Sunday, March 20, 2011


Changu was over the moon. He had Group discusion & Personal interview (GD & PI) calls from 7 of the 26 prestigious Bharatiya Institutes of Management (BIMs). But out of the 7 calls he had set his eyes on the 3 BIMs which he thought were a cut above the rest; BIM Jhumritalaya (BIM J), BIM Gorakhpur (BIM G), BIM Kolhapur (BIM K) (BIMs).
Accolades & greetings poured in from all quarters. His cellphone hadn't stopped ringing since last Monday. He felt like a true celebrity now. "Kaveri amma", the woman who lived next door in their village in remote UP (not visible on google earth), wanted tips on how she could train her 8-yr old 'Banku' for CAT2030. Tired & out of breath from his new-found celeb status, he fell on his bed a exhausted but satisfied man.

As he recollected his conversations on phone, one did catch his fancy. That of his girlfriend of 4 yrs, Changini. Of course there were minor differences between them, when she thought he gave more attention to the CAT than her. His marathon run of 5 CAT exams dint do him any favours. Now he had redeemed himself. Not 1 or 2 but 7 calls. " Now let's see what she says!" he said to himself with a wicked smile on his lips.

He had spoken to her the day before and noted with silent excitement that she would be alone for the next couple of days. It would be a perfect time to drop in at her place for a dinner date and much more.
But contrary to the ideas he had for the late evening at her house, a heated discusion on marriage followed.

Changu) Why dont u marry me? Damn u, I love you darling.
Changini) You haven't passed by short-list criteria.

Changu) WTF is dat?
Changini)I have spelled it out here on my blogpage. Who whoever passes the marriage shortlist criteria and scores a perfect 50 overall gets me.

changu) WAT?

She takes out her lappie and types in her blog-address which has her shortlist criteria. But the page refuses to open.

Mangu) Why doesnt the damn page open?
Manka) Too much net-traffic. Many of them are accessing it at once.Its been like this for the past couple of days.

Mangu) ???

Finally, the page opens displaying a lot of numbers.

Mangu) (Shell-shocked look on his face)What is that?
Manka) Those are the weightages for the individual component for the short-listing.

Boy) Components?? I thought I just had to love you.
Girl) No. you got it wrong. Look (She prints out the page and shows it to him.)

It reads as follows:

Changini's "husband" admission criteria

A total of 20 candidates will be shortlisted. Out of this, one very capable (rich,muscular,cute,loving,blah,blah1..) candidate wil be chosen as my husband. There are no reservations because I dont give a damn about a man's caste. All men are the same!! If you got a shock reading the first 3 lines, I advise you to read no further. Its gonna be equally atrocious (fair).

Criteria 1: Orientation (10%)
The applicant is male. (2 %)
..who is straight (5 %)
..straight with 1 or more relationships. (Pervert kahin kaa! 1 %)
.. straight with no relationships at all. (Get urself checked. 1 %)
..who would look at me even with beautiful women around (7 %)

Criteria 2: Family (10%)
Male with no siblings 4 marks
Male with pesky elder sister (2 marks beacuse we are not allowed to give negative marks)
Male with a younger bro/sis who can be bossed around (6 marks)
Male with a younger bro/sis and a mom who can be pushed around like hell
Male with a mom who watches the hindi soaps daily from 2pm - 10 pm (Pls dont bother to apply. This is keeping in mind the hazardous effect of such serials which spread their anti-bahu propaganda.)

Criteria 3: Salary ( 30% weightage)
A take-home of 50,000/month (4%)
A take home of 1,00,000/ month (4%)
A take-home of 3,00,000/month (4%)
A take-home of 4,00,00/ annum (screw you! You wont be considered even if you satisfy the other crietria.)

If you are baffled that the same weightage (4%) is given to different salary groups; please note "IT IS NOT A FLAW". It just proves that we are never satisfied with whatever you earn.

Criteria 4: Looks (25%)

Arjun Rampal look-alike (25%)
8-packs (15%)
All others with clean-shaven, disgusting, non-celeb looks(5%)
Geeks (keep off!)

Criteria 5: Household & other chores (12.5%)
Cooking + Taking care of our kids (not more than 2 of them!)+ washing & drying clothes (10%)
All the above and someone who doesn't mind carrying my shopping bag all over the mall and books the "Super-wednesday" show at the multiplex every week. (12.5%)
Only One or none of the above (0%)

Criteria 6: socializing & entertainment (12.5%)
Sings like Enrique + Guitarist + dances like Hrithik + can make me dance and someone who parties at least thrice a week (12.5%)
Other non-happening losers (Go get a life!)

The other 50% weightage would be would be for a "very personal interview" (VPI) which will include a dinner date at the Taj by the poolside. Its obvious about the bill payments, you dont have to wait for me to settle it. I am sure you are courteous enough.
And dont get any ideas during the VPI! If you try to get dirty I'll make your life miserable.
Learn how to behave with women.

Changu: Wat about love? I dont see it anywhere in your final criteria..WTF?
Changini: Oh ya! Forgot to tell you. It is used only to short-list for the very personal interviews (VPI). After that everyone is on an even keel. I have to be fair to everyone na, darling?

changu: ?????

He bangs his head against the wall.

He realized that getting GDPI calls from 7 BIMs and converting them wasnt as tough a battle as this one.



Thursday, March 17, 2011

The IIM I interview experience

Its always good if your IIM calls are closely spaced, preferably back-to-back interviews (although this isn't under our control). The intensity levels remain the same, you are charged up and you can say the same things over & over again without getting bored. My prolonged wait for the 'I' interview continued for 20 days after having finished XL, A,C,& L within 5 days. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally picked myself up for the big day.
The venue was the same as that of A & C (seriously, some age-old tie-up??). I reached there half an hr before the scheduled time of 1:30 pm and followed the directions to the I-waiting room on the 4th floor. There were 20-odd people already sitting there.
The usual scenes. Half of the crowd were shuffling & re-shuffling the contents of their folder, just to be sure. Some were deeply engrossed in their copies of the "Times", devouring every piece of information on tsunami-ravaged,N-crisis hit Japan. Some, like me, calmly studied the floor to avoid the nervous faces before us.

We were divided into 3 panels, each having 9 of us. We were provided with our sheets of paper for the Written ability test (WAT). The WAT was divided into 2 sections.
The 1st section was a large essay which had to be summarized in approx. 130 words. It was on the extinction of certain species of wild animals and factors affecting it.

The 2nd section had something which suggested " Ban on smoking in public places is necessary for public health." We had to present an argument for/against it in approx. 200 words and support it, preferably with suitable examples. I couldn't fathom whether I was fast or the others slow because I was giving finishing touches to my 2nd section when some of the others where in the middle of their 1st.

We were stipulated a time of 50 min. But the entire group was done with the WAT in only 40 min. I wrote on how ban on smoking is futile, issues in monitoring it, measures to discourage the habit, promoting public health at large, more spending for healthcare etc.

Our sheets taken, we were told to sit in the waiting room for our turns.
Yet another 2-hr long wait (I was used to it by now, a veteran of sorts in giving interviews.).

The girl before me came out of the interview room. She had almost the same expressions on her face as she had 15 min back when she had gone in. While she was inside, I could only hear laughter half of the time. No, not from her, from the panelists! After a 2-min hiatus, I was called in.

P1: A man in his late 40s (Appeared the quite chilled,logical type interested in having a civilized & casual discussion.)

P2: A guy in his late 30s (Reminded you of your cruel young uncle with the god-given right to impose himself on you, monitored my words closely, looked for mistakes and chances to corner me.)

P3: An old man in his 60s who displayed the trademark features of all oldies who had interviewed me so far. The prime motive for his presence on the panel was to make me look as dumb as possible, throw random finance & eco terms at me and pummel my confidence to pulp.
He spoke less, was more intent in arranging the interview paper than gauging my intellect. He chipped in with questions on subjects which I had no idea about. He was ably supported by nitpicker P2.

P2 summons me inside.

Me: (Still standing)..Yes sir, vishwanath

P1: Right vishwanath, pls sit.

P1: (Still looking at my interview form)..I was looking at your form and couldnt help wondering how photogenic ur face is. You are handsome with a smiling face. (???)
Me: Thank you Sir.

P1: You should be in modelling, man. Why Indore? It isnt the place.
Me: (Still smiling)
P2 sees it as an opportunity to sneak in and eyes my form.

P2: So, what is it..ok..metallurgy & materials engg. So wat is carbon-dating?
Me: Told him about it as a technique to measure the age of age-old items etc.

P2: How are the ages of fosils of plants & animals measured?
Me: Explained to him the theory of carbon-dating and usage. (fumbled in between)

P2: What is half life? (Cracked a cheap joke on it, saying his half-life is 18 years and he would love to tell women about it. The other laughed.)
Me: Explained to him about half life, decaying of carbon, etc. Somehow made sense.

P2: (cutting me ..)But why only carbon is used for it? why not any other element?
Me: 'Coz it is an element which has an affinity & combines well with different metals & non-metals to form different compounds abundantly available on earth.

P2: (Again cut me..) So,u mean carbon is most abundantly available on earth. Really?
Me: No.

P2: Then?
Me: Silicon, Oxygen & Iron are the most abundant on earth.

P2: (Again..) But you haven't told me. why the reason for carbon-dating for detecting the age? Its not just its affinity.(Gave some example of him having an affinity for different people but that doesnt mean he is good enough. He had a laugh about it.)
Me: I dont know.

P1: What is Bessemerization?
Me: (Thought for some time). Spoke about its importance & significance in steel-making process improvement.

P1: What is the current method?
Me: electric Arc furnace.. Elaborated on it.

P1: So what is value-engineering?
Me: It is about adopting an alternate route/means to create benefit in terms of cost reduction,lead time reduction,productivity enhancement, quality enhacning, weight reduction etc (gave an auto example.)

P1 nodded in satisfaction .P2 dint want to. No sign of P3 yet.

P1: But in a particular case,ford did value engineering and tinkered with their vehicle safety systems in the process? What about it?
Me: Sir, it was a case where ford evaluated the damages they would have to pay for the accidents occuring due to the change and the savings they would get from the value engg change. The former turned out to be less. So they went with the proposal.

P1 smiled & nodded. He felt good that I was knowing some stuff.

P2: But whats wrong with it? (Gave a wicked, sly grin).
Me: It compromises on the passenger safety knowingly. It is unethical.

P2: So what? (I wished this guy was in one of those accident-prone Ford Cars)
Me: It would signal bad quality, send a bad message out to the customers and the image of the company would take a beating.

P2: So what is the job of materials management exactly?
Me: Materials,cost, quality, delivery, supplier parts development,process...

P2: What is your efficiency?
Me: In terms of?

P2: How would I know? You must be having some targets right?
Me: Yes we do. In terms of completing the development in time, cost targets..

P2: (Cuts again..) So what si the efficiency?
Me: 80%

P3: (Intro)..What is Break-even?
Me: It the point where you start earning profits.

P2: Are you sure? (doubting, suspicious look)
Me: yes

P3: What is gestation period?
Me: period in which you recover the investments we make etc.

P2: (cuts me yet again..he was doing it on purpose) what is the difference between cost & investment?
Me: spoke about money, human capital, time value etc etc.

P3: So can humans depreciate?
Me: No, in terms of knowledge.

P3: Can this building depreciate?
Me: Yes

P1: How do you go about value engineering? process followed for it?
Me: Explained about defining the objective in mind, forming a cross functional team, validating the process & the product, comparing the before/after effects and the nimplementing it.

P1: If we have very little/no time for all this?
Me: Then we can go for benchmarking with a imilar part for similar application used elsewhere and compare & verify data to conclude.

P2: If I want glass/glass-like appearance in my office tiles what type of material do i require?
Me: Materials which have the ame polished, surface finish like glas ...

P2: (cuts..shares a giggle with the other 2) No, but I want only glass. what should i take into account?
Me: A list of properties like compressive strength, load, machinability, surface finish, tempered glass etc.

P3: (obviously feeling left out)..What is cost?
Me: explained

P3: Do u know the 2 aspects of cost or not?
Me: fixed & variable cost

P3: What is fixed & variable cost?
Me: explained with examples like raw material & process. Variable would mean labour, inventory etc etc

P3: What labour? temporary or permanent?
Me: ?????

P2 (giggling all the time)

P3: Your salary has a variable cost right?
Me: Yes

P3: What is it? Esops?
Me: No, sir. It is sector performanc...

P2: (Cuts me off..) what are Esops?
Me: explained employee stock options

P3: How does Esops help you? (I have never taken Esops dude)
Me: Told that it is na option to take a stock of the company.

P2: What is a stock?
Me: A financial instrument by buying which you get a certain ownership of the company/firm. the price can appreciate or come down.

P2: So if u have a M&M Esops do you become equivalent to Mahindra himself? (Laughs out load. P1 & P3 join in.)

P3: So what r you. 0.000005% owner of M&M?
Me: (Damn you, did I ever say I took Esops any time.)

P3: So, what happens if you buy M&M company bonds?
Me: (Smile all the while) I dont know bonds sir.

P2 flashes a silent victory smile to himself.

P3: What is UPA-2?
Me: UPA in the 2nd term.

P3: (turns to other) OH..2nd term it seems.So, if u fail in your 1st term and give the same exam again, you have completed 2nd term?)

All3 of them have a good laugh and I give a big, bright smile.

P2: What is UPA?
ME: United Progressive Alliance.

P3: Who is the chaiperson of UPA-2?
Me: (thinking)

P3: C'mon, take a guess.
ME: (thought of Manmohan being remote-controlled by Sonia)..Sir, sonia Gandhi.

P2: What about Manmohan then?
Me: (??? Wat abt him?)

P1: There is a lot of talk about plastic & its connection to pollution. As a materials engineer waht will your opinion be?
Me: Spoke on identifying which plastics are degradable and which are not. Time taken to de-grade, educating the public on the classifications, making them aware of wat they use etc and use substitutes.

P1: What if it were one of your auto components?
Me: Talked about doing technical feasaiblity, application requirements, alternate materials, having a cross-functional team which includes a environmental engineer.

P2: (Not spoken for a while)..So, why was Keshub Mahindra in news lately?
Me: In connection with the Bhopal gas tragedy.

P2: What about it?
Me: He was implicated..

P2: sure?
Me: No, he was just arrested.

P2: What was the company?
Me: (Thought for a while) Dow Chemicals.. (AArgh.. it is Union carbide. How did i miss it??)

P2: But Dow says that it is not their company? (sly smile again)
Me: I know the company but cant recollect its name.

P2: Do you know the name of the chemical?
Me: Methyl iso-cyanate

P2: What was Keshub Mahindra's role in it?
Me: M not sure. But he was on the board of Directors.

P3: Actually much more than that. Chairman.
ME: ok

P2: (Showing off his GK)..Have you heard of chernobyl disaster?
Me: Yes

P2: What was it?
ME: explained nuclear reactor, radioactive explosion, etc etc

P2 (Cut me again..) what is the difference between Bhopal & Chernobyl?
Me: Chemicals were different, implications different..Chernobyl was...

P2: (Cuts.) When did chernobyl happen?
Me: Told

P2: Where did it happen?
ME: ukraine

P2: Where was it?

P2 What is USSR?
Me: (Accidentally said "United Soviet Socialist Republics". But said it confidently enough)

P2: Where is USSR?
ME: Its no more there. It broke up into different countries.

P2: Broke up in 2 different countries?
ME: Not 2 different countries. Into (Spelled "I-N-T-O") many different countries including Russia.

P2: Ok. got it.

P1,P2, P3 look at each other and finally decide that they have had enough.

Me: (Smile) Thank you.

I dont really know how much the ordeal lasted. But it was good fun.

Final Verdict: " Converted "



Saturday, March 05, 2011

The IIM L interview experience

Coming close on the heels of the 2 biggies 'A' & 'C', the 'L' interview was supposed to be the last of 'em all. It would end the series of 4 interviews on the trot (5 in 9 days) and i had to ensure that I ended the week on a high. 'L' wasnt going to be a cake-walk ,so i had heard and read at different forums. Even though I had become a veteran of sorts at facing GDs & PIs, I egged myself on to focus more. Complacency was the last thing on my mind; there was precious little gap between the interviews to get over-confident.

So, 26th of Feb it was. The venue this time was "Sea Princess Hotel" in the western suburb of Juhu. A plush, 4-star hotel in Juhu, its a stone's throw away from the Juhu beach. Many people, including me, dont know such a hotel exits due to the presence of other giants in the same region like the 'Marriot', the 'Ramada', the 'Centaur' etc etc just like IIM L is dwarfed by the presence of IIM A,B,C et al (Terrific analogy!!).
The security man at the entrance dint even take the trouble of 'X-ray'ing my bag after knowing that I was an "IIM interview-wala".

I sat with a few others in the beautiful banquet hall (Read: 'L' waiting room)as the crowd trickled in slowly but surely. The morning session had got over. No one was willing to comment on how they had performed, if not positively. I saw around and noted that 50% of them had already accompanied me to 'A' & 'C'. Quite a few of us had become good friends, some of them on back-slapping terms.

We were divided into 6 groups (panels) each consisting of 7-8 candidates for GDs/PIs. I was in panel 5 with 6 others (including a guy whom I had met at my coaching classes. A tough, talkative nut to crack watever be the GD topic.). We were led to one of the posh hotel rooms. 2 small tables joined together and 7 chairs fairly close to each other (and some light music would have made it perfect) was the GD site. But first the essay writing

We were alloted about 15 minutes for it (L showing that they were far more generous than the others.). The topic - " All Government instituitons should come in the purview of RTI."
A good topic and a far cry from the not-so-ideal GD of 'C'. There was lots to write on - the RTI, its uses so far, examples, recent facts & figures, good points, flipsides etc. The script was well-reasoned out, structured & concluded well.
A word of advice - please be aware of recent happenings and develop opinions on it.
Watch loads of talk shows,debates, discussions - it helps bigtime.

Most of us finished within the stipulated time (for want of more space to write. The guy beside me had increased his font-size deliberately.). Our papers were then taken away. The panel of 2 men instructed us to start our discussion saying we had 10.5 minutes for the same (7*1.5 = 10.5 min. Got the logic?). They then pretended to read through our 'essays'.

The GD kicked off on a brisk note as the spectacled guy opposite me spoke without interruption for half a minute till we thought it was time to cut him off and I managed to enter it. I managed to enter 3 more times. Everyone got an oppotunity to talk & most importantly be heard.
The points were pretty much the same as the ones put on paper. I spoke on RTI activism, the real estate mafia, politician-bureaucrat-biz nexus, RTI in defence deals & mining etc, the flipsides, media attention etc. At the end of the 10.5 munutes, we exited the room, a satisfied lot.
We were called for our turns for our interviews and as expected I was the last one.
All 6 panels had their interviews simultaneously in addition to the IIM B interviews which were also held in the same floor in opposite rooms. When you have the top 100-200 brightest minds of the country together within a few square metres, it is hard to miss the competitive streak and an air of anxiety is always prevalent.

My turn finally did arrive after what seemed an eternity of wait outside the same room in which we had our GD session. (They deliberately did that i guess).

P1: (the khadoos guy), P2 : (relatively cool).I sensed a stress-session there in the offing and i guessed it right!!

P1: Come in, why are you waiting outside. We were wasting time inside
waiting for you.
Me: (Not my problem)Sir, I thought it appropriate to wait till u called me.

P1: Sit down, you dont expect us to ask you questions standing, do u?
Me: sat down

P1: (Not looking at me. He dint 70% of the time ,to unsettle me)Tell us about urself.
Me: (perfect poetry - blah blah1, blah2 etc)

I hand over the originals/certificates to P1. P1 & P2 divide it among themselves as if it were the 'prashad' offered in temple.

P1: (Pissed at not being able to find a fault in my 10th, 12th & grad marks started examining the quality of my trancript, quite deliberately) So where is the original for ur transcript?
Me: Sir , what u r holding is the original transcript of my marks.

P1: What??? (Stunned expression on his face, as if I had told him my favourite hobby was watcing porn) You call this a transcript and u call urself an engineer.
(Turns to P2) Looks at this piece of paper. They call it an original these days it seems. imagine how worse a photocopy wud be (Hearty laugh all around. Hearty laugh changes to a disgusted expression and shake of the head.)

P1: You have a lot of work to do. My advice to u is go and get this laminated properly and only then attend future interviews.understood?

(Ya right, it was just torn a bit at 1-2 places which had obviosuly not missed his eye. He was making a mountain of a mole-hill. I sat expressionless and nodded my head).

P2: You say u hav completed B.Tech. what is so great about B.E/B.Tech? what is the difference between degree & diploma?
Me: (Ragging chalu) ..Sir , is composed of balh, blah.. ( happily cut off by the ever-khadoos P1).

P1: You have done in NIT Trichy.
Me : yes sir.

P1: So u will go to IIM Trichy?
Me: Yes sir.

P1: and IIM A?
Me: Yes sir.

P1: Stop confusing us. Do u want IIM Trichy or A? Dont change ur answers at will.
Me: I would A over Trichy.

P1: So u have done in metallurgy...(cut off by P2)
Me: Yes sir

P2: What is the latest in metallurgy these days?
Me: Rattled off the names of a few processes & benefits in the industry.

P2: (Still obsessed with my marksheets)..See this marksheet specifies marks. You must have a certificate which specifies whether u have flunked or passed?
Me: (What the?) Sir, the marksheet satisfies both requirements. Pls have a closer look (He did and ruefully admitted he was wrong.)

P1: (Purposely singling out a subject in the 6th sem in which I got a D)What is High speed steel?
Me: Told what it is, its uses.

P1: What are its benefits?
Me: Clung on to my 6th sem basics and formed the answer well.

(P1 nodded in appreciation.)

P1: Do u know the inventor of this?
Me: No sir.

P1: Think. He is one connected with 'scientific management'.
Me: Cant recall the name, Sir.

P2: (Feeling left out)I see u have also studied Economics in ur graduation (As if I had a choice then).
Me: Yes sir, i did.

P2: What do u remember? Do u remember anything?
Me: Yes sir (rattled off names/terms/terminologies like 'bandwagon effect','demand-supply' curve,elasticity of demand, 4P's of marketing, Some smith etc.

P2: What is on X-axis of demand-supply curve?
Me: Dont remember ir.

P2: Y-axis?
Me: Dont know sir.

P1: You said adam smith. When did he live?
Me: Sir, 16th century.

P1: He wrote a book. what was it called? (argh..can v just move on)
Me: I remember he wrote book. Cant seem to recollect its name.

P2: At least he remembers Adam smith ( and both have a laugh. I join in)

P2: So wat is ur job about. explain it to us?
Me: Told about it for a few minutes.

P1: So,wat is standardisation?
Me: Explained it to them with the help of an example in automobile part. Told them the benefits of it.

P1: (nodding his head) good. So which is a most recent & visual exampls of standardisation in auto industry?
Me: (thought for while)..Sir, its K-series engines in Maruti (explained about maruti's platform and multiple launches in short ime).

P1: do u know wat is simplification?
Me: no sir. Not heard of it.

P1: do u have any hobbies/interests?
Me: Yes sir reading & blogging.

P1: So u write your own blogs and you are forced to read them urself only. ( Turns to P2. Roaring laughter all around.)
Me: (smiling) Sir, i have got enough readership base for my blogs.

P2: What do u read?
Me: Fiction. Political-fiction.

P2: Which language?
Me: English

P1: What about Tamil? you know to read it?
Me: Yes sir I can read & write

P2: So u read tamil novels also?
ME: No sir, not novels. But i read the smaller sections/captions/sign boards in tamil.

P1:(turning to P2) Most of them dont even know to read their mother-tongue well. Its a pity. (yeah..say that while staying in Mumbai)

P1: Do u read Jeffrey Archer?
Me: No i dont.

P1: Why?
Me: Coz, I find it boring.

P1: (turns to P2 who by now seems to be having a ball of a time)These guys specify reading but say they dont like Archer. What a shame, these people.
Me: (Nothing but a stifled smile)

P2: what books & author?
Me: Named a few

P1: Is the protagonist same or different for all Dan Brown novels?
Me: Sir, for "Da Vinci code" and "Angels & Demons" it is the same.

P1: What is his name?
Me: Robert Langdon.

P2: (cuts off P1 and his questioning spree)..Did u watch the movie or u stick only to books and more books?
Me: Sir i did watch the movie.

P1: What did u like? book or movie and why?
Me: Sir , the book. Becoz while watching the movie you only have to watch what is shown or pojected to u. In a book, u can analyze and make mental pictures of characters as per ypur convenienc and thought.

Both seemed satisfied with the answer. A few more questions followed on it which I reasoned out well. Some more banter and laughter.

P2: You have fileld up PGP-abm profile also.
Me: Yes sir. But its a 2nd choice

P1: Whatever it is. At the end of it, its a choice and u filled it. There is no escape.
Me: Yes sir.

P2: So tell me..why do u want to do abm?
Me: (fumbled at the start but then picked up after a few seconds of thought. Talked abt M&m, farm equipment, initiatives for productivity,mechanization, farm advicing etc and so my interest.)

P2: what is the initiatives taken by m&m called?
Me: Shubhlabh. (Explained what they do like seed distribution, supporting irrigation, soil testing etc.)

P1: Have u been to a village?
ME: Not exactly village. but my engg college was in the country-side far frm city.
(Both giggle over my answer.)

P1: have u been to a village farm?
Me: Yes Sir.

P2: Have u seen people farming?
Me: Yes sir. But not from very close quarters.

P2: So from where do u see farming? Using binocolurs?? (Both have a laugh and i join in with a smile)

P1 & P@ look at each done with a " I am done" expression.
"Thank you" They said in a chorus, I reciprocated and walked out of yet another gruelling session.

Final Verdict: " Converted after a prolonged wait-list. (Not that it mattered finally)"



The IIM C interview experience

The first IIM biggie (IIM A) was done with the day before. Although the process went off well for me, I wasn't convinced my performance would be good enough to take me through. The others along with me had had similar interview experiences and most of them had come out with smiling/non-crying faces, a non-indicator. Hence the expectation on the next biggie was more.

'C' had its process at the same centre as 'A' and a similar afternoon session. There was a verification team who checked and matched our attested photocopies with our originals (The Bengali accent too amusing and hard to miss). There were 3 panels for the GD & Interview. I was in panel 1 and there were 7 others along with me. We were led to a room where sat the panel - a lady and a man.

We were told to sit, each given a sheet of paper and told to write an essay.
The topic, well ,take a guess - " The woods are lovely, dark & deep but I have got promises to keep." I could hear hearts sink in the room when the topic was announced. Our 5-min had begun and so did the frantic scribbling. I tried to make some sense out of the Robert Frost lines given to us by linking it to the present day gloom of corruption, negativity and the positivity of youth as the silver lining which helps them keep their promises. Within a few moments our papers were taken away.

We were then instructed to have a GD on the same topic for the next 10 minutes. Everyone had a " Are you kidding me?" expression on their faces for the next 10 seconds till I decided to break the deadlock by bringing in my ideas which more-or-less reflected what I had put on paper.

The others, not to be left behind, then summoned enough thoughts to speak on it for the next 5 minutes. I did make an entry 3more times. The guy & girl to my right & left respectively were more intent on improving their listening skills. A 3rd guy , who seemed to be a Robert frost fanatic, quoted lines from frost's other poems. A 4th guy was making sense everytime he spoke only to be cut by the 5th guy who made up his mind to be as tangential to the topic as posible.

The discussion threatened to meander into a tame end in the first 7 minutes itself as all of us fumbled for new ideas, our creativity taking a kit-kat break. All our efforts to revive the discussion came to no avail and soon enough all of us were summarizing the whole thing. Just too abstract a topic we thought!

Yet another 2 hr long wait, I was the last person.(I once contemplated changing my name. Sometimes its a disadvantage.)

I was called in for my turn.

P1 - the lady
P2- the man

I handed over the interview forms and the verified documents to them.

P2: So tell us a little about yourself.
Me: Acads, company, profile,work ex, city, family etc (lasted 2 minutes till I was cut off by the lady)

P1: What is your job all about?
Me: Ma'am , its more about vendor management & part development. (Spoke about my job in Materials management, developing auto components, suppliers etc)

P1: (Getting more curious) So which are the vehicle projects you have worked on?
Me: Spoke about the Scorpio, Xylo, Bolero and commercial vehicles like MAxximo and Ingenio and the vehicle systems.

P2: So what are the challenges you have faced in you work?
Me:(talked about satisfying the various agencies including the designers, pricing team, supply chain, the supplier etc)

P2: Any specific challenges you can highlight?
Me: Talked about a recent challenge of developing a second supplier, upgradation, resolving critical issues.

P1: (Validating my answer) Where was the supplier?
Me: Rajkot.

P1: I see you have won a few awards in quizzing. what about GK quiz, nothing?
Me: I am good at it Sir. but back in college there were many who were more competent than me. hence I dont have any objective evidence to show for it.

P1: Ok..So besides that, what are your interests?
Me: Blogging & Reading

P1: What do u read?
Me: Fiction

P2: Tell us about the last book that u have read.
Me: "The negotiator" by Fredrick forsyth. (Gave her the entir gist of it.)

P2: Any 3 highlights of the book?
Me: Told

P1: But why is called the negotiator?
Me: Told

P1: So does every situation need a negotiator?
Me: told him something like , u dont need any specific person. Each situation demands certain skills or strengths and each one of equipped with those in given circumstances could act as one.

P1: So do you think Hosni mubarak was a good negotiator?
Me: Spoke about how he had to assess the ituation, the benefits and flipsides of him continuing or stepping down, needed to 'give' more than 'take' on issues like unemployment, std of living etc.

P1 & P2 nodded in affirmation

P2: So ..tell us about your blog?
Me: told them about the latest one.( One about CAT2020, which took a dig at excessive proliferation of new B-schools & institutes and their selection criteria.)

P1: So, would you have been shortlisted if we had applied a minimum criteria for 5th std marks also?
Me: Yes, I have topped in school consistently.

P2: So you think mushrooming of new institutes, as per your blog,is good or bad?
Me: Reasoned out my opinion and then came to the answer on how the management colleges should be graded & classsified, monitored over a period of time and then be given a IIM status because brands dont emerge overnight and that they take shape over the years.

P1: But if we dont have new institutes how will you give management education to people?
Me: Another reasoning on quality and parameters affecting it and employability of the students, not to generate supply by comprimising on quality etc.

P1: How do you measure quality of mba institute?
Me: Spoke on broad-based competencies & capabilities built by a institute which can be applied in practical uses and also how a quality institute provides good human capital even in face of crisis.

P2: Only capability is enough for a job?
Me: Capability, knowledge and attitude all are needed & matter equally.

P2: So M&M selected you because of all these?
Me: Gave yet another reasoning on how there might be constraint of time & space when recruiters come to pick students in colleges, so it might not be possible to assess all these in a shortt time and some asumptions go in it like the name of the institute.

P1 & P2 look at each other and then at me and say " I think we are done"

P2: Do you have any questions?
Me: Why isnt IIM C featuring among the top 10 best b'schools in the world?

They wouldnt have expected anyone to ask it but nevertheless the lady explained how the rankings were not a credible yardstick and they had their own benchmarks and if we had a discussion on it it would cost us the whole day.

I smiled, said a "thank you" and walked out feeling quite satisfied.

I had managed to banish the performance of 'A' aside by performing better in 'C'.

Final Verdict: " Successfully Converted . Khoob Bhaalo"



The IIM A interview experience

The past week was packed with activity and it was more hectic than one could have asked for. (The "CATatastrophy" series will still continue on my blogpage but with a few interruptions in the form of my interview experiences like this one.)

So the day had finally arrived. 23rd of Feb it was! The venue for the interview was Dadar Catering College, a stone's throw away from the iconic Shivaji Park. I reached there a good 30 min before the scheduled time of quarter to 2. Seeing a tie in my hand, the man at the gate instantly recognized me as a "interview-wala" and let me in. The college looked more like a complex of residential buildings joined together. Each of these had interview sessions of other IIMs simultaneously. Nervous students and their more anxious parents sat in chairs outside; posibly making the mistake of coming to the venue hrs before the process and sweating their palms off.

Following the directions in the placards, I made my way to the 4th floor to the waiting room of IIM-A which housed about 7 candidates including 2 girls. I greeted all of them with a smile and took my seat. Not even did i spend a minute in the room, did I feel the immense sense of competition all around me which I could literally smell & taste. And why not, it is IIM-A after all, voted the best B-school in the country by popular public perception!!
2 of the dudes were deeply engrossed in the "economic times" enough to give you running commentary on the volatility in markets & inflationary sentiments. The girl to my right, not to be outdone, took out a book from her bag and started romancing derivatives & integral calculus. The most nervous guy next to me tried to strike a conversation with me by asking me about Laplace transform & Fourier series equations. I gave him a look as if he had just asked me about Suresh Kalmadi's bank balance.

A big, burly man who could barely make it past the room's entrance, called out our names from the corridor and ticked in his sheet. Maybe they kept him there to intimidate us. We were then summoned into a room with 8 chairs.

We got the first clear view of the people who would evaluate us during the process. P1, was a man probably in his late 40s and with a very accomodating look on his face. P2, a guy in his late 30s, seemed for like a alumnus of the institute, dressed in smart casuals.
After the initial pleasantries, we were asked to keep our certificates/marksheets/profile interview form aside for their verification. We were then given a topic " Networking is more important than academics for success in life." and asked to write on for 10 min on the given sheet of paper.

The 10-min essay writing session started sharp at 1:45 pm (impressed).
I dont think it lasted the exact 10 min.
I made my points crisp,clear and structured it reasonably well although I did sacrifice my hand-writing at times. I tilted towards networking's importance wherein i explained what it is, its evolution over time, what acads can get u to,what networking can get u to, examples about blogs & social networks for brand promotion, etc etc. Our papers were taken away after what seemed like only 5 min. We were then told to sit outside for our turn.

Mine came after a prolonged 2 n half hr wait.

P2 did most of the asking and P1 most of the document verification.

P1: So, what should we call you "Vishwanath" or " Hariharan" ?
Me: sir, "Vishwanath" is my name. (As if it matters, both names aren't the shortest)

Unlike most people whose interviews started with the standard favourtie of the interviewer "Tell me something about yourself", my interviews invariably started with something more simple like "What is your name?".

P1: (smiling & studying my 1st sem graduation marksheet closely) I see you dont seem to be too fond of "Matrices & calculus"
(aargh..D grade in the first sem of engg. I dont know about past-life karma, but past karma of present-life can come to haunt you bad.)

Me: (Smiled and nodded my head in the affirmative with a sheepish "Yes sir")

P2: (Scanning my profile form intently) Vishwanath, just tell us something about your work.
Me: I told them about my journey from the production shop to materials managementin M&M,supplier-related work, quality, cost , delivery, my role & responsibilities in brief, development work in some vehicle projects etc

P1: (whose eyes had lit up when i said Scorpio)So u develop components for Scorpio?
Me: Sir, not just the scorpio but all vehicles which come under the purview of the auto sector.

P1 & P2 nodded.

P2: So,how is M&M doing?
Me: (I spoke abt the varied product range (bike, car, truck etc etc)which M&M had got itself into in place of just the iconic 'jeep' with which it was identified earlier.)

P2: Hmm.. How is M&M's 2-wheeler business doing?
Me: I spoke about it as a brave move. But brave always doesnt mean great move..but still early days

P2: Would u buy/recommend somone to buy a M&M 2-wheeler? why?
Me: (I spoke about the latest news of sales nos dropping in the last quarter, market scene, skepticism to the new entrant and adopting a wait-n-watch policy.)

P2: What is the existing perception about M&M as a company?
Me: I had enough to blurt about. I told them about how M&M as a company is changing from a conservative indian company to a global brand, its JVs with Renault, international trucks & navistar, its acquisition of South korean auto major Ssanyong motors, M&M's entry into new markets like US which are challenging and demanding, projecting a positive image, re-positioning etc etc

P2: Why do u want to leave your present company for an mba?
Me: Told him about how I look to add to my skills with each opportunity, about my growth from just a metallurgist to the auto-engineer and the value-addition i have done in 3 yrs, talked about mba giving me the flexibility to diversify to new areas/sectors and taking up higher responsibilities.

P2: What would u do mba in (specialization)?
ME: Sir, I would want to keep my options open for now (cliched answer)

P2, till then, was still scanning my profile form which was barely 5 pages long and dint need such intense scrutiny. he looked at me with an expresion of "I have heard that b4. Be specific"

Me: If I am asked for preferences, then operations & marketing would be on top of it.

P2 smiled..he had probably heard a lot of finance till then. Finally, someone had saved operations from extinction.

P1: (Who had taken a profound liking to my graduation mark sheets) Which other calls have u got?
Me: Sir, I have got calls from calcutta, lucknow, indore and the 4 new IIMs (have to be honest, no? dont hv a choice, do u?)

P2: What are your hobbies/interests?
Sir: I am passionate about blogging, reading, travel etc

P2: Good, so what do you blog on?
Me: Told them that the blogs are on people, places, events and I keep the subject as relevant and contemporary as possible so that people can enjoy them.

P2: What is the latest on ur blogspace? What is it about?
Me: Spoke about the latest "CATastrophy" series on my page which takes u to CAT2020 with 26 new premier institutes of management, the intensity of competition, the selection criteria etc (they seemed to enjoy it)

P2: What do u read?
Me: Sir, Fiction

P2: Recent fiction novels?
ME: Rattled the names of a few of them and the recent one I had read.

P2: Do u read & follow current affairs?
Me: Yes Sir

P2: So whats the latest news?
Me: Its about Libya. the current situation has escalated to violence.100s are dead and many injured in clashes. Gadaffi is still defiant under international pressure. he has been there for 42 yrs and says he will die a martyr.

P2: Before Libya? in Egypt, the jasmine revolution?
Me: Sir, it started off in Tunisia and then spread to Egypt where Hosni mubarak had to step down eventually.

. Why did Hosni step down after so many days of revolt? he could have held on right?
Me: Sir it was not just the protests. but there was some amount of back-channel diplmacy going on between the US. The US backed him for their interests but they dint want the situation to go out of hand. So he stapped down. (accidentally I said that the americans were fond of him. This attracted a hearty laugh from both of them)

P2: What is the impact of this spreading crisis on india?
Me: I talked about the region being a strategic point for africa, europe, asia and trade & trade routes being affected,the suez canal being an important region with a capacity to transit 3 million oil barrells a day, oil crisis spiralling out of control and more inflation especially for countries like India dependent on arabs for oil.

P1: What are your favourite subjects?
ME: Sir, heat treatment & powder metallurgy

P1 asked me a metallurgy related question which I answered correctly

P2(Again back to current affairs) What is the latest economic news hogging headlines?
Me: Reliance selling stake to BP, budget'11, GDP growth at 8.9%, industry decline a bit etc etc

P2: U say there is economic growth but industry do u explain the contradiction?
Me: Talked about contributing factors being industry, services & agri sector. While services sector, agri have witnessed growth in each of them , it has been slow in industry.

P1: what is Contribution of agri sector to india's gdp?
ME: 16%

P1:What is the % of population in india dependent on agri?
Me: (Guessed).. Sir 40% ! (feeling silly for the bluff)

P1: Are u sure?
Me: Its just a guess Sir

. Any latest bad news in inda?
Other than the scams, the parliament not functioning due to want of JPC.( did i miss telangana, godhra..feeling silly)

P2: Parliament not functioning is actually a good thing. (All 3 of us had a laugh about it.)

P1: What is the market share of M&M in vehicle sales in india?
ME: Told them (on my finger tips)

P1: Do u think the last 3-4 yrs for M&M has been stagnant?
(Spoke about decline in production due to low demand from sept 08 till feb09 , then steady growth, said it was largely slow growth if 2007 compared directly to 2010, hence stagnant overall... I could have done better in this , especially the reasoning)

P2: Do u know probability (oops..finally comes the nuclear bomb)
Me: Yes, a little

P2: Explain cummulative distribution something-something curve..(???)
Me: No sir, not heard of it ( wat do u expect from a metallurgist who has forsaken it for the last 5-6 years of my life.)

P2: Basic probability laws?
Me:(thought for some time)The probability of 2 mutually exclusive events occuring does not influence each other , to which he asked for more basic stuff

P2: can probability be negative?
Me: No

P2: Can probability be zero?
Me: Yes

Both look at eahc other saying "We are done", smile at me and say a pleasant 'thank you'. No alpenliebe offered from the cup.

It was chilled out and lasted between 10-15 mins i guess. the panel was cool.
If u dint know anything u cud say that u dint know it.
It was the same for everyone, so I dint read much into it.
Personally, i cud hv reasoned better in some questions but overall it was an ok feeling.

Kept my fingers crossed..the next day, the next biggie - IIM C.

Final Verdict: " Biggest Convert of the season"



The XLRI interview experience

Feb: 21st. I had been shorlisted for the BM profile by XLRI (which seemed a distant dream after my XAT exam which was no less than a disaster. One of the rumours making the rounds was that next yr the XAT exam would be in French to discourage people from attempting any questions.)
Anyways, My XLRI interview was scheduled on the 21st Feb at the Xavier's College. Arguably the most colorful college in town, the hip & happening crowd in the college a far cry from the grilling I was about to face.

I reached the college at 11 for my inteview and started interacting with the 10-odd people inside the AC-filled waiting room. Most of them had the PMIR (HR) profile which entitled them to have a 20-min case-study before their interviews. I got into a conversation with a girl & a guy who had just finished with their case study which was about relations between top management & union leaders hitting a low due to different incidents and unfourtunately u r the guy in between who can mend ways.

I could gather from their talk that the case-study hadn't been a "fish market" (a dreaded proposition which no one wants in a GD. Beats me! Then who converts it into a fish market??) and each of them had got an opportunity to put their thoughts. The 2 then asked me about how case-study applied only to PMIR profile and not the BM profile to which I applied. I told them I had no idea and continued wearing and adjusting my tie. The girl took my noncholance for great cool-headedness and confidence, commenting that I dint seem nervous at all. (Ya right! wats the point?)

The guy who had his turn before me had just returned. Judging from his grim smile and not-so-pleasant reactions he had got a royal rollicking from the BM panel. At one point he was confused whether it was an interview or a JAM (Just a minute) session.

One of the panel members called out my name and I followed him to the interview room.
I was shortlisted for BM. So it was just the interview for me

A panel of 3 sat before me

P1 - middle-aged man (spoke 50% of the time)
P2 - middle-aged man (did everything but talk)
P3 - old man (did the rest of the talk, listened intently, looked for opportunities to stress u out using whatever you spoke..)

Duration: 20 min

No forms/documents were filled by me. They had all details of me before them.

P1: So should we call you "Vishwanath"?
Me: Yes sir, thats my name.(Naam mein kya rakha hain?)

P1: So tell us something about yourself
Me: Blabbered for about 2 min about school, college, mumbai, nit trichy, metallurgy, 3 yrs of experience in M&M, materials management, automobiles etc.(the idea here is to keep talking abt urself, ur acads, work ex, job profile, company etc etc..but stick to the truth)

2. y the chosen field for grad. (be genuine abt it)

3 relation of field of grad to current work (dint have to take much of an effort in my case )

4. challenges at work (dont make it up)

5. projects/ achievements

6. how is the market for ur industry (do a lot of reading and form opinions)

7. asked abt competitor and competitor's products (Nano)

8. some more info asked about auto industry, comapny stding, latest news, new happenings etc.

9. asked abt interests.

10. i told them abt blogging.. so they asked about when i started? blogpage? wat is the content? lot more talk (pls choose a intrest which u can speak about)

11. P3 spoke for abt 5 min on the company i was workin for, its progress, my salary, my work, my profile, etc etc..and then all 3 stared at me.
I stared back at them. They told me to answer. I asked them wats the qstn? actually it was "y mba"?

12. preferences (told options open)

13. they told me to be specific. (i told prefernces are ops/mktg)

14. which industry? (i told manufcg or non-manufcg)

15. which industry other than manufcg.. (i told fmcg)

16. Some basic qstns on fmcg, a few companies and products.

17. Tried to unsettle me by saying fmcg not ur cup of tea etc etc, v dont take engineers for fmcg, etc etc. I smiled back and said u ll face massive manpower shortage then)

17. Y mktg? convince us. ..they tried dicomforting me again in between

18. Y not finance? and a few more qstns to try and spice it up ..responded

19. Asked me abt my other calls.. (told them)

20. In case of converting all calls which one u ll take and y? (be careful here..its a pitfall. I told them I would prefer one of the IIM calls and they used this as a tool to question me further.)

21. Tried needling & unsettling me again.. (big smile from my side)

Pi,P2, P3 - i think we r done..thank u

I think it went of well regrets as such

Important points:

.No bluffs pls honest
.Choose intrests properly...Rest all will be fine

And no need to make an effort to remember wat you scribbled after the XAT exam (Read "essay").

Final Verdict: Converted



The SP Jain GD/GI experience-1

Feb the 17th: Cometh the day, cometh the hr..
Chic Formal clothes + shiny black shoes and me are poles apart! Before this, formal clothes were my companions only on two occasions: College sypmosiums or job-interviews. Finally I settled for a striped black shirt & the new "tailor-"made black pant.

I always seem to have a tryst with Murphy's law each time (The chances that you come across an occupied rickshaw is directly proportional to the criticality of the GD-PI you are gonna attend). Today wasn't the case though. As the auto-wala maneouvered his baby through the busy andheri traffic and I reached well before the stipulated time of 9:00 am.

It was quite an emotional moment to be part of the campus which I (supposedly) spent 2 years of junior college in. Old memories flooded my head - the broken beaker in the fume-filled chemistry lab, dissection of a hapless frog crying for help, 35% attendance, my parents being called to campus, my father giving me a discourse on attending lectures properly, the sports centre, the frankies at Guptaji. It was all up there in front of me like a ppt presentation projected on screen.
Infact, this single day was going to be more value-adding for me than the 2 years put together. The Bhavans' college building wore a new look, a far-cry from the dirty, crumbling castle it was when we last saw it. An anecdote which did the rounds then was that even if the building crumbled to rubble there would be no casualties. No one attended lectures anyway!! I brushed aside all these memories with a wry smile. It was business time , time to get serious.

SP Jain is quite a miniature version of most B-schools. As you enter the main building, there is no "Top 10 B-school" aura attached to it. Serene atmosphere, Simple in construction & style with a few rooms, lecture-halls, a few open spaces here and there and a small piece of vegetation outside which I assumed was the garden. That made up the B-school.

As I strolled to the room which read "Registration for interview round 1", I saw scores of snxious parents outside. Waiting, for most of us seems to be a waste of time but parents, especially mothers dont mind doing that all their lives. They wait for you to make your way out of the womb crying. They wait for you outside the kindergarten classroom as you sit with a teary-eyed face inside. They wait for you outside during the wretched board-exams. They wait with bated breath, to know which college you got into. They wait for you to know how well your interview went off and how good a job you got.

There was a sprinkling of students, 20-odd of them. Half of the males wore ties, some in blazers resembled leaders representing their countries in UN assembly meetings. Most looked like they come straight from their office-meetings and were immersed in their own thoughts.A few females sat far away in the last benches resigned to the fact they would recieve less attention than the interview files no matter what they tried.

I sat in between 2 guys. The dude on the right was dressed in chic-formals; a pink shirt wit hs shiny tie. He wore a nervous-look on his face, almost scaring me to wits. A part of me wanted to go to all the seemingly nervous dudes and calm them. I instantly reminded myself that they were all my opponents in this game. The guy on my left had a very confused expression. He was shuffling & re-shuffling the contents of his folder. He seeemed unsatisfied with the loads of documents,papers,certificates he was armed with or probably he had missed out on a few photo-copies.
The air was filled with a thick sense of competition by now that I could feel it envelope me. We were told that we were gonna be part of the A-panel consisting of 6 of us. We were the first group for the PI. There were 3 other groups after us. As the clock struck 9 we sat in chairs outside the interview room and then we were called in..

To be continued..

The SP Jain GD/GI experience-2

We were 6 of us in the 9:00 am session. After a small wait outside the room, we were summoned in.
There were 4 gentlemen on the panel. The one on the extreme left (P1) was a old man in his 60s, the 2nd man (P2) a much younger guy seemed very much like an almunus, the 3rd man (P3) had a swagger about him and the 4th man looked like an a intellectual.

"Good morning to you all" said P3 as we greeted him back.

"So guys, lets have a GD just to break the ice. Are you ready?" (What ice? GDs are potential ice-makers, not breakers!)

" So your topic for the GD is - " Development and Corruption go hand-in-hand ".
You get a minuted to put down ur points in the sheet of paper."

1 min over, i started off very briskly with points on development, industry, forms of corruption till I realized after the first 2 min that not one was interrupting me. Fast running out of ideas, I gave a momentary pause. One of them took it as a window of opportunity to enter the discussion. I thanked him silently. We ensured that each of us got a decent chance to put forward our points without making it a fish-market and we succeded in doing it and utilizing the full time. Good group dynamics!
I made an entry 2 more times in a big way by quoting examples of the RTI activists being murdered, the builder-bureaucrat-politician nexus, recent stats etc. After about 10 minutes, we were asked to stop. No one was asked to summarize. It did turn out to be a ice-breaker of sorts!

It was evident by now, P3 would do all the talking. He looked the kind who liked to talk. I wasnt wrong.
Each of us had to take turns telling about ourselves, our background, our acads, schooling, work, grad, work, interests/passions etc. 2 in our group were freshers who were still in grad.
P3 took it upon himself to provide some entertainment by indulging in some serious leg-pulling, mainly the 2 freshers. One of them was asked about his favourite subjects. He fumbled when he was asked to define thermodynamics and some other subject. He had kised adios to his chances, in the first 5 min of his interview. The poor guy had a horrid look after his turn. The more confident fresher, a mechanical engineer, was grilled on stock market terminologies when they were told that he wanted to do finance because he liked the sensex (thats called "digging your own grave"). Finally, they (P3)had made him look more foolish.

Then came my turn. P3 at it again. I had to ensure that he dint get a chance to smother me like 3 others before me.

P3: So, "Vishwanath" or is it "Hariharan"?
Me: Its Vishwanath

P3: Lets stick to vishy. Ya, so..vishy tell us who you are?
Me: Spoke about the usual stuff in a free-flowing manner, as if I had mugged it up.

P3: (After listening to a 2-min intro)so how is the auto industry and how do you the prospects in india 5 yrs hence?
Me: Talked about recent auto stuff & launches, threw nos & stats at him, random mention of JVs & acquisitions in india, talked about expansion plans, india growth story etc

P3: do u compare the Indian & Japanese auto-makers?
Me: (Excellent..thats my domain u r in,dude!)Spoke about competencies in design, process, suppliers, discipline, culture, jugaad etc

P3: (With a chuckle)So how many years will it take for us to be on par with the Japanese?
Me: Reasoned out how Indians are up there with the global quality stds and work in-process. It may not be long when Indian brands will be preferred to others.

The other 3 panelists till then had just been sitting dummies. P3 , after occupying a lion's share of the questioning time, went cold and P1 took up with a little help from P1.

P2 asked each of us " Why MBA?" in 6 different styles.

I gave him the very carefully rehearsed answer (true answer!)about building a better skill set, more decision making scope, higher responsibilites..

P2: "How a better skill set?"
Me: More flexibility. more diverse opportunities, more value addition..( more gyaan)

P2:" You r the only person here who has a techno-commercial profile. Why not continue in it and take more responsibilities?"
Me: (I thought my "Why MBA?" answer would suffice. It dint) Told him how my 'metallurgy' tag was acting as an impediment to further challenging roles.

P4: (Making a late entry) " Did u take metallurgy by chance or choice?"
Me: Sir, by choice. I dint want to get into any circuit/IT related field of engg.

All 4 of them looked at each other and nodded their heads in affirmation with a polite" We are done. thank you."

We thanked them and walked out after a 40-min group interview.

After a 15 min break , we were told that only 3 of us had got through and I was one of them.

We then found ourselves in a similar-looking room for our 2nd group interview. There were 6 of us and 2 on the panel. One of them had impeccable english and had a Parsi twang to it. Some of the questions they asked were from the psychometric test we has to take before our 1st group interview.

We were asked about :
our whims & fancies,
our contribution to the society,
our achievements at college & work
"what animal/bird do u identify urself with?",
" What kind of job do u see urself in after u pass out?"
"Where do u see urself 10 years from now?"

Some food for thought! It was a forum to be clear about waht you wanted, your goals, projecting oneself (telling the truth and not bluffing..they did pull up one of the guys because he gave "Miss India" like answers.)

After a 15-min interaction we were through with it.

Final Verdict: "Converted"