How Tanya Gupta secured 99.47 percentile to get an IIM seat
Updated on Oct 10, 2014 - 2:39 p.m. IST by Urvashi Dalal
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Tanya Gupta
achieved a high percentile of 99.47 in CAT 2013 and secured admission in IIM Kozhikode. Tanya, who worked with JP Morgan in Investment Banking Division prior to her admission into IIM, aims to become a financial market expert post her management course at the IIM K.

In this interview with Careers360, the CAT topper who targeted only IIMs for her MBA dream, shares how she strategically prepared along with extensive practice sessions for all the four sections of CAT paper. She also talks on the importance of dividing the time judiciously between your strengths and weaknesses, and gradually working upon them.

Read more for his insights on successfully cracking CAT.

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Careers360: What was your objective behind pursuing MBA? What are your aspirations?

Tanya Gupta: In the past 2 years, I had developed a fair sense of financial market proficiency and its relationship with business activities. In the process, I had also polished my soft traits such as communication skills and leadership capabilities. Hence, I was confident that my hard and soft skills were well aligned for a career in management, for which I wanted to pursue an MBA.

Specifically, I aspired for a transition to a position such as a corporate finance role in a multinational organization, where I could conceptualize and implement financial decisions myself. This would allow me to meaningfully contribute to the organization whilst I capitalize on my personal talent to the fullest.  

Careers360: Apart from CAT 2013, which other MBA entrance exams you took and how was your performance?

Tanya Gupta: CAT was the only exam I took in the year 2013. It was my aim to crack CAT with a percentile, which I did with my handwork and preparation.

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

Tanya Gupta: I joined IIM Kozhikode for its well-renowned faculty, and academic curriculum which is well grounded in real-life applications.Kozhikode is known for its diversity, something that I was looking for in a B-school. Further, I wanted to have leverage from the brand equity of the IIM-tag.

Additionally, I had a final admission offer from MDI, Gurgaon.

Careers360: What was your preparation strategy for CAT 2013?

Tanya Gupta: I started preparing for CAT five months in advance. The strategy was to first solidify my basics for all the four sections and then deep-dive into each one of them. I undertook exhaustive numerical practice and individual topic tests for the Quantitative section. For the Verbal section, I read newspaper editorials, and other online material regularly to help me with grammar and also my reading comprehension ability.

In the last two months, I relied only on extensive test material practice- both sectionals and combined papers. I followed-up each test I took with 5-6 hours of reflection on the question paper to gauge my performance. This helped me polish my rough edges and prepared me better for the examination format.

Careers360: How important is Coaching or Mentoring to crack CAT or other MBA entrance tests?

Tanya Gupta: I believe coaching helps us to build theoretical basics, which is essential for the more complicated problems that come into our way during CAT. Having said that, how much value we can extract from these classes will ultimately depend on our own dedication towards the paper.

Careers360: How did you manage CAT preparation schedule along with your working hours?

Tanya Gupta: Preparation for CAT required me to manage my time very diligently. However, once I set my priorities straight, the schedule became easier to follow. I was able to take out 2-3 hours during weekdays and roughly 7-8 hours over the weekends for my preparation. On work-heavy days I would work on my strengths, while I used weekends to concentrate on my weaknesses.

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

Tanya Gupta: For Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, I first made sure that I understood the theory very well, which I followed-up with extensive practice questions and sectional tests. For the Verbal Ability section, I gave regular grammar and unseen passage tests. I worked hard on improving my reading speed by reading lots of online material in a time-bound manner. I practiced lots of sentence correction and parajumble questions as well.

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

Tanya Gupta: The examination format does not leave much scope for a time-management strategy. However, I made sure that I attempted all the questions that I was sure of and returned to the difficult questions only towards the last. After this, I revised my answers in whatever time I was left with. 

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

Tanya Gupta: Verbal section has always been strength, and thus I did not have to concentrate on that section much. The quantitative section on the other hand has always been my weaker suit; I spent a lot of time going back to my basics and practicing as much as I could. I gathered a huge question bank from different sources, and gave numerous sectional tests to further build my confidence.

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

Tanya Gupta: My advice to CAT aspirants will be to start early and draw a time schedule to cover all topics. Divide time judiciously between your strengths and weaknesses. Build theoretical knowledge first, and then move on to extensive practice. Move to writing mock tests about 1.5-2 months from the exam, and devote at least 4-5 hours after each test to understand your weaknesses. Practise more questions to deal with these points. On the day of the exam, remember to keep your calm, a positive frame of mind will always yield better results than a nervous one.

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

Tanya Gupta: Managing CAT preparation and a hectic work schedule meant that I had little time for recreational activities. However, I tried my best to sneak in time for recreation at least twice a week. Whenever time would permit, I would watch a movie or go out with my friends or listen to music to relax my mind.

Careers360: What kind of movies do you enjoy watching? Share the name of your favourite movie and the characters that inspire you.

Tanya Gupta: I am an ardent fan of cinema, and enjoy watching diverse thought-provoking movies from across the world. One of the movies that I recently watched and liked was Ingmar Bergman’s Swedish classic ‘Wild Strawberries’.  The central character is a grouchy, egotistical and over-achieving physician through whom Bergman explores the theme of self-actualization in the context of his overall impact on the lives of his family and friends. This character’s journey inspired a lot of ideas I had about my own life.


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Questions related to CAT

Showing 7973 out of 7973 Questions

i can not give CAT exam, can i go for MAT,,,,,,, is only MAT is sufficient for mba admission

Khusji 22nd Jan, 2020


Yes you can, MAT score is accepted by more than 600 B- schools in the country.

You can know about all the colleges which take admission through MAT on our page link-

You can check selection procedure through MAT on our page-

Hope this helps


I have scored 87 percentile and 91.90 percentile in cat and xat exam respectively besides 2-3 years of work experience in two companies mainly Earnest n young (16 months experience). 10 th, 12 th and graduate score is more than 90 percent. can i get a call from spjain

Sampriti Student Expert 22nd Jan, 2020
The minimum cutoff required by SPJIMR for both CAT and XAT this year is 85 percentile (for profile based shortlisting process). Since you have performed really well in both the exams and have a percentile above the required one and considering your profile you can definitely get a call from SPJIMR during their profile based shortlisting process. Since your XAT scores and better then you may get a call through XAT. But you can get other colleges also based on your scores like
  • KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research
  • Great Lakes Chennai
  • IMT Ghaziabad
  • GIM Goa
  • TAPMI Manipal and other colleges.

Good Luck
1 View

my cat percentile is is 75% which colleges i can get

Shaktik Guria 22nd Jan, 2020

First of all congratulate for your percentile in cat exam. About your percentile you didn't get admission in IIT,IIM,NIT . But you should definitely got chance in LIBA,Chennai, and XIME,Bangalore two  best non IIM MBA college in India.


Hi, Can you suggest good colleges for CAT 2019 percentile 87.78 in general category with good ROI. VA : 81.2, LR : 89.0, QA : 87.11, Overall : 87.78. 10th : 84%, +2 : 95.7, Btech : 7.0/10 (65.45%) I have 4 yrs of experience and 5lpa package currently. Also can i apply for IITs with this percentile?

Sampriti Student Expert 22nd Jan, 2020
The best B schools you can check out with their respective academic fees are
  • KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research Mumbai (approximately 15 Lakhs)
  • Great Lakes Chennai (17.15 lakhs)
  • GIM Goa (approximately 16 lakhs)
  • TAPMI Manipal (14.6 lakhs)
  • BIM Trichy (14.5 lakhs)
  • LIBA Chennai (15.2 lakhs)
  • LBSIM Delhi (16.3 lakhs)
  • BIMTECH Noida (12 lakhs)

They are all very reputed colleges and offer excellent ROI. The average compensation package offered in these colleges are nearly 10-12 lakhs.

You can also check out some IITs like Department of Management, IIT Madras ( fees = 8 lakhs) and FMS BHU( fees = less than 1 lakh) with your CAT percentile. They also have good placements. But if you're considering IITs then IIT Madras would be the best option and it is way better than FMS BHU.

Good Luck

my cat percentile is 90.66 but havent cleared sectional cutoffs in dilr, what colleges can i aim ?

Sampriti Student Expert 22nd Jan, 2020
You have a very good CAT percentile and you can definitely get a call from a lot of good colleges who only consider the overall percentile and not the sectional ones. You can expect a call from these colleges ( provided that you've applied for them)
  • IMT Ghaziabad
  • IMI Delhi
  • XIMB Bhubaneshwar
  • FORE School of Management
  • VGSOM IIT Kharagpur
The above mentioned colleges require a minimum of 90 percentile in CAT and the following are some other colleges with cutoffs ranging from 80-90
  • Great Lakes Chennai
  • KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research
  • GIM Goa
  • BIM Trichy
  • TAPMI Manipal
  • Department of Management IIT Madras
  • LIBA Chennai and others

All these colleges are very good and some of them are in fact better than the newer IIMs so you can definitely go for them. You can easily get an average compensation package of around 10-12 lakhs in all these colleges.

Good Luck
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