No Converts This Year…What’s Next?
It’s the back end of May and the final shortlists of most B-schools are out. While some rejoice on receiving that dream admit, many aspirants face the setback of missing out. For the ones who missed out it is time to shake off the initial disappointment and introspect and look forward. Turning back the clock to May 2014 and I too was one of the introspecting aspirants.
IF, WHY and WHAT. These were the three simple questions I had to ask myself.
1) If I was motivated enough to give it another go.
2) Why did I fail?
3) What do I do to succeed?
The answer to the first question was a firm yes. I was motivated to get management education from a top institute.
Now to the elephant in the room. Why did I fail? . In crude terms I had poorly executed an equally poor plan. Working in a shop-floor for 60-65 hours a week in a draining environment didn’t leave too much time for a serious preparation. I had not aimed for the right B-schools and attempted all entrance tests with the same strategy. Looking back I realized why it had to go wrong. With the flaws out in the open addressing the third question was a simple task.
It would be naive to assume that one could succeed the next year by doing the exact same things all over again. It was time for structured groundwork and flawless execution. I started by listing down the B-schools that offered the course that interested me. The next task was to shortlist the ones I was willing to join if selected. Once that was done I knew the exams that I had to take and the score required to have a real chance of converting the calls. I now had a clear target.
I knew my level of preparation and the number of hours I had to put in this time around. My current job did not allow that so I tried to shift to an office job in the same company. When that didn’t materialize I changed my job to another company (one fifth the size of the one where I was employed). It came with a small pay-cut but I got a core profile and sane working hours. My parents and well wishers called it an unnecessary risk but the real risk was in being stagnant and failing again. Preparation time was no longer an issue.
According to my B-school shortlist I had to take three entrance exams: CAT, XAT and Maharashtra MBA CET. All of them were challenging in their own way. While the foundation for all three remained the same the exam taking strategy was different for each. I developed my own on the back of the numerous mock tests that I appeared for. The efforts paid off with 99.62 percentile in XAT being the highlight. This was a major improvement from some 90 odd percentile just about a year back.
Interview calls started flowing in from top institutes but the job was only half done. A similarly thorough approach to the in-person assessment process helped me clear most interviews. It is May 2015 and I have made it to XLRI, NITIE, the new IIMS and more. Twelve months are enough to turn things around.
So don’t let May be the end of a fruitless journey…make it the start of a triumphant one.