How it all began
In my final year of engineering I decided to write the Common Admision Test (CAT) for admission to IIMs (Indian Institute of Management). I pursued engineering from a well recognised college and for some random reason wanted a brand for my MBA too. So IIMs were the obvious choice. Little did I know the significance of an MBA and just wanted to follow the herd going into the Goldmans, Lehmans and McKinseys. But anyhow, I just did not want "some" job. I wrote CAT and secured a decent enough percentile, that was good enough to satisfy MDI but my verbal was not good enough for any of the IIMs. I sat for MDI interview and cleared it. Then the IIM bug hit me again and decided that if I ever do an MBA, it will be from a top school.
I joined one of the largest IT Services firm in India. I excelled at work and at the same time, religiously wrote CAT every year. CAT for me became a routine, like a festival that "has" to be celebrated every year. Every time I was stuck with 98 something percentile, not good enough for IIMs. Man! High population has its own effects.
2 years passed. It was November again and I screwed up CAT. Again. Then I looked at ISB as an "option". Ok, I have some idea what I want to do with my life and an MBA was utterly necessary. ISB's R2 deadline was due Jan 15 and I had one month to prepare. This preparation included writing GMAT and the essays. Tough task. But I decided to give it a shot. It was pure gamble with my career. In fact, I should give this warning to my readers "Don't try this at home!!!" I wrote my GMAT in a month's time on Jan 5 2005 and secured a 710. In another 10 days ISB app was in. I received an interview call, screwed it up and the result was an obvious Ding.
The Second Attempt
The first attempt was an eye opener. I realized that there is something that I lack and that something was professional maturity. I would only gain that with proper experience. I decided to take additional responsibilities at work, looked at the bigger picture always and thus gained some good recognition.
But still, there was something missing. I needed something different now and decided to make a move to another company that would provide me with a completely different exposure. I joined a product firm in a dvision that was formed after that giant acquired a startup. This was something unique. I always looked for opportunities to contribute towards a change in my organisation that I work for. This helped me in two ways. Excellent recognition, fast promotion and greater responsibilities were one. At the same time, I strengthened my application for an MBA.
Till the year before this I was religiously writing CAT. The CAT festival was celebrated every year.
Then came sanity and I wrote another ISB application. In R2. Same story again. Interview followed by a Ding. This was a setback. I was pretty sure this time but something went wrong.
By this time, I had started doubting my abilities. Maybe I am not an MBA material at all. Let's excel at what I have. But it was temporary. I kept telling myself that I am strong and I have to get into my target industry (why MBA). M/B/B (Guess) became my dream and I firmly believed that I am an MBA material. In 2006-2007 I strengthened my application. I spent a lot of time on introspection and assigned "Why?" to everything that I had done in life till then. This helped me a lot.
I wrote the admission test for Mensa and cleared it.
I started this blog and focused on improving my writing skills. (Ok maybe I'm not too god now also but you should have seen how I wrote 3 years ago)
I got a substantial international work experience.
I made significant positive changes at my work place.
I wrote GMAT again. (You may ask why again after a 710. I had some reasons)
I was back on my feet again.
The Third Attempt
Should have been my last attempt. I wanted to leave no stone unturned. I wrote GMAT again. I worked harder on my essays and was ready.
Of course, it was a different time and I was admitted. I had achieved what I wanted to and am now prepared to begin another journey. Although I felt a sense of achievement, I knew it was not and is a new beginning in my professional life.
The ISB admit means a new beginning. It means that I am capable. It means that I am part of a group from whom I have a lot to learn from. It means I am in.