This year, only 13 crossed the 150 mark at the Maharashtra MBA CET written exam. An exclusive club indeed, considering that last year 600 crossed the same mark. PaGaLGuY spoke to three from this exclusive lot who were genuine MBA applicants (and not personnel of coaching classes). Incidentally, this year's topper who scored 172/200 is a coaching class owner in Mumbai.
Nikhil Mahajan Score 162/200 | 99.99 percentile
This Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) - Mumbai final year electronics engineer-to-be from Malad, Mumbai, confesses that he did not really study for the CET. “I had my NMIMS Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, XLRI Jamshedpur and IIM Shillong interviews lined up before the MBA CET. In fact, I had my XLRI interview just two days before the CET exam. As a result, I could not prepare wholeheartedly."
Nikhil had enrolled for coaching from Mumbai's CPLC which he says also helped. “I had already prepared hard for my CAT, so my basics were clear. I just had to concentrate on strategy. My strategy combined with the fact that it was an unconventional paper was the reason for my success," he says. Nikhil explains his exam strategy. “I divided my exam into 5 blocks of 30 minutes each. I solved questions for 25 minutes and marked answers for 5 minutes in each block. The 5 minutes used for marking, which did not require mental exertion, allowed me to relax and refresh for the next 30-minute block."
This finance industry hopeful is now preparing to crack JBIMS Mumbai, though he is waiting for the results of other b-schools' admissions before he decides. “I already have a job at Nomura, a Japanese financial group, through VJTI's campus placements, so I am in a situation of plenty as of now." Nikhil's father is a customs and a logistics officer and his mother a housewife and he attributes his success to their constant support. Speaking of the future, Nikhil says, “I want to own a financial consultancy in the next 10 years." And as advice for those who want to crack CET, he says that studying with an aim to crack the CAT exam is the best approach.
Bhavin Jain: 153/200 | 99.99 Percentile
With a score of 153/200 in the MBA CET, Bhavin Jain is finally at peace because he has had two unsuccessful attempts at the CET in 2009 and 2010. “I am happy that I finally managed a score that will get me to a top b-school," he says. Bhavin first took a go at the Maharashtra CET in 2009 which got him a score of 99.90 percentile. That was followed by insufficient scores in the group discussion and interview phase. That turned JBIMS into a distant dream for him, so Nikhil concentrated on helping his father with his textile business instead.
“I did not take up any coaching this year, but I had attended Parag Chitale's CPLC classes back in 2009. I had preserved his notes and they helped me a lot this year," recounts Bhavin. He started studying about a month in advance of the test, during which he dedicated the first half to brushing up his basics and the second half to solving mock tests. “I was expecting a difficult CET paper this year after surprises in other entrance tests. I solved some 15 mock test papers picked from all coaching classes. This ensured that I was not unprepared, if the paper turned to be a tough one."
However, he credits his success to his exam strategy. “I solved questions for 45 minutes and marked them for 15 minutes. This helped me relax and ensured that I was mentally fresh when I went to the next set of questions." By the end of half time, Bhavin had solved most of the easy questions in the paper. “I managed to crack the two DI sets which were said to be tough in the last segment of the test. It is because of that and an overall tough paper, that I got the good score," he reasons.
So did he expect to be among the toppers in this test? “If those DI sets were correct, I knew I would get a good score. But to be among the top is a pleasant surprise." To the inevitable 'what next ' question, he says, “Now I have to do my GD-PI really well, so that I stand a good chance to get into JBIMS." He has kept the NMIMS and MDI options open too. Bhavin's dream is to become an investment banker and work with a company like Goldman Sachs.
Parth Dedhia: 152/200 Percentile 99.99
This Dadar boy was so shy of publicity that he refused to send his photograph when we asked him for it. But as a 99.99 percentiler, we just could not ignore this DJ Sanghvi College of Engineering Final Year Electronics student. “My intent and efforts, correct coaching, and a bit of luck are the reasons for my score," he says. “This is my first attempt at MBA CET and to get such a score for me is a peasant shock," he admits.
“I started preparing for MBA CET since the middle of January 2011, " says this son of a businessman. “I had an SP Jain interview on February 17, so till that point of time my preparation for CET and that of SP Jain was on simultaneously."
“I had prepared well for CAT, and my preparation for CET was just an extension of my CAT preparation. I solved almost 16 mock MBA CET tests, especially in the weeks closer to the exam. I used to solve one paper in the morning, work on my mistakes in the afternoon and then solve another in the evening. This helped me to correct my mistakes and gauge my strengths and weaknesses," Parth says.
“The unconventional CET paper, with a strong focus on reading comprehension helped me a lot as comprehension has been my area of strength," explains Parth. He did not have a specific strategy for the paper, and just solved questions set by set. “I solved all the questions of a particular passage in one go and I marked them on the answer sheet. This ensured I did not miss out on areas of my strength and ultimately contributed to the good score.“
Parth says that this good score has unexpectedly opened up new options for him. “I am not thinking about my calls, results and the choices that I have to make. I just want to enjoy my score for now," he says. He wants to do an MBA in Finance and wants to get into financial consultancy. His ultimate aim is to become like his uncle who runs a financial firm. Parth is also the recipient of the 'Best Student' award at his college.
On advice to students, he simply says “Papers solve karne ka. Only solving mocks will give you an accurate knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses. And of course, only constant practice can make one better in areas like DI and Logic."