Ankit Baheti’s Journey From A Failed Start-up To An IIM

Coming from a business family background, I got exposed to the intricacies of business from a very early age. I ventured into my family business right from the 7th standard. I used to go with my dad for bidding in tenders floated by the government and semi-government departments. Right from an early age, I had tasted the blood of business.

Fast forward to my final year of undergrad; I did not sit for placements, as I felt that the roles that were on offer were not challenging enough for me. In the final year of my graduation, I was sitting on an idea, and then, I thought it was an apt time to go ahead with my idea and give it a shape of a start-up.

The journey of KraftsCafe began by the end of 2013, from a small room in NIT Durgapur. However, the start-up was registered officially in May 2014. I operated it for more than 27 months and gave my blood and sweat to it. I achieved success at times like clocking 10 to 12 orders a day, acquiring international customers, on-boarding award-winning artisans, and craftsmen, amongst others. However, like all start-ups, it had to go through tough times as well. Some weeks would go without any orders; many artisans turned me down, monthly target promised to logistics support and payment gateway not being met, etc.

As the venture entered into the second year, I began to feel that I lacked some skills essential for running a business. Upon introspection, I understood that there were some managerial skills I was good at, like operations and HR. Having said that, it was apparent that there were still some skill-sets that I lacked or needed to brush up on, especially in marketing and finance. I was managing the marketing aspect of my business somehow with the constrained budget I had, but when it came to finance and accounting, I barely had any clue. It was at that point when I realised that I needed proper managerial training to help me manage things better.

I started preparing for CAT, but that too in a part-time manner. I joined a reputed coaching institute for guidance as I was completely out of touch with studies for approximately two years. However, at the same time, I was focusing on my start-up too. Again, I was being a jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none. They say that one needs to give more than 100% for their baby (read startup). But I was doing justice neither to preparation for one of the toughest exams nor my brainchild.

So, in the August of 2016; with a heavy heart, I decided to shut shop. I focused all my attention towards CAT preparation as I needed to get into a reputed MBA college to learn the intricacies of management better. It is tough to close down what one started, but sometimes it’s the best possible solution in the interest of all.

Thus began my CAT journey which I traversed with full dedication and enthusiasm. I employed various techniques for the next four months to be able to bell the CAT. For four months, my usual routine involved studying from 6 AM to 10 PM. I still remember how I used to take tiffin to my coaching centre at 6 AM. For this, my mother would wake up at 4:30 and get ready by 5 to prepare my tiffin by 6. At times, I attended 5 two-hour lectures in a single day.

Here are some strategies I employed that may help a CAT aspirant.

For VARC, I use to read a lot of text, ranging from a national daily like The Hindu and The Indian Express to a pink paper like The Economic Times. Genres ranged from fiction to semi-fiction and non-fiction books, all the way to articles on anthropology to scientific articles. I read anything and everything that did or did not interest me. Remember, the people who set the CAT paper know exactly what topics students are comfortable reading and as well as those which they feel uncomfortable doing so. They’ll surely have RCs or parajumbles from the areas of your disinterest.

Also, I tried hard to understand word roots. I believe it is the best way to remember word meanings and even if one encounters a new word, it can still be broken and understood.

In a nutshell, read, read and read some more.

For DILR, I practised all the possible sets under the sun. If I’m not wrong, I solved at least 500 different sets of DI and LR if not more. Also, I solved each set with different possible methods. For example, I used to solve a bar graph based question by doing exact calculations as well as with the help of estimation. This strategy helped me in deciding which one to follow for solving mocks and actual CAT.

In a nutshell, practice, practice and practice.

For QA, I stuck to the basics. I didn’t learn any complicated formulae but used the basics of mathematics for solving the hardest of all the questions. Also, answering questions through different approaches helped me a lot.

In a nutshell, go back to square one.

For mocks, I analysed each and every mock in detail. It took me approximately 6 hours to analyse a mock.

In a nutshell, take 3 hours to take a mock and take another 6 to analyse it.

So, I have been through many hardships in my life. Handling a not-so-much-growing start-up, stagnant sales and CAT preparation; you name it. However, my efforts paid off. I scored 99.50 percentile in CAT ‘16 and secured admission in 12 IIMs, apart many other b-schools. I chose IIM Udaipur above all due to many different reasons, and I couldn’t be any happier, having begun my much awaited MBA journey.

Ankit Baheti

Ankit Baheti, PGP 2017-19, IIM Udaipur
Entrepreneur | Mentor | Networker




Hey Ankit.Facing similar issues in my startup in second year of operations.I hope you completely understand the situation.I felt the same,lack of some aspects in marketing.Lack of some required skill set.I am planning to prepare for CAT.
I already worked in manufacturing industry before starting my own venture which is registered.
Will it be counted as work ex?

Ankit Baheti

Hello Friend,
Nice to hear from you.
Let me share some pieces of advice which I feel may help you ease the situation you might be going through.
First, If you’re preparing for CAT, do it with all your blood and sweat. Don’t try to become the jack of all trades. Instead, focus on being master of one. It may include shutting shop or taking a temporary leave from your baby (start-up). However, it’s you who need to take a final call now. Assess all the pros and cons and make a life-changing decision. It may be staying with your baby or eying to bell the CAT.
Second, You’ll definitely be going to learn many skills in an MBA, and I have experienced it myself.
Third, Your startup will count as a work experience. The only thing required is sufficient proofs. It may include the company or firm registration (certificate of incorporation), some transactions (bills should suffice), a cancelled cheque of your company, letterheads & visiting cards, etc. Also, start collecting proofs of as many things as you did as it will be crucial in future if you plan to do an MBA. It includes but not limited to the number of customers, vendors, Facebook likes or reach, contracts with logistics or payment gateway, or whatever significant is there in your business.

Hope this helped.
Do not hesitate to reach out to me. I’m always happy to help.


Hey Aniket.Thanks for investing time for a courteous reply.Really appreciate it.
Do let me know what you would best way to connect to you.Linkedin,mail I’d or something.
Some facts which worries me to take cat,also few questions for you.
1)My academics are average.Ranging from 65-78%.
2) Which other IIMs did you managed to convert ?IIM Ranchi ?
3) Your Academics ?
4)Your percentile break up in all three sections ?

Ankit Baheti

You can reach me via Facebook. It’s “”.
The answers to your questions are
1. Mine is also similar. Probably that is why I didn’t get calls from older IIMs. However, you’ll still have many opportunities as not all consider your past acads.
2. I converted all the new and baby IIMs including Ranchi and Trichy. However, I choose Udaipur and there are many here who have done the same.
4. 83.xy (got a bit scared in VARC section), 99.68 and 99.81.

sawan achary

Aniket ..i was too a part of a failed startup. But i did’nt have any proofs like you mentioned.We still were in the product development stage …but could’nt take it forward due to several problems.We were about to launch but we all parted due to several other commitments. What to say regarding the authenticity of my involvement in the startup ? Please guide me. Thanks in advance.

Ankit Baheti

Hey Sawan,
Nice to know your story.
All the B-Schools will evaluate your work-ex related documents before their process if you get shortlisted. Also, if you get through the process and get into a B-School, the Placement committee over there will require some proof to mention it in your CV and Resume.
What have you filled in your CAT form in work experience? Let me know.
Can you arrange for a proof from someone of high repute that you were involved in a startup but you didn’t launch? Let me know.

bipok banit

my coaching centre at 6 AM. For this, my mother would wake up at 4:30 and get ready by 5 to prepare my tiffin by 6. At times, I attended 5 two-hour lectures in a single day.

Here are some strategies I employed that may help a CAT aspirant.

For VARC, I use to read a lot of text, ranging from a national daily like The Hindu and The Indian Express to a pink paper like The Economic Times. Genres ranged from fiction to semi-fiction and non-fiction books, all the way to arti