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2 Friends, IIT Roorkee and 99 Percentile in CAT

preparation-for-CATEvery business school aspirant dreams of getting 99 percentile in CAT, one of the most coveted management exams in India. However, only a handful of people realizes this dream.What drives these people? What motivates them? What does it take to be in the top 1 percent of India?

Meet Nagendra Rawat and Yogesh Mehra, who would unveil these answers for you, and more! Nagendra and Yogesh are best friends from their engineering days at IIT Roorkee.Post their graduation, Nagendra started working for an infrastructure design firm followed by a political consultancy, and Yogesh for a civil consultancy.They both were extremely motivated about bagging a degree in business, but their approaches to that goal were poles apart.

Presently they are pursuing their Post Graduation from MISB Bocconi – Bocconi India, and love each moment there!

  •  When did you start your preparation for CAT?

Yogesh: I always knew I wanted to do an MBA, so after a few years of working I decided, it is the right time to start with my preparation. As I was working simultaneously, I had limited time for preparation, so I made it a point to start early.

Nagendra: Just like Yogesh, even I always wanted to do an MBA. Hence, I took CAT in 2013 and got a 98.98 percentile. However, I did not want to settle with that score, so I started studying right after the CAT result in January 2014.

  •  What was your strategy while studying?

Yogesh: Systematic and structured scheduling was my strategy. I spent most of my time doing exercises rather than studying the concepts in these two areas. I devoted ample time to the verbal ability section to achieve the same degree of proficiency I had in the other sections. I finished my syllabus in September and invested the remaining months in taking mock tests, as that is an essential part of one’s preparation.

Nagendra: My strategy did not have a strategy. I did not plan on what to study or have a schedule. I studied what I fancied that day, changed subjects when I thought I was getting saturated with one. I practiced only by the medium of mock tests, as that improved my accuracy as well as speed.

  •  Any cheat sheets that you could give to our aspirants?

Nagendra: This is a trick that both Yogi and I followed, we made a special notebook in which we noted down each question that we felt was difficult, or applied a concept in a different way. Right, before we gave any mock tests we would go through this notebook. This was an excellent way to learn from your mistakes or keep a tab on all aspects of a concept.

  •  What were your mistakes while studying for CAT?

Yogesh: I can speak on behalf of both of us about this. Being from one of the best institutes in India, you have a set standard in your head for your self. So while giving the mock tests we were very hard on ourselves, we developed ego issues with questions. We used to make a big deal out of missing out a single question in a test!

Nagendra: (Laughing) I would just like to clarify, we both still attempted all questions in CAT hence we do not have bruised egos!

  •  Did you ever expect to get a 99 percentile?

Yogesh: At the risk of sounding pompous, I knew I was getting a 99 percentile on the tenth question I attempted in the test. I would attribute this confidence only to my level of preparation and hard work and nothing else.

Nagendra: By now you would know that I am not a thinker, hence I did not expect anything. Though, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my score.

  •  What calls did you get?

Yogesh:  MISB Bocconi, New IIMs, FMS, MDI, JBIMS

Nagendra:  MISB Bocconi, XLRI, New IIMs, FMS, MDI, JBIMS

  •  What is your advice to the future aspirants?

Yogesh: I would like to tell everybody to assess himself or herself. Do not follow anyone else’s strategy blindly. Each person is different and has different strengths and weaknesses. Make your own strategy. Nagendra has got the same score as I have, however if I had followed his strategy I wouldn’t have been where I am.

Nagendra: Absolutely! Study hard and study smart. You can’t be accurate or fast, you need to be both!

  •  Why did you choose to join MISB Bocconi?

Yogesh: MISB Bocconi is the only offshore presence of Universita Bocconi Milan – which is one of the oldest and the most prestigious European University.MISBBocconi’s Faculty comes from SDA, professors like Robert Grant the management guru of strategy, and guest lecturers from around the world visit the campus!Further the exchange semester at Bocconi, Milano is an opportunity I did not want to miss out. MISB Bocconi believes in granting tuition waiver to all those who get an impressive score and have a strong profile. I received a very good tuition waiver.Hence, MISB Bocconi is a perfect choice for me.

Nagendra: I agree with all the points put forward by Yogi. Besides those, I would like to add that the teaching methodology is in line with any international business school. The studies focus more on the application, teaching through case studies, lectures by guest faculty, etc. Also, lecturers from all prestigious business schools in India come to teach us different courses. It is like we have the best of both the worlds!

Being situated in Mumbai, we get exposure to a lot of opportunities and do live projects, intern or work in the industry.

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This Post first appeared on InsideIIM

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