Why CAT 2022 Topper with 99.44%ile, Akshat Agarwal, declined IIMs, MDI to Join MBA at IIT Delhi; How he prepared & cracked the Exam-MBAUniverse.com Interview

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Updated on October 17, 2023
Akshat Agarwal from a middle class family of Uttarakhand, cracked CAT 2022 with 99.44 percentile and is now a student of MBA 2023-25 batch at IIT Delhi. Hailing from Dehradun, Akshat declined admission offers from many IIMs, MDI, NMIMS, SIBM and joined IITD. A B.Tech in CSE, Akshat has work experience of one and half years as Software Quality Assurance Associate at FICO. This MBAUniverse.com interview with Akshat Agarwal will inspire you how to do smart preparation for CAT 2023
CAT topper Akshat Agarwal

MBAUniverse.com presents inspiring success stories of CAT toppers who triumphed in securing admissions to top IIMs, IITs, and other esteemed institutions. Gain motivation from their well-planned preparation strategies, valuable insights on MBA entrance exam readiness, Personal Interviews, and MBA college selection.

Today, we present the motivational interview with Dehradun boy from a middle class family, Akshat Agarwal who cracked CAT 2022 with 99.44%ile and is currently pursuing MBA from IIT Delhi. Akshat is a B.Tech in CSE from DIT University, and has work experience of more than one and half year with FICO as a software quality assurance associate.  Akshat’s father is Development officer in LIC of India and his mother is home maker.

Apart from getting admission offer from IIT Delhi, Akshat converted MDI, NMIMS, SIBM, IIM Udaipur, IIM Trichy, IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur, IIT KGP, IIM Ranchi, IIM Raipur, IIM Kashipur, IIM Shambalpur, IIM Vishakhapatnam, IIM Nagpur, IIM Amritsar, IIM Jammu and IIM Bodh Gaya, but he preferred to join IIT Delhi MBA Programme instead of any other B-school.

CAT 2023: Admit Card Release on November 7; Check Key Details to Verify; CAT Exam on Nov 26 in 3 Slots

Akshat’s CAT preparation journey has a lot of lessons. For instance, how did he overcome his weakness in VARC section, and how did he maximize on his strengths. A firm believer of hardwork, perfection, dedication, commitment and integrity, Akshat loves playing Cricket and Football. Travelling and Photography are his other hobbies. With this introduction, let’s read Akshat’s responses to MBAUniverse.com questions.

Q: How did you perform in CAT 2022?
A: I scored 99.44 overall percentile in CAT 2022. Coming to sectional scores, I scored 84.98%ile in VARC, 99.81%ile in DILR and 99.17%ile in QA.

Q: Did you take any other exam apart from CAT?
A: Apart from CAT, I appeared in NMAT and scored 239; I also appeared in SNAP and scored 98.5 percentile. I converted NMIMS as well SIBM based on above exam scores.

Q: With such good scores in all the MBA entrance exams that you appeared, which top B-schools shortlisted you for PI Round?
I was shortlisted by SPJIMR, MDI, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode (Finance), IIM Lucknow (Agriculture), IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT KGP, IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur, NMIMS, SIBM, CAP IIMs, SCMHRD

Q: Which were your final Converts after PI Round?
I converted IIT Delhi, MDI, NMIMS, SIBM, IIM Udaipur, IIM Trichy, IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur, IIT KGP, IIM Ranchi, IIM Raipur, IIM Kashipur, IIM Shambalpur, IIM Vishakhapatnam, IIM Nagpur, IIM Amritsar, IIM Jammu and IIM Bodh Gaya 

Q: Before we understand your preparation strategy, please share your key criteria why you preferred to join MBA at IIT Delhi instead of IIMs, MDI, NMIMS, SIBM?
I opted for IIT Delhi MBA after giving a due thought, based on the following parameters – Brand Value and name of the institute, Placement record. Besides, IIT Delhi is my field of interest.

While IIMs have a strong reputation in business education only, IIT Delhi is a highly reputed institution in India, known for its strong focus on technology and engineering. I thought IIT Delhi's combination of business and technology expertise could be advantageous since I am a computer science engineer. IIT Delhi offers an MBA program that combines management education with a technological perspective. I have a keen interest in technology-related industries, therefore I thought that this interdisciplinary approach could be valuable. Also, IIT Delhi boasts of a strong alumni network, which can provide valuable networking opportunities and career support. Delhi, as the capital of India, offers numerous opportunities for networking, internships, and exposure to a wide range of industries and sectors. IIT Delhi is a dream college of every engineering student in India, therefore to complete my dreams I came here at IIT Delhi

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
My preparation strategy can be understood in following points:

  • Study Consistently: Regular, focused study sessions are key to CAT preparation.
  • Mock Tests: Take frequent mock CAT exams to gauge your progress.
  • Time Management: Master time management to answer questions quickly.
  • Concept Clarity: Understand core concepts thoroughly in math and verbal.
  • Vocabulary: Build a strong vocabulary for the verbal section.
  • Data Interpretation: Practice data interpretation for the quantitative section.
  • Logical Reasoning: Hone your logical reasoning skills for the LRDI section.
  • Revision: Regularly revise what you've learned to reinforce it.
  • Stay Calm: Maintain composure during the exam for better performance.
  • Adaptability: Be flexible with your strategies and adapt to different question types.

Q: Please share your preparation strategy for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) Section?
My preparation strategy for VARC section focused on:

  • Read Widely: Developed a habit of reading newspapers, novels, and diverse materials to improve comprehension.
  • Vocabulary Building: Learning new words daily and using them in sentences.
  • Practice RCs: Solved a variety of reading comprehension passages regularly.
  • Time Management: Allocated specific time for each RC passage during practice.
  • Elimination Technique: Used the process of elimination to answer questions in RCs.
  • Grammar Basics: Brushed up on fundamental grammar rules for sentence correction.
  • Critical Thinking: Developed critical thinking skills for inference-based questions.
  • Mocks Analysis: Analysed performance in mock tests to identify weaknesses and improve.

Q: How did you prepare for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) section?
Key focus areas in DILR preparation were:

  • Data Familiarity: Get comfortable with different types of data sets and formats.
  • Practice Sets: Solved a variety of DILR sets from previous CAT papers.
  • Speed and Accuracy: Focused on solving sets quickly while maintaining accuracy.
  • Categorize Data: Learned to classify and organize data effectively.
  • Logical Deduction: Enhanced logical deduction skills for complex problems.
  • Group Study: Collaborated with peers to solve DILR sets together.
  • Mock Tests: Take full-length mock tests to simulate real exam conditions
  • Time Allocation: Allocate time wisely to different sets based on difficulty levels.

Q: How did you prepare for Quantitative Ability (QA) section?
For QA preparation, my focus areas were:

  • Concept Mastery: Built a strong foundation in math concepts.
  • Practice Regularly: Solved a variety of math problems daily.
  • Formula Memorization: Memorized key formulas and shortcuts.
  • Mock Tests: Took full-length mock tests to improve speed and accuracy.
  • Time Management: Managed time effectively during the QA section.
  • Focus on Strengths: Identified and leveraged strong math areas.
  • Weakness Improvement: Worked on improving weaker Math topics.
  • Calculation Skills: Enhanced mental calculation skills for quicker solutions.

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
VARC Section was my weak area. I conquered my weakness in the CAT VARC section through a strategic approach. Initially, I struggled with comprehension and vocabulary. To address this, I began daily reading, encompassing newspapers, novels, and diverse materials. I diligently noted and practiced new words. Taking numerous RC tests enhanced my reading speed and comprehension. The key was time management, allocating specific time for each passage. Lastly, I relied on the process of elimination for multiple-choice questions. My consistent efforts and targeted practice sessions ultimately improved my VARC skills, boosting my confidence and performance in this section.

Q: How many mocks did you attempt before the exam? What role did Mocks play in your success?
I attempted around 50-60 mocks. Mock exams played a pivotal role in my CAT preparation journey. They offered a simulated exam environment, helping me acclimatize to time constraints and pressure. Regularly taking full-length mock tests honed my time management skills and improved my ability to handle the diverse question formats. Post-test analysis identified weak areas, allowing me to focus on specific topics. The mocks also provided a realistic assessment of my progress, boosting my confidence and highlighting areas that needed improvement. Over time, they transformed from mere practice sessions to invaluable tools that gauged my readiness for the actual CAT exam, enabling me to fine-tune my strategies and ultimately excel on the big day.

Q: Did you self-prepare for the Exam or did you attend a Coaching Centre and why?
I Self prepared for CAT and other exams. I purchased the online material and mocks. I referred Arun Sharma for DILR and Quant and I referred VARC 100 by CL for VARC

Q: Please share your strategy for the Exam Day
For the last 1 week I didn’t do anything, just relaxed, travelled, met my friends played games etc to keep myself calm and happy.

Q: How did you prepare for GD/PI/WAT Rounds?
I joined PDP session from CL Dehradun and BTP session from Gradsquare to prepare for GD/PI/WAT

Q: According to you, overall, how can B-schools make their MBA admission process less cumbersome for MBA applicants. 
The B-schools can make their MBA admission process less cumbersome for MBA applicants by taking following steps:

  • Simplified Application Forms,
  • Common Application Platform
  • Reduced Application Fees
  • Transparent Admission Criteria
  • Holistic Evaluation
  • Online Interviews

Q: Finally, your message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2023
My message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2023 are:

  • Structured Study Plan: Create a well-structured study plan and stick to it. Consistent, daily effort is crucial.
  • Concept Clarity: Build strong fundamentals in all sections - QA, VARC, and DILR.
  • Take regular mock CAT tests to gauge your progress and improve time management.
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses in each section and allocate study time accordingly.
  • Time Management: Practice solving questions within time constraints. Learn when to move on from a difficult question.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a balanced lifestyle with proper sleep, diet, and exercise to stay mentally sharp.
  • Stay Positive: Keep a positive mindset and don't be discouraged by setbacks.

Team MBAUniverse.com hopes that this interview was truly inspiring for you! Don't miss out on the opportunity to explore more motivational stories from students who have made their mark at IIMs, IIFT, MDI, XLRI, and beyond. Let their journeys ignite the fire within you…Success awaits you! 

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