Sunday, June 13, 2010

When My Dream became a Reality

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It was the summers of 2004, final year of college, when appearing for CAT crossed my mind for the first time. I remember attending a free session on CAT for newbies. The guy giving the lecture was trying to explain how difficult it is to make it to an IIM. There were 160 odd of us sitting in that conference room and he said "In a typical CAT scenario only one out of you will make it to an IIM". At that point of time i was like "Dude, are you nuts" (I said that to myself). I tried calculating the probability of me making in decimals and i fumbled after the first zero. While the guy at that point was saying "Typical IIMer finish long calculation in less than a minute, for which we mortal beings require calc. (For that calc effect blame it to my 2 years of dumb IT job).

We were doing our summer internship/design projects (read doing absolutely nothing) at that time so joined coaching classes along with a dozen of batch mates. We used to go to the class early morning after a typical engineering night out (ah, how badly i miss those night outs now).

My first impression about CAT

Quant: Now this is what is gonna be my forte. Being a 100/100 marker many times in school and being an engineer, quant is gonna be a cake walk for me.

DI/LR: My logical abilities are great. But these calculations in DI, gosh!!! i missed my calc so badly.

Verbal: Being a Bihar boarder, studying in hindi till 10th, this sure is gonna be a tough nut to crack.

CAT's first impression about me

Quant: Oh this guy thinks he is very smart. Let’s give him back. He will struggle to clear the cut offs, constantly.

DI/LR: This guy can not be more right.

Verbal: So what if you are a Bihar boarder, your grammar is all right, your reading speed is great, just finish off the Norman lewis soon.

Within a month, I had stopped attending the classes, I found them useless. I had suddenly found a new interest in "Movie Making". Was spending hours with camera and editing the movie clips.

After the summer was over, I had finished 3 chapters of Norman lewis, a few mock cats and 6 short movies. Come October, the big news arrived. Our (team of 3) movie had been nominated to Berlin short film festival in micromovie categories. And expectedly was followed by 15 days of fame (yeah, we were on newspapers, tv, internet). In November we were to go to Berlin to attend the festival. Did somebody ask what happened to the CAT 2004.

CAT 2004: 87 Percentile

Come 2005, Joined HP along with dozen of batch mates. Nothing much to say here. With little enthusiasm, joined a test series, mock scores were again like previous year, varying from 80 to 98 percentiles. Didn’t ever bothered to look back into the mock papers once I took them. How bad it cost me :( .

CAT 2005: 94 Percentile

Year 2006, Frustration grows. Still at HP. Joined a coaching classes this time but hardly ever attended it. Was there only for Mock CATs and also didn't miss any free opportunities by the biggies. We were group of 6 friends slogging it out together. We were also doing mock cats at home other than those on Sundays. I relied on the strategy of postmortem of mock cats. Will always miss cut offs in one of the sections with over all being pretty descent. As the C-Day was coming near, scores were increasing but so was the nervousness. How badly I wanted this year to count was evident.

Took a week long break from work just before the exam. Didn't have the stamina to study in last 2-3 days. The C day finally arrived. Could hardly sleep in the night, was nervous like hell. Tried not to pay any heed to "all the best" messages, but those messages and phone calls were making me believe that the occasion was much more larger than i had initially thought. I was burdened with all those best wishes and pressure to perform. Was trying all those "tips to cool myself".
  • Taking deep breaths
  • Drinking glasses of water.

Was kinda convincing myself, "Let it just start once, you'll forget everything else". And it indeed did. I started with Verbal (had followed the strategy of giving 40 minutes to it, and 55 minutes each to DI and Quant all through mocks). Since the going was tough, gave full 50 minutes and attempted almost all. DI seemed walk through and so looked Quant, untill disaster struck. (It all seems so funny now :P) Never ever in my life I had such an urge to go out and have a pee. I in fact checked out the possibility of it during the CAT paper but expectedly wasn't allowed. Last 15 minutes were unbearable, left the paper with my heads down, was trembling, almost tears in my eyes. 15 minutes in a CAT paper are too much to be wasted, was going to realize it later. After the paper I rushed out for the nearest loo only to find a long queue there.

 Fast Forward to January 2nd, 2007

CAT 2006: 99.46 (DI: 97.04, VA: 99.96, QA: 90.70)

The scores looked pretty descent, with doubts over the quant score.

IIMA comes out with the calls. Rejected.
IIMC Rejected, B Rejected, L Rejected.

Quant score had me in big time. Finally Indore gave me a call (I still remember the sigh of relief I had). K Rejected (Couldn't believe).

All just doesn’t end here. XAT scores: 99.67 (DI: 99+, VA:87+, QA:98+) but no call from XLRI either. To top it all when MDI declared its GD PI call list, my name didn't figure even there. Though after repeated phone calls and mail exchange they finally gave me a call, and in JMET at rank 429 calls from IIT B and D would have been a miracle only.

Time for final results

SPJAIN: WL 4 (finally converted)
Few days back i booked a railways ticket to my home town: WL4

And after painfully agonizing wait IIMs came out with their results.
I remember I was literally hitting F5 every second on the IIM result page the day it was out. And probably I was the first one to see the result as well.

Opened the result page, was trembling while keying in my registration number, hit the RESULT button, and here it was..

Registration No.

You have been selected for admission to PGP (2007-2009) of IIM Indore.

And there it was. A mix of shock, excitement and don’t know what. I just punched my fist in the air and everything after that was a blur. Was unable to think or speak anything. I had made it to the one of the most coveted institute of India.

My DrIIM had come true!!!!!!!

Vishal Jalan
IIM- Indore

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