In some ways I am glad I never took the normal, typical, assembly line CAT Coaching that were the only ones that existed when I cracked the CAT.
My IIM Bangalore Interview was aeons ago – so, pardon my memory but a part of it went like something like this.
Interviewer 1: So, which newspaper do you read regularly?
Me: None really, sir
Interviewer 1 (attempting a gentle correction): None in particular, or none regularly, you mean?
Me: No, sir. I almost NEVER read ANY newspaper.
Interviewer 2 (with an incredulous look and tone): And why so?
Me: Ahh sir, because they don’t tell news.
Interviewer 1 (in a tone oozing sarcasm and all set for some entertainment at my cost): Enlighten us …
Let me share the crux of what went on for the rest of my interview – for a good 15 minutes.
I didn’t read newspapers and I don’t read newspapers. I don’t watch news channels. Well, almost never. Unless I have to catch up something specific including a speech or some sport.
Why? Let me give you reasons:
1. Because newspapers or news channels don’t tell news. They sell news.
And this small change in the spelling of the crucial verb changes everything.
They don’t inform you of what you need to know.
They print or play (on a loop) what gets them eye-balls. And that means they are never matter-of-fact. They are simply vying for your attention.
And that is done by tugging at some strong emotion – using crisis, doom, sensation, controversy, crime, sex – hysteria of some sort. Something that would cause you to stick more and seek more. You don’t read the news and assimilate information – you consume the news, and the news consumes you. Think about it!
2. Because news on these platforms is (almost always) headlined negatively. And that doesn’t help. It is neither factual nor helpful.
I don’t read newspapers doesn’t mean I don’t read news. But I get news that I seek (and not whatever is served) and I get it from sources that may be boring but are generally more accurate.
So, right now for example, I see the Ministry of Health website https://mohfw.gov.in and https://worldometers.info/coronavirus once daily. Any specific communication from the PM or the CM. And occasionally check updations on a couple of other health related websites that I was referred and found trustworthy and data/logic oriented. A total of half an hour or so in a day. Just that!
I am guessing most news right now paints a dark and dreary scenario – of how this crisis will change the world for bad. But on my facebook and WhatsApp, I have come across 23 connections – friends from school, IIT, IIM, a couple of NGOs we work with, a couple of celebrities I know well – each of whom is doing phenomenal work. From supplying ration, treating patients, feeding strays to anything and everything that the world needs right now. It paints to me a very different version of the world and the future than the news may have. It helps and it allows me to contribute in many ways. That’s where I would rather spend some time and energy.
So, while every CAT coaching expert, online or offline, will ask you to start reading newspapers (to stay updated and to improve your RC) from day-1, I respectfully dismiss both suggestions from these CAT Coaching experts.
Even if you do follow their advice – be aware of what you are getting into and be sure you don’t want to pursue better ways of doing it. Then, you should be ok.
And oh, l almost forgot adding this – I did make it through IIM Bangalore too. But I preferred IIM Cal. Why? Well, strange reasons again – will share with you someday soon.
About the author: Deekshant has sleep-walked through several 100 and 99.9 %iles in practically every section of the CAT. That he is a cricket fan and he writes okay is evident from most of his posts. 1000s of our students swear that he can motivate almost anyone to double his/her percentile through very simple yet powerful inputs. And that’s why every MBAGuru student has direct access to him via mail and Telegram. Oddly, he somehow also finds the time to write songs professionally. And yes … almost missed this … he is an alumnus of IIT Delhi & IIM Cal