Cracking the CAT exam was a cakewalk for Maruti Konduri and Sayali Kale who co-own an ed-tech start-up ‘Cracku’. In the CAT 2021 result declared on January 3, Maruti scored 100 percentile while his wife Sayali secured 99.97 percentile, just a 0.1 score less than the female topper. The couple is an alumnus of IIM-Ahmedabad and took the exam to help their students.
“Each time, the success brings the same rush as it did the first time. We retook the exam to understand the recurring changes in the exam pattern. It helps in understanding what the students we tutor will go through while appearing in the exam,” Maruti said.
A native of Vizag, Maruti completed his schooling from Vizag and then appeared for JEE. He pursued BTech in Computer Science from IIT-Bombay. Maruti first appeared for the CAT exam in 2008 and secured 99.97 percentile. He was admitted to IIM Ahmedabad in 2009 where he met his wife Sayali Kale.
Sayali belongs to Thane, Maharashtra, and completed her B-Tech in Computer Science from VJTI Mumbai. She also qualified the CAT 2008 by securing 99.91 percentile to get into IIM Ahmedabad.
After completing their management programme from IIM Ahmedabad, the couple worked as investment bankers in Hongkong and Singapore.
“I joined the investment banking progression merely for the high package I was offered. However, few years into the job, I was unsatisfied with my work life. I was performing averagely as I wasn’t interested in the work. It was a rhetorical work with no new learning. This is when I decided to return to India,” Maruti shared.
Sayali too had a similar experience but was more conscious of her next move. “I was certain to launch a start-up rather than working for another employer. My husband was convinced with the idea and we both decided to quit our jobs and launch an ed-tech startup,” she said.
The idea to launch an ed-tech brand came from their success in the CAT exam. Maruti and Sayali decided to help other CAT aspirants by launching ‘Cracku’ in 2014. However, as the exam pattern had changed over the years, they decided to themselves appear in the exam to understand the changes better.
After 2008, when Maruti re-appeared for the exam again in 2019, he secured a 100 percentile much to his own satisfaction. In 2020, he secured 99.99 percentile while this year.
“In 2008, the exam was conducted in pen and paper mode and now it is held in CBT mode. The paper pattern has also transformed. However, in a decade the difficulty level of the exam and the quality of questions asked is intact. Hard work is the only key to crack this exam,” Maruti believes.
Meanwhile, Sayali said that the key to scoring high in the CAT exam is only through practice. “We often see that students do multiple revisions of the syllabus but devote less time to practice. It is very important to solve as many questions as possible to ace the accuracy and efficiency in the exam,” she pointed out.