From A Series Of 5 Rejections To IIM Kozhikode

I was sure of doing an MBA in class 9 when students discuss choosing Science or Commerce. I started building my profile accordingly and taking part in extra-curricular activities. Being academically inclined I did well in my board examinations and secured admission to one of the best colleges of India- St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata and did well in the B.B.A curriculum in spite of being from a science background.

I started sitting for campus offers in the final year. First company- Futures First, October 2013. I got the initial shortlist and made it till the last round but was disappointed when I did not see my name in the final shortlist. Next, I applied and got an initial shortlist from UBS Verity. Got rejected in the first round itself. In the meantime I appeared for CAT 2013. Like most other candidates I applied to all the IIMs, XLRI, FMS, MDI and SPJAIN. I also took my 6th actuarial exam in the meantime.

In December 2013 I faced the third disappointment when my profile was not shortlisted by S.P. Jain. I kept wondering what I missed in my profile which I had started building in 2007. A 93% in class 10, 92% in class 12, 79% (till 2nd year) in graduation at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, 5 papers of actuarial science from the Institute of Actuaries of India, and decent extra-curriculars which included writing for a local newspaper. What was even more demotivating was that all my peers had got a shortlist.

In January 2014, the month of results, I sat at the computer checking my CAT results. Devastated by seeing an 85%ile, I gave up hope, as I faced my fourth rejection. I gave myself consolation that actuarial science results from the Institute of Actuaries of India remain to be declared and had positive hopes for it. Few days later, I tasted the fifth one as I didn’t clear the CT4 examinations for which I had prepared religiously. Devastated by the list of failures I tasted, I took up the job on offer at campus by Axis Bank and joined the Corporate Office at Mumbai and got placed in the Market Risk department. The series of failures had demotivated me not to take up anything further.

Gathering courage to stand up again, I planned to focus on my upcoming final examinations at college. I studied thoroughly, attended all the classes and stood first in the final year across all specializations. My overall rank improved to fifth. Next in May 2014, I appeared for the examination I failed in and cleared it. I joined Axis Bank and planned to prepare for CAT once again. Though I kept scoring 75 to 85%ile in the mock series, I planned not to give up. I took out time and prepared for CAT. Weekends were spent taking mocks and analyzing where I was going wrong. In the city where night life is most happening I prepared for my upcoming exam. The last mock I took, I had scored a mere 75%ile. I took the CAT on 22nd November, 2014 attempted 82/100 questions and scored a 97.8%ile. The first shortlist I got was from S.P. Jain. But yet again, I was given a waitlist number which I wouldn’t convert in spite of the 97.8%ile and 720 in GMAT and now 7 papers of Actuarial science cleared. I knew 97.8 is not enough to get the call from the top 3 institutes of the country but I knew my capabilities and decided to be realistic. The best call of the season I had was IIM Kozhikode. I prepared for the interview thoroughly reading everything on each and every newspaper and going through graduation material once again. I appeared for the interview in April with 9 months of work experience and was reasonably sure after the interview that I won’t make it this year as well. I had hardly answered 60% of the questions asked and to others I had just replied “I don’t know”.

6th May, 2015 I was elated to see that I had been selected for the PGP program. This time all the efforts had paid off. The experience at Axis Bank, burning the midnight oil and studying had not gone for nothing. I confirmed my acceptance and am joining the institute on 22nd June,2015.




Abhishek Mahur

Motivational. Hard efforts do pay off. But I can’t understand how you managed to think of doing a MBA when you were in 9th class? Who told you about post graduation at this young age?