Madhumita Patnaik

It all started when I joined a private engineering college for pursuing my B.Tech degree. Some said ‘It’s the end of my career’ and some questioned the sanctity of my high scores in board exams. The innate desire to prove it to myself that even I am worth a college as good as an IIM played a very important role in the latter part of the game. Days went by, I finally completed my B.Tech and then joined Infosys, believed to be one of the best employers of the country. Little did I know then that life would be so difficult at this stage of the corporate world. Constant naggings from seniors, peer pressure to perform better and a demanding project made things even worse. Finally it was in July, 2011 when I put down my feet and decided firmly to go ahead and achieve my long lost dream: MBA. Gradually, as days passed, it was becoming tougher for me. But then nothing could stop me from achieving this – not even the constant threatening from team members. I took a long leave of about 2 months before CAT, sat back at home, brushed my basics and gave lot many mock tests. The results at times were very disappointing, there were times when I felt utterly stressed but my family always showed enough confidence in me. I managed to score a decent 96.67 percentile in CAT. Things got even worse when I realized that I have only one IIM call. It was a very big blow to my confidence. I attended few GD and PI classes here at Bhubaneswar. But it proved very difficult for me to manage both studies and work at office. Finally, with the help of a few very encouraging friends, I decided to stay back at Kolkata and study for my GDs and PIs. One of them introduced me to Backspace, another booked a PG for me, and another made sure that a dabbawala is arranged for my food!!! Hats off to all the wonderful people in my life!!! Now, here started my journey at Backspace – my journey with Partha and all the other 20 odd Backspacians. After attending few classes here, I realized that the others were far better prepared than me and I need to do a hell lot of home work in order to reach their level. But Partha never lost hope in me. I still remember him saying in a very strong voice, ‘I am sure you will convert IIM Kozhikode’. He showed confidence in me at a time when I had none on my own. He had set my targets very clearly – he had asked me to prioritise all my calls and work accordingly. The sessions on writing skills were particularly helpful in honing my written language. I could clearly gauge the improvement through my own writings. Regular GD sessions helped me overcome fear of non-participation in a GD. The wide variety of GD topics helped us to gain different perspectives and ideas on the same subject. Apart from all these sessions, there were times when Partha personally sat down with me to jot down the answers for my personal questions. Very patiently, he would listen to all my stories and help me in formulating my answers. Then again there were the brainstorming mock interviews which gave us a clear picture of the kind of cross-questioning that we would face from our interviewers. Here, we also had the opportunity to sit through the interviews of others – this helped immensely in gaining an insight into different subject fields as well. Last but not the least, the small tea breaks at the tea stall across the road, the light moments when we teased each other by making imaginary couples and the end of the day gup-chup treats were amongst the most memorable parts of this journey. If I am asked to describe Partha in two simple words, then that would be ‘Perfectionist’ and ‘Dedicated’. He gave the best of his efforts to groom us to a stage where we can fit into good management institutes. Being an IIM-A graduate himself, he understands management better and that is very well demonstrated by the manner in which the sessions are conducted. Finally, today here I am writing a testimonial after converting my lone IIM call, a dream come true for me. Thanks a lot Partha and all the Backspacians, it wouldn’t have been possible without you all!!!