Hi Friends,

Wish you a very Happy New Year.

From the Microsoft website: The Microsoft masters-level certifications validate the deepest level of product expertise, in addition to the ability to design and build the most innovative solutions for complex, on-premises and hybrid enterprise environments using Microsoft technologies.

One such certification is Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) – SQL Server, Microsoft’s highest technical test for SQL Server. In short, it is elite, very coveted and there are approximately 170 SQL MCMs worldwide, most of them working for Microsoft.

Many MCMs have already blogged a lot about this certification, especially the lab exam. Indeed, it is a tough exam to pass. The lab exam just does not test your SQL skills, but also tests your time management skills, comprehension & interpretation skills. It tests your patience too. Exam scenarios are awesome & grueling at the same time :) – At the end of this 6 hour exam (almost), I took it from 10.30 pm to 4.30 am IST, using the remote proctored option (I was being monitored by Microsoft at Redmond), when I came out of the room, I was like, “WOW, it was one hell-of-an exam” :)

I thought of attaining MCM in early 2013 but things just did not happen that way. Work pressure and constant travel kept me eluded from preparations and my thought just remained a thought. Last month December, I was a little free from work and I decided to give it a shot. I went through the SQL MCM videos and some whitepapers to identify gaps and prepared accordingly. SQLSkills team (Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp, Bob Beauchemin) & Brent Ozar (MCM, MVP) produced these fantastic videos that helped (btw, they don’t need any introduction :). I randomly read some blogs by existing MCMs to understand what they went through and I realized that I am up against something really hard-hitting & strenuous. Brent went on to mention “they pulled off Mission Impossible” – that was scary :). At the same time, the tips they provided were helpful.

On the judgment day (rather night), I tried to sleep knowing that I will have to wake up the whole night. As expected, sleep was far away, and how can you close your eyes when the destination is so near ;). In the evening, I went out, bought a few chocolates, spent some time with my family, and readied my desk. Had light dinner, took some coffee and settled down. I was nervous :)

I was nervous too when I did bungee jumping, but I did it :) Likewise, I took the plunge. The voice from the other side asked: “Amit, are you all set?” and I replied “Yes”. The voice said: “Ok, jump” – :) just kidding… and I gave this 6 hour exam (almost). Done and completely exhausted ! It was an awesome experience. I wanted to witness it after hearing and reading so much about it from other MCMs and exam takers, and I witnessed it. Also, neither did I have my coffee, nor chocolates. I did drink some water.

31st December celebrations & first day of the New Year cannot be scripted in a better way. Bob Taylor from Microsoft sends me a congratulatory email on 31st night. He ensured that I have an awesome New Year blast :)

Ladies & Gentlemen, I am deeply honored to achieve Microsoft Certified Master certification of SQL Server, popularly known as SQL MCM. Yesssssss, it’s a feeling of victory & triumph. Happy to join the elite club of MCMs.

And there cannot be a better gift for me and for the SQL Community of India, in particular. Why?

I happen to be the only SQL MCM from India (outside Microsoft).

And do you want to know how I celebrated my MCM on January 1, 2014?

I celebrated my MCM with these lovable kids of Shine orphanage managed by Adarane Charitable Trust in Bangalore, India. My family and I visited the orphanage with loads of provisions and tucks for the kids and spent time with them.

1_Microsoft_Certified_Master_of_SQL_Server_My_New_Year_Gift

edit: Jan 7, 2014:

Thanks to everyone who responded on FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/amit.r.bansal/posts/10152110001844347

And the SQLGeeks FB group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/thesqlgeeks/permalink/635935783114629/

edit Feb 11, 2014:

I receive my SQL MCM plaque

update Feb 2014: Microsoft blogs about my MCM