Unlike many students in college, I was clear that I wanted to pursue writing and content and creative strategist as my career. But even then, how to achieve that particular dream was kind of ambiguous since getting a job as a copywriter is not as easy as it seems. But I had completed a few internships in journalism and advertising, a more than a few freelance projects and writing stints, owing to it I had a bit of an experience. I started working in an advertising firm as a copywriter and a digital strategist and after a couple of months, I realized that creative skills can only make you a good content creator but it can get repetitive and just one skill cannot take you very far. Management is a different ball game and I lacked in this discipline. Also, the idea of having my start-up does kick up my adrenaline and I had always wanted to solve real-world problems. This got me thinking and I decided that I will get an MBA. As it will help me get a clearer picture of brands and their philosophies and help me acquire business skills as well.
Initially, I did not quit my job and started looking for it, I took a few counselling sessions took a free online mock and fared badly. I hardly knew anything about CAT, ranging from the duration of the exam to the actual pattern of the exam. I never intended to pursue my post-graduation immediately as I was working In that free mock I score a 32%ile faring worst in Quant and Data Interpretation and relatively better in VARC (80%ile) and LR. I immediately knew that I needed professional coaching and enrolled with IMS. After attending lectures for a couple of weeks pandemic happened and the lectures were halted. Soon after that online lectures started. I was practising Quant and DILR vigorously. I started with understanding the concepts and the proofs behind them. I was rather learning to learn. During my school days, I was not bad at maths and remembered a lot of geometry concepts so I was struggling less with it but Modern Math and Algebra sucked the marrow out of my life. The mock season had started. I initially decided that I was not taking mocks until I had covered my syllabus because if I did not score high it would only lower my confidence. But a faculty member convinced me otherwise. He helped me understand that the initial mocks are not designed to check how well I score but to get accustomed to the exam and the environment. I was pretty confident in my skills in Verbal and naturally was backing myself to do well. But as soon as I saw the first RC section of the first mock I knew that it was different from the free mock I took online. The difficulty was very tough and kept jumping from one Rc to another. This affected the DILR and Quant sections which were of moderate difficulty. After talking to a mentor I understood the nuances of CAT, testing a candidate in various aspects. In May, I quit my job to focus on CAT completely but was working on a few freelance projects. After this, the mocks analysing and covering the syllabus were pretty much my schedule. I watched a few series, and animes in the break to take my mind off the prep. For RC, I started solving various passages from the material I received from my coaching classes and a website known as GMATclub as it had some pretty tough RCs. For DILR I did learn various concepts, and techniques but majorly solved the sets from the previous CATs, mocks, and class resources and for Quant, everything majorly revolved around understanding the concepts and which problem to solve, I was able to score 90%ile in two consecutive mocks but owing to the pandemic the exams was curtailed to a two-hour test. This led to a change in strategies but the process remained the same.
Eventually, I gave it a try after preparing well for that two months but was only able to score 80 percentile in the CAT 2020, as I got anxious about the test. I applied to a few colleges and cleared the interview round. After getting the offer, I decided that I could perform better and did not want to pursue my MBA that year itself. To get a tier 1 college for a non-engineer male profile, you need a higher percentile- at least 95+
This perseverance made me start my CAT preparation even though I knew that I wanted to aim for higher percentiles, and with a GEM profile, it would be hard to get into a tier 1 B-school. I tried to fight, and the sense of determination inside me to do something on my own to portray myself that I am a good fit for such a reputed institution kept me going—the preparation journey comprised various ups & downs. At the end of CAT 2021, I scored 89.98, which was also an average performance in my preparation level because I was continuously scoring around 95%ile throughout my mocks.
I have always feared about my profile since I did not have great scores on my 10th board. But eventually, I made up for it with my work experience. All the extra-curricular activities and the events that I have been participating in over the years, the decent marks that I have scored over the time in graduation and 12th, were constructive for me to get calls from IIM cap round, IMT cap round, Great Lakes.