HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014
‘Miles to go before I sleep’
Prashant Gutch, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 06, 2012
First Published: 18:35 IST(6/11/2012)
Last Updated: 18:38 IST(6/11/2012)

The woods are lovely dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep

These four lines are the closest to how I can sum up my experience post CAT. I took CAT in 2011 and was one of those lucky ones who scored well. I stood 9th in India but I knew it very well that a seat at one of the three prestigious IIMs was by no means a surety. I doubled my efforts and prepared in a very planned and structured manner. My habit of reading newspapers regularly helped a lot as I could prepare well for the group discussion topics. A week after the test, I also became clear about the shortlists and invitations from the b-schools which helped in preparing specifically for a certain call based on experiences.

I was aware of the importance of questions related to my personality as these help in building the conversation in an interview and also to some extent help define the interview experience. Hence, I put in considerable amount of time in preparing questions such as why MBA and what after MBA etc which are almost definitely present in all the forms. A common mistake that candidates make is not taking these forms seriously enough. The forms are very important as they help the candidate highlight his/her achievements and strengthen one’s candidature. A lot of institutes quiz candidates about their academics, so revising certain concepts is essential. Once this was done, the last 20 days were a whirlwind of GD and interview practice sessions which helped me learn the nuances of what to expect and how to react. It is very essential to take up mock GDs and interviews with fellow candidates in order to gauge the common mistakes people make on D-Day. A couple of days before the big day, I made sure I took enough rest just to be in the right frame of mind.

A proper schedule of reading and preparation followed by a substantial number of mock GD and interviews is, according to me, the right way to go for post-CAT preparation .

The author is a second-year PGP student at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. His CAT score put him in the 99.99th percentile

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