Shekhar is a B.E. in Electronics and Communication Engineering and has a work experience of 21 months. A working professional, Shekhar had to balance his professional duties and the study hours but made it sure to score high in XAT 2016 and CAT 2015 get into SPJIMR Mumbai, one of the highly ranked B-schools in India.
My exam prep strategy, experience & Advice
For the benefit of MBA aspirants, MBAUniverse.com asked Shekhar Kapoor about his preparation strategy and advice to do well in MBA entrance exams. Details follow
Q. What was your preparation strategy for XAT?
A.Since I had already been working when I decided to appear in XAT 2016, I knew that there would be times when my work deadlines would demand my undivided attention so it was better to start early. I started preparations in December 2014. I used to devote 1-2 hours on a daily basis. Once the new pattern was announced, I just focused on attempting as many mocks as possible to get my timing right.
I needed to have thorough knowledge of various concepts to arrive at an answer, as elimination of options was not possible for each question.
Q. How did you prepare for each section VALA, QADI, DM? What study materials and books did you use?
A. I divided my time unequally among the three sections based on my level of proficiency. For my strong sections, I used to perform sectional tests and used to touch upon only those areas where I felt I needed to brush up. While for my weak section, I used devote some extra time in order to first get my basics in place to gain accuracy, and then practicing extensively to gain speed.
Q. Did you change your preparation strategy after the announcement of the pattern change in XAT 2016 or you followed the same routine?
A. The new changes mandated one to not only have in-depth understanding of the section(s) of one's interest to maximize the score but also to have breadth of knowledge by showing one's proficiency in the other section(s). From the knowledge point of view, I feel that the changes were for the best. As shared above I divided my time unequally among the 3 sections based on my level of proficiency.
Q.Was there any particular section that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A.Quantitative Methods was my strongest area while Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation was my weak area. I tried to keep calm in the area and focused more on attempting few questions correctly rather than attempting many questions but with low accuracy.
Q.What was your Time Management formula for XAT?
A. I divided the allotted time in 3 chunks. The first chunk was of 30 minutes where I started with the first question and kept on attempting only those which I felt were sitters. I simultaneously kept on marking the questions which, though a bit lengthy, were easy to solve. At the end of 30 minutes I reached the end of the section with all the questions to be attempted in the second chunk. Then, I started attempting these questions spending not more than 2 minutes per question. This chunk was for 20 minutes. In the last 10 minutes, I tried to attempt at least 3 to 4 questions among the ones I had previously thought that they were difficult.
Q.Please share your strategy for the XAT Day. How did you plan your XAT test taking?
A. Attempting XAT is little more difficult as we were expected to be equally good at attempting every section. But it didn't affect my way of attempting questions as I had practiced well and performed calculations using the oral and manual calculations.
Q. Which B-school you decided upon and why?
A.I decided upon SPJIMR. The one thing that I like the most about SPJIMR is its agility. SPJIMR is quick to adapt to the changing needs of the industry and is always in a quest to produce managers who have a global outlook yet don't forget their Indian values.
Q.What made you pursue MBA?
A. While interning at Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd., I realized that I was not meant to be a software programmer in an IT firm. But the clarity of thought was missing as to what I wanted to become. It was only during my stint with CISCO that I realized what my inner calling was. In an all-hands meeting at CISCO, I watched the Vice President of our business unit address a crowd of 300 employees. The way he presented his strategic ideas to take down the competition, his way of engaging the audience and communicating his vision for the business unit left me spellbound. That was a defining moment for me.
Q. Any message you would like to share with the candidates preparing for XAT.
A. I think one gives one's best when one is least bothered about the outcome. Just give your best to the preparations and while attempting the paper without worrying about the results or which college you'll join. No one can keep a person devoid of what one deserves. So work to deserve what you need!
I joined TIME WAT-PI prep in Bangalore and used to attend their knowledge transfer, Group Interview, Group Discussion and Personal Interview sessions over the weekend. My on the spot thinking, awareness of the topics discussed, coupled with a positive body language was the key to my success.
I was well prepared for PI round. The process was encouraging and friendly at SPJIMR
My WAT topic at SPJIMR was: “What is that one area which people are good at but you can never be?” It took me a while to gather my thoughts and then present them in the form of an essay. I talked about my inability to develop and sustain namesake personal relationships. I have had come across a lot of people who are friends with someone for an ulterior motive. The structure was the basic Intro-Body-Conclusion type wherein I started with my philosophy in life, followed by a description of an instance, followed by what I learnt from it.