Most people dream of becoming an entrepreneur/starting up a venture or strive for coming out of a paycheck-to-paycheck life. Many of those dreams are sustained through B-schools as well. My story is a little different; I chose to dream and act on it earlier.
From starting a Business in class 10 at the age of 15 to developing it for the next five years of my life, juggling between academics and living with the daily struggle. By last year, I was clear on pursuing it for the rest of my life. I was earning well, had stable clientele, and the struggle was over. But then in just a year, I am writing this article from my super spacious hostel room at XLRI.
Phase Before CAT /XAT
I started silver jewellery trading at the age of 15, expanded it into gold jewellery trading and then further into diamonds after gaining a diploma in valuations and grading from Surat at the age of 17. I used to be the usual nerd of the class till class 10th and managed to complete the majority of the 11th and 12th syllabus in 10th (thanks to JEE). After passing class 12th with PCM, I was sure that I had to continue with the business and that I did. Took up admission in a local college for BBA and somehow managed to pass the course with good marks. I always knew that there was something I was missing; it was vague and a blasphemous idea then to even think further studies was the thing I am missing.
My First Encounter With CAT/XAT
It was love at first sight. A friend of mine needed some help in payment for CAT form submission. I helped him out and funny enough (it was actually just for fun then), I filled the form too. Days passed, I forgot about it, and on the exam day, he called me to quickly get his admit card to the centre because apparently taking exams without an admit card is what legends do.
I took his card for the morning slot and mine as well, waited in McDonald's for some time, watched a movie and took my exam as well in the afternoon slot. I got a 94.27 in CAT '17 - my first attempt with zero preparation. Being a non-engineer, Shillong called me, and I was suddenly into the race. The IIM Shillong interview was terrible but still, I managed to get into a close waitlist. Though, I could not convert Shillong, the 3 hours that I spent in the test centre were filled with pure curiosity and joy.
The Grind For CAT/XAT
This time, I knew that I want to take up the exam again. I also knew that without preparation, it would be impossible to ace it. I was running a business full-time and chasing a weird goal of acing an exam. I did not even think about what I would do after that; I just jumped into the well. Maybe that is why they call love stupid. I somehow took some mocks with the busy schedule. Sometimes, I was even risking some marriages when I was expected to deliver a bridal set, and I was busy because of the 3-hour mocks. So, I somehow took up ten mocks for CAT and filled both CAT and XAT registration forms this time.
The Fall And Rise
Due to some personal event, I was not in a good frame of mind on CAT day; I tanked it. I managed to get just 94.17 this time. It was painful but needed. I knew before results that I was done with CAT. I focused on XAT; TIME coaching had provided two free mocks, and I chose to take them diligently. MOCK 1 - I got only 80ish percentile with just 50 percentile in DM. I quit the preparation and focused on various other aspects of my life. Took another mock. MOCK 2 - I got 99.5 percentile with AIR 1 in DM. Maybe God was playing with me. I decided to not prepare until the exam. I managed a 99.36 in the actual exam, and I was satisfied.
I had calls from SPJIMR(Finance), XLRI (HRM and BM), IIM SHILLONG, and MDI. I took Shillong and ditched MDI. After my SPJIMR interview, I felt that I had a convert in my hand. Took BM and HR for the sake of it. I was crushed by the Panelist in the HR interview and pampered in the BM interview.
Verdict - My only Convert was for XLRI HRM, the interview I thought was a nightmare.
Should I do an MBA? Should I do an MBA in HRM? What will happen if my Customers and Suppliers will know about it? Will society think that my Business went in a loss? What will happen to my nearly 6 years of pure hard work? I had thousands of questions.
My parents helped me a lot. My father was already the sole proprietor of the firm (I did not have a PAN card while registering plus I was underage). He took the onus on himself to run all the physical operations in my absence, and I continued my professional relationships even from XLRI. I always had no inclination towards any of the specialisations, plus I had nothing against HRM. So I just thought to give it a try; after all, I had not planned this aspect earlier. Sometimes in life, we do not know what makes us happy; we just chase things, and we realize that journey alone was worth it.
After Arrival At Jamshedpur
I am happy. I have friends. I have faculties who make us think in ways we could never do by ourselves. I see immense possibilities and opportunities for myself and my friends here. But I still have some things to figure out - job or back to business? Start something new and different from here? - the list is endless and not worth fretting upon.
The learning here will help me in whatever I do. So is a B-School worth it for those already pursuing Business? It definitely is!