There are no facts, only interpretations - The rules state that the candidates with the best cumulative scores in profile, written and interview rounds get the seat. That's it. Every other requirement - having good academics, a well rounded profile, 'decent' work experience etc. - are interpretations. It is a solo battle between you, the exam and the interview panel.Tier - III college graduates can get in. Drop year candidates can get in. Students with pathetic academics can get in. I know this because I got in. Make a list of the best colleges whose admission criteria hasn't ruled you out yet. For me, that list was IIMC, FMS and MDI. Find the percentile at which you cannot be rejected from these colleges. Finally, be prepared to do whatever it takes to get that percentile. It's as simple as that.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger - The IIMs take the liberty of penalizing you for your past mistakes before the game even begins. Everything from a poor social studies score in class 10th to being a male engineer will count against you if you're lucky to get an interview, so do not apologize for anything once you get in that room. If you didn't do well in engineering, or you were not interested in social work just to make your CV better, be man enough to tell them that.Tell them what you learnt from your journey, and how you wouldn't have succeeded now if you hadn't failed earlier. If you are already a GEM, you need everything you can get to stand out. Honesty, confidence and an unwavering belief in yourself help you do just that.
He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how - The gazelle runs only when a lion is chasing. It works only when it is forced to. It runs to not finish last. The lion runs to feed its pack. The lion's 'why' isn't dependent on the external. Lions don't 'kind of' want it. And that is the biggest edge you can have in the CAT game.The Civil Services Exam is notoriously hard to crack, taking all your time, energy and happiness for several years at the very least. Anyone who is only 99.9% committed is already finished. Luckily, this isn't true for the CAT. Considering it is an aptitude based test, it's unpredictable and the fact that a majority of people are already working, most people do not put in their 100%. They're just testing the waters.
Being wholly committed instantly gives you a huge edge over them. This is why you need to know precisely why and for whom you're fighting for. Your why needs to be big enough to overcome any how. Your why needs to be bigger than your fatigue after a ten hour workday. Your why needs to be big enough to practice 10,000 questions so your weakest section becomes your strongest. Your why needs to be so big that everything else stops existing for the next six months. That is what it takes.
A good placement isn't a strong enough why to do all this work. But freedom is. Success is. Making your father proud certainly is. Find your why and make it happen.
Friedrich Nietzsche was a 19th century German philosopher. YouTube videos on Ubermensch/Superman and Master-slave morality are a good place to start.
Eric Thomas is a motivational speaker on YouTube. His videos focus on perfecting your mindset. Definitely recommended.
About the Author:
Abhishek Tahlan is a second year student at XLRI Jamshedpur. He is also a part of the InsideIIM student team for 2016-17.