99.82%iler’s Journey To IIM Calcutta – Viraat Gupta

It is very common to be anxious about the future or to be disappointed because of the past, but life is all about living in the present. So is the journey to the b-schools!

Let me Introduce myself first before elaborating on the above statement. My name is Viraat Gupta, I appeared for CAT 2016 and scored 99.82 %ile. I got calls only from IIM C, K, S and have converted all of these. Will be joining IIM C.

My Profile:

Xth 85%
XIIth 86%
B.Arch (IIT Roorkee, 2015 passout) – 7.29/10

It was August 2016. I was at my work desk sitting in front of 8 screens, trading in an occasionally dull US commodity market (I was working with a reputed proprietary trading firm as the front end intra-day trader). Last few months were a bit uneasy for me, as in the field of high-frequency trading the technical skills you develop are unique to the job profile. I was anxious about my future with a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, as I have been most of the times in the crucial phases of my life. I was surfing the internet and saw a notification about CAT registrations. On the very same day, I registered for CAT 2016 and used it as my psychological comfort cushion. My focus shifted from trading to reading about CAT and the new pattern (I had a semi-prepared attempt at CAT 2014, and scored 97.xx).  Little did I know, this slight shift in focus lead to a spree of losing days at work, as we were involved with real money the judgement was on a daily basis. Cut to 26th August, 2016. I was sitting in my manager’s office for a one on one meeting and was told that it’s not working out for me and I should resign immediately.

My anxiousness landed me in a place where I had no Job and no such skills (either core or non-core coding skills like excel, sql etc.) that I could have relied upon to search for another job after CAT. It was a huge dilemma. CAT was just 3 months away from then, I could not have banked upon it as I was yet to start with my preparations. With Future not looking as secured as it should have been, my anxiety grew and my self-confidence dipped a big time.

“Thinking too much about the future and getting anxious will never ever help, it will only make us waste time and brain power on something very unnecessary”

I analysed my situation and decided to get a job first. That was my sole purpose and fortunately, I landed up at a managerial post in a startup within next two weeks. I started working on 12th September, 2016 and by the time September ended, I realised why it is important for me to do an MBA (Not because I was fed up with my work, but while working in a business environment and talking to the senior leadership it was evident for me that to grow in the field of business administration, you need to have the education for it).
It was already October and I could not afford to lose focus on the work again, I started living in the present consciously for the first time in my life. Every time at work, thoughts about my CAT preparation used to pop up in my mind or while attempting a mock, things from work start floating in my head, I used to consciously stop those thoughts to grow. (I read it somewhere that our mind has the capacity to hold only one thought at any given point in time, So as soon as I would get distracted I used to close my eyes and count till 10 with a deep breath on every count).

I practised this for the next two months and as a result, I got 99.82 in CAT and my work didn’t suffer either, in fact, I was doing really good at work as well.

“Sometimes, we complain a lot about the lack of time and hard circumstances but I have rarely heard any of the world leaders or successful entrepreneurs do the same. Co-incidence or Correlation?” 

After my result, I thought everything is done and the top b-schools are waiting for me with the open arms. I was wrong. My profile was an obstacle. Out of the famous BLACKI, I only got calls for the interview from C and K. This was the time for me to learn to accept my past the way it is. I was disappointed. For a few weeks. I was just looking at the calls to conversions of many institutes, checking their marking criteria’s, reading up stories about how somebody with 99.9x in the previous years failed to convert IIM ABC, regretting about not studying enough during my graduation etc. My confidence dipped again and this time because of my past. But I was knowledgeable and capable enough to set that aside and carry on with my preparation.

“The most productive thing we can do with our past is to learn from our mistakes. Do that and move on!”

It was 5th March, 2017. I was at the interview venue of IIM C (My best call of the season). I was third in line for the interviews and was trying to distract my mind from any negative thoughts (With conscious efforts, It becomes easier to distract our mind from things we do not want to think about). Suddenly, I heard my name called upon, I went inside. There were male interviewers. Let’s call them P1, P2, P3.

Before I could even sit, I was thrown off guard.

P1: So, Viraat, do you know who is Pradeep Gupta? (After I came home, I searched for it and found out that out of the three interviewers, one was the Alumni of IIM C and his name was Pradeep Gupta)

Me: No Sir, I cannot recall any famous Mr. Pradeep Gupta (In my mind, It was 1-0, Professors)

P2: Viraat, just now, a candidate told 5 countries apart from France where french is spoken. Can you name them? ( My weakness was exposed, I hated history and geography in my school times)
Me: Sir, I can take an educated guess. A language reaches to a different geographical location only when there is a cultural mix. So, the colonies of the french empire should have french as one of their main languages. (I had no idea which countries were under the french empire. In fact, I don’t know colonies of any other kingdom apart from Britain, that too because of the common wealth Games)

After watching me think for about 30 seconds..

P2: Ohk, I guess you don’t know. Can you tell me a place in India where french is spoken?
Me: (I did my calculations based on the above logic and by using elimination approach was left with Pondicherry) Sir, Pondicherry! (Which was correct)

And the random questions continued for another 10 mins. They knew my weakness and exposed it as much as they could
(I made sure that for the answers I didn’t know, I will think out loud so that they can see my thinking process)

I will not elaborate on my whole interview, but the above part was just to let you know that you can never be completely ready for the b-school interviews academically, but you can be ready with your character skills and strengths.

“When facing a stress interview or a completely alien question, we should not give up without giving it a try. Think about the question, treat it as a life problem and try to solve it. I feel the attempt and the dynamic thinking will impress interviewers more than the crammed up answers”

It was 10th of April, 2017, IIM Calcutta results around the corner. A link pops up on the social media stating that C results were out. I checked and it said Rejected. I was in my office and had to attend a very important meeting. But after this whole CAT journey, I knew how to not think about it. I finished up the meeting successfully, Came back and thought about checking the results again. I was shocked to see ” Congratulations! You are selected for the PGP 2017-2019…… “. I didn’t know what happened. I checked again and it showed selected. I sat on my chair for some time staring at the result screen, letting the feel to sink in. Stood up with a smile, and called my parents. (I later found out that IIM C’s result link was leaked on social media before it was active, and everybody was shown the rejected message by the time they officially declared that the results were out.)

“After everything was over, I rewind this whole phase of my life in my mind and I realised that unknowingly I have developed it in my nature to not think about the future and the past. It has helped me a lot and I am sure it will for the rest of my life ”  


CAT Advice to Aspirants

– Figure out your motivation for CAT.
– Make sure that when you are studying, you are not doing anything else.
– Take a lot of mocks and analyse yourself only to be better for the next time, not to judge yourself on the basis of the performance.
– Do Not Complain about anything, complaining never helped anybody.
– While attempting mock or even the CAT, never try and judge your performance in between. Focus on your strategy and try to execute it.




It is difficult to say. In many top b-schools, there is a constant decline in the weightage given to CAT for the interview calls. Try to achieve the maximum. 100 percentile in CAT will not hurt in anyway 🙂

Arshita Kakkar

Hello sir. Very motivational post. I would like to know the percentile required to get into IIM ABCKL for my profile
10th- 10 cgpa
12th- 91%
Btech grad- cgpa 7.3
No work experience.


You have good acads. But for now your concern should be to maximise your score in CAT. Do not anchor yourself to any number. Try for 100 🙂


You only got calls from iims…not other colleges like mdi,sp jain or any iit?


I did get calls from MDI and SPJ. Didn’t fill the separate form for any of the IIT’s


I scored 87.4 % in 10 standard and 82.2 in 12 standard.B.tech with 72%.How much I have to score in CAT for getting into IIMs.


It is not something you can get to know beforehand. The criteria for calls is changing every year. Do not think of any number for now. Join a mock test series and try to better your percentile with every test. If you want to set an expectation, try and score 99.9+


Sir my 10th profile – 92%
12th – 65%
B.E. Grad- 65%.
So instead of focusing on CAT for IIM MBA should I focus on other top MBA institutes as I wont get a call due to my low 12th and undergrad score ?


Hey, You can focus on CAT for FMS. It is a great b-school and doesn’t care for the past records at all. Try and score 99.9+ .
Also, donot rely on CAT alone. Do give other entrance exams as well. Best of luck 🙂

Aditya Shekhar

Sir, my profile is 86 percent in 10th,87 % in 12th and 8.8 cgpa in btech. Im in my btech course as of now. So should it be better to have workex and then attempt cat?? How much is the difference in CAT score for a working professional and a fresher.?


MBA is always more beneficial after a couple of years of work ex.
Also, work ex has extra scores in the final selection assessment. As far as CAT is concerned, I don’t think there is any correlation between the percentile score and the work ex.

Tanay Purnesh

Hi sir…got calls from baby IIMs, converted NMIMS Mumbai, IMT G,IMI D, IIT madras and VGSOM, profile based call from SP Jain but did not convert. Is NMIMS Mumbai is the best option for me? I am inclined towards marketing ( 27 months work ex, 10th-90,12th-92 and B.E-81)


I do not have a thorough knowledge about most of the colleges therefore not at a position to advise. But it is a known fact that the top students from all these b-schools have better opportunities and placements than the average students of many top notch b-schools.
So, Just make sure that wherever you go you give ur 100%


hey sir great motivational post….my academic scores are less 10th-7.4 CGPA,12th-71,B.COM-65,no work experience….is it possible that i can get into IIM udaipur or lucknow or indore even if i get 99.5 or 99.9 percentile plus?


If you get 100. You will get a call from IIM-A as well. So right now leave the profile part as you cannot change it and focus on getting a 100%ile

rai talwar

Hi sir this is aman. I’m a engineering 2nd yr student from jaypee noida. I got 82% in 10 ,90.8 in 12. right now my cgpa is 7.3, if i score somewhat between 95% to 99% will i be able to get calls from old iims and fms and what cgpa i need to have to be on safer side considering old iims provided my cat percentile is between 90% to 99%.


You are in the second year. You have a chance to keep your cgpa as high as possible, do that. As far as CAT percentile is concerned, Donot cap yourself with a number. Whenever you prepare for CAT, try and aim for a 100

Prasham Goel

Hey sir, I am a law student, will be giving CAT\’17. My academics are pretty avg, 12th -67%, college -3 /4 cgpa. But I have decent co-curricular, won numerous awards in debates, MUN\’s etc. I also organised event\’s in my college. What are my chances of getting into old IIM\’S and what percentile should I be looking for ?


Sir, my academics are X:84%, XII:85.4%, Graduation: Btech with a cgpa of 7.6. I am in the SC category? What should be a safe percentile score to get calls fro ABC? I am getting around 90-95 percentile scores in the mocks.

Divayanshu Deo

sir, My profile
10th- 8.2 cgpa
12- 71%
grad- 71% (b.sc) -16 pass out
no work ex ,what percentile should i targeted to get call and good probability to convert any IIMs