Planning for Life’s Downs and Combating them Fearlessly

With life comes ups and downs. I bet, there isn’t a single person who has not faced a hardship at some time in their life. However, there would be many who overcome these difficult times happily – for some it is in their upbringing, for others it is a learned aspect. But what I have found is those armed with a plan always go further in life.

I wrote MBA entrance exams (for a full-time program) for the top B-Schools in India in 2006-07. I had prepared for more than 3 years to crack at least one of them. Such was my commitment that I took preparatory books even to the US when I went on a short-term assignment through Wipro in 2005. When I came back to India, I used to study day-in-day-out; even during my commute to the office, I would solve mathematical equations (you see, I didn’t want to leave it to chance).

After relocating to Gurgaon from Bangalore, I left Wipro to join TCS around mid-2006. A major reason was I wanted to join coaching with Career Launcher there, they were the best in India back then. I must have practiced countless Mock tests and Group discussions. I would read The Economic Times daily (I did major in Finance) to learn the financial jargon and improve upon my GK. Just before November, when the exams were about to start, the entire vocabulary from Barrons (3500 words) was on my fingertips.

With more than enough preparation as some would say, I wrote my first exam, the Common Admission Test (CAT). I made a strategic mistake there and knew right away I wouldn’t clear it – with that, making it to the MDI or SP Jain was gone. I learned from the mistake. IIFT entrance was lined-up next and I was prepared even more than before. The remaining followed – NMIMS, JBIMS, FMS, XLRI – until the end of Jan 2007.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) I only cleared IIFT. I was within 1,100 selected from more than 45,000 who sat for the exam, for their Interview, Essay Writing and GD process. Well, with no option, I prepared even harder. After going through the second stage, I came to know in March that I am 29th on their waiting list (they had 160 seats). Huh! But I still had hope!

From March to June 2007, as people kept on dropping because of their selection(s) elsewhere, the list kept moving up. I had countless sleepless nights that I can remember. But I never gave up – my Mom and I would just think and pray. She would always say i will make it, she is a very firm believer in God.

My project at work wanted me to fly off to Manchester for a long-term assignment early July. I reluctantly accepted that, on the condition that MBA would take precedence in case I was to be selected. However, I always kept an eye on the waiting list as they could take me in before 2nd July when the classes were to start. On 29th June, I came to know that I have finally made it to IIFT and have to join in 3 days. I was on cloud nine with smiles (and tears). The wait from the last 8 months had come to an end!

Looking back, it was a life-changing event, and I knew it back then as well! You don’t get a call from IIFT easily – they were ranked 6th in India by the Wall Street Journal in 2014, 21st in Asia-Pacific by the QS Global 200 Business Schools report, and were placed in the highest B-school rating category (Super league) by Business Standard last year – these are just a handful of the laurels for this eminent institution.

What I learned is to never give up and to always have a plan or, as the video aptly says, #KhudKoKarBuland…I have fought many tough battles since, but with much less stress and positive outlook, because being prepared has always helped me move forward.

95 thoughts on “Planning for Life’s Downs and Combating them Fearlessly

  1. You possess that great attribute; faith in yourself. You knew you would make it and to make absolutely sure you prepared yourself in every way available. Your hard work has paid off. Now you need never look back, only forward.
    Congratulations in advance for what you will achieve in your future.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wish I had studied.. The only class I ever attended was when we were ti give the roll numbers on the first day. . I was too engrossed in sports hockey. .. ☺
    Hard work pays for sure a bit later in our nation maybe but it does pay..

    Congratulationssssssss. ..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An inspiring story of hard work equals success, Alok. All those long nights paid off. What a wonderful achievement for making it to IIFT. Very prestigious. It really was a close call before you had to fly off soon. Fate works in the mysterious of ways 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dude!! You are a whizzkid and it must be tough cum hard work to nail it. Dedication always pay. I am horrible at Maths despite being an Economics graduate. That’s why I flunked my Masters and didn’t complete..hehe
    But, true we need to change our attitude during adversity:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hardwork, commitment and perseverance surely lead to success. Being a firm believer, I do feel there’s something with destiny too (I was dead against a love marriage for myself and see where I ended up). Planning for your odd days is indeed a must. Thankfully, our middle-class upbringing has taught us saving for the rainy days since early days. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You never know what lies ahead 😛
      I guess with the environment we have these days, we can be much wiser than we all are. There is just too much wandering we do, else we can all live blissful lives!


  6. Nice and inspiring post. I can relate to all of this because I have seen my sons journey of writing xat and making it to xlri. The written test, the gds,interviews and our anticipation of results together just like you and your mom did. All the best for a successful future and dont forget to call your mom every night ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You trusted yourself which is the best of gifts one can give themselves. Your hard work and faith gave you the results you wanted so badly. Many congrats to you about them and reading your story sure made me smile back at those college days. Dedication never fails anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. oh hey by the way do people with 50 percentile marks get into any IIM? I am having an ongoing debate with a friend would really appreciate if you can give some insight…

        Thanks in advance

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such an inspiring post for me and you know why. It is that point of the year when I need motivation like this badly.
    I’ll do my best with dedication and then one day, I’ll narrate a story like this. I admire you for your dedication and most of the credit goes to your Mother 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. One of your finer posts, Alok. There was inspiration and simplicity and cold hard truth packaged in a great voice. It is essential to be reminded of this in a non-preachy way and you have done just that. Absolutely perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Amazing story of hope for all:) Our hard work does not go without pay off because we all reap what we sow.
    BTW, how are you doing with the strain? Able to get back to your regular movements? Hope you are well!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m currently placed in Wipro and am preparing for CAT. I feel really motivated after reading your post. Once I get into my desired business school I’ll definitely come back and thank you. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

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