Mihir Kapse, 27, an employee with JP Morgan is autistic and dyslexic. He was diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age and faced difficulties in communication. He suffered his first autistic attack while he was studying at College of Engineering, Pune. Today, he stands among the top scorers of Common Admission Test (CAT) 2018 with 99.97 percentile.
Both his parents are doctors, yet he chose engineering for his passion for mathematics. “I love math. I play games and solve puzzles in my free time, they are also my coping mechanism,” Mihir told indianexpress.com. Growing up, there was a time when he found it difficult talking to people. For a person suffering from autism, basic tasks are challenging and each one devises their own coping mechanism. For him, “it was reading and playing games”.
He believes his strict daily schedule helped him crack CAT. “It takes me two hours to reach the office and I used to spend this travel time to de-stress myself by solving puzzles. I enrolled myself in online coaching as well. Each day, we had a class of two-and-a-half hours and every night I devoted five hours to self-study,” he informed.
Kapse has received a call from all three Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) he applied for — IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Indore. He is currently preparing for the interview round.
This Mumbai boy started preparing for CAT since June 2018. “I work in the tech-end at my firm and now want to experience the business side of things too,” said Kapse, who has worked as a business analyst for almost two years.
He got the job right after graduation. “SAP, in a research, discovered that autistic persons are better at certain tasks than others. JP Morgan recruited a team of autistic people in the US, after which they planned to recruit autistic people in India,” he said.
“I got in touch with the NGO, which was sourcing autistic candidates who held a graduate degree and had decent communication skills. It provided us with three months coaching in soft skills including communication, office mannerism etc, which has helped me a lot in talking to people,” Mihir added.
His family, which includes two younger siblings, perceived learning challenges with Kapse from the beginning, but could not identify that he was autistic. “While I was growing up, we could not trace autism despite tests from the best hospitals. When I was diagnosed with dyslexia, we thought that was it and, hence, could not pinpoint autism,” he shared. “At one point, in each autistic person’s life, things become too much to handle. For me, that point came during my engineering course. It was then that I got diagnosed.”
“Anyone can solve CAT questions outside the exam; the real catch is to solve these during the controlled and high-pressure environment during the exam. Candidates need to keep their cool and stay focused, which comes through practice,” advises Kapse.
He pointed out that what he believed to be his strongest point, Mathematics, is where he scored comparatively lesser because of the pressure. He scored 99.92 percentile in verbal ability, 99.94 percentile in data interpretation, 99.38 in quantitative ability, with a gross percentile of 99.97.