Could you tell us something about yourself and your educational background?
I graduated in Engineering (IT) and briefly worked with Accenture before deciding that I wanted to focus entirely on my CAT preparations. My brother who is also an engineer worked for three years at Tech Mahindra before joining Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI). I have also decided to follow his example and join a B-school.
How has graduating in Engineering helped in preparing for CAT?
As an engineering student, I have always been in touch with Mathematics. Engineering also helps a lot in the quant and logic sections. And since we make presentations through the year, we are also quite reasonable when it comes to approaching the verbal section.
Why do you wish to appear for CAT?
MBA degree holders are in high in demand but low in supply. But besides that I don't see myself in a technical job for long. I want to be in an administrative position where I can do much more than just create IT solutions. I plan to major in Human Resources Management because today human capital is what is most crucial. In the long run, I also hope to take my father's business to a new level.
How are you preparing for CAT?
The key is to keep solving as many papers as possible. Besides that I have prepared a schedule that I follow as strictly as possible. Sunday is usually dedicated to solving tests -- online as well as offline. Of the six days, I dedicate one to Verbal, two to Quantitative Analysis and three to DI (Data Interpretation) and Logical Reasoning.
Is this your first attempt?
No. I had appeared for CAT 2008 and scored about 88 percentile.
What have been your learnings?
Although I am quite good at Quant, I kept rechecking my answers because I couldn't believe that the answers could be so simple. I lost a lot of time there and therefore scored less. So this time around I have revised my tables, my cubes, roots, fractions -- basically everything that'll ensure I arrive at the right answer faster than last time around.
The other learning experience came when I was solving papers at IMS. I would initially get very excited about the Quant section, solve all the questions in it and got almost no time for Verbal! So although my overall percentile was coming to 99, I couldn't score much in English. My mentor told me that to aim for an IIM, I had to clear each and every section. That's when I started working on a strategy to attempt the paper.
The key is to identify what questions are to be solved and go for them. If you manage to solve 10 to 12 questions per section with an accuracy of 90 per cent you're assured of 90 percentile. Admissions for IIMs close at around 99.9 percentile. And you can score that margin by focussing on your strengths.
What are your strengths and weaknesses and how do you work upon them?
Unlike last year I'd say my strength this year would be English. I am more comfortable at approaching comprehensions and solving the questions.
However I need to work on questions related to permutation, combination and probability.
I have also learnt to work out from the options. We always read questions and start solving instead I look at options and arrive at the answers looking at them rather than solving the problem step by step.
The one area that I am consciously working on is DI. Since the questions will be online I spend too much time coping with them on a piece of paper before solving. Instead I am trying to calculate mentally.
How did you go about choosing a coaching class?
I found the notes from IMS far more informative and better than most other classes. Besides having a lot of rigorous training before CAT, IMS also shows us how to convert that call for a GD/PI (group discussions/ personal interviews)into an admission letter. Also having seen the way they had mentored my brother (who is now in XLRI), I felt it was a much better option over any other institute.
What college would you settle for if IIM doesn't work out?
If the IIMs don't work out, my next option would be XLRI where I would like to major in Human Resource Management. Besides that there is Symbiosis in Pune and SP Jain.
What are your career aspirations?
In the long run, I would like to take over my father's business. He has a plant that processes raw pulses and prepares them to be sold in the local market. I hope to take the company to a global platform where we have exposure to a much wider market.