How Sundar Rajan from Small Town Tenkasi (Tamil Nadu) & Working Professional with TCS Cracked CAT 2022 with 99.63%ile and Got into SPJIMR Mumbai

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Updated on October 28, 2023
Sundar Rajan from Tenkasi, a small town in TamilNadu, cracked CAT 2022 with 99.63ile and is now a student of PGDM 2023-25 batch at SPJIMR Mumbai. Sundar remained committed about twelve hours each day to his exam preparation plan. Sundar is a BE (Mech) from Chennai and has gained work experience of more than 3 years with TCS before joining SPJIMR. This interview with Sundar will inspire you how to do smart preparation for CAT 2023
Sundar Rajan CAT Topper

Sundar Rajan, from Tenkasi (Tamil Nadu) from a modest family, cracked CAT 2022 with 99.63 percentile and is pursuing PGDM from SPJIMR Mumbai. Sundar’s mother is a Head Mistress of a Girls High School. A B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Sri Sairam Engineering College, Chennai, Sundar has work experience of 37 months with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Sundar’s CAT preparation journey has a lot of lessons. For instance how he got motivated to pursue MBA, how did he overcome his weakness in VARC section and how did he maximise on his strengths. Sundar loves watching movies and loves Cricket. With this let us read Sundar’s responses to questions

Q: What motivated you to Join SPJIMR? What were your top three criteria?
1. The reputation of SPJIMR is very high. It is one of the best b-school in the country.

2. SPJIMR focuses more on experiential learning with it’s unique programs such as Abhyudaya, DOCC and GFT.

     3. SPJIMR's unwavering focus on values and ethics sets it apart from the rest. 

Q: How did you perform in CAT 2022?
I scored overall 99.63 percentile in CAT 2022. My sectional percentile in VARC was 96.77; in DILR was 99.87 and in QA was 97.46

Q: Did you appear in other MBA entrance exams also? How did you fare in them
I appeared in XAT 2023 and scored 97.17 percentile. I also appeared in IIFT Entrance exam and scored 97.55 percentile. I was shortlisted by XLRI, SPJIMR, MDI, IIM Lucknow, Kozhikode, Shillong among others 

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
For approximately two months, I committed about twelve hours each day to my exam preparation plan. During the initial month, I focused on gaining a comprehensive understanding of the syllabus, while the following month was dedicated to more intensive study, involving the completion of mock exams and a thorough analysis of my performance.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for VARC?
I improved my reading speed and response accuracy. Recognizing that this section held the highest scoring potential, I made the decision to take calculated risks and attempt more questions, even though Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) was my weakest area. I read more articles and mentally prepared myself to concentrate while reading

Q: How did you prepare for DILR?
DILR (Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning) was my strong suit. I found it relatively easy and consistently performed well in this subject. I devised a strategy of attempting two sets thoroughly and aiming to complete at least one more data-intensive set during my practice mock exams.

Q: How did you prepare for QA?
For the Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section, I went back to basics, relearning fundamental concepts, and also sought out shortcut formulas to increase my efficiency. I made a practice of taking multiple mock exams to reinforce my skills in this area. Learning to effectively use CAT calculator will save a lot of time.

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) was my weak point. To address this, I focused on increasing my reading speed by reading more extensively. This allowed me to read paragraphs more quickly and efficiently.

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
Mock tests played a pivotal role in my CAT preparation. During the final month leading up to the exam, I dedicated myself to taking mock tests day in and day out. After each mock test, I conducted a detailed analysis to identify areas where I could make improvements.

Q: Did you self-prepare for CAT Exam or did you attend a Coaching Centre and why?
I joined online coaching by Cracku. It had a plan that aligned with my schedule, and it gave me a framework and outline on what I could do.

Q: Which books did you refer during your preparation and how effective were they?
For books my source was those books authored by Arun Sharma, and online materials provided by Cracku

Q: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
On the day of the CAT exam, I remained calm and composed. I had confidence in my preparation and was certain that my hard work would pay off. To ensure I was well-prepared, I spent the previous day revising all the formulas, tips, and tricks that I had learned.

Q: How did you prepare for GD/PI/WAT Rounds?
I chose not to enroll in any coaching centers or institutes for Group Discussions (GD), Personal Interviews (PI), or Written Ability Tests (WAT). Instead, I proactively connected with alumni from particular B-schools, seeking their valuable insights on effective strategies and pitfalls to avoid during these processes. Moreover, I dedicated time to expand my general knowledge regarding current events and pertinent subjects.

Q: Do you have work experience? Please share how the work experience can help in MBA?
I have more than three years of work experience in Tata Consultancy Services. Having work ex is a major advantage in MBA, as it can give you a validation of your purpose. It can help you figure out what you want and what you do not.

Q: Whom you would like to give credit for your success? What role your family & friends played?
My mother offered unwavering support throughout the entire process, standing by my side even when I made the bold decision to leave my job without a clear direction for the future. My friends played a significant role during my interview preparations. They not only assisted with arranging accommodations for interviews and understanding and giving me my space.

Q: What challenges you faced during your life, academics, preparation? How did you come out of them?
I lost my father when I was just one year old, but my family ensured that I received the best care and support. I come from a place that isn't as urban as some cities, and I didn't have all the amenities that a child growing up in a city might have. However, I managed to thrive and progress from Tenkasi to Chennai, and now from Chennai to Mumbai.

Q: According to you, how can B-schools make their MBA admission process less cumbersome for MBA applicants. 
The interview process is often one of the most demanding stages in the MBA admission process. Some B-schools conduct interviews online, while others prefer face-to-face interviews. In certain cases, offline interviews are organized regionally, making it somewhat more convenient. However, in some instances, candidates must travel to the B-school for the interview. It can be challenging to determine exactly what the interviewers are seeking in a candidate. I personally appreciate the approach of colleges like SPJIMR, which prioritize assessing a candidate's ethics and values over asking questions related to a specific subject that I might have learned many years ago.

Q: Finally, your message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2023
Maintain persistence, avoid becoming demotivated or overly confident based on your mock results. Trust the process and commit to regular and consistent effort.

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

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