Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Realization

Today, I realized the difference between a mother's love and others' love.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My CAT Journey

Well. So, here I post.

Deep in 2000:
(July 2000 to August 2002)

Happy go lucky. Is enjoying his eleventh standard - a reward for what he believes - a great result in Standard 10 board examinations; getting admission in the best junior college in the city. His immediate dream is fulfilled and he is on seventh heaven. He is experiencing college life for the first time - the independence, spending time at hangout places, gaming and all that.

In the midst, his more "serious" friends have already started joining tuition classes for standard 12. Now starts the dilemma for him. You see, there is a little twist in his life - his parents, particularly his mother want him to prepare for IIT-JEE. Heeding to this, he buys a book - the fattest book he has ever carried. Now, he browses through the book. Somehow, he feels that he won't be able to cope up with the complex mathematical and chemical structures mentioned in it. He decides that he is not fit for IIT-JEE. He communicates this to his parents. His argument - he doesn't want to be aboard two ships at the same time - jeorpardizing his future. He chooses the safer, stabler option of preparing exclusively for 12th standard board examinations. He enrolls himself in a coaching class to pursue this choice.

Meanwhile, he barely manages to pass 11th standard; being in danger of failing in one subject. BTW, he was also attacked by the Hepatitis Virus in the same year. This jaundice affliction weakens his digestion considerably. This point will be of importance later.

Now, he attends the tuitions for 12th standard devotedly - but still put-offs studying regularly. It is almost January and he is still performing very poorly in the mock tests being conducted - getting scores in the range of 40-50 percent in chemistry. He is doing very well in mathematics though - scoring well over 90% most of the times. This has a deep impact on him. He resolves to study hard for the last momth before exams. However, just as he is getting into the groove, tragedy strikes and he is again attacked by Mr. Hepatitis. He is put on bed rest, has terrible weakness, can't eat anything much other than boiled dal and crushed rice. This period is the most difficult for him. He decides to work smart. he studies hard for the subject he is weak at.
He gives the exams - a very taxing exercise for him to concentrate on. He is fairly confident of doing well in all the subjects - including Chemistry.

Now is the time to relax and unwind. He does give the some entrance exams - AIEEE, Andhra Pradesh Entrance Exam and IIT-JEE. However, he is/was never serious about them, and just goes through the motions.

Finally the results come and as expected, he fails to perform any miracle and ends up getting a rather poor rank in all the entrance exams. He then waits for his 12th standard board exams. They are declared and he scores a very good 93%. (in PCM). Mathematics, as usual is his saviour - 99 marks.

He then gets the option of choosing from either civil in the top college or computer/IT from the second/third best. He chooses to go for computer - listening to what his heart says.

During this phase, I never aimed high. I thought that i wasn't good enough to be among the best.

2002 - 2006

During his first year, he was asked by a cousin of his - what are his future plans. His reply was very firm. "I'll do only an M Tech. " He felt that CAT, MBA and MS, GRE was a horde race. And he didn't like to be a part of it. And plus, he always thought that he'll be some technical geek.

His engineering began with a bang. His overconfidence overcame him - leading to him being inattentive towards studies. As a result, his scores nosedived to unknown waters. This brought about a marked change in him. He start thinking - " After all, technical filed is not really for me"

Further, in response to a question posed by his professor with respect to future long term plans - his answer was - being the top notch HR executive in an MNC. His idea of MBA at point was HR and doing it from XLRI, Jamshedpur. It was his first real dream. Yes, there was the glamour of IIMs. But then, that didn't hold asa much charm for him.

Now, in third year, all of his classmates were joining coaching institutes for classes on GRE or CAT. Being a low scorer in 1st year made life very difficult for him. He had to fore-go the chance to give CAT in the final year of engineering to ensure that his grades do not fall further. He didn't join any coaching institute. Only worked on his academics. Also, another reason for not preparing for CAT was that he was told by the people he interacted with that he should do an MBA after certain work-ex. (preferably 2 years). It would help understanding the course much better.

He landed a job in a dream company - one which used to recruit only really technical students and toppers. He was, by his own admission, not at all technical and his scores were such that he wasn't even eligible to sit for some of the so called important companies. He was really hurt during this period. However, when he got through the first company he was eligible for, his confidence soared.

Also, during final year, he had to go through a tough time due to some personal issues.

The remaining days were spent in enjoying his last year in college. He didn't even care giving CAT. Only a handful of people gave it from his college and hardly anyone got through any good institute. CAT, MBA was relegated slowly to the back of his mind.

Side note: Sometime during the third year, he went through the NMAT paper published in Competition Success Review. He really enjoyed solving these questions. NMIMS had made an impression on him.

In hindsight, I feel I should have probably given CAT in my final year. Maybe even without preparation. However, being the eldest in the family, i didn't have that kind of guidance.

Jul 2006 - Jun 2008: The attempt

Deep joined his organization. He quickly also realized that he rather join the weekend coaching classes for CAT. He would require to spend only 2 hours on a sunday morning towards the preparation. He could also concentrate on his job during the first year.

He got involved in a lot of pursuits which fulfilled his creative side - drama, writing, et al. He quickly became popular in his team and was regularly commended for his quick adaptability to work and good communication skills. He gave CAT 2006 - just for the sake of it. The only thing he knew about CAT was - there are three sections in it. He had fun during the exam - ended up getting 81.xx Percentile. Perfectly nice, he thought. With proper preparation, he was sure he would crack the exam(s).

During this time, he religiously attended his weekend classes - he regularly raced ahead of the class in completing assignments given in class - especially in DI and QA. He was rather happy and felt was doing well.

Sometime in Jan. 2007, he started preparing the theoretical concepts for CAT. He used to solve problems from his coaching institute material.

Now, although he had joined pagalguy in Jan 2006. He had never really cared to login and check it. He started doing that now. Started with the threads on the work completion and other RC and SC threads. Slowly, he started posting. Getting involved with the discussions. He became a regular contributor in the mock threads. Started shouting :mg: on the shout box. Made a number of friends who supported and guided him during tough times.

Also, the mock season had started. He joined the TIME series. He used to give two mocks every sunday. One - Career Forum and other one was TIME. He started with a bang in CF. Got an AIR 2 once. This really rocketed his confidence. However, in the TIME mocks - which actually are true reflection of your position, he was performing rather poorly. Averaging about 88-90 Percentile. He could almost never clear the QA cut off. However, he cleared the VA cut off with regularity. DI was in between. He was in a fix. He could not understand what was happening. When he used to solve the problems at leisure, he would crack them rather quickly. However, in mocks he was unable to solve them. This was worrying him. He had bet a lot on CAT/MBA. Almost everyone at his work knew that he was preparing for CAT. And although he wasn't really ignored for any work, he was not given too many new opportunities. He did not mind it. He knew he had to sacrifice his work related commitments.

At this time (Aug 2007), during a session on Shout Box, he with some other regulars came up with the idea of BBLT (Bol Bachchan Losers Team). Starting from a concept which was a bit hazy, the team progressed to a bunch a individuals who were highly motivated and determined. There was great sense of camaraderie between them. Everyone encouraged each other. This infused a new spirit in him. He started working harder with a renewed spirit. Solved problems from online resources.

Finally, as a run up to CAT, he took a leave of 4 weeks. He solved the CAT question papers of the last decade during this time. Gave 3-4 sectional mocks every day. Revised his concepts. On the day before CAT, he relaxed. He relaxed a bit too much. As a result, anxiety took over him. He could not sleep till 4 that night. It was easily the most frustrating time in his life. He knew he just need 4-5 hours of sleep to be fresh enough. However, he could hardly sleep. Next morning, reaching the centre early, he could feel the pang of nervousness. Suddenly, he could feel the weight of expectation he had from himself.

The exam pattern was as expected. 75 questions, 25 questions in each section. However, he found quant exceedingly difficult. He realized this was a game of accuracy - his forte. He attempted only those questions he was sure of. Coming out of the examination centre, he felt uneasy. He felt he could have done well. Checking the scores throughout that day left him in no more doubt. He had messed the CAT. There was no probability of getting any calls.

He was sad. However, as is his wont, he quickly recharged himself and braced himself for the other tests. The same story was repeated in every test - IIFT, JMET (he used to regularly do very well in JMET mocks. Had really high hopes from it), SNAP, NMAT, XAT, FMS and CET.

After all the exams, he was confident of atleast getting a call from IIFT, NMIMS and decent percentile in XAT and a good score in SNAP.

However, the results had a separate story to tell.

He missed the IIFT call by a couple of marks.

CAT score was: 94.3 with a low 81.xx in VA and 93.xx in QA. Surprise, his strength turned into an achilles heel. His first love, QA was still loyal as ever.

JMET: Not qualified.

SNAP: A low score of 75.5.

FMS: No call

XAT: 91.94 OA, 96.xx in QA, 93.xx in DI/LR, and 55.xx. Surprise turned into a shock here. He had expected to get at least a XIMB call here.

He was heartbroken after all these results. He had put in so much of hard work and he had nothing to show for it. Then, within a space of 2 days, he got 2 calls - TAPMI and NMIMS. He had scored only 85 marks (cut off marks) in NMAT. However, he was determined to work hard and convert this call.

His final tally of calls included: NMIMS, NIRMA, TAPMI, GIM.

During this time, he met a person who really supported him through all this. She gave him encouragement, helped him overcome the loss of his grandfather, and made him feel good and confident again - all the while grappling with her own bad string of results. He became even closer to pagalguy as a result of this.

He put in fair amount of hard work for the GD/PI. NMIMS was first up. He performed decently in the GD/PI. But, knowing the skewed weightage against the GD/PI, he was sure of not converting this call. Now, he had simply lost the appetite to give the GD/PIs. He was unsure of what to do. He didn't want to give up in his first attempt. He had already started thinking of the next attempt. He even canceled his trip to Manipal at the last moment.

However, he gave the GD/PIs of GIM and Nirma. He had a blast at GIM and was blasted at Nirma. (Or so he thought).

One day in April when he had even bought books for GMAT and started studying for next year, he received a mail from NIRMA. He had been selected in their first list even after a not so great percentile. Even though it was not a college he was sure he wanted to join, he was overjoyed. So much so that there were moist eyes and all that. :mg:

However, now started the eternal dilemma. He wasn't sure of joining Nirma. On one hand, he was not confident enough of going on for another year; on the other hand, he really wanted to try again. Give himself another chance. This went on for over a month. He took opinions from various people.

He gave the first AIMCAT of the season - 0920. Got a 83 odd percentile. It was enough to convince him that he may have more of such bad days.
Hence, he finally took the decision to join. He thought that it is the person who makes the life and not just the college. Finally, what tipped it in favour of joining was his parents' advice to join.

He gave in his papers and served just two weeks of notice period. He looked forward to joining MBA and living away from his family for the first time.

I did what i felt was best at that moment of time. It was a difficult decision to take. Many people were disappointed too with it. However, I was relatively happy. Also, my decision to join wasn't based only on my failure in one mock.

2008-2009

He joined Nirma. Life was good there. He already had a certain reputation as a pagalguy user. He quickly built a rapport with his batchmates. Got involved in the activities and the academic rigor there. But, he always felt a certain sadness at not giving himself another chance. Thus, he thought, why not give it another shot. He had read about people leaving after an year of MBA for better places. He joined the TIME test series again. He had absolutely no time to prepare. He just used to give the mocks on Sunday and that's it. Maybe look at the paper for an hour after that. That too wasn't very regular.

Surprisingly, when the scores started to pour in, he was doing well. He was consistent getting decent percentiles of 96-97. He had never crossed 92 in the previous year even with all the hard work. He regularly featured in the toppers list and was among the top students in his city.

Following is the scoring pattern for his mocks.


QA DI VA OA
901 87.41 95.21 98.94 98.95
903 80.18 93.11 98.98 98.09
904 61.18 90.5 94.36 91.35
905 86.75 97.71 99.75 99.59
906 76.63 69.97 86.72 84.63
909 76.02 97.91 85.55 95.89
910 80.01 92.46 70.65 88.09
913 55.89 96.66 97.57 96.36
915 70.46 82.03 69.25 78.45
916 70.44 87.42 53.89 76.4
917 94.74 98.23 87.17 98.07

As can be seen, except for an occasional blip, DI was emerging as a strong point. Va had really rocketed in the last few mocks and QA remained a point of concern.

Looking at these scores, he felt quite confident. He used to give these mocks without any expectation - just for the fun element.

Now, with these scores, he again started expecting himself to do well. He even started dreaming of getting into IIM-A - an insitute he used to cross every week to give his mocks. As a result, he again lost his sleep on the night before CAT. Result - another mess up. And this time it was DI. He ended up with a percentile of 95.xx.

He had filled two other forms this year - NMAT and XAT.

A couple of weeks prior to XAT, his paternal grandfather expired. This left him shattered as he was really close to him.

Cut to the night before XAT. He was having a horribly upset stomach. Was not able to stand even. He simply took a medicine and slept - he didn't even realize that he was to give XAT the next day. However, next morning he woke up with a start. He pushed himself out of the bed. He realized that he didn't have the print out for the XAT ID. He thought he would finally reach the venue in time. But fate had other things planned for him. His bike simple refused to start. He reached the centre somehow with just a few min to spare - huffing all the way and not having an iota of strength left. He started solving the paper - his regular pattern, QA,DI and then VA. Just at the end of the exam, he got stuck at a QA puzzle for 10 mins. Hesimply could not solve it. However, just as he had submitted his OMR and was waiting for the essay to begin, he solved the puzzle. He cursed himself as he knew that 2 marks matter a lot in XAT. Anyway, he moved on and completed the essay.

After coming out, he realized that he had attempted too many question in DI/LR and very few in QA and VA. He had attempts of 15 in VA, 20-21 in DI, and 10 in QA. On checking the solutions, he found that he was getting all question DI right and 4/5 wrong in VA with one being wrong in QA. He knew that he would clear QA and DI but wasn't confident of VA. Consequently, he wasn't very hopeful of a call.

However, when the results came - he was pleasantly surprised.

He had scored

99.54 OA, 94.9 in QA, 91.xx in VA and 99.86 in DI. It was like a dream scorecard for him. He got the call from the BM program. (QA was right at the cut off).

He had also got calls from NMIMS (Written Rank 406) and XIMB.

He prepared for the GD/PI earnestly and with all sincerity. He tried to cover as many points as possible, spoke to people who had given GD/PIs after being in MBA already.

I would not delve into the details of the GD/PIs. The final result was:

XLRI - Reject.
NMIMS - Final rank 308
XIMB - Convert After a WL

I felt the worst ever after looking at the XLRI result. It was always a dream institute for me. It was the worst moment for me.
Anyway, I had to move on. Now, the biggest dilemma was whether it was worth leaving NIRMA for NMIMS/ XIMB after an year. I took opinions from a lot of people - alumni, current students, frineds from non MBA background, mentors, PG members, family members. I was in a crazy situation for over 2 months. It was like an eternal dilemma for me. At one moment I felt staying at Nirma was better, at other I felt like joining NMIMS. (I had already given up XIMB - personal reasons).

Everyday was a challenge for me. Every moment was spent thinking about this. The pros and cons were almost equal. Would not enumerate them here. What really made me take the decision of joining NMIMS was the recession. I have basically bought an year against it. Nothing else. And yes, I heard everyone's opinions, but finally went with what my heart said.

Leaving Nirma was the toughest decision of my life. I had a good life there, a certain reputation, great friends - giving that all up wasnt too easy. The day I vacated my room from Nirma, I almost wanted to reverse my decision.

I don't know if this is a motivating story - but it certainly is unusual. I knew I owed this to pagalguy - a place which has given me so much recognition and respect, a place which has given me a very special person and some of closest friends, my roomies here at NM.

I would like to thank anyone and everyone who helped me during my entire journey. I have learnt that it is not only the preparation that matters, but also the state of mind you are in while writing the exam. I would advice everyone not to make CAT, MBA as the end all and be all of life. Make it a prt of your life - enjoy it.

PS: I would also like to say that Nirma is an amazing institute. Please do join it. I spent some of my best times there. Please PM me in case of any queries. Please don't clutter this thread.
I also do not wish to malign or disrespect any institute. I admire every institute, exam for its speciality.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Why blogging?

Today I was asked by a friend - why do you blog?

I tried to explain that i write because i like writing - expressing myself without inhibitions and talking about whatever i want to say.

However, he said(something to this effect) - You can do this even without a blog. A blog is public, viewable by everyone. You can maintain a diary for it. (Now, let me clarify. By diary he didn't mean the old-fashioned hard book thick books. )

This got me thinking. I wondered why do I need to post on my blog? Then I got the answer - Everyone in this world likes to get feedback, appreciated, criticized even, by others. This comes from the need to be accepted in the society in which we come - to gel with it. Else, why would we do things just according to societal norms? The need to be accepted is profound in every individual and manifests itself in one form or the other. That is the reason why we have the social networking sites being the rage they are, these days. The constant need to say what we have in our mind to others comes from this yearning to be successful socially.

PS: I am gonna advertise this post too ;)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Me

Today I found a new Me.