When Mukesh Goyal appeared for the Common Admission Test (CAT) in 2016, he had set his eyes on two institutions — the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta (IIM-C) and Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) in Delhi. His dreams became a reality when he scored 100 percentile and joined the FMS.
This is not the first time he appeared for CAT. The topper had previously attempted the paper in 2015 when he secured a stunning 99.72 percentile. Even though he managed to secure seats in top institutions, Goyal’s heart was fixed on the two institutions and he decided to give it a shot again.
“I prepared mainly through mock tests and did not take up any coaching,” he says, adding that he practised two mock tests during the weekends. During weekdays, he would work in the office and would analyse the mock tests whenever he had some free time.
While most candidates dream to get into the IIM A, B and C, Goyal said that the FMS is known for its small batch size and this serves as an advantage to college students as it gives more access to personal attention.
“I had aimed for IIM-C because I had heard of the teaching methodology from my friends who studied there. Unfortunately, I did not manage to clear the interview,” says Goyal, commenting that during the interview round, he was last in the panel and therefore, this had put him at a disadvantage.
However, it only served to fuel his determination to get through in FMS.
“At FMS, I was better prepared. By the time I sat for the interview here, I had already found out that I’d lost the seat at IIM-Calcutta. I thought this is my last opportunity to get into a good college so I did my best,” Goyal says.
Goyal had always been a bright student. While studying at Vasant Valley Public School in Punjab, he had secured 91.2 per cent in class 10 and 87.8 per cent in class 12. He then went on to pursue electronics engineering and gained a BTech degree in 2016. He appeared for CAT for the first time while he was in his final year of college. After graduating, Goyal worked as a derivatives trader for 11 months.
For future aspirants of CAT, Goyal recommends that they maintain confidence not merely during the preparation and interview phases, but mainly during the exam.
“I’ve noticed that many starts panicking in the last minute and this ruins their ability to do well in the paper. I believe all CAT aspirants should try to maintain a cool head during the exam and do the best they can. In the last week of preparation, believe in all you have learnt, brush through your notes and stay confident,” says the topper.