How an Electrical Engineer & Working Professional Shuktisindhu Mondal Cracked CAT 2019 & got IIM Ahmedabad for MBA 2020


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October 8, 2020
A working professional for more than three years, an electrical engineer from CIEM Kolkata having interest in space research, Shuktisindhu Mondal cracked CAT 2019 with 93.26 percentile and converted number of top B-schools including IIM Ahmedabad. Shuktisindhu had earned 41 months of work experience as Software Engineer at Tech Mahindra before joining MBA at IIM-A. Read his CAT preparation strategy and how he balanced between his work and preparation

Breaking the myth that cracking CAT and getting into Top IIMs needs long study hours only, the inspirational story of Shuktisindhu Mondal who, despite being a working professional for more than three years, cracked CAT 2019 with 93.26 percentile and converted IIM Ahmedabad, proves that success comes with determination.

Shuktisindhu  is a graduate in Electrical Engineering from Calcutta Institute of Engineering & Management (CIEM) and had earned 41 months of work experience as software engineer at Tech Mahindra before joining MBA at IIM Ahmedabad.

Shuktisindhu  scored 93.26 percentile in CAT 2019 and converted IIM Ahmedabad,  IIM Ranchi, IIM Trichy, IIM Udaipur among others.

What is even more inspiring about Shuktisindhu is that he was working full time while preparing for CAT 2019 in his own way. He has a great interest in space research and new renewable energy technology and devotes his time in learning new things about them. His success also shows how a working professional can prepare well without having much time with him and can crack CAT while balancing among the multi dimensional roles.

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Undoubtedly, Mondal’s journey wasn’t a cakewalk. It required persistence, focus, immense self-belief and discipline. interviewed  Shuktisindhu Mondal  to understand his CAT preparation journey, how he cracked IIM Ahmedabad interview and more. So, read on for getting inspired and accelerating your CAT journey! 

Q: Let us begin with your performance in CAT 2019. How did you perform in the exam?
A:  I scored 93.26 overall percentile in CAT. My sectional percentile scores were; 97.18 percentile in VARC section; 90.01 in DILR Section and 80.83 percentile in Quantitative Ability section.

Q: Apart from CAT, which other exams did you appear and how cid you perform in them?
A: Apart from CAT 2019, I appeared in  IIFT, scored 63.67 Percentile; SNAP, scored 93.81 Percentile; XAT, scored 60.88 Percentile and NMAT in which I scored 193.

Q: So, which B-schools did you finally convert?
A: Apart from getting final admission offer from IIM Ahmedabad for PGP 2020-22 batch, I converted  IIM Ranchi, IIM Trichy, IIM Udaipur, IIM Raipur, IIM Kashipur, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Amritsar, IIM Bodh Gaya, IIM Sirmaur, NITIE, IRMA, IIT Roorkee and IIT Madras.

Q. Great Achievement, tell us about your academics, interests and family back ground? Please also share about your work experience as well?
A:  I am a B.Tech in  Electrical Engineering from Calcutta Institute of Engineering & Management (CIEM).  After graduation till I joined IIM Ahmedabad, I earned 41 months of work experience as software engineer with Tech Mahindra. I have keen interest in reading Fictional Novels and Swimming. I am also interested in learning about space research and new renewable energy technology. I belong to Kolkata and we are a family of four. My father is retired (Ex Govt Employee), my mother is homemaker, my brother is pursuing studies (Post Graduate).

Q: Coming to your CAT preparation, what was your overall preparation strategy?
A: For me the CAT preparation started exactly one year before CAT 2019. I joined IMS classroom classes which helped me in understanding the subjects as well as I clearing doubts. I also gave SIMCATs (Mock Exams) regularly to asses my current condition and prepare strategy for the next exam. My mentors from IMS played a vital role in formulating a proper study plan which I was able to implement and get results. I also did group study which helped me in many ways. Practicing routinely and revising at regular intervals also played a huge role. One to Two weeks before CAT I gave mock exams every 2 days and tried to improve my time management and percentile. All in all with consistent effort it is possible to crack CAT.

Q: How did you prepare for VARC section?
A: I used to practice VARC everyday. Basically my preparation was aligned to how the CAT exam is. As the first section of CAT is VARC my practice started with solving one RC and few VA problems. Online material in preferred over offline material because you must get used to reading and solving RCs online.

Q:  Please share your preparation strategy for DILR Section
A: I used to practice DILR also everyday. In order to get good percentile at DILR you must solve many types of problems. Here variety matters and more different types of problems you solve more familiar you get with the subject and more confidence is built as a result.

Q: How did you prepare for Quant Section?
A: I used to practice quant extensively because I was weak at it. I used to dedicate 3-4 hrs of the day practicing quant both offline and online.

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
I was weak at QA, thus, dedicated more time in practising QA. Getting the concepts under the belt was my first priority and practising a range of problems of each concept helped me a lot. Also having joined a coaching center played a vital role as I always got help whenever I faced any doubts. Group study was also mainly focused on improving QA percentile. Taking regular assessments built up the confidence and time management skills to get a good percentile in QA. Also, being practical over here, I knew that I won’t be getting a super good marks in QA I decided to target atleast 20 - 25 marks form the section which would be good enough to cross the IIM cut offs.

Q: What role did Mock Tests play in your success?
A: Mocks play a huge role in clearing CAT. A well structured Mock is very useful as it shows your strengths and weakness. It helps in formulating a strategy and improve time management skills. I attempted nearly 18 mocks before CAT.

Q: Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?
A: I enrolled for classroom course of IMS. I was attempting CAT for the first time 4 years after my graduation. I was not upto the mark and had forgotten many basic concepts. So, I needed professional help in order to get ready for CAT. Hence, I joined IMS.

Q: What was your Exam Day strategy? What was your last-minute preparation?
A: My CAT exam was on the 2nd shift. So, I had ample time before the exam. I believe maintaing a peaceful mind before exam is very important. So, I focused on destressing myself i.e. had a good night sleep, had a good breakfast, etc. I clearly didn’t want to panic and perform poorly. I also went to CAT exam center well ahead of time and patiently waited in order to avoid last moment mishaps.  I don’t believe in last minute preparations, what is the point of preparing for one whole year if I had to depend on last minute preparations. Most important thing is to remember that the questions are going to come from the topics that you have practised countless times and treat CAT as all other Mocks that you have given till date.  

Q: How did you prepare for PI Round? Please share PI-WAT questions at IIM Ahmedabad
A: I had enrolled at IMS for GD/PI/WAT. This helped me a lot because I was able to interact with all other students who had cracked CAT and had calls from reputed institutes. Daily practice of WAT is necessary on both recent as well abstract topics. Since I was with IMS I got opportunity to practice GD with lot students and on a lot of topics. Giving a lot of mock PI’s also helped me in developing a confidence and anticipates many questions that could be asked during PI’s. 

My WAT Topics:

  • Nepotism at workplace
  • Role of students in world politics

PI Questions

  • The most important question for PI that you need to answer is Why MBA? 
  • Other questions that I faced were based on my work experience and current affairs
  • Many times institutes are looking for your personal opinions on certain areas and you must not shy away from sharing your personal thought on those areas albeit you have enough proofs to support your opinions.

Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2020.
A: Preparation is key to success. There is no better advice that anyone can give you.

  • You must first understand your current place where you stand
  • Should work on gradually improving yourself
  • Mountains are crossed one step at a time
  • Don’t expect a miraculous improvement if you join a coaching center
  • Consistent effort is necessary
  • Set your goals very high from the beginning
  • Don’t heed nay sayers, always, keep yourself motivated and focussed on your desired target
  • Utilise your time to the fullest and try to give as many mocks as possible
  • Always remember that improvement happens everyday and not all of a sudden. Keep at it, don’t lose Last but not the least of all NEVER GIVE UP!!!

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