Demystifying the belief that IIMs are meant for engineers, Pranita Maheshwari from Pink city of Jaipur has proved that it is the smart preparation for CAT exam and your diverse academic and extra curricular profile that can lead to admission in your dream IIM as was achieved by her by converting IIM Udaipur and many other top B-schools.
Pranita scored 98.81 percentile in CAT 2020 and converted nine new IIMs including IIM Udaipur and preferred to join IIM Udaipur for various reasons. During her preparation, she found herself weak in some areas, but with her preparation strategy she turned it into her strong area.
Pranita is a fresher and did her graduation in management studies from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics in Management Studies. She is an Arts & Crafts lover, a keen football watcher who loves reading Psychological books and blogs. Pranita did her six months internship with a startup. MBAUniverse.com invited Pranita Maheshwari to understand her CAT preparation plans, how she cracked IIM Udaipur interview and more.
Q: Apart from IIM Udaipur, which were the other top B-schools that shortlisted you for final selection round.
A: I was shortlisted for the PI of SPJIMR Mumbai and all new IIMs including IIM Udaipur
Q: What motivated you to choose IIM Udaipur over other B-schools? Please share top 3-4 reasons
A: Key reasons that motivated me to join IIM Udaipur were:
- The growth statistics of the college is incomparable with any other B-School.
- IIM Udaipur is a student run campus where the students get to practice management at the core.
- The college’s focus on enhancing the research abilities of the students is widely known.
- The transformational journey promised by the college and the Vision 2030 under the direction of Mr. Janat Shah will take the institute to even greater levels.
Q: How did you perform in CAT 2020?
A: I scored 98.81 overall percentile in CAT 2020; 82.33 percentile in VARC section; 99.43 in DILR Section and 98.43 percentile in Quantitative Ability section. CAT 2020 was my second attempt. The first attempt was in CAT 2019
Q: Apart from CAT 2020, which other exams did you appear?
A: Apart from CAT 2020, I did not appear in other exams
Q: Which top B-schools have offered you admission and which one you have finally chosen?
A: Apart from getting final admission offer from IIM Udaipur for MBA 2021-23 batch, I converted all the new IIMs that participated in CAP round. I finally decided to join IIM Udaipur
Q: What are your academics, interests and family back ground? Do you have some work experience as well?
A: I have completed my bachelor's degree in 2020 from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics in Management Studies (BMS) with 9.68 CGPA. I scored 95.60% marks in class 12 and 93.10% marks in class 10. I am a fresher and have interned at a startup named HiringForYouIndia for 6 months as a Business Development Associate. My hobbies include Art & Craft, watching football, and reading Psychological books/blogs. I belong to Jaipur. My father is a businessman and mother is home maker.
Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A: I began my preparation by clearing my concepts in every section and then extensively practicing a variety of questions. From the beginning only, I used to set weekly sectional targets. Moreover, focussed on accuracy first and then speed, I studied from the material provided by IMS and assured analysing my performance after every mock test.
Q: Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?
A: I had taken up the online CAT coaching at IMS. It’s always beneficial to have someone as a mentor who can guide you throughout your preparation for such a significant exam. The concept videos, workshops and a wide range of questions helped me prepare well.Also, the daily online quizzes were cherry on the top.
Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A: I was weak at VARC and scored 74.6%ile in my 1stattempt. Under the guidance of my mentors, I inculcated reading into my habit and started practicing Reading Comprehensions later on. For a month or two, reading had been my main focus for VARC. Also, the articles or books I read were of different genres.
Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for VARC; DILR; Quant
A: As explained earlier, VARC was more of reading first and then getting hands on Reading Comprehensions. For DILR, I started with the basic sets and then with time, started taking up the material provided by my institute. I had done ample of caselets and subsequently got efficient at my speed. Mathematics, being my favourite subject, I found Quant quite interesting in CAT. The tricks to do various questions always intrigued me and I daily allotted a fixed number of hours to this section.
Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A: In my opinion, full length mocks have been very helpful throughout my preparation. It’s better to learn from your mistakes than committing them on the D-day. The institute provided with a full-fledged schedule of mocks. Apart from that, I started taking a mock alternatively, two months prior to the exam making a total of about 50-60 mocks throughout my whole preparation.
Q: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
A: My mentors always guided me to not panic at any moment and stay calm throughout. My experience at 1st attempt also, had taught me the importance of handling stress at the moment on D-day. I had the third slot for my exam and didn’t ask any of my friends who appeared in the earlier slots, about the paper pattern. This could have induced stress. Also, there should not be any questions to be seen or solved a day before CAT day. Rather, one should go through their own drafted concept booklet.
Q: How did you prepare for IIM Udaipur GD/PI/WAT? Please share some of your WAT topics & PI questions?
A: I started my PI preparation in January. I was keeping myself updated on the recent happenings related to various fields. Already, COVID had come up with many implications in all the domains, so a thorough knowledge was necessary. A PI is mostly a friendly and formal conversation with the panel, so one needs to be well acquainted with the topics they mention in their CVs.
Some PI questions were:
- Tell us about yourself.
- You're a fresher. Why don't you go for job experience and then pursue MBA?
- What do you think MBA is? How will you make the most out of it?
- How are you going to follow your hobbies for the next two years?
- What did you learn at your graduation?
- Tell us about your experience in Mumbai and how does it add value to your life?
- Tell us something which you have not mentioned in the form.
Q: In this pandemic situation, was you PI-WAT conducted in person or was conducted Online? How was your PI-WAT experience?
A: The panel tests your knowledge and confidence. As my PI was conducted online, there was no role of the body language because only the upper part is visible to the interviewer. But the panel is way too smart to judge you on all the parameters
Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2021
A: For CAT 2021 aspirants, my message is:
- Start your preparation by making your strengths even stronger
- Always analyse your performance in your mock tests and constantly work upon the shortcomings
- Prepare a separate handbook with all the concepts and formulae
- During the exam, do not stay on a question for long
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