A soccer enthusiast and aspiring fantasy writer, Chennai lad Abhiram Iyer, a mechanical engineer from IIT-Madras who topped the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2013 with a perfect 100 percentile, is not your average geek.
The 23-year-old employee of Ashok Leyland is one of the eight toppers of the test that determines admissions to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management. Around 1.94 lakh candidates took CAT 2013, results of which were declared on Tuesday.
Abhiram, who has been a project planner at Ashok Leyland for the last 18 months, got the score after attempting the test twice earlier.
“Each time I was stuck somewhere between the 99th and 100th percentiles. I think everyone in that range is equally talented. A bit of luck and a good mood during the test can get you that extra point,” he said.
Three years ago, Abhiram had managed to get into IIM-Indore but chose to decline the seat. “At the interview, a professor asked me if it would be better to pursue an MBA after a few years of work. Though at the time I convinced him that I, a fresher then, deserved the seat, I later realised he was right,” he said.
Abhiram is a big fan of fantasy writer Steven Erikson. “Fantasy novels challenge your imagination. They are the biggest stress busters,” said the topper who lives in Anna Nagar and plans to write a fantasy book sometime.
Recreation and distraction are very important when you are rigorously preparing for CAT, he said, adding, “Before every mock test, I watch a game of football. It reminds me nothing is predictable, just like the CAT.”
Abhiram’s mother is a retired State Bank of India manager, and his father, an auditor at the defence accounts department in Mumbai.
Among other toppers in the city is T.S.K Sravanth from Kakinada, a student of electrical engineering at IIT-Madras with a 99.98 percentile. The student, who has already been recruited by a reputed company, said he likes “holding positions of responsibility and managing situations.”
“I will definitely ditch the job if I get into IIM-Ahmedabad, Bangalore or Kolkata,” he said.
Madhura Prabhudesai, also a student of IIT-Madras and one of the few girls to make it to the list of top scorers, with 99.8 percentile, said preparing for the test was easy, being an engineering student. “Maths in CAT is very similar to the Joint Entrance Examination that I had already cracked. It was English I had to focus on.”
Madhura too has an offer from a top multi-national corporation but is not sure she will take it up.
“I want to take some time over deciding this. Right now, the feeling of getting a score like this is just sinking in,” she said.