Asif Anwar Qureshi is a PGDM student at IIM Rohtak–one of the new members to IIM family. An overall achiever and an electronics and communication engineer, Asif has to his credit a number of awards and accolades. He also mentors MBA Aspirants on MBAbug Q&A with his valuable support and guidance.
Aditya Saxena spoke to Asif about his background, CAT preparation and more.
Q. Tell us something about yourself- your academic background, work experience etc.
Ans. I am an electronics and communication engineer from Government Engineering College Bhopal (GEC Bhopal). I am a gold medalist in examination conducted by “INDIAN CENTRE FOR WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES IN SOUTH ASIA REGION” and merit holder in National Science Olympiad. Currently I am pursuing my PGDM with specialization in Marketing and Strategy from IIM Rohtak. I enjoy travelling to new places, making new friends and reading biographies and autobiographies.
Q.What is the best thing about being an IIM student?
Ans. The very fact of being a part of the IIM fraternity that has proven their worth in almost every aspect of life, being taught by the faculty group that has produced the best brains in the country. Peer group having as diverse background as CA, B.Com, B.A., MBBS gives you insights into multiple aspects of a problem. Rigorous curriculum, case study approach are some of the USPs of the IIM teaching methodology.
Q.Why one should do MBA? What are the benefits of doing an MBA?
Ans. To be at a decision making position of a top MNC, to become a CEO 15-20 years down the line, to learn the basic of management so as to start up my own venture sometime in the future are some of the numerous reasons that aspirants have for doing an MBA. I will put it in simple words “MBA is a way of life, you would start with classes in the morning, chit chat in the afternoon, assignments in the evening, parties in the night”. After going through an MBA course you would realize that your efficiency has multiplied multiple folds. Your life will be a lot more disciplined. So whatever you do further on in your life, experience MBA once.
Q. How did you prepare for CAT? Share some tips.
Ans. I joined TIME coaching classes during my 3rd year of engineering. Regular lectures along with college studies gave me a glimpse of how tough time management will be. I don’t strongly recommend coaching, the teacher can only tell you the approach, the most important part practice is left for you to do it yourself, but it ensures regularity in studies. If you don’t join any regular classes join a test series. You will learn how to allocate time between different sections, how much time a particular question will take. Learning is always about how much you are able to learn concepts and how to apply them as and when the situation arises.
Q. Which was the most tricky and most interesting question you faced in your PI?
Ans. During my IIM Rohtak interview, I was asked tell me something about the pre- independence era and who all contributed the maximum. I uttered the name of Raja Ram Mohan Roy by mistake. The very next question was how he was connected to our freedom. I gave the logic that he unified the women and also those who were deprived of the basic necessities. The panel was not very convinced; they started asking me has the women gender been empowered now. I had read some data about the gender ratio in the country just one night before. I quoted the figure, they were very happy, they asked me more: which state has highest gender ratio, which has the lowest, how should we empower the women, more and more. It turned into an informal chat, I was giving suggestions, they were giving their views on the same. At the end of the interview, they were happy and so was I. I had a feeling that I had conquered a frontier and indeed it was a convert when the final results came. It is often said don’t read anything just before your interview, I read the gender ratio data casually and the very next day it bore fruits for me. I had never thought of it. Everything that you read, go through can be instrumental at some part of your life, you never know when. Interviews are about building up of questions. Whatever you answer, the next question will be a derivative of what you just answered.
Q. Do you think that the changing selection pattern of IIM is good enough? As what of those students who have scored low marks in X & XII, but are very good in studies as of now?
Ans. The changing selection pattern is largely because of the variation of the difficulty level of papers across different slots. To ensure that only those are consistent in their academic performance get calls, IIMs have to start giving profile based calls. This variation will stabilize once the paper pattern becomes standardized across different slots. Students who have low marks in 10th, 12th shouldn’t be too concerned as long as their marks are above the cutoff limit. Low graduation marks can cause some trouble for you in the interview as they are the last marks that you have as your academic performance. Get ready to face questions on them.
Q. Which are the top five b schools except IIMs, MBA aspirants should aim at?
Ans. XLRI Jamshedpur, IIFT Delhi, JBIMS, SIBM Pune, MDI Gurgaon
Q. Some advice to aspirants. What should they keep in mind?
Ans. Life is about making choices. Either to work hard now, burn the midnight oil and be at peace in the future or to keep burning the midnight oil each and every day of your life. Decision is all yours.