Abhishek Patel | GMAT 750
In conversation with Abhishek who took our GMAT Online course.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve done my chemical engineering from Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai. During my engineering, I interned with Reliance. Post my graduation, I’ve been working in a company called Aker solutions which is basically into designing chemical plants of oil and gas. My role revolves around engineering-related work, but I also worked in business development and other activities.
What was your motivation for an MBA?
I’m looking at an MBA to transition into the management side of the energy industry. I want to move into a strategy role. Business always appealed to me. Initially when I interned with Reliance, I got to learn about how the plant operates and what goes into the supply chain aspects of it.
Post my engineering, I wanted to know what goes behind building and designing those kind of plants – basically the EPC (engineering procurement and construction) business of it. Now I’m looking at shifting to the clients’ side in a strategic role where I can handle the profile of a particular area of chemicals, make decisions and get a global understanding of the chemical sector.
How did you come to know about CrackVerbal?
Being an engineer, Quant wasn’t a problem for me. I’ve given the GMAT before- I did self-prep and got 680. Once I analysed the scores, I realised that the Verbal part was what pulled my score down. If I could get a decent Verbal score, I would have probably got a 720. I was searching online for guidance on Verbal and came across CrackVerbal. I saw a couple of other options online too but speaking to someone at CrackVerbal about the Verbal section and where and how I’m getting stuck, helped me make the right decision for my prep – I enrolled for the CrackVerbal Online course.
How did you go about with your GMAT prep?
The first time I just prepared for a month while I was still working, so I studied as and when I got time. I gave a couple of mocks. I used the official GMAT guide and spoke to a couple of friends who gave me material that would help me out.
On the Verbal section, what particular module did you find the hardest?
I think it would have to be Reading Comprehension. The inference questions were tough. I probably wasn’t using a correct approach before I took the classes. While solving a question, obviously you’ll remove 3 options quite quickly, but if you have 2 options, one of them you may assume is something in the passage. Under quick reading, you may not recollect so much. I generally ended up going for the wrong option out of the 2. The classes really helped me solve the big picture questions faster.
How was the second attempt different from the first?
Well, if I had to put it down to one single factor, it would be that this time I didn’t have the jitters that I had the last time. It makes a big difference. My performance gets affected to a great extent if I’m nervous. Also, I learnt very useful Verbal approaches at CrackVerbal. Suppose you’re doing a particular question and you don’t know what the difficulty level is, if you break them down into the simple 6-7 tenses and error forms- that classification breaks down a complicated question to a simpler form and helps you solve the question faster.
The first time I prepared, I did it from the OG, so I didn’t have any strategy per say and didn’t make any notes – that kind of affected the way I answered the big picture questions.
How was the day of the exam? Any strategies you used?
I never had a problem in terms of time on my test. I never used to fixate on one particular problem. It was always pretty easy for me to knock off 3 options. It was more of a hassle getting the right one out of the remaining two. The classes helped me develop a strategy on how to choose the right one.
And no magic potions during the test, just Parle-G and water did the trick.
I read online about simulation tests used in the US where you can take it with the person who makes the exam. If that was there in India, it would surely make a huge difference, we might just cross the 800 score easily! 😉
That’s an idea worth exploring ☺ What colleges do you plan to apply to?
Since I’m interested in the oil and gas sector itself, I’m looking at colleges which are feeders for companies like Chevron. I’m applying to colleges like UT Austin, McCombs because it’s in Texas and because I feel it’s a good college for me personally. I’m also applying to Ross, Kellogg, Wharton and Sloan.
Apart from your professional experience, do you have any other experience you’d like to showcase in your application?
I am involved with my college alumni association i.e. with the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and I’m also associated with a program called Rotaract which is a youth driven self-development organization. There are multiple activities and projects that we do around community service, professional development and collaboration with international clubs around the world.
How do you feel CrackVerbal helped you?
It was a concept of ‘learning, unlearning and relearning’ for me. CrackVerbal taught me to have a structured approach- that was the key takeaway. I took the online classes and the one thing that sticks out is that the lecturer never gets tired of you- you may ask the same question a 100 times and you get a different response each time- they break it into simpler terms so that you understand better. The openness and ability to explain something in extremely simple terms is the USP of CrackVerbal.
Do you have any gyaan to share with other MBA aspirants?
Having a structured approach definitely helps. On my first attempt, I gave around 25 mock tests before the real exam- that was a mistake. I wouldn’t recommend that. 4-5 mock tests are more than sufficient. I was of the opinion that the more mock tests you take, the more thorough you would be. I went back and focused on concepts and strategies. I found the areas I was weak in and began targeted practice around those areas. Getting a higher conversion rate on the untimed scenario first and then moving on to the time scenario is a good idea.
Thanks for your valuable time Abhishek. All the best with everything ahead! ☺