Born and brought up in Delhi, Prateek Papneja completed his Chemical Engineering from Thapar University Patiala in 2014. He worked in a real estate firm for two years and then chose to give his career a boost. He secured 99.44 percentile in SNAP 2016 and believes hard work beats talent if talent does not work hard.
Did your educational background help you during test prep? Did it help you in subsequent rounds (GE-PI-WAT)?
Being an Engineer, I had less fear of numbers. Educational background does help in a certain way, but anyone can crack GE-PI-WAT with the clarity of the concepts and enough practice. For PI, you must practice rhetorical questions which will help you lead the interviewer in a direction you want. Interviews are mostly about you, so try to remain confident because you already have all the answers. Also, you should at least remember the name of the subjects from your last Degree. Work experience people should know about the latest developments in their field and have clarity about MBA.
What was your strong/weak section and what was your overall test-taking strategy?
Verbal, RC, and Quant were my strong sections. For current affairs, I used to read newspapers and magazines like Pratiyogita Darpan. Overall Strategy is to maximise score in each section. You must develop the ability to find the low hanging fruits (all questions have same marks). This saves time and energy. Attempt all sections and find easiest ones first, then medium level. Be aware of negative marking. Generally, the questions are straightforward (easier than CAT) and speed is the pivot that turns the game.
What was your strategy for individual sections (Quant/Verbal/Data Interpretation/General Awareness/Reading Comprehension)
Quant – (TSD, Probability, and P&C) Sets should be done with the clarity of concept and practice.
Data Interpretation - Learn to see graphs quickly. All fractions should be at your fingertips. It really helps!
RC - Always read the questions first.
General Awareness - Read, Read and Read some more.
What do you think you did right during test prep? What was it that you did right on Test Day?
I could just implement above mentioned strategies. I did not stress too much about a question and moved on if I got stuck. You need to believe in yourself very much and then magic happens.
How did you prepare for the group discussion? What was the topic and how did you tackle the GD round?
Read Op-Ed sections of good newspapers like The Hindu, Indian Express, TOI, Economic Times and Mint (preferred order). This exposes you to different viewpoints along with facts. Make a small notebook and write them all.
My topic was Demonetization. I had prepared the mind map for the topic and interpreted facts decently. Make sure your GD looks like one. One should be polite, logical and straight to the point.
What resources did you use to refer while preparing for the essay writing?
Online articles do help a lot. One must be ready to Google and look up answers on the internet. Essay writing modules are available on insightsonindia.com. It’s a comprehensive site and you will find most of the topics there. Make sure you realise your mistakes from the model answers and try to build upon them.
How was the interview experience like? What was your preparation strategy and how did the interview turn out to be?
The interview was not stressful. The interviewers were really patient and they genuinely wanted to know you. Certain questions like Why MBA, Which specialisation and why you chose it, are very common. The procedure is personality based and everyone has different answers. My advice would be not to lie about anything. Interviewers are very experienced and they will grill you if they found out something fishy. Make sure there is clarity in your thoughts and that clarity reflects your graduation choice and work experience. Your analytical skills might also be tested there, so be prepared. Do make sure you read that day’s newspaper.