Young achiever: MP boy Srajal Gupta gets 100 percentile in his third attempt at the CAT exam

Srajal Gupta, a 23-year-old engineer from Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh had set his sights on getting 100 percentile in the CAT exam during his college days. His first two attempts left him short of the goal, with 99.72 on his first attempt in 2020 and 98.96 on his second attempt in 2021. Undaunted, Srajal gave his third attempt in 2022 and is among the handful of aspirants to score 100 percentile this year.
The young student shifted to a school in Kota in class IX itself. “I had earmarked on my aim to become an engineer early on. The shift to Kota was because the coaching scene in my hometown was not great. Additionally, at that time, my older brother was preparing for his JEE entrance exam in Kota, so the shift was easier,” says Srajal, who took admission into NIT Surat as he got admission into his preferred stream of Mechanical Engineering there.
Srajal got the inspiration to become a manager from a relative. “I witnessed the professional journey of MBA students, which attracted me towards the work culture and profile it offered,” he says. After finishing his engineering course, Srajal started working in a chemical manufacturing firm, where he realised that technicians had to achieve fixed short-term targets whereas their managers had the task to complete projects in their entirety.
Srajal began his preparation process in 2020. “I dedicated around four to five hours of preparation time, along with regular classes and online coaching classes,” says Srajal. Taking multiple mock exams helped, as he was able to identify which questions he should attempt first and the time he should be spending on solving questions from particular topics, adds Srajal.
While Srajal’s first attempt had got him admission into a good management college, he decided to pass on the opportunity. Explaining, he says, “My dream was to get a perfect score and get admission into one of the top IIMs.” Further, he already had a job, so he decided to get some work experience. “In 2020, online education was offered by B-schools, which I was not keen on. Thus, against apprehensions and objections by my family, I decided to get some work experience and reappear for CAT,” says Srajal.
With his experience of preparing and appearing for the CAT over his three attempts, Srajal’s advice to CAT aspirants includes, “Focus on your weaker sections; we get mental satisfaction when we solve questions in our strong areas, but that will not help in the long run. Also, CAT is more about accuracy than solving multiple questions. So, give a few seconds more to solve a question correctly than give multiple wrong answers.” The final advice is to get some work experience before appearing for CAT, as this will improve chances of scoring well.
Engineers, he feels, have an edge over candidates from other backgrounds in CAT because their mathematical skills have been honed during their college days. “Two out of the three sections in CAT exam have their base in Maths, which makes our chances of scoring well automatically better,” says Srajal.
Srajal belongs to a middle class family, wherein his father runs a kirana shop and his mother is a housewife. Srajal’s elder brother is also an engineer. Srajal is looking forward to appear for his interviews and get admission into any of the top three IIMs or FMS Delhi.