Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Words of Worth: Bidusmita Sahoo

By: Jessica Mohapatra
Bidusmita Sahoo passed out  in 2013 from CET after pursuing a Btech in Electrical Engineering . She  made the college proud by performing extremely well in the CAT exams and then securing a seat in the prestigious FMS (Faculty of Management Studies ,New Delhi) in her very first chance.
As Bidusmita di currently lives in Delhi it was difficult to have a direct interview, but the extremely talented and level headed alumni graciously and sportively  gave us an online interview. Here is what she said and how she advised the present CAT aspirants..........

Q1.First of all congratulations on your success...how is life in FMS?
Thank you for the wishes. Well, I am really fortunate enough to get into FMS, Delhi through CAT in the first attempt. Life in FMS is much more than expected. I had got an immense opportunity to get a real life experience on corporate life in the first 20 days of Induction till 1am at night.  FMS focuses on management education more than 'just business management.' Here the approach to pedagogy combines fieldwork, case studies and instrumented feedback with a strong emphasis on concepts and theory. It provided me the opportunity to explore my adventurous ideas. The rich faculty experience and that of my peers has provided me valuable insights ,which will be helpful to my career . On a whole, here I got to know lots of things starting from multi-tasking, punctuality, coordinating, leadership….. etc etc… to having supper at 3am with endless nights. J
Q2.Being a fresher how difficult it was to get through FMS?
FMS doesn’t consider your industry experience  like other IIMs. So being a fresher, you have a good chance to get through . You just need to be creative in your extempore speech of 1 minute and battle it out with 11(may vary) other shortlisted candidates in GD. More of all you should be like yourself in PI. Some students think blazer, suit n tie works for an interview, but trust me it hardly matters when you can impress others through your dedication and passion for doing MBA. (*A formal Salwar suit worked for me.)
Q3 What are the chances for a fresher to get through in the first chance?
Be passionate about what you want to do in your life and tell them and mostly  people believe ideas generally come from young minds. So there is ample of opportunity for fresher to get through  in the first chance. And being a fresher, you have ample time to prepare for CAT rather than a jobholder. So give your best shot in every chance you get.
Q3.How many hours of hard work did you put in a day?
Try from the very best day you have decided what you want to be. But it’s never late to start something. To be truthful, I have started practicing from 3rd year. I had planned to prepare for at least 1 hour a day, but you know human nature…we plan a lot but do a little. After some days of planning, I skipped many days but somehow managed to do it later in 4th year, and prepared a bit harder towards the end. Prepare a plan how do you want go about it before, so that you won’t panic later. So according to me, some hour of sincere preparation every day is best plan to manage everything right in time.
Q5.What was your study schedule and what about your planning to bell the CAT?
To be truthful, I had no such well-managed schedule for studies. But whenever I used to find time, I had prepared. As I love Mathematics a lot, I used to solve sums with earphone tuning to FM. J It worked for me a lot. Well, everyone can discover what they love to do when and prepare accordingly.
Q4.What was your motivation?
My Parents are my motivation. Motivation can vary from one person to one person. In my point of view, it’s better to be motivated to earn money and spend life like a king than to have no aim in life. Everyone must have an aim before doing something, otherwise it leads to nowhere.

Q5.What was ur strongest point,which chapters?
I love Mathematics a lot and I managed to strengthen that part. Somehow I managed to get good marks in Algebra and Geometry. In my point of view, in CAT one should practice a lot to do his best in the chapters he/she is comfortable with, and be a king rather than practicing everything and end up with being the soldier in every chapters (*viewpoints may differ person to person).
Q6.How did you manage both semesters and MBA preparation together?
Both are quite different from each other unlike GATE preparation. Like I said I love Mathematics, so I had prepared for CAT Mathematics whenever I found time. But I had also given equal importance to semesters too. And luckily enough, I managed to be a 9-pointer. J I my point of view, we can manage both side by side…because as far as I know we don’t study for semester in engineering everyday…again preparing for CAT everyday 1 hour per day works out. One should take semester seriously because it has a lot of implications in getting shortlist from top IIMs and it also carries weightage in final selection.

Q7.Is being an engineer a disadvantage,and being a girl an advantage in the CAT exams and how many questions did you attempt? 
Being an engineer is not at all a disadvantage. rather  80% of the students in B-Schools are engineers. It’s a myth that being a girl is advantageous; most of the IIMs follow that rule on a small percentage and even some don’t follow it…and one should know that there are lots of girls battling out there with you for that seat.
I had attempted about 40-45 questions in total. It seems absurd to crack CAT with these many attempts. But it’s a myth that one has to attempt at least 60 to crack it (Source: Teachers preparing students for CAT in coaching institutes). One just needs to attempt that many questions, on whose answers he/she can bet his/her life. Precision of correct answers matters a lot in CAT. Negative answers hamper the precision a lot according to them.

Q9.What were your sectional percentile,and how were the sectional cut-offs in your time?
QA & DI: 97.17
VA & LR: 87.56
Overall: 95.86
I don’t exactly remember cut-offs in our time. It differs from one B-School to another.

Q9.Any books that aspirants should follow?
CAT books by Arun Sharma are the best as far as I know and have heard. Besides if anyone wishes to refer other books, they will also certainly help. The more you practice, the better you get results.
I anyone is going for coaching, the books of the institutes also help a lot.

Q10.For the present third years, placements just months away... How should they remain focussed on CAT?
In my point of view, one can find 1 hour time from their daily schedule to practice for CAT. But prioritize the preparation for placement 1 month before. It’s always better to have a back-up plan with job offer…so play safe.
Q11.You are very cool and level-headed; how did that help in CAT?
It helped immensely. One should be  cool on the big-day of exam. Because CAT somewhat depends on the precision of answers, how cool you have managed to get the answers. Sometimes out of anxiety, students end up with doing silly mistakes. Don’t ever try to play with, for what you have prepared so far. Give it your best shot and Hope for the Best.
Q12.Considering the PI, how good should a person's technical be.....what depth of technical knowledge is required?
Busy in a seminar
Technical knowledge is sometimes going to play a grand role in one’s PI. The interviewer tries to test the knowledge you have gathered so far. They will grill you on the 3 years you have spent so far ... t and the obvious question what made you change your decision from being Technical Engineer to Manager. My IIM-A, B, C, K, L, I interview were based on these questions and they gave me a hard time to convince them why MBA after being a Topper in Engineering. 50% time of IIM-B interview was based on working of a bulb-light. J There is always a chance a meet a technical interviewer in your panel. So don’t even try to bluff. They might ask you about some technical what you have never heard of. Well, I had prepared 2 subjects before PI, but in hypothetical interview of one IIM that didn’t help. So prepare hard in technical aspects.
Q13.The vitality of good CGPA?What was yours and how did it help?
My CGPA is 9.04. It had helped me to get shortlist from FMS, Delhi and all IIMs. In IIM-B, it counts a lot and IIM-A, C don’t count weightage of CGPA. So still one has a good chance of getting shortlist. It’s never late to start something, so brace up yourself and try from the very moment.

Q14.Any tips for our present CAT aspirants??
First of all, give it your best shot and Hope for the Best. Start preparing whenever you find time. Take CAT seriously, brace up yourself for the battle but don’t forget to enjoy, everything will follow you on their own way. In my point of view, in the last one month don’t practice new chapter; rather revise what you have done so far. On the big day of exam, keep calm & give your best shot and Hope for the Best. Everything will be all right… “All is Well” J
Q15.What type of Qs were they asking you in your PI? (Sorry, one last question!)
Prepare for all

·         HR questions

·         Why MBA

·         Grilling on Technical knowledge

·         Current news and your viewpoints about them

·         Questions are based mostly on CV and SOP

My IIM-B interview started with my Date-of-Birth as it’s on the last day of year. I was asked about having party on 31st December or 1st January and what about drinks. J
Expect the unexpected question in any interview.


  1. So very informative.
    Thank you ma'am and CET rising!

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