Anurag Bontha completed his graduation a few years back. Just after that he got placed as an Officer in GSPCL, a well-known government organization. Three years into working full time, Anurag started preparing for MBA entrance exams. Today, he has added a bright feather in his cap, that of being a topper of Symbiosis SNAP test. The most awe inspiring fact is that he did not take a break from his work. Know how Anurag topped SNAP while working full time.
Anurag Bontha / Score 74 / Percentile 99.9507
B.Tech (2010-2014) from University College of Engineering, JNTUK Kakinada
Sri Chaitanya Jr. College, Visakhapatnam
Qs. First of all, we would like to congratulate you, we really respect the hard work you have put in. Kindly share your feelings with us and whom you credit your success
Ans. Thank you. I’m very much happy with the result and quite surprised as well. I knew that I wrote the exam quite well, but a percentile of 99.95 was something which I did not expect.
I’ve been preparing for the MBA entrance exams for the last one year and my family has been very supportive during this time. I am quite indebted to them for that and I’d credit this success to them. And equal credit must be ascribed to my mentor Mr. Ramakrishna Salagrama who’s been constructively guiding me for all the MBA entrance exams I’ve been writing.
Qs. Can you tell us about your family?
Ans. My parents live in our hometown – Rajam in Andhra Pradesh. My father works for LIC of India as a HGA and my mother is a mathematics teacher in a Government school near Rajam. My sister is pursuing her B. Tech in ECE and she’s currently in her final year. By the way, I’m married and my wife works for Capgemini India as an Associate Consultant in Hyderabad.
Qs. When did you enter into employment after graduation?
Ans. I was placed through campus placements and started working for GSPC in June’14 immediately after the completion of graduation.
About Your Journey
Qs. Which other MBA entrance exams have you appeared in?
Ans. Apart from SNAP, I’ve also appeared for CAT, NMAT, IIFT and I’m appearing for XAT.
Qs. You were already at the esteemed position of mechanical officer at GSPCL. What inspired you to pursue management?
Ans. I must agree that my role in GSPC during the last three years helped me very much to expose myself to the industry and its practices. It harnessed my technical skills and helped me to understand the concepts of business and management.
Qs. You did your B.Tech from JNTUK, Kakinada. Please share your college life experiences.
Ans. I graduated in Mechanical Engineering. Located in the city of Kakinada where a number of industries like GSPC, ONGC, Reliance, NFCL etc. are located we had a good industrial exposure. Along with the practical skills, my experience in college helped me to enhance the social skills of my choice. For example, my tenure as a director of LEO club provided me opportunities to exhibit and enhance my leadership and organisational abilities. I was a member of our college badminton team, in which I understood the importance of working as a team and learned many team building skills in the process. We also had foreign nationals in our class and I had the opportunity of interacting with them and knowing about their cultures which helped me in broadening my horizon. Overall, it was quite a pleasant stay on the campus where I was taught valuable knowledge.
Qs. Which is your dream B-School? Do you have any particular specialization in mind?
Ans. Frankly speaking, I do not have anything like a dream B-School. But, my target is to get into one of the top most B-Schools of the country like the old IIMs, XLRI, FMS, MDI etc. and definitely SIBM – Pune is one among them.
As we’ll be introduced to all the segments in the first year and after one full year of studying them, I’ll then be able to decide better which specialization is more suitable for me. So, as of now I don’t have any particular specialization in mind.
Qs. Did you prepare while working or did you take a break?
Ans. No. I did not take any break for my preparation. I prepared while working.
About Your Preparation For SNAP
Qs. How different is SNAP preparation from that of CAT?
Ans. For the preparation part, if you are preparing for CAT, a separate preparation schedule for SNAP isn’t required in the areas of Quant, Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning. But questions on grammar, vocabulary and critical reasoning are asked in SNAP which aren’t seen in CAT in the recent years. Also SNAP has a separate Current affairs section. So, I had a separate schedule for these extra topics.
Coming to the exam part, SNAP tests your basic concepts and time management is very important where you’ll have to attempt 150 questions in 120 minutes. It’s 100 questions in 180 minutes in CAT. So, speed is very crucial in SNAP. Also, SNAP doesn’t have any sectional time cut-offs and sectional cut offs in the admission process like CAT. So, it is very much important to take sufficient number of SNAP mocks before the actual exam to practise allocating sufficient amount of time to each section.
Qs. When did you start studying for management entrance exams?
Ans. I started my preparation in the month of Feb’17.
Qs. Please share your study plan from day 1 to the end (topics you covered from then to now).
Ans. As I had to start my preparation almost after 30 months of graduating from the college, I had to start from the scratch. For the first three months I focussed completely on brushing up my basics like basic concepts in quant and the basic formulae. I made sure that I read the Hindu Newspaper daily, especially the editorial page so that I stay updated about the current affairs and also it helped in improving my reading skills. I also acquainted myself with the basic models of the LR, DI & DS during this period.
Once I felt that my basics were strong enough, I started studying the advanced and the tough concepts and models. Once the concepts were studied, I’d attempt various problems related to those concepts. Exposure to various models during practice lessened the element of surprise during the exam. In the Reading Comprehension section, I practised at least one passage a day. I also started taking the sectional tests parallely so that I could meter my progress with my scores in the tests.
Six months into the preparation, I started my revision and the revision lasted for a couple of months. I started attempting the full length mock tests once in a week during this period.
In the last three months, I was only taking mocks more frequently and analyzing them. Analyzing the mocks is very crucial because only the analysis would help us to identify our weak and strong zones and which areas are to be focussed more.
Maintaining a hand note book which contained all the formulae was handy to revise all the important formulae before the final exam.
Qs. Which books did you use to prepare?
Ans. I started my preparation by solving the problems from Campusgate’s Aptitude book by Ramakrishna Salagrama. This was really helpful especially for the quant section to brush up my basics and to put me on track. I’ve also enrolled for the Excel Education, Kakinada – MBA preparatory course and they provide a substantial amount of material with various levels. For grammar section, High school English grammar by Wren & Martin and for vocabulary Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis came in quite handy. That was quite sufficient for the preparation aspect. Apart from this I attempted mocks in various online test series.
Qs. What syllabus did you refer to since there is no hard and fast syllabus for this exam?
Ans. In the Quant section I prepared for the topics of Number System, Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic (Time and Work, Mixtures and Alligations, Ratio and Proportion, Percentages, Time and Distance, Averages and Profit & Loss) & Higher Maths.
In the Data Interpretation section, I solved problems on various data models like data tables, Line Graphs, bar graphs, pie charts etc. and their combinations.
As there’s no syllabus that can be defined for Logical Reasoning and Data Sufficiency, I referred to the previous papers and practised similar sets in the practice material which included critical reasoning, deductive logic, analogies, logical reasoning sets, series, visual reasoning, arrangement, blood relations and puzzles.
For the reading comprehension section, I practised a number of passages pertaining to various topics in diversified fields. Again here, the previous years papers would be quite useful.
And for the current affairs section, I stayed up to date for regarding various national and international news during the last two years. I felt this knowledge was quite sufficient for attempting the current affairs section of SNAP.
Practising the previous years papers helps to understand in which areas the questions are being asked and this would be very helpful to schedule the preparation.
Qs. What are the things one should keep in mind while preparing for SNAP?
Ans. Speed plays a very crucial role in SNAP. One should be able to solve questions quickly without the accuracy taking a hit. SNAP mostly concentrates on testing your basics. So, one should spend sufficient time to work on them. SNAP tests some basic managerial skills like prioritization, strategy and time management. So, regular practice is required to exhibit these skills in the exam.
Qs. Your success mantra.
Ans. Strengthening my basic concepts and substantial amount of relevant practice made a good score possible.
Qs. What was your analysis of the SNAP exam?
Ans. I felt that this year SNAP exam was tougher than the last few years’ papers. Quant and General English sections were moderate while Current Affairs and Logical Reasoning were tough. There were quite a few questions which were tricky. So, selecting the right questions was very important to ensure a good score.
Qs. Any tips for the exam day?
Ans. Trust yourself. Feel confident that you’ve prepared to the fullest. Don’t let the tougher questions hamper your confidence in the exam. If something is difficult for you in the exam, it’s difficult for everybody. Stay calm and put the best effort possible.
About Your Future
Qs. What are your future plans?
Ans. I’m currently preparing for the next stage of selection process for the GD/WAT/GE/PI. My immediate goal is to pursue my MBA in a reputed institute. Five to six years down the line I’d like to see myself in a leadership role in the projects of a company where I can leverage the experience I’ve built over the period of time.
This interview is part of a success story series. If you have done well in an entrance exam, or know someone who has, please get in touch with AglaSem at [email protected] In email, mention name of exam, score obtained, and few brief details. We will get in touch with you for interview. Thanks!
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