How A Kathak Dancer, Painter & Engineer Vasundhara Tiwari, Working as Accounts Manager –cracked CAT with 96.68%ile and got into IIM Udaipur for MBA 2020

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Updated on July 31, 2021
Vasundhara Tiwari, CAT 2019 topper from Indore, cracked the exam with 96.68 percentile and has converted number of top B-schools including IIM Udaipur. A B.E. in Computer Science, Vasundhara is a professional Kathak Dancer and a painter. She earned seven months of work experience as Accounts Manager at Fullscoop Digital, Indore while preparing for CAT exam. Read her CAT preparation strategy and success mantra
CAT 2019 Topper Vasundhara Tiwari

The inspirational story of professional Kathak Dancer who has multi dimensional personality and has emerged victorious over all odds to get into India’s one of the top IIMs  – IIM Udaipur breaks the myth that cracking CAT and getting into Top IIMs needs long study hours only. On the contrary Vasundhara Tiwari now an IIM Udaipur student of MBA 2020-22 batch has proved that her love for Kathak, Painting and devotion towards her work was no deterrent in pursuing her dream of scoring high in CAT and doing MBA from one of the top IIMs.  

Vasundhara Tiwari is Professional Kathak Dancer with 17+ years of learning and 8+ years of performance experience. She is an engineering graduate in computer science from Medicaps Institute of Technology and Management. She had worked for 7 months as a Key Account Manager in Fullscoop Digital, a digital marketing startup, Indore before joining IIM Udaipur. She loves painting and reading as well.

Vasundhara Tiwari scored 96.68 percentile in CAT 2019, converted IIM Udaipur and all the CAP IIMs apart from XIM Bhubaneswar.

Despite being a working professional, Vasundhara was confident to crack CAT 2019 with high score and get into her dream IIM with a firm confidence and planned preparation strategy. invited Vasundhara to share her preparation and exam taking strategy, GD-PI experience. Read on for her views and success mantras.

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   IIM Ranchi, IIM Trichy, IIM Rohtak, XIMB, IIM Nagpur, IIM Bodh Gaya, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Sirmaur, IIM Udaipur

Q2: 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:

  • Talking to the pass outs, I got to know that IIMU is a student-run campus where a lot of decision making power lies in the hands of students. Hence, when you work in the student run organizations here at IIMU, you get to learn a lot
  • It has been mentored by IIMA and follows a similar teaching methodology. Faculties visit from IIMA and IIMB
  • The placement reports are audited and hence can not be inflated and it has been listed in the MIM, QS rankings
  • The trends in last few placement reports clearly exhibit that it is growing at a fast pace and the director Mr. Janat Shah has a Vision 2030 to develop the institute and reach greater levels.

Q: How did you perform in CAT 2019?
A: It was my second CAT experience and I am happy that I cracked CAT 2019 and got IIM Udaipur. I scored 96.68 overall percentile in CAT 2019; 97.01 percentile in VARC section; 98.04 in DILR Section and 85.62 percentile in Quantitative Ability section.

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, I converted IIM Ranchi, IIM Trichy, IIM Rohtak, XIMB, IIM Nagpur, IIM Bodh Gaya, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Sirmaur. I finally decided to join IIM Udaipur

Q: What have been your academic and family back ground? Do you have some work experience as well?
A: I am a B.E. in Computer Science with 72.6% marks from from Medicaps Institute of Technology and Management. In 10th I scored 91.20% marks and in 12th (PCM) I scored 91% marks. I belong to Indore. My father is a General manager of a logistics firm, Capricorn Logistics and My mother is a Lecturer in English at Government college in Madhya Pradesh. I am their only child. I worked for 7 months as a Key Account Manager in Fullscoop Digital, a digital marketing startup, Indore.

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A: I focused on sectional tests first, developing the expertise in topics in sections one-by-one and then gave as many mock tests as possible to understand the pace I needed to take the final test. I did not focus on covering the entire syllabus, rather, tried gaining full expertise in the majority of the topics so that the answers don’t go wrong from these.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for VARC and LRDI in CAT?
A: This was my strongest section. I loved reading since a very young age, and hence had the pace in reading. I tried reading paragraphs from varied subjects such as technology, literature, psychology, mythology etc. One strategy that helped me was when you answer a VARC passage question, use the information mentioned up till the line from where question is, don’t let the information given in the para below affect your answer.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for DILR in CAT?
A: I started practicing a lot of caselets and did not look at the answers no matter how long it took for me to solve these. With this strategy of trying to attempt as many cases as I could, it helped me develop patterns  

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for QA in CAT?
A: I focused on getting correct answers rather than attempting a large number of questions in QA. Rather than trying the whole syllabus and then not getting anything correct, I focused on practicing majority topics again and again and omitted a few that I found very difficult.

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A: I was weak at DILR and took a lot of time in solving the caselets. I used to score around 40-50 percentile in the mock tests. To overcome this, I started practicing a lot of caselets and did not look at the answers no matter how long it took for me to solve these. I remember attempting a caselet of 37 times and then getting it correct in the 38th attempt.

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A: Mocks were the foundation of my success. Mocks tell you where you stand, your weak areas and your strong areas too. I gave about 100 mock tests, sectionals too. One important step is, after you complete your test, give enough time to analyse your performance in it. Keep a note of your weak areas and if you have an All-India series, compare your wrong answers with other candidates whether they were able to solve it or not.

Q: Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?
A: I joined a coaching centre, TIME Indore to ensure that I dedicate 2 hours of a day daily to the preparation in the initial months and then 4 hours later. The reading material you get in your coaching centre’s library and their mock series help a lot.

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 first aim was to remain calm throughout the test and the sections. VARC was the first section, and I had to maintain my speed through reading. I made sure to complete reading comprehension in 40 mins and the rest in 20. The main aim was not to get distracted while reading the passages so that I don’t have to waste time in reading them again. I had practiced DILR a lot, and hence, it seemed a bit easy. I did not get a few questions’ solutions in QA initially and started to tense a bit. But I knew I had done well in the previous two sections, took a minute to calm myself and tried getting all easy questions done first. I made sure not to make any guesses and avoid negative marking in QA.

Q: How did you prepare for IIM Udaipur GD/PI/WAT?
A: I brushed up on general affairs, and basic concepts of economics, major history events, about RBI, recession, constitution and similar topics. Then, I also prepared some basic HR questions and prepared in-detail about everything mentioned on my resume. I also read in detail 2 subjects from my undergrad and brushed up the rest.

Some PI questions are:

  • What are pointers and What is object oriented programming
  • What is agile model in software development
  • What the fundamental duties listed in the constitution
  • What can I apply in MBA that I have learned from my Dance career
  • What challenges did I face in my role as a Key Account manager in fullscoop
  • What value would an MBA add to my life
  • Where do I wish to see myself, if I do not get in any of the MBA colleges this year

Q: In this pandemic situation, was you PI-WAT conducted in person or was conducted Online? How was your PI-WAT experience?
A: My PI-WAT was conducted offline. The PI was a great learning experience, as not only the professors tested my knowledge and confidence, in the end they shared their experience of a few interviews they gave.
CAP was my first interview, and hence I was a bit nervous, but I tried my best to remain confident and calmly answered all of the questions. I politely said I was sorry, if I did not know the answer to any of them and the professors were calm and accommodating too. This interview made me learn the importance of confidence.

Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2021
A: For CAT 2021 aspirants, my message is:

  • Remain calm but never forget the importance of speed in CAT
  • The exam is not too difficult but fast speed plays the key role
  • Don’t stress over a question for a lot of time
  • While you prepare, focus on a section by section approach and start with your weakest section

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Read more inspirational stories & secret mantras of CAT Toppers, only on 

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