The MAH CET topper who scored 99.985 percentile tells us planning out study programme, understanding and correcting his weak areas and mock tests helped him to score well in the MAH CET 2015 examination. At present, Nishant Shah is pursuing Post-Graduate Programme in Management from the Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli.
Tell us a little about your academic background. Were you always academically a bright student?
I wasn’t quite the quintessential back bencher in school or in college. I went to the Activity High School scored 84 per cent in my I.C.S.E. Board examinations. I didn’t do quite well, though, during my undergraduate days at Rizvi College of Engineering, but getting out of school was like getting out of a shell. There was just so much to learn outside the protected environment of a school and I think I found my footing soon enough. I never cared about the marks. But I have always cherished the learnings I have picked up along the way.
Have you ever failed in any exam?
Once. Horribly. My first semester of college. I failed in two-thirds of the subjects I took. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that hard work and resolve is the only way out of a setback. That’s it. I knew it, and soon enough, by the end of the second semester, I had washed myself off this stain.
Why did you choose MBA? What all competitive exams have you given all these years?
I took up Electronics Engineering at Rizvi, and soon figured out that coding – the one place that most electronics graduates find solace in – wasn’t my cup of tea. I wasn’t the kind of person who could repetitively write code 24 x 7 sitting in front of a computer screen.
It was during my internship at a manufacturing unit that I watched the management run the place and picked up a lot from them myself. That very summer, I knew what I had to do. The next step was only to find the list of some of the best business schools in the country.
The CAT and the MAH-CET more than covered some of the best schools that fell on my radar.
Your dream job…
Definitely, Banker as they have virtually run the globe over centuries, and banking is one of the most challenging jobs out there. Also, I like numbers.
How tough is MAH CET?
It’s bloody easy. Only, the competition is intense. Beating the competition is the tough part, so it’ll depend on which B-School you want to go to. The limitation in the number of seats makes it a difficult exam.
Is it important to take coaching for MBA? Why or why not?
Not at all. But then again, how do you know how well you’re prepared? This is the question that coaching classes answer. I got enrolled in a prestigious institute and they flooded my bookshelves with a lot of material to help me prepare for the examination. They virtually left no stone unturned when it comes to prep material.
Also, you always have access to someone to guide you when you’ve encountered a hurdle – be it a doubt with a problem, or even doubts about your capability. The regular tests too helped with simulating the test environment on D-day.
Please give tips to aspiring students on how to prepare for this exam.
Basics: Get the basics right. No one in the world can ever excel at a test without mastering the basics.
Hard work: There’s absolutely no substitute for this. You do not put effort, you’ll never get those marks.
Plan: Plan out your study programme well before the exam day. It helps in identifying your strengths as well as weak avenues. Also, build a strategy on how you’re going to go about the exam.
Strengths: A fortnight before the exam, it’s useless to work on your weaknesses. Concentrate on your strengths and try to score as much as possible in these areas.
Tests: Keep giving mock tests and exams regularly. Not only will it help you identify the areas you need to work on, but it’ll simulate the pressure of the test environment for you as well.
How did you deal with time management?
Time Management is a just a fancy word used by a lot of people. The reality is that you have to put even the tiniest iota of time available to good use. Even if that means putting 25 hours in a day. Don’t get up till you’ve not met you target for the day, and if you meet it earlier, set a new one immediately. “Winners Don’t Make Excuses” – Harvey Specter (Suits). Don’t give yourself the room to make an excuse about the shortage of time at the end of it all.
What activities did you do to bust stress?
The pressure of the exam is what drove me to put the effort in the first place. But when it gets too much, it’s prudent to take a break if you’d like. For me, the exam prep itself was a welcome break after an entire day at work.
Nevertheless, I had a schedule which included an hour of karate every day, which I felt was my way of taking a break from the studies. Also, I used to meet my friends later in the night and have a good laugh about the day.
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