“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you from doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” - Stephen Hawking
Bikas, first of all, congratulations on making it to IIM Ranchi.
The world is not easy for anyone to just conquer it. You must fight hard and carve a place for you in it. It is more so difficult when you are a differently-abled person. But, hands off to the grit and perseverance that you have displayed to make it to one of the best b-schools.
I would like to ask you a few questions to get a sense of the preparation strategy you used to bell the CAT so that it can serve as an inspiration to all students irrespective of the challenges they face.
What inspired you to choose a career in MBA?
Choosing a career in MBA was always my dream. Not being able to make it into an IIT for my Engineering always hurts me. I appeared for IIT Exam and AIEEE 3 times and two times got the call from Central Counselling Board. During the online Counselling 2009, I had made a mistake of selecting the wrong institution of my preference and was allotted a deemed university, which I did not join. I joined the Government College of Engineering Keonjhar to pursue B.Tech in Electrical engineering through Odisha Joint Entrance Examination. While in Engineering I came to know about IIMs. I always used to be an average student. When I decided to do my MBA from IIM, I was inspired to join any of the top B-Schools and started preparing my best. Then the news of my preparation for CAT went like wildfire in my college and some of my friends started making negative comments. Those comments gave me a boost to study more. Dream to enter into IIM took 7 years to become a reality.
How did you prepare for your CAT and GDPI process? Can you shed some light on your GDPI experience?
I had started my cat preparation by myself long back in 2011. In the year 2014, I started taking coaching classes. I filled the CAT form 7 Times and sat for the exam 6 times. In cat 2018 I cleared the cutoff and got calls from 11 IIMs and finally took the decision of joining IIM Ranchi. I very serious during my 2018 cat exam and I stopped using social networking sites. I also enrolled in the online test series and after each mock exam tried to analysis myself and also goe through the video solutions provided by the coaching centre. For GDPI, I used to read online newspapers and also go through GK topics in mobile apps regularly. Google and YouTube videos also helped me a lot during my preparation.
My GDPI for CAP Round was held in Kolkata in the morning slot. Before the GDPI, we went through a written ability test, where we had to write on one of the current affairs topics. Since I was a regular reader of the newspaper, I did not find any difficulty in writing. When I entered my GDPI room, the panellists made me relax and asked my introduction. Then they asked about my native place, state, and Odisha politics. Later on, they tested my knowledge of electrical engineering concepts, class 12th concepts of physics and the business of cab services that our family owns. The personal interview went around 20 minutes. The panellist also respects honesty in their candidates during the interview process and I stay honest to myself which helped me crack the interview.
What value do you think you can bring to IIM Ranchi culture through your diversity?
IIM Ranchi has great cultural diversity where students from every field are present in my class, including those from the government and private sector. A student like me doing an MBA in a wheelchair has a lot to add to its diversity. I had started my cab services in 2013 after which I graduated from my engineering college. After having entered IIM Ranchi, I am looking after my business over the phone. The practical knowledge of business which I had gained is having a great impact because I am aware of the problems that arise when you run any business. I was responsible for running the finance, operations, marketing, and human resources of my business. Practical exposure in such a diverse field can help me in adding value to the IIM Ranchi culture.
Have you been able to help your peers through your domain knowledge personally or professionally? Can you illustrate with an example?
I have played the role of an advisor and mentor to my very best friends. When one of them had come up with an idea of a startup, I could add some garnishing to his ideas because of my experience with the cab services that I own.
How do you think your varied skill-set or domain knowledge will help your future organization?
My skillset in terms of the engineering knowledge, current management studies and the practical exposure to business can be used to drive bold and better decision making in any organization that I join.
Thanks, Bikas for joining us for this little chit-chat. I think this was helpful for anyone who is striving to excel by sheer grit and determination.