My career aspirations were driven by my high, extremely well, high quantitative aptitude. I made it to IITB and was in its selective electrical engineering section which makes it very obvious to many readers that I was blessed with very high quantitative aptitude. Duh will be the response of many. Based on my experience with aptitude tests and comments from others in the US, I think my skills were indeed special. Scoring just a plain vanilla 99% on quantitative aptitude tests would have been quite insulting for me. Instead, I always tried to get perfect scores and was disappointed when I made a few careless mistakes to lose a few points. For example in GMAT, I missed 4 questions out of 60 scoring a converted 56 – all because of careless mistakes which was frustrating- but it was still high enough so that if I omitted answering 10 questions on top of my 4 careless mistakes, I would have still scored 99%. And completing 30 minutes quantitative sections of GMAT in less than 11 minutes for me was normal for me completing them in leisurely pace. When I took the CAT exam for IIM 1981 entrance, I recall one quantitative section had 30 questions and we had just 10 minutes to complete that section. Questions were easy but will I have enough time to read the questions, let along answer all of them was the question in my mind and I did go fast. I completed that section in time. I guess I scored around 27. My guess is that the typical student accepted at the IIMs that year scored below 10 more likely around 7 to 8 in that section. Curiously, I got interview calls from Ahmedabad and Bangalore but not from Calcutta, which is supposed to be a quant school.
My quant professors in the US recognized my skills, and one of them, my operations research professor Dr. Marvin Troutt, who was an actuary too, encouraged me to become one since it involved high quantitative skills. That’s what I was preparing for besides improving my investment and financial skills by passing CFA and CFP exams.
Other Aptitude Scores
Following have no direct bearing on my Mitsubishi Electric hiring or career aspirations but for the sake of completeness I will mention them. I scored 98% on analytical reasoning section of GRE. In spatial reasoning test when applying for Larsen & Toubro, the clerk who had graded the test, commented favorably on my performance.