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.


Shrinaath said...

I dont c any reason y u cannot qualify!! :D WELL DONE...half the questions were like "Which came first - chick or egg??" SO well done bro!! Hope for the best! :)

Aashish said...

Buddy, I think you have done well!

pratik jaipuriar said...

You must be of the pessimist breed. Nice job, you have a fair chance of making it.

nikita said...

hey i dunno why u termed it as massacre.. u did justice to most of the questions... all the best!

Sesquipedalinismic said...

a bit here and there .......... though in all a good job ........
having conceptual approach is good...
you do have a strong chance of making it given that you didst goof up....
though personally i think a few questions could have been better answered but it is the flavor of big interviews that one is bound to make some mistakes ......all the best

mechgem said...

I think your interview went well. I'm not a civil engineer but I can answer that question on hoarding.

Of late, if you observe the hoardings, the sheet used is not continuous. Instead, a series of strips are used with very fine gaps (longitudinal) to make it appear continuous. Reason : The surface area exposed to the wind is reduced and the air escapes through these gaps instead of bringing down the hoarding. I think it is clear.

Sweety said...

lol... i am an architecture student and had my K interview today... only acad questions that i was asked were about columns and bridges and stuff (which is essentially in the domain of civil engg) and from your experience it seems like all u were asked was architecture... guess the thin wall between the two is actually invisible

Anyways good luck!!

Vikram Rathi said...

dude, It was a gud interview and you managed good answers for most of the answers. Only problem I feel was that you were not able to pick their clues on answers, but it's not that big a problem since you managed to come up with ur own answers. all d best for ur IIM-A :)

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