posted by www.sreeni.org
It all began during college days when an introvert, entered IIEST, Shibpur with a dream of getting placed in a top IT company. But a dream without any plan is just a wish. I was completely mesmerized by the thought of going to college and living independently. This was my first time when I was going to live with no restrictions. I spent my first semester exploring and enjoying Kolkata with my friends. As a result, I got my first supple (failed) in Mathematics during my first semester. This failure hit me so hard because during my school days, I was very good in Mathematics and never got marks less than 90%. Though I failed in a subject, I never considered myself a failure. I bounced back and after that I always tried to maintain a balance of academics and extracurricular activities.
In my second year, I became very active in clubs and events which were organised in my college. I was also part of our college’s technical fest, INSTRUO, which is the largest technical fest of Kolkata. I used to volunteer which helped me to become a more outspoken person and challenged me to do things which I never was able to do. I was always judged by people just because I was differently-abled but I never paid attention to what they thought of me. I kept on doing my efforts with a mindset that these things will help me to come out of my comfort zone.
Finally, in the third year, a new phase started, this time it’s a dream not a wish, a dream to become a successful business tycoon. From volunteering in second year to becoming the Finance Head of INSTRUO in third and fourth year, managing cash flows for the fest, handling sponsors, interacting with people and guiding my team members, made me realise that I love doing this responsibility. Though, I spent a lot of sleepless nights full of stress but never felt tired of the responsibility. This was the time when I started thinking about giving a new direction to my career, i.e. from technical to managerial. I started preparing for CAT 2019 but it was a disaster. I wasn’t able to concentrate on studies and hardly able to manage time because of being a Finance Head. In the final year, my friends were preparing for placements but I was not interested in going for technical roles, sitting in front of a screen and coding the whole day was not what I wanted to pursue.
Later, when my parents got to know about my decision of not taking a job and aiming for CAT 2020 without any backup (job offer), they were not happy with my decision. And then the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, people started losing their jobs and the havoc created by the pandemic was attacking the mental health of people. It is rightly said that “Out of adversity comes opportunity.”. I took advantage of the pandemic and convinced my parents to let me give another try to CAT.
I enrolled in Career Launcher and utilized this time sitting at home and sincerely focusing on studies. I started my preparations in May, 2020 approximately six months before CAT 2020. Initially, I was struggling a lot in VARC as my comprehending skills were very bad. Unlike most of my friends, I was never fond of reading novels so I asked Gejo sir for help and to guide me. He told me to start reading more and more articles from Aeon Essays, Smithsonian Magazine, etc. regularly. This habit not only improved my comprehending skills but also my reading skills. I used to solve topic tests and section tests daily and a mock every Saturday. I made an excel where I used to analyze my mock scores and weak areas. I remember a mock in which I scored around 45 percentile (overall) and I got so frustrated that I closed the tab without even analyzing my mistakes. After a week, I analyzed and realized silly mistakes that I made. My teacher told me that “Do not take mock scores to heart, instead believe in the process and work hard. Magic will happen on the final day.” And from that day I never paid attention to scores but kept on working on my mistakes.
As I am differently-abled (suffering from cerebral palsy in my right leg), I faced a lot of challenges mentally not physically. I will tell you a case briefly. When CAT 2020 registrations started my father wanted me to register for CAT as a PWD candidate, but I didn’t want to. I was never so open about my disease to anyone, neither my friends nor my family. I always think that people will judge me and taunt me that I got things pretty easily. But this was never the case. I never accepted this reality and always tried to run away from this. To date, I am fighting with this thought so that I can finally accept my true self. No one talks about mental health these days. I firmly believe that our society needs to change its perception of mental illness.“If we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist, then maybe we’ll leave the world a better place than we found it.”-Russell Wilson, which I started believing whole heartedly.
Moving back to the point (Sorry! I got a little bit carried away), so on the D-day, my slot was the evening slot (3rd slot) and I was very nervous. I tried to keep my phone off so that I couldn’t see messages from people who gave their exam in the first two slots. But I couldn’t and ended up getting more anxiety. Some were saying VARC was tough, some said DILR sets were unexpected (instead of 4 question sets we got two 6 question sets and the rest 4 question sets). I gave my exam and was pretty happy though I could have planned and executed things better. After the results were out, I decided to join PDPP course to improve my WAT, GD and PI skills. In January 2021, I joined the PDPP course by Career Launcher and got ARKSS sir as my mentor. He told me to write an autobiography mentioning every good and bad thing about me so that he could help me to prepare for my interviews. I had my first interaction with him where he asked me some questions about me to get a better picture. ARKSS sir motivated me a lot so that I could be more open and talk to people more frankly. ARKSS sir also scheduled more mock interviews with other mentors so that I could also handle stress interviews.
My first interview was of IIM Calcutta, I remember, the night before my IIM C interview, I was mugging up all the current affairs and revising some of the subjects from engineering days. But the interview (of approx. 20-25 min) went very chill. Since I had lived in Howrah during my under-graduation and the panelists being Bengali, we were having normal conversations about life in Kolkata and how it can be improved. They also asked me about my friends and whether I had any involvement with drugs in hostel. My first interview went very good. All other interviews of IIMs were sort of mixed, some went really good but in some I was also grilled. Of them my worst interview was of IIM Lucknow. The two panelists were acting devilish and were laughing after every answer I gave. I have mentioned travelling as my hobby and they asked me to tell rivers in Goa (I was in shock for a couple of seconds. In my mind I was thinking, who travels to Goa to see rivers?!). I never thought that such type of questions can be thrown. So after sharing my experience of IIM L to my mentor, he reminded me again to mention those things in the front of panelists in which I am pretty strong at and can handle any vague questions with perfection. I used to follow YouTube channels for daily affairs and to keep up with the stuffs happening worldwide. This whole process helped me and has given me a lot of self-confidence.
On the day of Holi, I had my IIM Bangalore (Business Analytics) interview scheduled at 3 p.m. I was about to sit for the interview but then I heard someone screaming and weeping. I got to know that my grandmother passed away. I never thought that the day of colours will one day become colourless in my life. During the interview I was completely blank. Next day was my IIM Kozhikode interview which also didn’t go very great. But eventually, I finally got success and converted IIM Kozhikode, IIM Indore, IIM Shillong and other baby and new IIMs. After got waitlisted at IIM Culcutta initially, finally Joka calls! IIMC, here I come!
I would like to thank my family, friends and Career Launcher team, especially Arkss Sir and Sreeni Sir (who is behind all the courage I have gathered to write this openly) for supporting me.
posted by www.sreeni.org