by Vivek Kalra, MDI Gurgaon
It was Thursday, February 19, 2015. I remember it so vividly because it was my GD/PI day at MDI Gurgaon. As I hopped into my Uber from my workplace at Noida, I had many things in mind, but not being late was my top priority. From Obama’s visit on Republic Day that year to Modi government’s first six months, my head was beaming with thoughts, as I pasted my photograph on the application form. It was my second attempt at MDI, the other one being in 2012 when I was a fresher.
Upon reaching MDI, I observed that four panels were scheduled during my time slot, and I, along with 11 other students, were part of Panel III. Whosoever I heard around me was boasting of 99%ile or so (I had just missed the mark, but had 3-years’ work experience to make up for that). After half an hour or so, we were escorted to the GD room, where the panelists (professors, I guess) asked us to sit in a specified order.
Without further ado, one professor stood up and described the rules of the GD – the total time (12 minutes), try to reach a conclusion, etc. Then she gave us the topic – “Digitization of Education in India”. Everyone jolted down their thoughts on a piece of paper for about 2 minutes, and then it was ShowTime.
A girl started the discussion with previous government’s initiative to distribute a tablet to every student, and how it miserably failed. Then another person spoke about lack of infrastructure in India, only to be cut short by a spectacled guy sitting in the middle. I still have no idea what he said, and by the looks on everyone’s faces, I became sure it was irrelevant. The guy sitting next to me ignored him and kept a valid point about “We have to start somewhere if we want to digitize” but was again cut down by the same guy in the middle.
Then the other girl in the panel tried to intervene, but to no effect. He was using voice modulation and aggressive pitching to prevent others from speaking. Two other guys in my panel could hardly bear it (understandably), and they too started speaking simultaneously with him. To my surprise, the girls joined them and the panel turned into a trading floor. Except me and the person sitting next to me, everyone became involved in the commotion. I had done a couple of mock GDs, but as they say, the real action has something in store for me.
Soon, the other panelist thumped the desk once (or thrice) and asked us to stop. He was furious that we had mockery of such an easy topic and said that if that was the way we were going to behave, there is no place in any B-school for us. It mellowed the group down and while most of us thought that we would be given another topic, we were asked to leave.
The panelist, in an unexpected turn, called the spectacled guy (who started the mess) for PI first. But Mr. Spectacles had straightway turned to his cell phone and when the professor came out to call him, he signaled him to wait! The professor was visibly furious, and called in one of the girls. I was interviewed seventh, and the first question I faced was about the GD itself. I said that it was beyond my control, but the professor said that I didn’t even try once to steer the discussion. I accepted my mistake but told them that I was quite startled. Then I was quizzed on my profile a bit. My interview lasted around 10 minutes only and I was pretty sure that I had to make my way through the waitlist, if not out rightly rejected.
What happened after that: I got selected in the first list itself. The day I joined I searched for other people from my panel, but couldn’t find anyone! One of the professors who interviewed me was my instructor of Marketing II and she remembered me too. One fine day, I asked her about that interview, and she said that I made it because I was the only one in my panel who took responsibility for what had happened.
Vivek Kalra is a student at Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon.
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