Although I started with my CAT preparation around mid-July 2016, I have planned earlier in 2014 that I will be appearing for CAT. This enabled me to find out more and more about this exam, about the secrets of this trade! But, all this was of limited use. So, I appeared for CAT 2015 without any prior preparation, this was so that I realise where I stand, and what is my ‘zero energy level’. I got around 98 marks and an 80.xx%ile. No doubt I was happy about it! This helped me in deciding when would be the exact time to start preparing for CAT. My research in these last few years made me realise, that there should be a perfect starting time for your CAT preparation! If you start too early, you will eventually lose interest in preparation, and if you start late, you might not be able to execute your final blow perfectly. You have to find this ideal starting time for yourself and act accordingly! Because, once you start preparing, there’s no looking back, you have to move forward. And this preparation time will test your endurance and it will require perseverant efforts from you!
You see, CAT is the entrance exam for pursuing management education, which will eventually make you a manager. You, me, and every other aspirant aim for that best college where he/she wants to go. But, how do those colleges’ become best? This question will have a very comprehensive answer, so I’ll not touch upon it here! What do you do when you want to go to the of a mountain? You raise yourself to the level of the peak of the mountain. I believe that to reach any place you have to raise yourself to the standard of that place, otherwise, you won't be able to reach there, or even if you are able to reach there somehow you won't fit there! And there's nothing worse than being at a place where you don't fit. So in order to get into any b-school, you have to raise your standard to the level of that b-school, this exam the interviews are there to test if you are at that level or not!
Let’s do an exercise and assume a fictional world where there are two b-schools which are exactly same in terms of infrastructure, facilities, faculties, everything same! So the best people will go to both the colleges and thus both the colleges will be at the same level. The problem with people is that they don’t know what they want from their life, which is quite common and that’s why we try different things, to know what fits us and what we really want! In the process, we do things which are popular and which are better marketed, and there’s nothing wrong in that. So what happens to the two b-schools of the fictional world? They expand their capacity! Economics teaches us that there’s a limit to which a firm can grow, beyond a certain point it’s not a good idea to expand. So, with an increasing demand of these two b-schools, new b-school started coming up which was as good as these two premium b-schools but they were new. More and more people want to graduate from b-schools but they don’t have the capacity, with this increase in demand there was noise attached, a noise in forms of people who didn’t know why they were coming, or they were hampering the brand image of the b-school. This alarmed the authorities and they built the brick wall around these schools so that only the people who want to be here madly can come, others who were looking for a stroll were not allowed. But again this is applicable to the fictional world in consideration.
Even before the step 1 comes the preliminary step, the ‘step-zero’, which will help you stay on the track during your preparation. Ideally, this step is not supposed to end till you get into your dream b-school! This is where you ask yourself the question, “why do you want to do an MBA”, and trust me there’s more to this answer than earning money. Not only this question, you have to look back to your whole life and analyse each and every step you have taken, your every decision, how those decisions have changed your life. You have to look back and understand your life in hindsight, you have to introspect! You have to know what you want from your life, you have to find your inner strengths, the things which give you pleasure after a 10-hour working shift. You need to find out what scares you at night, what makes you feel dizzy in the morning, what frightens you and brings a smile to your face. You have to know yourself. Preparation for CAT requires a certain level of discipline in life which can only come if you are enlightened. You have to enlighten, it’s not that you will start your preparation only after you have enlightened. NO. You start with the ‘step-zero’ while you are deciding if you want to prepare for CAT or not and this process continues till you enter into your b-schools.
Meanwhile, try figuring out what you’ll do in the situation described in para 3. Comment below to let me know what’ll you do!