It is common that many XAT 2017 toppers will also be among the CAT 2016 toppers and will eventually have many choices to join either XLRI, SPJIMR, IMT or IIMs, FMS, MDI, IMI, JBIMS or any other preferred B-school.
One of such MBA aspirants, Nishant Gupta who scored 99.934 in XAT 2016 also scored 99.97 in CAT 2015 and was offered admission by XLRI as well as by IIM Bangalore for 2016-18 batch. He opted for IIM Bangalore as it was his preferred B-school.
Nishant has a non-engineering back ground and is a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts in Economics) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. An inspiration to XAT 2017 aspirants, Nishant busted the myth that only engineers can score high in XAT and himself set an example for all who come from non engineering academic back ground.
MBAUniverse.com has brought a round of XAT toppers’ success stories for the benefit of XAT 2017 aspirants. In the series we present the success story of confident Nishant Gupta who even after converting XLRI opted for IIM Bangalore.
Post his graduation Nishant decided to have some work experience and before cracking XAT 2017 and CAT 2015 with high percentile had to his credit a 24 Months work experience at EXL Services in Business and Financial Research. Nishant belongs to Delhi, has interest in politics, likes Debating and listening to music.
XAT 2017 may see more toppers like Nishant coming from non-engineering background. However these candidates can read carefully the preparation and XAT exam taking strategy of Nishant to reap maximum benefit from this XAT topper interview.
Determined to crack XAT with high percentile, Nishant appeared in CAT 2015, IIFT 2015 and XAT 2016. He scored 99.97 in CAT; 98.57 in IIFT and 99.934 in XAT 2016.
Sharing with MBAUniverse.com Nishant highlights his experience in preparation journey to XAT and modestly attempts to give the ‘success mantra’ to the XAT 2017 aspirants
MBAUniverse.com: What was your preparation strategy for XAT?
Nishant (XAT topper): This was my first attempt at XAT. I had always planned to work for 2 years before going for MBA. I started preparing for XAT & CAT in November 2014 through coaching. However, I seriously started studying from March 2015.
My preparation involved solving all the material given by TIME, solving some sectional tests towards the end, and taking lots of mock tests as I had also joined the test series. I wrote one mock test per week from May onwards. The biggest thing which helped me was constant practice.
MBAUniverse.com: As a working professional how did you manage time for preparation?
Nishant (XAT topper): As I was working, I had very little time to study on my own, so I used to utilize my time on the Metro every day to work. Irrespective of whether I got a seat or whether the metro was very crowded, I used to make it a point to study Quant or DI or LR or Verbal. This helped me complete my syllabus and also figure out shortcuts to solve questions as I used to solve the Quant questions on the margins of the book.
MBAUniverse.com: How did you prepare for each section QADI, VALA & DM? What study materials and books did you use?
Nishant (XAT topper):
QUANT: I solved all text book exercises, tried to do different sectional tests and extensively analysed mock tests. This was my weakest section so I devoted most of my prep time on studying QA. I also made notes of the concepts and the good questions I found so that I can revise them before the exam.
DM, DI, LR: This was a very volatile set of questions for me in mocks, so I practiced a lot to reduce the volatility. Decision Making was the differentiating in XAT 2016, so it was important to give due importance to these questions. TIME advanced questions had a good mix of different question types. In addition, I tried to solve almost all practice tests for DM, DI, LR to increase speed, identify the sets which should be attempted first, and understand different ways to solve.
VERBAL: This was my strongest section from the starting, so I didn’t focus too much on VA. I solved a few RC and VA exercises, but not too many.
MBAUniverse.com: Was there any particular section that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
Nishant (XAT topper): I was weak in Quant and I tried to maximise my QA practice to overcome this weakness which I did also. Key was to make this as strong as possible, while maximizing my score in other sections.
MBAUniverse.com: How can candidates use Mock tests better? What is your advice?
Nishant (XAT topper): Mock tests were very important for me. One strategy I used was to take the tests on weekends, and then analyse them in the night after work when I could not do new things and this helped me utilize my evenings effectively analyzing the mocks.
MBAUniverse.com: Did you go to offline coaching centre? What role does a coaching centre play?
Nishant (XAT topper): I went to TIME CP centre. It was an important component in my prep.
MBAUniverse.com: Other than XAT, which exam did you appear?
Nishant (XAT topper): I appeared for CAT in which I got 99.97, and I appeared for IIFT in which I got 98.57 percentile
MBAUniverse.com: Which institutes did you apply for admission?
Nishant (XAT topper): I had applied to XLRI, IIM A, B,C,L,K,I, FMS, SP Jain, IIFT, MDI.
I converted XLRI BM, SP Jain, IIM B,C,L,K, and MDI. I didn’t appear in interview for IIM I and FMS.
MBAUniverse.com: Please share your strategy for the XAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your XAT test taking?
Nishant (XAT topper): On XAT day, my strategy was to ensure maximum attempts in VA, and aim for accuracy in QA & Data Interpretation. I did not do much last minute prep, just looked at previous year XAT papers and revised quant formulae. Formulae are also important as XAT 2015 had formula based questions as well.
MBAUniverse.com: Which B-school you decided upon and why?
Nishant (XAT topper): I finally decided on IIM Bangalore due to its focus on holistic development and renowned faculty. I was very confused between IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta for a long time, but in the end, assessing fit is important. I chose IIMB as I felt it was a better fit for my personality, and I am very happy with my decision.
MBAUniverse.com: Any message you would like to share with the candidates preparing for XAT 2017.
Nishant (XAT topper): Stay focused, stay calm, and keep on working hard even if you get low marks in some mock tests. The process is an important life lesson, even if you don’t get into a B school of your choice. So enjoy it. You would always remember the memories you make on this prep journey, and once you become successful the memories become all the more special. Finally, remember that not getting into XLRI or an IIM is not the end of the world. Many successful people in this world are non-MBAs
Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more success mantra stories and XAT 2017 preparation tips from toppers