IIFT Topper Interview: How Sunny Pandey focused on self study to crack IIFT entrance
Updated on Nov 11, 2014 - 11:35 a.m. IST by Urvashi Dalal
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Sunny Pandey
achieved a score of 67.58 in IIFT 2013 and secured admission in the top B-School, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Delhi. A Chemical Engineer by education, Sunny aspired to add a managerial edge to his skills which made him pursue a degree in foreign trade.

In this interview with Careers360, the IIFT topper Sunny who tackled his weakness in Quants by practice, shares the importance of strategically planning the IIFT exam time. He also shares how he worked on basic quantitative concepts and self preparation to excel in the IIFT and other management entrance exam.

Read more for his insights on successfully cracking IIFT.

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Careers360: What made you to pursue a management programme?

Sunny Pandey After working for around 20 months, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in management for better growth opportunities. Also, the room for newer experiences and learning has always been an inspiration, so I decided that it’s right to go for management education and add new set of skills to my repertoire. I aspire to grow in General Management sector as it will allow me to work in cross-functional roles.

Careers360: Apart from IIFT 2013, which other MBA entrance exams you appeared in?

Sunny Pandey Besides IIFT, I appeared in CAT 2013 and my score was 98.02 percentile, in XAT 2014 I scored 99.02 percentile, NMAT in which I appeared in 2013 and scored 99.96 percentile, and last SNAP 2013 in which I achieved 99.65 percentile.

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

Sunny Pandey It was an easy decision for me as my aspirations were more aligned with the program offered at IIFT.  The legacy and wide network of its alumni also convinced me to join IIFT. Though I appeared for interview at XLRI (BM & HR), but selected IIFT to pursue my dreams.

Careers360: What was your preparation strategy for IIFT 2013?

Sunny Pandey Since I was preparing for other management exams, most of the syllabus was covered. I had to brush up on Current Affairs and Static GK before the exam as it’s important to b strong in the GK section if you want to crack IIFT. IIFT’s entrance is predominantly a speed test. In the week leading to exam, I took 4 mock tests to judge the amount of time I was taking to complete the paper.

Careers360: How important is Coaching or Mentoring to crack IIFT or other Management entrance tests?

Sunny Pandey I don’t think that it is very difficult to crack any exam without coaching. Though coaching, at times, help in infusing regularity with the studies. Otherwise I do not think that they teach anything special. I never joined any coaching institute for preparation but I did take mocks very seriously.

Careers360: How did you manage your IIFT preparations along with your working hours?

Sunny Pandey On weekdays I used to study for 1.5-2 hrs. While on a weekend I used to slog for 6-7 hrs, and made sure that at least 1 mock paper is solved. I had a planned approach towards studying. Since I was good with verbal and logical reasoning, I used to devote less amount of time on that. I used to do quants and DI almost every day.

Careers360: Please share your preparation strategy for English Comprehensive, General Knowledge & Awareness and Logical Reasoning & Quantitative Analysis.

Sunny Pandey English Comprehensive: I used to read articles on internet and write a concise summary. This helped me in identifying the main idea and structure of the article. I got it checked with fellow aspirants. It also allowed me to learn to discard any other information which was not necessary.

General Knowledge & Awareness: I picked up Manorama’s Yearbook and read it for around 15 days. For current affairs I relied on newspapers.

Logical Reasoning & Quantitative Analysis: For logical reasoning I referred to Arun Sharma’s book on the subject. For quants I solved Arihant’s Quantum Cat.

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

Sunny Pandey I started with verbal section first and completed it in 5 minutes, after that I went to GA and LR and by 25 minutes I was done with them. So I had 1.5 hrs left and 3 sections to finish. I first started quants and solved 18 question straight, it took me around 25 minutes. Then I went on to RCs and completed this section in 25 minutes. In 5 minutes, I revised the paper and looked if I had missed any question. In the last 30 minutes, I tackled my nemesis, DI. It was calculation intensive and by the time you are in final phase, mental fatigue starts to set in. I could only attempt 10-12 questions in DI. In the final 10 minutes I carefully verified my OMR.

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

Sunny Pandey: My strengths were Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehensions, and Logical Reasoning. My weakness was DI, so to counter it I solved 3-4 different types of questions every day. I used to do lengthy and tedious calculations in my free time to sharpen my skills.

Careers360: What is your advice for the Management aspirants who will take IIFT 2014?

  1. Please take at least 2-3 mocks before taking actual exam.
  2. Read the instructions carefully as information regarding sectional cut-offs will be mentioned there.
  3. Do not go with a pre-conceived notion about difficulty of paper or expected cut-offs. Just attempt as much you can.
  4. Do not get bogged down by the situation. Think of it as another mock and kill it.


Also read:

2 weeks to CAT 2014: Preparation Strategy for Last Lap

CAT 2014 - Time Management Strategy for the Exam Day

CAT 2014: Get the section wise preparations strategy

Why mock tests are important to crack CAT

10 weeks to CAT 2014: How to crack IIM and top B-school admissions


Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:

Life @ B-School Campus

Changes in CAT 2014

MBA Internship Series

IIFT Toppers Interview

IIFT Entrance Exam Trend over the years and Tips



Stay tuned on www.bschool.careers360.com  for more news and updates

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More like IIFT

Questions related to IIFT

Showing 178 out of 178 Questions

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 test.you 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 .

When will IIFT release its campus wise cut off for 2020 admissions?

Siddhi Shenoy 3rd Jan, 2020

Hello Shubham,

The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) has already released the cutoff for the year 2020 on 23rd December 2019 for the second round of admissions.

For more details, you can refer to the following link https://bschool.careers360.com/articles/iift-cutoff

Good luck!


when will the forms be available for iift admission second round?

Devang Prajapati 10th Jan, 2020

IIFT has release the list of shortlisted candidates along with cutoff for second round of admission on December 23, 2019. Students who qualify the entrance exam, they will have to take part in the following rounds.Round 1- Written testRound 2- Essay writing Round 3- Personal interview and group discussionStudents who qualify the above rounds will be offered admission to the IIFT two year MBA international business programme."IIFT 2020 - Cutoff (Released), Selection Procedure, Counselling" https://bschool.careers360.com/articles/iift/amp

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