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Prantik Haldar secured All India Rank 4 in NCHM JEE 2014 and opted for IHM Mumbai among several options that his high rank offered him.
In this interview with Careers360, Prantik shares how his passion to become a chef drove his preparation journey. The boy from Mysore also talks in detail on his inclination towards cooking, reasons for targeting IHM Mumbai, and his future plan of setting a hotel or restaurant. The NCHM JEE 2014 topper also shares his exam preparation strategy and offers self study tips to aspirants.
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Careers360: Congratulations for being among top five NCHM JEE 2014 toppers! How you celebrated your success?
Prantik Haldar: Thank you. I dined at my favourite restaurant with my parents. The dinner outing was special for me, because my parents gifted me a new smartphone for qualifying NCHM JEE exam and securing good percentage of marks in intermediate examination.
Careers360: What were the key factors behind your remarkable success?
Prantik Haldar: I believe, to crack any competitive exam, it is necessary to be well acquainted with paper pattern and syllabus of the entrance exam. Knowing the paper pattern and types of questions asked in previous year helps steering exam preparation in right direction. I did my part of research on exam pattern and expected questions.
The baby step was followed by next crucial step of practicing all type of questions from different sections on daily basis.
Besides, there are added advantage of reading newspaper and novels. My reading habit improved my vocabulary and it also helped me abreast with latest happenings of the world. I was able to attempt and solve a lot of questions from English and current affairs section because I was updated on most of latest news topics. Here I reaped the added advantage.
Careers360: Apart from NCHM JEE 2014, which other competitive examinations did you take?
Prantik Haldar: I appeared for Oberoi-STEP and Manipal WGSHA also. I scored a decent rank in both exams. But, I was keen to seek admission at IHM Mumbai. Fortunately, my All India Rank in NCHM JEE 2014 written examination helped me get into my dream institute.
Careers360: Any specific reason for targeting IHM Mumbai?
Prantik Haldar: I wanted to learn all fine points of food production and processing. One of my relative, who is alumni of IHM Mumbai, briefed me on the excellent and immensely experienced kitchen faculty and facilities at IHM Mumbai.
Though joining Oberoi-STEP has its own advantages as it offers an overall training in hospitality sector. But my focus was towards food production and processing. I believed that I will be able to gain requisite knowledge and skill standards in the operational areas-Food Production and Catering and Housekeeping at this institute. Hence, I chose IHM Mumbai.
Careers360: Coming back to NCHM JEE exam, which section you will rate the easiest and toughest?
Prantik Haldar: My English is pretty strong, so I found “English Language” the easiest section. I was not confident for a few questions from “General Knowledge & Current Affairs” section. So it was a tough section of the paper for me.
Careers360: What are the reasons to opt for a career in Hospitality sector?
Prantik Haldar: I aspire to become a renowned chef as I love cooking different kinds of food and recipes. The road to achieve my goal traverse through a degree from renowned institute if hotel management.
Careers360:Share the genesis for your inclination towards cooking
Prantik Haldar: Since childhood, cooking has been a frequent activity for me. My interest and passion towards cooking has driven me to IHM.
Also, my father, who is a defense personal, also loves cooking and he is my role model. He used to cook delicious food for us whenever he would visit us. As a kid, I used to chop onions and dice potatoes when my father would cook. Thus, I developed interest for cooking and now I can cook Italian cuisines, bake cake and cupcakes also.
Careers360: What are your hobbies apart from cooking?
Prantik Haldar: Besides, cooking I love listening music and watching movies of different genres.
Careers360: Since you cook quite frequently, name best recipe that you prepare. Also, name your favourite chefs?
Prantik Haldar: I cook pasta very well. Just a few days back, I cooked pasta on special demand of my friends. My favourite chefs include Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, and Vikas Khanna.
Careers360: What was your order of attempting different sections during the exam?
Prantik Haldar: I attempted the paper in the following order: English Language, Reasoning & Logical Deduction, Numerical Ability & Scientific Aptitude, General Knowledge & Current Affairs, and Aptitude for Service Sector.
Careers360: How important is coaching for the NCHM JEE preparation?
Prantik Haldar: I believe that joining coaching is not much required to crack the NCHM JEE as the exam is not so tough is nature. Going by the past trends, difficulty level of question paper is average. A did self-study and practiced sample question papers regularly. However, a candidate can opt for coaching to understand the basic concepts on his weak areas.
Careers360: Please share self-study tips for aspirants.
Prantik Haldar: I will advise aspirants to prepare and practice all types of questions from each section. Hotel management study package by Arihant publication is very helpful for the exam preparation, as the package covers loads of sample questions based on the syllabus of the NCHM JEE exam.
Read newspaper everyday so as to stay updated with latest news and happenings. Reading newspaper increases vocabulary power also.
Careers360: What are you plans after the completion of your hotel management course?
Prantik Haldar: I haveentrepreneurial outlook towards management of hotels but the plan to be converted into reality has a long way to go. After passing from IHM Mumbai, my focus will be to secure a job in kitchen department and to rise up the ranks of the hierarchy to become a chef.
Probably, after 10 years of work experience I will venture into setting up my own restaurant or hotel.
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