Was it your first attempt? If not, how did you improve?
So, this was my third attempt at CAT. In my first attempt, I was not very serious about CAT, and did not prepare very hard for it. In my 2nd attempt, I used to give a lot of mocks and sectional tests but did not analyse them thoroughly. I think that became a road block to achieving a good percentile. I worked on this in my third attempt and took less mocks, but analysed every mock very thoroughly which helped me prepare my strategy for the D-Day.
How did you manage your preparation along with job? How many hours did you use to study on weekdays?
Preparing for CAT along with working with a start-up was actually very hectic for me. So, I could barely manage an hour during the weekdays. Weekends were no different and I could barely give one mock per week and kept analysing and improving my weaknesses for the entire week.
What resources did you follow to prepare for XAT?
For XAT, all I did was I solved the past 10 years XAT papers. And after preparing for CAT, I think this is enough to be buckled up for XAT. I made sure that I was thorough with decision making as I practiced innumerable questions in this section to get a good hold of it.
What approach did you follow while taking and analysing mocks?
So, I used to analyse mocks one section at a time. I used to take a section, and first try to solve the ones that I could not do during the mock time. And categorise them into easy, moderate and difficult. I tried to find the root cause behind not being able to attempt the easy and the moderate ones. Then I turned to the ones, I had attempted incorrectly. I used to analyse, what went wrong with the question; whether it was a conceptual error or just a silly mistake and how much time had I wasted in the particular question and how it could be improved. Lastly, I turned to the ones that I had attempted correctly and find out ways to do the question in a shorter time frame. And this is the analysis part which most of the CAT aspirants miss out on. However, analysing the last part is also very crucial.
Can you tell us a bit about your interview? Did you have apprehensions about converting it at 97%? What do you think worked in your favour?
Honestly, I never thought about converting XLRI, at 97 percentile, being a GEM. However, what worked in my favour and helped me in converting not only XLRI, but all other colleges (SPJIMR, MDI G, New IIMs, SJMSOM) was my work-ex. All of my interviews revolved around my work-ex with the interviews being a more of a discussion than an interview. I made sure that I leverage my experience in Urbanclap as a category manager as bring in my learning and experience to talk more about how and why I feel MBA was suitable for me at that point of time. Having taken CAT thrice, I have gained good experience in understanding how to direct interviews and how different kinds of answers can lead to different types of follow-up questions. I feel that definitely helped me to prepare better for interviews this year!
What tips would you like to give to future aspirants?
Perseverance and diligence are keys to cracking MBA entrance examinations. Also, I would advise aspirants to have a rough but honest idea on why MBA? Trust me, it gets you a long way in clearing all the interviews. Because if you are clear in your head, your answers are clearly going to reflect it and trust me, it makes all the difference. Interviews, from their years of experience, know what a genuine answer sounds like and being genuine is really the key. Think through your answers over and over again during your preparation phase and appear for interviews with a clear mind. Wish you guys all the very best.
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