Friday, April 22, 2011

All I wanted to speak about CAT - Part 3 - The Exams, The interviews and the End.

Note: This is a post meant from's famous "All I wanted to speak about CAT" thread. People preparing for CAT, and in need of motivation, inspiration etc can read through the entire thread. Brilliant stories. Captivating read. 

Part 1 of this post can be read here.
Part 2 of this post can be read here
The actual tests

NMAT on 21st October (Bhopal): 
What went right: Preparation, Timing of the test
What went wrong: Slackening towards the end of the Quant/DI section. 
Expectations: 260+
Actual Score: 233
Calls: NMIMS
NMAT was more of a cakewalk with many sitters and it was more of a game of picking out the sitters and cracking them quickly. I could sense I had done well, as I was giving the test. 

CAT on 4th November (Bhopal): 
What went right: Preparation, Timing of the test
What went wrong:Hardly anything
Expectations: -
Percentile: 99.27
Calls:IIM A,I,K, Raipur, Rohtak, Trichy, MDI, SP Jain
Everything about CAT went on perfectly. I was pretty comfortable at the centre, I started off with DI and did 18 questions without any hassles; then hit on Verbal and did 14 (found it pretty ambiguous) and then finally went to Quant and attempted 16. Felt it was a fair effort and possibly the best I could have given it. 

IIFT on 28th November (Chennai): 
What went right: Nothing pretty much. Except for the exam.
What went wrong: The choice of centre, asking my mother to drop me there (psyched me out). Hardly did any kind of preparation.
Actual Score:34.78
Calls:Missed out the cut off by about 0.5

FMS on 5th December (Chennai): 
What went right: Had looked at old question papers
What went wrong:Looked at only the questions and not the answers !!!
Actual Score:412
Calls:Missed out the cut off by about 5-7 marks 

XAT on 2nd January (Chennai): 
What went right: Semblance of a preparation
What went wrong: Looked at the paper and went blank!! Spent way too much time on DI.
Expectations: Anything non negative
Percentile: 79.29
Calls: LOL !

IIFT was the first result to come out, which came just a few days before XAT. Had missed the cut-off narrowly which kept rankling me for a long time. Then the 'CAT-leak fiasco' happened and I was online at that time and checked out my score - a 99.27 percentile. Was happy and partly sad as it meant, according to last year's cut-offs, not many calls. Especially no IIM-A or C. At the same time, there was this inherent worry about whether it was the right result or not. Then came FMS, which I was expecting to narrowly make it through. It was a reject. I still remember crying while watching the second half of Band Bajaa Baraat in the theatre.

Then came the CAT results, on January 12th. I was so nervous that I got a high fever on the night of the results and was shivering all through the night. I wasn't able to sleep at all, and woke up my mom at 2 in the morning and made her check the results. She confirmed my 99.27; much to my relief and joy.

The Calls
With my good school academics and well-rounded percentiles in all sections, I was expecting calls from B, L and K. But disaster struck. L was the first IIM to come out with the results, and I remember looking through the PDF in the hope of finding my SR no much to my disappointment. 
Then came the biggest shock. And surprise. The A call. I was on the way back from Career Launcher when one of my friends called up to say that I had a call from Ahmedabad. It was truly unbelievable at that time, and I just refused to trust the poor guy. I came back and entered my details and found out about my call. 

The other IIMs that came out with their results didn't bother giving me a call. I was pretty nervous about having A as my only call as I was bad with interviews. But the respite was provided by Ratnabha Sir of CL, to whom I'll remain eternally thankful, who said, "If only A decides to give you a call, dont worry; we'll work and convert A"

Then came the flood of calls, from IIM-I, IIM-K, SP Jain, MDI and finally NMIMS. The new IIMs - Rohtak, Raipur and Trichy also decided to give me a call. GD-PI preparation started off in earnest with the usual ET (Thanks to Pritish Roy); introspection and stuff. 


I've already spoken about my interviews in length. 
SP Jain was a straight reject in Group Interview-1. Still dont understand why they call freshers if they aren't interested in them.
I didn't attend NMIMS because it was clashing with my IIM Indore interview. 

That exalted feeling

All in all, the end was the best I could have ever imagined of. I never even thought I'd manage a call from Ahmedabad, but I have a convert in my hands now. 
As they all say, this probably is just the beginning of the journey. I can never say enough thanks to everyone who helped me through this process, with all kinds of support.

All I wanted to speak about CAT - Part 2 - The Journey

Note: This is a post meant from's famous "All I wanted to speak about CAT" thread. People preparing for CAT, and in need of motivation, inspiration etc can read through the entire thread. Brilliant stories. Captivating read. 

Part 1 of this post can be read here.
Part 3 of this post can be read here.

The journey
First year in college, passed away in a breeze. But as I read and got into engineering, I got the feeling that this wasn't really meant for me. Civil Engg, in particular, as I wasn't particularly strong health wise, after bouts of Measles, Chicken Pox and Typhoid. Nor was I strong in the subjects Civil Engineers ought to be strong in - Structures and Soil Mechanics. 

The second year of college, saw the birth of this new dream in me. CAT. It happened when the CAT results came out, and I saw the names of many seniors who had got calls from various IIMs. That was the spark that grew inside me - that if some people studying in the same college could do it, why not me. Added to the fact that studying in NIT Bhopal gave you more free time than you could ever handle. I thought that if I prepared properly, I definitely had a chance at cracking the test. 

But then, as usual, the Idle mind became the Devil's workshop and I killed time, like no one could. I hardly did anything worthwhile despite taking the old material of TIME from one of my seniors, and all that the material did was to rot in one corner of my room. I somehow got sense in the final moments of my 4th semester and enrolled at Career Launcher, Bhopal for the classroom course for CAT.

Rolling along
Classes started in about mid July, 2009 and I used to attend classes pretty sincerely. Contrary to my earlier love for maths, I found Number Systems; Permutation Combination a real pain. I used to really hate them. With this blog running and being a part of the Ed Board, my love for English grew and I found myself loving the English classes a lot and was very good at solving the class sheets. 

But in terms of preparation, I hardly did anything. After a point, in February/March, I gradually found myself not doing too well in any section; and started losing interest in even attending classes; despite which I forced myself to attend them. (Guess that was the best thing I did at that point of time). 
Time just kept flying past, with Editorial Board and a set of very good friends taking the rest of my time. It was May 2010 already and it was then that I realised I had really fallen behind the rest of the gang in terms of preparation. I hadn't quite done anything in the material that had been given. Nor had I even taken the pains to open the SIS of Career Launcher, and even go through the stuff that was there. 

The college curriculum meant I had to undergo Industrial Training for about 3 weeks, in my summer vacation. I tried getting training in a couple of places, nearly got it at L&T Mumbai, but decided against going there and finally did it at Chennai Port. It was then that realisation hit me hard. And by hard, I mean, very HARD. 

Training used to start at 7 in the morning and I had to leave my home at around 6 in the morning. Working conditions at the port were as bad as it could get. Nowhere close to the wonderfully clean and super modern ports that you see in movies. Standing in the sun, from the morning till 12-30 or 1, when we had our lunch break; that too in the peak summer Chennai sun, taught me a few lessons. I realised pretty much that I simply wasn't made for this kind of a job. My health took a hit. I decided that it was time I took up CAT more seriously and give it my best shot, even though it was pretty much late, by normal standards. I knew, deep down, that it was the only way that I'd be able to get a desk job. I finally got the sense to open my material and start working. 

By the time, I'd opened my books, two of Career Launcher's ProcMocks had already gone past. I am pretty much very good at making schedules for myself, right from my school days, and in the last few days of my vacation, I sat down and made myself a proper schedule and plan as to how to go about preparation for CAT. But then, the end of the vacation packing and other stuff got the better of me. Finally, I started my serious CAT Preparation on July 10th 2010.

I had already given the first two mocks a skip. Hence Proc Mock 3 was something I was very serious about. I knew that it'd be the one that'd make or break my CAT Preparation. I seriously made a schedule targeting it and kept my goals pretty realistic this time, rather than building castles in the air, like the previous times i had got off to false starts. Meticulously I sat down and solved all the numericals from the Hard Copy material and worked my ass off. 

My day used to start at 4-30 AM, when most of the hostel used to go to sleep. I gave in about 3 hours of preparation then and then went to college. Being in Civil Engg, which had by then become THE most sincere branch in college, attending every other class, I had to attend classes. Two hours of sleep in the afternoon followed by CAT class/further prep/break in the evening and then sleeping off by a maximum of 10 PM. I lost out on a lot of fun, in hostel life because of my schedule and on some of my friends too. But today, when I took back, I feel vindicated. 

I had also "fallen in love" with the Editorial Board and worked like mad over there to release a successful magazine. I felt that the other editors in the Ed Board who were preparing for CAT were more serious than I had ever been, and thought I could sort of give a lot more of my time for EB(Ed Board) than them. The feeling being that, even if CAT screwed up, a successful magazine would help pull my mood up, unlike the IIT experience where I nearly went into depression.ProcMock 3 thankfully went well, and I got a 98 odd percentile topping the Bhopal Centre. (??).

But preparation was not without hassles. There were hassles aplenty right from the start. I was 'scared' of DI, and never used to practice any online tests due to the fear of not doing well in them and losing my confidence. I was over confident about verbal, but that turned out to be THE biggest problem of all. I used to think verbal was my strongest section, but turned out that it wasn't. I hardly cleared any cut-offs in verbal and had a worse than pathetic accuracy rate of less than 50%. Quant had quite a few issues esp with Number theory and Permutation and combination. The former I was scared of, and the latter I was extremely weak in.  Verbal had yet another big problem with me having an aversion to RCs. I loved reading RCs on paper, but when it came to reading on screen, I used to prefer skipping them and moving to the next question. 
In my initial mocks, I never used to analyse what went right or what went wrong and which were my strengths and weaknesses. I just used to go and give the mocks and that was the end of it. The mocks I gave initially gave me the confidence that, "yes, if i prepare the same way, I can do well in CAT." But it also gave me the warning that all wasn't well definitely. 

I still remember my first mock analysis test with my sir @ Career Launcher when he went over my first few mocks and hit on my mistakes. He said two things and till today, I'm thankful to him for that:
# Stop doing "How many?" type questions (Permutation ones). You never get them right. 
# Stop doing sentence correction ones. You invariably look for mistakes that aren't there. Instead work on RCs. They'll give you more marks. 

It was then that I understood the meaning of analyzing a mock. I used to attempt a mock without any proper strategy - giving an hour for DI (which had by then become my strongest section); about 20 mins for Verbal and the rest for Quant. This lead to an imbalance in the time for each question and I ended up making mistakes which I shouldn't have been doing.

Forms had been out, and I filled up NMIMS; SP Jain; MDI; IIFT; FMS; XAT; CAT. I didn't feel like giving JMET or SNAP and made a mistake by not filling NITIE. My mocks were going fairly well, and I used to have cycles of ups. If a mock went well, invariably it would never be alone and it'd always be followed by atleast two more good mocks. And the same with bad ones. I hit a couple of highs with a 99.5 in one mock and a few lows too; with less than 50% accuracy in DI. Mock scores varied between 85 to 99 percentile through out the season. 

I also started working on my RCs; and post this, there was a dramatic rise in verbal scores and my accuracy levels too. I found my actual strengths and weaknesses; which were completely different from the ones that I had assumed to be my strengths  and weaknesses. Mentoring Sessions at Career Launcher, invariably saw a few more weak spots being addressed and scores moving up a little. As CAT came closer, I knew that I was more of a confidence player and needed a boost before the exam for it to go well.

My friends had told me that one particular mock in the Unproctored ones was very easy, and so I left it to be the last mock that I would take before the exam. I also scheduled my NMAT a month before CAT so that I could get a feel of how my efficiency dips in exam conditions. My preparation, remained steady and despite a few dips in confidence and preparation levels at times, I ensured that I was geared up to go. 

It was during this time that I discovered as a wonderful resource for CAT Aspirants and it gave me a fair idea of what to expect in NMAT and CAT beforehand.

Go to Part 3

All I wanted to speak about CAT - Part 1 - The Flashback

Note: This is a post meant from's famous "All I wanted to speak about CAT" thread. People preparing for CAT, and in need of motivation, inspiration etc can read through the entire thread. Brilliant stories. Captivating read. 

Link: All I wanted to speak about CAT

Part 2 of this post can be read here.
Part 3 of this post can be read here.

When I think of where to start this "story", my mind keeps wandering. But most of the time, it keeps returning to 8th Standard, at PSBBSSS KK Nagar, my school. That was probably the time when I discovered I was pretty good at Maths. I was this typical "extremely-studious" kid, with well-oiled and combed down hair, perfectly ironed and tucked in uniform; for whom, the most important thing in life was to complete the homework for the day, read through 'The Hindu' and 'The Sportstar' and devour novels and quiz books. It was in 8th standard that I found out my 'passion' for Maths. I used to attend these tuition classes for Maths back then, in this very popular class held by Srimathy Ma'am and I used to love doing the pages and pages of homework that was given. Added to the extreme sincerity that I was known for back then, I even used to indulge in this kiddish saddism of complaining to her, about other students who hadn't completed the homework. 

I went on to score 3 centums out of 4 that year; and missed out on the 4th by 1 mark because of a small confusion in the "Angle in the same segment" property in circles. In hindsight, that probably was the biggest mistake of my life. Not missing the 4th centum, but scoring 3 centums in the first place. It took expectations from me, to great heights and my parents had started dreaming about a seat for me in one of the IITs, to emulate my cousin brother who did his Bio-Tech in IIT Madras and then went on to Cornell University. 

Life went on smoothly till Standard 10, until when I continued my 100s spree in Maths (I actually got 100s in all my exams in Maths other than the Midterm exam where I got 91. I still remember vividly my ego in 9th standard when my maths teacher put me down saying I had solved a question wrong when I knew for a fact that it was right, given that she had never stated I couldn't use that particular method to solve the problem). I got a 100 in my board exam as well, and by then my parents had decided that IIT was going to be child's play for me. I wouldn't blame them entirely as I had a very wrong notion about commerce as well, and biology was like 'allergy'. (Even this is an understatement). 

The Start of the Problems
In 11th standard, as I attended classes during the vacations, I slowly started understanding that I simply wasn't made for this at all. I remember one of my teachers saying in class: 
"Just because you score 100 in your board exams, it doesn't mean that you are meant for IIT. I can show you 100s for people who have done the same and ended up nowhere in life". Though the quote was meant for no one in particular, the situation meant that I took it to be for me. Post that I had a confidence breakdown. Things started worsening as the 3 hour IIT classes seemed like a torture movie to me and Physics became something that I despised. Chemistry was no lesser. Maths was pretty much fine even then. School studies took a bad hit, due to lack of time due to attending  IIT classes and getting a peer group in love with football. Football and quizzing became my first loves then, and IIT classes used to be spent by discussing the tactics of the last match, or the upcoming matches and the usual rival clashes. 

Things went from bad to worse when I failed my Physics exam in 12th (probably THE lowest point of my life so far) by a quarter mark. My confidence took a huge hit. This simply wasn't helped by the Chicken Pox that I had during the vacations which led to me missing the major part of Differentiation and Integration. Maths, my favourite subject, also started taking a hit and from the days of 100s, I sunk to the 50s. 

As Vinod, my best friend back then put it .. "Century in the Half Yearly in 10th. Half Century in the Half Yearly of 12th". I knew that IIT was beyond my grasp and slowly it was becoming the same case with AIEEE, but I just couldn't bare to tell that to my parents as they had pinned a lot of hopes on me. This led to a phase when both my parents stopped talking to me for nearly a month. I finally managed to pass in physics with a 35/70 in my Pre-Boards. I simply worked my ass of to scrape a decent mark in the 12th Boards. 

The post board frenzy led to my AIEEE "preparation" taking a hit. Life was at the lowest possible low, as the AIEEE and board results came out and I was left clinging to the last straws of hope with an AIR of 43312. 

The long wait till the AIEEE counselling was tense, and somehow I managed a seat in NIT Bhopal in Civil Engg; because of the 'State Quota' that used to be prevalent those days. As I read and re-read the letter of allotment, memories came flashing back. Memories of the now age-old academic glories and of the off-late multiple setbacks came flooding back into my mind. Who had even dreamed of a seat in a NIT when I had filled up my choices during the counselling process? It was the last day of the counselling, had no other options left for college admissions and had actually filled in 50 choices in my AIEEE form-1. Heights of desperation which startled even the guy who printed out the form for me. (Ab tak kisi ne 3 page ka form nahi bara!!). I hadn’t even given the choices much thought, but I had this faint memory of Civil Engg at MANIT being my 13th choice. 13 is unlucky, they say. But probably that is for lucky souls. This had been the best piece of luck I had seen in a tempestuous 3 months. 

I still remember vividly the tears of sadness from me, my parents after my AIEEE and Board results. That, was the motivation behind my journey towards CAT. My father used to remind me at ever possible turn, how I had 'fooled' and 'failed' him and shattered his hopes and dreams. It was that pain that lead me to work towards something that I could perhaps use to overshadow this failure in my life. 

And then, I struck upon CAT. The mother of all Entrance Exam, probably. And thus began my journey.

Go to Part 2 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The nervousness and the elation - April 18th 2011

This is kind of a diary entry for the day. My feelings through out the day. April 17th was the Civil Branch farewell in the college. It was quite memorable for many reasons. The last time all of us, friends of 4 years would be together. It left me wondering if I should have probably spoken a lot earlier to many people, and made more friends. But let bygones be bygones. We were all presented with mementos from the junior batch and I got mine from the Director of the college, which was special. More special was the background music running, "Appidi Podu" - a Vijay song (My favourite actor, if you are new to this place). And the introduction they had written for me went like this.
Civil Department में चलता है इनके नाम का Publication...
चेहरे पे रहता है एक ही expression .. चाहे हो कोई भी situation.

And things went so bad that the director, asked me on stage .. "Even now the same expression !!! " .. Embarrassment! Big times. 

The farewell had some dancing, some eating and then started the hot seats. I stayed on for a few hot seats, and after that my nervousness gave way. I simply wasn't able to sit there any longer, with the prospect of the Ahmedabad results having been released. I came back to hostel and sat in front of my Laptop, endlessly refreshing the IIM-A Website. It was no avail, as the results didn't seem like coming at all. After a point of time, my sleep and tiredness got the better of me and I slept off leaving the laptop on. I got up in the morning at about 7 AM and went online and then started the process of the endless refreshes again. Pagalguy was providing no answers either as no one really knew when it would be out.

Once again the frustration got the better of me, and I took bath and left to the temple for some mental peace, and last minute prayers. On the way, I also met one of my best ever friends, Krithika akka, for her blessings and best wishes. By the time, I finished my prayers, my stomach had started groaning for some attention and I had a Vada Sambhar, which easily proved to be the worst decision I could have ever taken. I seriously didn't feel like going back and sitting all alone in my room (Kumar, my other best friend, had some important work, and wasn't there). So I decided to roam around for a bit and then had this idea of calling up Vaishali (my best friend ever) to be with me, as I simply wasn't able to manage driving the vehicle any more, with my shaking arms and groaning stomach. 

I went to the college building with her, and it was there that I met Smriti Gupta (BLACKISRRT and add whatever other MBA colleges, worth their salt, after this) who told me that the results had been declared! I just couldn't bring myself to go and check the results any where in the college and was so damn nervous by then that I started cursing myself for having taken up this idea of coming to the college for some relief !

I went to the library and by the time I was walking back out, I could no longer contain my curiosity and I decided to take a look at the results in college, in the TPO office. 

I dont know whether to curse the TPO office keyboard which has a bad '.' key or be happy that it brought down my expectations and gave me more joy. I typed my details and when I clicked go, I was brought to tears to see : 

But then something made me go back, and see what I had entered; and I realised the dots in my mail ID were missing, thanks to the keyboard over there. I was literally shaking and wasn't able to type out anything properly and two attempts later, I finally managed to type it out right, and that was probably THE most happy moment in my life till then. 

It was a dream come true, and the celebrations started then and the congratulations started pouring in. I have been promised an External Hard Drive from Dad (Suggestions welcome for that). 

And with a disclaimer that I'm not showing off, I seriously am yet to realise it. It is yet to sink in completely and feels pretty numb. Though, I am able to replay and replay the moments continuously. 

I just wasn't able to express my happiness in anyway at all; though many people were asking me to try and do it. 

Some of the best things that happened yesterday would be:
# My phone calls with mom and dad informing them about my success and hearing their reactions. Though dad's was pretty muted (now I guess people can understand my reactions - genetic problems), I could see that finally I had given them something to be proud of after my AIEEE and IIT debacles. 
# My conversation with my sister that went like this: 
Sis: What, got into IIM-A eh? Congrats !
Me: Yeah !! Thanks. 
(Her friends scream congrats from behind)
Sis: Finally, dad and mom will stop torturing me by reminding us about your IIT flop show. But then, this is worse. They'll trouble me also, asking me to achieve something of the same magnitude. But this should be better. Much better. 
# The congo message from my cousin and the phone call with my aunt.
# The tears of joy from Vaishali. 
# My phone call with Krithika akka, and the joy and disbelief in her voice as she spoke to me.
# The hug from Kumar and his true happiness at the moment. (Dai, if you are reading this. If only Tata Motors hadn't come, we'd have shared the moment together da. Thanks for all the support).
# The bear hug from a guy whom I had not been on talking terms with for nearly two years, Naveen Kumar.
# The urging from Geetanjali asking me to show out my happiness and my 'exceptional' reaction to that. 
# Those wonderful reactions and messages from each and every friend who congratulated me, over SMS/Phone/Facebook and directly. Thanks a lot people. It meant a lot to me. 

As I was on the way to Career Launcher, all alone, I was finally able to show out my emotions and cried on the way. And those were tears of joy. Redemption for the tears of sadness from about 4 years ago.

PS: More posts coming soon ;-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mastermind V2.0 : The MDI Interview Experience

The last interview of the season - MDI. I had my doubts, whether to attend the interview or not. Whether to join or not etc; but I put all of it behind and convinced myself that MDI is a good institute to join and anyways, I wasn't doing much either, sitting in hostel and there was a sudden void in my life, with the rush-life from the days of Editorial Board suddenly missing. 

Went to Delhi by Tamil Nadu Express and my 'cold' returned to haunt me the moment it sensed the 'Delhi Weather' and I had to keep blowing my nose through out the night; though part of it was to irritate the guy sleeping on the other upper berth. He was bloody damn irritating, from first look - unfriendly stares, not switching the light off when I told him it was irritating me, to placing his darned luggage on my berth and not removing it when asked to. 

Day went from bad to worse when I got 'fooled' by one of those many travel agents outside Delhi Station and went to this 'Great Shiva Deluxe' hotel. The only problem being there was nothing 'Great' or 'Deluxe' about the hotel. And the 'Bhajan' sessions at the 'Banke Bihari temple' right opposite it, made things worse if not unmanageable !! The voice of the old lady is still ringing in my ears. Terror!

And Delhi is pretty much Bhopal when it comes to lazy hotels. Nothing can really beat Chennai's hotels which start serving at 7 AM easily. After a bath in terribly salty water, which left me yearning for something nice to taste; I was shocked to see every single hotel in the area near the station closed! The only thing that was open was a tea stall, and I had to make do with the Tea Stall Idli, though I should say it was pretty good. 

A crowded and delayed metro ride later, I reached MDI campus to see one guy earlier than me (Interview was from 2 and it was 12-30 when I reached there). So chatted up with him. Then other people came over. Had a surprise when a couple of them said they had read my blog. :-O. Never knew my blog had that big a reach. (Thinking of starting another one for just personal rants given that this is no longer personal space where I can say anything and everything)

The process started at about 2-15 with 7 people present out of 10. The process consisted of a GD and an interview. 

GD Topic : India 2020 - Poor and Shining
The topic was pretty general and I thought I gave in a few valid points though there was scope for a few more entries. There was this guy very similar to my good friend at college, Pritish Roy who kept throwing in these amazing stats and reports and new ideas at every instant! Felt he was pretty extra-ordinary. 

Then the wait for the interview and somehow I didn't want to be the 5th in the slot this time as I've always been. My prayers were answered and I was third. The panel consisted of two profs. 

P1 - Cool dude, T-shirt wearing prof who was after me
P2 - Formal, normal prof who was pretty chilled out
& of course, Me.

P1: Come in, Come in.
Me: May I come in? (Just for courtesy's sake :P )
P2: Yes, take a seat. 
Me: Thank you sir, good afternoon. 
P2: In brief tell us about yourself, Shrinivas
Me: Sir, I am Shrinivas .. (and the normal blah blah about PSBB, NIT Bhopal, Hobbies) .. Sir, I have been a quizzer from a very young age, and have won prizes in many quizzes including the ESPN School quiz.
P1: (Cue for him to start his attack) Ok, A R Rahman. How many Grammies has he won?
Me: Sir, he won 2 grammies. Both for Slumdog Millionaire. 
P1: Didn't he win more last year also?
Me: Sir, actually the Grammies for Slumdog Millionaire were presented to him after the Oscars and stuff, last year. So those are the only Grammies he has won till date. 
P1: Hmmm. What is his real name?
Me: Sir, Dileep Kumar. A S Dileep Kumar. 
P2 (Laughing all the while)
P1: Which is the only continent where lizards cant be found?
Me: Sir, I am not sure, but if I can take a guess, logically speaking, it has to be Antarctica. 
P2 and Me laugh aloud. 
P1: Hmm, you said you were good at quizzing. This is why I asked you all this. 
P2: Okay, carry on with your Intro. You were telling something about writing. 
Me: Sir, I like writing, I am part of the college Editorial Board and have been maintaining a blog for the last 4.5 years. 
P1: (Still not done with taking my case) Editor .. Hmmm .. Spell .. (Pauses to think of the toughest word he can think of) Massachusetts.
P2 breaks into laughter once again. 
Me: Sir .. Hmmm Hmmm . .M.A.S.S.A.S .. Sir, I'm not sure, sorry. 
P2 : Okay, what do you like writing about? 
Me: Sir, initially I started out with Film and Music Reviews. Later on I've started writing about general stuff too. 
P1: What films? Hindi? English?
Me: Sir, Regional Movies. Tamil ones. 
P1: How many Filmfares has Ilayaraja won?
Me: (Woah! This guy!!) Sir, I'm sorry. I dont know. 
P1: Do you atleast know who he is?
Me: Yes sir, of course. 
P1: Vikram Seth?
Me: Sir, he is the Indian Author who wrote 'Suitable Boy'
P1: What is his most recent book?
Me: I'm sorry sir. 
P1: You said you are a quizzer but dont seem to know stuff!
Me: :-D .. (Gave my best possible smile)
P2: Have you written for any magazines and stuff or just on your site?
Me: Sir, I initially started out with writing for my blog. People came to it through Google Search and later on I got an offer to write for a Tamil Actor's Fan Magazine as well. (No! No! I'm not lying, seriously!!)
P2: Okay, go on with your intro. 
Me: I also like watching Football, Cricket and Tennis sir. 
P1: (I wont leave you at all!!) Hmmm, Football. Who won the World Cup last year?
Me: Sir, Spain won it. 
P1: You know Argentina? Till which stage did they reach?
Me: Sir, the Quarter Finals. They lost to Germany 4-1.
P1: Who was their Coach?
Me: Sir, it was Maradona, who won the World Cup for them in 1982. 

Edit: I realised my mistake that it was Paolo Rossi who won it for Italy in 1982 and Maradona was in 1986, the moment I completed my answer. But the 'Wow, right answer' nod given by my interviewer didn't want me to apologise and change my answer. And I reproduced my answers verbatim here, without corrections. 

P2: Okay Shrinivas, so why do you want to do an MBA?
Me: (Well rehearsed answer, refer previous interview posts)
P1: You want to come here to learn football? What do you want MDI to teach you? To play football?
Me: Sir, I do not want to become a Football Manager, but I want to become a person in the financial Side of Football. If you take any Football Club, it has a financial side which manages the finances of the club. Basically a club markets itself and earns money through sponsorships, tickets etc; which the financial team uses for the various needs of the club like salaries and stuff. 
P1: But why an MBA for this? Why do you want to read through balance sheets and tough accounts and in the end go into football?
Me: Sir, Today if you see the IPL, each team has its team to manage the finances. It is the same with Football as well. Football in India is full of oppurtunities. 
P1: But still, how will MDI help you in this?
Me: Sir, after passing out, i want to work in a finance company for about 5-7 years. After gaining sufficient experience, I want to jump into the wold of finances. 
P1: Which are the biggest Indian Banks?
Me: Sir, in terms of number of branches and business it would be the 'State Bank of India'. 
P1: Sure? How do you measure business?
Me: I am not very sure about that sir. But an Ad of theirs in Economic Times said so. 
P1: Others?
Me: Down south, Indian Bank is huge sir. 
P1: I am asking for Indian Banks!
Me: ICICI is the biggest private bank of India sir. 
P1: What is the expansion of ICICI?
Me: Sir, I dont know sir. 
P1: You said you like banks and dont even know this??
Me: (In shock. When did I ever say that !!!!! )
P1: Okay, are you sure about this. Axis Bank has opened a lot of branches of late in urban and semi-urban areas. 
Me: Sir ...
P1: Leave that. What if in the year you pass out, no finance company visits MDI for placements?
Me: Sir, I would try off campus for a job in the sector.
P1: What if you do not get a job off campus either? 
Me: Sir, I will ..
P1: No, you dont. What is your back up plan?
Me: Sir, I have always wanted to get into journalism. Few years back there was this idea about a football magazine that was online. I'd probably make that dream come true on paper. 
P2: What is the point of doing an MBA? You seem a pretty artistic person .. Writing, movie reviews and all that. Why dont you get into publishing a novel and all? It is pretty lucrative these days?
Me: Sir, writing is only a hobby of mine. And I can always do that, even when I'm doing something else. What I want to do now, is something I want to do really. 
P2: Why MDI?
Me: Sir, it is one of the top 10 MBA colleges in India. It has a huge alumni network, excellent faculty and facilities ...
P2: What is your percentile in CAT?
Me: 99.27 
P1: What other calls do you have?
Me: Ahmedabad, Indore, Kozhikode and the new IIMs. 
P1: How were the interviews?
Me: Sir, Ahmedabad was neither too good, not too bad. Indore was pretty bad and Kozhikode was the best of them in my opinion. 
P1: Ok, what would you choose between Kozhikode and MDI?
Me: Sir, I have not yet thought about it. I don't want to count chickens ......
P1: (Interrupts) No, I am forcing you to choose now. 
Me: Sir, IIM-Kozhikode sir. 
P2: Thank you, Shrinivas. You may leave. 
Me: Thank you sir. 

And thus ends the Interview phase of this MBA season. Results are expected to start trickling in from the week starting April 18th. Hoping for the best and wishing all other aspirants reading this, All the very best too :).

Monday, April 4, 2011

That's it folks! Thanks for all the memories, EB

It was the last day of the 1st year - the last theory exam more like and I saw this bunch of seniors running around carrying bundles of books from class to class. The first year had been an eye-opener in terms of bringing me back to earth in this college (MANIT) and I hadn't even been thinking that the college had a magazine, leave alone a good one at that. School days, were spent among a bunch of ultra talented guys, which didn't give me much scope to display my talent. Pick anything, and there was always a whole lot of people better than me in that - the same with writing and hence I never got a chance to be a part of the school magazine, though I had a lot of dreams to be a part of it. 

Going back to the tale, I met one of my seniors there, Gautham Siddarth - a fellow PSBBian, who was among those guys running around. And he said it was the college magazine - 'Excelsior'. I hadn't got a copy due to my extreme hurry in getting done with the exams and hence I picked one from the bundle he was holding and it kindled a lot of thought. I had earlier taken part in a creative writing contest conducted by the Ed Board and had found it pretty interesting too - the topics especially and had thought, 'It'd be cool to be a part of the bunch of guys doing this'. 

And thus began the endeavor to be a part of 'The Editorial Board' or EB, as it is more popularly called. 2nd year's Ed Search saw me in my most pathetic writing mood, and despite nursing mild hopes, I did not make it to even the interview round. I forgot about EB totally as the magazine didn't come out as well, that year due to various issues as I later found out.

The next year, I had sort of grown disinterested to life in college, and didn't want to overload myself, as I had my 'CAT' aspirations to take care of as well. But then, a then 'good' friend of mine, Kumar forced me to give him company to 'Ed-Search'. It'd be cliched to say the rest is history as I haven't achieved so much being a part of Ed Board. But I'd say, the rest has given me possibly the best memories of college life, and has taught me a lot and has improved me as a person tremendously. 

I got through to the interview round and after a half-good and half-bad interview, I discovered that I had been selected to be part of the Editorial Board. I wouldn't say it was a dream come true, as I had a lot of apprehensions after the then Chief Editor and my now idol, Rahul Ramesh's speech warning that EB is a tough job etc etc. But I thought, let us give it a try. 

The first few days/weeks/months were tough on me as I found it tough to be a part of the new environment and adjust myself to my new found busy schedule (The college literary fest - Ripple was happening at the same time and we had to get out the last year's magazine as soon as possible and start working on the new one as well, so things were pretty tight). When that magazine came out, it was a wonderful feeling, but I felt something was missing as I could not contribute anything substantial to that magazine. 

Work on Excelsior 10, began soon after, and despite the heavy workload, I found I was enjoying it. Here's a sample. We were supposed to be interviewing alumni as a part of the Golden Jubilee Edition, and my task was to contact a list of 5 alumni and interview them. Being a very very introvert at that time (and even now), I was very scared as to what to do. But that fear was overshadowed by the fear of being screamed at for not doing work by Rahul Ramesh and that was the start of things for me in the EB. The first interview went bad, after being shouted at by a politician pass-out but the next few ones went wonderfully and soon I got into the groove of interviewing people and started loving it. I had also started feeling a part of the team by then, and things went on wonderfully well. 

There were a few black spots when I got very angry, when I had to get shouted at by one very paranoid teacher (HoD) for no apparent reason, which pissed me off terribly. Also there were times when I felt very overloaded as well. But the joy of seeing our work in print and the positive feedback from people, was unmatchable. 

It was farewell time then, and I had become sort of close to a couple of seniors like Rahul Ramesh, the chief and Advaith, the main designer. 

Pretty soon, it was Ed Search time again, and by then I had started to feel at home in the Ed Board. Mayank Misra, was pretty instrumental in that. And it is more down to him, for whatever work I did. (Thanks mate, if you ever read this. I admire you tremendously). 

The new batch of Eddies were pretty talented too, and work started on Excelsior 11, pretty soon, after some 'work' on the souvenir. I don't know, or I am not able to identify down the lane, where I pretty much got so attached to Ed Board, that work seemed such a pleasure to me,and more often than not, I was looking for more work to do.The fact that Mayank Misra, gave me such a long rope, put up with all my trebulations, encouraged me and I found the guy very approachable as well. And not to forget Kumar, who gave me company anytime, anywhere despite the guy's added workload being a part of the TPO (Mate, you are another person I admire a lot, probably the person I admire THE most). I might be bragging here, but I guess I did do a bit to make things more systematic or rather was given the chance by the Big Boss to do my bit to make Ed Board a little more systematic.

Time, has since then passed or rather rushed past and today, as I was making my farewell speech in the Good Ol' Humanities Class room, I got rather sentimental, and decided to do this post. For all that Ed Board has given me, a wall post (that has now become a note) on Facebook doesn't do justice. 

Whether Excelsior 11 is a success or a failure (I really hope it is a magazine that everyone loves), it will be a magazine very close to my heart. Editorial Board, as a whole, will also be something I really cherish having been a part of. For the little that I have given Editorial Board, it has given me plenty back. 

It made me a more open person, from the terrible introvert that I was. (I can already see GK laughing reading this. But then you haven't known/seen much of me before. So you wont know how I was before EB)
It taught me how to manage time effectively. Whatever I did in CAT, I put it down to being a part of Ed Board too. If not for the EB workload, I wouldn't have done this well. (No, I'm not bragging here. Sorry if it sounds that way)
It taught me to work as part of a team, and Mayank Misra taught me how to get work done, without screaming at people. (It also taught me to survive without lunch, and sometimes late dinner as well :P)
It's made my thinking, writing and ideating much better. Or atleast, so I feel. 

It's given me much much more, but it also taught me to keep things precise and still convey the point. I have clearly not done that here. And so here I stop. 
Last but not the least definitely, it is a place that's given me such spectacular memories, I'll cherish for life. It gave me my two best ever friends, Kumar G Vishwanath and N Vaishali Aakarshya. It gave me a few wonderful friends like Mayank Misra, Pritish Roy and Geetanjali Kaur; two people from whom I respect tremendously and learnt a lot from - Prateek Upadhyaya and Varun 'Sleepy Eyes' Sathees. And my favourite junior ever - Prateek Dwivedi. It also gave me my idol in life, Rahul Ramesh !

Thanks Editorial Board Manit !! :). Will miss the place.A lot.

And good luck, Mayank Sarkar and Prateek Dwivedi. Keep EB Rocking. :)

PS: Sorry, for such a long post. Especially if you found it boring.