We bring to you an interview with Rohan Mankame, pursuing MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS). This interview will be helpful especially for the CET Aspirants appearing for the Exam in March 2016.
Got my lucky break when I got into JBIMS, life overturned after that! A newly-turned traveller, blogger and bicyclist, the road (to life?) is now being viewed through an entirely different lens. Economic Times Young Leader 2015 and king of the seven kingdoms!
1. Tell us about your educational background. Why did you decide to pursue MBA? Also please tell us your CET score
Although I enjoyed coding, mid-way during my computer engineering (Fr. CRCE, Mumbai) I go into council work, handling teams, their finances, and conducting events throughout college. As I came to terms with this non-technical aspect of life, I realised I was entirely exposed, and handling a team to deliver results when:
- Members have different ideas about what results are
- Members don’t like other members who have different ideas about what results are
- You’re yourself not sure about the different ideas about what results are
These things made me realise that I needed a sense of personal, business and managerial skills to proceed further in life.
Getting straight to the point, this is what propelled me into doing an MBA, a quest to not stay the same mundane guy I was. Luckily, converted CET with 99.90%le (144/200) the same year, and the dream came true with JBIMS!
2. Did you expect to do so well in MH-CET?
After cracking NMAT and XAT, I was somewhat confident that I had the knack towards getting through entrance exams. So as I looked forward to CET, I realised that I had to shift my approach a bit and practice more, and the major steps had already been taken by my efforts throughout the previous year,
Being able to do both left gave me a good boost before the exam, and I definitely expected myself to give the best!
3. When and how did you start planning your time and strategies for the exam on the whole?
The day I came home from XAT, I realised that CET was my last shot at entrances that year. Engineering last year wasn’t time-consuming, and I simply pushed up my efforts after a week-long break!
I had about 60 days left for CET, and the idea was to continuously give mocks, analyse where I was falling behind, and cover up on that part. I made a chart, promising to dedicate myself to CET work at least 2-3hours per day. I was able to stick to it and yet have crazy fun during the year, but the chart ensured that I had my deliverables in place.
So here comes Core Strategy no. 1: Continuously give mocks, irrespective of your prep, you realise what you actually know, and what you don’t. Never give a mock and go rest, ALWAYS analyse the results, redo the incorrect questions, and shortlist sections for improvement. (And write them in a chart!)
Result: You can never fool yourself. If you’re prepared, you’ll score well, if not, time to come back to ground!
4. Did you follow any particular method of learning for individual areas? Was it always about working on the strengths more than focussing on the weakness or vice-versa?
I think that your strengths are maintained so long as you keep giving mocks. The problem is towards improving areas where you’re weak.
Core Strategy no. 2: Isolate a specific amount of time for your weak areas. I found out that my Visual Reasoning answers were majorly wrong. By collecting all material I had from class notes and online, I dedicated some time in a week ONLY for Visual Reasoning practice. Result: Strongest area in the paper crunched those diagrams like crazy!
5. Which section, according to you, is a decider in the CET?
If I had to choose one section, I’d say LR because the questions are extremely easy and can be crunched in a miniscule amount of time. This lets you have that breather when you’re deep into an RC, DI or Quant question, and thus be less prone to silly mistakes.
The best part about LR is that it can easily be done by increasing your level of practice. After all who doesn’t like finding weird patterns in stars, circles, and questionable figures you can never dream of?
6. Did your previous educational background aid you in any section of the test-prep?
Attempting state level scholarships examinations during school days does a help a bit in CET, but I wouldn’t say it would be a game changer.
In case of engineering, I believe that if I wasn’t so lax during my first 2 years, I would’ve never been this inspired and dedicated towards cracking MBA exams! Jokes apart, some comfort with math, especially derivatives and geometry, definitely gives you an edge over commerce students!
6. Do you think MOCKs or Test Series are a reflection of your future performance? From when should a student start concentrating on these aspects of test prep?
Yes, 100%! For my CAT prep, even after doing just a couple of chapters I had started giving mocks (1 per 1-2weeks) and before any exam, it would be around 2-3 per day if I had no specific sectional work.
The idea with mocks is that they constantly remind you where you stand. Thus, you always know if you’re lacking in a certain section or you’re strong in it. If you’re constantly messing up Verbal, it’s obvious that you need to keep the mocks on hold for a while, and restrict yourself to verbal for some time before you have a go again.
I just hope to clear it out that in no way is a mock going to suddenly improve your performance. You give mocks at the end assuming that you have already finished your portion (all chapters from all sections) and just looking towards finishing the product. You have the team in place;and the mock is just a friendly match to decide which formation you’re going to play!
7. Which other exams did you appear for? Did it help you in preparing for MH-CET?
CMAT x 2, CAT, NMAT x 2, XAT, SNAP and CET
Giving CAT ensured that I got done with my portion a month before it!
Giving NMAT ensured that the outrageous timer they use doesn’t break your mental peace.
Giving XAT gave me some really good level of conceptual clarity (love their quant!) and led me to some really good books while preparing for Decision Making (philosophy!)
Giving multiple exams helps you gauge your abilities and weaknesses even further, and if they’re not a strain on your pocket, exams and potential GD-PIs are definitely worth giving a shot for an experience! NMAT prep will boost your time management skills, whereas XAT will introduce you to their elegant yet difficult questions!
8. Finally, any other advice that you wish to share with the aspirants?
It’s definitely not easy to crack an entrance, but it’s definitely worth it! Life at this side of the MBA is amazing (not just the pay!), and it should be assumed that your efforts have to be proportional.
A lot of people ask me on which classes to join and such, and spend most of their time deciding that, but at the end of the day, it is your efforts that will matter and nothing else. Learn to manage your time, sacrifice certain things, and channel your hard work in the right way, there’s no section in any paper that practice can’t beat.
CET being such an easy yet brisk exam demands that you value that 1 mark (just like the successful guy saves every penny), and thus your efforts can never be enough! Keep practicing, keep giving mocks,and keep eliminating those weaknesses; the best colleges will follow!