Nilesh Gupta got99.93 percentile in CAT 2012 and received admission offers from most of the established and new IIMs and other top B-schools like FMS Delhi.  He, however, chose IIM Bangalore to pursue his MBA dream.

An Engineering graduate from BITS Pilani, Nilesh worked at Larsen and Tubro for nine months and simultaneously prepared for CAT without any regular coaching. In this interview, Nilesh shares his CAT prep strategy, time management approach and WAT-PI experience.   He also speaks on ‘what prompted him to pursue an MBA’ and ‘why he chose IIM-B over the other options’.

What was your CAT percentile? Which B-schools offered you final admission?
Nilesh Gupta:
I got an overall 99.93 percentile in CAT 2012.
Which B-schools offered you final admission? Why did you choose IIM Bangalore?
Nilesh Gupta
: I received final admission offers from all IIM except IIM Ahmedabad. A plenty of reasons led me to choose IIM Bangalore over other colleges. Firstly, the brand IIM is irreplaceable, which is why I rejected the admission option from FMS Delhi. Secondly, Bangalore being a hub of marketing was a natural choice for me over a finance stressing IIM Calcutta. Finally, IIM Bangalore is quite popular for its extra-curricular life which I believe is really important for a holistic development. Why and when did you decide to do MBA?
Nilesh Gupta
: The choice of doing an MBA cannot be attributed to a specific time/phase of my life. It was a gradual transition which occurred over the years and a lot of factors were involved. Firstly, I am a restless soul with a lot of varied interests and only MBA gives me the freedom to pursue them all. Secondly, once I started working in the core industry, it taught me how important it is to do an MBA to climb up the ladder fast in any organization.

What was your overall strategy for CAT preparation?
Nilesh Gupta
: Firstly, introspection is very important. I was always sure that I needed to work really hard on QA and LR. Having prepared for GRE earlier gave me a natural advantage in VA whereas DI was more of fast math. So don’t stick to rule books but work out your own strategy. Friends or teachers who know you really well can also help in this regard.

I have also noticed that a lot of us spend our entire time preparing for QA and neglect other subjects in the process. QA accounts for only 25% of the total marks, of which almost 10% fall in the ‘very easy’ category. Other sections need a lot of practice as well and though personalization is suggested, a bare minimum for all the sections is necessary. Please share your WAT/PI experiences?
Nilesh Gupta
: I would rate my IIM Bangalore PI as the most interesting interview I have faced till date. The day started with a lot of anxiety as usual. WAT topic was purely opinion-based and I was satisfied with my attempt as I started with a quote, maintained a good flow and made an impactful conclusion. But the best part was yet to come. I was called inside and things proceeded normally revolving mainly around the SOP (Statement of Purpose) I had submitted. Though I was barraged with a few tough questions, it went on smoothly.

Moving straight to the last part, the panel noticed that I have been actively involved in theatre. So they asked me to shout on them as badly as possible. It had to be so realistic that the candidates outside get petrified. I was not even allowed to reveal that it was a prank and stormed out of the building after the act. Thus, it was a truly unique experience. Do you think it is possible to crack CAT without taking formal coaching? What would you suggest the CAT 2013 aspirants who would like to prepare without any formal coaching?
Nilesh Gupta
: It is definitely possible to crack CAT without formal coaching as happened in my case. But I won’t understate the need of Test Series and study material. I started the preparation around 3 months before the exam. Though I was poor in QA as well as LR, but a rigorous study schedule filled with a lot of practice tests brought a drastic change in my performance.  As far as study material is concerned, all books are almost at parity. But for tests, I would suggest you join any institute which gives you a national platform to test yourself. You were a working professional while preparing for CAT. How did you manage the CAT preparation within your regular schedule?
Nilesh Gupta
: I started preparing for CAT as soon as I joined work. Since I was a trainee, the limited amount of work load helped a great deal. I would suggest everyone to start the preparations as soon as they enter a job. There are multiple reasons for this:

a)    You get a lot of free time in the beginning and things only get tougher as time passes

b)    Sooner or later, work becomes very monotonous in a lot of jobs. Also, MBA really helps you accelerate your career. So unless you are really passionate about your field, start today.

c)    Setting a rhythm in the beginning is very important

I was also lucky to get tremendous support from my colleagues and superiors. Hence, it is very important to maintain cordial relationships with everyone in the office. What was your strategy for time management for the CAT?
Nilesh Gupta
: I was very clear about few things regarding time management. In the first section, I attempted all the QA questions which I could clearly solve in the first sight and marked a few which were doable but with a little more thought. Then I got back to the marked questions. I could solve some and left the rest, proceeding to the DI section. This section needs a lot of patience and I ensured that I left no question just because of lengthy calculations. Luckily, I was still left with time after all DI questions and spent the last few minutes reviewing the paper.

In the second section, I attempted all ‘Fill in the blanks’ i.e. ‘Vocabulary-testing’ questions first. Then I moved to Para-jumbling and so on before moving to LR. Once everything was done, I started reading the paragraphs and could solve some before the final bell. What is your message for the MBA aspirants who will take CAT 2013 and other exams of the season?
Nilesh Gupta
: I have just one message to share: ‘Take it easy’. This is the only mantra which distinguished me from other candidates whom I met at my CAT test centre. I wouldn’t take the credit for being cool as the major reason behind this was that my expectations were pretty low. But when I look back, that helped me immensely. In a country with such a huge talent pool, making it to the top 0.1% definitely needs a stroke of luck. For every bad attempt, there is always a next one. I have batch mates with more than 10 years of experience which clearly signifies that patience is the key.

So gear up your shoes, prepare really hard but remember you have nothing to lose, as writer Chetan Bhagat quotes: “Be sincere, not serious”.

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Showing 8301 out of 8301 Questions

Does anyone has enrolled to Takshzila online lectures for CAT 2020 please mention name.

Harshita Sharan Srivastava Student Expert 31st Mar, 2020
Hello aspirant,
Takshzila online classes is one of the best options to prepare for CAT exams online. The faculties are really good at the subject knowledge and provides a clear concept clarity. There are various packages offered by the Institute which you can purchase from the following link:-

The level of teaching provided by the faculty is good enough for a serious aspire to crack CAT. For demo lectures you can visit their youtube channel and free resources available on their website.

Good Luck

I have 76% in 10th, 88% in 12th and 80% in graduation. Addition to that i have a 2 years work experience. How MUCH percentile do i need to score in cat to get a call from IIM ABC ?

Harshita Sharan Srivastava Student Expert 30th Mar, 2020

Hello Aspirant,

As per the details provided, you have decent academic record and its really good that you have 2 years of work experience. It'll give you an edge in selection process. Also, if you belong to general category, then to get a call from IIM A,B,C you should focus on getting a minimum of 98 percentile in cat.

All the best


Hlo....mam or sir! Im Rajlaxmi frm Odisha.. How to preparation for CAT ... during bba 2nd yr... how to crack CATexam ..

Prateek Sinha 30th Mar, 2020

Prepare for the syllabus according to the weight age of each section.  Give mock tests and improve upon your timing skills. if you join a coaching class it would be good as you will get a clearer idea.


why these exams are conducting

Aniket Sharma 29th Mar, 2020

hi lramprasad,

CAT is commencing on 25th November in 2020. So it does not need to get postponed/cancel due to corona virus. The situation should get better till November. So, we can't argue why CAT is conducting.

Please elaborate your query and provide more details so that we can help you better!!



Can i apply for MBA at JK Lakhmipat University if i have not given CAT?

Megha 29th Mar, 2020

Hello Abhishek !

Yes ,you can apply at JK Lakhmipat University if you have not given CAT , because as per their eligibility criteria for getting admission their the candidates must have appeared in CAT/MAT/ATMA/XAT/CMAT or any other national level entrance test.

In case the candidate has not appeared for any of the mentioned tests, they will have to appear in the JKLU Management Entrance Test (MET) to qualify for the programme.

So, you can apply there by appearing in their Entrance test.

Hope it helps !

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