Non-engineer’s journey to IIM Ahmedabad | Isha Nisar

About Isha Nisar:

Isha comes from a non-engineering background, who completed her BMS from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics. She has 1.5 years of experience in the media sector. She scored 99.37 in CAT 2019 & will be joining IIM Ahmedabad to pursue her dream.

Isha’s Journey from class 11th to MBA from IIM Ahmedabad

My journey with MBA started way back in 2014 when I was still in my 11th std. At this stage, many people aren’t even sure of their graduation, I was sure of pursuing my MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. Many people select their post-graduation after their graduation; however, my story was different. Since I wished to pursue an MBA, I took up BMS as my graduation course from one of the leading colleges in India: ‘Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics’.

Throughout my academic journey, I have participated and aced in almost all events ranging Literary Arts, Performing Arts, Fine Arts and Sports; and took up various Position of Responsibilities not only in College but also on Mumbai District level. I never knew all this would come handy to me later in my life, not as a CV point but the way it has shaped me. The quality of sportsmanship has taught me to never give up and rise again whenever you fall. As a leader at various levels, I have learnt on calculating my risks and maximising the benefits out of it.

CAT 2019 was my third attempt for CAT. Previously, I had converted a few colleges like IIM Shillong and MICA, but my heart still wished for IIM Ahmedabad, and I gave in my all and finally reached my dream. 

What was the difference between my previous attempts viz a viz this attempt?

  1. I believed I can score 99%ile+.
  2. I would tell myself not to fall in the ego trap as ‘Everything below 300 has a scope of improvement’.  
  3. I learnt how to analyse mocks properly. Previously, I used to just see the wrong ones and then move on. This time I even spent time on correct ones and realised how wrong I was.
  4. My focus was majorly on learning faster methods, and doing it mentally which would save few precious seconds.
  5. I asked everyone better than me in VA to help me out, tried everyone’s method and tailored it as per what suited me the best.
  6. I learnt and applied the method of ‘sharing and caring’. I would help my fellow aspirants with DILR and QA and would learn VA from them. We would discuss the mocks in-depth, talk about our strategies, our mistakes, our techniques, etc.
  7. I took mocks in different locations and conditions to be ready for any adverse thing that can happen on the day. (And it helped on D-Day).
  8. I learnt the lesson of: ‘It is important to leave difficult sums faster.’

During CAT 2019, the VA section was the most difficult ones which also changed the entire game of everyone. Luckily, my weakness of not understanding the level of difficulty came handy and hence, I attempted DILR and QA without any stress. Turned my weakness into a strength!

I almost had a rough idea of my scores after CAT, so I started preparing for the next round from 25th November itself. I learnt on what questions are expected, what qualities are the panellists looking for, how can I do better. I segregated PI into 6 areas: Academics, Work Experience, Current Affairs, HR-related, Co-curricular and Extra-curricular activities and Miscellaneous. I started working on all my areas equally. I attended a few knowledge sessions, took a few mock GDs and PIs, and most importantly practised many Written Ability Test (WAT) questions as this was my weakest area.

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Even after receiving calls from 25 Premier Institutes like all IIMs, FMS, MDI, IIFT, SP Jain and MICA, I still had some hurdles on my way. But my never giving up attitude and the blessings I had received over the years helped me overcome all of them.

My Interviews were jovial and friendly except 1-2. I would be as honest as possible while answering the questions. I did say ‘I do not know’ when I was not aware or sure of the question. My interviews had diverse questions and all were quite different from the other.

My IIMA interview was majorly on my work experience and my opinions on some traditions and beliefs. My IIMB interview was on my SOP and my internship with Ernst & Young. My IIMC interview was on my internship with McDonald’s and what can I do as an ambassador of the state of Gujarat.

What I learned in this entire procedure:

  1. Be yourself, and be honest.
  2. Stay calm even when you don’t know or are put under stress.
  3. Stay confident. 

When the results were out, all I can say is: The efforts were paid off well. And now, I am on my way joining the college of my dreams – IIM Ahmedabad!

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