Saturday, August 15, 2009

Success Srories 2 (Motivational and Real Stories of CAT Success)

Anupam Majumdar, IIM Bangalore, Batch
of 2006-2008

PaGaLGuY Username: anupam will return

The story of an average guy who dared to dream
I was never interested in CAT. In my Engineering days at Institute of Information Technology,
Calcutta (IIIT-C), I always aspired to be an IT nerd or should I say programming Geek! I’d my eyes on GRE. The trend then was work under a set of distinguished Professors, take the GRE when you are fully prepared, apply to the US Universities and then get a big chunk off your expenses using those coveted recommendations. My target was no different. But then what drove me to CAT ?

I found some of my classmates glued to IMS/T.I.M.E material right there in the second
year. Holla ! what was that?and what exactly was CAT ?
One of them replied: you don't know CAT ? ( with a big frown on his face! ) CAT is supposed to be an extremely tough exam (realized later, CAT’s nothing but an extremely hyped test). You crack it and you make your way to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Managements. Wow. Sounds attractive but why the hell should I pursue it ? After all, I always
wanted to become an IT nerd! My NDA dreams still disturb me…
I always wanted to be in the Air force. I knew being the only child of my parents I would be
discouraged, but what the heck. I decided to take extreme steps..
When I was in the 11th standard, I purchased the NDA (National Defense Academy) form, appeared for the test, got selected and was called for an SSB
interview for the Indian Air force at Dehradun. Went there, aced and got selected! And all these without caring to inform my parents!
Gosh! When the final call letter came, I got the bashing of my life. And for the first time in my life I cried. This is what I wanted to be.

Coming back to CAT. In the third year of Engineering we had to do a summer internship in
an organization. I’d offers from Price Water House Coopers and Tata Consultancy Service
Limited ( well wasn’t a Limited then) and was very sure to do it from PWC. But one of my pals came to my room one lovely evening and told me.. “Hey, ditch PWC, we’re going to IIM A!”
My reply : “IIM A? pagal hai kya ? what am I supposed to gain from there? I need corporate not
IIM exposure” Somehow this pal of mine convinced me to ditch the corporate offers and join him. So here we went. Come June'03 and we were on our way to the
Mecca of Management!
All it takes is just 2 months. No more. I still remember my first reactions when I stood
right in front of IIM A. The reaction of a “wow” on my lips and an “awe” in my belly.
The next two months were breath taking. Me and my pal were put up in one of the dorms of IIM
A.The work load was extreme to say the least, but fun never deserted us. I took my time to make a lot of wonderful acquaintances there. I saw people running with sandwiches clubbed in their mouths and hands in their zips; trying to zip the last thing before entering the classrooms.
Aw! what was this?
“We’ve a surprise test now, will catch u later” was the reaction. I was dumbfounded. The next 15-20 days, I made it sure to take some time out of my work and observe the life of an MBA student, and the results were tempting!
The two months at IIM A were good enough to motivate me for CAT. Now, since I’d to do
something filmy, I went to a rock ( they call it the CEO’s rock primarily because most of the IIM A junta sits there and sips tea ), touched the rock and promised to crack CAT! (To be very specific I promised to return to IIM A; only this time as a Post Graduate Program (PGP) student)

My first MOCK. Quant + DI are my strengths!

Motivated, I returned to IIIT-C. This time with a determination to crack the CAT. Now what was the first thing to do? Take some material and start over? Nah. I decided to follow what IMS would ask us to follow.
So, one fine Sunday morning I set off for the nearest IMS center to take the preliminary test. The test was modeled on the pattern of CAT 2002, and I spent one hour with Quantitative Aptitude and the next one hour with DI/LR.
"2 hours up. Now Students please calculate your scores and let us know. Please note at this stage
even if it’s a 20 you should be glad" was the announcement.
10-13 people took the test and their score hovered around the 15-25 mark. I calculated my score. It was an encouraging 44.75 ( with a negative marking of 0.25 ). “Wow,” remarked the counselor,
"did u take CAT before?". “NO “ I said with a broad smile. Oh boy, was I to crack CAT without any preparation?
The counselor asked my sectional breaks:
I replied : 23.50 in Quant and 21.25 in DI. The smile on her face trimmed down to a frown. “What about English?"
“English. why the hell should I go for English when I can score in Quant/DI ?"
What followed was a hoard of laughter (and it still rings!) Never had I felt so embarrassed before! The counselor explained to me that in CAT I need to perform equally well in all three sections; only then will I be eligible for the IIMs..
Afflicted and determined. I returned home.

CAT’03 : The prelude to my CAT expedition.

I enrolled for the IMS Simcat that year. Since I started preparing on August ’03, I had had very
little time to go through the basics. Honestly speaking I touched nothing of Quant/Di. The only
thing which I worked on was RCs and a bit of vocabulary and grammar.’
I never performed excellently in my mocks, but I was consistent. I usually hovered around the 97 to 98 percentile and could clear the cutoffs only on 2 occasions out of 8! (thanx to a section they call verbal ability! )
Then comes D-day and with it Goosebumps, henpicks, turkeysnippet and everything else.
The paper was given to us, the first thing I did was to smell it! At 11:00 am sharp, the invigilator said
11:35 am and I was still stuck with verbal ability. Would you believe it? didn’t touch a single RC by then. I could sense sweat everywhere. 12:00 pm done with verbal ability and one RC (so
much for English & reading speed). With one hour left I had two sections but the best part was, they were my strengths.
12:30 pm done with DI – attempted 26 questions.
1:00 pm done with Quant – attempted 25
I quickly checked my attempts : 26 + 25 + 32
(English) = 83 attempts!
With a feeling not so good. I made my way back to my hostel. Was disappointed for not performing well in English. As soon as I reached my common room, someone came shouting : “CAT’03 stands canceled, thanks to Ranjit Don" : another forum on the wall ?

I knew God won’t give me any better chance than this. Here I screw CAT and the test stands canceled
what more can I ask?
I have this habit of surfing the net during my free time and on one such occasion I bumped into an interesting forum named The name struck me. 'Pagalguy', sounds cool, maybe some resemblance. "Let me check this", I thought And what did I find there? with some 400-500 odd members, here we had an MBA forum which discussed almost everything under the sun! whoa!
that’s my cake!
I found Gods like philiptj (100 percentiler), puneet(100 percentiler) and many more who posted
on the forum. Now I needed to jump in. What was the first thing? well create an ID and register.
So here it went: My first id on :
I used to spend most of my time reading about how was created. (thanks to Allwin), CAT’03 scores, strategies. Slowly I started getting involved into a lovely community. It was so much fun to take a mock and post your scores and analysis; and the interaction was of high quality.
Then we had wonderful threads where we usually had heated discussions. was a part of life now.

CAT’03 : the retake

“I may fail once, now that God’s given me an opportunity, let me make best use of it.”
These were the words I said to myself when I entered the exam hall.
11:00 am sharp we started answering. I discover Quants/DI was tougher than the previous time
while English looked the same!
11:25 was still stuck with verbal ability. "What the hell, was I going to repeat the same performance again?" “YES” I did!. I repeated the same
11:55 pm done with English ( full VA and two RCs!) with just 65 minutes at hand, somehow I made hay of the other two sections. My attempts : 21 (Quant)
+ 27(DI) + 34(English) = 82 and another performance to crib!
As soon as I left the exam hall. I could hear people shouting: “I attempted 105, arrey I 110 and so on”.
I knew I hadn’t done well! With a lot of courage I calculated my score later
that evening :
Quant: 14
DI : 21
English : 14.33
Overall: 49.33
All coaching institutes came up with their analysis with cutoffs at a strict 58 plus for at least one IIM ( IMS went to extremes declaring 78 plus for at least
one IIM call).
That night I wept. All my aspiration were going down and to add to my woes, I was so confident
that I had skipped the placements at my institute.
SP Jain & MDI to the rescue
97.33 (99.40 in DI, 96 in Quants and 78 in English) was bad. I mean pretty bad considering I’d
my eyes on the IIMs. However I got calls from MDI and SP Jain. I attended the interviews since I’d applied to them. I was elated to know that I could make it to the merit lists of SPJ and MDI.
For a few moments I let go of my IIM aspirations, first attempt at CAT and I could get into two of the best institutes in the country. Wasn’t it an
That evening, I called my pals at IIM A and informed them of my results. They were happy but
one of them said, “Good. But don’t u think you can give CAT another short? Remember your promise”
I soon realized my promise. All my joy was out in seconds. I knew I’d a mission to accomplish.
anupam will return : boy! what a strange Id? Those days we had this ‘points’ concept on PG
wherein you could add colours or sparkles to your online profile on PaGaLGuY in exchange of points.
The points were generally earned and we had some generous divas who actually donated them too! One could also change his user id in exchange for
3000 points and this is exactly what I did.
Overnight vision_mission vowed to return for

CAT’04. This time as: anupam will return!

Final year in engineering , the first thing I wanted to do was to get placed and then prepare for CAT. I needed a company which could offer me a cool life.
After some analysis I chose TCS.
I also felt the need to network, form study groups and go on with the preparation. Being in Calcutta I knew very few people from PG there. Most of my
time I’d to be online on PG trying my hands at the Quant threads/ verbal ability sections.
One day I come across Praveen Agarwal (whocarez) a Pgite preparing for CAT’04. The platform was set..
I enrolled for the T.I.M.E AIMCATs this time. I felt the need to enroll for another Mock CAT series and hence enrolled for CL too.
Every Sunday we had AIMCATs and every Monday whocarez and I used to meet and spend the next three to four hours analyzing the paper at Barista or CCD outlets. They issued us regular
membership coupons for our cinematic visits! This group study thing worked. My performance in the Mocks skyrocketed. The first 8 AIMCATs, I got into the top 100 on six occasions (and cleared the cutoffs every time!)
Consistency is the key to success and I was proving it again and again!
18 mocks in T.I.M.E : I got into the top 100 on 11 occasions.
10 mocks in CL : I got outside the top 100 only once!
I was pretty sure I was going to make it BIG this time. At nights I used to sleep and imagine the
same Rock at IIM A. I knew I was getting close to my dreams.
I was soon placed at TCS and had to go to Trivandrum for my initial learning program. Ten
days into my training (in October), one night I got a call from my mother: My father was ill and I would have to rush back home.

CAT’04: Turbulent times…

My father was serious but thanks to the almighty he was recovering. CAT had slipped out of my mind for some time.
12th November: I realized I’d to rush to Khozikode for my CAT. After all I’d spent two years preparing for it.15th November, I made my way to the spice
capital of India.
CAT’04 had this one and two markers which tested our on the spot judgment skills as well. I remember the day. It was one of the worst days of my life.
I always thought DI and Quant were my strengths.
CAT’04 proved me wrong!
This time I completed my verbal ability in 20 minutes and went on to attack DI ( supposedly my
strength! 99.40 in CAT’03). But alas! What is this DI? I misread a one-marker caselet in DI and spent 10 minutes there without attempting a single question. The pressure was mounting and I had attempted a paltry eight or nine questions in 30 minutes. I was sweating. Never ever in my life had I come under so much pressure in a comfort section.
I cursed T.I.M.E/CL/IMS for not introducing me to such a pattern! But I had to attempt questions, curses could come later on.
Jittered, I moved to Quants. The relatively easy Quant section helped me cool down my nerves.
Once Quants was done I moved to RCs and this time completed three RCs in 25 minutes. With just ten minutes remaining, I moved back to DI. The next 10 minutes were nightmarish, couldn’t think of a strategy to attempt the DI section. “Shame on me," I said under my breath.
1:00 pm : “STOP” was the call. I knew I’d come up
with another award winning performance!

Pune gets a son. I a family

After my Initial learning program at TCS, I was asked to move to Pune. A new city, new friends,a new environment were all I needed for a recharge. I resolved to continue with the combined study group formula. With whocarez getting into IIM C, I knew this formula was a sure success. The need of the hour were some like minded people.
The first person whom I met in Pune was Sachin Kadam (Govi ). A guy who by appearance looked the academic types. "Wow seems I’m going to enjoy some serious gyan session now," I thought.
Together we penned down a plan to form a study group. The way to find people would be through a Pune PG meet.I heard from Govi that Pune PG meets were usually dull with very few people turning up every time. We resolved to change things this time. So the stage was set for the first ever Pune PG meet of 2005!
At the same time I got a PM from someone named
Aarav (Rahul Sharma).
“Aarav.. hmm.. who the hell’s he?". I remember coming across so many PGites but Aarav? Had
never even heard an 'A' of him before. The Mystery shot off when we met. I was sitting in
Barista with the legendary Ghulam (a.k.a Aarav ) a person whom I respected ( and still do) for his moral and ethical values (not to mention his
The first Pune PG meet was a big success and helped me get in touch with some really serious
aspirants : Govi, itsrahul, Catalytic, Jackal,Subu, Aarav and I.
I got the family that I had always wanted!

Way to CAT’05! Fun, frolic and a friendship to

Pune PG meets became the routine of the day. Every week we had a PG meet with most of the
regulars turning up and everytime we had this burst of newbies who seldom came the next time!
The first All India PG meet was held in Essel World in Mumbai. Pune was well represented by
Manpreet, Aarav and I. It was a wonderful meet! I met the likes of Allwyn(pagalguy), Apurv, Subu (urMad), Sowmya (Simba) amongst the biggies..
I made two new friends : Monil (reachmonil) and Rohit (estranged_gnrs).
I was impressed by Monil & Rohit. Their attitude, positive to the core. With a gleam of determination in their eyes I could feel these ones are for the big future!
After coming back to Pune, we had a meet after every MockCAT, with Aarav’s home being the
preferred destination; thanks to his bachelorhood and location advantage.
Tied up by a hectic schedule, Sachin made it a point to pay us a visit whenever possible while
itsrahul was at his very best with accuracy in mocks. Both Govi and itsrahul are very similar
when it comes to demeanor. They were both the corporate types.
And it was fun! Studying at Aarav’s house till late in the evenings, rounding that off with a movie and then back again. It was a full night out with INMO

Hyderabad chapter: A geek and a clown meets...
well... another clown!

Office front my work load was increasing and I’d to sacrifice my appraisals for my CAT aspirations. I was soon shifted to a new assignment which
required more than hard labor. My new assignment forced me to land up in
Hyderabad. My formula had to continue there too; thus I bumped into a geek (Aditya aka HAHAHA) and a clown (anandv).
It was a lot of learning from the two; be it attempting five RCs in 25 minutes or attempting
MockCATs in 90 minutes! Competition was something these two guys taught me. Not to forget
those analysis sessions when all of a sudden the clown would crack the weirdest of PJs and bring
down the mood of the discussion to more bearable levels.

CAT’05 : The grand finale.

I wasn’t more prepared this time. Realistically speaking, I was more mentally strong this time. I
knew lady luck had been eluding me for quite sometime but if I remained patient and persevered, my goal was not far away.
The moment I saw it was a 90 question paper, I got this in my mind that the paper would be slightly tougher than the previous ones and the focus
needed to be on accuracy.
I always started off with English (as this was not only my weakest section but also the section where I marked more number of bubbles in the least time), I gave some 42-45 mins to English and attempted questions worth 41 marks. I did have this feeling that I may not end up with a
satisfactory score in this section but thanks to my pathetic accuracy (ended up with a net score of 17.66) I decided the only way out for me was to attempt more number of questions.(People strong in English will surely come up with better methods
of tackling this section).
Next, I came to my strength: Quantitative Aptitude. I realized I had more scoring opportunities in the two markers, hence gave 20 minutes to the two markers and attempted six of them. The next ten minutes were spent with the one markers where I attempted just six questions.
My net score in quants in 30 minutes was 15.33
(got one two-marker wrong).
Now I had 45 minutes in my hand. I decided to move on to my next strong section: DI and LR, but for a moment thought I needed a better score in English, hence moved back to Verbal. With almost all questions answered in verbal, I found I hadn't answered the Derrida RC (my BIGGEST mistake!). I spent some 6-7 minutes on the RC and to my horror found none of the questions answerable! I decided to mark one answer (went for a blind fluke!
: mistake number 2). I realised I'd around 35-36 minutes left for DI. CAT'04 I was murdered in DI.. for a moment I thought I was going to repeat that performance yet again. I again found that there were one markers and two markers present here.. Although the two markers were more scoring, I decided to attempt the one markers first ( to give me bits of confidence). Spent some ten minutes there and attempted questions worth seven marks.Next, I moved to the two markers. Since I had 25 minutes left, I first attacked the tennis caselet and finished it off in ten minutes. Next I went to the Olympic caselet, spent some three to four odd minutes there, but couldn't make much sense of it. For a moment, I made up my mind to take my chances and so some guesswork but Holla! CAT'04 performance's haunted spirit stopped me from doing so. Next went to the UP/Bihar caselet and cracked it just in time.
My net score in DI was 15.33
I knew I’d not done as well as I wanted it to be.. Frustrated.. I wrote down a suicide note. A note
which made me famous.
The response to that note was tremendous, even today when I sit back and remember those days, I get emotional.

2nd January,2006 - I end up with BLACKI. Alas lady luck smiled.. The results were declared at 12:00 am on 2nd January. I didn’t have the guts to check my results, the man on mission – Aarav ( the man with golden lips ) informed me of my calls.
I was overjoyed, punched the air a la Brett Lee, but alas my joy was short lived. Most of my study mates (Aarav, Govi, Monil, rohit,,teesra) couldn't make it to the next stage.

Next comes Vengeance: The GD/PI journey

It was sheer fun, waking up at 5:30 in the morning, strolling my way across Banjara hills and waiting for Aditya (HAHAHA) and his bike. He seldom came
on time.
The two of us used to go for T.I.M.E classes at Secunderabad. Attended GD sessions and
analysed our performance while returning. That was good!

Refugee at Mumbai!

Networking has a lot of merit and refugeeing at estranged_gnr’s place proved it right!
For all my five interviews I must admit I troubled Rohit and Vijay (teesra_banda) with food, internet and sleep; Beers must have enjoyed those paranthaas, not to mention Aryak!
“I thought Chicken pox affects only kids” says shrikanthk well I agree I’m an exception and heard just then, kool’s the second exception!
11th April,2006 : I rested on my hospital bed, away from with every hour. I grew restless.
Results tomorrow. "Will my fate be sealed tomorrow? Do I have the courage to contest for one
more year?"
That night I got a phone call from Aarav, a typical Rahul Sharma type: “Hello Sir, kya hala chaal hai ?”("Hello sir, How are you?")
I knew this was one guy who made me feel good for the first time in three years. I knew he had another mission.
“Man on a mission, 12th april kal hai and you are going to let me know my results. No matter what happens, good/bad, you are calling me and informing me”
Man on mission : Aye sir.. as you wish!
Redemption or .. The Return!

12th April,2006.. I still lay in my hospital cabin..
Aarav’s call wakes me up at 12:06 am..
“Congratulations Sir, you’ve done it! IIM C both PGDM & PGDCM”
I woke up. Was it a dream? No, it wasn’t. My CAT journey had ended. I couldn’t believe it!
Joy and tears compounded me. Another Brett Lee puncho!
Morning, Aarav came up with the remaining results: that of B, L , I and K. My story with CAT
comes to an abrupt end!.. but I shall post more pretty soon..

PGites whom I’ve not yet mentioned but owe a
lot to
Vahgar : For all the support you gave to me in
torrid times. You stood by me when it mattered the
Dr.Watson : Alas, very few people would be lucky to
have roomies like you. You sacrificed a lot for me.
Still remember those days when I would be
studying in my room and you would do everything
in this world to make me comfortable.
Somneel : You just rock dude, if I’ve learnt
perseverance, it’s from you. Now rock IIM C and
Merryl Lynch!
estranged_gnrs : (I agree this one is a repeatition!)
Thanx for all those days when I was put up as a
Refugee at your place. You rock dude.
teesra_banda : My Indian Idol , a person who got
selected in IIM L thrice and rejected it thrice. You
are for the Big one Vijay. Keep rocking!
Rest of : I still read my suicide note, a note
which arguably made me famous on I can
never forget the amount of love and support you
gave me. You guys deserve the best in life! All the

-Vengeance (once named awr)
PGPM Batch of 2006-08,
Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

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