Meet Sandhini Nagvekar, hailing from Mumbai. She did her schooling from Hasanat High School and did her Junior college from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics. Moving ahead, she graduated from Anil Surendra Modi School of Commerce NMIMS University with a BBA in 2014. Currently, she is pursuing her MBA in Human Resource from SIBM Pune. She has a year’s work experience in Pharmaceutical Distribution at North West Pharma Hub. Dancing runs in her veins and she has a keen interest in learning foreign languages. She also considers herself a foodie with a love for desserts and sea food.
She shares with us her experience of how she prepared for SNAP and how she aced it.
Did your educational background help you during test prep? Did it help you in subsequent rounds (WAT-GD-PI)?
Yes, my educational background helped me significantly during the preparation for group discussion, case study discussions and Personal Interview. Having done a course in management studies and business administration I anticipated my interview at SIBM Pune would be more intense and the expectation level would be higher. Keeping that in mind, I worked really hard and revised each and every subject, as the subjects of a MBA course are similar to that I learned in my graduation. A few aspects where my education background helped me was understanding of few concepts related to stock market, financial management and accounting which I was able to answer during my interview, common jargons used in the industry and it also helped me build on better understanding of the business world.
What was your strong/weak section and what was your overall test taking strategy?
Logic being my forte, I started the paper with it followed by Verbal, Quant and GK being the last.
Cracking SNAP has been one of my strongest aspirations and hence I planned strategically towards this goal. I always start with my strength, as it gives my morale a boost while attempting the paper. Although GK section hardly takes time, but not knowing an answer affects me adversely and tends to have a domino effect on my overall performance.
Playing to my strengths was the strategy I adopted and the mock SNAP tests that I took helped me keep a track of time which is a vital for cracking SNAP and eventually that strategy did wonders for me.
What was your strategy for individual sections (Quant/Verbal/Data Interpretation/General Awareness/Reading Comprehension)?
For an exam as competitive as SNAP, I wanted to discover the best strategy for the individual sections. For Quant my main strategy was to maximise speed and minimize errors; this involved constant practice. Since Logic and Verbal was my strong suit I planned to attempt them first and capitalise on it. I attempted the Data Interpretation and General Awareness later and since I had worked hard over the last few months in keeping myself updated on the current events, I fared well in the General Awareness Section which was a game changer for me.
Since it’s a paper-pencil test, does it affect the test-taking in any way? Any specific strategy for the same?
Granted that in a paper and pencil test, it tends to get more time consuming as you need to darken the circles instead of just clicking on the right option, but to me it was a far better option as I am more of a pen-and-paper person. Symbiosis has continued administering its test offline, since the test efficiently gauges the actual acumen of the student. Personally I can read and solve better when the questions are in front of me on paper and not on the screen. I can calculate faster and make notes right next to the questions, which worked in my favour and helped me compensate and overcome the time factor. It’s more flexible towards various kind of test taking strategies that students might want to implement and SNAP gives them the liberty to do so, as candidates can hop-skip-jump sections according to their preference.
What do you think you did right during test prep? What was it that you did right on Test Day?
During the test preparation, in retrospect, the most important thing I did right according to me was that I did not over-exert myself. Often we get disheartened when we score low in a mock test or perhaps there are some chapters we don’t understand that well. Geometry was that section in Quant which I used to fret about and where I felt like Ishaan Awasthi from Taare Zameen Par. Giving up was not an option and since a spot at SIBM Pune was what I was striving for, slowly and steadily with more and more practice and taking mock tests, I became familiar with the kind of sums that were asked and prepared accordingly.
Hence, understanding the SNAP paper was something I invested my time in. For instance, the Logic Section carries a lot of weightage, so I strategized and built upon that section.
In ICSE schools before we could begin our papers we were given 15 minutes as reading time. This particular habit is probably in-built which I think served its purpose well for me. I gave myself 10 minutes to read the paper, analyse the sections and mark the questions which were of familiar concepts. Also, time is a very important aspect in entrance tests and one should keep a track of it.
What was your test prep strategy over the few months leading to SNAP? (Last 3 months, last month, last 15 days). Was it a test series inclined one or a chapter by chapter strategy?
My test preparation strategy involved starting with individual chapters and having a clear understanding. Moving ahead, I practiced and took several Mock SNAP Tests. Later and most importantly, speed maximisation and error minimization was the main aim. Accuracy was initially an issue I faced, but with practice and better understanding of the paper, I got habituated with a style of solving the mock papers.
I would like to mention here that Coffee with SIBM organised every year, is an amazing initiative that helps thousands of aspirants like me to relate to SIBM and hence is good kick start for test takers. It reaffirmed my belief that SIBM Pune was where I would like to see myself doing an MBA. Interacting with current students who gave us insights into life at SIBM Pune really captivated my interest and motivated me to work harder towards cracking SNAP.
What was your strategy for the D-Day and what do you think you executed the Best on the D- Day?
With such a huge amount of expectations and aspirations weighing on my shoulders, I needed to maintain my composure so that I could perform to the best of my abilities on D-Day. In the hours leading to SNAP, I focused all my energy towards staying calm and delivering my best on the day of examination. I was listening to music as it helps me calm down. I am not believer in last minute preparation and I think that the more relaxed I am, the better I perform.
How did you prepare for the group discussion? What was the topic and how did you tackle the GD round?
Preparation for Group Discussion was very exhaustive and is a continuous process. It involved keeping abreast of current news, being well-versed with what you have studied earlier and practicing mock GDs. Participating in various group discussions helped me a lot to build content and curate a different perspective of the topic.
For an institute like SIBM Pune I expected to face intense competition and hence I knew I had to prepare and channel all my energy in the right direction.
In my group discussion, we were given a caselet, and each one of us was given a role. I had the role of a Marketing Manager and had to give inputs based on a marketing perspective for the launch of the new product mentioned in the caselet.
There were times when I felt intimidated but it’s all about what you say and with how much confidence you say it. Content and Confidence are a must-have for acing the round.
What resources you used to refer while preparing for the essay writing? (Please mention the topic)
For practicing essay writing, I picked up random topics from the Internet. It could be as obscure as colours (Black vs. White), success vs. values, small is beautiful etc. Essay writing doesn’t have to be writing in a flowery manner. The writing ability test (WAT) in SIBM Pune constructively pivots on how clearly one puts down his/her idea on a piece of paper. Clarity of thought along with ability to express is appreciated and what WAT is all about.
How was the interview experience? What was your preparation strategy and how did the interview turn out to be?
The interview experience was amazing and enriching. Sometimes I get chills, thinking about how it all happened. The interview was slightly intense initially but I got comfortable as it proceeded. A plethora of questions were aimed at me, ranging from current happenings (stock market crash) to educational background to personality and opinions.
The interview was then followed by an extempore. The performance in extempore has quite some weightage. In a short period of time of perhaps a minute, one had to prepare for the topic and speak on it. This was challenging and at the same time exciting. In my opinion, this showcases the spontaneity of the individual which is honed and developed by reading. SIBM Pune doesn’t only look at scholastically oriented candidates, it also values well-rounded individuals with confidence and the ability to think on their feet.