Sohini Deb cracked CAT 2013 with 98.11 percentile to secure admission in IIM Kozhikode. She also secured final admission offers by the Top B-School including SPJIMR, IIFT, MDI and IIM Indore. Sohini, however, opted for Post Graduate Programme (PGP) in Management from IIM Kozhikode.

The CAT topper who worked as a Software Developer with Cognizant Technology Solutions aspired to be a successful decision maker in life. She aimed to pursue MBA to combine her technical knowledge with the functional aspects of management.


Click Here to enroll for Expert guidance for CAT and Other Management Entrances Preparation, Counseling and College Selection.


In this interview with Careers360, Sohini shares her success strategy which she followed to crack CAT and other management exams like IIFT Entrance Test. Sohini says that weekly Mock exam and regular practice are the keys to crack MBA exam and reveals how she kept a tab on her relative performance among her peer group members.




Careers360: Why did you opt to pursue MBA? What are your aspirations?

Sohini Deb: As a software developer, I felt the need to have a business perspective, required to analyze the problems, opportunities and risks involved in every business. While the experience of the last few years has been very positive, I desire to learn more and to take on greater responsibilities and enhance my analytical and decision making ability. 

I have realized that to move up the corporate hierarchy I need to possess a comprehensive understanding of the functioning of the organization. An MBA at this stage of my career will help me combine the technical insights I learnt from my job with the functional aspects of management which will help me to become a good decision maker and grow professionally.

My biggest aspiration is to establish and support an organisation to achieve its target. I believe that on my way to achieve my goals I will develop as an individual and contribute towards society as well. I wish to utilise these 2 years at IIM-K to develop my personality, inculcate different hobbies and become a well-rounded personality.


Careers360: Why did you choose to join IIM Kozhikode? Please also mention other B-schools which made final admission offers to you.

Sohini Deb: IIM-K is itself a brand among the B-Schools. Peer learning is an important aspect in management education and so I felt it would be the right choice for me to pursue my management studies from IIM-K. The Institute promises a dynamic platform to build my foundation in all the functional areas of management. The curriculum is largely focused on practical, application-oriented insight into the dynamics of business environment with a lot of focus on case study method of pedagogy. Though located in a slightly difficult terrain, most noted recruiters make a bee-hive towards this campus and placement records have been consistently promising. In spite of being a relatively newer IIM- Kozhikode has a global presence with a rich alumni base of 4500+.

The other B-Schools that made final admission offers were SP Jain Institute of Management Research, Mumbai, IIFT Delhi, MDI Gurgaon and IIM Indore.


Careers360: What was the preparation strategy that you followed for CAT 2013?

Sohini Deb: With a tough routine it was not possible for me to attend any coaching. But I made sure that I don’t leave my preparations for the CAT exam even for a single day. I used to give Mock exam on every weekend as Practice is the key to crack this exam.


Careers360: Do you think taking Coaching or Mentoring is necessary to crack CAT or other MBA entrance exams?

Sohini Deb: I do not believe in taking any coaching for CAT, but yes mentoring from an experienced individual is supportive. However, it is important for students to get familiar with the exam pattern, time management and few tricks which can help in tackling the tough questions. You can only help yourselves in learning all this by practicing hard each day.


Careers360: How you managed your CAT preparation schedule along with the working hours?

Sohini Deb: It was difficult as my job demanded 8 hours of daily work and sometimes few extra hours on weekends. After a long tiring day at work, I found it very difficult to come back home and study. Hence I made use of the morning hours and gave few hours to CAT preparations. I also regularly followed online forums, and chatted with fellow aspirants to know my relative position after each mock CAT.


Careers360: Please share your preparation strategy for the Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning separately?

Sohini Deb: For Quantitative Ability, the focus was on few chapters like arithmetic and geometry. I used to collate formulas from various sources and practiced problems every day. As my Data Interpretation scores were not up to the mark, I made up a strategy to attend only one DI question and other questions from quant section.

Logical Reasoning was my forte. I used answer them first and then move to RC and vocabulary part of the test. I preferred to leave Sentence Correction questions if I was not sure enough. All throughout my preparation I managed 95-99 percentile in the second section.


Careers360: What was your Time Management formula while taking the actual CAT paper?

Sohini Deb: I do not believe that you require a strategy or planning for CAT because it demands a candidate to take decisions on the spot. Also with the complexity of the paper varying across the exam window, it was difficult to plan anything at all. I just kept reminding myself about the clock ticking and never spent too much time on any particular question.

For the RCs I used to glance through the passage very quickly and then go through the questions to answer. For LR, I tabulated the data given which helped me in conserving time. I also judiciously picked DI sets that did not involve lengthy calculations.


Careers360: What were your strong and weak areas? How did you prepare and what special efforts did you put for improving your weak areas?

Sohini Deb: Strongest area was Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation was my weakest. I practiced DI from past year CAT papers and also from the mock exams. I tried to attend the quant questions to cover up for the DI marks. My strategy was to be accurate rather attending all questions.


Careers360: What is your advice for the MBA aspirants who will take CAT 2014?

Sohini Deb: Since the examination pattern has changed completely and there is no time allotment for particular sections, I would advise the students to target accuracy because the complexity of the paper can be on a higher side, so normalization would help only if they minimize negative marking.


Careers360: How you divided your timings between preparation and recreational activities? What were the activities that you did besides preparing for the exam?

Sohini Deb: I was involved in recreational activities; I used to catch up with friends on shopping sprees and also watched movies occasionally. Besides being an avid fan of Bollywood movies, I also love watching Hollywood and Bengali films. Apart from this I used to attend office lunches and parties and also participated in the cultural events of the office. 


Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:

Life @ B-School Campus

Changes in CAT 2014

CAT Topper Interviews

MBA Internship Series


Stay tuned on  for more news and updates on CAT

Applications Open Now

ITM Business School
ITM Business School
Alliance School of Business
Alliance School of Business
Delhi School of Business (VIPS-TC)
Delhi School of Business (VIP...
Jaipuria Institute of Management | Deadline: 31 Mar 2020
Jaipuria Institute of Managem...
IPE, Hyderabad
IPE, Hyderabad
BML Munjal University - MBA Admissions
BML Munjal University - MBA A...
Asia Pacific Institute of Management
Asia Pacific Institute of Man...
View All Application Forms

Popular Degrees

782 Colleges
310 Colleges
33 Colleges
29 Colleges
17 Colleges

CAT Updates and Articles

Questions related to CAT

Showing 8307 out of 8307 Questions

is droping a year after BBA for preparation of CAT is good option.

ADIL KHAN Student Expert 1st Apr, 2020

Hi Isha,

Don't take a complete drop instead work part-time/full time and prepare alongside for the Common Admissions test - CAT. Prepare step by step or get yourself enrolled for a weekends program with a good coaching institute depending on your preparation level. This will not only give you an edge over other freshers who will be applying but also will give you an idea on the stream/domain in which you want to pursue your MBA in.

For starters appear for a mock test or do a sample paper and access your preparation level as of now and then decide.

For more information on eligibility/entrance test/admission you can reach out to us.

Hope it helps,



hello everybody please help me i am from up obc category 1. should i get the benefits of state qouta in neet 2021 ?? 2. at least how many marks(rough idea ) i have to score to get government medical college mbbs in up ??

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 1st Apr, 2020

In 2019, under State Quota, 573 marks secured a seat in Bahraich Medical College under OBC Category. That was the cut off. This is in sharp contrast to 429 marks being the cut off in 2018. This is a proof that cut offs change every year. Cut offs change every year depending on various factors such as no.of Candidates appearing for the exam, no.of Candidates qualified, top NEET score and difficulty of the exam. So to be able to secure a seat in any GMC in UP, you need to score atleast 600 and above. Regarding reaping benefits of OBC benefits, if you have all the proof of documents in place, you are eligible for 27% of reservation by the virtue of belonging to OBC Category. To help you with your NEET preparation, we have NEET Knockout packages that you can check at: To help you during admission and counselling, we have


Is it possible for me to get into anyone of the IIMs if I have completed my bachelors degree from a tier 3 college with 85% & have 76% in 10th, 53% in 12th & no work experience?

Manisha Gupta Expert 31st Mar, 2020

Hello Aspirant,

You have an average Academic record so you need to target a little higher percentile than the closing cut-off.

After CAT result, Every Institute including IIM prepares a merit list to call students for next round of interview and WSAT which is based on your aggregate score which comprises of many factors such as CAT marks,
10th 12th and graduation percentage, work experience etc. with different weightages for different IIMs.

If you are targeting to get top IIMs like IIM A, B, C then try to score more than 99 percentile and for new IIMs try to score 95 percentile in CAT Entrance Exam. Other than IIMs, To get into top private colleges like FMS, JBIMS Mumbai, S.P Jain etc. You should have more than 96-98 percentile other than this for other private colleges you can get with 90+ percentile in CAT Entrance Exam.

Good Luck!


what is the Expected cutoff for neet 2020 for cat 3A and also what is the fees

Apoorva Student Expert 31st Mar, 2020

Hello dear student,

This is not how it works . As you need to put a give us the whole information / description of the question for which you want the information. Please tell us the state of domicile because every state the cutoff is very different. So please provide all the necessary details so that we can provide you with the expected cut off .

Thank you


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
The question have been saved in answer later, you can access it from your profile anytime. Access now

Download the Careers360 App on your Android phone

Regular exam updates, QnA, Predictors, College Applications & E-books now on your Mobile

Careers360 App
150M+ Students
24,000+ Colleges
500+ Exams
1500+ E-books