The only limitation is that which one sets up in one's own mind - Napoleon Hill
I believed in this statement and just kept going until I achieved what I wanted. Here is a small excerpt from my journey and a few pointers that helped me survive through the last year and helped me ‘convert’ XLRI, Jamshedpur and other IIM calls.
I am Saloni Malhotra, and I completed my B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from Banasthali University, Newai, Rajasthan in 2016. I was campus placed at a Fortune 500 company and worked there for 3 years. During these years I had realised I would not be satisfied with the kind of role I was working in. I craved for more. But just accepting this fact was not enough, I had bigger questions to answer now.
"If not an IT job, then what is it that I really want? If an MBA, then which path do I want to take? Is 4 years going to be “too-much” experience for a 2-year MBA from India?"
The First Turning Point
I took control of my life and took a lot of big decisions towards the end of 2018. I wrote CAT, XAT to test the waters. I scored north of the 90th percentile in both the tests but it was not enough. 2019 was the year of change for me. I decided to switch my job and moved to a company which was just starting out in India, hoping to get the startup-culture experience.
I also decided to prepare for MBA entrance exams again along with this new job. Now I had the responsibility to prove my worth in my new job and also not let it compromise with my MBA preparation. Unaware as I was, coming from a company with over 1.5 lacs employees to a company with 1000 employees, was going to have consequences. I soon realised, preparation with a new job in a startup-like environment was going to be tough. I needed a plan.
Having A Plan Of Action
I started with reading a lot of articles on insideIIM, and devised a strategy for self-preparation online. I worked during the day, and invested my time heavily in watching youtube videos about various concepts to get my basics right. I joined the online test-series by TIME and IMS to have a variety of questions for practice, and went very aggressive with the mocks. I appeared for close to 30 mocks. All my weekends were spent on analysing the mocks and tracking my progress, identifying my weak areas and going back to the concept videos freely available on the internet.
After struggling for an initial few months, I caught hold of QA and VARC, but LRDI was still a pain. I knew I needed something else apart from mocks, so I solved all the available past year LRDI papers. Exposing oneself to a wide variety of problems and sticking to the basis are the two key takeaways I had after preparing for both the tests.
Dreams Come True With Good Planning
Fast forward to the B-schools result season, I scored 98.616 in XAT, 97.52 in CAT and 97.53 in IIFT. I secured calls from almost all top-20 B-schools ( barring the holy trinity). But all was not done yet. I was faced with another challenge right before my interviews. I was diagnosed with Papilledema ( swelling in my optic nerve which was causing severe headaches). The treatment was spread over a few months but it took a toll on me both physically and psychologically. I was also required to lose close to 10kgs for the medicines to work. Alongside the treatment, I was preparing for my B-school interviews. But my strong will power and resistance to concede to this situation helped me get through the rough patch.
My XLRI (BM) interview went on for 35 minutes, and it was like a rainbow covering everything from my undergrad experience at an all girls institution, my elaborate work experience, my future goals, COVID-19 situation in the country and around the world, some general awareness questions and importance of having more women leaders in corporate among others. It was one of the most fulfilling interview experiences I had in the entire season.
Fast forward to May 20th, 2020, around 12:00 AM in the night XLRI results flashed on my screen and it said “Congratulations!!! You are selected for Jamshedpur BM Program.” I froze for a few minutes and couldn’t believe my eyes. All the hard work, sleepless nights had paid off. I am extremely confident that I have the determination needed to pull through all challenges that life throws at me and succeed. With my full-time job which in itself was very demanding, I went through a rigorous weight loss program, alongside my treatment and have streered my career wheel in a direction that I wanted, secured admission at my dream college, and also lost the extra 10kg in the process (Phew!).
Your adversities might be different, but just hang in there. If I can do it, you can do it too !!!
All the best, guys!