How Priyank Chheda topped Maharashtra CET on his way to JBIMS Mumbai

Priyank Chheda, a student of JBIMS Mumbai opens up to us on how he topped MAH-CET last year.


How did you manage your time while studying for MHT-CET given that you had a full time job?

I was working with Tata Motors at their Delhi DTC service operations when I appeared for my CET exam. It was a very demanding and exhaustive profile since we used to work in rotating shifts with only one Tata Motors employee present in the depot at a time. Finding time while working is a challenging task and there is no set process of how you can manage both; however, with the amount of technology and resources at our disposal today it has become much easier. I used to sneak out a couple of hours during work to practise calculations, formulas and watch videos of new problems that I hadn’t covered before. When I was back in the guest house I used to practise sums based on the videos that I had seen, solve mock papers, and analyse them. Some minor modifications in the work schedule and disciplined efforts can make a lot of time for the preparation.


Did your engineering background help you during the test prep? Did it help in subsequent WAT-GD-PI rounds?

Apart from the free time and the peer group that my engineering provided me with I do not see any other significant advantage I may have got from being an engineer. A lot of people say engineers have an edge over others in quants and logic but I don’t find much merit in it. I would have much rather been a CA or psychologist, cracked CAT/CET and reaped the benefits of educational diversity while doing my MBA.

For the subsequent rounds of WAT-GD-PI I do not think any background makes a vast difference but it is your personal knack for reading, writing and awareness of the current affairs that will enable you to ace these rounds.


What was your strong/weak section and what was your overall test taking strategy? What was your strategy for individual sections (Quant and Verbal)?

One needs to take small steps every day and gradually it does build up to something huge. Quants and verbal are subjects which cannot be built in a month or two. Keep daily and weekly targets and ensure that you meet them at any cost. Planned and consistent efforts are extremely essential.

Quants has been a relatively stronger area for me. I did a large number of sums which were easier, in order to improve my speed and mental calculating ability both of which are the critical factors in CET. Verbal was and still is one of my weak areas. I did a lot of vocabulary and RC passages but I still remain in the pursuit of improving my verbal abilities. Special emphasis should be given to covering all types of questions in logical reasoning so that you do not waste time trying to find the way of solving it during the test.

I gave no preference to any section or types of questions while giving the test. I just solved the questions in order of appearance. In CET time is of the essence so I did not want to waste time finding my favourite type of question, doing it first and then flipping to the second favoured etc. For some people this kind of strategy does work but you need to be prudent and practise it amply in the mock tests after which you can decide on adopting it for the final test.


What was your test prep strategy over the few months leading to the CET? (last 6 months, last 3 months, last month)? What did you do right on D-Day?

I have a simple logic here; CET or CAT are competitive exams so you need to score a mark higher than your peer to bag that seat. Now if others are putting in 6-8 hours you do need to put an hour or two extra unless you are a genius and can match 8 hours of others’ prep with 2 hours of yours.

Plan daily and weekly for the number of sums and tests etc. and stick to it. If you wish to procrastinate then I ensure you that it will be on a year’s time frame.

For D-Day I prefer to study or revise until the invigilator snatches away the material from me. But this doesn’t suit a lot of people so practise what is best for you. At the same time keep calm and don’t overthink about the past preparation efforts going down the drain or future career plans evaporating in thin air in case you are stuck on some question. Just take a pause, a few deep breaths and move on.


How has the one year of work-experience benefited you? Was it a conscious decision to take up a job after engineering?

My experience at Tata Motors has taught me about organisational structure, hierarchies, inter-personal equations in a professional environment and the cohesion between different departments involved in the running of a big organisation. I think this will prove useful to me in understanding different concepts and preparing myself better for my career in the corporate world since I have some idea as to what is expected of me in the business world.

A year or two of work experience always comes in handy with respect to relating the concepts being taught to past experiences leading to better comprehension; but that said if you are getting a great opportunity this year without any work experience it would be advisable to take up MBA right now instead of taking the risk of subsequent attempts.


What are your plans after MBA?

I am planning to go with the flow. I am exploring a lot of new things currently, learning and evaluating as to where would I fit the best.


What did you like most about the first year of MBA?

Doing MBA is a great opportunity to meet new people, interact with them as juniors, team-mates, colleagues, friends and learn from them. Having been a part of different committees, clubs and processes; I have learnt a lot of diverse stuff, making me a better team player. The continually hectic and engaging schedule does give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction whenever you get your few moments of alone time. The best part of my first year is getting the opportunity to share jokes, food, clothes, shaving creams with and witnessing the makings of the future CXOs of the World. Cheers!!


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