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Home » Career Resource Articles » IN THE SUMMER TIME


Expert Suggestions on Preparation for Computer Based CAT-09


by Piyush Gupta*

Summers mean vacations. Partying, sleeping, watching countless re runs of Forrest Gump, river rafting, hiking and lots of fun. Right? Wrong. You are in a B-school. The Oxford dictionary can go take a swim in the Pacific Ocean, and you won't miss it. The lingo has changed. Summers mean nightmares. Summers mean torture. Summers mean going home back after your first term with heaps of self-doubt, not all of which is misplaced. It means trying to grasp in seven days all that you summarily failed to in three months. It entails trying to figure out how in the devil's name are you suited for investment banking when you don't really know debit from credit. Not that you are likely to know it in the near future if anything that even remotely mentions a balance sheet throws you off balance.

Normally, the end of exams, which are served with gay abandon, sparks off festivities, the general definition of festival being a night out with Bachhus. For some time at least, there are no projects deadlines to haunt you in your sleep, no theories to be crammed, no cases to be analyzed. But first term at a B school is different. Horribly different. The end of first term marks the onset of summer (mis)placement season when the hapless victims are pitched into battle with everyone trying to be one up on the others. It's a battle of unequals. Work ex vs. freshers. IIT vs. non-IIT. Haves vs. have-nots. Davids vs. Goliaths. Hopelessly ill prepared you might be, but there's no escaping the procedure. It marks the return to those nagging interview sessions where you are supposed to spell out your achievements, career goals and your persona in such a manner that the person lined up next appears to be in august company just by sharing the dais with you. It also marks the return to the extremely lop sided group discussion routine which is never anything more than an exercise in decibel power where even the most timid and bashful show hidden, demoniac sides to their personalities, which more often than not leaves you stupefied and gasping for breath.

You need to fill forms, some of which degrade into an endless stream of weird questions, each forcing the creative writer in you out of his slumber. In fact, stating that you are required to fill forms will be an understatement, submitting a thesis is much more like it. You come up with things which even you didn't know you did in your college. A look at your C.V would make all others who ever organized an event at your college seem superfluous. Anyway, you need to fill all the blank space that's there, sometimes there's too much of it, and you duly oblige. Carl Jung would have been proud of you had he seen your answers. As a measure of precaution, you take photocopies of all the forms you fill, its not easy to keep track of all the baloney that you splashed all over with so much generosity. Then comes the interview stage. That's when you need to tell them what is it that makes that company the stuff your dreams are made of. They won't take the fact that it was lined up next on the list for an answer. No way. Didn't someone ever tell you that management is all about being politically correct at all times? You need to be at your eloquent best while convincing them that if there was one reason why you were born on this earth, it was to work for them.

Day 0, day 1, day 2. That's how the junta gets segregated after summers. The men get separated from the boys. Inside the waiting rooms, there is delirious joy and stark sadness at the same time. As time ticks by, and the remaining options vanish, you find those weak in the heart, break down and shed tears. It's not easy. Only hard-boiled professionals can take repeated rejections with a pinch of salt. You find your friends going in and out of one process to the other, while you have nothing better to do than lounge around solving crosswords, hoping the next shortlist might just include your name, even if it is by accident. Unfortunately, such accidents are rare. Finally, someone is charitable enough to agree to take a look at you. You know it's your only chance. You rant off all those answers you prepared so meticulously the previous night and convince them that the next Jack Welch is sitting right in front of them. Somehow, it isn't enough. May be someone else was more adept at playing him. You sigh, and get back to the waiting room, hoping to be better the next time round. The humdrum process continues, and you continue to invoke the deities to help you out, with the only solace being the endless supply of cigarettes available next door. At last, after what seems like an eternity, someone recognizes the talent (!) in you. You can't believe it, they found something where none existed. The Gods much be crazy, and so must be those guys who are oblivious of the danger they put their own careers in by picking you up. Nevertheless, its finally time to take that rope off your neck, let your hairs down and breathe a sigh of relief. For the time being at least.

So summers are over. But placement blues do not condescend to leave the campus. The bigger, much more painful process begins for your seniors in a few months. You thank God that it's them, and not you who has to face the music. Your turn is going to come, but for now, you can watch from the stands while the brave gladiators battle it out in the arena. It's over to them. All you can say is, good luck guys. May the force be with you!

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