A lot has happened since 2016, I fell in love. I got a job at a leading company. I messed up there. I quit. I took back my resignation. I worked hard. I gave up on the girl I should’ve been with. I left my job. I moved cities. And yet, the subject of my story is not love or work. During this time, I had my tryst with an exam that bears no resemblance to cute furry feline it shares its name with. The CAT.
MIT Manipal : My roommate IR woke up and went for CAT coaching. This would be my first encounter with the CAT. I had a vague idea about the exam – people got into IIMs by clearing this exam.
The holy trinity of I’s in India ~ IIT, IIM and IAS
Get one of them and shaadi is assured. :P
My father always told me one of these I’s tend to make life bearable here. But my young adult brain had its priorities straight ;
GF > Career. So I forgot about this little encounter with the CAT.
Little did I know of the things I would put myself through to clear this exam in the coming years.
Read Part 2 Of This Story Here - How I Got Into IIM Kozhikode In My Second Attempt - Rishabh Singh, 99.25 Percentiler CAT 2018
I never dreamt extravagantly. I had a dream of getting an admit to IIM Ranchi because it’s my hometown and the best “new IIM”. It would definitely be an upgrade from my current life.
It gave 16LPA as an average package (unbelievable for a guy coming from a tier 2 engg. college) and looked achievable.
And let’s face it, when you are from a tier 2 college. You tend to think that an old IIM (IIM established before 2000) is beyond you. And you don’t want to unnecessarily give yourself false hopes. Furthermore, I had a history of being an underperformer. I was
Above average but nothing spectacular
On some of my optimistic days, I dreamt of IIM Kozhikode. I’d already done my undergraduation from Manipal and seems like I had a knack for choosing schools on the basis of how picturesque they were. But it was just a dream, it required a 99.xx percentile in CAT. LOL. (Like that was happening, no waaaay)
But I would give my all for IIM Ranchi. I promised myself that. (A Ranchi call requires 95+ for a General Engineering Male candidate)
During my internship days, I had enrolled in a TIME center nearby and every weekend, I used to hop onto my beautiful neon green Hercules Roadeo and cycle across the crazy streets of Indira Nagar to attend the classes.
My first mock score:
VARC – 89.xx
LRDI – 69.xx
QA – 92.xx
Above average but nothing spectacular.
I met two amazing people at coaching in Hamraz bhaiya and Jeevan bhaiya. It wasn’t always easy to turn down social calls to chill with my old college buddies but I kept hoping it would be worth it.
I studied in spurts. And in hindsight, I didn't utilise my spare time to the fullest.
May 2017 – September 2017
I became a full time employee. My CAT studies were put on the back burner as I struggled with the stress of work. My relationship also hit some turbulent times. I was trying to give as much time as possible to CAT. But I was falling back at work and the stress was getting to me.
Every passing day, I gave more time to work but would come home sad and dejected as deep down I really wanted an ‘I’ tag. And it was causing some internal turmoil, the more I lied to myself that I would stay at my job and become great there -the more sleep I lost.
It’s about facing what you really want. Stop lying to yourself that you’re satisfied with what you have. Stop the attitude of saying “I’m fine”.
I tried my best with the few hours I got after work. I was confident that I would get enough to get an IIM Ranchi call (95+) and then it would be another battle.
D DAY Arrives!
I reach the center with a minute to spare.
VARC – I know this hasn’t gone right. The razor sharp accuracy I usually have is missing. I’m fumbling way too much.
LRDI – I’ve never been a whiz at this. Another disaster. I struggled to hit even 2 sets.
QA – Did okay. I’m not a speed demon. And this paper required fast calculations as all questions were easy so it wasn’t a Rishabh friendly paper.
I walked out. I knew I hadn’t done well enough to get a 97+. But I was confident of a Ranchi call. I didn’t use any score predictors or anything going forward.
I get a text from AC-IIMCAT while at work.
VARC – 91.xx
LRDI – 82.xx
QA – 95.xx
No Ranchi call.
Above average but nothing spectacular.
I didn’t feel anything. It was how life had been for me till now. Another average joe with a decent score but nothing spectacular. I have had this feeling where I’m above average but nothing spectacular so many times that it was a recurrent theme in everything I did.
It left a bad taste in my mouth.
I thought of possible colleges at this score.
I threw the thought in the dustbin. Burned the thought. And scattered the ashes into the wind.
That is the only time I thought of any other college except an IIM. This is when I realised how much I desired to get to one. I got advice from coaches to go for interviews of other colleges. I didn’t go. In hindsight, I should’ve racked up the experience.
But the writing was on the wall.
If not an IIM, I won’t do it.