Mohit Manwani, one of the CAT 2020 toppers with 96.8 percentile, has secured a seat in the IIM Kozhikode. CAT 2020 was Mohit’s fourth attempt and he managed to prepare for it alongside his job. In addition to CAT, he also took part in other management exams such as XLRI and IIFT etc.
Careers360 spoke to him about his success, in which Mohit extensively discussed his preparatory trip for CAT 2021 and also shared how he was preparing for WAT and PI. To prepare for the CAT exam, he devoted 5 hours a day to all three sections, working on his strengths and highlighting them for WAT / PI. “The panellists are looking for attributes that are relevant to a career in management and one should be clear about why they are pursuing a career in management and they should be able to relate to existing experiences and how it is for them and their peers helps, ”Mohit said when asked what qualities or qualities the interview board is looking for in a candidate as it selects them for final admission. To learn more about his success mantra and strategy for CAT and other management reviews, read Mohit Manwani’s interview with careers360.
Careers360- Congratulations on switching to the institute of your choice! How do you feel?
Mohit Manwani- I can’t even find words to explain this feeling when you have wanted something for almost 4 years and finally achieved it. I can only say that a dream has come true for me and my family and that would be an understatement as I never thought that I could convert IIM Kozhikode.
Careers360- Please explain your general experience with the selection process carried out at the institute mentioned.
Mohit Manwani- Selection criteria and procedures went smoothly as we are in the middle of a pandemic. All processes were followed remotely and that partially limits the selection process, but all institutes were able to adapt to these changes. Speaking about the procedure for IIM Kozhikode, the online PI process has been smooth. We communicated the dates well in advance and the mentors were helpful.
Careers360- For which selection rounds of other B-Schools did you participate? How was your experience in other institutes compared to the institute that you moved?
Mohit Manwani- I appeared for the interview process from IIM Lucknow, IIM Shillong, IIM CAP, NITIE Mumbai, XLRI, and IIFT. During my interview at IIM Kozhikode, my interview mainly focused on my past work and current affairs related to my field of work. Some interviews focused more on my former academics and others on in-class activities.
Careers360- What was your Score and Percentile in CAT?
Mohit Manwani- My CAT score was 83.71 and my percentile was 96.8.
Careers360- How did you prepare for CAT? Please share tips section by section for others preparing to take CAT this year?
Mohit Manwani- This was my 4th attempt at CAT and I had to manage my work along with the CAT preparation. Since I’m in supply chain consulting, it takes almost 10 hours a day, so I planned to spend 5 hours a day on my CAT prep and focus on all three sections every day. I read 1.5 hours for VARC, read half an hour every day and for the rest of the 1 hour I solved 5 RCs and some VA questions with a timer to give me the actual test environment. DILR is all about practicing and I used to solve at least 6 sentences a day and prepare thematically for quants.
Careers360- What was your WAT / PI topic and how did you prepare for it? How did you structure your answer? Was it easy or difficult for you to write / think about the subject?
Mohit Manwani- My strategy on WAT / PI was simple. I wanted to work on my strengths and highlight them. For PI I always wanted to focus the interview on my professional ex, since I have been working in supply chain consulting for 3 years, this was a topic of discussion during Covid.
I always start with an initial structural draft of my responses and try that in mock interviews and change it based on the ratings I got and for WAT as I have a habit of reading on a daily basis it has helped me write on topics and never had trouble.
Careers360- Did you use outside help or have you participated in a coaching / crash course to prepare for PI and WAT? When did you start preparing for the IIM selection?
Mohit Manwani- I joined IMS for PI and WAT training while also enlisting help from students in current B-Schools to help me with the PI process. I started my preparation for CAT in June 2020 and started showing up for trial tests every week, which helped me check my progress.
Careers360- Do you think WAT / PI requires separate preparation other than what you mentioned?
Mohit Manwani- For WAT / PI, I think regular reading and sham PIs are sufficient and it helps you be ready as I’ve always struggled with PIs in my previous attempts and this year I was able to delete most of my PIs.
Careers360- Please share the WAT / PI questions you were asked during the admissions rounds?
Mohit Manwani- For me, most of the questions related to my work in supply chain consulting and to clients I worked with.
I was asked about the impact of COVID on the global supply chain and recent developments in semiconductor scarcity and its impact on the automotive industry.
I was also asked about my hobbies and my voluntary work for an NGO.
Careers360- What do you think how to deal with a question if you don’t have an answer during PI?
Mohit Manwani- If you are unfamiliar with a question or you don’t know the answer to something, I don’t think there is any reason to stir the bushes as we have limited time it is better to move on to the next question because 2-3 Questions will not determine the outcome of your PI.
Careers360- How should one approach a WAT / PI topic? Could you share some dos and don’ts for this?
Mohit Manwani- I would suggest always staying open-minded when choosing WAT / PI as we never know what questions will be asked and if you get stuck on something it is better to move forward.
Never think that if you have done less in CAT, you have no chances as the conversion to a B school also depends on PI.
Careers360- Is there any particular type of time management strategy that should be added to the candidate’s skills? Will it help to write a fully structured WAT / PI on time?
Mohit Manwani- I’ve always prepared myself with a timer for each section and that has helped me a lot with mocks and actual CAT and that strategy works with WAT too.
Careers360- How did you feel when you faced the interviewers during PI? Please let us know some details like the size of your panel and your overall experience.
Mohit Manwani- I always tried to stay confident during PI and would watch “Friends” before every interview to keep my mood and it helped me maintain my confidence during PI. All of the interviews I performed for had a group of 2-3 people and the overall experience was smooth throughout all PIs as I never had a stress interview.
Careers360- Which interview was the best? Enlighten us about the most beautiful in your opinion.
Mohit Manwani- My interview with IIM Kozhikode turned out to be the best as the entire discussion was about my past work and its impact on my client’s global business, as well as current affairs related to supply chain issues, and it was an interactive discussion between me and the panelists was and I was able to share my thoughts and also learn from them.
Careers360- What about those questions that were difficult to answer? How did you answer them?
Mohit Manwani- Questions about my academics have always been my Achilles heel and I’ve always struggled with answering questions, and when I don’t know the answer to something, I’ve let panelists know I am unaware so we can move on to the next Ask.
Careers360 – Was the panel easy or tough for you in these situations? What to do if he / she doesn’t have an answer?
Mohit Manwani- The panelists were never tough on me in these situations and since I got stuck on a particular question, I was able to move forward and this is the best way to address that situation.
Careers360- What were the most fascinating questions you were asked? Please share your answers as well.
Mohit Manwani- I was asked about the impact of the Suez Canal blockade and its impact on the global supply chain, and was asked to quantify the monetary impact it had on international trade on a weekly basis:
I explained that the blockade of the Suez Canal has no long-term effects as inventory planning for most goods is based on adverse situations or delays and the only effects expected to be crude oil and perishable goods. I also quantified the impact using a study published in BloombergQuint.
Careers360- How is an IIM interview different from a non-IIM but a top B-school interview? Are there big differences? (If you’ve appeared for IIMs)
Mohit Manwani- Typically, IIM interviews focused more on the candidate’s overall profile, ranging from ex-work to extra-curricular activities, while the discussion in the non-IIMs was more focused on current affairs and SOPs.
Careers360- How did the preparations for PI go? Have you searched or looked up questions or practice spots?
Mohit Manwani- I did a lot of research for PI preps and looked for previous PI experiences for various institutes and came up for Mock PI to get reviews on the structure of my responses.
Careers360- Finally, what attributes or qualities does the interview board look for in a candidate when selecting him / her for final admission?
Mohit Manwani- The panellists look for attributes relevant to a career in management and it should be clear why they are pursuing a career in management (MBA) and they should be able to relate their existing experience and how it is to them and also helps her peers.
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