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CMAT 2019 AIR 3 Bhargav Desai took us by surprise when he said that he did not know much about CMAT, yet secured 99.99 percentile and came third among the 54,516 test takers. A Civil Engineer from Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Mumbai, Bhargav appeared aims to pursue Master of Management Studies (MMS) from SIMSREE Mumbai and is interested in Operations and Supply Chain Management.
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An avid sports lover, Bhargav plays football and volleyball to keep himself active and unwind even during the preparation phase. Prior to taking CMAT 2019, he had also appeared for other top national level MBA entrance exams like CAT, XAT, IIFT and SNAP. Owing to his prior preparation, he did not find CMAT to be a difficult exam and prepared for it without coaching. He has also been shortlisted by SIBM-Pune, SCMHRD, IMT Ghaziabad and new-IIMs. In this interview with Careers360, Bhargav tells us about his strategy to crack CMAT 2019 and his message for the next year’s aspirants.
Read the excerpts of the interview below:
Careers360: Tell us something about yourself.
Bhargav: I was born in Surat but my entire education was completed in Mumbai. I am a B.Tech (Civil Engineering) from Sardar Patel College of Engineering and I worked for two years at Larsen & Toubro-Power division. I was working in a Thermal Power Plant construction project at NTPC Khargone in which L&T Power was the EPC contractor.
I belong to a close-knit family of my parents and sister. My father was an Ex-Seargent in The Indian Air Force and post-retirement he moved to the private sector. My mother is a homemaker. My sister is based in Bangalore.
Careers360: How did your family support you in achieving this feat?
Bhargav: My sister has been my source of motivation and inspiration for me throughout. My mother always taught me the importance of discipline and honesty in life and my father always taught me the importance of having self-belief in yourself.
Careers360: What are your sectional and overall scores and percentiles?
Bhargav: My sectional scores and percentiles are as follows:
Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation - 96 and 99.95 percentile
Logical Reasoning - 80 and 85.66 percentile
Language Comprehension - 95 and 99.99 percentile
General Awareness - 87 and 99.98 percentile
My overall score and percentile were 358 and 99.99 percentile respectively.
Careers360: Which other MBA entrance exams did you appear for and what are your scores and percentiles in the respective exams?
Bhargav: I wrote CAT 2018, SNAP 2018, IIFT 2019 and XAT 2019. The percentiles are as below:
I did not qualify for IIFT and XAT, hence did not check my scores and percentiles.
Careers360: Why did you decide to take CMAT? Which are the B-schools you are targetting through the exam?
Bhargav: Earlier, I did not have much awareness about the CMAT exam and colleges accepting CMAT score. But later on, it came to my knowledge that SIMSREE accepts CMAT and I personally liked that college so then I decided to write CMAT just to have a shot at Sydenham. I am targeting only Sydenham-MMS through CMAT.
Careers360: When did you start preparing for CMAT and what was your strategy?
Bhargav: As a test, CMAT doesn’t’ require any separate preparation as the preparation for CAT would suffice. The sections like Quant, Verbal, Reasoning are pretty much covered along with CAT and other test preparation and GK is covered if one has prepared for tests like SNAP, XAT and IIFT. So frankly speaking I did not do anything extra for CMAT and just watched few youtube videos on General Knowledge a day before CMAT test.
Careers360: Did you opt for coaching? Do you think coaching is important to crack a competitive exam like CMAT?
Bhargav: No. I did not enrol for any coaching per se for the CMAT test. I had enrolled in coaching only for CAT(offline) and that’s it. If one is targeting CMAT specifically, then coaching is absolutely not required. The level of questions are very basic in Quants Verbal and Reasoning and just with a basic understanding of concepts, those questions can be easily attempted. Also, coaching won't teach you GK, it has to do by yourself for which there are a plethora of free materials available online. So it’s better to avoid any coaching and prepare yourself.
Careers360: What was your strongest and weakest sections in CMAT?
Bhargav: I believe my strongest section in CMAT was Quants and GK and my weakest section was Reasoning. In most of other MBA entrance test, I did pretty fairly in Quants and hence was very confident in it and I had a fairly basic understanding of GK and hence was not afraid of this section as well. However, I never felt comfortable in reasoning and lost my maximum marks here in CMAT.
Careers360: How many mock tests did you take for CMAT?
Bhargav: Honestly, I did not write a single mock before CMAT. Initially, I wasn’t sure of writing CMAT as most of my time was consumed in GDPI prep for other interviews and I did not have much preparation time. However, after some encouragement from friends, I took CMAT and scored 358 marks.
Careers360: What was your exam day strategy and experience?
Bhargav: I did not have any specific strategy in place. I planned to attempt GK first followed by Quants, Reasoning and last Verbal. I finished my paper at 80th minute from start.
Careers360: Did you challenge any of the CMAT answer keys?
Bhargav: No, I did not challenge any question in CMAT as it cost Rs. 1000 per question and even though I was confident of three wrong answer options, I knew these questions would be wrong for all and relatively it wouldn’t matter much and hence refrained from challenging any questions which were beneficial at the end as everyone got their scores increased.
Careers360: How are you preparing for the next rounds, such as GD, Essay Writing and PI?
Bhargav: I have enrolled at an offline coaching institute for GD, PI and WAT preparation in my city and till now, I had a really good experience with them.
Careers360: Which B-schools have you been shortlisted by?
Bhargav: I have been shortlisted by SIBM-Pune, SCMHRD, IMT Ghaziabad and new-IIMs.
Careers360: What are your hobbies? Which activities were you involved in during your MBA entrance exam preparation phase to unwind?
Bhargav: My hobbies include football or volleyball which I play four to five times a week. Apart from that, I love watching documentaries on YouTube on national and international events. I follow VOX ATLAS, VICE and few other sources for these documentaries.
Careers360: What is your dream career which you would like to pursue after completing an MBA?
Bhargav: I plan to pursue an MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management (SCM). My dream career is not yet decided and I will probably have a clear idea once I enter a B-School.
Careers360: What is your message for the next year's CMAT aspirants?
Bhargav: My only advice is to have an absolutely clear basic of each section and have a cursory knowledge of GK from different areas like History, Geography and Economics. Since I read the newspaper significantly, it helped me a lot in GK and I got 22 correct answers in GK. Also, it would be good if one can attempt a few mocks before the test to get a basic understanding of paper pattern.
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