Shikhar Mahalwala secured a high 99.77 percentile in IIFT 2015 and got admitted to MBA- International Business programme at IIFT Delhi. He not only cracked IIFT but secured an overall percentile of 99+ in other MBA entrance exams as well. Shikhar’s success mantra was to identify the weak sections, balanced preparation between strong and weak areas and to keep accuracy level high. In this series of IIFT topper interviews, Shikhar shares his strategies to guide IIFT 2016 aspirants to have a better preparation tactics to score high.


According to Shikhar, the crux of IIFT 2016 preparations must be to always make work-goals, rather than time-goals. Aspirants should consider proficiently completing the IIFT syllabus and then move to time bound mock tests. It is also important for the aspirants to give maximum weight-age to their weaker section during preparations. Shikhar also mentions that GK can be the game changer in IIFT hence keeping up with current affairs is a must. Read Shikhar’s full interview below:


Careers360: What made you pursue MBA in International Business from IIFT?

Shikhar: Being a Bachelor in Technology, my realm of knowledge was limited to the technical world. I understood that to get a holistic view of how things work, an MBA is the perfect next step to my career. MBA in International Business will prepare me to work in a broader environment.


Careers360: Since when did you start preparing for IIFT, and what as your preparation strategy?

Shikhar: I started preparing for the entrance exams in July 2014. Being an early starter gave me advantage to go into basics of everything and then make my way up. The crux of my preparation was the fact that I always made work-goals, rather than time-goals. I would tell myself to “do 5 questions as early as possible” rather than “doing as many questions as possible in an hour”, which helped in increasing the speed.


I would suggest students to do a regular SWOT analysis and work accordingly. Don’t shy away from taking help from seniors or teachers. And a very important and clichéd thing, read newspapers.


Careers360: From last two years, CAT has been in news for its changes in the test pattern, whereas IIFT pattern has remained on the similar lines. Do you think IIFT should also bring some changes in its pattern?

Shikhar: I don’t think so. The pattern of IIFT has been carefully designed to make sure every aspect of aptitude and intelligence is tested. A little surprise factor about the number of questions in each section is there, but if you take one or two mock tests before the actual exam, you get used to it. The GK portion turns out to be a game changer. I used to score badly in GK but covered it up in other sections. Aspirants should consider this section as an opportunity to be grabbed with open hands.


Careers360: Please share your IIFT sectional preparation strategy?

Shikhar: For English Comprehension, I read a lot. Having a large vocabulary base in your mind really helps. Even the questions not directly vocab based become easier. Along with it I practiced a lot of Reading Comprehensions from various online and offline sources. I attempted only those questions which I was sure of. This is one section where most students struggle with accuracy.

  • General Knowledge & Awareness Newspapers- Although I did not do well in this particular section, but newspapers for certain is one thing that cannot be ignored. It comes in handy during the GD-PI stage as well.

  • Logical Reasoning- This is all about practice. I attempted a variety of questions before actually sitting for the exam and as a result, many questions seemed familiar. This section seems time-consuming but if you have the gist of how to go along a particular set, it becomes a walk in the park.

  • Quantitative Analysis- Quantitative aptitude was my strength. The simple rule I followed was to understand the basics first before applying formulas. Again, practice comes in handy but the speed also plays a major role. Speed comes in naturally if you analyse the question first and then start solving.

Careers360: What was your Time Management for IIFT; both during preparations and during the test?

Shikhar: During preparations, I gave maximum time to my weaker section, verbal. I also made sure that I was in constant touch of my strong section and made it stronger. The idea was to keep my accuracy high.


IIFT exam lets you attempt any section first. I started with Quantitative Aptitude and maximised my attempts there. In Verbal Ability, I focused more on accuracy and less on attempts. I did not do any question I was skeptical about. Make sure you fill the OMR after every 10 questions because filling it at the end is a risky affair. DI and LR were on the easier side and GK is always a quick thing. I finished the exam well within time and revisited the verbal section to recheck my attempts.


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

Shikhar: My strong areas were Quantitative Aptitude and LR-DI. These were the sections I maximized my attempts in. Verbal was the weaker section and hence took a different strategy. For verbal, I never made attempt-goals rather accuracy was my focus. Guessing is a highly damaging proposition in verbal and I understood this well within time. So overall my target was to maximize score in stronger sections and doing decent in the weaker one. GK is highly uncertain to be commented upon.


Careers360: What is your message for this year’s IIFT aspirants?

Shikhar: Most important tip- Believe in yourself. Trust me; if I can do it, you can too. It just takes that added effort you do when others stop. Identify your weaker sections and start working. Work out your strategy and do not overburden yourselves with any tension whatsoever. As an encouragement, remember that the life that awaits you at IIFT is worth the hard work you out in.

Also Read:

IIFT Topper Interview

IIFT 2016

Stay tuned to for more news and updates



Applications Open Now

ITM Business School
ITM Business School
Jaipuria Institute of Management | PGDM 2020
Jaipuria Institute of Managem...
Alliance School of Business
Alliance School of Business
Delhi School of Business (VIPS-TC)
Delhi School of Business (VIP...
Amity University MBA Admissions, Gurugram
Amity University MBA Admissio...
Amity University MBA Admissions, Lucknow
Amity University MBA Admissio...
IPE, Hyderabad
IPE, Hyderabad
View All Application Forms

Popular Degrees

2 Colleges

IIFT Updates and Articles

Questions related to IIFT

Showing 180 out of 180 Questions

Hi mam i have 129 marks in iift i have got a call Sc Category Chances of final convert and composite score for Sc candidate as per previous trend?

Sampriti Student Expert 30th Jan, 2020
IIFT 2020 has released its shortlist and has a total of 420 seats in all the 3 campuses  combined. As per their reservation criteria 15 percent of the total seats are reserved for students falling in SC category. But your final conversion will depend on your performance in the written skill assessment, GD and PI rounds. Moreover you'll also be questioned on your CV from that the Institute requires you to fill once to get a call. If you perform well in those rounds you can easily get through.

Good Luck

I have been shortlisted for second round in iift. there is a mistake in my application .. for category general (bc creamy layer ) it is gen ews. i have sent queries regarding the issue and got no replies. can someone help me with this issue please?

Sampriti Student Expert 27th Jan, 2020
If you've got a call you must attend the selection process. Before they start the process they'll review all your documents as well as application form. So you can ask them there if you can attend the process. They usually let students appear for the process even if there's some mistake.
And in the interview you can try to convince them. If they find you as a desirable candidate there won't be any problem with that.

Good Luck

i got 39 and half marks in iift,so whats my percentile???

NAVNEET PANDEY 11th Jan, 2020

Hello Rinku

You need atleast more than 105+ marks to get a good percentile and almost 138 to secure a call from any good college taking part in IIFT entrance will have around 40 percentile according to previous year trends which is very low.

I hope it helps.


Which books can help for the CAT preparations and other management exams such as XAT, IIFT, SNAP, etc?

Khushi 5th Jan, 2020

Hi Pallav

These are some of the best books


  1. For Vocabulary: Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
  2. For enhancing the reading speed, any novel and newspaper and anything you can read will be good enough.
  3. For Grammar: Normal Grammar Rules from Wren and Martin.


Books by Arun Sharma (TMH) and by Nishant Sinha (Pearson)


  1. Quantum CAT by Sarvesh K Verma
  2. Quantitative Aptitude by Arun Sharma

Hope this helps


Do we need mathematics subject in class 12. To do IIFT.

Saloni Singh 3rd Jan, 2020
Hello Himanshu,
Hope you are doing well.
No, there's nothing like you need to have mathematics in your 10+2 course as eligibility criteria for getting admission at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT).
The only academic eligibility criteria for IIFT is a graduate degree with a minimum aggregate marks of 50%.
You can check more details about the institute at the link I am mentioning below.
Please check :
Hope it's helpful to you !
All the best.
Thankyou .
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