My bittersweet pre-MBA journey : From KV to IIFT



IIFT Convert : Soumyadeep Paul


January 2015 : It was yet another monotonous day in office. However, things were even gloomier
that day. XAT 2014 results were out and while I had managed to score a decent percentile (97), I had royally screwed the decision-making section managing a paltry 69 %ile, thus ruling out all hopes of pursuing my dream of a MBA from an elite B-school in India that year. I had given only CAT and XAT in 2014 and had not done well in CAT either. This ended my below average MBA exam-season of 2014-2015 with just a SJSOM(IIT-Kharagpur) call.

Though it was disheartening, I made up my mind that 2015 was going to be my last
attempt at redemption. I was willing to lay it all on the table and in case failure showed its dirty face
again, I would shift to other career options. So along the same lines, I started looking out for a good online coaching class which could help me in being regular with my preparations. I was working in an MNC and hence due to paucity of time, I did not find it feasible to join a regular coaching class. It was exactly the same time wherein an unknown commodity called iQuanta was beginning its journey. I have known Indrajeet since school(Class 8) and I was witnessing the transformation of a man from a virtual nobody to a fledging entrepreneur. He had been doing an awesome job in helping students (including me) with their preparations in several CAT Preparation groups for a couple of years already before starting the well-known ‘CAT Preparation-iQuanta Group’ of his own, which now boasts of around 2 lakh members and is definitely the go-to destination for MBA aspirants across the country. With lots of optimism and faith in his ‘quant’ abilities, I enrolled in the inaugural batch of iQuanta and kick-started my preparations.

iQuanta classes are unique because they are held on an online platform through
videos/events on Facebook. There is a great deal of flexibility owing to this as one can access the
course material at his/her convenience and raise doubts at any time during the day. The doubt
clearing is quite spontaneous and satisfying too. All the three domains tested in CAT namely quant, LRDI and verbal have been well covered this year around with pedigreed experts. Most importantly, these create a basic schedule around which you can design your self-study every day. It keeps you going and thoroughly updated too. This course coupled with your individual efforts can definitely take you places in your journey. During my preparation, I also made sure that I gave all mocks of any institute and also analysed them meticulously (even iQuanta is starting its own mock series this year I have heard). Laying equal importance to all the sections(Quant/Verbal/LRDI/GK) is of utmost importance and the ‘Cat Preparation-iQuanta’ group is a brilliant repository for this. Following this group and solving as many questions as possible helped me immensely.

As exams drew nearer, I found myself quite confident to take on the challenge. I
took NMAT and IIFT examinations before CAT and this helped me to get in tune with the
examination feel and the nail-biting 3 hours. NMAT went good and IIFT excellent. The dreaded
day(29 th November) finally arrived. I tried to be calm but as we all know, it’s easier said than done. The exam started and verbal section looked quite manageable. Verbal had always been my strength and I was quite confident that I had done well. I eagerly awaited the newly introduced LRDI section and ‘’Poooof!!’’ The lights went off and I went absolutely blank. I had not deduced a single question in the first 15 minutes and panic struck in. All my hard-work seemed to be going down the drain in those mere 900 seconds. Gradually, I managed to solve a few questions and thankfully no surprises were in store in the quant section and I did reasonably well. However, my spirit was sucked away by the LRDI section and I was happy to see the clock strike 5:30 P.M(2 nd slot). That is the unpredictability of CAT I encountered. It wasn’t that LRDI was my weakness and neither was CAT the toughest paper

I have ever seen in life(people who have given TIME mocks will agree to this :P), but still some things just happen. Maybe I got obsessed with the result too much, maybe the easy verbal section made me complacent, maybe I wasn’t wearing my lucky shirt that day. Questions galore but alas, no answers. I came home dejected and I knew that I had lost this battle long before the results were declared. I took some time off and picked myself up for XAT. In the next few days, I devoured GK and decision making material like some angry giant. There was one stop in between – SNAP, which surprised everyone with its horrendously compiled set of “not-so- general knowledge” questions last year. I scraped through the exam. Then if life could not be crueller, I contracted dengue days before the XAT exam. The first major disease of my life struck at the worst possible time. Somehow I pulled my pale and corpse-like body to the exam hall against the doctor’s advice and gave my best. Sadly, that best was again not good enough. The exams (CAT & XAT) which I had prepared for with dedication and dreamt about of excelling in had been screwed. Just for formality, I gave my TISS exam next weekend still reeling with the after-effects of the wretched dengue.

Results time! As per chronological order, NMAT -215, IIFT – 99.23, CAT – 96.85( Quant –
96.4,Verbal – 99.3, LRDI – 69.28), SNAP – 99.48, XAT – somewhere in 80’s(did not care to memorize or save the result) and TISS – 81(Score). As evident, the royal screwing of LRDI in CAT and myself in XAT meant no calls from my beloved IIMs and XLRI. I had to be content with calls from IIFT, SIBM- Pune, SCMHRD, NMIMS-Mumbai, TISS-Mumbai, IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-IIM- ISI’s PGDBA course (I had qualified in its written exam held in February). First up was IIFT and one needs extensive preparation for this battle. One has to be thorough with the current happenings around the world as these creep into the GD topics. Overall, it is a well organised set of rounds comprising of essay writing, GD and interview. The USP of IIFT’s GD is that each person is given 90 seconds to speak initially thus avoiding a fish-market scenario during the discussion. I did not perform to my expectations in the interview and hence, chances were not too bright again. I felt I had let go off the best opportunity available to me as only an IIFT convert could make me happy from this position. Next up were the Symbiosis twins – the most chilled-out interview process of them all where no prior preparations are needed.

The interview process is designed in such a way that only your spontaneity and creativity matters.
NMIMS and TISS both had similar selection processes too – first GD and then an interview.
While all of this was going on, I got converts from SIBM-Pune and SCMHRD and I obviously
chose the former. Though not fully satisfied, I went ahead and paid the first instalment to book my
seat. I was mentally preparing for the upcoming stay in Pune and the gruelling schedule over the
next 2 years. Then suddenly out of the blue, on 17 th March afternoon, IIFT results were declared. I was pleasantly surprised to find my name in the Delhi list. This was really unexpected and finally I
could let out a sigh of relief. After lot of struggles and setbacks, I had managed to ace ‘one of the
colleges in my list’ when I started an year back. 3 months down the line and with no more regrets, I
feel excited and charged up for the next 2 years in IIFT-Delhi. 

To all the folks who are giving the exams this year, please do make realistic weekly targets
and never go too hard on yourselves. After all, these are just a bunch of exams and these in no way
should be used as a judging stick in life. Be immersed but not obsessed during this period of
preparation. Things will get tough at times but just stick around and keep putting in your individual
efforts. Take mocks religiously and most importantly micro-analyse them to identify your strengths
and weaknesses. Always look to play to your strengths and try to improve as much as you can on
your weak areas. To those who have joined iQuanta and/or the  CAT Preparation-iQuanta, please carry on as I assure you that you are in very good hands. Never give up aiming for the stars and you will definitely end up on the moon at least (like me), which trust me, is good enough . Lastly, thanks for bearing this long article of mine and wish you all the very best!

Cheers and Godspeed
Soumyadeep Paul – iQuantite/IIFT 2016-18 batch

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