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Unveiling the Path to Success: A Candid Conversation with Rishab Rahiman, a CAT 2022 topper who converted IIM

Unveiling the Path to Success: A Candid Conversation with Rishab Rahiman, a CAT 2022 topper who converted IIM

Edited By Himanshu Shekhar | Updated on May 10, 2023 03:29 PM IST | #CAT

Rishab Rahiman, an aspirant who secured admission to his dream B-School, IIM Bangalore, takes us through his journey and experience of being a CAT topper 2022 to acing MBA admission rounds. He got calls from renowned MBA colleges like SIBM Pune, SP Jain Mumbai, XLRI Jamshedpur, IIM Calcutta, and IIM Lucknow but he chose IIM Bangalore.

Unveiling the Path to Success: A Candid Conversation with Rishab Rahiman, a CAT 2022 topper who converted IIM
Unveiling the Path to Success: A Candid Conversation with Rishab Rahiman, a CAT 2022 topper who converted IIM

In an exclusive interview with Careers360, Rishab provides insightful tips, preparation strategies, and encounters with esteemed interview panels, providing aspiring B-School candidates with invaluable insights and guidance. This interview illuminates the path for MBA aspirants, offering insights into selection metrics and unveiling the path to success.

Careers360: Congratulations on converting to your desired institute! How do you feel?

Rishab: I feel ecstatic! It feels really rewarding after all the hard work and effort that I put in. IIM Bangalore was always my dream B School, and I feel quite lucky to have secured admission to it, on my very first attempt. It’s a new beginning, and I am eager to take on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

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Careers360: What is the selection procedure at IIM Bangalore?

Rishab: The process starts with giving the CAT exam. One needs to score a very high percentile (99+) to get a call from IIM B. This percentile will vary for OBC, SC/ST, and students from different educational backgrounds. Based on your CAT score, 10th and 12th score, work-ex, and gender diversity, you are shortlisted for the WAT (Written Ability Test) and PI (Personal Interview) round. The weightage for each of the factors changes every year, so keep yourself updated about it from the IIM B website. After the WAT-PI round, a cumulative score is calculated based on which the final merit list is drafted.

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Careers360: Please elaborate on your overall experience of the selection procedure at IIM Bangalore

Rishab: After giving CAT, I got a call for the WAT-PI round at IIM B in mid-January. I had to fill out a personal data form for it and received my WAT and interview slots. The Written Ability Test was conducted online a few days before the interview which was scheduled inside the IIM Bangalore campus itself. It was a good chance to explore the campus and talk to a lot of students who are currently studying there. Overall, the whole selection process at IIM Bangalore was very structured and smooth.

Careers360: Which other B-Schools’ selection procedure did you appear for? How was your experience in other institutes vis a vis in the institute you have converted?

Rishab: I have converted calls from SIBM Pune, SP Jain Mumbai, XLRI Jamshedpur, IIM Calcutta and IIM Lucknow. Selection procedures for IIMs were mostly the same. SIBM had an additional group discussion round in its selection procedure which was very different from that of IIMs. And SP Jain has its iconic group interviews (both technical and HR rounds). XLRI's interview round was extremely short and fast (mine lasted for around 5 minutes), however, I had to wait almost 5 hours for it.

Careers360: What was your WAT/PI topic and how did you structure it? Did you find it easy or had a difficult time writing/ thinking about the topic?

Rishab: IIM Bangalore's WAT process was held online, days before the PI was scheduled. My WAT topic was "The Global Tech Layoffs and its Effect on the Indian Economy". I structured the essay by first introducing the topic. Gave reasoning for why it is happening followed by its effects on the economy. I finished it by giving an example of a company that laid off its employees recently and tried to explain its effects on the Indian economy. Layoffs were a common topic that most aspirants were aware of, but the effect on the economy part caught me by surprise.

Careers360: Did you get external help or join a coaching school to prepare for PI and WAT? When did you start your preparations for it?

Rishab: I joined TIME Institute for the PI-WAT process. I got to give a few mock PIs before my actual interviews. I got really valuable feedback on how to structure my answers, how to introduce myself and how to come out of tough spots in an interview. I started my WAT/PI prep only after XAT, which was on 8th January. I started reading magazines and newspapers to keep myself updated on the latest happenings. The main chunk of preparation though was about the things that I had mentioned in my application forms and revising my academics.

Careers360: Do you think that WAT/PI requires some separate preparation apart from what you mentioned?

Rishab: Different institutes follow their own style of conducting the PI. For example, you can almost always expect a maths question from IIM Calcutta's interview panel. Your technical knowledge and general awareness is key to cracking IIM Bangalore’s PI. So, candidates must research a bit about the college which they are going to attend the PI for, beforehand. Know about the companies that come for placement, famous alumni from the college, the latest news about the city in which the college is situated and the city in which you are attempting the PI etc.

Careers360: Please share the WAT/PI topics which you were asked during the admission rounds?

Rishab: A few topics that I was asked to write were on,

  • "The Global Tech Layoffs and its Effect on the Indian Economy" (IIMB)
  • "Karma, and how the concept of GOD can go obsolete with the rise of Karma" (IIMA)
  • "How to promote indigenous sports in India" (SIBM and IIMC)
  • "Which would you value more, Infrastructure, Education, or Better Health facilities and why?" (SP Jain)

Careers360: Are there ways to handle a situation when one has no answer to a question during PI?

Rishab: If you do not know an answer, the best way is to accept that you do not know. That way you avoid beating around the bush or saying something stupid and unrelated to it, which can backfire harshly on your result. Always keep a smiling face and tell politely that you are not aware of it, or you are not able to recollect it. The panelists are usually very friendly and will always try and help you to reach the answer and will drop a few hints also.

Careers360: How must one approach a WAT/PI topic? Could you share some Dos and Don’ts for the same?

Rishab: WAT is a very time-constrained task. Take a few minutes and jot down all the important points. Then start writing in a structured manner. Most colleges expect paragraph style. So avoid writing in pointers. Also, make sure you have ample time to finish the topic. An essay without an ending will not look nice.

Careers360: Is there a particular kind of time management strategy that should be added to the candidate’s skillset? Will it help in writing a complete structured WAT/PI?

Rishab: Time management is very important for WAT. Say the total time is 30 minutes to complete. To write 300 words, a person might need approximately 15 minutes. But here we have to do the thinking as well. So, it is recommended that you create a skeleton of your essay in the first 5 minutes and keep all the points handy in rough. Then just refer to that skeleton and complete the essay within the time limit. Every institute strictly follows WAT timings, so you will not get spare time.

Careers360: How did you feel when you faced the interviewers during the PI? Please share a few details like the size of your panel and your overall experience.

Rishab: My very first interview was for IIM Lucknow. I was very stressed, and somehow the panelists were able to easily see through me. They made me feel comfortable and only then did they start the interview. Some panelists have their own way of breaking the ice by telling jokes or asking you to introduce yourself. After my first interview, I realized there was no need to panic. I am just going to talk about the things I prepared for, and if I don’t know any answer, it is OK to accept that I do not know. With that attitude, I was able to attempt my other interviews with more confidence.

The panel size was usually either two or three. Sometimes I felt that the panelists play the good cop and bad cop roles. It is important to focus on all the panelists, and not just the ones who is being friendly.

Careers360: Which interview turned out to be the best one? Enlighten us about the finest one according to you.

Rishab: My IIM Calcutta interview was the best one. I was the last candidate for my panel, and I could feel that both myself, and the panelists were a little tired. They started off by asking me to sing. I was caught by surprise. I was not prepared for this googly. I pulled myself together and managed to sing a verse from ‘Bole-re Papi Hara’, and the panel enjoyed it too. Suddenly there was a rush of energy all through me, and the interview went very smoothly from there on. As expected, they asked me a mathematics question, which I answered in a very detailed manner. They asked a few questions about my job, and a few current affairs questions that I had prepared, and voila! my interview was over. They said I sang well and asked me to take a toffee.

Careers360: What about the questions which you found difficult to answer? How did you reply to those?

Rishab: GK was not one of my strong suits, and I couldn’t answer many questions from different PIs. I tried to answer as much as possible, and if I had no idea, I would just mention that I was not aware of it. Also, since I had quit my job right before CAT, I was questioned about that choice by almost every panel, and I honestly mentioned the reasons behind my choice.

Careers360: So in those situations, was the panel easy or harsh on you? What should one do when s/he has no answer?

Rishab: In my IIM Ahmedabad interview, the panelists shot down a plethora of GK questions ranging from the Olympics to Nobel laureates, to the history of the India-Nepal relationship. Since they were static GK that I did not know, all I could do was smile and say "I don’t know".

If there is no way around it, it is all right to say that you do not know the answer. It will not have a negative effect on your selection unless you say 'you don’t know' to too many questions.

Careers360: What were the most fascinating questions you were asked? Please share your answers too.

Rishab:

  • IIM Lucknow: Mention an annoying person you have met at work. How do you deal with him/her?
  • IIM Indore asked me all the questions that I could not answer in my previous interviews and checked if I knew the answers to those now.
  • SIBM threw a riddle to solve at the end of their interview. "Your father is older than your Grand Father - Make it a true statement".
  • IIM Calcutta asked me how to relate to music using a mathematical approach.

Careers360: How different is an IIM interview from a non-IIM yet top B-School interview? Are there major differences? (If you have appeared for IIMs)

Rishab: SP Jain conducted a group interview which was very interesting. One must be very attentive to what others say and at the same time, not get carried away or get affected by how bad or good your peer is performing. Similarly, SIBM conducted a group discussion. Mine quickly turned into a fish market. During such times, make sure you stand out by being organized. One must not panic when the other candidates are making a lot of points when you have barely spoken one. Many just end up repeating the same points already discussed, just for the sake of more speaking time.

Careers360: How did you go about the preparations for PI? Did you search or look up some questions or practice mock PIs?

Rishab: My preparation for an interview would always start by looking at the previous year's questions that were asked. Many sources like iQuanta, HitBullseye, and CatKing provide previous interview experiences on their websites for free. They were the main source of preparation. Then came the Mock PI which was taken care of by TIME Institute for me. They regularly provided mocks PI catered to the colleges that I had calls from.

Careers360: And finally what are the aspects or qualities that the interview board looks for in a candidate?

Rishab: Basically if you have a call for an interview, the panel knows that you are intelligent, at least academically. They might just brush on a topic or two to check if you remember things that you have learnt. But more than that, what I felt is that they want to check whether you are able to manage the interview stress, whether you are able to communicate the things you know, and how confident you are at tackling problems. It is not a big problem if you do not know the answers to a few questions. So, believe in the preparation that you have put in and be confident while answering. The panel is highly skilled, and they will know if you are bluffing or are just trying to dodge a question. Answer to what is exactly asked, and you will probably have a good PI experience. All the best!

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Questions related to CAT

Have a question related to CAT ?

Hello aspirant,
The CAT exam syllabus is not officially prescribed, but it generally includes topics from the following sections:

1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
2. Data interpretation and logical reasoning
3. Quantitative ability

  • Arithmetic

  • Algebra

  • Geometry and Mensuration

  • Number System

  • Modern Math

It seems unlikely that you would be able to get admission in the BTech CS branch at BIT Sindri or Mesra with a CML rank of 2058 and category rank of 433.

Key points:

1. The search results indicate that a CML (Common Merit List) rank of 2058 is quite low for admission to premier engineering colleges like BIT Sindri or NIT Mesra.

2. The cutoff ranks for BTech CS branch at these institutes are usually much higher, often in the range of 1000-2000 for the general category.

3. With a category rank of 433, you may have a better chance of getting admission in the reserved category quota, but the competition is still quite high.

4. The search results do not provide specific cutoff details for BIT Sindri or NIT Mesra, but the general trend suggests your current ranks may not be sufficient for the CS branch in these institutes.

My advice would be to:

1. Check the latest cutoff ranks and admission criteria on the official websites of BIT Sindri and NIT Mesra.

2. Explore other options like state-level engineering colleges or NITs where your current ranks may have a better chance of securing admission.

3. Consider improving your performance in the next attempt of the entrance exam to increase your chances of getting into your desired BTech program.



For VARC, read daily from diverse sources (newspapers, novels, journals) to improve comprehension and vocabulary. Practice RC passages and verbal ability questions regularly. For DILR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning) and QA (Quantitative Aptitude), solve previous years' papers and take mock tests to identify weak areas. Join a coaching institute or online courses for guidance and stay consistent with your study schedule. Review and analyze your performance in mocks to understand mistakes and improve. Maintain a positive mindset and stay disciplined in your preparation.

Hello aspirant,

Every year, IIMs conduct the Common Admission Test (CAT), a national MBA entrance exam, in rotation. For admission to over 1,200 institutions and premier B-schools in India, as well as PGDM, Executive MBA, PhD, and FPM programmes, the IIM CAT exam is regarded as one of the most difficult MBA entrance exams to pass. One of the best MBA schools in India, IIMs offers PGDM and MBA programmes for students who pass the CAT exam with scores in the 82nd to 99th percentiles.

For complete information you can visit our website by clicking on the link given below.

https://bschool-careers360-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/bschool.careers360.com/exams/cat/amp?amp_gsa=1&amp_js_v=a9&usqp=mq331AQIUAKwASCAAgM%3D#amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&aoh=17204523672625&csi=1&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fbschool.careers360.com%2Fexams%2Fcat

Thank you

Hope this information helps you.

Hello!

The educational qualification required for CAT exam is bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a recognized university with minimum of 50% for the open category and 45% for the SC/ST/PwD category. Since you have secured more than the required percentage in your bachelor's degree, you are eligible for CAT exam.

For more information, please visit the website by clicking on the link given below:

https://bschool.careers360.com/articles/cat-eligibility-criteria

I hope you will find this information helpful. Best wishes ahead!

View All

1-radian measures 600. (True/False)

Option: 1

True


Option: 2

False


$111111^2$ = 

Option: 1

123456654321


Option: 2

123454321


Option: 3

123454321


Option: 4

12345654321


1111112 =___________ 

Option: 1

 123456654321


Option: 2

1234554321


Option: 3

123454321


Option: 4

12345654321


159702 is divisible by

Option: 1

7


Option: 2

9


Option: 3

11


Option: 4

6


1600 satellites were sent up by a country for several purposes. The purposes are classified as broadcasting (B), communication (C), surveillance (S), and others (O). A satellite can serve multiple purposes; however a satellite serving either B, or C, or S does not serve O. 

The following facts are known about the satellites: 

1. The numbers of satellites serving B, C, and S (though may be not exclusively) are in the ratio 2: 1:1. 

2. The number of satellites serving all three of B, C, and S is 100. 

3. The number of satellites exclusively serving C is the same as the number of satellites exclusively serving S. This number is 30% of the number of satellites exclusively serving B. 

4. The number of satellites serving O is the same as the number of satellites serving both C and S but not B. 

Question:

What best can be said about the number of satellites serving C? 

Option: 1

Must be between 450 and 725 

 


Option: 2

Cannot be more than 800 
 


Option: 3

Must be between 400 and 800 

 


Option: 4

Must be at least 100 


1600 satellites were sent up by a country for several purposes. The purposes are classified as broadcasting (B), communication (C), surveillance (S), and others (O). A satellite can serve multiple purposes; however a satellite serving either B, or C, or S does not serve O. 

The following facts are known about the satellites: 

1. The numbers of satellites serving B, C, and S (though may be not exclusively) are in the ratio 2: 1:1. 

2. The number of satellites serving all three of B, C, and S is 100. 

3. The number of satellites exclusively serving C is the same as the number of satellites exclusively serving S. This number is 30% of the number of satellites exclusively serving B. 

4. The number of satellites serving O is the same as the number of satellites serving both C and S but not B. 

Question:

What is the minimum possible number of satellites serving B exclusively? 

Option: 1

100


Option: 2

200


Option: 3

500


Option: 4

250


1600 satellites were sent up by a country for several purposes. The purposes are classified as broadcasting (B), communication (C), surveillance (S), and others (O). A satellite can serve multiple purposes; however a satellite serving either B, or C, or S does not serve O. 

The following facts are known about the satellites: 

1. The numbers of satellites serving B, C, and S (though may be not exclusively) are in the ratio 2: 1:1. 

2. The number of satellites serving all three of B, C, and S is 100. 

3. The number of satellites exclusively serving C is the same as the number of satellites exclusively serving S. This number is 30% of the number of satellites exclusively serving B. 

4. The number of satellites serving O is the same as the number of satellites serving both C and S but not B. 

Question:

If at least 100 of the 1600 satellites were serving O, what can be said about the number of satellites serving S? 

Option: 1

At most 475 

 


Option: 2

Exactly 475 
 


Option: 3

At least 475 

 


Option: 4

No conclusion is possible based on the given information 


1600 satellites were sent up by a country for several purposes. The purposes are classified as broadcasting (B), communication (C), surveillance (S), and others (O). A satellite can serve multiple purposes; however a satellite serving either B, or C, or S does not serve O. 

The following facts are known about the satellites: 

1. The numbers of satellites serving B, C, and S (though may be not exclusively) are in the ratio 2: 1:1. 

2. The number of satellites serving all three of B, C, and S is 100. 

3. The number of satellites exclusively serving C is the same as the number of satellites exclusively serving S. This number is 30% of the number of satellites exclusively serving B. 

4. The number of satellites serving O is the same as the number of satellites serving both C and S but not B. 

Question:

 If the number of satellites serving at least two among B, C, and S is 1200, which of the following MUST be FALSE? 

Option: 1

The number of satellites serving C cannot be uniquely determined 

 


Option: 2

The number of satellites serving B is more than 1000 
 


Option: 3

All 1600 satellites serve B or C or S 

 


Option: 4

The number of satellites serving B exclusively is exactly 250 


2839155 is divisible by

Option: 1

2


Option: 2

7


Option: 3

55


Option: 4

None of the above


'a' for which x^{2}-ax+9= 0 can be written as square of a linear factor is

Option: 1

6


Option: 2

-6,6


Option: 3

\left ( 6,\infty \right )


Option: 4

\left ( -\infty,-6 \right )


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