For our success stories segment, we interviewed Anima Nivsarkar who is a first year student at IIFT Delhi. Anima converted IIFT with a 98+ percentile in IIFT. In this candid interview, Anima talks about her preparation journey, her background and interests, and gives a sneak peek of what life is like at IIFT Delhi.
I am Anima Nivsarkar. I grew up in and around Madhya Pradesh owing to my father’s transferable job. I completed my schooling from Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Indore in 2011. Post which I took a drop to prepare for engineering entrances and joined SGSITS, Indore in 2012. I am a graduate in Civil Engineering and a fresher.
Academic Record: X – 94.5, XII – 91, BE – 7.8/10
I interned at IIM-Indore as a winter intern and at Entrepreneur Café as a summer intern.
Quick Tip: Work hard in your graduation even if you decide to change streams and score well so as to not miss out on colleges due to a dull academic record. Freshers, have a couple of solid internships to talk about during your interview.
Tell us a little about your extra-curricular achievements and hobbies.
I am an avid reader and grew up amidst a lot of books thanks to my academically inclined background. I have covered quite a handful of authors and genres. This love for reading took me into Debating and MUNs. I participated in a lot of inter-school and inter-college debate competitions. I also love to travel and have covered more than half of India on road trips.
Quick Tip: Prepare a little to talk about your favorite books. During the interview the stress may cause you to forget all the authors you might have ever read.
When did you start your preparation? Did you join any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is required?
I decided to do MBA in my 4th trimester. I was not particularly inclined towards continuing with engineering and hence MBA seemed to be the most sensible and safe option. Also, I enjoyed the preparation. It was fun. And now that I am 6 months into MBA, I can safely say it is much more fun than engineering was. I had joined a coaching institute. As to whether it is required, I would say it completely depends on the individual. I knew I would dilly-dally and procrastinate in case I don’t follow a schedule. The classes and the competition in class kept me on my toes and pushed me to keep working.
Quick Tip: Joining a coaching will help a lot in streamlining your preparation. Join more than one test series.
Did you have any advantage because of your engineering background?
Well, contrary to the popular notion, it was VA that was my strength and not quant. So, I really don’t think your background serves an advantage as such. The one thing to keep in mind is even if you do have a weakness, make sure that by the time CAT approaches, if not a strength, it no longer remains your weakness.
Quick Tip: Don’t avoid a section. People keep solving quant questions completely ignoring VA. Not very smart. Make a schedule, strike a balance and you are good to go.
How many months did you prepare for? Can you take us through your schedule?
Since my preparation was well spread out over two years, it was a slow and steady process. And this continued till mocks. That was when I seriously started studying because it was the competition that gave me the rush and kick to toil hard. I studied mostly at night after dinner and post September 2015, I was pushing in 10 hours a day. I had joined two test series like I mentioned so I always had pending mocks and no dearth of them. At night, I mostly did VARC as it wasn’t very taxing. On weekend, mocks, mocks, mocks. But make sure you are also analyzing them and not just mindlessly give one after the other without improvement.
Quick Tip: Amidst all the preparation, keep taking healthy breaks otherwise you are bound to fizzle out very soon.
What were your strengths and areas of improvements during preparation and mock phase?
My strength was definitely VARC. Being an avid reader, I loved solving these questions and grammar and vocabulary were not much of a botheration. Quant was manageable and everyone can do LR. What I detested and was a total loser at was DI. I clamed up every time I saw tables and charts and graphs. There was just no getting around Games and Tournament questions. And I managed every time only because of LR. I chose a few safe topics and mastered them. I still can’t solve most DI questions. In such cases make sure you don’t go completely clueless. If you hate VA, master RC. Because even in the worst case a few safe and sure topics are bound to come up in the main exam and you wouldn’t want to miss out on them.
Initially I was not analyzing my mocks and my scores got stuck at one point. And I realized my time management was all over the place. I re-attempted the mocks that I had not been able to do well in. After that I solved almost every question that got me stuck and kept adding them to my notebook. I would revise these questions now and then to make sure I didn’t forget those concepts.
Can you share with us the tests that you took and your scores?
IIFT – 98.x
CAT – 98.5
XAT – 96.x
Can you tell us more about IIFT Delhi?
IIFT conducts its own entrance test for admission to its Delhi Campus and Kolkata Campus. It has one of the most extensive selection processes. After the initial shortlist on the basis of written exam, the candidates go through a GDPI-WAT process. Owing to the fact that IIFT boasts of its own WTO resource center, Topics from World Trade and International Economics are among the favorite for the second stage.
I chose IIFT over MDI and IIM Indore and I can confidently say that I don’t regret this decision. The faculty here is amongst the best in the country and the one thing that sets IIFT apart from other b-schools is its unique curriculum. Every subject taught here is taught from an international perspective as well. If we have economics, we have International Economics too, financial management has its counterpart in International Financial Management and so on.
With stellar placements year after year, IIFT proudly sits among the top 10 B-schools. The small batch size ensures that everyone knows everyone and you don’t feel lost upon seeing someone unlike in a batch of say 450+ students.
Any tips for applicants?
The standard advice regarding mocks and their analysis remains the same. For me what made the difference was not getting disheartened and discouraged. Stick to it or rather cling to it. Because consistency and resilience mock after mock is what will take you across to the other end. I scored 64 percentile in my mock just a week before CAT. I almost told myself that this isn’t happening and I should pack away all IIM dreams. So avoid getting pulled down by mocks or pulled up so much that you become complacent. Don’t just practice questions. Revise them. Keep coming back to old questions. I maintained a notebook of the questions that I couldn’t solve or what I felt was an important concept.
For GDPI, select a topic, let’s say Oil Prices. Read it up from every possible resource you can find. Then make your own little pointer notes on that topic. This way you will thoroughly understand and remember all the stuff. Also carry some statistical figures up your sleeves for GDs and keep throwing them around. This fetches brownie points and makes your statement more factual and tangible.
What are your future plans?
I have been selected by Tata Motors for summer internship and I plan to get a dual major in marketing and trade (yes, at IIFT you get the option of double majors) and continue to work for a couple of years. I have some plans of going further for higher studies but all of it is still too vague and undecided upon.
It was great talking to you, Anima! We wish you all the best. Thanks!
End of interview.