Anushree comes from a family that considered education of paramount importance she had always been a sincere and disciplined student right from school. There were two things She was absolutely sure of doing even before my board exams ended: taking up the Commerce stream, pursuing the CA course alongside graduation and enrolling herself for a Course in Graphology. She thoroughly enjoyed her graduation years (B.com) at R. A. Podar College, Mumbai by actively participating in a lot of extra-curricular activities alongside her CA articleship. She cleared CA Final exams in Nov 2018 and immediately took up her first corporate job in March 2019, which is when she actually decided to start preparing for CAT 2019.
Anushree is Chartered Accountant by profession with 12 Month of experience till Mar’2020. She secured 98.20 percentile in CAT 2019 & will be joining IIM Ahmedabad for pursuing her MBA.
Here is the brief conversation with Anushree:
When and How did the idea to have “The MBA Degree” hit you?
Somewhere during my junior college, I strongly dreamt of having those two very coveted credentials alongside my name – CA+MBA. Though the main goal was to qualify as a Chartered Accountant at the youngest possible age and then opt for a higher education in management. My interest in management studies intensified when I enjoyed leading and organising college fests as well as at some striking occasions in my corporate job where I started to believe that an education in management would be necessary for understanding businesses holistically.
How did you started with the preparation and what approach did you prefered ?
I started by joining a coaching institute in my city. I took a mock test in the very beginning to understand my strengths and weaknesses and decided to focus on conceptual understanding for the Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section.
I studied for about 3 hours on week days by solving QA sectional tests, practicing a lot of data interpretation and logical reasoning (DILR) sets and utilised my travel time to work in reading books, building a vocabulary and solving math quizzes on my phone.
My weekends were dedicated to attending classes, covering major chunk of the portion, solving mock tests and analysing my strengths and weaknesses through them.
Which section did you feel would need the most work?
On a clear analysis of my mock tests I realised I struggled in the QA section where as I was naturally and relatively better at solving the DILR sets. Hence I spent most of my preparation time on steadily increasing the number of attempts and maximising my accuracy in Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section. I maintained a formula book and tried to do most of the calculations mentally by practicing tables, squares, cubes and prime numbers every day. I also tried to maintain a balance among all the three sections and started practicing 4-5 Reading Comprehensions every single day.
How did you cope up with the tough times and hurdles?
I used to get a little demotivated when I scored less in mock tests which is when my mentors at my coaching institute, my seniors and friends helped me stay calm and confident. I think, self-belief and a ‘never give up’ attitude also helped me stay positive till the very end. Managing a full time corporate job along with the fatigue that accompanied travelling would also get stressful sometimes but since I really enjoyed my job, a productive day at office often enhanced my productivity in CAT preparation.
What was your “one getaway” to rejuvenate your energy?
I did take casual movie breaks and pursued some of my hobbies like blogging at www.virtualanushree.wordpress.com in regular intervals. Meeting friends and spending some quality time with family was always the best getaway to rejuvenate my energy!
Which all Exams did you appear for?
My aim was always to get into one of the top IIMs. Hence I only took CAT. I also appeared for XAT but did not put whole-hearted efforts in preparing for it and hence did not succeed in it.
Tips for our readers for the penultimate and D-Day?
Always try a lot of different approaches, strategies and tactics during your mock tests and finally decide on the one that suits your strengths the best for D-Day. But at the same time make a mental note of the fact that you will also have to remain very flexible during the 3 hours of the test as CAT is popular for giving surprises.
Don’t carry the burden of a difficult section on the next section. Start a section with a fresh mind without worrying much of the previous section. Always remember that if it’s difficult for you, it’s probably difficult for everyone. Don’t lose hope at any point during those 3 hours. Optimise!
Relax and sleep very well a day or two before D-Day. It is important for your brain to be active, fresh and most productive during the entire 3 hours of the exam.
After the first inning (of all the examination part) ended, how did you started with the second inning (GD-PI Part)?
I started preparing for interviews just a little before the CAT results were out (as the profile based SPJIRM interview calls were already out). I started by reading current affairs regularly and discussing it with my parents and friends. As advised by my seniors and mentors, I also concentrated on analysing my own strengths, goals, life experiences and weaknesses in order to be ready to answer any questions on my life journey (HR questions). I took about 15 mock interviews with different people ranging from my boss at work to my mentors, friends, ex-students, seniors, etc. I also practiced writing essays on various topics for increasing my writing ability, often tested in most of the IIM interviews.
Which all interviews did you gave and your strategy to choose the final Institute from the converts you had?
I got shortlisted for the Personal Interview round by IIM –Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Shillong and all new and baby IIMs as well as the S.P.Jain Institute of Management Research (SPJIMR).
I appeared for all my interviews except IIM Lucknow (as it was scheduled after IIM A result).
I converted my SPJIMR, IIM –Ahmedabad, Kozhikode, Indore and all baby IIM calls and am placed in the waitlist of IIM- Bangalore.
“I decided to join IIM-Ahmedabad.“
Top 3 learnings you have for our readers, upcoming aspirants
- Don’t give up till the very end. Your best performance could be on the day of CAT itself.
- There is no substitute to hard work so always give your best.
- The interviewers want just one reason to select you. Give them that reason.
Top 3 things that aspirants should avoid
- You should not neglect mock tests. Missing out on analysing mock tests thoroughly could be really disadvantageous.
- Don’t compare yourself with others. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and thus a very unique journey. Always set targets for yourself and up your game.
- Avoid believing in unnecessary assumptions and avoid having misconceptions. Don’t waste your precious time being pessimistic. Eg. Non-Engineers cannot ace the QA section, the verbal section is not scoring, it is not possible to attempt all 8 sets in the DILR section, etc are all misconceptions of the naysayers.
Top 3 Suggestions for aspirants to answer the ultimate question “To reappear or not”
- For me personally, the biggest motivation to ace CAT was that I was unwilling to take a second attempt at CAT. I wanted to crack it in the very first attempt as my failure at clearing my CA Finals exams in the very first attempt had stimulated me to do my best in the very first CAT attempt. So something that might be a failure could be your strongest motivation if you believe in yourself.
- Likewise, sometimes failures in exams help us evolve as human beings and be better in our subsequent attempts. Thus taking a second attempt at CAT is totally justified if you are willing to put more efforts. Trust me I have been on different sides, during CA and CAT, and in the end when you achieve your goal, everything seems worth it!
- If you plan to take another attempt to CAT, do a detailed analysis of your mistakes and weaknesses and start with a very focussed preparation plan and hit the bull’s eye perfectly.
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