Who's afraid to bell the CAT? Not him

lCAT score in 2008: 99.06 per cent

lCAT score in 2009: 99.34 per cent

lCAT score in 2010: 98.56 per cent

lCAT score in 2012: 99.87 per cent

This teacher believes in leading by example, even if that means appearing for CAT (Common Admission Test) year after year and turning down calls from IIMs. While the USP of most CAT tutorial classes is their list of successful students, here the teacher's annual scorecard is the clincher.

For 37-year-old Jairam Srinivas, who runs a coaching centre near Chetla, taking CAT has become a kind of habit since 2008. And all but once he has come out with flying colours. Last year's score ' 99.87 per cent 'earned him calls from IIMs in Calcutta, Lucknow, Kozhikode and Raipur.

Srinivas is no management graduate from a blue-chip institute. A former student of Don Bosco-Park Circus, he studied civil engineering from North Bengal University and worked in the power transmission sector for six years before quitting and turning full-time tutor.

"I was always passionate about math. I had also cleared the Indian Statistical Institute's entrance exam. So in 2004, I decided to coach students in my favourite subject," he said.

Srinivas's first brush with CAT came when he started helping his sister prepare for the test. "That is when I found its math curriculum very interesting and decided to start coaching for IIM too," Srinivas said.

And to boost their confidence, he decided to take the exam himself as well. By 2008, Srinivas, along with his first batch of students, were ready for CAT. "That year I got a call from IIM-Lucknow," recalled Srinivas.

Srinivas was not interested in returning to the classroom for management lessons, but his passion for math saw him take the exam again and again. At second attempt, too, he got a call from IIM Lucknow and from IIMs, Kozhikode and Bangalore, in 2010.

"But 2012 was my best performance," said Srinivas with a content smile. "I would have sat for IIT too along with my students. Only it has an age limit." Srinivas, however, solves the IIT entrance test papers with his students the day after the exam.

"The trick behind cracking any test is to get your basics right. I keep telling my students to enjoy the core subject and not focus just on examinations," Srinivas says in true Rancho style.

No wonder 35 to 40 per cent of his students clear IITs and IIMs every year. "I try to make my lessons as light-hearted and fun as possible, often drawing examples from life or history. There should be no wall between a teacher and a student," said the father of an eight-month-old. "Once a student came up to me and confessed how taxing he found geometry. To encourage him I told him how Abraham Lincoln used to solve geometry problems before public speeches. Lincoln felt geometry sharpened his mind. We need to find a link between a subject and life to make it interesting to students."

There's more to Srinivas than solving math and CAT problems. He is a sports buff and a foodie who loves Bengali and south Indian cuisine. Preparations for CAT, of course, continue.


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