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.