The CAT results and subsequent promotion to next level process brought Appu into the sprint arena of ambition for MBA degree from premier Institutes. The days seem to be tough as uphill task is very steep with active and energetic competitors in sprint arena. He couldn’t savor the success of cracking CAT for little time as one more hurdle is awaiting him.
The first and best thing he did was that he contacted his coaching institute’s manager to know what next ? This guy is damn good in understanding Appu’s concerns and explained what he need to do for the second leap. He gave the time table sheet and details about the seminars and workshops that the institute is going to conduct viz Group Discussion (GD), Personal Interview(PI) and Writing Assessment (WA). Even though all were equally frightening to Appu, the Group discussion created the terror in his heart. Apart from these frightening trio, there is one more monster in the form of Statement of Purpose (SOP) and other documents that need to filled to each and every college. Appu was further told to give a hard push for this preparation keeping GMAT preparation aside. If he gets IIM through CAT it is very good or else it will give good exposure which will be useful for GMAT preparation or for that matter it will be useful in life.
The first day class in second phase of preparation was about Group Discussion and its participation.Even though there were many new faces, some look they are familiar. The faculty was at his best in explaining the topics. Appu’s mind was bombarded with so many tips and tricks of GD- advantages & disadvantages of initiating the topics and concluding the topics. Many more tips like the nuances and structure to be followed, tactfully dealing with seemingly irritating irrational people, hearing about what other people are taking etc were taught. Now the scariest part is awaiting for its turn which is mock group discussion. Appu had difficulty in putting forward his arguments – by the time he came up with some points already other people spoke about it, some times people neglected his points, some times he didn’t get (understand) pause to pick the topic from others etc. After participating in GD on Appu’s favorite topic where he failed miserably, he understood the mode in which he had to be for participation in GD. The talk should be balanced and only arguments before conclusion have to be discussed. Even though topic is familiar, simply presenting the conclusion without arguments on both sides make person feel like narrow minded.
The second level of grilling started with ‘Achieiver’s workshop’ which is a two day program filled with Mock group discussions, mock interviews and general inputs about common subject matters that every graduate expected to be aware of. Appu had almost six GDs with many enthusiastic prospective achievers along with achievers as evaluators. In the course of workshop he went through normal PI and later through stressful unstructured PI. The systematic point by point evaluation and feedback showed Appu that there is lot of homework need to be done to achieve his distant ambitious goal. The general awareness sessions about logical thinking, general knowledge and economics though seemed bit heavy, he had no option except listening as people speaking about them are achievers! The workshop even though not boosted the confidence in fact it de-motivated, but showed the reality his standing with respect to his dream.
The concern which was not addressed sufficiently in the second phase was his ability to write grammatically decent correct sentences in cohesive manner to make a decent essay. The time is not sufficient and appropriate to learn all required exercises. But it is better late than never. One wonderful idea came to him at that time was to start a blog and practice writing. Writing blog even though took lot of time, but it structured his thought process and eventually that practice made him comfortable in writing decent essays.
The tedious process of submitting application for colleges was the next hurdle in his sprint. The SOP took sufficient percentage of groundwork in the application fill-up as it captures whole purpose of doing MBA. As usual since it was an essay, it seemed extremely impossible task to write along with lot of self introspection. He was suggested by his friends better to get it written by some professional as it will improve the possibility of impressing the faculty at college. Appu thought it will be better to brain storm to put his thoughts and this process will make him understand what he wants and what he is. The SOP with his original thoughts after suggestions from colleagues, friends and coaching institute become decent. After brain storming for SOP, every other aspect looked Lilliput.
Time traveled very fast in the second phase and only couple of days were left before Appu for his GD (WA) & PI. He just arranged all the required documents, certificates in proper format to face the battle.