I dream of the IIMs

The IIMs had always been a dream for me. My first attempt at the CAT (the entrance exam for the IIMs) was in 2003. Had prepared a lot for it and had a good exam. But the moment I came out of the examination halls, I heard that my effort had been a wasted one, for the CAT papers had been leaked, and the CAT would be reconducted.

The CAT was reconducted in Feb 2004. But somehow, I just couldn’t motivate myself for the same level of preparation. I don’t know whether it was the frustration of the wasted effort, or just my usual complacent attitude, but I wasn’t motivated enough to take the retest. Even with the half-hearted approach, I managed to secure 98.82 percentile. I would have managed to get a few GD/PI calls from some of the IIMs, had it not been for a technicality called sectional cut-offs. My percentile in one of the sections was too low. A case of so-near-yet-so-far!

Having not made it to the IIMs in 2004, I joined on of the best Software firms in India. (Yeah! That’s the only option for engineering graduates, irrespective of your discipline of graduation).Simultaneously, I decided (once again) to appear for CAT in 2004. As luck would have it, CAT 2004 came too close to my IT training exam in my company. Caught between a rock and a hard place, I had to divide my attention (I had so little of it anyways) between studying for my IT training, and my CAT. The result? My performance went down in CAT 2004 by more than a percentile and a half. (One percentile corresponds to approx 1750 ranks in the CAT). So I had no hopes of making it.

But the bench period in my software company had frustrated me so much, that by March 2005, I had decided to have another crack at the CAT. So as to avoid jokes from my colleagues, I used to go around saying, “My CAT seems to be a Govt. five year plan. Will be attempted for five years, and yield no results!” Yeah! Laugh at yourself, and the world laughs with you, and not at you. But I was determined to crack the CAT this time.

Some where in June I realised, that staying away from home and looking after myself, in addition to my job, weren’t allowing me enough time to prepare for CAT. So I decided to go back home and join my family business. This allowed me free evenings for my classes, as well as my studies. (Mom’s cooking and care was an added bonus!). I contributed to the company as well, developing the website, and streamlining a few processes. It helped me learn a lot of things I was not exposed to in the IT behemoth I was working for. I was also allowed 2 weeks leave before the CAT. Had a decent CAT, though I felt that I should have performed better in Verbal section, which traditionally had been my strength.

On the second day of 2006, I was awoken by a friends call, asking me how many IIMs had called me for the next stage, i.e. GD/PI. I sat up. I didn’t know the results of CAT were out. I spent the entire day checking the IIM websites, to see which of them had called me. This time I had managed four IIM calls, from Calcutta, Indore, Lucknow and Kozhikode. (Ok, so I had missed the big two, but an IIM is an IIM, so the saying goes).

And so began a strenuous time of fine-tuning my soft-skills. There were newspapers to be read, academics to be revised, opinions to be formed, current affairs to be studied, hobbies to be pursued……… The list seemed endless. One by one, I went through my GD/PI encountering all sorts of questions and topics. (My IIM-Calcutta PI was very interesting, will post something on that soon)

Today, the results were out. The culmination of three years’ efforts had finally arrived. Dear readers, I have made it to IIM-C, which was the best institute I had a call from. And I am ecstatic! Wow!!


Ankur said…
Hey! That's great news!! I guess perseverence pays and it pays well!! You stuck on and got in finally. Congratulations and All the Best!

Waiting for your C experience. Btw, I am still in SPCE, final year (final month too I guess)electronics.
Arvind Sharma said…
hi mayank
great man!!!
chalo meet u at joka
Ships said…
Hi Mayank!!
U deserved to be thr... Congo again!!

And i guess, you'll not forget the lesser mortals like me.... Even if u try u can't... just remember 12.45 am of April 12th, 2006!!

Who showered you with this exciting news? hehe..
Maverick said…
congrats mayank,

joka is a good school. im sure ul be well served by studying there. also, ur work ex will def. help put a practival face to academic learnings. its also very picturesque im told :)

i guess not getting things easy makes you value the process and the end result more.

have been reading your blogs for sometime now and find them extremely thought provoking. keep up the gr8 work. hope u wont stop blogging after u start with ur mba.

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