How National Medalist in Swimming, A Triathlon Participant & Chemical Engineer Tanishq Diddee Cracked CAT 2019 to get into IIM Ahmedabad for MBA 2020

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October 1, 2020
National Medalist in Swimming, A Triathlon & Marathon participant and a Chemical Engineer from NITK Surathkal, Tanishq Diddee cracked CAT 2019 with 99.70 percentile and converted number of top B-schools including IIM Ahmedabad. Coming from home town of Nagpur, Tanishq had earned 35 months of work experience at RIL before joining MBA at IIM-A. Read his CAT preparation strategy and how he balanced between his work and preparation
Tanishq Diddee: CAT 2019 Topper

The inspirational story of a national sports man who has multi dimensional personality and has emerged victorious over all odds to get into India’s best B-school – IIM Ahmedabad breaks the myth that cracking CAT and getting into Top IIMs needs long study hours only. On the contrary the phrase ‘A Healthy mind resides in a healthy body’ comes absolutely true for Tanishq  Diddee who is now IIM Ahmedabad student of MBA 2020-22 batch.

Tanishq is a national medalist in swimming, a triathlon and marathon participant and is a graduate in Chemical Engineering from NITK, Suratkhal. He had earned 35 months of work experience at Reliance Industries Ltd before joining MBA at IIM Ahmedabad.

Tanishq scored 99.70 percentile in CAT 2019, converted IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, FMS Delhi, SPJIMR Mumbai among others.

What is even more interesting about Tanishq is that he was working full time for about 12 hours a day, continued with his swimming and running and prepared for CAT in his own way. His success also shows how a working professional who does not compromise on his hobbies and interests can prepare well without coaching and crack CAT while balancing among the multi dimensional roles. 

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Undoubtedly, Tanishq’s journey wasn’t a cakewalk. It required persistence, focus, immense self-belief and discipline. interviewed Tanishq 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: CAT 2019 was my first attempt. I scored 99.70 overall percentile; 97.01 percentile in VARC section; 99.91 in DILR Section and 98.35 percentile in Quantitative Ability section.

Q: Apart from CAT, which other exams did you appear?
A: Apart from CAT 2019, I did not appear in other exams.

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 Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, FMS Delhi and SPJIMR Mumbai

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 Bachelor in Chemical Engineering from NITK Surathkal. After graduation till I joined IIM Ahmedabad, I earned 35 months of work experience with Reliance Industries Ltd. I am a national medalist in swimming and a triathlon and marathon participant. I belong to Nagpur (Maharashtra). We are a family of four. My parents are consultants in energy sector and sister is working in Singapore as a Speech language Pathologist.

Q: Coming to your CAT preparation, what was your overall preparation strategy?
A: My strategy was to give tests and more tests. So, I started giving mock tests in May’19. I spent 3 hours writing each test and at least 3 more hours evaluating the test. While evaluating I browsed through the career launcher material to brush up on concepts. So on weekdays, I went through the material for 1 hour before I started my work.

Q: How did you prepare for VARC section?
A: For VARC, I practised with the GMAT material as their explanations were much better than any CAT prep material. The key is to learn from your mistakes. Making a lot of mistakes initially is good as we find out what are our weaknesses.

Q:  Please share your preparation strategy for DILR Section
A:  I enjoyed doing DILR, so I practised that section whenever I was bored with others.

Q: How did you prepare for Quant Section?
A: For QA, I focused on the material and also went  through solved solutions on IMS to find faster methods to solve the problems.

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?

A: In QA, I felt I was spending a lot of time on a single question as I was following a non-formula approach. I believed the approach was right but I had to figure out a method for different types of questions. So with practice and observing solutions provided by IMS especially, I got a hang of the QA section.

Q: What role did Mock Tests play in your success?
A: As mentioned earlier, Mocks are the single most important thing in CAT preperation. Only thing, that is more important, is analysing these mocks. I attempted around 25 mocks for CAT and around 10 mocks for GMAT. Not losing hope while writing mocks is the key. I scored on an average ~120-130 in all the mocks but I saw the lost 170 marks as an opportunity and reviewed them thoroughly.

Q: Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?
A: I was working full time which took at least 12 hours per day. I also wanted to have the flexibility of doing the prep at my own speed and in my own way. Plus, I wanted to continue with my swimming and running so I could not sacrifice my evening for the classes. I believe with discipline; self-preparation becomes an advantage. I also had a partner who was preparing for the same and we kept each other motivated.

 Q: What was your Exam Day strategy. What was your last-minute preparation?
A: I had to travel to another city for my exam. Me and my colleague reached the city a day prior, located and visited the CAT centre a day before to avoid stress on that day. On the last day, me and my friend saw Big Bang Theory in the hotel room for 2 straight hours and we slept. There was no point of studying on the last day. On the day of CAT, I went in with a very positive mindset. My aim was to at least mark 90 questions to get around 70 of them correct. I aimed high to get high. Especially for DILR I wanted to complete all 8 sets as I felt, that’s my strong area.

Q: How did you prepare for PI Round? Please share PI-WAT questions at IIM Ahmedabad
A: For WAT/PI, the only thing I prepared was why I want to do MBA. I didn’t take any mock PI or wrote any mock WAT. I believe being genuine and original is the key to success.

My WAT topics:

  • Is capital punishment good or bad?
  • Is Saradarvallabbhai Patel’s statue waste of money?

PI Questions:

  • Main focus was on work experience
  • Asked about how a business model can be made around swimming?
  • Asked how will India capture the POK?
  • Why Kenyan runners are good at marathon?
  • Was never asked why I want to do MBA?

Q: What motivated you to choose IIM Ahmedabad over other B-schools?
A: It was in Gujarat, having worked for 3 years in Gujarat, I enjoyed the people in the state. Plus Ahmedabad has been a top B-school in the country since decades with really strong Alumni base.

Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2020.
A: I believe CAT is an exam which requires a positive mindset, the will to learn from mistakes and discipline to continue the prep for at least 5 months. It is a competitive exam, not a difficult one and I hope everyone gets what they are aiming for. 

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Stay tuned to for more updates on CAT Preparation Strategy by Toppers