Apr 13, 2007

My PGSEM interview @IIMB.

Phew...Another interview after one year at the same campus.. This time, PGSEM@IIMB . Went there with a totally open mind..Only preparation that I did was to go through the SOP which I gave them @ the time of application.. Didnt want to take chances with the traffic on Bannerghatta road..So reached there quite early.. at about 1.15 PM for the 2 PM slot.. Unlike last years PGP experience, the fervour among candidates was not there.. There was a guy sitting there and reading a guide for facing personal Interviews... Thats the heights of nervousness I think..

I was the third one to go in.. There were two profs.. One guy having a slight resemblance to Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi ( A bit thin though ) ..And another one with a beard , resembling a typical 'Malayalam Sahityakaran' .. I would call them P1 and P2..

P1 : Take your seat Ajith.
Me : Thank you, nice to meet u..

P1: Tell us something about yourself
( Ah..Is this going to be another customary MBA interview ? )
Me : Told about where I come from, education, NIT Calicut, Oracle ..And described me as a person who focuses on Short term goals and long term vision.. --

P1 had a puzzled look on hearing this..
P1 : Why so ? Why no specific long term goals..
Me : Told about why having long term vision minus specifics was good.. Cited an
example in SOP..

-- I proceeded on talking something more about myself..and told them that this is the
second time that I'm coming there for an interview..

P1 asked about the specifics..
I told about last CAT details..The PGP call and subsequent waitlist story.

P2: What was ur CAT percentile last year ?
Me: 97.11

P2: And this year ?
Me: 98.08

P2: And u didnt get a PGP call this year with this score ? ( Really, This is one thing which even I wish to know with plenty of ppl in 97 range getting PGP calls with lower sectionals than me )

Me : No I didnt. Maybe because of the B-tech percentage weightage or increased number of students..

P2 : Your B-tech score of 74 is not bad ( Really glad to hear that from someone at IIMB :) )
Me:Well, one more thing is you can't equate last years percentile with this..The number of students has gone up..Last year it was about 1.75 Lakh and this year its about 2 Lakh.

P2: But when you consider the top 2 percentage students, its a minor change rt ? ..
( Kya kareh, IIM seats are not increasing much due to that stupid OBC quota ) .
Whats your sectionals ?
Me: DI - 98.25 , Verbal - 96.8 , QA - 90.28

P2: Maybe because of QA
Me: Maybe..( Hell..No.. I know ppl with 85 range in QA getting calls at 97 overall.. Its BTech score :( ...I didnt want to proceed much more on that direction..So just agreed with P2 )

P1: ( Seeing that he had enough of it ) Whatever , even we don't know about the criteria ( This is something called as tactical withdrawal... If it was an open discussion, I would have loved to argue upon this point.. Even I had enough of this CAT discussion by that point .. If IIM Profs are looking into this blog, This is a link that they should go through which mocks the selection criteria there )

P1: Ok..so tell me why should we take you..or, why PGSEM ?
( Good that they converged on this point finally )
Me: Rephrased what I've written in SOP..Explained about the possibilities of ERP sector.. And how an MBA can help me in this role..

P1: ( He seemed to be satisfied at this point ) ..Asked again something which I dont remember exactly what was..But had got something again to do with this why PGSEM and not PGP..
Me : ( The reason is pretty simple which I emphasized initially-- I didnt get a call for PGP -- )
I told that I'll be definitely proceeding in the software sector itself, but with a more functionally oriented role..And I dont have any interest in specializing in Marketing or Finance..Considering that aspect the difference between PGSEM and PGP is mainly lack of placements, which I can hopefully overcome with the alumni network support.. ( I'm still skeptical over that aspect..But then , having something is better than having nothing ) ..

P1: Tell me about ur hobbies or activities..Are u a kind of Geek ? ( Once upon a time, I was considered to be one as my friends tell )..
Me: Reading,blogging, a bit of NGO work, quizzing..

P2:Oh u blog? Whats ur blog URL ? ( This was to come :) )
Me: -- Gave it --

P2: So,what u blog ?
Me: Anything that comes in my life.. You can expect the interview description there tomorrow. :)

P2: --He Had an amusing smile :) --

P1 -- Some questions on NGO related stuff --
Me -- Told --

P1 : Have u tried teaching to kids ?
Me: Yes I have tried once ..But failed miserably..

P1: Why ?
Me: U got to know their mother tongue if are attempting that..Otherwise u'll fail..
( This is an honest advise to anyone who want to try teaching under-privileged children.. First
thing that you should do is to learn their mother tongue )

P1: What kind of books u read ? ( Here the trouble starts )
Me: I told about three books that I'm currently reading.. 1) Snow by Orhan Pamuk, 2) The Search 3) The Last Don by Mario Puzzo.

P1: -- Some question about Snow --
Me -- Explained the plot of 'Snow' ..The conflict between political Islam and Western Ideals..

P1: Wasn't that author involved in some controversy.. ?
Me - Yes he was..

P1: What exactly was that..
Me -- ( Oh..Its going into Turkish history ) ..Told about the massacre of Armenians and Kurds by Turks during World War 1..Orhan Pamuk's denunciation of that and the related trouble.. Explained the story well.. ( I'm writing a review on this book which is there among my 'blog drafts' right now..So that research helped :) ) ..

P1:Anything more about Snow ?
Me: Told about a statement in the story by one of the characters comparing communism with the kind of ethnic system thats prevailing there in the post-cold war period.. The gist of the statement was about a nationalistic feeling versus the Turkish, Kurd , Armen, Azeri ( various ethnic tribes there ) feeling..

P1: When was communism there in Turkey ? ( This guy seemed to be very sound in history )
Me: I guess for a brief period in the post - Mustafa Kemal ( Father of Modern Turkey ) period.. ( Not very sure about this ..might be incorrect ..But read something like that in the novel ) ..Told about the revolutions and counter revolutions in Turkey and associated communist support..

P1:-- Some more question on that -- Had to answer something related to Mustafa Kemal and Ottoman empire .. ( Oh..enough ..enough.. no more history )

P1: Can you compare this kind of ethnic tension in Turkey to India..
Me: Told some references to ethnic tensions happening..But firmly said that u cannot compare Turkey with India as Turkey was forecefully secularised under a millitary rule.

P1:Tell me how Indian economy is doing ? ( finally history ends here )
Me:Doing pretty well

P1: Pretty well because u r getting paid well ?
Me -- Talked about the number of jobs getting created..etc etc

P1:Metrics ?
Me : Mentioned the growth rate..

P1:How much percentage of Indian economy is services ?
Me -- Told some number which was off-target :) --

P1:U better revisit ur numbers :)
Me : Sure

P1: How much percentage is agriculture ?
Me: about 50 ? ( Hell..awfully wrong this time too )

P1:Ok..Leave it..Tell me how much percentage of population of India works in agriculture ?
Me : 60 - 70

P2:How u remember that ? ( Was that correct first of all ? )
Me:-I remember reading that for my last years PGP interview :)

P1: -- Asked some question about the metrics of salary growth in ERP sector --
Me: -- Told something.. which they finally seemed to agree upon..

P1 -- Some questions on people management --
Me: Said I'm an individual contributor..

P1 -- Aspects of management that I'm interested upon ?
Me: Told about the business analysis part, functional details..Basically giving references to
my SOP again..

P1 -- Asking P2 if there is anything more ?
P2 -- He too seemed to be fed up with Turkish history details :)

P2:How will u rate the interview..?
Me:Very well ( Was it ? ..anyway, I enjoyed it ... and I'm an optimist.) ..was a good experience :)

P1:- I'll give you a feedback.. ( Pointing to my right shoulder.. ) Iron the shirt properly before interview :)
Me : Sure :) ( I did Iron it..but then, I'm someone who has not ironed a shirt for about 3 - 4 years .. We don't need to wear formals here... Being a bit lazy, thats a perfect excuse..Isnt it ? ..So, that inexperience showed )

P1: Thats it Ajith..
Me : I do have a question to you..How much does the Alumni network help PGSEM students here ? -- Gave some more specifics --

P1: U'll have to check with the current students..I cannot comment on that.. -- Told about the recent nature of course.. and spoke tentatively about the initiatives ..

Me: Thats it from my side too.. May I know your names?
P1 introduced himself..
P2: I wont give you my name..U'll put it in blog :)
Me: Fine, I'll refer you as P1 and P2 :)
P2:Thats fine :)

Me: Thanks :)
Walked off.. Asked them do I need to call the next candidate ..They said No..

-- I might have missed some Q's ...but more or less this was it :) .
If this doesnt click, It might be CAT - 2007 again.. :) .

Added later -- First thing that I did after coming out of interview was to take out my tie :) .



csy0182 said...

I think u just about managed it buddy :)

Unknown said...

all the best Ajith!!!

Oh yeah , I am an Ajith too, incidentally ur junior :)

Dainty Damsel said...

Hope you get into IIM :)
For one moment I was thinking what if that prof was reading this :)

Some of the answers were impromptu but well put.Whew!so many questions on metrics.
You can expect the interview description there tomorrow.hehe hope he is reading this.Too much grilling on The Snow ,the plot and details.

A good read and waiting to hear the good news soon.


Anonymous said...


Serendipity said...

Heavy dose of history -:) Good thing u were sound in history too :)

Agree with u abt those comments on teaching- under privileged kids.

lol at P1's remarks .

Flyaway Mind said...

books,blogs, NGO..feels like an impressive interview :)

Anonymous said...

i think u had a grt interview..good luck :-)


Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

@chaos -- lets see :)

@ajith -- Nice to see u here..All the best for ur LACKI converts :)

@crescent -- Even i wonder if profs read this :)

@freebird -- :)

@serendipity -- Yeah, heavy dose :).. About P1's remark, I dont think I'm gonna improve in that aspect :)

@flyawaymind -- Thank u thank u :)

@ratheesh -- Welcome here :) Lets see how it turns out to be :)

raghav said...

hey .. Looks like you aced this one .. Some Questions dont matter ( thats what ppl tell me also) .. But you were able to stand your ground and thats what is important .. Al the best .. btw when are ur results coming ?

Dimple said...

I think U wont have to giv CAT again..I would have selected you..:)

Ajith Prasad Balakrishnan said...

@raghav -- lets see man.. Results depends on the whims and fantasies of Arjun Singh now :)

@dimple --Oh is it :) ? Good..good :)

Hitchhiker said...

Wooo hooo!!! :) Sounds good! :) fingers crossed though :)

Anonymous said...

Never knew that the IIM interviews are this heavy duty. I better dont go near them. But you i think did well. So all the best.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ajith
Congratulations on making it thru the course.
See you at class made it too .

MS said...

That made an interesting read Ajith :)

Somehow doubt if that a la Pataudi ishtyle Prof was Prof.Shankar Venkatagiri - The William Shakespeare of IIMB! :))

Btw, am a PGSEM 2006 student...
Heck, have our final exams tomorrow for the first year..and am going down the Chute here. :))

Catch up later..

Anonymous said...

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Zorya said...

Really informative post about your PGSEM interview. Very helpful for future aspirants as well! :)