MBAtious People - Prem Kumar, IIM Calcutta
Prem Kumar Ravi completed his MBA from IIM Calcutta and is currently working as a Strategy and Business Development manager with a leading MNC. Prem founded Spruthi to help differently abled people to crack CAT and was mentioned by Telegraph India as "B-school coach with a heart". Prem's dedication and determination in pursuing his IIM dream is a true inspiration to any MBA aspirant.
I have learnt a lot from my 8 years of CAT preparation, 4 CAT attempts, 3 PI rejects, missing IIMC call by 1 mark and getting an entry to IIMC in the last waitlist movement. There have been so many questions asked to me in various forums and I hope it will be helpful if I have all my answers at the same place.
1. How you felt after converting IIMC ?
If I have to answer in one line, I would say "This phase of my Life is called as Happiness”. If I just turn back & see, in those 8 bygone years, one thing which was an integral part of my life was CAT. Every step I took, I always had buffered a provision for CAT first before anything else. Every time I failed, I stood up with a feel that I am closer, I can do it & next year I would be in an IIM. Infact for those 8 years ie (365*24*6 + 366*24*2 hours), this feel was constant. I always believed during the beginning of the season, that next year by now, I will be sitting in a classroom of some IIM (especially IIMC) and you can imagine how I felt after that dream is achieved.
2. What motivated you to hang on for 8 years ?
The sheer love towards my passion/dream. I always believed in one thing, “It is my dream and if I don’t fulfill it, who will fulfill it for me”. I never attached any monetary benefits to my dream, it is just a plain, simple & sweet dream & I hope you will agree that we all love dreaming & some of us take one more extra step to make of our dreams come true. I am not a super being, I am like any one here except that I sustained my injuries, lived with my routines & still kept on dreaming.
3. Why not a one year programme ?
An MBA, I don’t know how much value addition it will be but, I wanted to go back to studies to do some justice. I was a good student till my 9th standard, way back in 1992 & then disaster stuck in the form of our family issues & I could never do justice to my studies though I don’t have any issues with that now. I want to feel the college life now, which I could not do before.
4. Did you see any value in doing an MBA when you were already in a good job ?
Value is a perception, an IIM degree is not going to hurt me. It’s the self satisfaction, it is a feel. When I am in the death bed, I don’t want to say that “I tried something, couldn’t win over it, moved away with other things in life”. For me the greatest value is, ”I believed in something and I tried, tried and tried and then one day I achieved it”
5. How did you find time for preparation ?
People say, “When you have will, there is always a way”. My complete struggle with preps & getting adjusted happened in 2005-2006-2007. It wasn’t easy , handling a family, job, studies, part time teaching etc etc etc, but it wasn’t tough too. If someone says that you need to sit down for 2 hours every day & mug and mug to crack CAT, I would say he/she may not be 100% true. I believed that, how much ever I prepared, let it be even 10 minutes, I should feel happy. When I go to bed that day I should be able to say "yes, I have moved atleast a few inches closer to my dream”. So don’t pressurize yourself, don’t feel bad if you cant prepare for sometime & please don’t quit your Job for CAT preps. Believe me, Cat doesn’t need 8 – 10 hours a day & also quitting a Job would become an added pressure when you get into the exam hall. Secure your survival first & then think about doing justice to your dreams.
6. What is your advice to the future aspirants ?
Nothing. Just believe in yourself. Don’t go by what others say. Listen to your heart & if possible your mind too. Never compare someone’s profile who has aced CAT with yours & please don’t feel that you cannot crack CAT because it didn't match with them. While I was pursuing my MBA dream, I was 33 (first impediment), Married (second impediment), 58.4% BE, 61% 10th standard (third impediment), 10 years work ex (fourth impediment), not so great in Mocks –percentiles ranging from 12 to 99.9 (fifth impediment) and also not so good in english - Village background (sixth impediment). If I can convert an IIM call, believe me – any one here can too. All the above said are not actually impediments if you feel you can still ace & convince others about your dreams. Inspite of not having any of these impediments, you may not reach to your destiny just by one thought, “I cant crack CAT”. IT IS ALL WITH IN YOU & YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN TILL YOU ACHIEVE.
One or two or three failures should not change your thoughts & belief. I was rejected by IIMA in 2007, still I believed. Rejected by XLRI in 2008, I continued believing. Rejected by IIML in 2009, I believed & converted XLRI-GMP in 2009. It added to my confidence that one day I can convert a 2 year programme. Finally in 2010, I have converted IIML, waitlisted at IIMC (converted later) though I was rejected by IIMA. Having said that, don’t make your dreams your master. Don’t get frustrated if it is delayed. Enjoy the process, go along the flow & believe, “ONE DAY IT WILL HAPPEN”.
I am finally happy. Because I used to preach & advice people (whoever comes to me) a lot on the above said points. But there used to be an uneasy feeling that, yes I am believing, I am preaching but in reality I am still a failure, I couldn’t convert a call. Today, I have a point that I was & am right. The primary reason for my existence in MBA forums was to set an example to people who are married, who have lots of responsibilities in life, who are out of touch, who are from a vernacular back ground, but still have a dream & also have a doubt whether they can pursue their dreams i.e, can they compete with fresh , young, strong minds. Now, I have done it, so can you. ”Guide your dreams to destiny & you can do so, if you want”. If anyone of you who want to quit your dream halfway due to any reason, just stop for a second & think. The “Do not Quit” poem reads, “And you can never tell how close you are, it may be near when it seems so far, so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit, it’s when things go wrong that you must not quit”.
This is the story of a normal person from an unknown village to an IIM. All the Best!