Video Series with CAT Toppers: How an NGO Volunteer, CS Engineer & Fresher Manya Gumashta cracked CAT & Got IIM Udaipur

MBAUniverse.com News Desk |
November 4, 2020
To help the aspirants preparing for CAT, MBAUniverse.com has published a series of videos & articles on CAT preparation plan & strategy adopted by CAT toppers now studying at IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Udaipur SPJIMR, MDI Gurgaon among others. Here is an Interview and Video with CAT Topper Manya Gumashta who is an IIM Udaipur student of MBA 2020-22 batch
Video Series with CAT Toppers

To help the aspirants preparing for CAT, MBAUniverse.com has published a series of videos & articles on CAT preparation plan & strategy adopted by CAT Toppers. Next in the series, is an Interview and Video with CAT Topper Manya Gumashta who is an IIM Udaipur student of MBA 2020-22 batch.

An NGO Volunteer, a Computer Science Engineer and Fresher Manya Gumashta from Bhopal, cracked CAT 2019 with  98.94 percentile and converted IIM Udaipur, IIM Trichy, IIM Rohtak, Baby IIMs, SCMHRD and IMT Ghaziabad. However, she opted for IIM Udaipur to pursue MBA 2020-22. Remaining consistent in her practice and thorough with the syllabus, Manya took lot of mock tests before the exam and analysed each of them to check her mistakes.

With a firm confidence and planned preparation strategy, Manya was confident to crack CAT 2019 with high score and get into his dream IIM. He focused on managing the time during the exam to bell the CAT easily. Manya has great interest in reading books and digital illustrations which gave her an edge in cracking CAT. MBAUniverse.com invited Manya to share her preparation and exam taking strategy, GD-PI experience. Watch the Video and also read the text Interview. Remember, contents of Video and Interview are different. So check out both the Video and the interview! 

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CAT Topper Mantra Video Series – Watch Manya Gumashta on ‘My CAT Strategy & Road to IIM Udaipur’

CAT Toppers Interview Series – Read Interview with Manya Gumashta on 'Preparation strategy for CAT & GD/PI/WAT

Q: How did you perform in CAT 2019?
A:
I scored 98.94 percentile in CAT 2019; 99.53 in Quantitative Ability (QA); 98.13 in Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR); and 89.87 percentile in Verbal Ability (VA)

Q: Apart from CAT 2019, which other exams did you appear?
A:
Apart from CAT 2019, I appeared for XAT, IIFT, SNAP and NMAT.

Q: Which top B-schools have offered you admission and which one you have finally chosen?
A:
I had converted IIM Udaipur, IIM Trichy, IIM Rohtak, Baby IIMs, SCMHRD and IMT Ghaziabad. Ultimately I decided to join IIM Udaipur.

Q: What have been your academics? Do you have some work experience as well?
A:
I have done my graduation in Computer Science and Engineering from University Institute of Technology, RGPV, Bhopal. I did most of my schooling in Bhopal, as well. In my free time, I enjoy reading books and sketching occasionally. My Parents are doctors; My father is currently a Professor at People’s Medical College, Bhopal and my mother is a professor at AIIMS, Nagpur. My younger sister is presently preparing for NEET.

I volunteered in a non-profit organisation, Make A Difference for two years, of which for one year, I was the City Manager at Bhopal. My role was spread over several domains, including the recruitment of volunteers, training them, raising funds, and making sure all the operations in the city run efficiently. I was also a full-time Software Development Intern at Oracle Financial Service Softwares, Mumbai, for two months. I worked on building banking technology for Africa based banks using the technology JAVA, REST API, HTML, KNOCKOUT JS, etc. I also interned as a content writer at a newspaper called The Optimist Citizen. My Hobby is reading Books.

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A: CAT is an aptitude exam all about time management, and in my opinion, anyone can bell the CAT. You just need to be consistent in your practice, thorough with the syllabus and armed with a lot of mock exams. This is exactly what I did; I focused on completing the syllabus for the first few months then slowly began increasing the number of mocks on a monthly basis.

Giving mocks is the most important thing, and the next is analysing those mock tests. It is crucial to understand your mistakes, bridge the learning gaps, find shortcuts to solve the problems and making sure not to repeat the same mistakes. I used to spend a good 5-6 hours on the analysis itself.

Apart from that if I felt I specifically lacked proficiency in particular topics or sections, I used to take topic tests or sectional tests provided by various coaching classes.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for VARC in CAT
A:
One essential thing in VA is being comfortable with reading and comprehending articles based on diverse topics ranging from economics to philosophy. This can be achieved through eclectic reading throughout the year and being comfortable with them.

It is also important to keep on practising RC and VA questions. I became a bit overconfident in VARC and stopped practising at the end, which cost me a lot of marks in VA. The significant take away from my mistake would be to work as hard on your strengths as you would on your weaknesses because that would give you an edge in the exam.

Q:  Please share your preparation strategy for DILR Section
A: For this section, I focused on solving DILR sets from previous year CAT exams and mock tests by TIME, for practice, I solved the sets from their last year’s mock compendium. The essential task is choosing your fights (sets). More often than not you won’t be able to solve all the eight sets and you’ve got to work smart. Choose the easiest and the least time-consuming sets, but even learning to gauge the difficulty level of the set will require a lot of practice.

Q:  Please share your preparation strategy for Quant Section
A: In Quantitative Ability, I focused on building the concepts first. I solved the basic booklets provided by TIME Bhopal and took topic tests for each chapter to develop proficiency in them. Once I was done with the concepts, I switched my focus towards building up speed and developing approaches to solve the section.

My approach was first analysing the whole question paper. If it seemed doable to me, I targeted the questions linearly but if it seemed a bit difficult I would pick and choose the easy questions for the first 30-40 minutes and leave the difficult questions for later. This ensured that I don’t waste my time on tough questions.

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A: DILR was a section which was pretty unique to CAT, and I specifically gave it a lot of attention. I focused on timing each set and improving my speed, at the same time, I made sure I’m accustomed to a variety of sets. For this, I solved as many mock tests and previous year mocks as I could to get a good compilation of the variety of DILR sets.

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A: Mocks were a part of my preparation since the very beginning, and I would say they were the most important part for that matter. They gave me a good idea of which topics I need to work on and also helped me finesse my strategy to approach the exam. I would suggest the aspirants to take a mock once even before they start their preparation to get a realistic idea on where they stand and what aspects do they need to work on.

Again as I mentioned earlier, I paid even more attention to the analysis of the mocks. I ensured that I was using the best approaches for each question and kept on learning from my mistakes.

Q: Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?
A: I had enrolled at TIME Bhopal to prepare for CAT, and it was a personal preference. I believed I would be profited by the guidance and understanding from the teachers, and learn from their long term experience with CAT. Although, this decision would vary from person to person, so think through, set your priorities right and then make a decision.

Q: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
A: I feel like we lay a lot of stress on the D-day and then freak out at the last moment. Which is why I just relaxed and calmed my mind for two days before the exam. I watched a movie, went out with friends, and made sure I’m not thinking about the exam for those two days. This helped me a lot in clearing my mind before entering the Exam Hall.

My main strategy was not to let the stress get to me, and to not ruin the other sections just in case one section goes badly. This helped me majorly because while giving the exam I had realised that I’d spoiled my VARC section, but I went on and gave my best in the next two sections, which helped my increase my overall percentile.

Q: How did you prepare for GD/PI/WAT. Please share your GD/WAT topics & PI questions?
A: I mostly relied on TIME Bhopal for my GDPI WAT preparation, but I think it’s all about knowing yourself well, being aware of the things happening around you and being thorough with your subjects as a fresher.

Q: What motivated you to choose IIM Udaipur over other B-schools?
A: I did a lot of research before deciding on the institute. I talked to several Alumni and students of IIM Udaipur, and the feedback I got from them was amazing. I also appreciated the core value of transparency that they show in every aspect of their work. Moreover, the academic drive and the top notch faculty at IIM Udaipur pulled me towards it. Also, who wouldn’t want to spend a good 2 years in the lap of the beautiful Aravali Range?

Q: How has been the experience of online classes at IIM Udaipur?
A: I had heard a lot about the rigour at an IIM, but I wasn’t sure how that would translate over an online medium, but ever since I’ve joined the institute I haven’t gotten time to breathe and yet I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I couldn’t have imagined that you can have such a steep learning curve in such a short duration of time.

My second concern was how would I connect with people, but owing to so much engagement in these past few weeks, the interaction has been excellent even over an online platform. We’re learning how to use this online platform to our advantage.

Although, we cannot wait to be on the campus!

Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2020.
A: The 5 tips I would like to share for the candidates preparing for CAT:

  1. If you spoil one of the sections, forget about it and brace yourself for what's coming next.
  2. If the questions are hard for you, it will be hard for the other test takers and hence you should always focus on maximizing your marks
  3. Practise by giving as many mocks as you can
  4. Analyse your mistakes and avoid doing the same mistakes again
  5. If you are not able to crack the CAT in the first go, don't get disheartened. Try again and quit only when the happiness and the desire of belling CAT < Fear of Failing

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