How Gagandeep Singh Pannu cracked CAT 2013 with 99.97 percentile to get IIM admission?
Gagandeep Singh Pannu achieved a high percentile of 99.97 in CAT 2013 and secured admission in IIM Rohtak. An Engineer by education, Gagandeep aims to become a finance market expert post his management course at the IIM.
In this interview with Careers360, the CAT topper who targeted only IIMs for his MBA dream, shares how he worked on basic quantitative concepts and self preparation to excel in the CAT or other management entrance exam. He also talks on his Time Management strategy which led him to crack CAT with high percentile despite his hectic work schedules. His key advice to the aspirant is ‘PRACTICE’.
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Read more for his insights on successfully cracking CAT.
Careers360: What was your objective behind pursuing MBA? What are your aspirations?
Gagandeep: My reason for pursuing Masters in Business Administration is the inclination I have towards the financial sector, and I aspire to excel in the field of finance as a top financial expert. I have a passion for learning on the subject of World’s financial markets, especially the U.S. economy. I invest in shares and follow the U.S. economy since last two to three years.
My role model is Mr. Warren Buffet and desire to be an efficient and good investor. I know that it’s not a cake walk; it requires perseverance, expertise and passion to achieve that level for which I am ready to do whatever it takes.
Careers360: Apart from CAT 2013, which other MBA entrance exams you appeared in and how would you scale your performance?
Gagandeep: The only MBA entrance exam I appeared in was CAT in 2013. I had already set my goals on CAT and admission in one of the IIM’s, so I didn’t-t appeared in any other exam and focused as much I could have.
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The reason I did this is that I believe in this competitive and valuable education world the brand with which you are associated matters a lot. I wanted myself to be associated with a brand only, which is Indian Institute of Management (IIM) so my priority was to get admission in one of the IIM’s by an impressive CAT score.
Careers360: Why did you choose to join IIM Rohtak? Please also name other B-schools which made final admission offers to you.
Gagandeep: I decided to earn my MBA degree from IIM Rohtak because for me it’s a complete package-Coveted IIM tag along with excellent mix of students and good faculty, state of art infrastructure, is all you need to outshine. Even though it is operating from a temporary campus but still it is at par with other good B-schools.
I got interview calls from IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow and Kozhikode.
Careers360: What was your preparation strategy for CAT 2013?
Gagandeep: My focus was to crack CAT so I started with my own preparation first. Later, before few months in the CAT Exam, I joined Mock Cat Test Series to focus more on the application of concepts.
According to me, if you are good at basic quantitative concepts, self-preparation would suffice. My preparation was very comprehensive, at first I focused more on brushing concepts and later switching to higher level questions.
But coaching or mentoring is equally essential in order to give you a direction and guiding medium as well as motivation. In order to achieve goals set by you, dedication, proper channelizing of direction and motivation is very important. For that coaching institute plays a very fruitful role.
Careers360: How did you manage CAT preparation schedule along with your working hours?
Gagandeep: During my CAT preparation and exam schedule, I was working with T.T. Consultancy as a Patent analyst so my schedule was very hectic. I have to work for 9-10 hours in the office, excluding the three hours of travelling time. Within this hectic time frame, I could only give 1-2 hours on weekdays for my CAT preparation. But I made it a point to study sincerely with full determination on weekends.
Careers360: Please share your preparation strategy for the Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning separately?
Gagandeep: For QA, practice makes a man perfect is the only mantra, like solving Quantitative aptitude problems from Arun Sharma whereas in VA and LR, more focus on reading newspapers (the Hindu and ET), articles(business related, arts and Economy ) and business magazines.
Along with all that practicing Reading Comprehensive passages is equally important.
Careers360: What was your Time Management formula while taking the actual CAT exam?
Gagandeep: On the day of exam, I prepared a strategy to first go through the entire questions and then attempt formula based questions first. So I started by answering the formula based questions moving towards the difficult level questions. I attempted questions with a calculative risk. My target was to attempt 15 Questions in 15 minutes.
In VA section, my reading comprehension and logical reasoning section was very strong so I attempted 18 questions keeping in view accuracy level that which is a very important factor.
Careers360: What were your strong and weak areas? How you improved your weak areas?
Gagandeep: The Grammar part section was my weak area in the CAT exam. To improvise upon my weak area, I attempted as many questions as I could from books, internet sites and followed mock series and that helped me clear my basic concepts.
Careers360: What is your advice for the MBA aspirants who will take CAT 2014?
Gagandeep: Only one advice to the aspirants- PRACTICE, PRACTICE and PRACTICE. There is no other way around or any shortcut to crack CAT or any other management entrance exam. It’s the hard work and practice that pays off.
Careers360: How did you divide your timings between preparation and recreational activities? What were the activities that you did besides preparing for the exam?
Gagandeep: I was very hard working and studious. Books have been my best friends, so I used to spend my free time in reading. Along with reading, I used to watch films and my favorite movie is The Lord of The Rings. I love the character of Gollum, his style of speaking and the transformation of him into becoming a supporting character in its sequel is really praiseworthy.
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Questions related to CAT
sloved question paper of CAT b.des 2020
Here is the link of CAT previous years question papers with solutions (2017,2018,2019) . Hope this will help you to boost your preparation for the exam.
Hope it helps.
All the best.
i belong to telngana gor 321 marks in neet2020 air289957 can i get b cat mbbs female candidate
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confirm seats under MGMT/NRI Quota,
only NEET qualified.
bookings started for confirm seats
all over india.
My branch is Electrical Engineering and in my college i have very less chance of placements . So what jobs should i go for so that it could be counted as work experience if I want to go for CAT exam ?
For MBA , work experience is not compulsory. You can get into MBA colleges without a work experience. It's like good food placed in a good plate. If you have a work experience you will get a good job or with more package . Otherwise it will depend on your academics.
My Neet 2020 score is 566 . I belong to BC cat. in Tamilnadu. What are my chances in Tamilnadu government colleges??
It's quite difficult to predict that whether you will get seat or not as cut off marks for medical colleges keeps changing every year depending upon various factors like number of students that appeared in the exam, kind of marks obtained by them , toughness level of the examination etc.
But when we go through previous data then with 566 marks , you hold a chance to get a seat in a Government Medical College
In Neet 2019, 470 marks for obc category was the cut off marks to get a seat in Government Medical College under Tamilnadu state quota and it was for Government Medical College and Hospital, Pudukottai
With 566 marks also have chances in following govt college under state quota-
*Government Medical College, Omandurar Estate, Chennai
*Government K.A.P.V. Medical College, Trichy
And a few more
Above prediction is on the basis of past year data but cutoff keeps changing every year due to many factors as mentioned earlier, so to have a clear picture of the colleges in which you have to chances and
to get the complete list of colleges in which you have chances, you can go through our college predictor at
It gives you a personalized report with top college in which you have chances for admission , with the help of predicted colleges you can make better choice while filling your choices of colleges during your counselling
what jobs an engineer can do if he does not get campus placement and want to appear in CAT exam so that his work ex will be counted??
Most IIM's usually gives only 5-15 % of weightage to work experience (major weightage is for CAT score and PI) with points for approx. 24-36 months of work after which they don't count it ( which means work experience of more than 2-3 years will not give you any extra edge during selection)
Since you are an Engineering graduate, it is usually advisable to go for a technical job related to your field not just because it is easier to get but but because it is easier to justify in your CV. CAT values versatility but there is a fine line between versatility and randomness. What I mean to say is that if you go for a job which isn't even remotely related to your field of study then you'd probably be asked for reasons as to why you chose to do that. So if you were to go for a sales job after completing a degree in say, Electrical Engineering, you'd have to to explain your shift in career paths. To avoid such justifications and to to make the most of your CV, go for a technical job or maybe an Analysist position, anything which you can either link to your Engineering degree or to a Management degree.
Best of luck, Good day!