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'I was never an outstanding student'

January 15, 2009
How did you score 100 percent? When did you study?" was his mother's reaction when Shanatanu Gangal told her he had scored a perfect 100 percentile at CAT 2008.

Apart from hard work Shantanu thinks luck played a big role on the day (November 16, 2008) CAT 2008 was held. That can easily pass off as Shantanu's humility.

Says the 22 year old who stood 322nd in the IIT-Joint Entrance Exams five years ago, "I was never an outstanding student. I'd always rank anywhere from 15 to 20 in school."

"I am sure scores of other students have the ability to score 100 percentile. I think I was lucky to get it. Others were not," he says about the luck factor.

  • Shantanuspeak: 'I'm one amongst top 12 students'
  • His rank at IIT-JEE helped him enrol for a dual degree course in computer science at IIT-Bombay.

    "I can complete my BTech and MTech in computer science in five years because of this particular programme IIT-B offers students," he explains.

    Else, he would have needed six years to complete BTech and MTech degrees separately; four years of BTech and two years of MTech.

    Academic excellence runs in the Gangal family that hails from Roha, a small town 120 km southeast of Mumbai, in Maharashtra's Konkan region.

    Currently, the family lives in suburban Thane. While his mother and father are medical practitioners, his elder brother Devdatta, also a dual degree holder in computer science from IIT-B, currently works with Yahoo in Sunnyvale, California.

    Devdatta, who passed out of IIT-B in 2005, guided Shantanu to go in for the dual degree programme. Interestingly, Shantanu lives in the same room as his brother when the latter was an IIT-B student.

    Text: Prasanna D Zore. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani

    Also see: 11 tips to win your GDs & PIs

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