When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it – Paulo Coelho: Asha, XLRI HR Class of 2023.

I have gained inspiration through journeys of others during my bad days. I hope that sharing my CAT journey would inspire married women seeking to join workforce after a gap, husbands who want to encourage their wives to take charge and parents who want to shred the stereotypes by supporting their girl kids.

I am Asha by name, born and brought up at various cities in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. I graduated from NIT Jamshedpur in the year 2017. Like everyone my end goal of B.Tech was to get placed in a Dream Company. I grabbed a PPO and worked with Tata Steel for two years. I got married in 2019 and decided to pursue my passion ART by leaving the job at Tata Steel after my MARRIAGE. So I relocated to my Husband’s location Ramagundam.

I explored different fields in painting but I realized that I wanted to have a challenging job to keep me motivated. Being said that I had enjoyed a year fully immersed in art developing content on my Instagram.  After one year I narrowed down the options in front of me. I preferred learning than going to same job profile. It was not at all an easy route coming to the decision while knowing what lies ahead. It involved many brainstorming sessions with my husband and friends. Eventually I figured MBA journey could give new opportunities in different fields. With all the gained courage and support I started MBA preparation in June that is five months before CAT exam.

The fear of failing in CAT exam has stopped me from giving CAT earlier. But I said to myself that if              “Others could make it I can make it too”. Many said that I am complicating my life by jumping in to this race. I was not confident at the start but I pushed myself. Seeing that determination in me my husband, family and friends too made my goals as theirs and contributed their part in my CAT journey.

I got 40 percentile in my first mock. I couldn’t even go through half of the paper. It was my first reality check. It took so much time like literally 6-7 mocks for me to increase my percentile. I was depressed after every mock even cried sometimes too. I charged myself by watching favorite TV series and talking to people. Then I started afresh again. Take breaks in between.  Find something to calm and motivate your mind. In all the videos I have seen people started pressing on mock analysis. At the start mock analysis took a lot of time i.e, 2-3 days as I was not familiar with all concepts. But I made sure not to miss any. I realized the time spent reduced gradually. I also researched about how proper analysis should be done. It helped me save a lot of time and also improved my quality of analysis.

Being an engineer, QA has been my savior in all exams.  In QA my percentiles drastically improved when I started focusing on time saving methods. After getting familiarized with all topics I sat with my husband and solved problems without pen and paper like a mind game. This has significantly improved my speed.

Asha : “My support system” 🙂

VARC and DILR both have been my night mares. Going through only selected topics helped me in DILR. As I am not much into reading books, I always scored below average marks in VARC. Learning how to skim a paragraph and practicing many RCs have helped me a lot.

 I have tested different approaches for three sections. Testing helped me to find the best strategy. At the start I could solve hardly a set in DILR.  I have followed a strategy given by Arkss and Gejo sirs. That was to give equal time for every set this gave more confidence to solve a set and time wastage reduced. Watch videos by different mentors, try different strategies and find out which suits you.

I never scored above 80 percentile in mocks but I did not stop giving. Indeed there were many sleepless nights and counseling sessions. At some point I even felt I would not be able to make it. But I never thought of quitting the game. Having given many mocks I realized the importance of giving exam with a free mindset. Actually I was diagnosed with Typhoid a week before exam. It was a blessing in disguise for me, as I did not take the exam pressure much in the last days. Revised some topics but mostly watched some tv series on days before the CAT exam. With very calm composure I approached the D-day. I gave my best and got my best …95.3’le in CAT and 96.6’le in XAT.

There were many days filled with confusion and anxiety where I lost the path to the goals I have set. There have been tough days where I had to juggle between household work and preparation. Pandemic struck the world in between. No physical classes to at least have a competitive environment.  Relatives and neighbours were skeptical about my journey. But my passion and the support system  kept me sailing through.

I couldn’t clear sectional cut off of VARC (74.77 le) and hence did not get any call from BLACKI and other top schools. Rest got all calls from CAP, XLRI, IMT, NMIMS, 3 IITs and IIM Rohtak.

Interview prep:

Having a gap of 2 years that too because of marriage I was not sure of how to answer Why MBA and other questions. Then I joined CL PDP. That 3 hrs session with Sreeni Sir brought confidence in me and made me see life in bigger picture. PDP has given me the strength to be honest about my journey. It has taught me to self reflect on my life. After attending many mocks and video lectures my business knowledge and also approach to HR questions improved. I am grateful to CL and other mentors that I have converted 15 out of 17 calls I had. THANK YOU sir for being there to sort out all the confusions and showing a clear picture of life. I am all set to explore the opportunities ahead…. currently en route to XLRI.  

Believe in the process and do not take mock scores to heart. You will find a way to reach goal, remember Universe will help you. So KEEP GOING.

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