Priyadarsh Sharma – 97%ile CAT scorer – GMAT 750
In conversation with Priyadarsh Sharma who bagged a 750 on the GMAT.
Can you tell us something about your background?
I did my undergraduation in Computer Science and Engineering. Post that, I did my PGDM. I started my career with Capgemini and then moved to IBM. Currently, I am doing a service transformation management role at IBM with about four years of experience. I engage with customers and see what sort of transformation initiatives can be done for their businesses.
The role I play typically lets me manage every client’s profile from a transformation perspective. I engage with customers and key stake holders who belong to the technical department, and I help customers leverage technology to the maximum by optimizing it to their needs.
I have also been actively involved in community service in the field of education.
What was your motivation behind an MBA?
I wrote the CAT in 2008 and scored a 97%ile. It was more like an escape route for me; I did not want to work in the IT industry. So when I got into K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies, I thought why not? It wasn’t really a planned decision. But now that I have spent about a good 4.5 – 5 years in the industry and know the industry inside out, I feel that on the brink of turning 30, now would be a good time to go back to school and learn more about the dynamics of a business. The classroom experiences that weren’t useful to me earlier would make a difference now, since this time I would be able to bring my cards to the table.
Post my MBA, I want to engage with customers and give them holistic solutions for the tech they use for their businesses. The profile that I’m looking to specialize in would be technology consulting.
How did you go about preparing for the GMAT?
When I decided to take the GMAT, I purchased the OG13 and took the diagnostic test. I realized soon after taking the test that Verbal was a problem area for me, especially SC.
RC and CR were not as hard as SC. In SC, I chose the answers that sounded right instead of focusing on the nitty-gritty details of grammar. I soon realized that SC was a test of hardcore grammar.
That was when I decided to join CrackVerbal. The slot I had booked for taking the GMAT was November 6th, and I had around 3 months to prepare.
When it came to CR, I made notes for the tougher questions, and the rest of the inferring I did mentally. For SC, I went through the material provided by CrackVerbal before every class since that made the classes more insightful.
During practice, I used to time all my sessions from day one. I felt that this was the most important thing during the entire preparation phase, because it helped me plan time to complete the Verbal section before time. CrackVerbal’s Advanced Document helped me in a great way since it helped me identify the pattern that appears on the GMAT. I feel CrackVerbal has done an amazing job in collating these questions.
When I took my next GMAT prep test, I noticed that I still scored badly in Verbal, though I thought I was getting better. I then started to introspect on how exactly I need to approach the test pattern. I sat through all the questions and spent time analyzing each question even if I had gotten the question right. Another factor was my nervousness. So the next time I took a prep test, I decided to stay calm no matter what the consequence. On that prep test, I scored a 760 which was like a 40 point jump—I scored a 45 in Verbal. At the end of the day, your GMAT score is dependent on how calm you can be while taking the test in a high pressure situation.
The GMAT prep exams that CrackVerbal provides helped me get ready for the exam. Around eight days before my GMAT, when I took a prep test, I scored a 770.
Since I had already taken the CAT, I never really looked at preparing for Quant. But when I took a Manhattan prep exam, I was not even able to reach the 50 point mark and I was also running short of time. What I realized was that no matter how good you are at math, you shouldn’t take your prep lightly. Always plan your prep and work ahead.
I used the OG13, Verbal Review 16, Quant Review 16, GMAT prep tests, GMAT prep question pack 1, and CrackVerbal Advanced Documents to prepare for the exams.
CrackVerbal’s online forum is also another way you can get right explanations to the OG questions.
What exactly do you plan to highlight in your application essays?
I want to talk about the lessons I have learned while handling high pressure situations while facing clients in a service transformation field.
At IBM, we have an important client that wanted to move to another competitor because they weren’t happy with our services. A day before they were about to sign a deal with our competitor, IBM managed to bag one last six-month buffer to set things right. This had a very detrimental effect on the team. During this time, I handled the customer and understood their needs, motivated the team, and told them how exactly we would keep this ten year old contract. It is experiences such as these that make a difference in your application.
These are the main points that I will highlight in my essay:
- Delivering results when it matters to the business and the customers
- Leadership under heavy pressure situations
- Wide exposure in the technology domain
What all schools have you applied to?
I have applied to Kellogg – R3, Cornell – R3, and ISB – R2. If this doesn’t work out, I would be applying only next year for any program.
Cornell and ISB, in my opinion, offer good career progression.
How do you feel CrackVerbal helped?
CrackVerbal really helped me structure my prep. It gave me an outline of what my daily prep should be like. The classroom program gave me a sense of commitment. My weekends were only reserved for classes, and I had targets for myself to achieve during the week. The classroom environment is something that gave me a sense of seriousness when it comes to my GMAT prep. The instructors at CrackVerbal help you look at the GMAT from a different and more unique perspective.
I would say that CrackVerbal played an integral role in my MBA journey.
Do you have any knowledge to impart to our fellow MBA aspirants?
- GMAT is a standardized test. It is all in the patterns!
- You need to know what story you want to tell the Adcoms through your essays. Everyone has a story. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of your story.