All I wanted to say about the CAT...

[Note: Long post]
[Note: Serious post]
[Recommended reading for CAT takers]

I was thinking about the events and happenings that lead to me getting an admit from MDI, Gurgaon. Was it tough? How much of hard work did I have to put in?
There are gonna be thousands of guys who will take the CAT(rated as among the most difficult exams on the planet) this year too. A few will score a super percentile. But a super-percentile, as I learnt later, doesnt guarantee you a seat in a college.

I will give a blow-by-blow account of how things worked and didnt work for me. In the process, I hope to inspire some of you (I know, tall order) and console the others.

So this is how it started-
I was disillusioned by the way engineering studies are counducted in our country. I had a quater-life crisis back then. I had secured a job with Siemens but I didnt know if I wanted to work. To be honest, I wanted to stay at home, watch movies, play cricket, do every damn thing that I wasnt able to do coz of my 4 years of engineering. Now engineering in Mumbai is a lot different from other parts of the country. Its real bad if u have to waste 4 hours of your day in travelling only to reach college to find the class being cancelled. It becomes even worse when you have been a straight A's student all your life and have to work your ass off to maintain high grades in engineering.

I played with the thought of joining siemens, then decided on not to only to change it on the night before the induction day. I am glad that I took that decesion. Its among the best decesions that I took.
After working for 9 months, getting up early everyday, spending a lot of time doing electrical shit(I am a mechie), I got bored and quit the job. Again, among the best decesions of my life.

I left the job around May. The next months till January, when the CAT results came, were among the best days of my life. I did almost everything I wanted- played cricket like crazy, slept like crazy, saw every sitcom I could get my hands on, in short, enjoyed life! One of my really close friends felt that it was among the most eventful year of my life. I agree mate!

May-June-July were mostly fun. One fine day it struck me - what do I do next? Maybe a part-time job - the kind that doesnt reqire me to get up early. How about a course in Film direction? I have always wanted to do that... If not now, then when? I am 22, when will I get the time in the future? If I have to, it has to be now, and it has to be from the best institute in the country.

I applied for FTII's direction course (Gods like Ashutosh Gowariker, Sanjay Leela Bhansali are the products of this college). At the same time I got a call for part-time teaching at Career Forum teaching CAT. While I was teaching, I gave the exam for FTII and got selected in the top 40. After the interview, I made it to the top 10 in the country, but that wasnt good enough. They took in the top 6 and that was the end of that.

Around August, I became serious about CAT. FTII was behind me, I didnt have a full-time job, I didnt have a plan B. That is when I pulled up my socks and started giving mock tests of every god damn coaching classes.

I gave the JMET, CAT, SNAP, MICAT(for MICA)... The colleges I had filled up were-
1. MDI, Gurgaon
2. IMT, Ghaziabad
3. SIBM, Pune
4. SCMHRD, Pune
5. MICA, Ahmedabad
6. SIIB, Pune
7. Welingkar, Mumbai

In that order of importance...

The first results that came in were in Jan were JMET. I logged on - You have not Qualified for the next round. Bad start. One out. But I wasnt too sad. Jmet is for the IITS and though I like IITs, I wouldnt wanna spend two years of my life there.

The next results were the biggie - CAT. I was extremely cool about the results. I remember, I checked it around 4 in the afternoon. My friends were making franctic calls to each other, trying to find out each others scores. I was as cool as can be. I wasnt expecting much. And I also figured out that me getting excited isnt going to change the results. I logged on - 98.37%ile with a expected poor performance in DI.

Then came the SNAP results. I had a God-score of 101 in SNAP. I had virtually converted all Symbiosis institutes or so I thought.

As expected, I got calls from all institutes I had applied to.

I was sure to convert SIIB and SIBM, but was sckeptical about SCMHRD because of their vague selection criteria.

First, the SIIB results came out. "You have been waitlisted - WL123"
There hasnt been a time when I have felt worse. A college like SIIB doesnt pick me up? I aint good enough for SIIB? Its 6th on my list yaar! If I cant get into this how can I get into the top ones?

Next result - SCMHRD - "We are sorry to inform you that you havent been selected for the program at SCMHRD". Okay. This one I can understand. HRD looks for work experience or whatever no one know. They rather flip a coin :P

Next- SIBM- now this one I was surely gonna convert. Its by far the best GD and Interview I have had ever! I was so damn confident about this one. I had already started dreaming of this place and how I will buy a bike and travel from Pune to Mumbai on weekends. I logged on - "We are sorry to inform...." I didnt read the next line. They didnt take me in- is all I could tell myself. They rejected me. The feeling of selfworthlessness cant be described in words.

3 of the 7 colleges I had applied to had rejected me. I had a God-score! What happened? How bad am I? What mistake do I make? Havent I prepared well? I am sure I have! I have given 8 hours per day reading shit like who is India's X minister and who heads Y committe.

MICAT- is the additional exam that you give for MICA. MICAT is supposed to check how creative you are. Now this is my turf. I gave the exam. Waited patiently for the results.
The results came in - "You are not selected for..." I kept looking at the screen.
4 out of the 7 colleges had rejected me. Dude? I got selected in God-damn FTII!! Thats the most creative exam on the whole continent! I get selected in FTII but ant creative enough for Mica?!

Now the only colleges left were MDI, IMT and Welingkar. The chances were bleak for mdi and imt since they are among the top instis in the country. If I cant make to normal colleges, how can I make it to the top ones? I will take a Welingkar. I am sure I will get it. But I have a 98.37 for pete's sake! Welingkar at that kinda score?

I used to find guys who cant even write basic English writing posts on Pagalguy saying - I have get admission to XYZ college. Aaj raat parti hogi. Chers!
I made sure that I swore atleast once at the college in question.

Then came the IMT results. I had a so-so GD and an average Interview. I wasnt expecting a convert, but atleast I got into the waitlist. "Game on," I said to myself. Maybe, just maybe, I might get in.

The most important results came in next. MDI- Waitlisted. Expected. Had an horrible interview. Now, when I think about it, I realise that I was depressed by the kinda results I had got. Here I was running out of colleges I can apply to and still havent got a convert.

Slowly and steadily my friends were getting converts. Everyone had orkut taglines changed to -Joining XXX.. 22 days to go.. some stuff like that.. Colleges are starting in 22 days? I still dont have an convert.

I started applying for jobs. But recession had kicked in and no one was willing to give me any jobs. BPOs loved to stay away from you if you were an engineer, which I was.

I was caught up. Tense. But like my friends tell me now, that I masked it pretty well. Infact even if you go back and read my posts dated around that time, they were still funny.

So here I was, 20 days remaining for colleges to start, with no job, no college. I felt like I had taken the worst decesion by leaving Siemens. Life can only be understood in hindsight.

I kept checking the waitlist movement at IMT. Somehow I had a feeling that I might just make it in this B school.

I remember that afternoon- I logged in on to the IMT site. I put in my id and password. The screen went blank for a moment. Then a new page appeared on screen -
"Congratulations...You have been selected for..."

I read the fifteen letter word again and again. Congratulations. When was the last time I read that? I didnt do what they do in the movies. No pumping my fists in the air. No shouting, No yelling. I just sat on the chair... letting it sink in... and then let myself sink in the chair... Then got up from the chair. Made a tight fist, and ever so slowly said - Yes.

The time I had spent studying, giving mock-cats, learning about minister X and committe Y, all of a sudden, I felt, had paid dividends. A feeling of gratitude took me over. I dont remember how many times must I had thanked the computer that day.

In the last week, I got a call from MDI too. And I took that up. But I still love IMT. In the way you love your girlfriend you had when you were 15.

Now when I look back, I feel everything fell in place. But I still wonder, the Intellectual capital that comes to MDI and IMT is way better than the colleges that rejected me. I dont get it, if the country's elite b-schools can accept me, then what are the traits that these other bschools look at? And its obvious that they are doing something wrong, else they would be higher up the rankings.

Also, I dont think CAT is a good way to judge students. Now, for eg, had I made one mistake in the paper, I wouldnt be in IMT or MDI. At the same time, had I made one mistake less, I would have been in the IIMs. The point being - CAT is definitely not the only parameter that a college should look at. But it should be remembered that CAT is the most transparent way of selecting students. The lesser of the evils.

Note: The whole point of this post has been to let you know that as an aspirant, you might lose hope and heart sometime - DONT!
Dust off the Dust..
.. Just Kick Butt!

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20 letters to the editor:

    On August 14, 2009 at 2:10 AM     
    aroop said...

    Bloody not a single mention about my struggles..

    Disappointing to say the least..

    I agree with u on this mate....colleges have the weirdest of criterion's...I was in a similar situation last yr...but I was cursing the IIM's then...but one yr later, and I'm so glad that I came 2 IMT!

    It doesn't matter what others think bout u...if u have it in u and u believe in urself, then that's all that matters..

    P.S: got a little nostalgic reading ur post and hence this comment :)

    On August 14, 2009 at 4:45 AM     
    ameya said...

    Awesome blog man ...........

    On August 14, 2009 at 9:34 AM     
    Anonymous said...

    good one dude...all the best for future!!!

    Decision, not decesion

    life is so strange sometimes!
    one time sadness and next moment we will be happy!

    anyways, u came across so many things! al the best in future

    On August 14, 2009 at 11:54 AM     
    gkam said...

    Dust off the Dust..
    .. Just Kick Butt!

    Nice and inspiring!

    98.37%ile is bloody good! :)

    nevertheless afterall of the disappointments, you got into the best of the B- schools. Maybe it was meant that way. :)

    Didn't u try for IIFT and FMS?

    On August 14, 2009 at 12:01 PM     
    Nupur said...

    sooooo relatable!!!!

    On August 14, 2009 at 1:22 PM     
    Ashish said...

    quite interesting journey...

    On August 14, 2009 at 3:08 PM     
    Abhishek said...

    hey man..i'm a follower of ur blog..didn't realize it was your story on PG(till i saw the link) happy u finished the story on a positive note :D ..heck of a journey haan..mine too 4th and last attempt for CAT(am the_hate on PG) of luck at MDI...

    On August 14, 2009 at 11:17 PM     
    Harish said...

    Hmm...Been there, felt that..actually still feeling that

    Well i wont say that I can relate my life with yours but This post has made me think about lots of stuff in my life.. which is somewhat similar .. but in another way.. and i know i am confusing! Anyway, Cheers! Take care!

    On August 16, 2009 at 10:39 PM     
    Urvashi said...

    Nice post..The pagalguy wals line ws gr8 :D

    I think i m here at the rite time wen i myself m in a confusion if i shud appear for CAT or not now...

    Congrats for geting in into MDI :)

    hv a gr8 time..

    nice blog..

    On August 17, 2009 at 12:32 AM     
    ankita said...

    interesting and inspiring!

    On August 17, 2009 at 1:34 AM     
    s4n705h said...

    let me try my luck this year too. but prep done. will give the exams and hope that i may get some good coll. will lokk for wellingkar.

    searched in for "CAT success" into google blog search and am glad i landed up here..liked your blog and now have subscribed to it...KEEP WRITING...Cheers..

    On February 17, 2010 at 1:35 PM     
    Vishal said...

    hi !!
    I am also in same boat as urs. I want to quit from my job as this is not the place i want to see myself for long.
    Wanted to ask something from you..
    Did u have full time experience after leaving seimens ?
    Does interview panel take this as negative factor that u left the job and prep for cat ?
    Looking forward for your reply.

    On May 25, 2011 at 2:34 PM     
    Manasa said...

    The exact same thing is happening to me. Got rejected by everyone except IMT and MDI. Twenty days for classes to start and I finally made it out of the waitlist into the admission rolls of IMT. I'm still waitlisted at MDI (at #4) and I think I have a pretty good chance of making it to MDI.

    Love the way you write. Not everybody is blessed with a sense of humour as awesome as yours :)

    On May 25, 2011 at 2:37 PM     
    Manasa said...

    Ironic that I mention sense of humour on a "serious" post, but I was referring to the rest of the blog. Great work!

    On April 16, 2013 at 6:36 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    I am exactly in that no man's land & fast losing hope.
    I am waitlisted at MICA and IMT and have a call from icfai but at 14lakh and a humongous batch size i picked Gurgaon campus over hyderabad.

    I have a nasty feeling at the pit of my stomach ....I don't know what will be.
    But after your post I have my fingers crossed and hopes are up a bit.Thank you for that:)