" It's been more than a decade, but the experiences at MDI, Gurgaon still resonate with me. It was one hell of an experience, something that changed my personality forever "
I had appeared for CAT in 2002 and scored a decent 98.05 %ile. But I only got a call from MDI Gurgaon for whatever reason. Unfortunately my interview went horribly and I couldn't convert. It was the first academic shock ever for me as I had always been a brilliant performer despite my active engagement in sports.
Anyways, I started working in a bank and promised myself to keep preparing. When the time came for CAT I knew I wasn't ready as I had taken things too lightly. In 2003, the CAT exam was leaked and so I had to appear for it twice. I scored a meagre 90 %ile. I was exhausted and terrified. All my batch mates from SRCC were pursuing their dreams and I was stuck. It was my family which supported me through this difficult time and motivated me to give another attempt. And so I did. It wasn't easy, but I was sure if I was going to do an MBA; it better be from a good college.
In 2004, I did well to score 98.95 %ile and got calls from 3 IIMs (Including A), MDI Gurgaon and MICA among others. I converted IIM-I and MDI, but chose MDI because Dr. Pritam Singh had just become the Dean and there were high hopes for college under him. Of all the interviews, I still remember IIM Indore because all we talked about for 20 odd minutes was my passion for film making and how MBA was going to help me achieve that. I was selected, but I didn't join. But it tells you not to be bound by stereotypes. Your answers don't have to adhere to norms. They have to make sense.
Life at MDI was a fun experience. There was always something or the other which was happening. I got my first exposure to equity markets there through "Unnati" club. I met great people there from all walks of life. You actually learn more in the company of your peers than through books or faculty.
My favourite course was Behavioural Finance. Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger's theories on investment were simply superb. The world of finance continues to be governed by same theories of behavioural finance and yet we also continue to apply the same old redundant theory "This time it's different". It is never different. History does repeat itself.
If you think MBA will prepare you for a particular career or job; I think you may be in for a disappointment. MBA is grand. It teaches you so many things and yet it teaches you practically nothing. It provides exposure, opens up your mind to different situations and allows you to express your ideas and thoughts in a coordinate manner. It basically gives you a platform to grow.
I have worked in the corporate world for almost 14 years, mostly banking. MBA from a good college was a factor to begin with, as it gave me an identity and respect. What I did from thereon was to build knowledge and put in the tireless efforts. Now I have made my way into education space. It is a fulfilling experience and one that I am enjoying a lot.
I do believe that education from a good college is something that sticks with you. It is always a matter of pride to be an alumnus of not one but two exceptional colleges. It is not just about the launch pad or a brand name on your CV, it is about being in an eco-system which inspires excellence "
If I were to give an advice to repeaters, it will be two fold. One, you have to truly believe that you have what it takes to get those extra marks to break the barrier. The last few miles are always the hardest. Second, never take your foot off the pedal. The biggest mistake I made in my second year is that I thought I knew this and that. The dialogue from Game of Thrones is apt here "You know nothing".
The repeat journey takes a toll on you emotionally. There are moments when you feel disheartened and at a complete loss as you stare into an abyss. It requires a determined effort to power through those tough moments. Yet, I believe a year or two is worth the risk.