My Selection was inevitable because of CL’s PDPP – Saurabh Shubham, XLRI and SPJAIN convert

PDPP has been of immense value to me. When I cleared the written exams, CAT, XAT etc., I had no inkling regarding how to commence my preparation. There was so much to read, so much to prepare in a short span of time. I had to prepare for all the recent happenings, I also had to  remember important statistics to quote during WAT and interviews. Besides all this, I had to prepare for all the HR questions which might be asked in the interviews. To sum it up and I am not exaggerating, it is a huge task to prepare for all this in one month.

I joined PDPP of Career Launcher, as soon as my XAT was over. This programme is so IMG-20190112-WA0028comprehensive that even if you do only the minimum that this programme asks of you, you would do well in the interview process. I had to first write a comprehensive essay about myself at least of 2500 words. I also had to answer around 10 questions regarding myself in the PDPP section of the CL website. Combined, these were more than sufficient to answer almost all the HR questions. If you spend enough time and write the essay and those answere diligently and honestly, your half of the preparation is done.

We also had a telegram group where we regularly discussed the current affairs topics. Sreeni sir made us join “BodhiTree” a telegram blog(sort of) where he shared important current affairs articles from various sources. Once he shared 20 hot topics to prepare which was so important that almost nothing was asked out of it in the interview process. In fact my WAT and GD in many processes went well due to those 20 topics. PDPP also provides you with mock GDs at your local CL centres.

Then I had a personal interview on skype with Sreeni sir. Though, PDPP provides you with 2-3 interviews with mentors, but if you follow the above mentioned process diligently, one interview is sufficient for you. The interview is catered to address your personality and profile specifically. I was asked questions from my work area and general current affairs some of which were asked verbatim in the actual interviews, later. Overall, I understood the gaps in my preparation and also got to know my strengths. The mentors are extremely experienced and knowledgeable and the mock interview experience is as rich as the original ones.

After the mock interview, Sreeni sir asked me which interview is first? As I replied SPJIMR, he told me you would crack it. You have prepared well. And I got selected as he had predicted. Later I also converted XLRI.

To conclude, I would only say that the idea of preparation for MBA institutes interview processes is daunting to say the least. The interview process is extremely grueling at times and if you have not prepared well, you would suffer as a result. What PDPP does is provide a structured guidance to your preparation, boosts your confidence.

  • It channelizes your time and energy towards things that are important so that you maximize your time utilization.
  • It also taught me how to prepare for any interview in my life.
  • It tries to make you visualize the bigger picture. What do you want from MBA, from your life?
  • How would the new technologies impact the different sectors and how would you align your goals with respect to these massive changes. Trust me, this is one of the biggest differentiators between you and other candidates. While the rest of people would talk about present challenges, you would be talking about changes 10, 20 years later and how would you relate these technological changes with the present.
  • The biggest change in my personality was my confidence. I was so confident during my interviews due to my preparation that I was smiling throughout. I remember that I was shivering during the interviews last year. Such was the positive impact of PDPP on me.

PDPP may not ensure that you crack the interviews on the D day but it will definitely ensure that you are one of the best candidates to be interviewed that day.

Thank you Sreeni sir for all the guidance and help. I moved my life in the direction in which I wanted to and a big part goes to PDPP and you. It would seem to many people that I got selected and thus I am praising the programme. I would like to mention that my selection was inevitable because of the preparation that PDPP provided.

Regarding written exams, I took two test series. You can take any two though I would personally suggest CL to be one of the series  because of LRDI and VARC sections. In the months of April and May I solved CL booklets for CAT which really helped me clear all the doubts. From June, I started to take mock tests and sectional tests. If you are starting now, I would suggest you devote two months for covering all the topics. From August you should take full length mocks. Till December, I took around 45-50 full mock tests. It is important to clear all the doubts however small in the initial stages so that later you can devote your time strategizing and planning time management. For VARC, I studied Economic times, The Economist and Hindu editorials daily. The Economist really helped as it covered different topics. Quant is a matter of practice and LRDI is all about patience, practicing different sets and understanding the question under time pressure. I hope it helps future aspirants in some way.

Regards
Sourabh Shubham

Converts XLRI and SPJAIN 2019

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Change your actions, you will transform your life – Mukul, an IIMB convert, CLite

Hi Sreeni Sir, hope you are doing well!

Sir, since I am doing this for the first time, please ignore anything silly! I hope that I am able to convey my thoughts and my journey within the limited spectrum of words that are out there because sometimes words are not enough to express all the emotions and experiences we experience in our life and also that it inspires other aspirants to take action to achieve what they want in life!! Here it goes,

Somewhere back in May 2018, about one year ago, I read this somewhere, “We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome”

My journey, from preparing for CAT till the interview process, is a tale of self-realization and the importance of necessity in one’s lives.

It’s been a funny year for me! I was a sad and demotivated software engineer working for an unorganized IT company where politics had more role to play than software development itself. Meanwhile, a very close friend was preparing for CAT. I remember, very clearly, I was on a midnight con call with my ‘bros’, one of them was the CAT guy, the other one was GRE guy and then there was me, unsure about my own capabilities and sad with my professional life, when they said that it’s not necessary to stick to one organization and suggested that, maybe, all I was looking for was a change!

The word ‘change’ struck me. Indeed I needed a change in my life. Now the question was, what kind of change? At that time, I never knew the answer would change my life forever.

So, as all mortals do it, I googled, How can I change myself? I found this, ‘CHANGE YOUR ACTIONS, NOT YOURSELF‘. Voila!!

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Yes. I was doing a lot of things the wrong way. I needed to take charge, analyze the weak areas and work on them. And, yes, stop being unkind to myself and start loving and appreciating myself more for all the things I already had. I NEEDED A MINDSET CHANGE!

I spent the next week making a list of things that were not present in my life, or I felt needed to be worked on. The list had things from both personal and professional life. One of them was how much I sucked at managing everything and my dream of becoming a top executive one day. With my current job, level of expertise and qualification, becoming a top executive seemed like an unachievable dream. So, I starting researching about how I can make that happen. I zeroed in on MBA. CAT or GMAT? CAT, because, you know, MONEY.

Since I was working full time, I needed to manage my time well in order to make time for studying. Also, there was a need to go the quicker route as CAT was just 6 months away and all I could manage was 3 hours per day for preparation. The quickest way were mocks. Mind you, at this point I was counting on my memory, that whatever I had learnt in 10 standard hadn’t been flushed out of my head. So my prep started with giving mocks right from the beginning, then taking time out to analyze them and then just revising those topics where I was committing recurrent mistakes. For this I needed the best platform where the mocks were closest to the actual CAT exam and the analysis simple and easy to understand. I gave a number of free mocks online and Career Launcher had the best mocks to offer. So, I stuck to giving mocks on CL’s platform on a daily basis and I can’t emphasize enough how much it helped me. The post mock analyses really helped me in grasping quick problem solving skills that are of utmost importance for competitive exams especially for something like CAT. Along with mocks, I also felt the need to try questions that had been asked in CAT before. Here, my friend, who had been preparing for CAT for 2 years, suggested me a book he was using. It was topic-wise and year-wise solved papers from Career Launcher. I bought that book online and gave my heart and soul to CAT prep. I used to study from 11PM to 2AM. My prep went as follows, I divided the whole CAT syllabus into 12 topics, gave one mock from each topic, and followed it up with an analysis the next day which was followed by questions from the same topic from the book I bought. Rinse and repeat!

I would also like to admit that I kind of had a mental advantage because I was already working and didn’t have much to lose except for a few hours of sleep (BTW, Sleep is bae, so it was a lot for me).

My prep also included weekly discussion with my bros on questions that were unique in some way, or needed some help.

6 months of toiling paved the way for an excellent exam. I had exceeded my own expectations and so did my friend. The next day, or should I say midnight, I was on the con call and both of us were bragging about how good we thought we had performed and how likely it was that we would get in A,B or C. This called for celebration! Isn’t it obvious?

We planned to celebrate New Year in Goa, which then shifted to Gokarna, because you know, MONEY. We were ecstatic and obviously had a blast in Gokarna. We thought that we were the best!

Sounds really good isn’t it. A happy ending. Not really! Not yet!

Maybe, if you were paying close attention, you would realize my mistake. Somewhere between the post exam period and our trip, my confidence crossed its limits and I didn’t realize that.

It was mid-January, 2019 already, and I was under the impression that interviews would be a cake walk. I was a bit disappointed after I realized that I wouldn’t get a call from A. But, you know, my confidence was at such a level, or should I say, overconfidence, that I thought it doesn’t matter because I am gonna convert B anyway.

I was a bit reluctant initially, but on my friend’s aggressive insistence, I started searching for interview prep classes. I attended a few trial classes at various places in Connaught Place, finally zeroing in on CL. I got enrolled in the Personality Development Program Personalized at CL. I was seriously late because the classes were already in full swing (the batch starts in December and I got there in late Jan). But I was on cloud nine, and thought I was gonna rock it anyway. Idiotic me.

My first shock came in my first class itself because everybody were 99+%ilers in CL. Like everybody! And these people were freaking awesome. I was shocked. There were A, B, C call getters who had been preparing for interviews since Dec. I was no-where close to them. The kind of preparation tools CL had been giving them so far were excellent and they had made the most of it. And here I was! Lost in my own world! But I had done one good thing. I had joined CL and was put under GP sir’s mentorship. Words are not enough to tell how thankful I am to sir! My first mock was with sir. I was already late for the mock and was nervous. Sir suggested we start with the mock first and then we will do the analysis. Mock lasted for 15 minutes and I had bombed it. Now when I look back, I realize, I had it coming. I couldn’t even answer the basic questions. I remember it very clearly, after the mock, sir said, “Tumne toh puri tyaari kar rakhi hai apni calls waste karni ki, kahan the itne dino se?” I couldn’t have told sir that I was enjoying booz in Gokarna because my overconfidence took the better of me. Sir then made a complete timeline of all my life events and then he taught me a very important thing, “Each one of us has a unique story to tell and the ability to speak about it honestly and sincerely is what an interview is all about”. This advice changed everything for me. I took that sheet and started my prep. I took 20 days leave from office with a sole focus of getting to IIMB. Day in, day out, I used to stare at that sheet and make sample interview pitches. I then used to identify areas where I could be questioned, and I prepared for them. Interview after interview I kept on improving and by the time my IIMB interview was about to happen, I had knowledge of every domain that had a link to my life in some way or the other. This is what I got from CL. A strong foundation!

Now, here, I am, an IIMB convert, waiting to take on MBA with full power hoping that I am able to make my family and mentors proud. What did I learn? Never celebrate too early and remember to have an awesome mentor like GP sir! Thank you sir!

My advice to future aspirants, work hard, dream, make friends that force you to level up and most importantly never stop improving yourself. Your life is a story, make sure to make it the best one!

Sinerely,

Mukul Bagre,

IIMB Convert.

PGDM 2019-2021

Believing is Seeing : Have faith in your abilities – Priyanka Phukan, ISB Hyderabad

In the next part of the series, ,”Believing is Seeing”, I am going to carry a few personal stories of youngsters who have realized their immediate dream, of securing their admissions in their dream institution. I asked each one of them to write a personal note on

a. What are the key factors that contributed to their success

b. In what ways has the personalized program (PDPP) benefited them

c. What would each like to share with the youngersters who aspire to get into these institutions

Here is a note by Priyanka Phukhan, who is now at her dream institution, Indian School of Business (ISB), pursuing her MBA.

“An electronics engineer from MIT Manipal, I have worked in Philips India Ltd., in a sales and marketing role, handling projects in Tamil Nadu and NCR region. Working in Philips and garnering a host of experiences across different geographies helped me evolve as a professional and honed my interpersonal and managerial skills. After completing a two and half year stint in Philips, I decided to take the next big step in my career and pursue an MBA.

Although MBA was the brainchild that I had conceived during my final year at college, I realized the importance of having professional work experience before pursuing MBA as it helps us to grasp and imbibe the learnings taught in the program in a much more efficient way. Considering that I had prior work experience, I was looking at colleges like Indian School of Business and SPJAIN and a couple of Business schools in Europe.

Priyanka ISB GMAT

 

So with that goal in mind, I started my preparation for GMAT and CAT in the month of June 2016. Although balancing the preparation along with the job commitments was no easy feat, I maintained a very disciplined approach towards my preparation. I decided to take the help of Career Launcher material for honing my quantitative and verbal concepts. The entire coursework has been explained in a very lucid manner which aided me in gathering a clear understanding of the nuances of the subjects.  I also took regular mocks to understand and gauge my areas of weaknesses and strengths and strategically plan my next step. With each month of preparation and taking small steps towards my goal, I finally cracked GMAT in my first attempt in October 2016 with a score of 710.

The next step in the application process was to prepare for my essays and interview for different Business Schools. I joined the Career Launcher for the PDP Personalized course for interview preparation after my friend recommended it to me and it was a transformational journey thereafter.

PDP helped me in identifying my strengths and how to work on my weaknesses. The mock interviews aided me in articulating my thoughts in a more structured manner, which helped me in my actual interview. The regular sessions and snippets of current affairs helped me immensely in keeping myself abreast with the latest happenings around the world.  In addition, all the faculty members were very approachable and ready to help with all our queries. On the whole, the program helped me in gaining clarity over my long term and short term career goals and developing a holistic understanding of my profile and devising a clear road map to attain these goals.

Today, as I sit in my room in the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, sharing my journey, it still seems like a dream come true. The entire journey has definitely been a roller coaster ride with its own ups and downs, but each moment has been a learning experience and worth remembering.  For all the future aspirants, the only piece of advice that I would like to give is- Have faith in your abilities, introspect and learn something new every day, and mostly, do not get bogged down by your failures. Use them as stepping stones to success and enjoy and learn from the journey.

Placements after MBA/Management education – Q&A addressed for a leading daily of INDIA

From Students’ Point of view:

  • How does an MBA degree/PGDM bridge the gap between where a student is and where he/she wants to be in future?

Most aspirants look at an MBA/PGDM program as another degree that has greater possibility of landing them in a lucrative job. It is far from truth.

The critical question to ask oneself is – What is going to be my arena of excellence? What is my goal in the next 3-5 years? If an individual has a great deal of clarity and specific goals in mind, then most of the job is done.

An MBA / PGDM program is only a means to achieve that goal. If you have a compelling goal in mind, then greater is the possibility of you getting into an institution of repute, as you know that such an environment can make a huge difference in realizing your potential and your goal.

Convocation of class of 2013, IWSB

What does a good institution provide –

  1. An inspiring learning infrastructure and environment that is vibrant and thriving 24X7, through the year.
  2. Faculty of immense calibre and repute who are respected and connected in the industry
  3. A competitive eco-system where you come across groups of eager learners who explore immense possibilities. They are always on look out for opportunities. They keep pushing their own boundaries, while compelling fellow travelers to push theirs.
  4. There are too many instances to share wherein not only many a batch-mate but also faculty who have become co-travelers for life, starting companies and endeavours together, realizing the immense potential each one of us has within.

Look at the current entrepreneurial eco-system and the inspiringly successful stories that you read; most of them germinated in a campus, with co-learners as co-promoters.

It is not about a degree, it is about a space or a programme that initiates you into a journey of excellence, lifelong.

  • From the industry perspective, which out of these is better, a regular MBA/ PGDM, Executive MBA or Distance Learning?

The effectiveness and efficacy of a business management programme lies in its ingredients and structure – higher inter-disciplinary courses, intense interactions between the learners and a hands-on approach to business. This can happen only when the program is a regular one, where you are on a campus for an intense period of a year or two.

The choice between a regular MBA and an Executive MBA is purely based on the candidate’s present situation. A candidate with 3-4 years of work experience can go for an executive MBA and the industry is extremely welcoming to the products of both, regular and executive MBA. The B-school should be chosen wisely though.

Distance learning MBA programs / Exec MBA with a few contact-weeks could be of value if one has worked for a significant number of years. The conceptual learning added with intense contact-weeks where in you discuss and debate the possibilities, can act as a great cauldron to initiate a few ideas within the experienced, who can explore and experiment in their respective organizations. The process and outcomes can be of immense value.

Industry still seems to be skeptical about the Distance Learning MBA programs, especially if the takers are not experienced. With the advent of new e-Learning and m-Learning technologies, Distance Learning MBA programmes will gain more credibility in the future, especially in the context of experienced candidates.

  • What are the resources that students can expect from their college and faculty during the placements and their preparation for the same?

A good institution runs like a well-oiled machinery. The processes, both academic and non-academic, take care of building the vision and confidence in most candidates to chase their career and life dreams. It provides immense opportunities to explore and experience, through various live projects and internships. It also enables them to take failure in their stride; see them as a learning experience. Guidance, mentoring and support from the institution, faculty and even co-learners help them win through every challenge they face, placements are just one such. Of course a learning institution is always finding new ways to facilitate.

 

  • What are the short comings, if any, that the B-schools need to address, in terms of discrepancy in the talent pool of students & the skill-set required by the industry?

Most of the top b-schools are already aware of the skill-talent gap and are trying to match the industry requirements by way of having practical case studies, presentations into the course curriculum. Also the summer internship projects take care of the same.

Of course, every institution can create –

  1. Practices in the institution that can facilitate every student to be confident in the real world. Ability to introspect, being observant of oneself, taking initiative, eagerness to learn and ability to communicate are very significant factors for one to excel in career and life.
  2. Opportunities to dirty ones hands to explore, experience and learn the business dynamics. Entrepreneurial endeavours needs to be integral to the learning process.

 

  • What is the role of students in the placement committee? Ideally how should it be?

 

Students usually form part of the placement committee and interface with industry at the stage of inviting them to the campus and overall coordination at the placement time.

I keep wondering how many of these institutions really foster an entrepreneurial eco-system. That is the key to the future. Can we enable the students to create job opportunities than looking for an opportunity to find a job?

 

  • What are the things that the students must keep in mind during the interview process? (Pointers)
  1. Clarity of thought and goal – what do you really want to do in life? And then apply only to those companies that would take you towards realizing their goals.
  2. Enthusiasm – An extremely important factor that enlivens the interview process
  3. Honesty – At no point of time during the interview you should lie, brag or exaggerate.
  4. Presence of Mind – Mental agility is one thing that can make or break the interviews. Being able to comprehend and think quickly, certainly goes a long way. With good presence of mind, difficult situations can be turned into favorable ones.
  5. Sound concepts and logic – Especially for the technical interviews, it is extremely important to have your basic concepts in place.

 

  • Is there a way through which the candidates can make the recruiters overlook their academic records?

A bright future can light-up a dull past. Students should show exuberance and the promise of heading towards an exceptional future. This can only be done by having a solid and steady present. A student’s performance in the B-school is the only shroud that can blanket the dim academic records of the past. Clarity about your future goal, the path that you see and solid performance in the B-school can give enough indicators for the recruiters to look ahead than dig into your past.

  • Should the students consider an industry’s growth while applying or opting for a particular job profile?

This is a point of great debate whether the industry performance should be secondary to personal interests or not. Certainly, industry growth does matter. The saturation of an industry is usually a sign of less scope of innovation. But, it is also time for Industry to look for exceptional talent who can replace even multiple role-holders. When Industry is in bad shape, exceptional talents rise fast!  A student must be really good in what he does and be judicious in choosing the right job profile for him that more or less falls in line with his aspirations. If a student is from a top B-school, chances are less that he would succumb to the situation.

  • Which sector is hiring MBAs the most and what would be the future hiring trend?

One sector which has grabbed everybody’s attention is the e-commerce sector. The likes of Flipkart and Amazon have indulged in aggressive recruiting in the last one or two years. Lately, these enterprises have come across as major recruiters from the top B-schools. The colossal billion dollar valuations of these companies make them appear as an untamed animal on the prowl.

Also in demand would be the ever green profiles of – Technology and especially mobility which is playing a big role; Analytics is gaining importance.

In India, the entrepreneurial eco-system is just warming up. Instead of asking, “what is in demand, what is the salary”, one needs to ask, “Am I chasing what I really want to do?; Am I an eager learner?; Do I dirty my hands?; Do I have the same enthusiasm at the end of the day, every day?” These will be critical in entrepreneurial organizations.

  • What should the current and prospective MBA students do to increase their job prospects?

Being a keen learner in whatever space he is in, being abreast with the world, keep working on his people and leadership skills along with having courage to think out of the box in solution-centric approach..

Good soft skills are almost a must these days. Doing your work diligently needs to be complemented with effective communication of the same. That makes a complete professional who is ready to bear the responsibility of taking an organization ahead.

From Industry’s Point of view:

  • Do the recruiters have any preference in terms of a specialization?

 

Every business needs people from various backgrounds. Every specialization is in demand. It is the vision one has and the passion one demonstrates begets the positions. Have you ever heard of a Chief Belief Officer (CBO) in corporate world? This position was created for a deserving person in the FUTURE GROUP, find out!

Recruiters always specify their preferences in terms of specialization before the interview process begins. A BFSI sector company would most probably be going for Finance graduates. A consulting firm may be looking forward to take marketing or systems graduates.

Having said that, if you really want to be in a company, work on polishing the skills that is of immense value to that company and just go after the company. In today’s networked world, you will surely find an opening.

 

  • Are there any attributes which are specific to a specialization or an industry which the recruiters consider while recruiting? E.g. one must be comfortable with number crunching when it comes to Finance.

 

Certainly, the industry expects people who are good with numbers for the finance profiles and people who are more creative and crafty to look after the marketing in their organizations. However, in today’s world, an MBA of any stream should be proficient in multiple skillsets. For example, even Marketing is a game of numbers. The industry expects a Marketing manager to have a good level of comprehension of numbers and data.

 

  • How much weightage is given to the academic performance of a candidate by the companies?

 

For finance and consulting profiles, consistency in the academic performance is considered and valued. For marketing and systems profiles, this consistency may not be that important as some other attributes of the candidates may cover-up for any deficiency in the academic record.

 

  • A lot of MBA professionals are going for start-ups instead of big firms. Is it good or bad? What is the reason for this trend?

 

Young MBA professionals going for a start-up shows a great deal about their risk-taking instinct.  Not just initiating a start-up but also joining a nascent one is a sign of courage. There is no job security, a start-up may fail. It certainly is a good thing and even those who have failed ventures are regarded and appreciated by the industry.

My heuristics suggest that the reason for this trend, this exodus of students from the promising final placement sessions of their B-schools, is the hunger for innovation. This is fueled by the various possibilities, resources and the upcoming technologies.

What are the factors to be considered while choosing a B-school?

Choosing a B-school can be broadly done by judging 3-4 factors given below:

  1. Learning environment – How innovative and facilitating is the environment? What is the methodology, pedagogy of learning?. How hands-on is the program? Does it keep pace with the changing trends in the economy?
  1. Industry Reputation & Placements – understanding about how is the industry response during the summer placements and final placements. Finding what companies from which sectors are dominant in hiring from that B-school.This factor majorly determines how smooth a student’s entry into the industry would be.
  1. Courses and Specializations – finding the best courses and specializations of the B-school. Assessing whether they are in-line with the candidate’s aspirations or not.
  1. ROI – The Return on Investment evaluation should go beyond the monetary aspects. One must also see what the other are takeaways from that particular B-school.
  1. Location – This affects the kind of companies that hire and also the opportunities of summer internships.

What are the factors to be considered while choosing a specialization

If passion can become profession, nothing else is needed. The greatest challenge for every aspirant is to discover his passion and excel in that space pushing ones boundaries. You need to be special, specializations really do not matter!

Having said that, I must say that, students get a great chance of understanding what their calling is during the first year which has common subjects. For the self-driven and self-motivated this much time is enough to identify their specialization.

Apart from this, being factually aware of the type of job profiles offered to students of that specialization at that B-school is one factor that should be kept in mind. Students need to keep abreast with the current trends and the future prospects of the industry of their interest.

Find your Mojo….if passion can be your profession, what else do you need!

Respected Sir,

Today’s session of yours at South Campus was very motivating for me. You asked us to write about our future, target and goal once we get back home. So here I have a question how to realize what is our goal. Since past three years I m trying to figure out what are the things that make me happy, What should i aim for…. But i didn’t get any answer till today.
I want to start a venture is the answer which i get many times. But I get bored of things very easily. Sometimes I wonder that if I will start a venture and get bored of it then what will I do??

I want to do MBA so that I may be around people who have the same mindset as I have. I want to be around people who are like me so that I can discuss things with them. I want to explore the whole life of a businessman or businesswoman. And As I told you I am the person who gets bored of things. So Sometimes I feel this zeal is also for just time being.

Please help me to solve this equation.

Yours sincerely,

AC

—————

Hi AC,

Ask yourself, what do you enjoy the most? when you are engrossed in it, time stands still… you forget day and night, lunch and dinner, diwali and dusshera…
what is the arena you would like to dance in…..
What are your unique skill sets
what do you love doing
where will these unique abilities of yours be invaluable
….
 …..
You never get bored of these for sure….
You celebrate them… and find ways to engage yourself in them..
….

Kashmir - Zannat Zamin par

As I addressed three classes today, in one of the classes a young gentleman shared that he is passionate about water and has been working on research projects with a developmental organization… he said, water is his all encompassing interest. He asked whether the IIMs will ever be interested in his passion. Do they want to hear about it?
……
Imagine a day without water and what a role it plays… … I am sure his passion of water will find its destination; no one could ever stop gushing waters…….and the institutions will be in awe of his purpose and passion! and the WATER WILL FIND ITS OWN LEVEL !!
if your story is compelling, every one will be glued to your screen…
….
HARSHA will play his cricket for life time, ‘BHOGging’ the rich treasures; DINA will continue to sing and run ‘parikrama’ ‘RALlying’ the crowd; Bhai, MALLIKA too will dance for ever conquering the ‘SARA world’….. ;
Each one found a meaning and purpose for themselves and the IIMs did take them to the higher planes…
…..
Your passion can be your profession….you will never get bored. Will you?
if you are passionate you will find ways of putting it/them to use…either for yourself or for a corporate…or others.
You need to ask questions – why, what, where, how? and dwell deeper..
……
I am sure you will find your treasure too… Find your Mojo..
write to me once you finish the exercise…
Best wishes.

Reading Comprehension : Break the barriers, hoist your flag at IIM, IAS, NLS.. !

Book – Young leaders Success Code – features R.Sreenivasan!

In the last edition of this series, Make ‘Reading’ a Passion : especially CAT and competition participants, we discussed some of the fundamental principles you have to inculcate to be an effective and efficient reader, and to enhance your performance in the Reading Comprehension (RC) section.  I am sure some of you have certainly tried out the principles that we discussed in the last column.

The principles you came across were –

  •  Involvement, enthusiasm or enjoyment is the foremost requirement for excelling
  • Visualizing the authors narration of his imagination will make you a clear winner
  • Elimination of regression will result in augmentation of your speed

In continuation, in this edition, you will encounter a few more principles, which would make all the difference between a good reader and a bad one.

Principle No. 4.   Enlarge Recognition Span; Decrease Fixation Time

Many of you must be looking at one word at a time while reading. You concentrate more on words rather than on the meaning behind the words. You are having an affair with the words and not with ideas. By doing so, you realize many a time that you have not got the hold on what the author intends to say.

An effective reader will take the given lines as a stream of ideas or thought processes rather than as a stream of words. He will read a chunk of words or a clause that offer some meaning and conveys a thought.  Ideally, if you are an effective reader you will be imbibing seven to eight words in one go. This measure of grasping a group of words in one go is called recognition span. It means, in order to be effective, you should try and increase your recognition span. Newspaper columns offer you a good practice exercise to increase the same. You should be able to take one line of newspaper column in one go. The time taken to recognize the span is called fixation time. The lesser the time you take to recognize the span, the faster you will be in covering the distance. Hence, you should try and increase your recognition span and at the same time decrease your fixation time and become an efficient reader.

Principle No. 5.   Push your Comfort Zone Speed (CZS)

You read at speeds at which you believe can comprehend most of what you read. This applies to both information reading as well as pleasure reading. This speed of reading could be termed as ‘Comfort Zone Speed’.

CZS is a result of poor habits that you have built through years of the wrong kind of practices. Passive reading habits have worsened the situation. It is you who have decided that the speed at which you are reading is the most comfortable speed. No one has thrust that upon you. It is now time to have a re-look and question the reading methods and techniques you have become a slave of.

The reading comprehension demands you to read at speeds which are much higher than your CZS.  If your CZS is low, you will find yourself reading at an uncomfortable speed, to pace with the required speed. This will result in low comprehension or ‘cognition strain’. On the other hand, if you do not want to take the risk and you enjoy being at CZS, then you will not be able to complete all the given passages. This will definitely not serve your purpose. Hence, you have to take the risk. You should practice constantly and gradually in order to improve on speed and comprehension. This would help in pushing the CZS.

When you try pushing your speed comprehension and retention may go down initially. You should not be flustered. Try maintaining at the same speed, the comprehension will return in due course. This speed will be your new CZS. Once you start enjoying this speed, its time to push the speed again. It is a proven fact that the higher the speed, the greater the comprehension, since you are trying to break the frontiers and you are keeping your brain on alert to come to your help in comprehending whatever you are reading. At lower speeds the concentration is low, and you must have realized while reading, your mind wanders and goes for shopping, watching movies etc. Increase your concentration by increasing your speed.

Principle No. 6.  Indulge in Active Reading

The secret to effectiveness is to do active reading. By being active, you are trying to understand what author is trying to say. While you are grasping the information provided therein, you keep asking questions like ‘what is he saying’, ‘why is he saying so’, or ‘How can he say that’ etc. By questioning his intentions, his narration or his way of giving information, you are trying to bridge the distance between the your knowledge base, a collection of all of your life experiences and learning, existing in your brain and  the new information provided on the piece of paper. By seeking more, you are able to predict what the author may say ahead in the passage. By doing so, you will make this information a part of your knowledge base and rule the RC section.

The stream of words is not mere words, they give away much more. Authors reveal attitude by their choice of words and narration of experiences. By indulging in active reading you are also running with the authors flow of thoughts and ideas, his style of expression. You will be able to grasp the mood of the author, attitude or intentions of the author.

Invariably all the passages will have questions probing authors’ views and intentions, idea behind the passage, implied information etc. If you are involved in active reading you will be able to crack all such questions.

Mechanics for reading

In order to be efficient while reading, skim all the questions at the end of the passage before entering the passage. So you know what to watch for in the written material.

  • Read the passage as quickly as you can, concentrating first on the main points and essence.
  • Mark the focal points, specific examples
  • Mark the shifts in the viewpoint, like the phrases – nevertheless, ironically, in spite of, however, although etc.
  • Also pay attention to the concluding sentences to get the gist or theme of the passage.

Make an effort to incorporate some of the principles discussed so far and reap rich dividends. Push the frontiers. Experience the pleasure.

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If you are benefited by this article kindly LIKE It, SHARE It on any of the following platforms; Yes, REVISIT it as many times as you want. SUBSCRIBE (left hand top corner) to the blog to get the latest ARMAMENT at your virtual doorstep.

Thanks and Best Wishes.

Sreeni.

Sreeni@careerlauncher.com

For motivating yourself regularly, I recommend you bookmark the following and watch the sessions and videos there in- Dream It, Do It!

Think Big, Start Small!

[A variant of this article first appeared in THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, September 03, 1998. Since then this has been picked by so many publications. Here I reproduced for the benefit of all CAT and competition exam takers. The principles of excellence do not change… they live for life time!]

Make ‘Reading’ a Passion : especially CAT and competition participants

The INDIA Idea covers endeavours of innovation in India. Sreeni has contributed quite a few photographs for the book !

CAT, as you all are aware of by now, tests an MBA aspirant’s abilities in four different sections, namely – Quantitative ability (QA), Data interpretation (DI), English usage (EU) and Reading comprehension (RC). In this edition, we will look at the salient features of RC and some of the approaches you should adopt to maximize your scores not only in this section, but across the sections.

READING IS A LIFE SKILL! IMAGINE WHAT ALL IT WOULD ADD TO YOUR QUIVER TO STRENGTHEN YOU TO TAKE ON THE WORLD IN DISCUSSIONS AND INTERVIEWS. KINDLY LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE OF YOUR JOURNEY OF LIFE.

In my classes, following these principles I am going to talk about, majority of students move from their average speed of 200 words/minute to over 800 words/minute in 4-6 weeks, with an accuracy rate of over 80%! Then the magic happens not only in RC passages, but in entire CAT or any competition paper! A few daring ones even reached 1600-2000 wpm with as high accuracy! Many of them have passed out of IIMs

The utterance of word RC brings forth two extreme reactions in a given set of audience – one, that is enthusiastic and eagerly looking forward to what is in store, the other set is rather better off not looking at this section. One end of the spectrum comprises of those who are from arts and humanities background, and also includes those who have reading as a passion, for them reading reams and reams of pages is nothing new. The other end predominantly comprises of students of science and engineering, who are comfortable rather with numbers and equations than with stream of words. But, CAT does not give any concession to any one. If you want to qualify it, you better be good in all sections, more so in English sections. Now the point is how could you get out of that diffident mindset and improve your comprehension and scores.

We all usually indulge in two distinct types of reading, which are performed differently –

– Pleasure reading – Comics, novels etc.
 – Study / Information reading – Academic books, Newspapers, Magazines etc.

But, CAT / MBA entrance or other entrance exams want you to perfect ‘demanding’ reading. They expect you to be totally involved with the passage at hand. In order to succeed in such a situation you have to imbibe and implement some fundamental principles.

Principle No 1. – Involvement

The most important requirement to succeed in any sphere is to enjoy what you are doing. You should be enthusiastic, involved and eagerly look forward to whatever the activity has to offer. Reading Comprehension is no different. If you approach RC with a mindset of just scoring the minimum qualifying marks or if you are taking the test for it happens to be a section in CAT, then you will never improve in this section. Approach it with eagerness to learn what it has to offer. After all, the passages that figure in RC are extracts from some of the best articles that have appeared in various newspapers, magazines, reports and other publications. Hence, you should feel that you are going to enhance your knowledge. This will make you feel comfortable, physically and mentally, when you attempt a reading comprehension passage on any practice test or on the actual CAT.

Once you start enjoying what you are doing, you will realize that the critical ingredient, ‘concentration’, which is usually the first victim of lack of enthusiasm, is back. Most of you who keep complaining that you are not doing well in RC, don’t do well just because you do not approach the section with the intention of enjoying it. Let me cite a simple example – just imagine the night before your final-year examinations in the university. Even if you have studied only twenty percent of the portion till the day before the examination, you manage to finish the remaining eighty percent of the portion the night before the examination, and also you get up early in the morning and revise the entire portion. What does this mean? If you are involved everything is possible. Reading comprehension is no different. If you start enjoying, your concentration, comprehension and scores will start showing a marked improvement.

Principle No. 2 – Visualize author’s narration

Once you start enjoying reading, then the next point to address is how to improve your comprehension; and retention of the information provided therein.

An author sits at his table, in a corner of room, for hours, months or years to produce a piece of work – could be a newspaper article or a novel. How does do it? He visualizes, concocts the story he wants to narrate, as a sequence of scenes. He translates each scene into a stream of words conveying whatever he wants to carry across to the reader. As a reader the onus is on you to understand, what the stream of words you read mean.

What could be a better strategy than reading the stream of words and translating them into a stream of visuals, which the author is trying to explain in detail. If you are able to visualize yourself being a part of the scene that the author is portraying, that would be the best way of comprehending the author’s ideas and it would help you in retention as it would become a part of your visual database. You must realize that you still retain and recall many a sequence vividly from your dreams in your childhood, though you have not experienced practically whatever you saw in the dream. Visualization is the best mechanism for retention and faster comprehension. Make it an ally to succeed in RC.

Principle No. 3 – Eliminate Regression

How about increasing the speed? One of the prime culprits to hamper speed is regression. When you are reading, at times you may feel that you have run over a group of words and have not understood it. You then read the sentence again and again. This reduces your speed. If you are aware of the structure of a passage, regression could be eliminated there by increasing the speed.

You should know that most of the times any given passage will have an introduction or beginning; a body – made of many paragraphs, and an end or conclusion. Each paragraph in the body gives one and only one idea and followed by illustrations to make you understand what that idea is all about. If this is the structure, you should never regress. If you got the idea behind the paragraph, and even if you miss an illustration you can make up many more illustrations; if you skip the idea and understand the illustrations, the idea falls in place. It just means that, even if you did not comprehend a certain sentence, just keep going ahead and do not regress. By the end of the passage, you would have missed nothing.

Here, we have discussed three of the fundamental principles of RC. In the next article we will look at strategies to increase speed. After all, RC is all about speed, comprehension and accuracy.

Make a beginning. Enjoy reading. Make it a passion.

If you are benefited by this article kindly LIKE It, SHARE It on any of the following platforms; Yes, REVISIT it as many times as you want. SUBSCRIBE (left hand top corner) to the blog to get the latest ARMAMENT at your virtual doorstep.

Thanks and Best Wishes.

Sreeni.
Sreeni@careerlauncher.com

For motivating yourself regularly, I recommend you bookmark the following and watch the sessions and videos there in-
Dream It, Do It!
Think Big, Start Small!

[A variant of this article first appeared in THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, August 20, 1998. Since then this has been picked by so many publications. Here I reproduced for the benefit of all CAT and competition exam takers. The principles of excellence do not change… they live for life time!]

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