It was the usual hectic office day and with somnolent eyes I boarded the cab back home. Nothing else to do than dosing off, I just switched on my cellphone to check the mail. First mail in the inbox flashed before my eyes, a flash that I can never forget. It read, "Selected for provisional admission at IIFT". My happiness knew no bounds.
This journey started more than a year back, when I was trying to shuffle a 9 hour shift as a software engineer at a leading US based MNC and as an MBA aspirant determined to make it to the top 10 B schools. Balancing both the things with reasonable efficiency was a challenge but then I never wanted things to come by easy. Coaxed several time by my parents to shun the job and chase the MBA dream was never my cup of tea and so, in my case, time management was the key. Sacrificing my weekend sleep for CAT prep was the mantra I stuck to. Being a CAT repeater, I had the study material already and so armed with a test series, I got into preparation mode. As this was already my second attempt, I was resolute to make it my final one too.
Weekdays were hectic due to the job but late night bursts of two hours helped me to get revise what all I had learnt in my previous attempt. Weekdays were meant for taking tests and managing my time through the exam in order to fine tune a strategy. It required 6 months of the vicious circle of reading, mocks, analysis and sometimes even a re-analysis and finally I formulated a strategy. MBA exams, no matter how intimidating they may appear, are exams which test how well you do under pressure. The syllabi is easy, way easier than the draconian IIT-JEE that most of engineers take. So, at the end of the day, I knew that if your strategy is in place and you have tested it several times, you have taken a giant step towards your dream school.
The exam season started in October with NMAT, followed by the nocturnal November where in I had back to back exams- CAT and IIFT on successive days. The results were out even before I took TISS NET in December. I heaved a sigh of relief. Yes, I had the shortlists from a few premier B schools. The dream turning into a reality was in vision
The next step- GD-PI-WAT. Apparently, the most important factor behind my success was pulling up my socks for this final stag of the admission process. No matter how high one scores in the written test, a poor performance in this stage can lead to catastrophic outcomes. I joined a good Personality Development Program(PDP) to hone my soft skills and gain some confidence before the judgment day. It turned out to be a very useful element in my call conversions as I nailed my IIFT GD and had decent interviews for all my schools. Hence, I converted my best call and realised my dream to study at a top school.
The drill was arduous but given a chance I'd like to redo it all over again. My preparation over the two years taught me patience and fortified my belief in the concept of karma. All my teachers and friends have been the backbone on which my success rests. I learnt more as a person in these last two years than I ever imagined.
My two cents for MBA aspirants-
1. Don't think too much about your profile. Even average profiles convert top ranked schools. I am a living example of that.
2. If you're reasonably comfortable with your job, do not leave it for MBA preparation. Working along with prep is something that thousands of successful aspirants resort to and it embellishes the time management trait that is so important for a management degree aspirant.
3. Analysing mocks is very important. All my mentors at coaching re-iterated this and they couldn't have been more correct.
4. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Don't flock through the reading material of multiple institutes. Stick to one religiously.
5. Don't let mocks scores dwindle your confidence. Take them with a pinch of salt but ameliorate with each test.
6. The written test is just half the battle won. The other half is preparing for the GD-PI-WAT process. Don't negate that at any cost.
That's all folks.
The writer is an MBA student at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. He has worked as a software engineer prior to this. He loves to blog, travel and quiz whenever he finds time.