"Hope it is not a rejection letter"
This was my first reaction when the admission letter from K came to my house. Till that time, all I had seen was "Candidate not selected" or "please wait for the next list". The first lists of all the IIMs had already been released and no call had been forthcoming. I was depressed and hopeless. My CET preparations were going badly and I was seriously thinking of applying for a job.
Actually going into the whole CAT exercise, I knew it would be tough to get into an IIM. That inspite of a score of 99.48 percentile while put me roughly in the top 600 of the approximately 100000 people who gave CAT in that year. The reasons for the conservtive outlook were many - I was a BCom fresher (i.e. no work experience), had never exceeded 81% marks after my sixth standard and was not into the "hep" extra curricular activities (elocution, class representativegiri, etc.)
Now I was no dud student in any ways. However I am talking of some seriously high standards. I had three common GD team members in most of my GD/Interviews. This seemingly coincidental meeting of us four was due to a small but big fuckup by the great Mumbai University (small for them but BIG for me and my fellow sufferers). Normally the 3rd year BCom exams happen in May. Actually most Graduation exams happen in May. Which is why the IIMs and other MBA instis hold their GDPI (Group Discussion and Personal Interview) in March and April with the hope that the freshers are able to give their exams peacefully fresh with the knowledge that they have been selected and need to get only 50-55% since their life has already been set (maybe not what they set out to do but this was how I was thinking). Trust the Mumbai University to screw up matters. They preponed the exams to coincide bang in between the scheduled interviews. Unfortunate events normally lead to the congregation of the unfortunates. This is how I met these three dudes. We four along with our concerned -yet- pissed parents started the "reschedule exams and/or GDPI" campaign. Getting the beauraucratic behemoth like the Mumbai University to reschedule their exams for four piddly students was going to be like getting Sehwag to bat all day with the strike rate of a Dravid. Still we tried and our efforts went in vain.
What followed was a heap of mails to the IIMs requesting, nay begging them to reschedule the interviews. The IIMs were more accomodating. They tried their best to accomodate us. Still two of my GDPIs happened on exam days. I remember waking up in the morning, running off to the exam centre, giving the exam, grabbing a quick snack, meeting my father who had bought me my formalwear for theinterview, changing my dress in the stinking bathroom of the exam centre, then running out to catch a taxi which transported us to the interview centre in the nick of time for the IIMC interview, going through the GD and PI process and after it was all done, sit in the lobby of the centre with these three co- unfortunates and start studying for the next day's exams. It was kind of ironical that this next day's exam was the one where I scored the most.
Now that I have rambled about how I met these three co - unfortunates, let me go back to my point i.e. of the high standards. Of these three:
-One was a habitual merit lister who found time out of pursuing his full time hobby of standing first in all the exam he gave to complete a two year NIIT course. He used to say that he had not much time to concentrate on his TY exams. He eventually got 84%. I got 70%. And I was supposed to be one of the brighest.
-The second was similar to the first one. Not much remarkable about him. He ended up barely making the cut in IIML in the third list.
-The third was a virtual piece of awesome. Till that time his list of achievements read like this:
Founder of a youth oriented NGO
Writer of three books
Columnist in a very popular youth newspaper
Winner of some 50 odd inter collegiate awards.
And he was just 21 at that time.
This piece of work got into IIMB, was chosen as best all rounder and ended up starting his own business.
Knowing these chaps was a great but depressing experience. Great as in I got to know some genuinely bright guys who were not all about mugging up and vomitting out answers. Depressing as in how in front of them, I found myself to be just a regular average boy who just had that 99.48 percentile to show off as a mark of his intelligence. If I had known then that the CAT score forms a negligible part of the final selection (this was divulged in early 2007 when someone asked for the selection criteria using the RTI Act), I would have got into one big depression and not performed that well in the GDPIs, which is what I seriously think got me into IIMK. Seriously ignorance is bliss!
Chapter 2 - Ignorance is bliss.
"Hope it is not a rejection letter"