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)"




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