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CAT Toppers on MBAUniverse.com: Interview with Glen D'Silva, CAT 99.83 percentiler; admitted to IIM A (2009-11)
Glen D'Silva has maintained the track record of his high scoring from Board exams to CAT with a score and percentile of 161 and 99.83 respectively. Glen also has a 15 months work experience in Lehman Brothers and 8 months work experience in Nomura India.
Glen D’Silva has maintained the track record of his high scoring from Board exams to CAT with a score and percentile of 161 and 99.83 respectively. Glen also has a 15 months work experience in Lehman Brothers and 8 months work experience in Nomura India. Out of all the institutes from which he got the admission offers, he joined IIM A as he feels it’s the dream institute for all the CAT aspirants.
MBAUniverse.com spoke to Glen D’Silva regarding his preparation for CAT and suggestions for the aspirants.
Excerpts from the chat:
Q: Congrats for making it to IIM-A! What was your CAT percentile…
A: Thanks. I scored 99.83 percent.
Q: Which are the institutes that shortlisted you for GD PI and offered you final admissions?
A: I was called for GD-PI by IIM A, B, C, L, I, K, NITIE, MDI, IMT Ghaziabad, SP Jain and SIBM Pune. Out of these I attended all except SIBM. I got final offer for admissions from IIM A, C, L, I, K, NITIE, MDI, IMT Ghaziabad and SP Jain.
Q: Which is the institute that you have decided to take admission and why?
A: I have decided to take admission for the PGP of IIM Ahmedabad. IIM A is the dream institute of any person appearing for CAT. The faculty that IIM A possesses is unparalleled in the country. Apart from that, IIM A has one of the oldest and best Alumni networks in the country, noted alumni including KV Kamath, VS Banga, Kiran Karnik, Harsha Bhogle, etc who have left their mark in different fields. I had no difficulty in choosing IIM A over any other institute.
Q: Which test prep institute did you go to? How did you make the selection? How should CAT 2009 aspirants make this decision?
A: I had joined IMS Thane for coaching for CAT. I think IMS has played a huge part in my final selection for IIM A. The faculty was always ready to help out with any doubts we had and were always there for extra sessions. Also their Achievers Workshop helped me a lot in GD PI preparations. I am thankful to all the teachers over there. Apart from this I had also joined TIME for the test series. I think CAT aspirants should take feedback from past students before joining a coaching institute. The main criteria could be faculty, location, test series, additional workshops and if the faculty is always there to solve your doubts.
Q: With just over 6 months to go, what is your advice to CAT 2009 aspirants?
A: I think aspirants should stop panicking about the ONLINE CAT immediately. I always had the feeling that cracking CAT is more of a mental game. A person who manages to remain cool in those 2.5 hours is the one who will come out triumphant. The CAT has gone online for all the aspirants and everyone is in the same boat. Rather than worrying, be the first mover and try to get accustomed to the format immediately. Rather than speculating whether it would be an adaptive test, wait for the IIMs to come out with the official notification and bulletin in August.
Q: How should they plan their study on the basis of different sections in the paper and time management?
A: Time management is critical in an exam like CAT. First of all, you need to be aware which section you are good at and which section you are not. It is a well known fact that IIMs select people with balanced sectionals, so scoring really high in two sections while faltering in the third will not work. Hence time has to be apportioned to the different sections accordingly. Maximize your scores in your strongest sections, but definitely do not neglect your weaker sections. Often we have a mental block that we are weak in a particular section and this lowers our morale. Do not let that happen. Try and analyze in the mock tests the reason you are unable to score in your weaker section and improve on that.
Q: As you are aware, CAT 2009 will be a computer-based-test. In your view, how does this change the exam?
A: The main change I see is that all the aspirants will not be taking the test on a single day. This means that people taking the test in the first one or two days might be slightly at a disadvantage over others. If the scores are out immediately as is the case in other online exams, then aspirants taking the test in the later days might get an idea about the expected scores. Also having questions of the same difficulty level on all the days would be a challenge. Having said that, the paper setters are the professors in IIMs and I am sure they will do justice to all.
Q: What is your take on this new format?
A: The new format eases the pressure on the IIMs in conducting the test for over 3 lakh students on the same day. It was indeed proving to be an administrative challenge. From the student’s point of view, the need to get accustomed to solving mock tests online. For example, in Geometry, in the earlier CAT, there used to be diagrams in the question paper. Now the candidates will have to draw it out themselves on a rough paper. Also they will have to maintain concentration staring at the PC screen for 150 minutes!
Q: Are you happy that you did not have to appear for this format or you feel that CBT form would have been better for you?
A: I am glad that I appeared for the paper based CAT format. When a new format is tried out for the first time, there would always be challenges. But in the end, what matters is percentile. i.e. how good are you as compared to other aspirants. That hasn’t changed. But yes, it feels good to be a part of the last batch to be selected at IIM A through the traditional pencil- paper format.
Q: What should aspirants do to adjust to this new format?
A: As I said earlier, try getting used to solving papers online. Try concentrating on the screen for longer hours (although this might result in strain on the eyes, so be careful). Other than that, for now, aspirants should prepare for the 3 sections like they would have done in the absence of Online CAT. And wait until IIMs come out with the CAT bulletin in August to prepare further strategies.
I would like to wish all the aspirants best of luck for CAT 09 and hoping to see many of you at IIMA next year.