CAT 2014 Topper Interview: Attempt easy questions first, says Ishaan of SPJIMR
Urvashi Dalal, 15 Sep 2015, #CAT
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Great Lakes Institute of Management

Ishaan Anokar, an engineer from Pune aspired to pursue MBA to enhance his knowledge and skills on Marketing and brand management. To follow his dreams, Ishaan appeared for CAT 2014 and obtained 99.39 percentile and secured admission in SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai to pursue post graduate diploma in management.


In the Careers360 special series of CAT Topper Strategies, we bring to you Ishaan’s overall CAT experience and how he was able to secure a high percentile. His preparation strategy focussed on consolidating his strength in the Verbal Ability section and tackling his weakness, Quantitative Ability by focusing on conceptual clarity.  He owes his success to attempting easy questions first and saving time for the difficult ones.  


Read his interview to know how he turned the changed pattern of CAT to his advantage while attempting the exam.


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Careers360:  What are the factors which made you pursue MBA?

Ishaan: I had interned in the Technical Sales domain and was also working full-time in the same field. I desired to make the progression to the field of marketing and brand management. This was my motivation to pursue MBA.


Careers360: How was the overall experience of appearing in CAT 2014? What was your preparation strategy for CAT 2014 as the pattern was changed?

Ishaan: The overall experience was challenging yet enjoyable. The changed pattern helped me to allocate time to the respective sections as per my choice. This however made it simpler as I was able to play with my strengths and quickly complete my strong section. My preparation strategy focussed on consolidating my strength in the Verbal Ability section and strengthening my Quantitative Ability section. Attempting easy questions first lets you save a lot of time for the difficult ones. You can take a few extra minutes to focus on solving the difficult questions later.


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

Ishaan: For Verbal Ability, I just took ample mock tests. For LR and DI, I used to practice solving at least 3-4 sets with a time limit every day. This helped me get exposure to a diverse set of problems in both LR and DI areas. For the Quantitative section, which was my relatively weaker section, I initially focussed on individual chapters and subsequently wrote ample full-length tests.


Careers360: What was your Time Management formula for the CAT?

Ishaan: The changed pattern provided flexibility to students to attempt the section of their choice first, as well as to switch between sections multiple times. I made the most of this opportunity by first attempting the VA & LR section (which was my stronger section) in around 70-75 minutes, and devoting the rest of the time to the QA & DI section.


Careers360:  What were your strong and weak areas? How did you tackle your weak area in the exam?

Ishaan: Verbal Ability was my strength. QA was a relatively weak area for me. In the exam, I was able to quickly complete my VA section and allocate sufficient time to the QA section and eventually did well in it.


Careers360: After the exam, how did you prepare for the PI-WAT rounds?

Ishaan: I mostly spent a lot of time introspecting about myself, my strengths, weaknesses, my career goals (both short-term and long-term) etc. This helped me prepare answers to most common PI questions. I also made a conscious effort to keep myself informed about current events. It is also important to brush-up on under-graduation subjects as interviewers may ask questions based on them. For WAT, I often practised writing 300 words essays on commonly encountered WAT topics.


Careers360: What are the key factors that influence your selection at PI stage?

Ishaan: For the SPJIMR interview, I made a conscious effort to gain a detailed understanding of the vision, mission and core values of the college, as well as its unique pedagogy and initiatives. I think this was a differentiating factor at the PI stage.


Careers360: What was your WAT topic and how did you structure your write up?

Ishaan: My WAT was centred on Dhoni's decision to quit test cricket (whether the decision was correct or incorrect). I took the view that it is his personal choice. However the point I brought out was that as a leader it was not right on his part to quit suddenly when the team was in the midst of an important series.


Careers360: What strategy would you like to suggest for the CAT 2015 aspirants?

Ishaan: Attempt easy questions first to save time for the difficult ones. Dream big and practice hard.


Also Read:

CAT 2015 Exam Pattern

Expert Interview on CAT 2015

CAT 2014 Topper Strategies

CAT 2015 Convenor Interview


Other B-school Features:

MBA Internship experiences 2015

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