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I would like to begin by thanking Sreeni Sir for guiding me and showering me with his words of wisdom. So, the story begins during my sophomore year at IIIT Guwahati. I started to read about the stock market and developed an interest in it. I went on further and discovered there is so much more in the world besides coding. I participated in a start-up pitching competition and came second. That was my first experience in learning about a business, how it operates, study its financials and get into the shoes of a founder and study every other dimension of the business, like supply chains and whatnot. I started exploring more and more about the business models of various companies and their

modus operandi. I read about tons of companies in various diverse fields. I was enjoying this and eventually started to think how exciting it would be to start a business from scratch. How exciting would it be to think about the operations of the business, how the business would earn, what would be the goals, doing the market research for the same. Then finally out on the streets, meeting new people, knowing more about the industry, creating some nice marketing campaigns, analyzing them, changing strategies, and adapting to the consumer behavior.

All of this intrigued me so much that I finally came to a decision that this is what I would be doing in my life. I decided I need to enter the business world and at the same time start something of my own. After some talks with my father, we decided to start our own little venture and I was super excited. I put my heart and soul into it, developed the complete business model, budget, CapEx, marketing campaigns. I was enjoying what I was doing and then suddenly the world came to a halt because of Covid and so did our little venture.

It was the month of March, and I was at home, doing nothing but reading all these covid related news. I realized I have sufficient time and I should utilize it by preparing for CAT to pursue business education to take my entrepreneurial path. I will be able to manage my business in a much better way with some educational experience of it. Hence, I started preparing for the CAT along with my regular BTech. Classes were now shifted to online mode.

I started with solving CAT-2017 Slot-1 paper for the first time and I realized I could not even solve 1 full reading comprehension and most of the questions went like a bouncer for me. I was able to solve just 1-2 questions (and not the complete set) in the DILR section and performed averagely in the Quants section. I knew there is a long way to go. So, I started with quants first as I thought it would be easier for me to get a good score in quant and tried to go through all the chapters by solving around 200 questions per chapter. Next came the DILR. I struggled a lot in understanding how actually things were going around in this section but finally, it started to look easier. After a month of rigorous practice of DILR sets, I was able to understand how to at least start a given set. For VARC, I started reading some good articles every day and tried to comprehend what exactly the writer wants to say in all those. This course continued for the next 5-6 months. I took CL’s mock test series which helped me a lot to get used to the new 2-hour CAT paper.

Finally, the D-Day was around the corner, and I was pretty confident about my quants but was absolutely dicey for my DILR section. Once the actual CAT was done, I was unsure if I would even be able to cross the 90th percentile. The results were out soon, and it was to my utmost surprise that I scored a 99.57 percentile in DILR and 98.12 percentile overall. I was delighted seeing this and finally started preparing for my interviews. I did start revising my entire BTech syllabus and thought only if I had studied all of these at the right time, my life would be so much easier now. Apart from this, I started giving at least 1-2 hours every day to read all the happenings in the world through different mediums.

Finally, the interview dates were approaching, and I thought of taking some professional guidance when I joined CL’s course again. I would always be grateful to have Sreeni Sir as my mentor. The first interaction with him was an eye-opener for me. In the entire 1-hour interaction, I was not able to answer even a single question asked by him. He suggested I should go through the fundamental subjects of my bachelor’s once again, pick a few subjects of my interest and be thorough; and read the world happenings with much more details. I started taking notes and wrote about every possible landmark event that I could think of especially in geopolitics. Besides this, I dug deep into the Indian economy and the related government initiatives, all as per the guidance of Sreeni Sir. As I started to get things clearer in my mind, I became much more confident overall for the upcoming interviews.

The results- I converted every call I had received except XL (HRM), and includes all the CAP IIMs, MDI, and a few other institutions. Here I am, looking at the entire past one year, I feel like a different person now altogether. I feel like being a fresher I would be undermining my own caliber and hence I have decided not to take admission this year and go for a job with a start-up. I will work hard for two years, gain some valuable experience and come back after a couple of years, ready to fight this little war again, with greater learnings and experience.

Now that I know what my gaps were during my first CAT attempt, I’ll try to fill those first –

  1. Study with keeping in mind a larger picture in mind. Have a vision. This, according to me, is very important for all future CAT takers.
  2. CAT is not just about practicing but it is about changing your lifestyle; completely dive into that. What I mean is while preparing for the VARC section, let us say, it is not just about solving some comprehensions,
    1. It is about understanding what every piece of article is trying to say, reading between the lines and,
    2. what is the author’s opinion and hence, eventually when this becomes a part of my daily life, nobody can stop me from acing an exam testing my lifestyle.

CAT or IIM is not the final steppingstone but just the beginning, beginning to something huge, in my life. So, all my efforts from now on would be keeping in mind the long-term objectives of mine.

The past one year, especially because of the pandemic, taught every one of us something or the other and changed the perspective of our lives because of the uncertainties present in it and I really hope this ends soon. I would like to thank my family, friends, and my CL mentors who helped me learn so much in the past one year.


Anivrat called me again yesterday, on my morning “Phoneline Open” invite, long after writing this story of his, as every friend of his and also mother has been telling him, that he might be making a mistake wishing to take CAT again later to go to A B C a couple of years from now, instead of joining MDI this year! He called me to seek my affirmation that he is on the right path. After a long chat, he felt that he is confidant that he will realize his vision. Apart from interacting on quite a few dimensions around this, I asked him whether he gained anything out of the stories that are being shared by others under “Achievers Speak.”  He told me that he has read every story and got even greater confidence that he is on the right path, since there are many who failed multiple times, yet made it to their dream institution in their second or third attempts. And, he told me that he will be an entrepreneur that he always dreamt to be, very soon!

Sreeni !

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