What Can You Do If You Have A Gap Year? – Nitya’s Journey To XLRI Jamshedpur

In 2014, I was in the final year of my engineering. I had got a campus placement in one of the coveted companies, my engineering college was the top private college in the state of Andhra Pradesh (Now Telangana), and I was just 21, the future looked bright, and for the first time in my life I stepped out of my home and went to Mumbai the land of dreams.

I had one of the most rewarding experiences, but after a year, I felt I wanted some time for myself. I had plans of doing either an MBA or MS from USA, but I was not sure, I wanted to travel and write and so one day in February 9 months after I joined work, I called my dad. I told him about my decision, my father is very pragmatic, he asked the right questions to check my reason for the decision, once he was sure that I was not being impulsive he gave me the go ahead. My mother on the other hand thought both me and my dad were giving up the tangible for a pipe dream. But my mind was set and so I packed my bags and came home.

Reality was very different from what I had imagined. In one year, all my friends had left Hyderabad, most of them for the U.S, from having 6 days x 12 Hours Work Life, I now had too much time on my hands, it scared me a little, and I had doubts about my decision. I enrolled in T.I.M.E for CAT preparation, I also started preparing for G.R.E and G.M.A.T.

I tried maintaining a schedule to involve sports/physical work-out, but I missed the company of people my age. True to what I had planned earlier I travelled, and joined a friend’s start-up as a content writer. My travels gave me content for writing, at other times I would do some research and write, writing helped me cope-up with the pressure at that time. No job and no tangible offer/career path at that time, I would go into bouts of over-analysing and criticising myself for my decision, in hind-sight I would say, such a waste of time and energy.

Three months had passed quickly and it was time for me to give CAT, I was under a lot of pressure, I kept thinking of what would happen if things went wrong, a year’s gap and nothing to show. If people remember the CAT of 2015, the D.I section was tough (for at least the mere mortals like me) and I couldn’t give my best, thinking of D.I I screwed up Quant which followed or so I thought, until the results came out.

I was devastated, I locked myself up and wouldn’t speak to anyone for days, and my parents were very supportive and shielded me from prying relatives (several of my relatives and neighbours deserve to be in the press), I did the mistake of going to a wedding a week after CAT results and I could hear the whispers (What will she do now?, they shouldn’t have let her quit?), after all the dust settled I analysed what went wrong

The D.I section was tough for everyone, the trick was lesser attempts but to get them right, I had done the opposite. After some initial sobbing and mopping I pulled myself together and starting preparing for XAT , at that time I had no expectations, on the day of XAT I went with a calm mind, after my exam I didn’t evaluate my performance and waited for my results.

I cleared the cut-offs, but I kept my calm until I got the call, I was happy once I got the call. Luckily I converted it and here I am typing from XLRI.

A gap year does create a difference, some companies do notice it, but whenever I was asked the question during my interview, I told them the truth. It’s tougher to defend as the GAP increases, but we all have our reasons for making that choice, travel and writing was a major part of my reason and I did that, I don’t regret what I did, in hind-sight I could have been more relaxed and less critical, when I spoke to my sister who studies in Singapore, she told me how several of her friends there take a gap for reasons as varied as travelling to serving at Doctors without Borders, and I was fascinated by their stories. Here I met several friends who took a gap for UPSC, they didn’t make it but I am sure it gave those valuable insights (and the ability to help us in economics assignments).

Taking time off to figure what you want is natural, but be sure that you give the true reason when you state it in an interview. I think it’s better to be open about it, it can also be a case in point to show how you made things turn around for you, and how you don’t shy away from following your dreams.

Nitya Muralidharan

Nitya Muralidharan is a Second year student at XLRI Jamshedpur, she is passionate about writing , marketing and new ideas.



Roshan Desai

Hey, I am in the first year at XLRI and did something similar for different reasons though! Would love to interact about it vis-a-vis interviews and placements!

jasmine chowdhary

I also quit the job in september 2016 and could’nt make through any exam that year, so now I am having gap of 1 year and will be appearing for CAT’17, please suggest will this GAP affect in PI and in college later on?

Nitya Muralidharan

It was asked in one of my interviews, but they didn’t probe much, but for some of my friends their whole interview was on the GAP year, depends on the panel . For now I would say focus on prep 🙂

Chinmay Prasad Panda

Sis….Can you help me out… I’m in a dillema…
I completed my btech in 2016 and got placed as well , but I didn’t join and started preparing for higher studies. I appear for CAT & XAT 2016 but my scores were too .I drop those scores and now I’ll appear for the 2017 MBA exams .So please tell me that how will I defend this gap ?

Nitya Muralidharan

Also would suggest to get some experience meanwhile if possible, this will keep you engaged as well give you talking points during interview, it does not have to be a mainstream job, but something that will allow you to gain experience while allowing you to focus on your prep

Ketan Mishra

Hi Nithya after working for an IT firm for a duration of greater than 18 months I dropped to rev up my preparations. I wanted to reach out to you for some suggestions.


Hi Ma’am , If you could just share how did you cope up with fhe LR/DI section , since I face the same issue it would be of great help.
Thank you


Hey Nitya.Really Inspiring.Could you share your XAT total score and sectional scores.It will help us in a major way.
We are curious to know your cat scores.
Really great come back.


Great score in decision making section mam! Can you please suggest any book for DM?


This article finally gave me something to cheer about ! I also resigned my descent paying job for CAT-2017 and other MBA Entrance exams. Hopeful to do my best ! Thanks to share to share your experiences.

Sujoy Tarafdar

Hii Nitya congrats for your achievement,,can you please tell me which TIME branch in Hyderabad did u joined as I am also from Hyderabad and want to do MBA.


Your article is like a fresh breath in a sea of otherwise monotonous stiff, Nitya. Believe me, I’ve did something similar last month, and have ample free time on my hands now, preparing for my dream. Hope things go well. Thanks for the motivation. Would appreciate more such writeups!

Furqan Ansari

Your story is really inspiration to me. I recently completed my engineering and now i have taken 8 months pause to prepare for MBA-CET. I hope i will succeed in one attempt and not wasting my precious gap which i have invested in preparing for CET.

shashank patel

Hi sister, presently I am attending cat classes and I am doing pretty well in time material exercises.I feel the questions are somewhat easy.What my question is solving only time material is enough will the toughness in cat examination matches the questions in time material and also how did u prepare for GK.

Sunakshi Goel

This was really inspiring!! I have completed my B.Tech this year. And I’m preparing for CAT 2017. Meanwhile I have started writing blogs on tech. Is it going to help me?

Priya Bothra

Really feels good to read your story.
I did something similar.
I quit my job a month back to study for XAT.
I, very much like you, am going through similar phases of self doubt and would really love any advice that you couldn’t dispense.

Amit Singh

I have completed btech in CSE from state govt college in 2011. I was not good in programming therefore I didn’t get job in IT then change my field got selected in CAG as an Auditor in 2013 and central excise inspector in 2014 but got joining in march 2016 and June 2016 respectively. Now I want to go for some other options like MBA and others if possible.please give some advise…

Abhay Vashistha

Mam as i have completed my b tech this very year and i am going to give cat 17. Will i face any questions related to this. Or these 3 month duration would b taken as gap in PI and Placement?

kirthi pandey

Hey, your story is really inspirational… I myself was in same situation. After college I was supposed to get the certification done to get into a company, which I got though campus placements. But I really didn’t want to do this job, so I thought, better I ll start preparing for cat. I wrote the exam but couldn’t get through. Then after 6 months of my college… I took a decision of completing my certification and taking up the job and simultaneously preparing for cat. Now I almost have a year jab and most probably I will get into the company within 1-2 months. But I really don’t know, how do I explain my 1 year gap


couldn’t convert XL @99.7+ I too had a gap, but after reading this I am feeling very happy for you.

Cristiano Ronaldo

I too quit my job this year. Screwed up CAT but ended up scoring 99.4 percentile in IIFT. I had calls from SP Jain (profile based ) and fortunately I’ve converted it am joining this year. I too don’t regret quitting my job to give it my best shot. Glad to read a post from someone who’s gone through a similar experience.

Sai Deep

Hi! I am planning to take a gap for CAT 19. Can you please share your CAT percentile ?(just to see the difference in results of CAT and IIFT). Thanks IA.