Failures are hard to face; Hard work pays off – Rahul, IIML Class of 2023

Hello everyone,

Firstly, I would like to thank Sreeni Sir for making my choices easier, but we’ll come to that in due time.

My story starts with me entering Venky in 2017 to pursue BCom Hons. and not really knowing what I want in or to do with my life. I did try a few things but none of them seemed to excite/inspire me. 2 years into the future and I got to know about MBA and knew that this was something for me. After talking to a few seniors, I decided to join CL and with that, my MBA journey started.

During this time, I had to prepare for CAT (in which I was not able to perform well) and prepare for my placements at college, my biggest fear. Soon placement season, or should I say the rejection season, started and one after the other companies started to reject me, which if I recall correctly add up to some 20-30 odd rejections. This backed with constant low 90%iles in CAT left me completely shattered and demotivated. Being a topper for most of my life, I was simply not used to so much rejection/failures. But it actually went ahead and gave me my first dose of how important non-academic development is, which I ignored in my past years. But still waiting for that one miracle, I kept going.

Finally, the D-Day#1, CAT 2019, came and I went in with a hope to cross that 99%ile bar even though I never even touched 96%ile in my mocks (I often feel surprised at the fact that how optimistic a human can be when there is little hope and even more so by the fact that even the vice versa is very true). So, I managed to score 95ish %ile and get a call from K and SP among the good ones but in the end was able to convert to convert none! With this CAT 2020 or some job was my only hope.

Early 2020, Covid… Pandemic… Lockdown… No job and No College. The fact that all my friends were placed, made this feeling even worse. I literally started to question all my life decisions, which only increased with every next company which rejected me. By now, I was kind of afraid of applying to the companies themselves. But taking motivation from wherever I can (from animes majorly) I kept on going. During this time, while trying for a few more jobs I decided to write GMAT. I managed to score 710 in GMAT (although I scored 740/50 in mocks) and applied at ISB.

It was around June, when I started to prepare for CAT’20, bought CL & TIME mocks and VARC1000. Once again, I was unable to cross that 95%ile mark. But with no job in hand, I was ready to give it all I had. I prepared a schedule, waking up at 5 in the morning (thanks to miracle morning this was no issue) and going all out. In July I managed to get an offer from AIG, but they wanted me to sign a bond and eventually I had to let go of that offer due to the same. This was in no way easy for me, especially after all those rejections, but it is what it is. Around September I guess before new pattern came, I was easily able to cross the 99%ile mark. Then came the new pattern, my scores reduced again to 95ish%ile and it was at this time, I seriously doubted my decision to let go of the job offer. The feeling of being a failure was literally sinking me day by day, when I got connected with this group called Yadukula, a subsidiary of ISKCON, and with their daily sessions/positivity, I got the much-needed peace of mind. During this time, I even started my own Insta page by name of we_and_you_make_us to share Gita/motivational quotes (although it’s been dead since a few weeks ☹). Well coming back to CAT Prep, by the end I had written some 100 odd mocks and completed TIME/CL material, which may sound extra to many, but for me it’s always been real hard work before any success.

On the D-Day#2 (set 2) I ended up wasting 1st 10 minutes, but somehow managed to complete the section without time to have second thoughts on my answers. LR and QA went like breeze. The only thing I was afraid of was VARC. In the end I was able to score 99.86%. Not only this, but I managed to score 99+ in XAT and NMAT as well.

The next hurdle was INTERVIEWS, my Achilles heels. I decided to join PDPP (one of my personal best decisions). CL literally helped me not only in preparing for the interviews, but also in discovering what I actually wanted with my life. It further helped me realise that B-School journey like most journeys is not about excelling in 1 thing, ignoring the rest, but about maintaining a balance between all. I got GB Sir as my mentor and his innovative ways of answering even the most basic questions helped me add some spices to my answers. I got to know the mistakes I made not only in the current interviews, but also in the past interviews. I was able to stand against the fear, which used to cover me at the time of interviews and was able to think clearly at that time. Not always though (it came back during my A’s interview). I had calls from 16 institutes and by the end, I converted 8 of them (IIFT still pending), which to many may seem not a good %age, but given my amazing success rate at job interviews, I was/am satisfied. Though I do regret being not able to convert A/C since my entire preparation/motivation was based on converting A, but if I did, maybe my future Ted Talks won’t be that interesting.

Finally, the only problem I had was ISB v/s IIM L. But thanks to that golden 15-minute talk with Sreeni Sir, not only did he help me decide that IIM L was the one for me, but he even helped me get some clarity on how my future decisions should be taken. He helped me understand how our final goal must be the driver of today’s decisions and that it should not be influenced by our egos.

Once again, I thank the entire CL TEAM for their help at each stage in this journey.

And would just like to say that hard work pays off. Failures are hard to face, and will always be, but we must become stronger than them. You just have to believe and IMAGINE.

Rahul Goyal

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