[CAT] How my MBA preparation journey started

(The post was written originally on Quora by me in 2017.)

I was in the fifth semester of my computer engineering, when I came across the competitive exams like GRE, CAT, GATE, GMAT and UPSC. I had to decide one among these and join coaching for the exam. As I was always excited about starting up my own business, I decided to go after CAT.

In Ahmedabad, there were two key coaching centers and I had been to the orientation of both the centers. Both the coaching institutes were showcasing different attributes. One focused on hard work, while the other focused on lesser work – more results. One focused on thorough conceptual learning, while the other focused on brushing up the basics and moving on. I knew myself, and I knew that if I want to crack the exam- I will need someone who keeps pushing me beyond the boundaries. I will need someone who keeps tracking my scores and keeps motivating me for a bit more. I was dedicated enough, but I knew that this journey won’t be worth if I chose the path of less work- more results.

I decided to join Endeavor. I asked my parents about this, and took my mom for the fees payment and form filling. That was the day when I realized what my dream actually was. After another session of briefing about exams and colleges for my mom and me, we moved ahead with form filling. I wrote all my details but was stuck on the last question. It asked: The purpose of joining CAT coaching.

I didn’t know where I wanted to end up after this. I had vague idea about good colleges, better colleges and best colleges (That’s what they had talked about in the orientation). There were three empty lines in which I had to write my answer. I was still thinking, while my mom finished the initial fees’ payment. I wasn’t writing the answer either because I didn’t know the answer or I knew the answer but I wanted someone else to push me towards it. (As it had always been the case in my life.)

My mom saw me not writing anything, and asked whether it was over. I asked mom about what I should write in purpose of joining. Mom just stared at me and told me: “Likh de wahi jiske liye tu join kar raha hai.” (Write the same thing for which you are joining). I was still confused and clueless. Mom knew that I wanted her to say about the dream I had been seeing for months now. When I was still looking for an answer, she said:

IIM ADMISSION

I was prompt to counter her answer with: “A”. “IIMA”.

She just laughed and told me to just write that. I did.

Those were the two words (IIMA Admission), with which I started the journey. I wasn’t that stubborn that I focused on only one college throughout. I gave other MBA entrance exams like: SNAP, IIFT, CMAT and XAT. It was just that from that day to the day I was selected in IIMA, had anyone asked me to choose the college you wanted to get into: I would say IIMA.

The reasons behind this were plenty. One – it is the #1 MBA college of India (Debatable. But let’s agree for now.). Second – I had always lived in ahmedabad and whenever I used to pass from Vastrapur lake, I used to keep watching the campus of IIMA from the bridge. The immense peace, the outstanding beauty and the charm of the bricks of IIMA had won my heart way before I had decided to join CAT.

PS: My home is just 4 km away from this mesmerizing campus.

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