the results came pouring in. I got 94.67% while TL#1 got some 99.xx. Being a cocky nibba TL#1 only filled ABC and got a call from C (He's a 9/9/8 profiled OBC guy) while I didn't have any calls as I didn't clear the VA cutoff. Eshan on the other hand got 99.98% with calls from everywhere and the whole Hostel was celebrating.

CAT 17:  38.95(71.41) 26.36(88.79) 71.73(98.72) 137.04 (94.77) 

Two months later results started coming. I and TL#1 were attending some talk or something when IIM C results came. WhatApp went buzzing and TL#1 got anxious and his net went down. I check on my phone and finally told him that he converted. It was a nice feeling to celebrate successes with your UG friends I guess. That moment I thought it might be possible for me to get into one too, so I set myself to give it next year. TL#1 had some money issues and thought it would be better to let go the offer and work for a year. So together with him I setoff for CAT 18. Eshan went on to join IIM L (He bombed his interviews a bit) 

There was a two month break between the end of B.Tech and job joining. So I took a crash course and the materials of TIME again to get to know the basics for the test. The job location was 3 hours from my hometown of Bhubaneswar. Upon joining the first 3 or so months were training program which allowed me enough time to finally complete the TIME materials and gave a few mocks. I scored consistently in the range of 92-95% but atleast now all the cutoffs were getting cleared so I was happy with it. 3 months later i was assigned to a plant under a manager by whom I got shouted at on the 5th day of getting assigned. I guess that day my drive to leave for MBA reached its peak. Time went on, I got into shifts for some time then a few months of 8 to 6pm work. Even during all these I tried to maintain my study schedule which seemed to be weakening. I think I gave like 2 mocks or so within a time span of 3 months. The only positive thing during this time was I had completed my preparation, jotted down all the formulas in my notebook for QA, a few DI questions were there too to remind what the approaches were. November came and it was just 2 weeks left to CAT. Just to get into the 3 hour rhythm, I gave like 3 pending mocks scoring like 130-140. I lied to my manager to get a day off pretending to be sick. Went to my home where the exam was scheduled. It was a chilly Sunday morning and my Dad drove me to the centre. This time atleast I was happy with my attempts though. The passages were easy for me with 2 on science and one on economics allowing me to be sure that I can now clear this cutoff. This confidence carried on to DILR with me pushing up to complete 5 sets (Mock record was 4). This yet again pushed my confidence and my speed to QA as well with a lot of attempts. I came out happy that day telling Dad that this might be the year. IIFT was next week. To be honest I never knew that the IIFT strategy was way different from CAT's. I relied on the TIME's GK module for IIFT GK and took one attempt on the previous year paper. IIFT exam day was uneventful. A lot of aspirants were buzzing near the centre talking about their CAT attempt. Meanwhile me, standing like the 'Confused Travolta from Pulp Fiction' with my admit card in my hand looking for where to go. Fighting through the crowd with CAT attempts talks flying in the, I found my room and took my seat. I started my paper from QA, dove to LR, completed the Verbal and finally the GK. I now have two sections left and a mere 30min in hand because well I am an ass and attempted everything on my way like a bull and leaving a few on the way. I chose RC and tried to complete 3 passages just to clear the cutoff (You know my RC is weak and I have a low confidence on my accuracy, its the attempts that save me) Upon completing it, now there is just 5 min on the watch and I have 0 attempts in DI. Little did my inexperienced ass know that DI is the difficult/lengthy part in IIFT. It took me 4 mins to start one set and started solving the first question and the time got over. In an desperate attempt I just risked it on probability and marked B on all questions in that set. Coming out I knew this was a goner and said so to my Dad and went home and back to work. I don’t remember much about XAT, in my preparation for DM I didn't have much luck in getting enough correct to reach the 95% that I got on DILR in CAT. So I never gave any serious thought to XAT exam. 

It was during the early days of February when I heard of Pagalguy and made my account. I joined the CAT group and in a matter of few days it replaced my go to site from reddit at job to PG. The earliest I remember are the memes of Actionkamen and a few posts of Arsene and IIMGroot and some other members of that year's DT. I also remember the damm polls during those months. Its nowhere close to the frequency of the polls now, those days were crazy. 2018 was also the year of RR starting his mentorship ads and I enjoyed the regular bashing on his comments.

See my aim was the Top 10 B-Schools only as it has been since my JEE days. Calculating my score on CrackU and analysing the previous year's scores from PG i though I might end up close to 99.00%. Then the results started pouring in and my Lobbyist group started buzzing.

CAT 18: 49.49(87.19) 48.84 (99.45) 55.98(99.18) OA 154.31(98.96%)

Remember TL#1, he ended getting 99.3x and another friend Abhay (Tharki Lobbyist: TL#2, GEM in Reliance) got something like 99.48 (Both had evening slots). TL#2 was probably our group's PI expert with all his GK knowledge and regular current affair talks. Meanwhile I got 98.96% as I was expecting and in a few days got calls from K I CAP MDI SP(profile based). 

Knowing that I started setting up interview dates as close as possible. Lies were told from being sick to cousin's marriage to get those days off just to go to Kolkata for the interviews. K's interview was a stress one. I's after getting my ML was probably average now that I think of it. MDI's was my perfect PI but its GD and WAT was damm disastrous. I guess it was that perfect PI that got me HRM. SP was brutal. The only interview where I was asked why MBA and why Finance and my answer didn't get digested by the panel member. CAP was a breeze a short one though and the most crowded one. 

A few months later the results started pouring in. TL#1 being savage again converted B direct and a close WL in A. He accepted B. TL#2 had had an awesome PI(26/30) and got WL 4 in FMS and later on converted. For me as expected K was a reject. SP had kicked me out in round 1. All my research on the percentile vs conversion of people stated that Indore was impossible (not a single GEMF has converted PGPM below 99%). So I didn’t have any high hopes for I or even MDI given that GD/WAT. I was a tad bit surprised that I was even waitlisted within range of converting anything. A few months later I eventually converted HRM on both but the bigger success for me was it now I was sure that the dream of a top 10 can be achieved with probably a serious attempt without distractions. 

With this thought in mind, I left my job in June, exited with a neutral relationship with the manager and a good one with the head of the plant. Travelled all the way to Hyderabad and took shelter in a 1 BHK flat with a good amount of my salary saved as insurance just in case my CAT 18 was disastrous due to a single section. (Foreshadow #2) This time from PG reviews I though of giving IMS a try and got enrolled in their class room program. It was necessary to maintain my study schedule and not slack-off anytime in between. My fear of mocks was now gone and well I think I ended up giving probably 10-12 mocks this season. My scores were surely improved with consistent 150-160 range (95-98%). My VA was still weak though but I wanted to offset it with my QA n DI. I set a target for myself. 55-55-70 marks. 

The exam day came with my centre in Hyderabad itself. An afternoon session this time. When the exam started, and I scrolled through the passages I knew that the next 3 hours will be damm difficult. No science topics, no economics or history that I like. I did what I could but somewhere in the last 15 mins some endurance spirit inside me kicked in and I regained my confidence back a bit. I guess that pushed me into the next two sections. Ended up doing 5 sets in DI (Had some incorrects I think) and an increased attempts in QA too. 4 days later CrackU released its answers and I calculated my marks and with 25 marks in VA i knew its a lost cause. In 72 hours I had to give the IIFT one. I think it took me a day to recover from it and regain my composure and well with 48 hours to go I just switched off all external comms. (WhatApp, FB, PG deactivated for that week) In that 48 hours I have solved 3 mocks of IMS full and 2-3 past year's IIFT papers. idk I guess in those 48hours I knew I can work well under pressure. With a new strategy for IIFT set from all the experience shared on PG and discussed with the teachers in IMS I set on giving the IIFT exam on Sunday. 3 days later as usual CrackU came with its answer key and lo and behold I finally have something promising to fight for and a small chance to end up in my top 10 B-school. As usual a month later the results came.

CAT 19: 24.43 (71.22%) 52.74 (99.07) 67.89 (99.48) OA 145.05 (98.16)

IIFT 19: QA 34(94.58) RC 62(87.03) DI 57(99.83) GK 10.5(88.83) OA 163.5(99.32)

Well 2019 just had 1 call and thus it was an immense pressure to convert or else 'Carry minati: Paise barbad bc' Knowing that I do well under pressure and with a nice convertible percentile I went for the IIFT interview back in Kolkata. I probably had my best WAT of all my wats in IIFT followed by average interviews. Nothing much eventful happen expect that I think the 3rd panelist was impressed with my quick answer to his single question for the day. I ate in the IIFT K canteen wrote down all the questions asked to me and went back home. A few days went by and  after repeated analysis of my PI performance I concluded fro myself that atleast IIFT K toh hona hi hai. 

A few months went by with my timepass doing some research on the companies coming to IIFT K and ofcourse the memes on PG. I guess after a long wait along with this COVID pandemic and a lot of reading of difficult and good experiences of students in their own PI during this pandemic, finally on May 31 an FB notification. After seeing Arsene96 and a lot many others convert, I thought maybe today is my day. So I opened the Kolkata list first, scrolled through A and reached B.Fukk no name. (See a normal guy would panic, but hamara kuch aur hi laga. Cause I know jaise interview gaya tha reject to hone wala hu nai. Toh the only conclusion I had was maybe on Delhi list. I was a bit excited) Finally opened the Delhi list. Scrolled from A. And well there it was. 

Liverpool got their chance to win last year but it was cut short. This year well, they finally got it and so did I. The light at the end of the tunnel was actually the end of the tunnel to a world of hope for prosperity. 

This was my journey. This is my Legend.

Tharki Lobbyist #3(3/7): IIFT Delhi 2020

PS. I do wanna congratulate all who converted their dream B-Schools in the pandemic struck session. And I also hope that the ones who came short, don’t worry you just need 1 good year and a perfect 3 hours. Hopefully you don’t giveup and try again in CAT 2020. 

PPS. In case you convert Delhi and Join, milna chahte ho toh blackboard pe: "MARCÖ" likhna. Hum: "POLØ" likhke mil lenge.

Well, here's my journey. Putting your thoughts into words is indeed a herculean task. I hope you like this effort.

Please share your thoughts. 

Reposting from the CAT19 group - 

Hi! Long post alert. This post is just another AIWTSAC19. Also there’s a slight change. It’s from a fellow female engineer. 

I can already imagine some of the eyes rolling right now thinking “Eh that’s a girl, it’s easy breezy for her.” Well you’re free to skip this post but I’m gonna pour my heart out because I’ve spent a long time worrying what others think of me and I’m not gonna do that anymore. 

I’ve always felt there was a lack of female users on PG. I myself don’t post much because I’m shy. That’s the reason for creating a new account. Please spare me because I’m not RR masquerading as a girl. Also some details have been skipped to not reveal my identity. Here it goes -

Back during my 12th days I was not really interested in any field. Unlike others I didn’t feel the passion to crack JEE and get into a top engineering college. So I just studied for boards and got into a not-so-good(read pathetic) local engineering college in a field that I didn’t hate. Yeah that is how the majority choose their engg specialization in India. And my college life sucked. It was just a small group of friends that got me through. I didn’t even feel like participating in events and fests so I mostly passed my time watching shows, movies and making sure I maintain a good GPA. 

It was in the beginning of 2018 that all my friends started thinking about MS and enrolled themselves in GRE classes. The peer pressure of thinking about my future studies was real, so I went to attend some career counselling seminars and got introduced to CAT. I was sure I didn’t want to go abroad so the choice was between GATE and CAT. I realized the odds of getting into an IIT for MTech were too low and not something I looked forward to, on the other hand there were many great MBA colleges in India. That’s how the immature me decided on CAT and I enrolled in one of the classes in my city.

It was a 2 year batch and I didn’t take things seriously. I never even dreamt of an IIM, heck I didn’t even think of cracking CAT. My goal was to get into NMIMS/SIBM because I wasn’t good enough for others. So the first year went by chilling, solving some basics and I took my first mock in April. Surprisingly I was among the top 10 scorers at my classes (the score was itself not good but being in the top 10 surely feels good). People came to me and asked for tips and I didn’t even have anything. But I thoroughly enjoyed that feeling :P

Tbh I never won anything at all so the inferiority complex was real. And for the first time in my life I felt I was good at something. I started to take things seriously, researched more about MBA, about the exam, strategies and all that goes on. Still I didn’t dare to dream of an IIM, the goal had moved up a step to colleges like IITB and IIFT. I worked my ass off like never before. Studied 6-7 hours a day, was reading 3-4 articles everyday and a novel per week. Still the college work was piling up and it was a bit difficult to manage. Scores improved gradually and I was in the 140-150 marks range by the end. And the people who knew me just couldn’t believe I was scoring this much. If I had a mark for everytime someone said “Do people from your college even go for CAT?”, I would be a 99.98%tiler haha.

Nevertheless it was never about proving someone else wrong. Through the months I realized CAT was my only chance at redemption. To shake off the mediocrity once and for all. I was still not happy with my scores but continued to slog. I started being ambitious a bit, searched about the percentile required for MDI and read somewhere it was comparable to IIM I and K. I figured the marks I was scoring were enough for them. This was the first time the thought of an IIM crossed my mind. 

I won’t mention the D day because it was fairly normal. I didn’t panic but I knew I hadn’t given my all. Got a ~99 percentile in slot 2. My parents and friends were super happy with that, but I knew this was not the best I could score. The calls started coming in and since I had good acads plus gender diversity I got quite a few calls including the most unexpected one, IIM C.

Now please don’t come at me saying I don’t deserve a C call because I know I don’t. I can’t even imagine the disappointment of GEMs who didn’t get a call at 99.66. But yeah I had already lost the battle. Constantly thinking I had no shot at C because low percentile plus the fact that I didn’t deserve it. I started with the GDPI preparation half-heartedly. 

My first mock interview went horrible. I was told I didn’t have enough experiences to share and with this prep I had no chance of converting anything. And they were correct. I hadn’t prepared much and this was what I needed to kickstart myself. Again I began to study religiously. Gave interviews, some bad, some good, some I don’t even wanna talk about. After that began the anxiety. What if I don’t convert a single call this year? That too after being a female (that’s what was being told to me, “Ladki ho na, sirf MDI k interview me jaake bethna hai. Ho jayega.”). Honestly that stung me a lot because I have worked just as hard. Yeah I get diversity points at most colleges but that is not my fault, something is wrong with the system. Those comments on PG filled with vitriol made me feel absolutely pathetic. I ignored everything and decided to just wait for the results.

I’ve got all the results now and I converted K, I and MDI. Yes I’m happy that I could show the interviewer there was something in me but I’m not satisfied. The whole 2 years journey has made me realize that I’ve potential and there’s still some fire left in me. My goal has now upgraded to IIM C and I’m going for CAT20. Funny how a simple exam can make you dream of things you never thought you were capable of. 

Finally thank you to all the puys and pirls. We may never have interacted but I enjoyed the memes, the motivational posts, poems and the few talks I had with some people.

A special mention to @Arsene96 . You have been my one and only inspiration. I remember your comment on someone else’s post, “There hasn’t been a female 100%tiler since Chavvi Gupta.” I have it saved in my notes. Maybe next year I’ll get a percentile required by a GEM to get a C call. :)

Congratulations to the people joining a B school this year and this one is for others - 

Ambition is like poison in your veins till it drives out everything that stops you from going the last mile. On we go again.


Socha kya likhein.. Fir socha kuch toh likh hi dete hain.. Apne liye hi sahi..

This post would be very short, kyuki kuch zyaada batane ko hai nahi.. My journey is driven by a somewhat faulty mindset, rather than an actual zeal to excel. I got into this MBA scene primarily because of two reasons – a shitty job and a close friend who did well in CAT and made me think ki apna bhi ho hi jaega. My first attempt pretty much shattered my overconfidence, but in fairness, it was a good attempt. Logical step would have been to try to convert L and go last year, but there was some fight left I guess, fueled by the belief that this wasn’t my best.

So I started preparing for my second attempt, an year of work, practice, alcohol and self-doubt. Gave up my social life completely, worked from home entirely, gradually turning into a hermit, both in appearance and personality. CAT 2019 did not go well, or at least I thought it didn’t. Test centre was a shitfest, VARC was a question mark, and QA a disappointment (I had killed in QA the entire mock season, rarely getting a percentile lower than 99.8). Cut to November 29, I start checking my answers and score a 206! Pretty much what I wanted all the way – a call from Calcutta. But this wasn’t my only surprise, was it?

I got a call from all three giants, was happy but not really hopeful about A or B. In my mind, my only real shot was C, which brings us back to my earlier point – my journey being driven by a faulty mindset. In this case, a voice in my head whispering to me that I am not really worthy of A and B, which in hindsight, could very well be the voice of a skeptical GEM. My first interview was B, I tanked it. Sitting inside the room I knew I am not walking these roads again, and I was right. Next A, it was okay I guess. Then L, tanked it too. And last was the big one, the mighty Calcutta. This was what I had been dreaming about for almost two years now, and unsurprisingly, it was okay…

In the months starting from early March up until that fateful afternoon of May 8, I had stopped thinking too much about the results. Mainly because I had been so deeply immersed in this journey for what seemed to be an eternity, that I was exhausted by now. Just wanted a miracle to land me into C, but another surprise was in store I guess..

A – Converted.

C – Converted.

L – Who cares at this point? But converted.

And here I am, with an unimpressive post about an uneventful journey. If you think you should take what you have, you are right. If you think you have to pickup the axe again and have another go at it, you are right. If your ambition matches your capabilities, you’ll be happy. And if not, you’ll still be happy, it will just take more time. The only thing I can say right now is this..

Felt cute. Might delete later..

LONG POST AHEAD as the journey of 4-5 years can’t be shortened too much :) 

Initially, I thought of not sharing my experience with CAT as my story is neither a Success nor a Failure. But I reconsidered my decision and I am sharing this info as the major chunk of serious CAT takers will fall within this range.

It all started when I was in my 3rd year of Btech in NIT Bhopal when I had to choose between MS, Gate and CAT. I was not interested in attempting Gate or GRE as I was not technically sound in my stream and not aspiring for a career in it. So, I decided to take CAT.

I was serious about cracking CAT but I was very poor in verbal. I enrolled in TIME Bhopal for my coaching. That was useful to brush up my concepts in quant but it didn’t help me improving a lot in my verbal. I started attempting mocks but the first mock was terrible that I remember the marks I got even now. I scored 79 marks out of 300. I focused on improving my scores but there were huge fluctuations in scores and my percentiles hovered around 80 to 97 percentile. It was tough to manage CAT preparation along with final year acads and job interviews. I was selected to Capgemini on 2nd October 2016 in my final year and I focused on Cat from then and the D-day arrived.

CAT 2016 – I was not at all confident about my verbal but I was in a habit of attempting more without accuracy (a huge mistake). It was from this year DILR became challenging in CAT which I didn’t expect. Quant was reasonably better. I was not satisfied with my performance as I knew that I screwed up VARC and DILR. The result reflected the same.

I scored 90.15 percentile with 60 percentile in VARC. I was so disappointed as I didn’t even get a call from any college.

CAT 2017 – I joined Capgemini in Hyderabad and I decided to attempt CAT again. I took up AIMCAT test series and I started preparing on my own this time. I thought to improve my verbal scores by reading newspapers and editorials but I didn’t observe a huge improvement in my scores. It became more difficult to manage CAT preparation with a hectic job day. All I could do was attempting mocks in weekends and analyzing previous mocks which I took. In my free time, I used to brush up Quant and DILR. This time, my mock percentiles hovered around 95-99 percentile. Finally, the D-day arrived. 

My strategy was to clear the verbal cutoff and perform well in other two sections. I was not extremely happy with my performance but it was better than the previous attempt.

I scored 95.93 (87.99/90.58/97.13) percentile. I knew this percentile won’t be enough for me to get into better colleges. I got calls from MDI and CAP but was waitlisted at numbers which were impossible to convert. I have converted IMT this time but didn’t join.

CAT 2018 – I decided this should be the last attempt to CAT and started preparing. There was enormous pressure on me as I couldn’t achieve what I wanted for the past 2 years. My parents were hopeful that I convert a better college as I was experienced and I knew my mistakes. I took up AIMCAT test series again and started taking mocks and analyzing them to improve my weak areas. I used the free time in my office improving my verbal. Mock scores steadily improved and I was confident of clearing the 99-percentile mark. 

I went home taking a leave for 15 days before CAT to stay away from hectic office work. Then, a major setback happened in my life which I didn’t expect. Three days before the D-day, I was affected with Chikungunya. I was devastated and took primary medication in my home town and travelled to Hyderabad for taking CAT. There was severe head ache, body pains and there were rashes all over my skin. I went to center before 1 hour and the exam started. I was not able to concentrate due to the disease but I kept on pushing hard as that was my 3rd attempt to CAT. I didn’t know how I performed. My parents were so disappointed as I got infected to disease in my home.

I scored 96.75 (87.61/93.05/98.43) percentile which I thought was fair enough in the circumstances I which I took the exam. But, the world around you only want results and they don’t care about your situations. I got calls from CAP, MDI and IIFT. I converted MDI-PGPIM and IIM Kashipur. My parents insisted me to join IIM Kashipur but I was reluctant to join as this attempt was not to my potential. My close relatives who knew about my CAT journey lost their hopes on me as I couldn’t achieve something even after 3 attempts. But I decided to give it a final shot.

CAT 2019: I didn’t like the work which I was doing in Capgemini as that was not at all challenging to me. Even my colleagues insisted me to take a serious CAT attempt to explore more opportunities. I took IMS and TIME test series and started attempting mocks in the weekends and analyzing them after my office work in the week days. 

My sister and brother-in-law who lives in US insisted me to attempt GRE as they thought I was wasting time here attempting CAT. But I didn’t like the idea of leaving India with the above reason. I convinced them that this would be my last attempt to CAT. Pressure was building upon me because of the above external factors. I was confident enough this time to secure good calls as my mock percentiles hovered around 97-99 percentile. Finally, the D-day arrived.

I was shocked seeing the VARC section as it was very tough which I didn’t expect and also VARC being my weakest section. But I kept my cool and attempted the section carefully. I was able to manage DILR section without any issues. The concentration with which I attempted VARC affected my strongest section-Quant as I was tired. I was not able to attempt Quant to my highest potential. Hence, I was disappointed with this attempt too.

But the percentile which I got is good enough to secure good calls. SNAP and IIFT exams went decent enough to secure calls.

CAT – 99 (96.5/99.2/97.5)

SNAP – 99.68 

IIFT – 98.1

I got calls from IIM Lucknow, IIM Shillong, MDI, NITIE, SIBM, IIFT, CAP, IIT Bombay and Delhi.

I have converted NITIE, SIBM, MDI-PGPIM and some new IIMS. Waitlisted in IIM Lucknow, IIM Shillong and IIT Bombay. Rejected by IIFT.

Taking this opportunity, I am thankful to @breakpointerer to be my CAT Partner right from my college. Seriousness comes when there is a tough competitor beside you.

I am thankful to the whole PG community and wishing all the best for the future endeavors.

 Disclaimer: This AIWSTAC is more about the journey of my life than my CAT journey. It is a long read (5000 WORDS!) but I hope that I am able to motivate at least one person who’s able to relate to my journey. Really bad at writing, so please ignore any grammatical errors or the lack of a good vocabulary. I am just very grateful for everything in my life and was too emotional while writing this. Enjoy!


Knowing where to start this post seems tougher than cracking CAT. It has been over a dozen years. I will stick to the facts here and skip the analyses. Like a good number of aspirants here, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life during graduation. I was a proofreader, screenplay writer, a world class sudoku solver and a few other things during my first three years. Seeing my friends prepare for CAT, I got bitten by the bug. My daily routine would be to wake up at 1pm,have lunch, catch up on two lectures, go to library and read novels, eat dinner, play tt/caroms until 2am, solve sudokus till 6, wake my friends up for cat class and go to sleep.

At some point, I got drawn to an MBA and prepared a bit from my friends` materials. I took 2-3 aimcats in their accounts.

CAT 2007

Those were the days of paper based cat with 25 questions in each section. Each question carried 4 marks. There were no timed sections. Naive me wanted to get a BLACKI call (S was not a big deal then). A had sectional cutoffs at 95.33, C about 94.7. B would call me at 100 in any sectional or overall. That coupled with an extremely tough QA led to my downfall. I spent so much time on QA that I could not capitalise on easier lrdi and va. A 73 in QA got me 100 then.I could not cross the sectionals for A and C in va and di. Also I could not maximise overall.

End result

100/86/94 in qa/di/va and 99.79 overall

calls from BLI- B was a disaster as an acads loving panel coupled with my diffident performance.


I-did not appear


CAT 2009

I skipped 08. 2009 was the first year of normalization.I could not point out what went wrong except a hangover and I ended up with 99.22. As expected, no calls.

I was working for the next two years and thought of giving one final shot in 2011.


I solved the previous year mocks and compared my scores with the toppers like shashank prabhu (fms passout, multiple CET topper including 2020). I was within touching distance most of the time but was wary of normalization.

End result was 99.88 with 99+ in both sections (there were only 2 sections then)

Calls from CLK

Converts - Again zilch.

I was utterly shattered and dropped plans of MBA. I worked in a few startups, joined a psu bank as a po and got married in 2018. The conditions at my workplace combined with my wife`s encouragement made me give another shot at CAT.

So I worked on the previous year mocks, compared my scores with 100 percentilers like chinmay,chhavi (who posted regularly on pg). I read the answers of Rajesh and Patrick on quora and deep down like the kid me who dreamt of straight driving an off volley ala Sachin, I hoped to get 100. I easily missed 18-20 marks that I should have got. If I were in my 20s, I would have been totally disgusted with my score but there`s no point in that and being a pain in ass to everyone around you. May be I will write this year to get the score that will satisfy my vanity.


99.7/99.96/99.83 99.98 va/di/qa/overall


Attended ABC

Converted and Joining A! 

Thanks to everyone who wished me luck ! 

Hope to update with a brag in 2021.


2019 was my fourth attempt at CAT.

This one’s for those who stay. Those who refuse to allow the society, your uncles, aunts and parents to tell you they’ve seen the world and they know better. Those who slog and fail. Those who trust their intelligence too much to let hard work for a competitive exam insult it, and just miss.

This one’s for those who feel a lot but do not have the words.

I was a stereotypical non engineer candidate-good english; bad math. I had a 97 percentile in the first mock I took, and I figured this was going to be easier than I thought. But this wouldn’t have been a post if it were.

The thing is- I’m extreeeemely lazy.  To give you an idea of the magnitude, let me narrate an incident. I once got out of a local train in Mumbai with a friend and we waited patiently for ten minutes on the platform until another train arrived on the adjacent platform so we could cross platforms via that train to exit the station instead of walking out like normal people which would have been 50 steps more.

I was also acutely aware of how lazy I was and how it came in the way of so many opportunities. But like my therapist put it, “the lazy is as much a part of you as is your intelligence”. So I relied heavily on my intelligence and studied only the topics I loved at quant- ignoring 3/4 the syllabus. I was also extremely confident about my language, and as long as I was meeting my cut offs at quant, I knew I’d bell the CAT.

By the time the first D Day arrived- I was dreaming and breathing the Louis Kahn Plaza. For someone who hasn’t cared about much else for a year, that can mean a lot of built up pressure. As it turns out, the whole experience turned out to be too overwhelming and before I knew it, I’d messed up language-the one thing that couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t- ever go wrong. I scored a 95%ile in language and 96%ile in quant that year. Turns out the 1/4th part I did love was arithmetic. I had a 97%ile overall-which immediately reminded me of that time I took my first mock and had figured this was easier than I thought.

I managed to get a call and convert a relatively old IIM the next year, but I’d just begun working and I figured it would be helpful to get some experience and give Ahmedabad another shot. If only the admission committee knew how much I wanted it and added an AC strictly based on the intensity of wanting to get in.

This was also the time that the pressure from everyone around started to kick in. The “But it’s a great college”, “It won’t matter in 10 years” and “you’re wasting a year“ started. My favourite one was: “But what if next year’s worse and you don’t even get this”.

Because I didn’t.

Suffice it to say that the next year was a disaster. As I type this casually, I realise that for a lot of you, an attempt is a do or die. But I had a decent job. And I was getting a promotion if I chose to stay.

The thing is somewhere in the back of my head, having spoken to everyone during the years, and understanding B schools, I figured it could only help to get 2-3 years’ worth of relevant experience. But 3 had to be it. So when I did begin my prep this time, I consciously made an attempt to be a little less lazy. Like an honest kid, I took my mocks regularly. For a week, I even studied geometry! It was a decent attempt, and other than my good old friend panic ruining DILR, I figured it should be enough.

But is it ever?

Ahmedabad rejected me by a CS of 0.006. As a cruel joke, I could see one seat removed from the general category for my AC to make room for an EWS candidate. It turns out the advice my oldest friend gave me over a bottle of old monk a week before the results, when I was feeling bad about the girl that got away years ago, was actually relevant here. So, with a heavy heart, I decided to move on.

Yesterday, I got the admit to the college that’s arguably ranked fourth in the country. The one that starts with an L. Yes, LovelyProfessionalUniversity (hi Sheldon, yes it is Lucknow)

I’m going to take it this time. I’ll take it because it’s got red bricks and offers a course called Leadership through Literature. And maybe also because MBB recruit there, but that doesn’t sound nearly as romantic.

For the fools who convert their dreams this year, kudos. And for those who continue to slog, DM me for RC questions pertaining to this AIWTSAC.

As I start this off, I want to acknowledge the fact, that some may feel it is out of place here as I neither have a 99+ percentile nor a Top 10 convert. 

This is the story of a 95 percentiler and I am posting it in the hope that it might inspire someone to do better and/or simply relate to it. 


                                           The MBA Journey: Part 1

At 18, it seemed very simple; liked cars so automobile engineering it was. It was only three semesters later that I realized, I did not want a future in core automotive. In June 2016, I started my research about MBA and what it entails. One thing that was definite for me was that I was going to pursue it in India, the reasons for which I will get into later. With that, I set out on my path to my MBA. In Jan 2017, I enrolled in TIME Manipal for classroom coaching as I needed my 5th semester (Aug 2016 – Dec 2016) to up my CGPA. Another reason was that if I give myself too much time, I tend to lose interest due to the lack of time constraints. 

CAT 2017: 1st attempt. 

I had done little prep in sem six as the sem was shortened by a month and ended up being very hectic when combined with SAE and volleyball and CR work. I studied a little during the break but wasn’t too serious. I was scoring close to 100 in AIMCATs. The D-Day ended up being right in between my semester finals, and I started to lose interest in CAT. I was confused and missed the Deloitte placement deadline. After that, I decided that I need to secure a job as a backup, and I was applying to non-technical roles and mass recruiters. It was in mid-October that I finally landed a job. It was an IT mass recruiter but was better than nothing. I finally gave my end-sems and CAT and returned home around the 3rd of December. I had registered for SNAP but wasn’t keen so didn’t give it. The original plan for 8th sem was to do a marketing project in college as my final sem project work. My project partner and I had started the work and had built an excellent case to study and research. Between this prep period in early Jan 2018, I got the CAT results. 

OA: 94.45

Decided to let it go as I wouldn’t get any decent college at that score and as a fresher. It was around the same time that Amazon sent out applications for Area manager interns and I filled it without holding much hope. The interview was scheduled for around the 20th of January, and the shortlist for it would be out only a day before. Keeping that in mind, I had planned to visit home from the 25th of January to the 3rd of February for my cousin’s first birthday and grandmother’s 75th birthday. The interview got postponed to the 31st of January, and I thought it was a long shot, so didn’t change my plans and went home as planned. 

On the 30th of January, the shortlist for the interview came around 1 pm. I was at home chilling and had completely forgotten about it. Suddenly my phone shot up with congratulatory messages and then I saw that I was one of the 25 people shortlisted for the interview. There were about 1000 applicants if I remember correctly. It hit me then, and I was confused that should I take a flight back in the evening or let it go. My mom finally told me that I’d regret not going. So, I booked a super expensive flight from Hyderabad to Mangalore and took an expensive cab ride from Mangalore airport to Manipal. 

The next morning, I reported to the placement office at 8 am. My name was on top of the list, hence was called into the interview first. It was gruelling 1 hour with the HR answering questions based on my experience with SAE-IM and my time as CR. The interview was like the XLRI asynchronous interview but with like double the no. of questions and no experience outside college extra-curriculars. After waiting for a few hours, I was called in for my 2nd interview, which was with an area manager, due to which I could not go for lunch. It was about 45 mins and much more chilled out. The interviewer was called out in between, and I took a peek into my 1st interview feedback which was exceptional. A long time after my second interview, two people from the placement office gave me subtle hints that I’m through, but I couldn’t leave until the official announcement, which came at around 8 pm. 

I called my parents and gave them the good news. I finally ate for the first time that day after breakfast. Then I called my friends, and we went out to celebrate. This day was one of the happiest days of my life so far. I left for home the next day as my grandma’s birthday was on the 2nd of February. A week later, I moved out of Manipal forever. 

On the 26th of February 2018 started the most enriching phase of my life. I was posted in Mumbai, and it was during my six months there, I grew so much. I learnt to love myself and live in the moment. I worked on my mental health and enjoyed my time there. I was glad I had decided to not go for an MBA that season as I would not get to finish my internship, which was ending at the end of August 2018. I was back home on 30th august after my final presentation and had decided to start CAT 2018 prep, but that was not meant to be. A few days later I got my Accenture joining, and I hadn’t obtained a PPO from Amazon due to multiple reasons including my lack of knowledge to do the job as it needed to be done and also a lack of positions available. So, I joined Accenture in Hyderabad on the 20th of September 2018.

CAT 2018: 2nd attempt

Two months of training put CAT 2018, three days after my training examinations. I couldn’t prep for CAT but gave it anyway just for experience sake. Got an 87.72 percentile as I did guesswork in quant and was horrible at VARC due to lack of practice. I was rolled onto a project soon after my training. To my luck, my work was in the backend of the supply chain of an automobile company. I decided to give XAT 2019 very abruptly and did some quant prep and solved past year papers. Was determined to score above 38 marks and ended up scoring 42.4. I got shortlisted for XL BM and SPJIMR Fin and rejected by both. Both experiences taught me what I needed for doing better in the next season. 

CAT 2019: 3rd and final attempt

I started prep in august but was barely getting any time for it due to heavy workload. I was scheduled for roll-off, but that was cancelled last minute by the project manager. I spoke to her, and she very well knew that I had plans for an MBA. She has rolled-off another guy but kept me on which annoyed me way too much. I had a conversation with her during which she told me I would need to work weekends (with pay) and extra hours (without extra pay). This was only going to get worse in November and December as the backlog was high. I was barely getting any time as it is due to my 3-4 hour commute every day and I used to reserve Sundays for AIMCATs. 

After thinking and deliberating with my family, I finally decided to quit my job and resigned on the 3rd of September 2019 so that I will have about 15 days over a year worth of work ex. I could not delay my MBA to next year as my parents are adamant of getting me married when I’m 27. For that to be comfortable for me, I need to finish my MBA before I turn 26, so that get a year to settle into my job and post MBA life. I did just as much work as needed during my one month of the notice period and was sick almost the whole month. On the 29th of September, I was admitted at the hospital with dengue and a platelet count just below 20k. My last day at work was a sick leave, and I finally got discharged on the 3rd of October. I had family commitments for the next few days and took a few days later to regain my energy and recover fully. The prep started again in mid-October, and I honestly was not feeling it. I was just doing quant and was wiling away my time. Somehow, I did some decent prep and kept giving AIMCATs which were horrible. I aimed to get a 95 percentile and get a decent enough college.

CAT day – 2nd slot.

I went well ahead of time and was one of the first inside. I focused on my mind and kept calm. VARC was a breeze, and my strategy for DILR worked out beautifully. I solved about 10-12 questions in quant and took my time with it. But, as fate would have it, I made a few silly mistakes and got only 22 as my raw score.

OA: 124/124.95/95.92

VARC: 64/63.5/98.xx

DILR: 38/41.68/96.xx

QA:22/19.77/75.07 :(

IIFT came next, and it went decent, but I lost marks in the GK section. :( 

SNAP came along soon, and I did okay. 94 percentile and I was able to get a call from my backup college.

XAT was my real hope at a top 10 college. I messed up in QA, and I knew I was doomed. Only when the key came out did I realize how doomed I indeed was—91.7 percentile. 

Calls: SPJIMR (IM), XLHR, IIM Rohtak, BG, Jammu, Nagpur, Sambalpur, IIT Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Roorkee, XIMB (BM) and SIOM.

My first call was Rohtak, and I started my prep soon after XAT was done. I had a trip planned to Bangalore to spend time with my cousins there, and I am glad I went as it was the unwinding I needed. It was during my time there I got most of my calls. I scheduled them in slots of dates and booked tickets.

The season started with SIOM on the 14th of February at Nashik which went very well. Went onto Mumbai from there for SPJIMR on the 17th of February, in which I was eliminated after GI1 and IIM Rohtak on the 19th of February, which went decent enough. I returned home and had XIMB interview on the 22nd of February, which was pretty bad. Next destination was Bangalore, IIM BG and Jammu on the 26th of February and XLRI on the 1st of March. Both interviews went incredibly well. The next one was back home on the 15th of March for IIT KGP which was the worst interview of the season. IITs were scheduled for the 28th of March in Mumbai, and I planned a trip with my friends to coincide with that, but lockdown happened. Things went for a toss with IITs after that. I did give my Nagpur and KGP interviews online, which went well, but the results didn’t show the same. 

It was during this interview season I got re-acquainted with someone from last year and had joined a prep group on WhatsApp. It started well, and some GDs happened, but I was focusing on my prep and didn’t participate. While travelling from Nashik to Mumbai, I had a lot of free time and got into a random conversation on the group. It was then I became active, and we strayed from the original purpose soon enough. They have listened to my rants and helped me with my mental health during the lockdown. We got up-close and personal with each other, and soon it was a new world and a new family that had formed. We did lots of activities from writing poetry, doing dares of singing a specific song written by one on the group to playing tambola and having sticker/gif wars. I am so thankful to have these people in my life, and I hope to meet them all one day. 

Finally, part 1 of my MBA journey comes to an end, and I will be joining IIM Rohtak for the class of 2020-22. 

Converts: SIOM, XIMB – BM, IIM Rohtak, IIM Bodh Gaya, IIM Jammu and IME IIT Kanpur

Waitlist: IIM Nagpur (60), VGSOM (214), IIT Madras (243) and IIT Roorkee

Rejects: XLRI HR, SPJIMR IM and IIT Delhi

Not attended: IIM Sambalpur.


10th – 92.71 ICSE

12th – 90.00 CBSE

B.Tech – 9.13 Automobile Engineering, MIT Manipal.

Work-ex – 12 months, Accenture

Not exactly an AIWTSAC 19 but since this group is to share stories which give hope. (10 mins read).

I am not a very active member of PG but I felt my convert story could give hope to some people for next year’s interviews. Firstly, I feel the pain of all the GEMs after getting to know how Old IIMs don’t give them a chance for PI despite such high percentiles and good profiles. I am an OBC candidate and I am aware of the edge which reservation gives me. However, my family’s caste and circumstances denied my parents basic education and much more, so I believe this tag of OBC did come at a cost (let’s avoid the reservation debate). The point of making this post is different. 

I’ve been working in auto sector for the past two years and everyone knows how bad the auto sector has been since beginning of FY 2019-20. My manager and my company pretty much sat on my neck throughout the year. I hardly prepared for CAT for 40 days and would have given 15-20 mocks. I messed up my CAT, i guess i exhausted myself by giving too many sectionals and full length mocks and analysis, should have taken some rest.

CAT 2019- 97.60% (far from good i know), Job ex 2 years S&M as a Channel Sales Manager, 9.8/86%/8.6 (IIT).

I was sure that I have absolutely tanked my CAT and this year will go down the drain. IIML released the shortlist on the same day as the CAT results, I had no hope but I decided to check if I have a chance for WAT PI. This is where it gets interesting. The list called a total of 1911 NC OBC candidates, if you open the pdf of WAT PI list and check the cutoff for OBC, that’s me. I am the cutoff candidate. 1911th candidate out of 1911 candidates. 

Overall, I got calls from L, K, CAP (all), baby IIMs, FMS. I had calls from IIFT, SPJIMR (profile based) and XLRI too. 

Attended- L, K, CAP, IIFT, XLRI, SPJIMR.This post is about IIML target.   

Getting an IIML call made me happy but I had zero hopes of conversion since I knew I was literally at the bottom of the list. However, I decided I'll give it my best and I'll not think of the possibility of failing till the interview is done. The plan was to give interviews of other colleges before L and get prepared for IIML interview. WAT PI dates came out and boom, I had it on 8th Feb in Kolkata. I was stunned because it was going to be my first interview of the season and it was in two weeks. 

I gave 5 mock PIs in next two weeks, put up a leave for the week before the interview and read god knows how many current affairs articles, Indian politics, global affairs, statistics and what not. In those two weeks I would wake up and go to office and still manage to put close to 8-10 hours daily for interview prep. I was very thankful for this chance. 

Then came the day of interview (I'll keep this brief, what happened in the interview would need a transcript), my panel had 7 candidates. WAT went excellent since I read about the topic few days ago in detail (sad that it was scrapped afterwards). I was last to be interviewed, I saw everyone come out of the room with a red face. My panel interviewed 3 candidates in the same time as other panels would interview one guy, 10-15 mins per candidate before me. The feedback was that they were extremely rude and were just there to grill. My confidence took a slight hit but then I thought I won’t let these two panelists ruin my efforts of past months. I went in (things happened), it went on for 25-30 mins and I came out smiling, I knew I had a good PI. 

Skipping past three and half months filled with interviews, work stress, losing my grandfather in lockdown and anxious nights (since job was dreadful and reappearing for CAT 2020 was not an option for me). 

23 May 2020- IIML results came out. I did not make it to the first list, but what I did manage to do was to jump from rank 1911/1911 to 253/1911 post WAT PI. Admissions were offered till 209 merit rank. I had already converted K in first list so I was a bit content, but I knew that L was what I was fighting for. 

Present day 6 June 2020- Converts- IIM L (second list), IIM K, IIFT(K), CAP all. WL 11 at SPJIMR (no reservation XD). FMS WL 138 (I wish they took interviews).

Had IIML decided to shortlist one less candidate for WAT PI, I would not have made it. That is also why I feel even more sad for GEMs now. The system is not perfect, I hope things change. I hope my story clears every aspirant's doubt about converting after receiving a call. 

I have not mentioned the failures during the journey and how much they effected me, i wanted to keep this short. 

Congrats to all the people joining colleges this year and all the best to CAT 2020 aspirants. Stay positive. I was thankful for the call, I converted because I believed. 


Edit: Final Converts IIM L,K, CAP (all), FMS, IIFT K, SPJIMR Marketing. If the world was different and simpler without reservation. I would have joined SPJIMR instead of giving this prep thing one more year.