For our success stories segment, we interviewed Dhruv Panicker who is joining NMIMS, Mumbai (MBA, 2018-20). In this candid interview, Dhruv talks about his preparation journey, his background and interests, and why he chose NMIMS.

Dhruv, for the benefit of our readers, share your profile with us.

I am from Mumbai, I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Management from Mumbai University, and I have a total of 24 months work experience in the insurance and reinsurance industry.

Tell us about your extra-curricular achievements and hobbies.

I am an avid runner, and enjoy participating in half marathons regularly. I also enjoy quizzes, and have won a few GK quizzes at the school and college level. I enjoy staying up-to-date on national and international events, and this trait helped me a lot during personal interviews and group discussions.

When did you decide to do MBA and why? When did you start your preparation?

While working in the insurance industry, I came across the equity markets,and was exposed to concepts such as Asset and Portfolio management, Equity research and Valuations, which piqued my interest. I was keen to join this side of the finance industry. Upon doing some research, I realized that an MBA in finance from a top B-school is imperative, to work in these fields. So I started preparing for all the management entrance exams.

Did you join any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is required?

Yes, I joined the Learningroots offline as well as online program. Coaching may not be required for everyone, but joining a classroom program does motivate you to be better than your peers in the classroom. Also, learning exam strategies and concepts from teachers who have “been there and done that” makes your job a lot easier.

How many months did you prepare for? Can you take us through your schedule?

I practiced a lot of quant problems and LRDI sets. Since I was juggling my preparation for the CFA level 1 exam as well as these entrance tests, I made it a point to study for a couple of hours everyday.

What material did you use?

The material I used were of two types. Videos and practice material. The Learningroots online video lectures greatly helped me to enhance my conceptual knowledge. For practice, I used the Quantum CAT book by Sarvesh Verma, and also enrolled in mock test packages from various providers.

What were your strengths and areas of improvements during preparation and mock phase?

VA was always a strength for me. I decided to unlearn all shortcuts and tricks that I had picked up along the way, with my self study for QA and decided to focus on having strong conceptual clarity. Watching the QA videos, and making notes of every concept that was taught, really improved my scores within a few months. Also, solving an LRDI set almost everyday for two months before the exams, increased my confidence and speed.

Can you elaborate your preparation a bit?

Practice is the key. I took more than 50 mocks in the past few months (including CAT, SNAP and NMAT mocks). Analyzing every mock, no matter how bad the score is, is an important step in the preparation journey. Mock analysis shows you the exact problems with your preparation strategy and helps you overcome the gap between an average score and a good score. This analysis of my weaknesses is what enabled me to increase my NMAT score from 196 (in 2016) to 214 (in 2017)

Can you share with us the tests that you took and your scores?

I gave the CAT, SNAP and NMAT exam. I scored a 96.1 percentile in SNAP and 214 in NMAT. I was shortlisted for both SIBM Bangalore through my SNAP score and NMIMS Mumbai through my NMAT score. I converted both of these colleges in the first list.

Can you tell us more about the NMIMS process?

The process for getting admission into NMIMS involves three steps. You need to give the NMAT and clear the overall as well as sectional cutoffs. After clearing the cutoffs you need to clear the Case Discussion round followed by a Personal Interview.

Why did you choose NMIMS?

NMIMS is one of the older and well known b-schools in the country. Its illustrious alumni and industry interactions, especially in the field of finance, give students a lot of exposure. Also, being located in the heart of Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, is a big advantage in terms of corporate project opportunities and interactions with experts .

Any tips for applicants?

The GDPI process is a key stage which should not be ignored. Ensure that you have your CV analysed by an expert, and go for mock interviews and a mock GD/CD process. A strong GDPI performance can tilt the scales in your favor, and vice versa.
Also, its important to have realistic goals and to not be fazed by a bad result in a particular exam. For example if your CAT exam does not go well, you have to re-focus and aim for the other colleges that make up the Top 10 or 20 colleges.

What are your future plans?

For now, I intend to make the most of the next two years at NMIMS. No matter where my future leads me, I hope that I make a positive difference with my efforts.

It was great talking to you, Dhruv! We wish you all the best! Thanks! 🙂

End of interview.

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