"With CL's PDP Pesonalized sessions, B-school interviews no longer gave me nightmares."
I am Himani Malik, an engineering graduate from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology. I graduated in 2014 and have been working with Sapient Consulting for 3 years now. MBA was on my mind even during my graduation, but because I had a low grad score, I thought of working for a couple of years and then going for an MBA. Though you gain a lot of exposure and industrial knowledge by working, it gets very tough to prepare for CAT along with your office. Cracking CAT during the final year of college is the easiest bet. As one goes into professional life, it gets very tough to manage studies. So my recommendation is to prepare for CAT in your final year. After getting frustrated with my job within a year, I desperately needed an MBA to advance my career. At this point, I thought of taking CAT in 2015. But I could not manage a good percentile in my first attempt. CAT 2016 was my last attempt at CAT, and it was a do or die situation. The main problem was Verbal Ability. I merely scored 75 percentile in my first attempt. So my aim for entire next year was to focus on Verbal. I took GMAT classes, firstly to improve my verbal and secondly to take GMAT along with CAT, in case I failed at the later. The first 6 months I focused entirely on Verbal, taking up mocks to maintain my Quant and Logical Reasoning level. After taking up GMAT in July end, I started preparing for CAT, this time focusing on all three subjects and regularly taking 2 mocks each week. Though there were times when I ended up doing blunders in mocks but it was important to keep going and analyzing each mock, making sure you do not repeat a mistake.
The most important aspect in CAT is time management, choosing which sets to attempt and which ones to leave, trying all possible permutations and combinations in every mock you take and finding the best strategy for yourself. Finally it was the D-day and it was utmost important to stay calm. That's the only trick for the day. Rest all shall follow.
After an eager wait for a month and preparing for GMAT applications side by side, I got a 97.3 percentile. Though it wasn't great but I was still expected a few calls. The next step was GD/PI rounds for which I knew the PDP program of Career Launcher conducted by its founders. I had even thought of joining it before the CAT result was out as CL's CAT Percentile Predictor predicted my percentile to be around 97. And bingo, so was it. After the result, I enrolled for the PDP Personalized session. In this program, a mentor is allotted to you based on your current profile, mentor being one of the CL founders.
The first session of PDP P was taken by Sreeni sir. It was based on goal and vision for the upcoming 2 months. The session was quite impressive and enlightening, changing my entire vision about the journey ahead. Though the course focused on cracking the GD/PI rounds, it teaches you much more than that. It's not about just cracking the interviews, but about introspection of why do you eventually want to do an MBA. The major question you face in all interviews is why MBA? And until and unless you know the answer, you had deeply thought about it, introspected why you want to do it and what your bigger picture behind an MBA is, you cannot convince the panelist to take you.
The most useful aspect of PDPP is sessions by your mentor and mock interviews which prepare you for the worst scenarios. I had 4 mock interviews, the first one being with Sreeni sir. The mentors force you to see deep inside you, what you actually want and your positives and negatives and how to overcome them. The subsequent mocks are with different mentors, so that you can be assessed by different people and on different aspects of your personality. My all 4 mocks were completely different, each one giving me a unique perspective about myself and what not to end up doing in an interview. The B-school interviews no longer gave me nightmares as I had already faced the worst versions of them in mocks and the journey became more and more interesting along the way.
All in all, it was a unique and delightful experience. Though I couldn't convert my best call (XLRI), I made it to MDI and I am waiting for a few more results. It's always tough in the start, but if you dream of this day, like I did, of writing my entire CAT journey for the future takers, and eventually living it, there is no better definition of success. All the best everybody for your future endeavors.