Akankshya Sahoo cracked the CAT with 98.63% tile this year and is currently pursuing PGP at IIM Lucknow . She was a student of Electronics and Telecommunications branch at VSSUT, Burla (Batch of 2015).
Q. What are you doing these days?
A. I am currently pursuing PGDM course at IIM, Lucknow (PGP-1).
Q. What motivated you to go for an MBA?
A. The quest to learn and excel in a field other than the technical one was the initial motivator behind my choice for management career. I certainly realized if I plan to venture into this corporate hub, which I am sure almost a major chunk of you are going to do; then, there apart from your technical skills it is the managerial nitty-gritties which will certainly make you stand tall amidst the crowd.
Q.Did you take coaching? Do you think coaching is necessary for acing MBA entrance exams?
A. I had enrolled for the summer course at IMS. On a personal note, I feel coaching is essential for QA but not that vital for VA. In QA via coaching, you get exposed to several tricks and trades of solving the qus in the stipulated time, as the race against time is the sole key to excel in CAT. But in VA it almost depends on your regular practice, reading habits and exposure to abstract editorial stuffs.
Q. How did you prepare for MBA entrance exams during B.Tech? How did you manage your time? When did you mostly study?
A. I had started a casual preparation during 3rd yr. It was only in the summers of final year that I verged into the serious preparation. Though it was always tough to balance between the technical college stuffs and CAT preparation, especially during 7th semester, but certainly your interest and zeal will make you learn to prioritize things by proper time management.
Q. What were your strong areas? What were your weak areas and how did you tackle them?
A. QA was always a strong area for me. I just loved solving challenging problems. VA, especially Reading Comprehensions was a tough area to score. For this I just ensured that I read the newspapers, especially the editorial page on a regular basis. I regularly went through TOI, Economics Times (to learn the basics of financial and economic world) and India Today magazine.
Q. From which institutes did you get calls ?Which ones did you convert?
A. I had calls from IIM-B,L,K,I, new IIMs, IIT-Mumbai,Delhi,Kgp, XIMB. I converted all except IIM-B,K
Q. How did you prepare for the WAT/PI round?
A. Preparation for WAT/PI was indeed more intense than that for CAT. As here you are expected to be abreast of current affairs, static GK, Economic & Financial terms, HR questions. For this again I surfed the net and read weekly magazines. I also attended several mock GD, PI at IMS, which was indeed a confidence booster.
Q. How was your WAT experience at IIML?
A. We were given an abstract case based topic related to Corporate Social Responsibility.
Q. How was your PI experience at IIML?
A. I had a quite satisfying PI at IIML interview and can rank it to be one of my best PI experiences. There were mostly HR based questions about how I am going to motivate a team, handle a crisis; then I was asked about the demand-supply curve, its significance, Maslow’s hierarchical theory, about falling oil prices, some current affairs regarding coal scam and cricket world cup.
Q. How important is one’s profile in order to get an admit from a top B-School in India? How can a student build his/her profile if he/she doesn’t have any work experience?
A. For top B-schools one should have at least 1 out of these three :-
Previous academics / co-curriculars
Extremely high CAT %tile
Its just that one cannot build a profile over a year. It needs to be consistent and now you cannot change your 10th , 12th score even if you want to. Still try to maintain 80-85% (CGPA : 8.5-9) in B.Tech, if not then you should aim for exceptionally high CAT scores (99+ %tile).
Q. How is your life at IIM,Lucknow ?
A. Life here is indeed too hectic amidst long classes ,guest lectures, projects. But the best part is you get to learn a new thing almost everyday. There are ample of opportunities to learn and explore which is an unique experience in itself.
Q.What memories of VSSUT,Burla do you cherish?
A. There are several memories of VSSUT which I will cherish throughout my life: loads of hostel masti, late night gossips and other fun and frolic.
Q. What would be your advice to the students of VSSUT,Burla who are preparing for MBA entrance exams?
A. Practice as much you can keeping in mind the time constraints as accuracy and adhering to time limit amidst the moment of anxiety is the key in the D-day. For the timing just try to maintain a balance between the college studies & MBA preparation and you will certainly enjoy this journey as MBA preparation does not demands long hours of study, all it requires is judicious use of time.
Q. What tips would you give aspiring students to crack CAT?
A. Try to practice from as many resources you can i.e. coaching materials, reference books, sites (especially Pagulguy, careeranna), develop the concepts and make newspaper reading a regular habit (especially the editorials).
Q. What criteria should students select to choose their college from list of converts?(Like Brand/Placements/Faculty/Exposure etc. )
A. Look at specialization if you are indeed determined to pursue it. Else you can always look for the brand, other criteria will certainly be inherited within it
Q. What should be student’s approach/mindset/need while going for an MBA? What are advantages of doing an MBA from a reputed institution?
A. Just be prepared to venture into a roller-coaster ride. You will get to experience many nuances in your daily life and even more you can explore your hidden potential.