Don’t ignore the small things – How I didn’t make it to SPJIMR

Not making into SPJIMR

by Sahej Abrol, NMIMS

Having not been offered a profile-based call, I had a sigh of relief when I received a call based on my XAT score.

First off: Essay and Psychometric. The former was more like a cliched interview question as we were asked to pen down our strengths and weaknesses. The latter was like any other psychometric one comes across.

Next up: Group interview 1 (GI-1). 6 people; 3 marketing, 2 operations and 1 IT. It started off with a round of introductions after which questions were randomly thrown at us and anyone could take the initiative to make use of first mover advantage. Odd-even policy, Bharat Stage emission norms, dream company for placement, strengths & weaknesses, were some of the topics covered. The interviewer picked up my experience in Model United Nations conferences and asked me to form interview questions for Mr. Ban Ki Moon. Don’t ignore the small things; I’d mentioned this in the physical form we filled out.

The interview went smoothly for 2-3 of us, while the rest were finding it hard to stand out. (Pro tip: try to answer in the first half of sequence). While discussing the pros and cons of battery operated vehicles, once everyone had voiced their opinion the interviewer posed a common question to all, “Tell us one aspect which none of you discussed”. Listening skills are as important as articulation. Don’t ignore the small things, a gentle reminder.

Confident of my performance, I was glad I got shortlisted for GI-2. I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by the Dean of the university (or was I?). He noticed my lapel pin of the Indian Air Force and asked me an ethical question around corrupt practices in CSD canteens to promote the product of the company I was working with, hypothetically (the small things, eh?). Other questions included our opinions about the selection process for SPJIMR, the biggest ethical dilemma we ever faced, the last time we let ourselves down and a couple others around ethics. Both the interviews went on for 45-60 minutes each.

Confident of my performance in both the interviews, I left the premises with a good feeling about this one. Little did I know that I would not even be assigned a waitlist number when the final results were announced.

Weeks and months of going back to that day and analysing what went wrong only revealed one thing:

Never ignore the small things in a selection process.

The reason for my rejection could range from a certain answer in my form to maybe not qualifying the psychometric. Whatever the real reason be, I have myself a lesson to cherish for life.

Sahej Abrol


Sahej Abrol is a student at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai.

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