Thursday, May 31, 2007

MBA Entrance Exams, Determination and ME :) :)

This is probably the post I have been waiting to write from a long time - its as I have put it up on Pagalguy - the section - 'All I Wanted to Speak about CAT' ...

My pleasure in presenting it here as well. Note that the names mentioned in the entire article/story are all PG members.


-Start...

Disclaimer: All characters/ incidences below are purely real – and any attempt of associating the stuff with fictional mumbo-jumbo will NOT be tolerated. ;).

Acknowledgements: Chandoo’s first article. (I always dreamt of writing one just like that – some day J)

Warning: This article is meant for fun-reading, inspiration – and may be of some help only to the average percentilers at CAT and other entrances. If the top scorers and absolutely confident 100 percentilers at CAT think that they need better gyaan, they better look elsewhere ;) ;)


Amidst the myriad questions of ‘Why MBA’, ‘Long-term goals’, ‘Short-term goals’ etc etc – was me – somewhere in July or August 2003 – when we began with Semester 5 in my engineering college. Probably that was the semester, which kicks off Computer Science on the whole – and here I was – dreaming of some other things – like how was my life proceeding, and whether I was evaluating myself properly. Programming certainly wasn’t the thing I would be happy doing for the rest of my life :D . I believed more in the Howard Roark philosophy – When I have around 50 more years to live, I feel I should be spending them in the way I like – and ork in the field I am best at.

Probably it was the Economics and Management subject in Sem 5, which set me thinking in some direction about the same. The ideas inspired me – and I could associate with the subject better – maybe also because the teaching of the faculty rocked. A post-graduation in the field of Management – an MBA, had heard about it long back – even before I had joined my engineering college. Is it the real push for a great career? Is it the thing I would need to build myself to better prospects? I needed to find out. Got some magazines – old IMS magazines on Advancedge – read more. Inspiring stories, great institutes – yes – maybe I had to get there. This is probably what is real education – real learning.

The Common Admission Test – had heard about this before – but never knew I would be taking it at any stage in life. I enrolled for the IMS Correspondence package at Goa, and they sent me some average material. One of the days in June 2004 I was sitting listening to an inspiring lecture from a student who had made it to IIML that year – a senior Goan. At the end of the lecture, he had one piece of advice – use this site – its really very helpful. I rubbed my eyes and for a second couldn’t understand what he wrote – whatever did that name mean in the world of MBA entrance examinations. Nevertheless I took it down on my book and thought I would sign in right away. Pagalguy.com. J

From then on began a roller coaster ride of studying DI, Verbal and Quant. CAT had leaked just the year before and had come out in a terrible form at the time of the re-test – with a terribly tough Quant section. Hence of course the normal rigmarole which I wasn’t aware of, at that stage at least – the coaching classes start putting up mock tests which have difficult Quant sections only. At that time however, IMS was the only institute I was aware of – being the only one in Goa. The additional info would come from PG – for some days I failed to understand why were threads entitled AIMCAT 0503, 0504 etc etc. It really took me some time to know that these were mock cat names – or rather numbers J. Goa still had to open out in terms of coaching classes and the prepratory environment for MBA preparations.

Sectional tests, Mock tests – I was on a spree – I wasn’t scoring great – but well kya mazaa aa raha tha… competition – nice fun. Got some TIME mocks, CL mocks xeroxed from my cousin who had taken the test series in Pune. They seemed tougher than the IMS Simcats (except for the godly IMS DI :D). I must have taken around 60 to 70 mocks in those 4 months or so – in the end it was almost every day – with the hope that the max score dwells on D Day. I made many friends in PG – some high-edged mock cat’ers, who would beat the hell out of the others in the percentiles. I would hardly be studying the college stuff at that time – the seventh semester passed away so fast that I hardly came to know. I had only one thought – CAT. Probably that’s why what awaited me on that day took its share of fun – and I had my share of misery.

CAT 2004 – Dadar, Mumbai. Goa had been removed as a CAT center that year itself (to my bad luck) – so the trip to Mumbai was necessary. Kept cool on the previous day while revising only very important stuff. What was landlocked in my mind was how I had to answer the paper, my ‘strategy’, my scoring sections etc. Yes – childish stuff. November 21 2004. IES School at Mumbai was crowded (had already been there the previous day). Once I was seated at my place I was simply praying was a 3 section paper like CAT 2003. What came was a 3 section paper – but with a blast of surprises – differential marking for the first time, reduced no of questions (to 123), and well, loads of surprises inside the paper too. What I did in the next 2 hours involved more of praying and less of confident problem solving – yes – I wasn’t confident – of each and every question. Even in Verbal, which had been my strongest section. I tackled the ½ markers, the 1 markers and then the 2 markers – in that order. My order was supposed to be verbal/DI/Quant – 40 min for each. I must have taken 45 min for Verbal, then came to DI (my weakest section) and tried to go in for the 2 markers (read as overconfidence). Unfortunately I attacked that question which was wrong – the infamous hockey set problem of CAT 2004. Checked it out for some time, cudnt make any sense out of it, and then moved to the one markers – no more himmat left for the two markers. Managed to solve some of the one-marker sets and then moved to Quant – tried to blast this section, but apparently I ended up ‘not’ doing it. This section had loads of scoring problems, which I managed to oversee :D . The two markers were a piece of cake, but in my spree I didn’t even notice it. Managed an attempt of some 75 marks in the paper and came out quite shaky.

The wait till the New Year was long and unbearable – and the result – one of the biggest shocks of my life.

Overall percentile – 85.XX :( :(

DI – 84.XX Quant 83.XX Verbal – 77.XX (supp to be strongest :( :( )

Expectations came crashing down, thoughts of wrong bubbles shaded passed by – well, so many other things happened. The first reactions were, of course, its useless for me to take it up again. Already lost so much money having applied to NITIE, MDI etc in the same year. Anyway I had my campus placement secure, though I had lost out in the seventh semester marks, after having topped the University in the sixth semester.

I couldn’t get over the entire thing so easily. This was soon followed by a mediocre IIFT entrance (Mumbai again) and a mediocre XAT (some 85 percentile again). Still the thought of the coveted schools wasn’t leaving me. But I had to forego it for sometime at least. Finished my engineering, and was awaiting the joining letter from my company. In the meanwhile I applied to several other companies (maybe to prove myself to me) – companies vied by several others. The joining letter hadnt arrived, and I had some other personal issues on my head. Thoughts of CAT 2005 floated by, and I grabbed hold of them. I had to leave Goa, and opt for a better test series, and of course work harder. With some news of my posting being at Bangalore, I left for the city in the end of July 2005. I signed up for the TIME test series, and started taking them up eagerly. At the same time I also sat for some company tests/ interviews. September 2 2005 – I come to know that I have made it to one of the best MNCs in the world, and my joy knew no bounds. Eventually I joined it on September 19 2005. During this period the mock cat series was on, but my scores were diminishing badly. Only once or twice could I get the score to a 95 percentile or a 96 percentile. To make up for my confidence, I enrolled at Career Avenues and interacted with Amit Saboo – who gave me some amount of confidence in the entire thing. I took up his mock cats too, in which I would at least score better than what I did at the TIME mock cats. I took up some of the old CAT papers and managed to solve quite a few. I tried to understand some of the mistakes I had made in CAT 2004 – but probably they are too many to enlist. I made sure somehow that I did not burn out myself with mock cats as I had done in 2004. I somehow got a broader horizon to CAT by having interacted with a lot of people – grasped it more as a skill gauging test, rather than a flat 3 section paper and so on.

At the same time I made some very close lifetime friends through PG, who took the mock cats with me – nicked as akhil_agrawal, bhandari, nitin_jain etc on PG. We shared thoughts, exchanged loads of views, took mock cats together etc. Besides these of course I made tons of other friends on PG. Enjoyed at some PG meets in Bangalore – finally met Psychodementia and some other known Pgites like Orca (was in my company itself), bingo (one of the first timers on PG) and many many others – most of who might be absconding from the scene now. A simple evaluation would tell me that I was strong on my HR skills, and I needed an MBA to get on into that field. It was the only thing which would get me there. Though, somehow with the hectic training etc at my company I was kinda all lost. I decided to give a couple of entrances, but apply to not more than one college in each. Thru CAT it was only the IIMs – probably as I wasn’t at all confident, and gauging myself from the mock scores, I could see that nothing was possible for me this time. But I simply couldn’t resist taking the exams.


CAT 2005- North Bangalore, Vivekananda College. I stayed overnite at a friends place the day before and it was quite a normal day, with absolutely no stress from my side. And why should there be – I had nothing to lose if I didn’t make it. Probably the attitude was lacking this time though. The morning of CAT – the normal crowd. My friend departed just before the exam – and I sat there, expecting the worst to happen – well, its CAT – and there are bound to be surprises. The paper had even more reduced questions, 90 this time, with continued differential marking, though this time more structured. My method of solving was simple – the same – Verbal/DI/Quant – 40 min each. Whizzed through Verbal, and landed up at DI – the usual nervousness. This was one section I could neva get even with – and well, the nervousness existed in some small amount coz I had neva managed to practice enough for this section – had always got bored during my entire preparation cycle. Solved only 13 marks here and moved ahead to Quant – where I could solve at least some of the questions with ease. I had kept in mind this time that I only had to pick the sitters, and had practised well at it. Hence I could do it with some ease at least. Attempted only 65 marks on the whole. I knew it was very less the moment I counted it out.

Just a week later I came to know that in the lone 2-marker set I had solved in DI, I had made a very silly mistake. That ends the story – I didn’t need to look more at the result – the loss with that one set was mammoth. The tragedy was that of course, I had to get the bad news on yet another new year J

Overall percentile – 89.XX

Verbal – 93.XX Quant – 93.XX DI – 35.XX (holy cow !! ;) ;) :D :D :D )

Immediate thoughts – no more CAT for me. I would never be able to solve the kind of problems which came for DI. I was a loser at these puzzles – and would neva manage them inside the exam hall. Yes of course, given some good amount of time, maybe I could do it, but not there in the hall :mg: :mg: .

Yes, to provide some solace were the other entrances – IIFT, which was immediately after CAT that year – went good, but eventually a shocking reject – couldn’t believe it, but I guess I was getting used to the bad luck. :mg: JMET banged right in my face – disqualified – not even a rank, XAT had the same mark left – some 85.XX percentile. And well, there was FMS too this time – with a cascaded reject effect :mg: What went really wrong was the TISS application – one real big tragedy in my life – my TISS application somehow never reached them – and got stuck due to some problem in the courier office. I came to know this only after the list for the students answering the exam was released, and my name was missing. I was devastated – the only exam left in the year also had had me bowled out – that too without taking it. :( L L

Eventually after the GD/PI some of my friends made it to some B-schools, and left from Bangalore with a promise from my side that I would make it the next year. I really don’t know why I committed in that way – did I have any confidence left in me, when nature itself was turning against me and telling me a different tale? At this point of time, I really didn’t know. I needed a lot of time to myself – and I made good use of it. I put to thinking as to whether I really needed an MBA – the answer was surprisingly a ‘yes’. The roads to the HR sector branched through this field of education – it was either some correspondence course I had to do, or a residential MBA, and I would anytime have preferred the latter. 2006 was a turning point in my maturity and my thinking levels. I put in a lot of hard work at the work place, and spent the remaining time mulling over the entire thing and also reading a lot of books. Did loads of research in the HR field too. The road ahead appeared tough, but it was definitely my last shot – couldn’t take it once more, as probably I was giving a lot of my personal self and resources to it. I decided to give it all I have this time.

I was hell bent on making the preparation more structured this time. Mocks – yes – but not without proper analysis. I introspected myself well, and saw that I was an average CAT taker, who could make it to an average 97 to 98 range – but on a high scale could just peak if the score required was less. (People in this case always pray for a difficult CAT paper). I can say that in 2006 I must have spent around 65 percent of time at devising strategies, and 35 percent for concepts. If I enlist whatever preparation I did in the latter half of 2006 – it would probably lag on for a few more thousands of words ;) ;) – so lets keep it minumum. I enrolled for both TIME and CL mock test series. I used to take the TIME tests on Sunday mornings and CL tests on Sunday afternoons (read as useless – in fact the quality of the mocks deteriorated and so did my performance). Besides these I would take up the CAV mocks posted on PG too. I started giving more time to preparations and lesser to the office work.

Read a huge lot of stuff from the net/PG/other areas on tackling the entrances. I had it entrenched in my mind that the concepts are best wrapped up fast and all problems of similar kinds which had to be broomed. :D . There were two main things I did. From August, I solved all the old original CAT papers from 1996 till 2005. I knew that the problems coming in the mocks had a style picked up from old CAT papers, and I was right. Besides I noticed something strange and advantageous – the questions in the CAT papers were repeated too – believe it or not, several quant questions had been repeated, some styles of verbal questions, and some DI types. This would be great as the questions could be repeated now too. The second thing I did was keeping a notebook to note something I called ‘Out of the box fundae/problems’. These were fundae that one would hardly find in the basic concepts books, and in normal problems. You can find some of them floating on PG now, but previously they were hardly present. Some problems too, which had fundae which cyclically repeated throughout mock tests and entrance exams. I found this extremely advantageous in the mocks.

Though I saw that my scores did not improve in the mocks – in fact, they worsened. I would score in the CL mocks, and not do so in the TIME mocks. I would score the best in the CAV mocks, which I felt were really designed well. Then I did something drastic – I stopped seeing my TIME and CL mock scores. I did this for two months upto CAT. Believe me, I just used to answer the test, come home, solve the unsolved problems – that’s it. I made a ‘repeated mistakes’ doc separately – which I would keep seeing after October. The only mock scores I would check were those of CL FLT’s and the CAV mocks that I took at home. These were my only morale boosters.

However much one is prepared, the CAT surprise throws him off guard. This is something well heard of. As usual there were rumours and half truths on PG on how CAT would be this time. 2.5 hours – of course that was the in-thing new for 2006. But anything else was unknown. I had decided there would be no surprise in terms of paper pattern that could throw me off-guard – and well – definitely the mock tests were helpful in it (in fact TIME covered almost all patterns possible). Besides this, I myself made a ‘countdown’ doc in which I prepared my final strategy – as to how I would answer CAT 2006. This strategy was devised by having put all the initial 8 to 10 mock cats of the season to severe experimentation in terms of order of sections, break up time etc. This would be what I was most comfy with. Besides this there was a supplement in the doc that made the adjustments for all kinds of patterns – starting from 75 questions, 25 per section to 200 plus questions (which was also predicted by TIME, Munira L etc). All such things boosted my confidence – inspite of low or unseen scores in mocks etc. Besides all this, I would continue solving home tests, and new problems. The struggle continued till Nov 17th.

CAT 2006 – North Bangalore – Malleswaram – MES College. Spent the previous evening at the same friend’s place. Much much more at ease and confident than on the 2 years before. Enjoyed a bit with these guys before finally hitting the bed at nite. The morning crowd as usual – was used to this more than anything now. The college was a popular one, though not a huge one. Having relieved myself, I sat in my place – and didn’t know what to expect – nothin could much of a surprise now – was sure about it. The paper in – 75 questions – 25 per section – one of my expected patterns – but one of the least expected ones. What were the IIMs doing reducing questions was my first thought. This was a desparate way of evaluating people – a single drop would kill – instantly ;) ;). What I missed to see initially was that there were 5 options per question – somehow missed seeing that. Though the neg marking was 1/4th , the only relaxing factor. Besides this, nothing was relaxing for me once I started off with the paper. 20 min into it and 2 bubbles shaded in verbal – an utterly, hopelessly ambiguous section. Was wondering what the others were experiencing. My luck was it that somehow I struck on the right easy questions in DI. Though I couldn’t make the most out of the Quant section – how much ever easy it may have seemed at the first shot. At the end of the entire thing I put my head down – nervousness had once again taken the better of me. Had managed a decent attempt, but could have done much much much better. Knew the others could have blasted this CAT.

Attempts – overall 45 questions - Verbal – 19 questions, DI – 12 questions – Quant – 14 questions. – totally dissatisfactory inmy standards.

The drama that followed in the next 2 months is well known – the usual jhagda between the coaching classes over the English answers – it was counted out as an endlessly debatable section – with totally ambiguous answers (and well the IIMs came out with some totally different answers at the end :D ;) ). The pattern of CAT resembled GMAT this time – but the Verbal section could have been much better. Besides this were the mis-prints and so on. I don’t need to state more about it – its well known. The jhagda over the the CAT Retest still rings in PG as of today too ;) ;). Though I stayed aloof from the coaching classes hassles – didn’t check my scores/answers etc. Was not at ease – but somehow managed it. Didn’t take IIFT this year as I knew I could neva score in that test. JMET was well balanced – but could have done better – though the result was terrible (some 3000 odd rank – useless to say the least). The only other exam which probably boosted me was SNAP this year – decent paper and managed it real well – all due to my sound prerparations – a score of 91.25.

Though the new year brought sad news again. The score at CAT –

Overall percentile – 94.56 Verbal – 85.35 :( :( Quant – 93.XX DI – 89.XX

The enthu after CAT results was all lost – faint hope for the other B-schools, but of course not the IIMs. The worst part was that I noticed that so many of my good PG friends lost out coz of the same – the ambiguous Verbal section. (one of the biggest gang I had made in 2006 – awesome Pgites, all brainies to say the least). And then there were people who made it coz of sheer luck, maybe blind shading, or riduculous reasoning. There was little energy I put after this in XAT – was calm, composed and had a decent paper – though it was the worst possible paper I had seen in my life – perfectly CAT imbibed, though with a monstrous ‘none of these’ in each question which destroyed it. (sorry XL guys, but I have said this before too ;) ). To add to it the shock at the results – a 28 percentile which XAT gifted me at my birthday – wat the hell was zattt??? :D :D ;) was shaken up – but kept control :D ;).

I can say that TISS was the only entrance that I blasted this year – left only 3 to 4 questions out of the 120-question paper. After the XL debacle, this was the only best college I was aspiring for. Thankfully it was an easy and decent paper. The DSE paper I took last went well, but I was unlucky – maybe I needed more speed in it.

Feb first week I had all my season-end calls – SIBM, SCMHRD, TISS, MDI (HR).


GD/PI Preparations

Probably one of the most dear, memorable and enriching phases of my life. Memorable coz we had a good number of PG meets in this phase. :D :D . Dear coz it finally bore fruit. Enriching coz I must have neva increased my own knowledge as much as I did during this period :D. As usual, I have always been more confident for the GD/PI phase than for the entrances – though I had neva reached it uptil 2006.

SIBM/SCMHRD involved almost NO GD/PI preparations. Except for an all interview questions doc I prepared – listing out all the ‘most common’ interview questions and my answers to each – eg Tell me somethin about ureself, why MBA, why HR, best experiences, memorable incidents, work life etc etc. This doc was my only weapon for the interviews. The GD’s had almost zilch preparation done. I managed to convert SIBM - though I had to leave the call (thats another story ;) ). Soon after the first 2 GD/PI’s I enrolled at IMS for the GD/PI classes and attended two mock interviews at the Achievers Workshop, which was indeed helpful. But what helped more was my personal preparation – interaction with HR guys in the company, with managers, top-notch introspection, preparation and modulation of the answers, speaking to the college seniors on chat etc – and above all a lot of work on the net. Wikipedia was my biggest source of information. I must have downloaded hundreds of webpages from Wiki about past political and social events, general knowledge, facts, trivia etc etc. Things that have happened in the past in India, and too in detail – most of the things that I wasn’t even aware till now. Truly speaking I never had the habit of reading the newspaper since childhood – maybe one reason was coz we always used to get a regional language paper at home. At Bangalore I somehow forced myself into the habit. Though the info I gained from Wiki, Google etc was of immense help to me.

Besides this was of course our great weekend GD/PI ‘bash’ – the Bangalore PGites meeting up for some GD/PI practice. Anarchy, Prem, Krishanu, Mufasa, Ashwini, Billy, Vijay, Saurav, Atul – some of the people I can enlist, along with whom I really practiced a lot – and the gd/pi sessions were indeed really helpful (hats off to Anarchy’s feedback sessions ;) ;) ). Somehow all these things together clubbed to uphold my confidence levels. The interview questions doc expanded like anything, and so did my folders on ‘India and issues’, ‘Docs to read for gd/pi’ etc etc. These contained other things like info on institute background, faculty of the institute, about the course, the electives etc etc. Background study of HR subjects like OB (my personal interest), other HR related arenas were also included.

All in all – I was a reasonably confident man on approachin MDI on March 12th at IIMB and TISS at Mumbai on April 16th. The GD/PI experiences are as described in the post before this one.

All done – I was just awaiting the results. Probably this year was the most ridiculous year for MBA aspirants with an errored CAT paper, a cry for a retest, delayed results initially, vague results, and then the OBC thingy – which delayed the final results even more. WL 15 was my MDI result – was very much hopeful about it – but fingers were crossed. Though the longest wait was on the day of the TISS results. It was something I had expected more than anything – with an excellent test and PI, a decent GD and a decent profile. Though it wasn’t to be – I had a reject from TISS – and spent 2 or 3 of the worst days of my life thinkin about why did it happen. The blow was harsh – though things worked out in May second week when MDI converted. Yes – finally it happened – for me – and for u folks too who have been bearing with me throughout this full story ;) ;) :D .

Looking back now I want to leave all my regrets behind. The HR course at MDI ranks third best in India, and MDI is definitely in the top ten colleges – hence it ascertains my target (one in the top 10). Maybe whatever happens always happens for the good (a dear friend’s advice which I shall always remember). My losses through the entire journey would probably be mainly monetary, and psychological – but my gains were totally on the intellectual and on the social side. I have grown – have matured – as I can see now – to someone who didn’t know CAT – to someone who will be doing his masters from one of the best colleges in India now. I have gained a lot of experience and wisdom in the entire experience – and would be more than grateful to grant it to others. Along with this, I have gained friendship of some of the most intelligent people in India through PG – one of the best places I have been at. Friendships that would last for a lifetime – that too even before I have done my MBA. :) :) .

Advice to future aspirants (if you consider me worthy to be givin it J )

On Mock Tests:

TIME – Probably the best for experimenting, but real difficult at times – so take them with a pinch of salt
CL – Superb in Verbal and DI – way too tough in Quant
IMS – Have improved much much more in 2006.
CF – Decent, and good morale-boosters.
PT – Heard they were just about ok.

I would say any of the above with good analysis of where you went wrong after each mock, and noting ‘out of the box’ problems would suffice more than enough. Of course above all this comes solving all the previous CAT papers, being thoroughly sure of every old problem that has appeared, and also of the concept attached to it.

On indivudual sections:

Verbal – My strongest, but didn’t help me much when I wanted it to. A good day bad day concept (read my notes elsewhere on PG – and on the new Verbal thread for this year). Be inherently good, and crack it. No one day/two day preparation can help you here. Especially when the ambiguity in it is increasing to large extents. Focus more on comprehending stuff – watever it may be. Will be very hepful – both in Verbal and in RC.

Quant – Past CAT papers – the best source of information. Besides these come the ‘out of box’ problems. Try things like TWI and Vedic Mathematics if only you are very confident about them ( I wasn’t, hence they didn’t work much for me). But TWI is indeed a very useful approach, especially the ‘bottom-up’ approach (through the alternatives).

DI – I am not the person to contact for this section. But what I referred – DI A Question A Day on PG, puzzles by George Summers (hardly solved any, but helpful), and of course CAT oriented problems.

On CAT on a whole:

One thing I agree with Munira L on this - the sectional percentiles do matter, but what matters more is the overall percentile. If the overall percentile is low, you are directly out of the race. Though its slowly moving to the stage when the cutoffs wud be sectionally 99/99/99 and overall 99.5. The day is not far when this too will happen.. Another point - CAT is best when cracked at an early stage. As every year is passing by, CAT is becoming increasingly difficult. If you are thinking tat lets give it a try this year and a better shot next year then think again. This year might just be your best chance - you neva know what can happen the next year :)

On GD/PI:

I attended IMS only – so cant comment much on the others. But this is where there is maximum preparation required on the personal front. I could probably do much better here coz of the confidence I had in myself. Make sure you get a hold of the workshops which IMS/TIME/CL conduct – they are really decent and a very good practice. I am always reachable on PG for help on this phase of the preparation (might not be a very good contender for the previous phase ;) ;) )

On the personal front:

1: Be sure of where you are now, where you want to be, and how would an MBA bridge the gap between the two. Only then can you jump into the ocean of preparation for these entrances – else its useless – believe me.

2: Pagalguy.com. Only this site would give you info, reviews, opinions from thousands of people who have made it, and loads of loads of trivia. I don’t think I need to say more about how to tackle CAT mentally/physically etc. Believe me, its more a game of the mind than of anything else. As so many others have said, get out of the hype surrounding it, and be a winner. Most importantly, (its tough but try it) – be yourself when the time is cricical – around ten to fifteen days countdown to CAT, on the day before, and of course on that day. It will always have surprises, and the aura of the unexpected. Its how you wish to tackle these things, by being prepared and being confident, or by thinking that after all its only an exam. Refer Pagalguy for words of wisdom from Chandoo, PsychoD, Orca, vinz and several other veterans on hundreds of different threads. Since I began on CAT, there has been almost no day when I haven’t checked PG – it has become a part and parcel of my life – and will be so too. In the words of Amit Saboo, it is really a goldmine that Allwin discovered 5 years back.

How I believe the CAT should be:

In the current world scenario, I believe that the CAT should have some subjective stuff also, probably an objective screening test, and then a second level test accompanied with essays, SOP’s, situational problems etc. This would screen out the real managers from those who make it through plain IQ. Of course following this can be the GD/PIs. The hype surrounding the supposedly 2 lakh aspirants would also be diminished in this case – as those who are worthy, and know why they need to pursue a career in management would be differentiated from those who don’t.

Signing off for now with a ‘kind of’ satisfied feeling. The calm mind is yet to see another storm, and even more thunder – the next 2 years promise to be two of the most gruelling years of my life – and yet the most fun-filled. Looking forward to an even more enriching phase of life now.


Ashish Kolvalker

MDI PGP-HR
(Batch of 2007-09)

30 comments:

Kiran said...

Whew!! that was well-organized; detailed and engrossing to say the least!

Coming to the subject; I think you were more unlucky than anything else in 2005. Good thing you kept hanging in there.. and to think you had once given up hopes of MBA (remember lunch at Chung's immediately after CAT 2006??) .. Stupid Fellow (and I mean that in a nice way :D)

We always hear people saying "perseverance pays off" or something like that and shrug it off saying "badi badi baatein kartaa hai".. but well.. you are a standing example of this aren't you?

Well, I believe the take-home for anybody who reads this article is - decide on a direction and orient yourself - whether it is for your career/education/personal - anything. AND indulge in a fair amount of self-introspection before arriving on a decision - is this what you CAN do? is this what you WANT TO do? blah...blahh..

Thanks for painfully putting this together.. it will definitely be motivating for other aspirants..

Rohan Narvekar said...

Hey good article, explained real well about emotions you go through in this whole journey. I strongly agree with you views about introspecting yourself on regular basis. It really makes you understand why you are doing a particular thing. And all your actions reflect what you feel deep inside. Hey n i'll surely visit this article in between for that little bit of inspiration till things fall in place ;).
All the best for your endeavors, Enjoy!

Prashanth said...

Hey ashish.. got time to read ur blog now only.. although a bit long.. its worth reading.got some useful titbits.I knew abt Pagalguy and am a member too.. but din know that it was this useful.anyways.. all the best for ur career in HR!!Next year I ll be putting up my own article and send u the link ;-)

Pooja Dutta said...

Hi Ashish

I must say this it was really nice of you to write down your experience.
I hardly comment after reading blog but your article has bound me to write this.
Congratulation for making up to MDI(HR) one of my personal dream B-school. Applaud

Hats off to your patience and efforts to make it. I will be appearing for CAT2008 this year. This would be my second attempt. Your article was a booster for a person like me as your article and if I even put my article it would resemble a lot (leaving the last part of you getting in MDI, not yet achieved, I hope to make it). But the way you proceeded for the exam is the same way I am doing (VA/DI/Quant, scoring badly in TIME Mock, even I am on PG(awesome site), even at some point of time(today) thought of not appearing for CAT) . But am lucky today to hit with your blog and now it has given me hope again that I can do it....
Thank You....Thanx a lot

Regards
Pooja

garima said...

hiii....ashish,

gr8 literary skills...man,i think d best thing ab it was tht most of us could actually relate to it................vaise i needed a bit of guidance for gd-pi.prep..4 my mdi-hr call....cud u gimme ur contact no.
thnks

regards
garima srivastava
1608garima@gmail.com

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