by Purvi Jain, IIMB
As CAT’16 results unfolded last week and the subsequent shortlists of the top B-schools in the country were delved out, I experienced a feeling of nostalgia. I went down the memory lane and pleasantly recalled my preparation days for the gruelling GD/WAT/PI process of the various B-schools (considering I attended most of them).
I would like to take this opportunity to share my interview experience at IIM Bangalore with the prospective candidates and give my two cents for handling the pressure on D-day.
Interview Date: 10th March 2016 (Afternoon Slot 2:30 pm)
Location: Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi
To begin with, all our documents were verified by the authorities present and we were assigned to our respective groups. My group consisted of around 8-9 candidates.
WAT Topic: Do you think politics in college campuses is educationally constructive?
The topic was in keeping with the recent JNU incident and asked for our opinion regarding the same. The IIMB WAT process involves 10 minutes of thinking time and 20 minutes of writing time. I wrote both for and against the topic and managed to finish well within the allocated time. In my opinion, having a basic structured form of writing with an introduction, body, conclusion and using simple, grammatically correct sentences, along with good quality of content and flow, will easily help a candidate sail through WAT.
The panel comprised of two IIMB professors (P1, P2) and one alumni (P3).
I was the 4th one to be called for the interview in my group. The following is a conversational description of my interview experience precisely as it happened on that day. The interview was 30-35 min long.
P1 – You have a lot of experience. What have you learnt, provided you have any?
Me – Talks about the various people skills acquired, cross-culture relationships developed, learnt to lead a more disciplined life as compared to college.
P1 – You sound nervous!
*Took a deep breath* (The only interview where I actually got nervous. You always tend to be a little edgy for the things that you really desire in life, so it’s okay!)
P1 – Describe a day in your office.
Me – Starts telling about office, went on to describe roles, responsibilities and work.
P1 – Tell me about any one project.
Me – Gives an example of a project. Intentionally mentions about SWOT analysis, PESTLE analysis, Porter’s analysis. (You should always try to drive the interview towards your areas of strength. I worked at a consulting firm before and was well prepared for my job related questions, so elaborated my answer to compel the interviewer to ask more.)
P1 – What is PESTLE?
Me – Explains elements and full-form.
P2 – What are the 5 forces of Porter’s analysis?
Me – Describes by explaining points for each.
*P1 puts a water bottle in front of me. I thought she was offering me some water since I sounded nervous to her earlier and start to take the bottle from her to drink it.*
P1 – No, you have to do Porter’s analysis on this.
Me – Sorry Ma’am! (Genuinely embarrassed) Starts describing porter’s five forces for the water bottle industry.
P1 and P2 grill on Threat of new entrants (one of the forces of Porter’s analysis) and do not agree with my reasoning.
I try to argue at first and hold my ground, but finally, conclude that you may be right but these are also some factors to be considered here by enlisting the factors.
P2 – Would you recommend a bottle manufacturing plant to Mukesh Ambani?
Me – Gives some points regarding venturing into new territories.
P1 – What do you want to do post-MBA?
Me – Talks about consulting. (Yet again I was well-prepared for some questions in this domain. It is important to have a clear perspective and know your goals well.)
P3 chips in – Do you think consultants are required for industries?
Me – Gives an example of the Railway Ministry hiring Ernst & Young as a consultant yesterday for increasing their advertising revenue. (Current affairs do come in handy to impress the interviewers!)
P3 further grilled on my example.
P1 – Do you follow the economic news? Talk about Indian economy for two minutes.
(An extempore was unexpected, but be prepared for such surprises)
Me – Recollects all the various problems I had read and learnt about the Indian economy in the past two months and starts blabbering. Talks about fiscal deficit, revenue deficit, subsidies, skewed trade with China, NPA of public sector banks, domestic savings rate, among others.
P1 – Are you preparing for civil services?
*Face-palm moment again* (But, I was happy that she seemed impressed with the depth of my knowledge)
P1 – Tell us about your hobbies.
Me – Talks a bit about dancing, painting and travelling.
P1 – That’s it. Thank you!
Verdict: Straight Convert!
It is essential to remain confident and answer all the questions to the best of your abilities. If you do not know an answer, simply say ‘I don’t know’. Remember that the interviewers are sitting there to select you, and not to reject you. Do not go into unnecessary arguments with the interviewers, as that might hamper your chances of selection if you piss them off. Most importantly, be well-prepared at your strength areas and steer the interview in that direction. Always believe that you drive the interview and not the interviewer.
Purvi Jain is a student at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB).
(All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent MentorYes’s viewpoint or recommendations. Readers are advised to consider and evaluate the views presented here before implementing them in their preparation or otherwise.)
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