CAT Toppers Speak: Debanjan Dey

 | April 09,2010 05:34 pm IST


 Debanjan Dey is CAT 2008 100 percentile scorer.

His overall score was 246 out of 356, with 59 in QA, 62 in LRDI and 125 in VA



Question: Were you a fresh graduate when you appeared for CAT 2008 or did you work in some organization and gained some experience?
Answer: I am in my final year of Engineering college (Computer Engineering branch) at present. So definitely a fresher when I appeared for CAT 2008.

Question: Can you tell us something about yourself and your pre-MBA qualifications and work-experience?
Answer: I did schooling from Mother's International School, New Delhi, electing PCM with Computer Science in High School. I had a good academic record and am a recipient of the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) Scholarship. I applied to a number of Engineering Entrance Exams and cleared AIEEE, BITS and CEE. I joined Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology, since it had a good reputation, was close to home, and I was getting my preferred stream (Computer Engineering.)


Question: When did you decide to go for MBA?
Answer: I was initially inclined towards getting placed with a top product company and working in the technical line first, before pursuing a higher degree. I got offers from Adobe, Aricent and C-Dot. My excellent result in CAT 2008 was the main reason I decided to try for an MBA as a fresher and make use of this new opportunity I had got. Furthermore, I had a department rank of 6/100 in college and a good academic record which would boost my chances of making it to a top B-school.

Question: Does this mean that you appeared for CAT 2008 without actually being serious about a career in management at that stage?
Answer: Yes, while appearing for CAT, I had not finalized any plan to pursue MBA immediately, as a fresher.


Question: Will an MBA degree add on to your existing career plan or did you decide to switch/start a career in management?
Answer: I have not yet decided on the exact field of management I am interested in. Since I am a fresher, I would like to get a better idea of the subject before formulating my final career plan.


Question: What exactly were your reasons for pursuing management as your career?
Answer: Due to a number of reasons, many engineers pursue an MBA degree whether as a fresher or after a few years of work experience. The reasons are usually better and quicker career advancement, getting a broader outlook on the functioning of industry, and personal value addition. My reasons were similar but I had actually planned to try for MBA after a few years of work.


Question: Do you think money plays a great role in choosing management as a career?
Answer: It definitely plays an important part, but in the current job situation under the effects of recession and lay-offs, average placement salaries are dipping. The main reason to pursue an MBA right now would be that it is a good time to invest in education, when the job market does not have much to offer. Hopefully, the situation will be better in a few years' time.


Question: Which MBA Institutes and Programmes you have identified for your MBA?
Answer: I only appeared in CAT 2008, and have only applied for the flagship two-year full-time residential programmes of IIMs. If I don't make it to the IIMs, I would take up a job offer. 


Questions related to Pre-MBA Preparation 

Question: What was your first step in starting preparation for getting into the B-school of your choice?
Answer: I gave the GRE in April 2008, and the preparation I put in for that came in handy when I was studying for CAT later. I began with the word lists for the Verbal Section.


Question: When did you start your preparation?
Answer: I completed Barron's word lists and question sets over January-March 2008.


Question: How many months and how many hours daily did you devote for preparation of entrance exams? When did you start your preparation?
Answer: I could not prepare regularly for CAT due to campus placements at my college in summers.


Question: Did you take up some coaching institute or you believed in self-study?
Answer: No, I did not take class-room coaching for CAT. It was self preparation and plenty of reading (which is a hobby of mine). After clearing CAT, I realized the need for guidance for the GD/PI rounds and had joined week-end batch at PT Education, Delhi, in January 2009. It proved to be helpful.


Question: What was your experience with your coaching center?
Answer: My GD/PI sessions at PT Education were thorough and provided me with the inputs I required to build a strong base in MBA-related knowledge. Since I had a number of informal interactions with faculty, I was able to concentrate on the topics that I was lacking in.


Question: What was the best and strongest feature of your coaching institute?
Answer: I think all the faculty members I interacted with during my GD/PI classes and at the Boot-camp (SureShot) were very well-versed in their respective fields. The inputs I received from them after my mock interviews were comprehensive and of great help.


Question: Do you think there is scope for improvement in your coaching institute? What would be your suggestions?
Answer: I did not join any coaching for CAT 2008, so I can not comment on that. But still, I got the impression from my peers that most institutes advise MBA aspirants to rely a lot on short-cuts and formula-based thinking, especially in the Quantitative Section. I think cramming up rules makes one slower and proves detrimental. All the questions in CAT 2008 could be solved by elementary techniques.


Question: What are the others books and tests that you used for your MBA preparation, besides the study material provided by you coaching institute?
Answer: I took a few mock tests of various coaching institutes.


Question: Can you tell us which your favorite books were - books that you used for preparing for entrance, books for self-development, and books for pure relaxation?
Answer: I think Verbal Ability is a section which cannot be improved much by class-room coaching, especially in CAT which gives greater weightage to application of grammar rather than vocabulary. Reading more is the best way to prepare for it. Some authors I enjoyed reading include Ayn Rand, Arundhati Roy, O'Henry, Jane Austen, Alistair MacLean, due to their unconventional style of writing and story-telling.


Question: What were your strongest and your weakest areas while preparing for MBA?
Answer: My strongest area was Verbal Ability as I had a good grasp on the language since my school days. I was not too confident about the Algebra Section in Quant.


Question: Some tips which you used for mastering Quantitative Aptitude, Reading Comprehension, etc.
Answer: I feel that practice is of primary importance in the Quant Section. If you attempt enough questions, you can get an immediate idea of how to proceed even when faced with a different kind of problem. LRDI is generally the tough section but it can be attempted well as long as one has enough time to devote to this section. Reading Comprehension consumes a lot of time unless one can improve one's reading speed. I practiced by reading magazines and editorials.


Question: Which all Entrance Exams you appeared for and your score / percentile in each?
Answer: CAT only. I scored 246 (356), with a break-up of -
Quantitative: 59 (100)
LRDI: 62 (96)
Verbal: 125 (160)

Question: Give some handy tips regarding the MBA written tests that would be of great help to MBA aspirants.
Answer: I think one needs to find one's weak points and devote maximum time to improve on them. Since there are sectional cut-offs, it is not enough to score on one's strengths. A balanced preparation is required.