Two Failed Attempts – My Story Of Entering IIM Lucknow
So it’s done. The CAT is finally out of the bag. If you are one of those who has the calls you aimed for, stop right away. This post is not for you. To the contrary, if you are dejected and disappointed, continue reading. Not clearing CAT in this attempt may not be such a bad thing after all. Each year thousands of aspirants experience what you are feeling right now, and just like them, you broadly have two options: To let go of your CAT/IIM dream or to make up your mind and slog for one more year.
A few years ago, I was in the same situation, and results of CAT’ 13 had been announced. I fared miserably. It was so bad that I wouldn’t even write my scores here. Not like I had expected 99+ but what I got was way below my expectations. Yet I wasn’t really disappointed as I knew I had not given my best shot. I took a resolution that day: Come what may, I will bell the CAT.
What followed was a year of hard work and toil. Numerous classes, tons of tests and countless hours were spent analyzing mocks. The year went by and soon arrived CAT’14. I was way more anxious this time. Reached the exam hall well before time and prayed to God numerous times. I came out of the hall reasonably sure of my chances of cracking CAT this time. The next one month went peacefully doing little productive work. And finally, the D-Day arrived. I would have easily checked the website over 500 times. Each time anyone posted a message on one of those Facebook groups, my heart would skip a beat. I would stare at the system for hours only to get even more agitated. And finally, it arrived in the form of a phone call from one of my friends who had prepared alongside me. I jumped out of my bed and logged on to the website. As I saw my result, I had mixed feelings. My hard work had paid off. My result was a significant improvement over my last year’s performance. But in my heart, I knew that it wouldn’t be enough to fetch me a seat in the older IIMs. Calls were released a few days later. As expected I got calls from new IIMs only. I went ahead and appeared for the interviews. I was able to crack IIM Ranchi. I was satisfied with it but not happy. There was a voice inside my head that said maybe one more attempt, and I would get what I truly wanted. It was a tough call to make, to go for the birds in the bush or stick with the one in hand. I discussed it with my family and let go of the IIM Ranchi opportunity.
And so began another arduous year. In the meanwhile, I got a job offer from an IT major and joined it. Juggling preparation and work became too hectic. I would come back tired from office and spend a couple of hours solving QA questions. I would make up for all the lost time on weekends. This continued for good 5-6 months. And so came CAT’16. I was more at ease this time, feeling somewhat like a pro. Went in and attempted the paper like a boss. I was certain of getting calls from older IIMs this time. Until the time the results were declared, I worked on GD and PI. Read the newspaper daily to keep myself abreast of all the happenings in the world. The results were as expected. Got calls from IIM L, K, I and all new IIMs. The next five weeks were spent giving one interview after the other. And finally, one day as I sat at work staring at some piece of code, I got a message from a friend saying that Lucknow had declared their first list. I checked it and smiled. I was finally happy. It took me more than two years to crack IIM Lucknow. And as I sit in my hostel room writing this, I can only say that each minute I spent slogging for CAT has truly been worth it