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?
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?
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?
P1: But why is called the negotiator?
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"