CAT 2013 Topper with 100 percentile, Siva Surya Teja
'Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.' CAT 2013 topper who scored a perfect 100 percentile, Siva Surya Teja Thotakura, lives up to this quote by Napoleon Hill. An engineer at Infosys, CAT 2013 was Siva's 4th attempt at cracking the toughest MBA entrance exam in India and probably the world. What stands out in his success story is his resolute decision to not give up till he achieved nothing but the best. IndiaEducation.net spoke with Siva at length to know more about his success mantra.
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IE.net: Congratulations Siva on your achievement! How many attempts did it take for you to get the perfect score? Did coaching help?
Siva: Thank you! CAT 2013 was my fourth attempt. I first attempted CAT quite casually, without any preparation, while I was in my final year of engineering. I scored 99 percentile in my second attempt but that got me calls only from the newer IIMs and IIM Kozhikode. I wasn't happy with that as I was not looking beyond IIM - A,B,C.
So I took CAT for a third time only to land up with 96 percentile. I was devastated this time! I went on a one month break taking all possible exams - the SBI PO exam, the IBPS Specialist Officer (IT Officer exam), GATE - qualifying all of them and getting selected for all, only to reject them.
I could not give up on my dream and so I attempted CAT for the fourth time this year and I am happy that my persistence paid off.
I have been preparing for CAT on my own all this while, so I had not approached any coaching institute. I did register for the online test packs (SIMCAT and TIME) to get ample practice.
IE.net: Which are your dream B-schools? Hoping to get calls from them?
Siva: I don't want to settle for anything less than the top three Indian Institutes of Management - IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta. Apart from the IIMs, my only other choice would be the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS,) Delhi. Yes, I really hope that a score of 100 percentile would get me calls from all these MBA colleges!
Siva's CAT score card - a perfect 100 percentile!
IE.net: Which section did you find easier?
Siva: Quantitative, definitely! I have always loved numbers. My father is a Maths professor and he inculcated the interest for Mathematics in me. Verbal, on the other hand, has always been my weak point. In fact, my score got compromised the last couple of times due to the Verbal section. I took extra efforts to prepare for the Verbal section this year and they seem to have paid off! I scored 99.92 in the Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning section and 99.95 percentile in the Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation section in CAT 2013.
IE.net: Have you started preparing for the next rounds at the IIMs - the personal interview (PI) & written ability test (WAT) rounds?
Siva: I have to, now! I have almost a month to go and my focus is going to be on clearing these now. TIME has offered to help me prepare for WAT. I need to brush up my writing skills.
(Also read: How to write a good essay in WAT)
IE.net: Tell us more about your education qualifications and work experience.
Siva: I completed my B.Tech from JNTU College of Engineering in 2011 and got placed with Infosys, Hyderabad immediately. I've been working there as a Systems engineer for the past 2.5 years. My colleagues and team at Infosys have been quite supportive and have let me work according to my own timelines to accommodate my CAT preparation. I was also provided with enough leaves before the exam for the final round of preparation.
IE.net: How has your family reacted to the news?
Siva: My father, mother and younger brother are thrilled, of course. And without doubt, I give all the credit for my achievement to my family. My father is the headmaster at the government school in my hometown, Samalkot (Andhra Pradesh.) He guided and helped me with my studies till class 10th. After that he gave me the choice to choose my own path. His belief in me has always encouraged me to aim for nothing but the best. My mother is a homemaker and has been a pillar of strength and support. My younger brother works with TCS, Chennai. I was to take CAT 2013 on 10 November, 2013 from Hyderabad and my father was hospitalised just a day before the exam. They chose to not tell me anything about it until my exam was over.
IE.net: What keeps you busy apart from management exam preparation and work?
Siva: I have always had an interest in Mathematics and used to do Mathematics Magic shows in school. Writing poetry is another passion, I've around 50-60 poems, mostly in my mother tongue. I also play badminton for a couple of hours daily after office.
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