Unfortunately, this is not a heroic story. It is the story of the journey which almost every CAT aspirant goes through. I was among thousands of those students who pursued engineering after school life as it seemed as the best available option to my parents. Thereafter, NIT happened in the flow of events and I was somehow able to secure a super secure job in BPCL post my graduation. My parents were delighted that I got a public sector job and I cruised on in my life.
Conundrum begins –
After working for about one and a half years in the oil and gas sector, I, like almost everyone in India, realized that my present education might be an impediment in my future growth prospects. So, I embarked on the journey of CAT preparation. I left for office everyday at 7 AM and used to return at around 8 PM in the city of dreams - Mumbai. I had ample amount of reasons arising out of my hectic schedule and secure job to distract me from CAT preparation which I guess is the case with every working CAT aspirant. And so I joined a coaching institute to bring some discipline to my preparation as it was going to be my first shot at CAT.
Trough of preparation –
I hardly did self-study till August and consequently scored a single digit percentile in English mock test and equally poor percentiles in Quant and LR/DI also. And hence began the stage where I started questioning my ability. All sorts of questions hovered over my mind. ‘Can I crack CAT?’, ‘Do I have time for preparations?’, ‘Can I juggle between work and preparation?’, ‘Do I have what it takes to compete with the best?’ were some of the questions which haunted my mind for weeks after that mock test. I seriously pondered over quitting CAT preparation for almost a week as I thought it was just not possible for me to crack it.
An honest try –
After the low, I resolved to give my best shot and became serious in my preparations. I made it a point to study everyday for 2-4 hours till CAT (which comes out to be around two months of serious preparation). My performance in Mock tests started improving and I started gaining confidence. I did nothing different. I just tried to do all the normal things correctly.
The D-day –
I took a 5 day off before the CAT 2017 exam (yeah, that’s all I could manage from my boss) and gave my best shot on the D-day. The CAT results published in the second week of January and to my surprise, I managed to secure a 99+ percentile on my first CAT attempt. I was really emotional and relieved that day because I did not quit. That one week of self-doubt hovered in my mind profoundly and now in the hindsight, I think it perhaps made me stronger as a person.
The journey continues –
Thereafter, I was privileged to get an opportunity to pursue MBA at IIM Lucknow among some of the most diverse and brightest minds of the country. I gained immense amount of knowledge and skills just by interacting with students here and perhaps got some of the best friends too..:D
PS: I believe that getting into an IIM is just a step towards achieving your long term dream of pursuing the career you want. I know most of us have no idea of what we want in our life but this place gives you immense opportunities to explore and is definitely worth experiencing.