Meet Mahendra Wagh, a first-year MBA student at SIBM Bengaluru. Mahendra hails from Mumbai and is an Electronics Engineer. Post his engineering, he worked for 4 months at a startup as a Digital Operations Associate. However, he soon realised his true calling lay elsewhere. After deliberating over various career paths, he chose MBA as he felt that it provided him with the best mix of academic rigour, industry exposure and job opportunities.
The hard work paid off and he scored 98.92 %ile in SNAP. After the interview season, when the final results came he chose to join SIBM Bengaluru, among the other offers he had. Mahendra is an avid sports buff and literature enthusiast. Having a keen interest in stocks and the financial markets, he plans to pursue Finance in the second year of his MBA.
Did your educational background help you during test prep? Did it help you in subsequent rounds (GE-PI-WAT)?
Yes, being an Engineer I could adapt quickly to the type of problems asked in the Quant section. However, these problems still required sufficient amount of practice. During my school days, I was the chief editor of the school magazine and wrote a lot of essays and articles. This coupled with my love for reading meant that I had little difficulty in navigating through the Verbal section.
Yes, in the GE-PI-WAT rounds to have a good grasp over vocabulary and diction always leaves a positive impression on the panellists.
What was your strong/weak section and what was your overall test-taking strategy?
Verbal was my strongest section. Therefore, I focused on maximising my score in it. For, Quant and Data Interpretation practising is the key. I solved problems from past year’s SNAP question papers to understand the difficulty level and the depth of the questions asked. Overall, I solved all the SNAP question papers of last 5 years. I believe this is the best strategy to align your efforts with the requirements and demands of each entrance exam.
What was your strategy for individual sections (Quant/Verbal/Data Interpretation/General Awareness/Reading Comprehension)?
As mentioned above, solving previous years’ papers was my go-to strategy for all sections. Apart from this, timing your mock attempts and finding an optimum time distribution for all the sections, is the key to get a good score on the exam. For GK, I made use of the handouts given in the ‘Coffee with SIBM’ sessions. A good number of GK questions in the exam came from these handouts.
What do you think you did right during test prep? What was it that you did right on Test Day?
On the Test Day, I felt the question paper pattern and the questions asked were very similar to those I had been practising. My efforts to re-calibrate my preparation using past year’s papers paid off. Also, on the day of the exam, I feel keeping your mind and body fresh is key to give your best shot. I ensured that I slept for at least 6 hours and made it a point to have a bath in the morning. This may sound trivial but goes a long way in ensuring that one is at one’s peak in the exam. Reading 1 or 2 newspaper articles of your interest half an hour before the exam helps you to warm yourself up for reading the RC passages in the exam and building speed.
What was your strategy for the D-Day and what do you think you executed the Best on the D- Day?
One of my Chemistry teachers once told me “Fight till the last moment, till the bell rings. Give it your best shot.” His words still ring in my ears and I have followed his advice whole-heartedly to date. I tried my best to implement the same on the SNAP day. I executed the time distribution to various sections that I had mapped out religiously before. This helped me in maximising my score in the exam.
How did you prepare for the group discussion? What was the topic and how did you tackle the GD round?
I had attended a few mock GD rounds in my coaching centre; the tips they gave me there proved to be really useful. GDs are all about assertiveness and making your voice heard. However, one should be cautious of not being rude or dominating. Also, making a good number of entries in the discussion is critical to get noticed. The topic of our GD was ‘Science vs Religion’. It was conveyed to us via an image which flashed for 30 seconds. One needs to be street smart to spot those tiny windows In GDs and should grab them with both hands.
What resources did you use to refer while preparing for the essay writing? (Please mention the topic)
The topic of my WAT session was same as that of the GD i.e. ‘Science vs Religion’. I relied on my regular newspaper reading and books that I read in the past to get me through. If you have these two resources at your disposal, then in the heat of the moment, you automatically come up with good sentences and phrases.
How was the interview experience like? What was your preparation strategy and how did the interview turn out to be?
The interview experience was a roller-coaster ride. Since I hail from Mumbai and my surname ‘Wagh’ means Tiger in Marathi; one of the panellists established a link between me and Bal Thackeray! Half of my interview revolved around discussing his political ideology - ‘Natives vs Outsiders’ debate. However, the two panellists were convinced by the arguments I offered and then the interview moved onto to my academic background. I relied on the mock Interviews I had given in my coaching centre and the feedback they gave me proved to be very useful. I also saw a few videos of mock interviews online which came handy.