Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Lost Voice and the lo(a)st cause? - IIM Rohtak, Raipur, Trichy Interview

It was the last of my IIM calls, and the last but one of all my calls. (MDI is the other one). After the A call, which I thought went well (when much to the contrary I got blunt feedback from people asking me not to expect much) I was pretty much relaxed. The centre was IIM Lucknow's Noida Campus and people in Noida actually knew that the campus was in existence. A ride with a bank officer later, I reached the 'college' (Not going to risk any tongue in cheek remarks about the boring bank officer lest he finds out about the blog from somewhere! :O ). There were quite a few familiar faces in the same slot, from the Ahmedabad and Kozhikode calls. We were divided into 4 panels and I was placed into Panel 3. 

And my luck with 5 continued. Have been the 5th person to be interviewed in all my calls, Kozhikode, Indore, Ahmedabad and then this one as well! But there was the minor problem of a Group Discussion before the interview. Had never been in a GD before (Discounting the Shapoorji Pallonji and the Career Launcher ones) and with the dead voice courtesy the Delhi Cold and a mild version of the Delhi Belly due to the centre being way too far from the New Delhi, left me praying for my luck. But luck was running out, and I was left in a good group. 

GD Topic: Rural india is being ignored. We look there only for profits. We are heartless parasites.(They expanded this into a paragraph of sorts)
Time: 12 mins + a couple of mins for thinking which ended 30 seconds after they started

Those who have been with me in GDs pretty much know that I open my mouth lots, but get heard only a little and my bad voice mad things worse. I was pretty much a silent spectator for most of the time, despite multiple attempts. I soon gave it up as a lost cause, and went into analysis mode and started spotting the 'Professor, Gatekeeper, Time Keeper' ala Career Launcher's PDP Videos. And that was some fun before I suddenly got a moment of silence to enter and make my point. (and a few subsequent points too). On the whole it was a pathetic GD, similar to a fish market except that all of us(them rather) were arguing to prove the same thing! There was one guy who kept looking at his watch permanently, and telling us that time was about to get over more than saying anything else!

Then the panel ended the GD and asked us to wait for the interviews. And I guess I wasn't alone in being happy that the GD had finally ended. Then after a quite long wait, came my turn for the interview. Was a pretty short interview, and hence do not remember which interviewer asked which question. So here goes the experience.

Panel : Two professors apparently of IIM Lucknow and me. 

P: Tell me about yourself
Me: (The same old crap, I'll refrain from posting it here once again)
P: Who is Maulana Azad? Tell about him. 
Me: Sir, he was the first education minister of India, and is responsible for India's education system. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1992. And of course, he was a freedom fighter too. 
P: (Glancing through my marksheets) Why so much of transport and environment. What do you learn in them?
Me : Sir we have two papers each of Transport and Environment Engg. In Transport 1, we studied about Ports, Airports and Railways. In Transport 2, we dealt with Highways. Environment was ...
P: (Interrupts) What is a Freeway? Expressway?
Me: I am not very sure about a freeway, but an expressway is special kind of national highway where the roads are 8 laned. And there are no stops permitted. It is for high speed travel.
P: What are the two kinds of roads used?
Me: Sir, roads can be made of either Bitumen or  Concrete.
P: What are the advantages and disadvantages of concrete roads?
Me: Concrete roads are very costly sir. And they are weak at the construction joints that are made at the end of the day's work. On the other hand, they are much more resistant and have a longer life when compared to Bitumen roads.
P: What is the cost of building Bitumen and Concrete Roads?
Me: (Thanking my stars and Vineel for making me attend that particular class of Transportation Engg a week ago !!) Sir, a Bitumen Road costs about 50 Lakh per Kilometer and a Concrete one about 1 Crore a Kilometer. This is for a 4 lane road, built on a plain surface. 
P: Okay, what is the width of Broad Gauge and Metre Gauge?
Me: Sir, as the name suggests, a Meter Gauge is 1m wide. Broad Gauge is 1.33m wide sir. 
P: 1.33m? Sure?
Me: Yes sir! (It is 1.43m, I just checked)
P: What are the advantages of Meter Gauge?
Me: Sir .. Uhmm Uhmm Uhmm .. (And coughed a bit so that he had time to think of another question)
P: Ok, you would have seen the Delhi Metro. What is the cost building 1km of it?
Me: Sir, it depends on how you are building it. Overbridge, underground or on the surface. Under ground would be the costliest. And on the surface the cheapest. 
P: I don't want to know all this! Cost. Tell me cost alone. 
Me: Sir, I don't know the cost sir. Sorry.
P: (Puzzled Expression and tries to go into serious mode) Then why on earth did you explain all this? You should have told I dont know sir, in the beginning itself. When you started explaining all this, I thought you will give me a detailed estimate. 
Me: (Put on my best possible smile) :D 
P: Ok, you are a National Level Quizzer and play Chess. What are your other interests?
Me: Sir, I like writing. I am a part of the Editorial Board of the college that has worked on three magazines including the Golden Jubilee Edition of the Magazine. I also have been maintaining a blog for the last 4.5 years. 
P: Oh, that's nice. What do you blog about?
Me: Sir, initially I started out with Film and Music Reviews sir .. 
P: (Interrupts) Film Critic or reviewer?
Me: Sir, it depends on the movie. If I don't like a movie, I become a critic. (And both me and the Panelist who asked the question laughed. The other one didn't appreciate this moment of fun, and was hell bent on taking my case!)
P : What films do you watch?
Me: Sir, only regional ones mostly. Tamil Cinema. 
P: What else do you write about?
Me: Of late about IIM Interviews of mine and poems too. 
P: (Cant see any more chance of taking my case in this and shifts to his favourite topic for the day - Politics and the same set of questions he'd been asking everyone before me)
P : What are the Political issues that India is facing these days?
Me: Sir, the scams that have hit the govt - 2G, Adarsh, CWG etc. Elections in 5 states including Tamil Nadu in April - May .. 
P: (Interrupts again)Is the 2G scam bureaucratic or political?
Me: Sir, it cant be exactly classified. It involved politicians mainly, but then most of the times when politicians are involved, bureaucrats are involved too.
P: What is the constituency of Manmohan Singh?
Me: Guwahati sir.
P: Is he from Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha?
Me: Rajya Sabha. 
P: No of Members of Lok Sabha?
Me: 534. (It is 543 !! Aaaah)
P: How are members to Rajya Sabha Elected?
Me: Sir, 12 members are selected by the president from various fields of eminence. The rest of the house is of members nominated by various state legislative assemblies. 1/3rd of the house changes every 2 years. 
P: Is DMK a Regional or National Party?
Me: Sir, it is a Regional Party with a presence majorly in Tamil Nadu and very little presence in Karnataka.
P: What is the criterion for a party to be a national party?
Me: Sir, it should have a vote share of 10% in 4 states of the country for it to be classified as a national party. 
P: Thank you Shrinivas, you can leave. 

Interview Time - 11 mins. 
My shortest interview so far. Shorter than even the fiasco at SP Jain. Dont know what to expect from this after the fiasco of the GD.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The A-day - IIM Ahmedabad Interview Experience

Well, the A-day was finally there. And an auto ride later (Chennai-tes, auto drivers in Delhi even offer to go on the meter on their own!!) (Guess I can add Bhopalis too ! :P ) I was at the centre, pretty ahead of time. IIM Calcutta was having its interviews at the same venue (IIFT) and thankfully the venue inside the campus was different from the one I had my SP Jain Interview. (Phew!! )

The process started with the 30 odd candidates being separated into 3 panels of 10 each. And the initial discussion between us was about the candidate who had given the interview a skip - Which college did he have a call from to give WIMWI a skip !!

Two professors took charge after this and announced the essay topic. Theyverified our photo identity. And my photo was an age old photograph, which had the prof staring at me for quite some time and the ID checking of it was the same person or was I impersonating !!

Topic : Social Insensitivity is the trademark of Contemporary Indian Society
Time : 10 mins (which pretty much gave us just time to put our pens to paper, breathe and take the pen off. I couldn't even use my handkerchief for my bad cold)

I managed (thanks to Prateek Dwivedi, Mayank Sarkar, Pritish Roy and Drishtant to an extent) to write a decent essay with a good structure. In the end I discovered I had enough time left, to extend my conclusion to a paragraph larger than even my introduction !!

Then started the agonising wait for the interview. I was 5th in the list - 4 of the ones ahead of me were engineering graduates. And going from their feedback, I was expecting a grilling interview on Civil Engineering! The Loyola Graduate ahead of me, had an exceptionally long interview and because of him, I had a nerving wait outside, walking to and fro on the corridor. (Yes my friends, I can read your mind. Good for my paunch and weight, I know! I know! ) Then I went in after being asked by the interviewer to. And so here we go !!

Panel :
Prof 1 (P1)- Middle aged gentleman (Prof Diptesh Ghosh)
Prof 2 (P2)- Another middle aged gentleman with a nice french beard (Prof Rajanish Das)

P1 : Good afternoon. Have a seat
Me: Good afternoon sir, good afternoon sir.
P2: Please give me your certificates file, so that I can have a look.
Me: Yes sir.
P1: (Glancing through my personal data form) Ok, Bhopal. What do you know about Bhopal?
Me: Sir, The foundation for Bhopal was laid by Raja Bhoj. Talking from a Civil Engineering point of view, he was the one who designed the city of Bhopal and the entire irrigation system. After him, Bhopal was taken over by the Nizams.
P1: (Interrupts) When you say irrigation system, what do you mean?
Me: Sir, as a city Bhopal does not lie on the coast or near a River. It doesn't have very good rainfall either. Hence it needed a very good irrigation system so that it could sustain. Raja Bhoj, did this by designing various lakes across the city (under the impression that I was giving him a nice overview of the city)
P1: Which lake are you talking about? Chota Talaab or Bada Talaab??
Me: (In shock, woah, these guys know everything) Sir, Bhopal has a total of 7 lakes including Upper Lake, Lower Lake, Shahpura Lake etc.
P1: Okay, so what is the source of water for these lakes?
Me: Sir, the Bhadbhada area is the source for the lakes, but I'm not very sure about the exact river.
P1: Have you heard of Bairagarh?
Me: Yes sir, it is in the outer of Bhopal
P1: Do you know about Bairagarh falls??
Me : I'm sorry sir, I dont know
P1: Aren't you basically from Bhopal? Why dont you know this?
P2: (Interrupts) No no, he is from Chennai
(Silence for a few seconds follows)
Me: Sir, I was born and brought up in Chennai. And did my schooling from Padma Seshadri School which is well known for its alumni like A R Rahman, Surya, R Ashwin etc.
P1: AR Rahman, ok. What was the second name you said?
Me: Sir, Surya. He is an actor.
P1 : (Gives a shrug indicating he hasn't heard of him)
Me: Sir, he was the one who acted in Rakta Charithra and the Tamil version of Ghajini.
P1 : (Gives a shrug indicating he hasn't heard of him)

P2 : Ok Shrinivas, you are in your final year of Civil Engg, What is your project on?
Me: Sir, It is a project under the aegis of UNICEF and MP PHE for removal of Flourides from Handpump water. In the states of MP and Rajasthan, Flourosis is a major issue. The fluoride content of water is about 8-10 ppm when it is supposed to be 1 ppm according to the standards. Even this 1 ppm is obtained from the Toothpaste we use. Due to this, the people are much affected in the rural hinterland. When you go there, you can see people with bend backs and bones due to Skeletal and Dental Flourosis.
P1: What technique are you using?
Me: Sir, right now in the field, adsorption is being used with alumina. We are trying to use a natural medium like Neem or Eucalyptus bark for adsorption of the flourides that are present.
P1: What is adsorption?
Me: It is a surface process due to which the particles of the Flourides get attached to the surface of the leaves. The rate varies with the surface area.
P1: But how will you vary the surface area of the bark? You cannot put a particular area of the bark into a bucket.
Me: No sir, we grind the bark into powder and through Sieve Analysis separate out the particles as per their particle size. What we are trying to do is to plot graphs between the Efficiency after a particular time and Efficiency with increase in Particle size.
P1: But I still haven't understood what adsorption is!
Me : Sir, it is a process where the surface adsorps the particles that are present ..
P1 : (Interrupts) Ok, so if I ask you what is Chennai, you will tell me it was earlier called Madras and if I ask you what Madras is, you will tell me it is now called Chennai. (and all of us have a laugh)
P2: You said particles, but is flourine present as gas or salts?
Me: sir, it is present as dissolved salts. Actually, using bone mash ie Calcium gives a very high efficiency. But due to the sentiments of people against using something that has passed through bone mash, we have been asked by the college authorities not to use it.
P1: The college advises you on what to do???
Me: Sir, because we get funding form UNICEF, we have to report to the college authorities.

P1: Have you got any job offers?
Me: Yes sir, Two. One from Shapoorji Pallonji Constructions and another from Virtusa.
P1: What is this Shapoo ..
Me: Sir, it is a 150 year old construction company based in Mumbai, founded by Shapoorji Mistry and Pallonji Mistry. They initially designed the irrigation system of Bombay. Recently they have constructed a 50 floor tall residential building in Mumbai. They are mainly into residential projects.
P1 to P2: You recently went to Mumbai, did you see this building?
P2: No no. I dint. Are you sure this is a finished project?
Me: Yes sir, it has been completed and handed over to the clients.
P2 : I havent seen it. What was the 2nd company?
Me: Virtusa sir, it is a Srilankam software company.
P2 : What do they do?
Me: Sir, they are mainly into BFSI - Banking, Finance and Insurance. Most of their revenue comes from this.
P2: IT??
Me:  Yes sir.
P1 : Okay, which job will you join?
Me : Sir, I haven't thought about it sir. I want to complete my studies and do an MBA now.
P1 : Ok, assume you dont get admission. Then? Let me test your decision making. Tell me the pros and cons of each company.
Me: Sir, shapoorji will give me continuity with what I learnt in Engg. Whereas Virtusa will be in Chennai, location will be a positive. Shapoorji will mean a job on the field and as I want to do an MBA, it will not give me much time to prepare once again for CAT. Whereas Virtusa will give me more time for that.
P1: But then if you go to Virtusa, what is your Civil Engg for?
Me : Sir, agreed that the main knowledge wont be of much use. But the practical skills I learnt from hostel life ...
P1 : (Interrupts) Dont give me the same thing about problem solving skills, analytical ability. All you engineers say the same. Not like other graduates dont have that!
Me: Sir, but Virtusa will be in tune with what I want to do in Life. When you are in 12th, your outlook of the world isn't that huge. But now, after engineering life, I know what I want to do. I want to get into the financial side of sporting businesses, in football and I feel that Virtusa will be a better step in that direction. 

P2: Sporting Business? Which sport?
Me: Sir, football.
P1 : What do you know about that?
Me: Sir, if you take the example of a football club in Europe like Manche ..
P1 : (Interrupts) No, take India
Me: Sir, in India, if you see, the state of football is very bad. There is no professional management. The talent we have isn't reflected in our rank.
P1 : What is our rank?
Me : 144 sir
P1 : Ok, so what does this have to do with bad management? It is lack of talent.
Me: Sir, if a Yusuf Pathan could come to the Indian Cricket team from the streets of Baroda, it is because of the excellent structure of Cricket in India. Whereas in Football, that isn't possible. There is no structure.
P1: You mean, the street kids will defeat the football team?
Me: No sir, I didn't mean that.
P1 : You and I will never agree on this!
P1 : What do you want to do? Manage a football team?
Me: No sir, I want to go into the financial side. In every football club, there is the financial side that takes care of how to market the club, how to finance the various stuff that a club needs etc. I want to go into that side.
P1: Okay. Name 10 .. no 5 football teams in Chennai
Me : Indian Bank FC is based in Chennai. Other than this, there aren't any other prominent teams.
P1 : But football is not popular
Me : Sir, that is where the opportunity lies. Today, due to the coverage of European Soccer, the amount of kids watching football has increased tremendously.
P1 : What has been India's football rank before?
Me: Sir, earlier, India was a footballing giant in Asia. We were 4th in the Olympics, during the time of PK Mukherjee. But since then we have gone to abysmal depths.
P1: What was India's rank 5 years back?
Me: 135 odd sir.
P1: 135 to 144 and you call it improvement??
Me: Sir, but if you see the structure, it has improved tremendously. Before the National Football League and the National team's matches used to clash. But now we have a professional structure and both Clubs and the country are complementary to each other. We even qualified for the AFC Cup sir.
P1: Who sets the ticket prices for the games?
Me : Sir, the clubs ..
P1 : For the IFA Shield, was it the clubs?
Me: No sir, that being AIFF organised it was decided by them. 

P2: Ok, did you have economics in Engg?
Me: Yes sir. We studied the basics like Demand, supply etc
P2: What is supply consumerism?
Me: Sir, I'm sorry I dont know sir.
P2: Demand-Supply Law?
Me : Sir, I remember very vaguely.
P2 : What about 5 year plans yaar. Engineering Economics is 5 year plans. What 5 year plan are we going through now?
Me: 12th is being formulated now sir.
P1 : What is the difference between the 1st and lets say the 12th 5 year plan?
Me: Sir, the outlooks. That time we were just independent. The focus was on jobs for everyone. Today we have more of private sector.
P2 : Did you go through the budget?
Me: Yes sir, I did. 

P2 : What about yesterday's match?
Me: Cricket sir?
P2 : Yes yes. Did you think it was fixed?
Me: Sir, some days back when Pakistan conceded 100 runs in the last 5 overs, we called it match fixing. Now, we've lost 9 wickets and scored 25 runs in 10 overs. Nothing wrong if we are suspected of it sir.
P2 : How many 100s has Sachin hit?
Me : 99 sir.
P2 : In ODIs?
Me: Sir 49.
P2: No it was 48. How many out of that has India won in?
Me: 33 sir.
P1: Okay, you told about PK Banerjee. Which team did he manage?
Me: I'm not sure sir. But if i can guess. It is East Bengal.
P1: What is the jersey colour of East Bengal?
Me: Sir, I'm not sure about that sir. Mohun Bagan has Purple and Green. I think East Bengal has Yellow and Red.
P1: It is Maroon, not Purple! Ok, what's the difference between Maroon and Purple. (then laughs at his own question)
(Silence follows)
Me: I know this answer because it was a question in the ESPN School Quiz that I won sir. Connect Wimbledon and Mohun Bagan. It was their official colours, both have it as purple and green.
P1: Okay. That's nice
P2: That's it Shrinivas. You may leave.
P1 : Thank you Shrinivas, all the best with your football !! (Dont know what he meant by that !!! )

That's it folks. Feedback please :D :D: D

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tata Crucible Questions - Indore Round

The Prelims consisted of 20 questions. More than 300 Teams participated as well. 
Questions courtesy : Kumar G Vishwanath and Hari S Nair - Runners up, Tata Crucible Indore round. 
Thanks a lot da, for letting me put this up on my blog. Congrats too !

1.The first kind of these institutions were the Irish Loan Funds, which were set up by the Irish author Johnathan Swift in the 18th Century.. How do we know these institutions who were accused of "wrongdoing" in India recently
Ans. Microfinance

2.Which Dalit lawyer was the Union Minister of Rural Development in the NDA regime in '99??
Ans. A. Raja

3."Evo" is the first 4G capable phone in the world, launched by which company?
Ans. HTC

4.What was first developed by the Multitone Electronics and used in St.Thomas Hospital London in order to notify doctors of emergencies?
Ans. Pager

5.She needed 4 lakh for completing a Beauty Course in Tehran, Iran, but since she didnt have that kind of money, she wrote articles in magazines and earned it. She now has 400 clinics all over India. Who?
Ans: Shahnaz Hussain

6.Where do you encounter a "fail whale"?
Ans: Twitter

7.Who owns MySpace Social Networking Site? (Organisation not person)
Ans: Newscorp (Rupert Murdoch)

8.Which Media empire owns the newspaper "The Telegraph" in India?
Ans: Anand Bazaar Patrika

9.What is the full form of RSS as in RSS feeds of Blogs etc.?
Ans: Really Simple Syndication

10.Which organisation was formed in 1988 in Mumbai and now is headquartered in New Delhi and is registered under the Indian Societies Act. It was mainly formed for the improvement of the Indian software industry and its practices?
Ans: Nasscom

11.Big Daddy and Bheegi Basanthi are the production houses owned by which "celebrity couple"? Hint: They just got married now
Ans: Lara Dutta and Mahesh Bhupathy

12.Who/Which group owns the Fortune group of hotels?
Ans: ITC

13.What does x stand for in .pptx, .docx,.xlsx etc?
Ans: XML

14.Which stock market is called as All Ordinaries? Australia, New Zealand, or Singapore
Ans: Australia

15.Lacoste logo

16.Identify Hewlett Packard Founders

17.Amnesty International logo

18.NSE logo

19.Identify the book from its cover. It talked about a certain conglomerate of India.
Ans: The World is Flat

WildCard Round

1. "Jeffrey the Giraffe" is the mascot of which brand?
Ans: Toy R Us

2. Hilton Commission setup which organisation in India?
Ans : RBI

3. Some names of Satellites which help in Navigation question.

4. What famous organisation was setup by Paul Galvin as Galvin Electronics?
Ans:  Motorola

5. His famous book was released as the "Big Book" in the UK and has introduced various terms into the Economics?
Ans: Peter Drucker

Final Round:

Round 1: Lets Toss
1. Who/What was the fourth ambassador for the English World Cup 2018 bid along with David Beckham, Alan Shearer and David Seaman?
Ans: Paul the Octopus

2. What is Gulliver's Condom used for? It is made especially for Media and for no other purpose.
Ans: Under water shooting

3.What is "Streisand Effect"?
Ans: Viral spreading of information when it is banned. Eg Wikileaks

4.He was hired by the city of Heidelberg, Germany to ensure the proper burning of the lamp and in this process discovered somehing which we all have used in our life at some point or the other?
Ans: Bunsen Burner
5. In the 1970s, why did Loreal ask Nestle to take a stake in its company?
Ans: Due to the fears of it being nationalised and hence asked a company based in another country to take a stake.

Round 2: Stump Vision

1.Young picture of a certain lady  or actress who first made her appearance on television in ad of SugarPuff.
Ans: Kate Winslet
2. Picture of a newspaper called Dearborn Independant published in 1920 in Michigan. Who published this failed newspaper?
Ans: Henry Ford

3. Picture of Daniel Shugert. What did he invent?
Ans: Floppy Disk

4. First Revenue Stamp in India by Saurashtra king.. Picture identify.. Easy one

5. Picture of a street in Poland dedicated to this character as in the 1980s this street produced the maximum number of these things allover the world. Since then other countries have overtaken it. The streets name is Ulica Kubisa Puhchatka? Hint: Think Cute
Ans: Winnie the Pooh

Round 3: Tata Round

1. Which Tata Retail Brand started its Heritage Brand for the first time in Kolkata.
Ans: Tanishq

2. How do we know Jam Pol?
Ans: Jamshedpur Injections

3. Suraksha is an innovation for 24 hour electricity the Police Stations by which Tata Company?
Ans: Tata BP Solar

4. In honour of JRD Tata’s 100th Anniversary, what range of watches was launched by Titan?
Ans: Aviator

Round 4: Third Umpire

1. Connect Rocky the movie, Hassbro, JFK, Rafael Nadal and the US Flag
Ans: Gi-joe

2. Connect perfume 901, "Chi","Southern Hospitality" etc, Logo of his brand and a song called "Accidently in Love"
Ans: Justin Timberlake

3. Connect Vikram Seth's "Suitable Boy", Padmasree Warrier and a song (couldnt identify the song), Empowering the Internet generation.

4. Connect facebook, a picture showing a woman with text written called family, Ajab Si playing from Om Shanti Om, and a painting of Milo.
Ans: Nestle

Round 5: Slog Overs

1. Clue 1: It was originally started as a newspaper by James Wilson in 1843.

    Clue 2: It's main aim is "to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress."It takes an editorial stance based on free trade and globalisation, but also the expansion of government health and education spending, as well as other, more limited, forms of governmental intervention. It targets highly educated readers and claims an audience containing many influential executives and policy-makers."

Ans: The Economist

2. Clue 1: It celebrated its 100 year of branding in New York in 2002 by unfurling a huge something in New York (I dont know what he said. Was tensed.)
   Clue 2: It was first targeted at woman, but found very less takers and had a lukewarm response

   Clue 3: It was Leo Burnett who created the famous logo which made the product a big hit.

Ans: Marlboro Man

3. Clue 1: This was created on January 13, 1888 by 33 scholars gathered at the Cosmos Club, a private club with a mission "to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world's cultural, historical, and natural resources."
Ans: National Geographic Magazine/Society

Have fun Quizzing !!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What I have learnt from my IIM Interviews

1. Be confident even if you dont know the answer. A confident 'I Dont Know' is much better than a nervous stuttering answer. 

2. Talk to your group mates over there, and learn stuff from them. It helps. 

3. It is not your college exam. So no harm in assimilating information upto the very last moment, from your neighbour's newspaper.

4. Have a good night's sleep the previous night. Stifling a yawn in the middle of the interview does not help much. 

5. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go on an empty stomach. It is tough to concentrate on your interview when your stomach is making growling noises. 

6. DO NOT have anything at suspect restaurants. Odd sounds emanating from your stomach are no good either. 

7. Just because others are having stress interviews, it does not mean you will have one too. . Do not go with a preset mindset about the interviewers. It'll only lead to a big-time mess up. 

8. A blazer is not a must. I haven't worn a blazer so far. And no one has even bothered to question me about it. There were even people without ties in my slot at Kozhikode. 

9. Know your academics. At the same time, as much as you know, there is always something you wont know and they will ask. 

10. DO NOT bluff. The only reason they are asking the question is because they know the answer. Bluffing will get you stuck in a bad spot at the end. 

11. IIM Interview transcripts are hot property online. Hit rate over here has nearly doubled or tripled since I've posted my IIM Interviews. I've even been featured in the Times of Hyderabad.

Will try and make a Part 2 after all my interviews get over.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Indoor Massacre - My IIM Indore Experience

Edit: After the multiple feedback that I was being a pessimistic show-off, here's the reason why I said it was a massacre. The answers typed out here do not do justice to what happened there. There was plenty of stuttering, lack of coherence and words. At a point of time, I started sweating so terribly that I had to ask the panel for permission to wipe my face off.

Indore was an IIM interview I was really looking forward to. Being a campus I had already visited, I thought it'd be cool to go back there. I was also looking forward to meeting one real helpful person, Mr Rajasekar, my mentor at IIM Indore. The journey to Indore, interspersed by tweets (You can read them at , was most boring. The intercity super fast express was more like a passenger train, with the AC chair car coach having as many rats as the hostel mess. Took up accomodation in Hotel Payal opposite the station, and thought of having dinner at Gurukripa, Indore's equivalent of Saravana Bhavan or Sangeethas or for my Bhopal friends, Manohar Dairy/Arya Bhawan. My plans came crashing down when I saw the overcrowded and overflowing place, with a queue outside being regulated by two security guards !! The eventful and wonderful dinner I'd been dreaming of, throughout the train journey was reduced to a few tasteless tandoori rotis and mess ka paneer at a local dhaba . 

Day 2 started off with the most bitter coffee I've ever had in life, including mess ones. Sugar free it was, probably the chaiwaala as an afterthought stopped himself from adding sugar after looking at my proud paunch, peeking out from beneath the slightly crumpled formal shirt. After a bit of haggling with the autorickshaw guy, and taking my rolling stomach for a further roll, due to the Indore roads, I reached Prabandh Shikar (IIM Indore) and found a friend from Career Launcher, Vikram Rathi over there. Had a nice little chat with him and the other candidates and got to know them a bit. 

Had a pretty surprising shock when I found that the slot had just 7 candidates !! And here goes my experience. 

The WAT consisted of a summary of a passage in 130 words and an essay in 200 words. The time alloted for both was 40 mins, and we received exactly 40 mins to put our thoughts to paper. 
Topic of summary passage : Auctions - open, closed, ascending, descending (130 words)
Topic of essay : Women are more effective bosses than men. Either support or oppose the argument with a structured passage in 200 words. 
Time : 40 mins

My experience was fairly good. Found the essay topic pretty much easy and hence finished about 10 mins ahead of time. We were then given tea and biscuits before the interview. 

I was the 5th candidate to be interviewed among the 7 who were present. And here goes the experience. 

Panel : 
A middle aged male professor (P1)
Another middle aged but older professor (P2)
A lady professor (P3)
Myself (Me)

P1: Please come in Shrinivas. 
P3: Can I have your certificates folder.
P2: Okay Shrinivas, tell me about yourself
Me: I am Shrinivas. Basically from Chennai (hobbies) (strengths) (why mba)
P1: Okay, you are a Civil Engineering Student. What is your opinion about the architecture of IIM Indore?
Me: Sir, aesthetically very good. Sandstone walls rather than paint. Circular shape with lots of lawns and open spaces. 
P1: Do you think aesthetics are important for an institute like IIM? What role do they play?
Me: Definitely sir. Aesthetics improve the frame of mind etc in a student in a strenuous life at the IIM. Gives a feeling of being connected with nature. For eg the sunset spot, the huge lawns etc make you at feel at ease here. 
P2: What do you think is the negative or the weakness of the architecture of the institute? From a civil engineering point of view?
Me: Sir, I haven't observed the building so much, to point out structural flaws. But there is a lot of open space, that could have been better used, but has been left open for aesthetic reasons. 
P2: Okay, do you think the area has been used in an optimum way? What would you choose to do if given the same area, build IIM Indore or construct a residential complex?
Me: Sir, a residentail complex would mean more optimum use of the area. Hence from a Civil Engineering point of view, a residential complex. 
P1: Do you think the area is being used properly here? 180 acres for about 500 students?
Me: Sir, the area here has lot of open spaces, taking into account scope for future expansion. IIM Indore is the fastest growing IIM. The open spaces here mean that the expansion can be done easily. If you take the case of IIM Ahmedabad, due to the lack of area, they are having to use area opposite their campus for new buildings etc. But here, that needn't be the case. 
Sir, I dont really know how to comment about this, considering my present college MANIT is a 650 acre campus for about 3000 students. 
P1: What is the point of having scope for future expansion when it is so far away from the city? If the photocopy machine here fails, we have to go about 5-6 km for the next photocopy shop. 
Me: Sir, the mountain top location is something very nice. This is very similar to my college MANIT except for the fact that it is not in the centre of the city. That is more to do with the fact that MANIT has been there for 50 years whereas Indore is a more recent campus. And these days it is very tough to get such a good location with large area in the middle of the city. That too in a commercial area like Indore. 
P1: What is the minimum volume need for a person when you design a Auditorium?
Me: Sorry sir, I dont know. 
P1: Conference hall?
Me: Sorry sir, I dont know. 
P1: Classroom?
Me: 3 m3
P1: Sure?
Me: Yes sir. About 2.5 to 3 will do sir. 
P1 : Have you heard of this? 'Form over function or function over form' ??
Me: Not really, but I can guess from the sentence about what it is. 
P1: Go on. 
Me: Sir, it is about deciding which is your priority. The form of the building, or its functionality. Based on that, we do the designing of the building. In Indore, form has been given more importance. 
P2: Ok. 
P2: If I want to design a foundation, what are the things that I should take into account?
Me: Sir, the soil condition, water table, strength ..
P2: What if I want to build a 100 floor building like Burj Al Dubai?
P2: On the sea shore in loose soil.
Me: Sir, the water table is very high near the sea. So the strength of the soil is pretty low. Due to the salinity, the reinforcements that are used, get corroded easily. So chemical coatings need to be provided. Also, the wind load is pretty high near the sea shore. So that has to be taken into account .. 
P2: So how do you do all this?
Me: Sir, in the Burj, a steel framework has been used to increase the stability. The amount of reinforcements that need to be given also increases. The depth of the foundation as well is more. Rock strata need to be there for proper foundation.
P2: Other than this?
Me: Sir, the building is shaped in such a way that the wind force is reduced due to streamlining. Like in the Burj, it is shaped like a yatch sail, so that the wind force effect is reduced. 
P1: Ok, other than such stuff? Take the example of earthquake prone areas. What is done there?
Me: Sir, the material used is different. Like in Japan, wood is more used. 
P1: Okay. Take the case of a hoarding placed on top of the mountain, facing the road. What is done for its stability?
Me: Sir, a steel frame is normally used. The stresses are reduced to an extent by the truss action. 
P1: You are permanently talking about brute force; think of something else. Something other than more reinforcements. Brute force.Why is only one end of a bridge tied down and the other is left lose? Think of something different.
Me: Sir, what we learn in college is only the theoritical reinforcements etc. Such stuff is done practically. Unless we work in the field, it is difficult to think of such solutions. 
P3: Okay. Why quizzing, isn't it the same? Pointless. More of theory than practice. All you come to know is bits and pieces of knowledge than entirety. What is the use of that?
Me: Ma'am, it is definitely not just theoritical knowledge. I do agree that playing the game itself will give you more knowledge than knowing just statistics. But it does help a lot. A quizzer has this natural thing for looking out for small things. While watching the cricket match, I have an eye for statistics and other stuff like why the ad boards are placed in that particular way etc. 
P3: But what is the practical use of that !!
Me:  Ma'am, it has come of use in this interview and I'm able to tell it to you. 
P3: Other than that? You still haven't convinced me.
Me: The awareness about the stuff helps a lot. It helps me strike up a conversation with people. For example, when waiting outside, my awareness helped me strike conversation with people about stuff I knew. For example, I spoke to them about Bhopal and stuff ...
P3: What do you know about Bhopal?
Me: The most famous thing about Bhopal is the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Bhopal was founded by Raja Bhoj and is named in his honour. He was instrumental for the entire irrigation system of Bhopal ....
P3: Do you know Bhojpur? Have you been there?
Me: Ma'am, I haven't had the opportunity to be there. But I have heard about the famous Shiva temple over there. 
P3: About the old dam which is now in ruins?
Me: Sorry ma'am. I dont know about it.
P1: Do you know about banking of railway tracks?
Me: Yes sir.
P1: Okay. What is the use of banking?
Me: Sir, it reduces the friction on the tires of vehicles and leads to lesser damage to the track as well. 
P1: Okay, can you tell me a sport where it is used?
Me: Sir, in cricket, the ground is banked at a slope to help drainage. 
P1: What about Cycling?
Me: Yes sir, the velodrome is banked to facilitate fast driving and safety. 
P1: Hmm. Thank you Shrinivas. 
P3: You may leave now. Here is your certificates file. 

And that's it. Had lunch in the IIM mess. They had .. here you go .. this is just the menu of their lunch .. 
Cucumber Salad, Fruits, Papad, Soya sabji, Rajma gravy, Aloo Gobhi gravy, Lemon Rice, Fruit Raita, Plain Curd, Lemon Rice, Plain Rice, Pickle. 

Came out with a feeling that this is the menu in the MANIT mess for 3-4 days !! :O :O. Had a very bad feeling about the interview and hence took a taxi back to Bhopal instead of waiting for the evening train in which I had made my reservation. 

And thus ends my indoor massacre, leaving me with very low hopes of making it to a college, I really wanted to make it to. 

Feedback welcome.