About Ankit Desai:
Ankit was born in Kanpur and completed his schooling in 5 different cities before settling in Aurangabad where he completed his boards. Currently, he is pursuing Computer engineering from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune with CGPA of 9.61.
Throughout his school days he has performed decently well in academics until high school where he got into plenty and eventually couldn’t perform to the levels he wanted. Apart from academics, he has always been interested in sports and played numerous during my school days. During his college, he was more inclined towards arranging entrepreneurial activities while working with E-cell and also laid the foundations for an Investment forum.
Here is our brief conversation with Ankit
When and How did the idea to have “The MBA Degree” hit you?
Ankit: It was always on the cards. But I’d say it was during the second year of my engineering that I had to decide was it really MBA or something else. Once, I was confident that MBA would be the right thing to do, going for CAT was an easy choice.
How did you start with the preparation and what approach did you prefer?
Ankit: I had joined TIME’s classroom program in November 2018. Though I actually started my preparation in August, the classroom lectures helped me to stay in touch with my basics. During this time (Nov’18 – July’19), I just used to attend classes and appear for a few mocks and then analyse them. This helped me understand my weaker sections and also where my strengths lie. So, when I actually started in August, I knew what I had to study. I appeared for around 40 mocks (35 of them from TIME) and analysed them to understand my mistakes and worked on them. Starting August, I practiced 50 questions for each topic in Quant, around 200 sets for DILR and solved over 100 RCs (excluding mocks). This way I had studied all topics by mid-October and then started to strengthen my weaker sections. The last 15 days were all about giving mocks (one in three days) and analysing them and going through past year papers
Which section did you feel would need the most work?
Ankit: Undoubtedly, there’s been this one chink in my armor called VARC. I have never been a regular reader and have always found myself in a mess whenever it came to comprehension. Since day 1, I knew that I’ll have to work hard to get a decent score in this section. Although I was slightly comfortable with the VA part, the RCs that formed the major chunk of the section appeared horrendous.
I respected this fact and spent more time on understanding and solving RCs and later analysing them. This helped me get my basics clear and learn new approaches of attempting RCs. For the VA section, it was all practice that yielded results.
How did you cope up with the tough times and hurdles?
Ankit: “It doesn’t always happen according to the way you have planned things out, but I feel if you have covered most of the aspects, it does help out there in the middle.”
There can be things that won’t work out. Your strategy in mocks could fail miserably or you could end up scoring your lowest in mocks or you may end up not solving any questions correctly even in your forte. What matters is the amount of faith you have in yourself and in the efforts that you have put. I feel it’s important to go through these tough times because it is in these times that a true candidate works harder than ever. I used multiple sources to keep myself going. One was watching videos and reading articles of previous CAT toppers and IIM converts which always made me feel that if they could get there, even I can. The second thing was constantly reminding myself about my dream – dream of getting into the best B-school of the country.
What was your “one getaway” to rejuvenate your energy?
Ankit: During the last phase of my preparation, I was staying with my parents. So, having a light conversation with them was sufficient.
Which all Exams did you gave?
Ankit: I appeared only for CAT.
Tips for our readers for the penultimate and D-Day?
Ankit: Just relax. You have prepared enough for months and now it’s time to put together all the energy you have and release it on the D-day. Sleep well before the d-day even if you butterflies in your stomach. Make sure you reach the venue before time and get comfortable with the environment. Stay as calm and composed as possible, don’t let your nerves get hold of you.
After the first inning (of all the examination part) ended, how did you start with the second inning (GD-PI Part)?
Ankit: GDPI is more about critically analysing yourself. I made a note of the basic questions that are asked during IIM interviews and would then think over those questions. I would make a mental note of all the points I would want the interviewer to know about me and then structure my answer. Although I hadn’t made an entire answer for such questions, I had given these a thought. As the saying goes, you can only understand your life going backwards, but you must live life forward. Connect the dots and eventually you’ll be able to understand yourself better.
I also gave a few mock interviews at the TIME centre in Pune and got some useful guidance on how I could do better.
Which all interviews did you gave and your strategy to choose the final Institute from the converts you had?
Ankit: I got calls from all the institutes I applied for – IIM ABCLKI and FMS. I ended up converting IIMs A, B, L, K, I and FMS. I had to make a choice between IIM A and B. I talked to few seniors and alumni of these colleges to understand the culture, the academics, the campus environment to zero down on IIM Ahmedabad.
Top 3 learnings you have for our readers.
Ankit: This journey from starting with self-doubt to getting admits from the top B-schools has been a great experience. I had to go through a few thicks and thins during all this and learned a few things on my way.
Few takeaways from my preparation –
- As an aspirant, you need to understand to work on devising your own strategy. You might need to change your strategies numerous time until you bang on the one that suits you the best.
- Staying motivated throughout the journey is the most important thing.
- Take few mocks but analyse them thoroughly.
Top 3 things that aspirants should avoid
Ankit: Whenever you set on a journey, you have to bust a few myths. Here a few myth busters –
- More the attempts, more marks – one of the biggest lies. CAT is a game of accuracy and speed. You aren’t graded on the number of attempts you make but on the correct ones. Learn to let go questions and don’t run after attempting all the questions.
- CAT is a difficult exam – Don’t assume before you have experienced this. CAT is not a tough nut to crack; it is the competition that makes it seem tough. It is a basic aptitude exam and can be cracked by anyone. Do not let anyone demotivate by saying that it is difficult to crack, and you won’t make it. Give it a try and let your result speak for you.
- If you start bad, you won’t do well – Absolutely wrong. I have seen people scoring 50-60 in their first mocks and getting 150+ in CAT. The journey will test your temperament and perseverance. No matter how you start, what matters is how you end. So, avoid falling into the trap that if you don’t get a good score in the first mock or for that matter in any mock, you won’t score well in CAT. Learn from your mistakes and move ahead.
Top 3 Suggestions for aspirants to answer the ultimate question “To reappear or not”
Ankit: I have been fortunate enough to crack CAT and get into IIM A in my first attempt, hence, not faced this dilemma.
I have just one thing to say for this – Believe in your instincts and efforts. Take a decision based on that.
Good luck ☺