One day, I came across Vedant’s CAT success story on Quora. As I read about his unflinching determination to crack the CAT exam, I got goosebumps. I felt it could inspire the CAT aspirants. So, I immediately reached out to him and requested to share his story on “The CAT Talk” so that many aspirants can get inspiration from his unwavering patience. And he has been very kind. He promptly agreed to share his journey on this platform.
I strongly recommend you to read his journey. It might inspire you and fuel your determination.
Vedant is an Engineering graduate from a tier-3 college who started his CAT journey in 2017. Let’s read his story of unflinching determination in his own words.
What is the meaning of a story? A story is something that makes you emotional, leaves an imprint on your brain, or just inspires you. So, here I am, sharing my CAT story with you, with a hope that it will fuel your determination to crack the CAT. The ones reading it are open to taking any interpretation from it, but for me, it’s the story of a journey of growth. Before we begin, just a small prelude.
I have done my BE in Mechanical engineering from a tier-3 college, i.e., neither IIT nor NIT. Yes, I am not a prodigy. I have learned everything on the way. I had been going through a rough patch before I started thinking of CAT. You can say that I was pretty depressed, but it is all the past now. So, let’s begin.
2017: The Journey Began
I had decided to appear for CAT after considering many things. I joined a coaching and started my preparations. At that time, I was looking at NITIE Mumbai as my dream college since I was very much interested in Operations and Supply Chain management. Meanwhile, I also got into a relationship. I worked along with my Engineering, but somewhere, that zeal, that passion was missing. No, my relationship had nothing to do with it. I gave my best shot.
Result 1- 93.26 percentile in CAT 2017
This score was not good enough for NITIE or any other college that is of a good repute. The next exam was Mah-MBA CET for getting admission into JBIMS. I decided that since I couldn’t get what I wanted, I might as well work towards the next preference. I studied again, this time in a more structured manner, and took the exam.
Result 2- 99.55 percentile in MAH-CET 2017
This score was also not good enough for getting into JBIMS. I had failed again. The next morning, I went out to my usual cycling exercise, but instead of enjoying it, I cried like a child.
Why was I aggrieved?
Well, I did not only fail to get a good score but also didn’t have a mature thought process. I was lacking confidence, belief, and hope. Being a Mechanical Engineer, I did not want to get into an IT firm. So, I did not like my job. I was not even close to the person I wanted to be. Everything that I didn’t want to happen had already happened. But I consoled myself, talked to my girlfriend, decided to join the company, and started preparing for another attempt alongside the job.
The second shot: 2018
I joined the company at Mumbai despite my fear of IT as well as my apprehension about how I would manage it. But I was determined to get out of this, no matter what. My girlfriend was along with me and extended her full support. All my plans with my friends had been cancelled. Till August end, I went out and enjoyed some weekends. But post that, it was all on hold. My girlfriend refused to go anywhere without me and was fully supportive of my need to study.
I used to get up early, study for an hour or so, and get ready for the office. There I would have breakfast in 15 minutes, and then, I would head to a place on the same floor as my workspace where my team lead or manager won’t see me. There I used to solve RCs and DILR sets for around half an hour till the time my team lead reached the office. Again, in the evening, I would study for around half an hour when my TL went for snacks. Following this, I used to shamelessly get up at 6 PM to leave like a government employee. Then head home, take a mock test, take dinner, analyze the mock, and sleep. This was my routine for 3-4 months.
There were times when I had to work late because it required so. There was no Diwali, no Navratri, or any other celebrations. While everyone else went home for the holidays, I toiled in that extra time alone at my rented house. That included mocks amidst the sounds of nearby Garba nights as well as fireworks. But I kept going. Then came the D-day. I went with all my might but was not entirely happy.
Result 3- 95.51 percentile in CAT 2018
Not good enough. Another flunk, but this time, it was different. My determination was too strong to let me break down. I still had another CET attempt. Somehow, I managed to get a long leave from my organization to prepare for my exam. I took mocks, analyzed every day, worked on my weaknesses, and solved my doubts. Whenever I felt tired, I listened to motivational talks and just kept going with the dream of getting success. And then, D-day came again.
Result 4- 99.94 percentile in MAH-CET 2018
I was overjoyed and overwhelmed. I cried, went straight forward to my girlfriend, and hugged her. We cried. She said, “We have to go to a temple. We need to meet him (Ganesh, one of her many friends).” After we met him, I called my parents and my sister. They were also overwhelmed. It was one of the best evenings.
Are you feeling happy?
Wait, the story is not over yet!
The application process started. Meanwhile, a piece of news came that reservations had increased in Maharashtra. I still hoped to get in. Many other things happened in between, which I won’t mention as it will just elongate the story. The final list came. The last admit for the general category was offered on 145 marks. My score was 144. Yes, I had missed it by one mark. I am not against reservations or anything, but fate had played spoilsport. Nonetheless, I was too determined to get knocked down.
I decided to leave my job and give one final shot at CAT.
2019: My final shot at CAT
I had left my job. As they say, as you go up, the troubles grow up. Apart from being unemployed, my sister’s wedding had been scheduled a few weeks before my CET result. The date was five days before CAT 2019. I was up for it. I decided to study till the last moment of the wedding. There was another issue. My mother had got a transfer, and she wasn’t with me till September 2019. So, I was partially looking after my 96-year-old grandmother, along with the appointed nurse. Although, she did not have any comorbidities, yet, at this age, every sense of her had reduced its efficiency. So, there was more or less a frequent recess to my studies.
I started my preparation. I used every inch of my brain to understand where I was lacking, and it was positively affecting my performance. Every morning, I would go for a cycle ride to stay motivated and keep my body active. I practised questions from the mocks consistently. I had no one to consult for my RC section, which had gone bad in the last attempt. So, I analyzed it myself, identified my mistakes, and kept going.
The guests started to arrive seven days before the wedding. So, I started going to the coaching centre, studied there, and gave my mocks also there itself. Two days before the wedding, I stopped and decided to enjoy the wedding as much as I could. After the wedding, in the remaining days, I took a few more mocks. But due to the fatigue, I got a very low score consecutively. That scared me.
Somehow, I kept my calm during the D-day and again gave everything that I could. I wasn’t very happy with my attempt. I felt I would score 97 percentile at most, but not more than that.
Result 5- 99.26 percentile in CAT 2019
That was it!
I had achieved a great score, but I thought I shouldn’t take any risk, and so, I started preparing for XAT. I thought, whatever I couldn’t do in CAT, I would do it in XAT.
It again intervened. I got hospitalized because of Typhoid, and that devoured around ten days of my preparation. Once I recuperated, I took the XAT exam in a pretty relaxed way. I told myself that if it goes well, it is great otherwise, I would embrace my fate. After all, certain things are beyond our control.
Result 6- 99.933 percentile in XAT
It felt like hitting the last six of the World Cup that MS Dhoni hit. I had done it! The joy of clearing the first stage was surreal. It was a feeling beyond words.
The story ends here!
You might be wondering if it is really over?
What about the interviews and what am I doing now?
So, yes, I had interview calls from multiple IIMs and other top b-schools.
I eventually converted NITIE and XLRI. I will be joining the upcoming MBA batch at XLRI Jamshedpur.
Thank you so much, Vedant, for sharing such an inspirational story with us. I thank you on behalf of all the CAT aspirants who look for such real-life inspirational stories.
I hope Vedant’s Journey has fuelled your determination to crack the CAT exam. If you need any guidance, you may connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook.
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