For our success stories segment, we got an opportunity to interview Rohan Desai who is a first year student at National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE). In addition to NITIE, he had converted IIM Shillong and SJMSOM, IIT Bombay. In this candid interview, Rohan shares how he prepared for entrance tests, life at NITIE, and offers some useful tips to MBA aspirants.
Firstly, I would want to thank you for this opportunity. I am Rohan Desai and I am a first year student at NITIE. I was born and brought up in Mumbai and went on to work here itself. I am an IT engineer from KJ Somaiya. After graduation, I worked for an E-commerce solutions company “Iksula Services Pvt. Ltd.” in the operations management vertical.
Tell us a little about your extra-curricular achievements and hobbies
I have been fortunate enough to have worked for an international forum, “Google Developer Group (GDG)”. I worked in the capacity of “Event Head” for over 2 years. I also participated in the “Green March” to support the cause for afforestation. I am a keen follower of Cricket & Football. Apart from this, I enjoy watching sitcoms.
When did you decide to do MBA and why? When did you start your preparation?
While working as an Event Head for GDG, I loved the work I was doing. Understanding the importance of managing the available resources under constraints of time was challenging as well as fun. This was the major inspiration behind going for an MBA and developing insights about various functionalities and industrial sectors. I started preparing during my 6th semester (3rd year) of engineering.
So did you join any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is required?
I believe coaching is needed only if the basics are not clear and some element: either Quant or Verbal is weak. I had joined a coaching institute for my first attempt, however, for the 2nd attempt, I only took mocks. The most important part for cracking CAT or any other entrance is giving sufficient number of mocks as they help in understanding your performance and the post test analysis helps further.
Do you think you had any advantage because of your engineering background?
Not really. I agree that engineers are relatively more comfortable with quant, but CAT and other entrances mainly test the application of basic concepts. With thorough revision, a non-engineer student can definitely outperform an engineer.
How many months did you prepare for? Can you take us through your schedule?
During my first attempt, I prepared for roughly six months and during my second attempt, I prepared for about four months along with my job. I had prepared the basics well in my first attempt itself. I didn’t have a fixed schedule, but I prepared a rough target for each week. I tried to have a mix of each area (QA, DI, VA, LR) every week to ensure overall progress. I used to give 2 mocks every week and analyzed them for improvement.
What were your strengths and areas of improvements during preparation and mock phase? How did you prepare?
My strength was logical reasoning, quant, and data interpretation (in the same order). I always felt that I needed improvement in the verbal section.
I had a natural instinct for mathematics which helped me in Quant and DI. As for LR, I practiced a lot to improve my efficiency. I understood the concepts well and applied them to solve a variety of questions. For Verbal, I read diverse topics and tried to summarize the articles in a few lines. Reading and comprehending the articles is the most important thing in Verbal. I read a variety of articles and news items.
I used to give tests regularly to analyze my performance. After getting the test analysis and solutions, I used to solve the paper again without any time limit. By doing this, I could evaluate the problems in a better way. Further, I improvised on each zone to ensure higher accuracy in lower time.
How did you perform in various entrance tests?
I took CAT: 98.97 percentile, XAT: 97.8 percentile, IIFT: 99.23 percentile, NMAT: 99.67 percentile, CET: 99.8 percentile. I converted IIM Shillong, NITIE, SJMSOM IIT B, 6 New IIMs, etc. I finally decided to join NITIE, Mumbai.
Tell us about NITIE. What was the selection process?
NITIE is a top B-school in India and is a leader in Operations/SCM. The process involved initial shortlisting on the basis of CAT score followed by GD and PI. Thus, along with CAT score, even the GD and PI play an important role in final selection.
Why did you choose NITIE?
NITIE is known as the mecca for Operations and situated in the heart of Mumbai. It enjoys a lot of guest lectures and b-school competitions. I was inclined towards SCM and a little towards Marketing. NITIE is the best institute when it comes to SCM and hence it was a clear cut choice.
What tips will you give to MBA aspirants?
Believe in yourself. If you work hard and stay focussed, you will definitely excel. Stay calm during this phase and try to enjoy the ride. Try and have a fresh mind each time you sit to study and most importantly try and learn from your own as well as other’s mistakes. Even if you fail, keep trying. Always remember: “Hard work never goes unrewarded forever.”
And your future plans?
My short term goal is to work with a top FMCG after NITIE. I want to learn about the various verticals in an organization and also ingrain the ability to analyze the dynamic market scenarios.
It was great talking to you, Rohan. We wish you all the best. Thanks!
End of interview.
P.S. – Rohan was a Learningroots workshop student. You can read his testimonial here.