“CL Prepared me for Life, beyond B-School” – Dishant, an IIMA convert, DTU Alum

My CAT journey with CL:

My name is Dishant and I am a final year student at Delhi Technological University (batch of 2019). Since the beginning of my curriculum in my institute I had an affinity towards doing an MBA after completing my UG degree. The reason for the decision can be owed to my hobbies of reading about great leaders and kings and also to my natural aptitude and proclivity towards the working of the world and the pursuit for reason.

I decided to focus on building my profile during my first two years and also exploring different fields to get a wider glance at each of them. I found interest in subjects like engineering maths and economics and got a chance to pursue research in the respective field under the tutelage of very able professors of my college. It was during the end of my sixth semester that I enrolled for the Premium batch for CAT-2018 in Career Launcher CP centre, the decision can be attributed to my interactions with the various representatives as well as mentors from the institute who instilled a new confidence within me to pursue my desire.

The journey within CL was a memorable experience, the classes especially the verbal ones were pretty informative and descriptive. The pedagogy was quite efficient and the sense of humour of the trainers was noteworthy. I cherished every moment spent within the class, which included interaction with top students from the best colleges across Delhi NCR. Apart from the curriculum, I also found the online resources quite useful, the Test Gym became my gym for the next couple of months, the presentation of questions and their segregation based on topics and difficulty never made me feel the need of a hard book.

Moving on to the months of June and July, I had to juggle between my internship schedule in Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) and the classes, however I always found image1time to revise the concepts taught in class through the Smart CAT Cracker (SCC) resource which provided video lectures on demand taught by top CL faculties. With the beginning of the Mock CAT season we used to have a proctored mock every two weeks with an unproctored one in between, Mocks are an absolute necessity to cracking CAT and hence were not taken lightly, each mock result followed a percentile figure along with a detailed drill down analysis. The analysis part of the mock is the most crucial part for any aspirant, with the provision of section wise detailed performance indicators as well as comparative timings for each and every question I was able to gauge my performance along with my peers and identify any shortcomings in the particular test. The mocks were of varying difficulty level and each one of it provided me a new insight into the ways to approach a problem, the mocks for XAT and IIFT were also quite helpful. The only downside I found in the entire mock series was the predicted percentile which used past performance to come up with a range of percentile one can expect in CAT. I had a predicted percentile of 99.08 which was way below my expectations, however the teachers motivated me to overlook the figure and prove it wrong. Then came the D-Day 25 November CAT, I had the morning slot for the exam and it was surprisingly cold, during the frisking we were asked to remove our jackets, footwear including socks which had quite a numbing effect to the body owing to the cold temperature, then the exam began at exactly the scheduled time. The English section was surprisingly easy with a slight change in pattern, followed by a similar DILR section where I made a grave mistake of copying wrong info from a set, the quant section was the terminal section which I found to be a mixed bag contrary to the general opinion of difficulty and ended in a high note for me. Overall CAT-18 was a pleasant experience and I was confident of scoring enough to manage a call from at least one of the holy trinity, ABC. Next followed up exam was XAT and with the brimming confidence from CAT I was able to make the best of the exam.

The CAT results were declared in a month and half and I scored a 99.73 with a relatively higher score in the Quant section, while I had hoped of securing a 99.9+ the result was still satisfying for me. In the following days I received calls from all IIMs except for Bangalore which I missed by a minuscule margin. The XAT results were declared soon after and I had the biggest surprise of the year when the scorecard revealed a 99.992 figure, and a call from the XLRI BM program which was the only program I had applied for.

Next up was the CL Personality Development Program which was aimed at converting the secured calls through mock interview practice and personality sessions. Mr. Sujit Bhattacharya was allotted as my mentor for the program, I had almost 5 interviews with various mentors including GP sir, Arks sir and Shivku sir who guided me through the entire interview process. The program was not only focused on preparing for the interview but also focused towards the overall development and creation of a personality fit for the esteemed institutes. At the end of the season I was able to convert all of my top institute calls including- IIM-Ahmedabad, IIM-Calcutta, XLRI-BM and so on.

Summing it all up the best part of the entire journey was the PDP program with several information, practice session and the one to one interaction with the mentors. The mentors with a special note for Shivku Sir, Arks Sir, Sujit Sir and GP Sir were very helpful to me during the entire interview season, they not only helped me during interaction but were always available on call even during the oddest of hours. I still remember the time when I had a self doubt over my IIM-A interview and felt that I had missed the chance, I used to call Shivku sir and Arks Sir almost twice a day to pour out my emotions, they however always pushed the fact that I will make it no matter what perception of the experience I had in my mind, and alas their words came out to be true at the end. The interview sessions with Sujit Sir were an eye opener with his reasoning and sheer honest reactions to any answer. I was able to push myself to think deep over the questions like why MBA, and what after MBA, this opened up another dimension of thinking would stay with me forever. GP Sir with his everlasting optimism and Sreeni Sir with his multifaceted personality were always a source of motivation and inspiration.

It was with the help and support of all the mentors that I had been able to achieve the success of cracking my dream B-school and they truly deserve a commendation as one of the best teachers and mentors. Hence I would like to conclude by saying that CL not only prepared me for the B-School but for the life beyond it through traits of undying optimism, vision and worldly wisdom.


Encouraging fitness and Fostering collaboration : CL Srijan – Olympics 2017

Health, fitness, stamina, endurance, speed, alacrity are paramount for any individual’s excellence and fostering of team spirit, belonging, oneness, collaboration in the process of realizing the greater vision is the key to organizational excellence.

The Annual Olympic Srijan holds a mirror to each one to take stock of personal health and team health parameters. Here, I managed to capture a few glimpses to stitch into one short film. Enjoy.

Believing is Seeing : Give your 100%, do not worry about the results – Himanshu Vaishnav, IIM Calcutta

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 Himanshu Vaishnav, who heads to IIM Calcutta (IIMC) this year.


Career Launcher – A Wingman in my journey to IIM Calcutta

“Sir’, I don’t have any achievements to show, how I’m going to crack IIM interview?”
I asked my Mentor in Career launcher.

2 Months Later
“You have achieved a lot in your life and you should be proud of yourself” – said IIM C interviewer to me.

(A link to my IIM Calcutta interview experience is at bottom)

So what changed in these 2 months? The answer is my attitude towards life.
Let me introduce myself.

WP_20130709_085I’m an average engineer from an average engineering college (YMCAUST Faridabad) with average academics (Average as per IIMs criteria). After completing B.Tech in 2013, I joined Infosys, worked there for 2.5 years, later switched to Genpact. I had given CAT earlier but didn’t score much but I was more confident this time. And I did get a good score and got calls from IIM C, K, L, S.

To be honest, when I started preparing for the CAT, it was more because of a rat race rather than any other reason. So when results came, I got scared how I’m going to convert these calls, and as I had taken a test series earlier from CL, so I joined career launcher for my Interview preparation. And my expectation from the program was that they will teach me exact answers to questions like Why MBA (Most imp question). But it was nowhere close to that.

Later I came to realize why program name is PDP – Personality Development Program instead of GD-PI preparation. Mentor assigned to me were Sreeni Sir. The first class I attended of him was an eye opener for me, he showed a glimpse of how the world is going to change in next 5 to 10 years. And how important it is for us to be aware of these things.

When I wanted to prepare for my interview, he told me to forget about it and first understand myself, introspect and go through my life journey till now. And what are the things that are in my circle of concern and circle of influence? Sreeni Sir always said: MBA should not be an end rather a means to an end.

All the session which I attended – online or offline- of Sreeni Sir, GP Sir, Shivku Sir or anyone had a common theme, they didn’t want to prepare us for an interview but for life. They wanted to find us our goals, our vision in life not just an answer for the interview.

After a lot of introspection, I did find my vision – things I want to do in life and luckily MBA is going to help me achieve me that. But I became sure of one thing, MBA is just a means to achieve that, and even if I’m not going to get selected, I will find another way but still pursue my dream.

I also came to realize an achievement is something you achieve overcoming the hurdles which need not be always some competition with others. I had very humble beginnings but I definitely wasn’t an underachiever. I have become more confident in my abilities.

My perspective towards life has changed a lot in these few months. Now I try to look more into the bigger picture. I try to look at things if they fit according to my values. And this is not something I borrowed from outside, but it was always there inside me and I gained it back.

One of important realization I had is, an MBA interview is not a platform for the interviewer to ask you questions but it’s an opportunity for us to tell them our life story, and from that story, they are going to check how well we know our story and ourselves. Our aptitude has been already checked in the exam, and now they are just going to check our commitment/Attitude towards our life.

There were sessions on the economy, current affairs, and other things as well but for me, most important were the things I have mentioned earlier.

So my advice to all future aspirants is- Find Yourself. Then any interview will be a cakewalk (not necessarily the results 😛 ) And I’m quite sure that people like Satya Sir, Sreeni Sir, GP Sir, Shivku Sir and Gejo Sir can surely help you to move towards the right direction.

click here IIMC Interview Link to know about what I went through in the interview:

Luckily I have converted my IIM C call. And if someone ask me what is one thing that worked for me, My answer is I focused on myself: my story, my journey, my areas of interest and my goals.

Try to give your 100% and don’t worry about results. Even if hadn’t been selected, I would not have been sad or disappointed for more than 2 days and would have started my journey again.

“Always Focus on Character instead of Personality.”
Carpe Diem!!!!

You can reach out to me on below:

‘Skilling India is a national imperative’ – Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite and sweet 16 too.

Matchless Sanjay, always sweet 16. An Inspiring Leader.

Matchless Sanjay, always sweet 16. An Inspiring Leader.

Dear Sanjay, The last couple of months, ever since I got to know about your decision of exploring new challenges and pastures beyond Career Launcher, I have been having a feeling of losing one of my vital organs and being incapacitated. I could not reconcile to the fact that you will not be there shoulder to shoulder in the endeavours, every day. But, I am sure, you will be a CL-ite in spirit and letter for life time.

I still recall the early days, 1998, when we used to meet at the gate of Balwant Rai Mehta school, GK-II, for taking CAT prep-classes. We used to share jokes and had a good laugh, as well as having intense interactions about how to go about in a particular session, and we swapped classes in between too at times. Your contribution to expanding the CL horizons geographically, strategically and spiritually is beyond compare. You have left indelible marks in the journey and an enviable benchmarks, very few can match. I salute you and your steadfastness.

All the memories of this long journey together, are very cherished ones for me, and will be there for life. I am sharing here your parting note, that came into my mail box, talking about future of India and our responsibility. Thanks Sanjay for everything and being there. Love you Sanjay.

The captures of Sanjay’s farewell at CL HO, Greater Noida.

Srijan 2012 - Seventy nodal locations, entire CL FamilySanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-ite
Sanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSanjay Shivnani, forever a CL-iteSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions capturedSrijan 2012 - Essence and Emotions captured

———Sanjay’s note in first person – Skilling India is a national imperative —–

Last week I took some personal time out to visit rural skill development centers in two backward districts of Orissa. Besides the obvious, I was glad to note the not so obvious. Entrepreneurship, specially in challenging circumstances must depend on creativity and out of the box thinking and in such circumstances one must look, figuratively speaking, in the dark corners of the room rather than in the areas that are well lit.

While the obvious is, well, so obvious; rural youth learning computers, gaining skills to become household electricians or car engine mechanics or training to work in hotel kitchens, etc. I was glad to note the other emerging story. The trainers or faculty were young men and women who were themselves degree or diploma holders from local engineering colleges and polytechnics. It was heart warming to meet with a BE Electrical graduate of 2008 who is now contributing to the skill effort in general but more importantly he has procured gainful and sustainable employment for himself.

It leads me to think of all the upsides that this small yet powerful example has displayed. Think of the great multiplier effect that can be impacted by such initiatives. The just graduated engineer may have never found gainful employment upon graduating from a, so called, Tier III engineering college. However, he chanced upon this teaching opportunity and is earning a livelihood and heartily participating in India’s growing consumerism, we hope not conspicuous, adding wealth to those below and above him. The great Indian smorgasbord of consumer durable, non-durable and FMCG companies are all benefitiing from this young person’s propensity and opportunity to earn and spend. It sounds like a perfect win-win for atleast these two stakeholders.

The point that I am trying to drive home here is plain and simple; such skilling/training initiatives right at the bottom of the pyramid across india’s length & breadth can have a tsunami effect on India’s economy and GDP growth rates. The micro can help build the macro picture convincingly, surely and far more robustly than some tweaks to CRR, PLR, etc, etc.

If I owned a biscuit manufacturing company, besides the traditional approach to business viz building the brand, stocking the channel, ensuring pull & push, connecting with consumers and ensuring that all the functions of a normal business are working full steam, I’d also take time out and invest in skill training initiatives that will probably ensure a lifetime pipeline of future customers who will have the needs & wants and more importantly the means to consume my biscuits. Doesn’t this make sense, if not today then atleast for the day after?

India stands at the threshold of a great opportunity; amidst a sea of nations and economies that are growing old our country is ‘young’; about 700 million young. This is more than adequate human capital  to run all the factories, banks, clinics and malls in the entire western world and with all the energy and resources of bounding youth. This is more than just ‘manpower’; it is human capital and it can be harnessed and deployed to generate large amounts of benefits for all stakeholders. This mass movement can fundamentally alter the future of this country.


Much like parliament aggressively discusses the Lokpal issue or for that matter any other political or economic issue the skilling agenda for India must be the single most important agenda for discussion and action.

While the government and our so called ‘leadership’ takes its time to figure out what is really important and what is not, private industry must take up the mantle and do what it needs to do. If corporate India can become the center of gravity for a large, universal skill training & education movement it can ignite the economy.

From this perspective, NSDC is doing seminal work in catalyzing the disparate & strewn components of this national agenda to come together and put a logical picture in place. It’s working as a matchmaker to bring various beneficiaries together and help them align and stay that way. NSDC is a government initiative at the very highest level and that is probably good thinking and a great beginning. But this is also akin to the proverbial “water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink” . The system needs to nurture the skilling agenda by correcting or putting in place some very basis structural systems in place such as Financial Inclusion, Banking services reach, Employment generation, Micro Financing, Entrepreneurship development.

So while one can espouse what the establishment or administration should do one has to simultaneously address the learners’ dogma of going back to school, skepticism of yet another pre-poll promise and overarching low RoE (Return on Education).

Finally, programs & initiatives like MNREGA & social security may need to be revisited. Are these in direct conflict with the skilling India agenda?

Surjivan – Rustic charm a stone’s throw away from the maddening metropolis

Contribution : Indira Ganesh

Our national holidays in metros are marked by mass exodus of people anxious to leave behind their busy life schedules, their ipods, their identity on facebook, and the gizmos that mark our existence. It is not just the technology driven mania that we seek to escape but also the mundaneness of eternally waiting for kanta bai, the domestic help.

Every year a few of us join this beeline that is trying to get far away from the maddening crowd. But we are also unique as a group for we always have to carry along a delicious, chocolacious cake along as one of the national holidays coincides with one of our young one’s birthday. The young lady was turning eight this year and we all wanted to ring in her new year in a new ambience with minimal driving. Tall order, one would say, but then one of our friends managed to find such a place close to Gurgaon—SURJIVAN.

Motifs on the walls of Surjivan

Barely over an hour’s drive from anywhere in Delhi is Surjivan, which is an eco-tourism destination. In a nutshell it is a place where one experiences ethnicity and rusticity with ample creature comforts. We were warmly welcomed by the caretaker who showed us to our rooms and got us our welcome drinks which was an over spiced and ‘Khatta’ Chach. We liked the informal atmosphere of the place and lounged around savoring the scent of grass and the bird calls. Unlike other settings, the children did not cling to us but found their callings, chasing the butterflies, unearthing beetles and making mudpies. The lunch was a delight to our palate which has forgotten how chutney made on mortar and pestle tastes so fresh unlike the homogenized version we make in a food processor. The paneer had the flavour of a smoky chullah which enhanced the taste and the syrupy gulabjamuns were sinfully delicious. The food was served piping hot in clay pots over clay warming vessels lined with hot charcoal. This all vegetarian meal was digested over a three hour long siesta by some of us. The others played a rain soaked soccer with lots of slips and falls.

In the afternoon we discovered the Kilol-kund which is a mud pond filled with rainwater. We wallowed in the mud with the children and this is one experience that was unique to this place. We explored the temperature of water at different places within the same pool and also experienced the slipperiness at different locations. Some Piggy godmother must have watched over us for we came out without any debilitating effects despite numerous dunks and falls. From there, the mud-caked junta marched to the fields to take a bath under the hosepipes. After such rowdiness, the sight of the ultramodern bathrooms with warm running water and clean linens was like a ‘manna’ from heaven.

exploring the herbal farm

After being restored to our civilized countenance, we ‘glugged’ down unending cups of ginger tea and chomped ‘BeesKoot’. Over tea, we started enjoying the birding opportunity this setting provided. We enthusiastically identified all the birds we saw and gave a few of them an identity crisis. There were no unusual sightings but the abundance of our winged friends was a pleasant experience. Later, we ventured into the herb garden which was undergoing a replanting drive but we managed to come back with a few samples of plants with distinct smells, the lemon grass, the golden bottle brush, the sacred tulsi and the camphor tree. We also saw a Jetropah plant about which one has heard so much. It is difficult to comprehend that this modest looking plant could actually one day solve our energy deficit.

Lively life around

We had the birthday cake cutting in the evening and the staff was quite prompt in getting us the paraphernalia for the occasion. Kishore Kumar’s romantic repertoire played subtly in the background and the mood was one of genuine bonhomie. The children played musical rooms going from one room to another in a group before finally settling down with their own parents for the night. But before we turned in for the night, there was one last sabotage to our Get-Slim-Stay-Slim plan. The dinner turned out as delicious as the lunch with some desi chicken curry. One heard the qawwali between the crickets and the resident frogs as one had the dinner. The fireflies were however conspicuous by their absence. Surjivan is an early to bed, early to rise kind of place, so we retired for the day soon after dinner.

Early morning dew

The next day, we woke up to a warm day with clear skies. The view when one stepped out of one’s cocooned air conditioner enabled room was truly awe inspiring. Everything looked verdant bathed in dew drops with the sun glistening on them. The button roses are so fragrant here that one involuntarily thanks Noorjehan begum for introducing this wonderful flower to India. It is difficult to imagine icons like Chacha Nehru and Shahjahan without their iconic rose flower.

Farm workers getting ready

Morning is also the time when the local labourers turn out at Surjivan for working on the farmland. Their life and appearance is a study in contrast with the guests who come to the resort. Along with our morning cuppa, we noticed the other activities that Surjivan offered. Similar to the Hayat-Baksh Bagh (Life Giving garden) in Shahjahanabad, Surjivan pays tribute to our diverse flora and fauna by having a well designed garden of trees with well designated information about them. So with every tree there is a description with its common name, its scientific name, its special properties, its allegiance to a nakshatra, deva and planets. A very nice tree spotting exercise can be done here. The garden also has some interesting trees like Gingko Biloba ( the oldest tree), The Krishna Dona tree (where Krishna hid butter) and also the Sita Asoka tree( the tree under which Sita stayed in her captivity) but for some reason all this wonderful information is mostly in the local language—Hindi.

Swings, kanche and gilli danda

We spent the morning trying to identify more birds and trees and trying our hand at the indigenous sports like gilli danda (Stick and an oblong skillet), Kanche (marbles) and pithoo. We recounted interesting anecdotes about each other’s childhoods and the joy one got while playing these so called rural games. These games are our living heritage and it is nice to see their presence in Surjivan. In a few years we may have to rely on a manual to play these wonderful games. There were ample swings around for children and grown ups. We tried our hand at milking the cows, churning the butter and grinding wheat on the stone mortar. After all this exciting but grueling work we settled for something ‘halka’ for breakfast like deep fried puris and potato with gravy and eggs. After a King sized breakfast, we headed for the splash pool which was cleaned for us and we filled fresh water from the hose amidst a lot of banter and cheer. Everyone got water cannoned and it was a welcome respite from a hot day. We paid our tribute to the nation on the national day by singing patriotic songs in various languages. We may have missed the tune but not the fervour. After a ‘mastilicious’ morning we headed home which was just an hour away.

rustic, elegant but a little expensive

Surjivan is slightly on the expensive side but then if you see the time value of money, it kind of adequately compensates. The staff here is semi trained but it is heartening to see that locals are involved in the hospitality of the place thus ensuring goodwill and security of the guests. There are a lot of subtle elements in Surjivan which reflect the philosophy of the promoters. Everything here is in consonance with nature. There are solar panels to augment power supply; amalgamation of local expertise in its architecture, the entire décor uses only three organic colours. There is a variety of local motifs painted on the walls. The food is organically grown and cooked on a low flame thus retaining its flavour.

Surjivan has many things to offer a city slicker without the slack of five star trappings. It is ideal for people who want to go to a laidback break in the lap of nature. It is also a nice settings for corporate to do their team building and ideation exercises. As for us, we wanted a place where zero-mirchi food would be understood and accommodated and our children (our ‘theen devian’) had a devilishly rocking time.

Indus World School, Raipur gets its own campus today!

Greetings to all facilitators

(My message on the occasion of launch of IWS Raipur, Campus)

Good evening ladies and gentleman,

On behalf of IWS family, I extend my heartfelt greetings to all our facilitators – parents, families and friends, elders and facilitators from the government and society – who have extended unflinching support to our journey so far, and last but not the least to our mentors and wonderful young learners who have created a great enabling learning environment. Each one of you has made our journey of learning an exciting and interesting one.

Link to IWS Raipur page of www.indusworldschool.com

It is an auspicious and remarkable occasion in the short journey of IWS Raipur and I am missing being here, as I had to be in Bangalore for a session/conference that I had committed to, a few months ago. Satya and Sujit are here to be amongst you on this significant occasion, and along with Raj and all members of IWS Family will surely make this evening a memorable initiation at the new campus.

Our endeavour to create an inspiring learning environment is going to take a leap this evening – we will continue to bring ‘Ananda’ to the young, stoke ‘Jigyaasa’ as they progress into middle school and eventually help them get into the phase of ‘sadhana’ – that of realizing their aspirations – career and life, as they step into the world full of challenges and exciting opportunities. I look forward to active participation from each one of you in every aspect of this wonderful journey of your children as much as the journey of IWS Raipur and IWS family at large.

I will be here in Mid May and I will be glad to spend sometime with each one of you during my visit. I am as excited to reach out to you this evening,

Eagerly looking forward to meeting you soon,

Love and regards to one and all,



R. Sreenivasan,
chairman, Indus World School, Raipur,


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