For CAT 2016 Topper Akshay Mehndiratta, There is no Alternative to Hard Work

Dhanshri Sharma updated on : 07 Jul 2017
89 managed to speak to another CAT 2016 Topper, Akshay Mehndiratta to know all that he did to score a perfect 100 in CAT 2016.

cat 2016, CAT 2016 Topper, Akshay Mehndiratta, CAT

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a top-ranking management exam in India and CAT 2016 results, which were announced on January 9, made many excited and broke many hearts. Apparently, 'failures are not to be afraid of' is what CAT 2016 Topper Akshay Mehndiratta always believed in.

Check details on CAT 2017 

After Avidipto Chakraborty, got in touch with Akshay and asked him about his CAT preparation strategies and how he learnt from his own mistakes. Take an insight from the CAT 2016 Topper’s strategy that helped him to score perfect 100 percentile. 

HTCampus: Akshay, first of all, we’d like to congratulate you on your success. Ca you please you tell us something about yourself?

Akshay: I have done B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from IIT Delhi and I graduated in June last year. During the course of my degree, I realised that management, finance and consulting appeal to me a lot rather than just core engineering.

HTCampus: What was your inspiration for attempting CAT and going for MBA?

Akshay: Raghuram Rajan has always been my idol as he too is from IIT Delhi, post which he got into IIM A so I am just following his benchmarks. Moreover, doing an MBA from a good institution would be a great value addition.

HTCampus: How many hours did you devote for CAT 2016 preparation? 

Akshay: My major weakness, as per my earlier CAT attempt in 2015, was in verbal and reading comprehension. To improve on that, I started my preparation from June 2016. As I was already working with EXL Analytics, I used to get time for preparation only during weekends. On Saturdays, I used to spend at least five to six hours while preparing for verbal and reading comprehension, particularly later in the night, which is the time that I like a lot, as I am not really an early morning person. 

HTCampus: How did taking mock tests help you in preparation?

Akshay: I used to take mock tests on Sundays and then analysed my performance to identify my areas of weakness. I then focused more on my weakness to achieve good results. Mock tests and analysis played a significant role in improving my verbal ability. Moreover, just learning and reading books doesn’t help much, as cracking CAT is all about practice and regular analysis, and mock tests help you prepare for every surprise that you might receive in the final question paper. Mock tests also helped me improve my speed and accuracy. I also would like to suggest to all CAT aspirants that they must practice and practice a lot, as it will help them gain consistent performance.

HTCampus: Did you take any special coaching? If yes, how did it help you?

Akshay: I never took any coaching classes, but I was enrolled with TIME for their test series, which I used to take on Sundays. Apart from this, I got some study material related to Verbal Ability from my friends, which too helped me a lot.

HTCampus: Since this was your second attempt at CAT, how was CAT 2016 different from CAT 2015?

Akshay: Overall, CAT 2016 was similar to CAT 2015 and the difficulty level was same too. In CAT 2016, while some sections were difficult, some were comparatively easy, just like the paper was in 2015. I found the verbal ability section to be much easier this time than last year, perhaps because I prepared really well this time, and I was able to attempt 31 out of 32 questions in 55 minutes out of the allotted 60 minutes. The LR & DI section was quite tough this time, similar to 2015, and I attempted 5 questions, which I chose smartly and didn’t attempt others as I was running out of time. The quantitative ability section, on the other hand, was tougher than last time. Although quant has always been my strength, yet this time I scored the lowest in quant.

HTCampus: Did you expect to score a perfect 100 percentile?

Akshay: My aim was never scoring a perfect 100 percentile. I just wanted more than 99.8 percentile to get calls from top IIMs. Fortunately, the day went really well for me and scoring a perfect 100 percentile felt great.

HTCampus: Which B-school you look forward to joining and why?

Akshay: I had a discussion with my friends who are in Bangalore, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. I am most interested in IIM Ahmedabad because it offers really good opportunities in finance and private equity. My second option would most definitely be IIM Bangalore because of its fun-loving culture. Also, I may opt for the deferred admission policy to join IIM-A after two years.

HTCampus: What is your dream job after completing MBA?

Akshay: I love travelling so I would opt for a career in consulting as it offers a lot of travel opportunities. Other than that, I am also equally interested in private equity firms as I am interested in mathematics.

HTCampus: Who would you like to credit your success to?

Akshay: First of all, I would like to give credit to my parents as they were always supportive and allowed me to devote a maximum time for my CAT preparation. Secondly, I would like to credit my office colleagues and friends who have always encouraged me.

HTCampus: Your wise words for those who didn’t make this year and will attempt CAT next year?

Akshay: I would like to suggest to all such aspirants that they should not lose heart and spend more time in analysing your weaknesses. I was also disappointed when I didn’t score that well last time, but I did work hard on my weaknesses. It’s all about improving your weaknesses and when the results come there is nothing more satisfying. 

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