MBA is one of the most sought-after career options in this era. After having graduated with an engineering degree and having worked in TCS for two years, I, too, thought of giving MBA a shot to change the track of my career. I enrolled myself in a coaching institute and started preparing for CAT. I somehow managed to juggle between my office and my studies and landed with an average percentile in my first attempt. But my score in the verbal section was low, and so I didn’t get a call from any of the top rank colleges.
I decided not to give up and appear for CAT once again. For me resigning from the job was never a choice. Hence this time, I chalked out a more rigid study plan and tried to be very regular with it. It is essential that one must draft a plan not just for the sake of it but also to make sure that the plan can be well executed.
I analyzed my weak areas and focused more on them. At the same time, I made it clear that my well-gripped portions shouldn’t get side-lined. I was always very confident with quantitative. The verbal section needed more attention. So, I gave more time to reading different articles and went through CAT’s previous years’ questions to improve this section. I understood that the logical section needed practice and there are no simple formulas or shortcut methods to solve those. So, I used to go through different kinds of LRDI problems and tried to understand the approach to different types of questions. During the mocks, I used to solve the paper in two-three rounds, where in the first I used to solve the easy or less-time taking problems and in the second and third rounds, I used to try the medium or more-time consuming problems. Mostly, I used to leave the questions which I found would be hard to solve. And as per my understanding, CAT is an exam where one should understand which all questions to leave and which all not to, to use the three hours effectively.
Appearing for test series and then analyzing them thoroughly became part of my weekend and sometimes even week-days routine. Yes, indeed it was very challenging to manage everything along with the work pressure at the office. I utilized the time as much as possible.
During the last few days, I focused more on revision so that I could reproduce the formulae and the logic well on the exam. Finally, the D-day had arrived and I was quite satisfied with my performance. This time I secured a pretty good percentile of 97%, I was ecstatic and contended, but it was not over yet.
Now I had to gear up for the interviews. I used to go through the newspaper, the editorials, improved my writing skills, and polished my knowledge about various issues of national as well as international interests. Finally, I cracked the interview with one of the best colleges in India, IIM Nagpur. All my hard work, my patience, and my sheer determination to hold on- all had paid off. I gave myself a pat on my back that day.
There were times when I was all weary, all drained out, times when I was demotivated every time I saw my friends hanging out and partying. Times when there were questions haunting me, “What if I can’t?” These are very usual, and it's bound to happen. And that is when your inner strength asks you to wait, hold on and have patience, that it will surely bear fruits. Listen to it, because one day you can achieve it. And then you can proudly shout out and say that this is worth all those sacrifices and compromises you made. This was my journey to IIM, and it's now that I have started believing that life always makes sense somewhere.
About the Author:
Sagar Chowdhury is a PGP-1 student at the Indian Institute of Management, Nagpur. Prior to joining IIM Nagpur, he worked as a web application developer with Tata Consultancy Services. An Electrical Engineering graduate from Techno India, Salt Lake, he likes to solve sudoku puzzles and play table tennis.