PGP 2012 student Akshay Aggarwal shares his experience with CAT

Name                    :           Akshay Aggarwal

Graduation          :           B.Tech Comp. Sc. (2011)

College                  :           JIIT, Noida

 

1. Why and when did you decide to do MBA? What is your plan after you complete your MBA?

It was the end of my second year in graduation when I first asked myself, “What do I want to do in life?”, and that’s when I started dreaming of having a business of my own. But not having a business background and considering the risks involved, I put my plans of entrepreneurship on hold.

After completing my graduation, I decided to gain some work experience and plan my entrepreneurial voyage alongside. But a mere six month’s tenure with a MNC was enough for me to confirm that I don’t fit the 9 to 5 culture. My discontent with the job added to the temptation of diving headfirst into entrepreneurship. But the previous apprehensions stopping me from starting a business still prevailed. I needed more time and guidance to come up with a business plan. After much deliberation, I resigned from my job and decided to study management. An MBA offered me two years of planning, highly competitive environment, guidance of faculty and invaluable management skills.

I plan to be ready with an actionable business plan at the end of these 2 years and launch the plan after passing out.

2. How did you start the preparation and what was your overall strategy?

Overall Strategy: Instead of going through the list of topics and preparing each of them separately, I based the preparation primarily on the analysis of my performance in mock tests. After the analysis I targeted only the weak areas.

Verbal Ability: If you are a habitual reader, you can read, analyse and assimilate any text faster than others. I used to (still do) read a lot and continuously evaluated my approach towards VA problems by comparing my thought process with the mock test solutions given by coaching institutes.

*My opinion on vocabulary preparation: Either add 1000 or more words to your vocabulary or none. There is not much benefit in going half way.

QA and DI:  (I am an Engineer): Rather than spending my time on understanding the shortcuts given by coaching institutes, I used to put in efforts to solve as much questions as possible on my own. This way I discovered my own shortcuts, which I could never forget during exams.

LR: No strategy in particular, I practiced as much as possible.

3. Please share your WAT/PI experience in detail.

WAT Topic: Capitalism is dead and Socialism is here to stay.

General reading and awareness helped me give a well informed answer.

PI: I was asked about my future plans and subsequently about entrepreneurship. Some questions on IPR laws and trademarks as I had a subject on Social and Legal issues in graduation. Some questions on graphs and quadratic equations were also asked.

 4. Which institutes offered you final admission? Why did you choose IIM Kashipur?

IIM Raipur and IMT, Ghaziabad

Preferred Kashipur over IMT due to the prestige associated with IIMs.

Chosen Kashipur over Raipur considering the small batch size of 40. I firmly believe that a large batch size dilutes the quality of education. A batch size of 120 at Raipur was a turn off for me.

5. Do you think it is possible to crack CAT without taking formal coaching? What would you suggest the CAT 2012 aspirants who would like to prepare by themselves?

Yes, I do believe that one can ace CAT even without any formal coaching, but appearing for mocks is compulsory to gauge your preparation. See the answer to question number 2 for more details.

6. CAT saw a major change in the format & pattern in 2011. How did you prepare for it? Did this new pattern cause any hindrance in your preparation or exam taking strategy?

I found the new pattern easier as I had to worry about clearing only two cut-offs instead of three. Also, I felt that the probability of giving a better performance increased as the probability of good performance of a prepared candidate increases with the number of questions. In 2010 and earlier formats, we had to find solvable questions among 20 questions and repeat the process three times. In 2011, it was easier to find solvable questions among a larger bank of 30 questions and repeat the process only two times.

7. What was your strategy for time management?

The new pattern made the time management easier as we were now forced to spend equal time on the two sections. For solving the individual sections, I followed the traditional advice. Quickly skip over difficult questions and solve the easier questions first.

8. What is your message for the MBA aspirants who will take CAT 2012 and other exams of the season?

Solve and more importantly analyse as many mock tests as possible. I found the reverse flow of preparation i.e. first giving mock tests and then preparing the weak topics to be much more time efficient than first preparing all the topics individually and then giving the mock tests.
And most importantly, keep your calm on the D-day.

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