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Interview Preparation package
Panel had 2 Professors & 1 Alumnus. Interview lasted for 20 mins. Questions asked:
The essay was on a Digital India campaign and was supposed to be written in half an hour.
After a long wait(almost 3 hours), a panelist came and escorted me inside a room where two others were also there. So total three.
I think one was an alum, one AdCom and another professor.
As soon as I entered they asked me to tell the reason why IIMB clocks were forwarded by 4 hours. I told them various possible reasons. Finally for a reason they laughed and looked convinced.
First question: So you have written that you have volunteered in CSR activities of your company. So where was this.
I told the place.
Ok, so where exactly and how far?
But how come there is no city around 100 km radius.
Answered that the village comes under Dandeli forest and any big city, like Hubali is atleast 150 kms away. Seemed convinced.
Another person: So you worked in IT. Then some questions on technical complexity problems.
I answered, but said that my work is primarily not Software, but networking and Software is just one part of the job.
Then he asked me about the current Telecom scenario.
Answered that. (They were not subject matter expert, but just asking questions for the sake of it)
Third guy: So you have written that you love Physics and Quantum theory. You know laws of Thermodynamics? (I was like what the hell man? Is this a question to ask in an MBA interview?)
Anyways, told the laws.
Another question on Newton Laws
Another on Solar system and quantum mechanics.
Spoke for atleast 2-3 minutes to make them stop then and there and diverted them from the Physics discussion.
One panelist: So you have written you have a band and have done TV shows. So what do you play and how all this works.
Explained them thoroughly.
He looked skeptical.
I asked him to searched on youtube with the band name and all.
Told he did not have the internet.
Luckily that day evening one episode was supposed to be aired. I asked him to watch that at 9 PM.
Everyone laughed and were 100% convinced then.
Another panelist asked: So you are living in bangalore for 4 years. You know Deputy CM of Karnataka?
Answered that there is none
Ok chief fire officer?
Then one of them asked my university name:
Then asked: You know who is Maharshi Dayanand?
I was trying to drag them to my profile and the work I do, didn't happen. I was hoping now they will start what I want from MBA and why do I want to do the same. I had strong reasons to justify my case and I really did want to tell them that - boss, this is why I want and I don't want to do MS in Physics or try my luck in the UPSC examination. Well, no such questions.
Finally I was asked to leave.
When I came out I was not sure how my interview was going. Although I answered 90% questions correctly and convinced them in each, still failed to judge my interview because most of it was on Physics and General knowledge.
No why MBA, no profile questions, nothing about job and company, nothing about goals and endeavors, nothing about my 6.5 years' professional life and my career moves, no question on why IIMB. Nowhere even close.
I was feeling like an Engineering graduate interviewing for a PGP course.
As they say, IIM’s are totally different when it comes to the interview. I experienced that first hand during this EPGP Interview at IIMB. Surprisingly they did not ask me the routine questions of why MBA, why Now & why IIMB. They wanted to grill me on electrical engineering & on my interests.
We were given a prompt” Famous Physicist Stephen Hawking says that if human species is to survive, we must leave this planet & find habitat on another planet before the next 100 years.”
We were asked to write our views on this prediction & were given 30 minutes time. 10 minutes to organize thoughts & 20 minutes to write about them.”
Then, we were called one by one. There were three interviewers in my panel.
One member was fully stuck to his kindle and reading my file from the kindle itself. One women & 2 men were there in the panel.
In the end, they asked if I have any question, I said are there opportunities to collaborate & participate in white papers on electric mobility. They told yes those options are available.
My IIMB EPGP interview panel comprised of 2 profs and 1 alumnus.
1 prof sat right in front of me (P1)and the other was almost athwart to me(P2). The alum was on the right(A).
A: Tell us what you do onboard, apart from fighting pirates (I mentioned an incident in my SOP)
Me : I started telling me and after a while, he intervened by asking " this sounds like all the things that could happen onboard, tell me something you don't do onboard."
P1: Why would a company like Amazon be interested in you?
Me: Answered with a analogy onboard
P1: Tell us the biggest crisis you managed well
P2: Tell us the biggest achievement you have had in you life till date
A: 3 strengths and 3 weakness you carry from ships to corporate world
P1: How did you enrol with greenpeace and bhumi and what did you do there?
P1: Do you think organisations such as greepnpeace are any good to the nation?
Me: They may be; India takes some actions to hear the right things; I believe they are as good to the nation as any logical thinking human is or will be- their work is based on facts and does goes against the known faces in India, hence the opinion and media.
Overall - P2 kept saying "good" as punctuation to my interview. Lasted about 10 minutes or less and I knew the work is done.
Final result: Offered admission
Here is my IIMB EPGP interview experience.
1. Why have you been working at the same company for so long?
2. Questions on my job responsibilities.
3. Some questions on the technologies that I mentioned in my CV. They asked me about MongoDB and the criticism around it. Why NoSQL DB?
4. They asked me about the awards that I received at work.
5. A question on my hobby.
6. Since I worked mainly for Financial Services clients, they asked me some related questions.
What economic challenges are being faced by my clients?
Some cross questions.
7. Any question for us?
There were two professors in each panel. They patiently listened to my answers, giving me enough time to think and respond.
Final result: Offered admission
There was a Writing Ability Test before the interview. Time allotted was 30 minutes. Then The Interview was conducted according to the serial numbers. There were 3 members in my IIMB EPGP interview Panel. (One Alum and 2 Professors.)
Q. Tell me about yourself.
A. Answered starting from educational background to my work experience.
Q. Do you about the financials of your company?
A. Answered stating Figures for Annual Turnover, PBT, PAT, etc. for the current as well as previous year.
Q. How can the Profits for your company increase?
A. Elaborated the Diversification Agenda as I was involved with few of my company’s diversification plan such as venturing into Process Industries, Emission Control Systems, Electric Vehicles, etc.
Q. Why Power Sector is underperforming?
A. Started from the policy paralysis which was happening few years back, coal block allotment scams, new environmental norms, etc. then moved on to the distribution companies which are under huge debt. Therefore, they are unable to buy power, which resulted in slack in demand.
Q. What do you think about Kejriwal’s Policies such as free Electricity? What will you tell him in order to convince him not to give free electricity? (follow up question)
A. Used similar arguments. Such as “If a company is has to survive on its own, it has to generate revenues/profits”. Either government has to provide adequate support or set the power rates so that the company is in a position to generate profits. Populism has to be balanced with business needs.
I said I will convince him after explaining the debt-situation which the power distribution companies are in. The idea of value chain: The weakest should be taken care of. Otherwise the whole system will collapse.
Q. You have lived in 3 different cities, Ranchi/Delhi/Bangalore. Which one do you like most.
Q. Do you have a sabbatical policy in your company?
Final result: Offered admission
Profile: 7 years’ experience in Family owned- Engineering Consulting Company providing services primarily in Hydropower sector and irrigation sector. Goals - Scale up the organisation.
There were 2 Professors and 1 alumni in the panel. The Alumni tried to take stress interview and I tried to remain steady, only one professor asked question (he was in a serious tone), other professor did not ask anything.
1. Professors and alumni - Tell us about your work experience, what is your role, what are the deliverables, when did the company start, whom does it belong to which are the major projects dealt by the company (I replied the project names along with the rivers on which they are situated - perhaps this influenced the nature of question in the other half of the interview) - you are an electrical engineer - so the work done in that context, etc
2. Alumni asked - Apart from the fact that you want to scale up the organisation 10 times, what else you want to do.
3. This question was put by alumni in one go (with a leg pulling expression) - You have 7 years of experience- so what do you think about interlinking of rivers- Is it feasible - Isn't it a romantic idea- what is it - which rivers are possible to link - Is it advantage - Is it a disadvantage - Or what is it all about?
From here on, Subsequent questions were based on my replies- Each time the alumni seemed unsatisfied- (Retrospectively I think I should have taken the paper and pen and explained with map of India, and given some more thinking before replies, even when I told the panel I cannot think in that direction right now and so cannot reply, that did not help - and they again and again insisted that I am an engineer, So I should know the answer) - This whole thing went for about 15 minutes
Some of the questions and there replies were like this-
a. pros and cons
- gave pros side
b. How is it feasible - Is it feasible
c. But there are problems -
- Yes there are solutions
d. Then tell which rivers can be linked -
- Kaveri and Godavari
e. Satpura hills come in between, how you would link
- Sir Satpura is in MP, these are eastward flowing rivers. In Orissa, AP - yes there are hills because of Eastern Ghats, though I cannot remember the names of the hills right now.
f. Eastward flowing - are you sure. They are westward flowing
- Sir they are eastward flowing
g. Professors asked - How would you link rivers. Indus, Brahmaputra - you forget because there are other countries involved, can you really link rivers, Show me with example which two rivers
- gave some reply
h. You are an engineer, give me with facts / basin size / technology
i. I took two rivers - explained that we would need to build - dam / barrage / reservoir / tunnels - downslope - uplift irrigation scheme - upslope
j. Give us the right technology / tell the location of dam / tell the basin size etc
- My reply did not satisfy them - Also I said I am not able to think in that direction right now ( Here I made a mistake - I should have taken some water - and given some thought to their question)
k. This went on, The question track changed - Now the alumni asked - where is the water flow in the river, they are so polluted, how can you connect rivers, what are the source of pollution, why the rivers are shrinking, etc, etc
- Here I replied correctly - but that did not satisfy them - So they asked again - Asked whether I know about - XYZ report - To which I replied - I did not know.
l. percentage of water used in irrigation, etc ( I think they asked this because I gave some fact in percentage terms in some previous question - Here I knew the answer because of my GK)
4. Then they offered me to ask any question from them. After being teased by them, I really did not want to lose the opportunity of asking from them. Sensing my mood Professor directed Alumni to reply to me.
Finally, I came out thinking that at least I remained steady despite the hurdles being put by them.
Profile: GMAT 720, 6 years work ex at Oil & Gas PSU (5 years as Project Engineer at Paradeep Refinery Project (a naxalite prone area) and 1 year as senior instrument engineer at Panipat Refinery.)
My interview was on 13/09/2015 at India Habitat Centre, Delhi at 2:00 PM. We were grouped into a batch of 7 candidates and taken inside a room by one of the professors (P2). He introduced all 7 of us to other two interviewers: first IIM B alumnus (P1) and other a lady professor (P3). We were given the WAT topic. The topic was on recent rule of government to mandate 2% allocation of profits of companies to CSR- is the new rule correct or is the earlier approach of voluntarily carrying out CSR activities better? We were given 10 minutes to structure our answer on rough sheet and another 20 minutes to write our opinion with reasons. After WAT completion, our sheets were taken away and we were asked to wait outside for our turn to be interviewed one by one.
I waited for almost an hour and a half before I was invited by P3 to be interviewed. While I waited, my documents were checked. It is pertinent to mention that before the interviewers called a candidate inside, they spent 5-7 minutes to examine the profile of candidate and read his SOP, recommendations, form etc. I entered the room and was received very warmly by P1, P2 and P3.
P3- So you have talked about being in a naxalite area, what were the challenges?
A- I answered this question easily since I did face a lot of challenges having been in such an area. The conversation followed and the interviewers liked what we discussed. I told them about how I was threatened and how I faced labor strikes.
P3- So, moving away from Delhi to a troubled area must have been difficult?
A- I chose projects division in my company at the time of joining (P3 replied…ohh..you chose? That’s great). Since Paradeep was the only project that was coming up for IOCL then, it was certain that I would be posted there. I wanted to take up a challenging job after graduation to broaden my horizons.
P1- I understand that working at such location where labor does not cooperate and management puts unrealistic expectations is difficult. But still, how did you manage threats?
A- I explained through one example of the kind of threats I faced and how I tackled the local population to push my project. Through CSR activities, IOCL encouraged village children to go to school and conducted sewing / tailoring workshops for village women. Life of local people improved and my project work flourished. I believe I had a small role in this.
P1- How? How you had a small role? Only CSR?
A- That is why I said small role sir! I ensured that my MCR project did not stop at any cost. CSR was just one small part of the overall strategy of corporation to gain confidence of local people. I managed a team of 50+. Had work stopped, families of these 50 odd people would have been affected.
P1- Hmmmm….that means you affected their employment?
A- I did my job. My job’s objective was to complete MCR project. I affected the project positively and the project’s progress made them earn money.
P3- Are naxals bad?
A- (Answered satisfactorily)
P3- Hmm..Agreed…How do you think this problem of naxalism can be solved?
A- Education and Employment generation. (Some explanation on this)
P2- That we all know but who will do this?
A- Government and Industry (Some explanation on this as to how state government provided a 10 year tax waiver that accounted for 1/3rd of Paradeep project cost)
P1- Adesh, I want to congratulate you that you could continue work at such location for so long. You left after completion of your projects.
A- (P1 was damn impressed). Thanks a lot for your complement sir!
P3- Posco set up a plant at Paradeep too. While Paradeep refinery is being commissioned, why is Posco lagging behind then?
A- The question was tricky. I knew I could not blame local population here since throughout my argument I said local population has changed for better. I could not blame Posco since the company actually suffered and I had said that industry needs to be pushed into rural areas). Despite having government support, IOCL took 16 years to start Paradeep project work in 2008. It has been 23 years since the Paradeep project’s foundation. Posco has to wait. It is going through the same phase what IOCL passed through in 2000. When Paradeep Refinery shall be fully commissioned, the outlook of local people towards industry will change even further. (I did mention a couple of strategic failures of Posco that led to its project delay at Paradeep. Thanks to the prior knowledge I had in this subject)
P1- Why do you want to do MBA at this stage then?
A- Career progression and role transition to a Genmen profile (explained in detail)
P1- Would you want to return to IOCL?
A- Not too soon, however, at a senior management position, I would not mind either. To be honest, I have not thought about this much. The kind of roles I seek post MBA do not exist in IOCL. I wish to diversify my profile to different functions and focus on E&P (upstream) sector for next five years. Since IOCL is majorly a downstream company, it is out of my radar for next 5-8 years.
P2- Do the companies visiting IIM B offer the roles you seek?
A- (Answered in detail. This answered clarified almost everything related to Why MBA, Why MBA now, future goals, clarity of future path etc. I even gave an example of a pass out from IIM-B who was in my company earlier and how his career flourished post MBA in oil & gas sector.)
P2- But company X is not in a good shape. Would you join such a company? If you do, how different would it be from your existing employer?
A- Sir! I have no complaints about my company. Rather, I have enjoyed my stay here. For me, my work comes before how my company is performing overall. If I enjoy my work and even if the company I am working in is not doing well, I will try to contribute to make the situation better. Today, I seek a shift not because I have stopped enjoying my job but because I believe I have more capacity to handle larger teams.
P3- But it is usually the other way around. People want to get into a good company.
A- Indeed, the best scenario is company does well and I enjoy my work. But much like the choice that sir (P2) gave me i.e. if I have to choose only one aspect, I would prefer my job profile over company’s performance as my criteria for joining. Even if the company is going great guns but offers a bad / uninteresting work profile, I would surely think twice before making a move. It is more of a personal choice mam!
P3- Ok..great…What is this music band you have mentioned?
A- I play piano since childhood. At Paradeep, I happened to meet like minded people who had interest in music. We all formed a music band. (At this stage, I asked interviewers if I could show them a photograph of my music band. They all looked eager to have a look at my band. I showed them the picture.)
P3- Did you perform in township? Did your local labor witness your performances? How did all this start?
A- Labor didn’t, due to security concerns. Labor was not allowed inside township. Paradeep has been a life changer for me. I almost left this hobby of mine due to academic pressure in 9th class. I picked this up again at Paradeep. The best thing about tough times is that you get to meet like minded people in challenging situations. We used to feel bored and hence, thought of forming a music band to relieve ourselves of project work stress.
P3- What about this political NGO work you mentioned?
A- I worked with NGO Parivartan in 2010 and filed RTIs. (Some discussion followed on this)
P3- What is land bill? Is it good for industry?
A- (Answered satisfactorily)
P3- Are the amendments to land bill good? Are you aware about them?
A- (Answered satisfactorily, however, with all humility towards the interviewer, I did admit to her that I am not much aware of all amendments but only a couple of them.)
P1- What is GST? What is its impact on Oil and Gas sector?
A- (Explained in detail. P1 and P3 looked damn impressed with this answer. Some questions followed on tax structure in India.)
P3- Ok..so, that’s all. It was great meeting you Adesh.
A- Thank you mam! Thanks to all of you. It was great meeting you all too. Can I shake hands with you all?
P1, P2, P3- Why not?
P1- (While shaking hands) - I really appreciate that you continued and did not leave before completing your project at Paradeep.
A- Thanks again for your compliment sir. But I only did job allocated to me!
(Interview lasted for 34 minutes and I enjoyed every bit of it. The interviewers were extremely nice and adorable. I am eagerly waiting to meet them in campus and express gratitude for such a healthy discussion we had during interview.)
Profile: Indian, IT, Male
My interview was mainly profile based. They explored more on the work I had done, the responsibilities I handled, initiatives taken, few things on my current company and why MBA.
It started off with asking me with what my current responsibilities were and then they started dwelling on the people management aspects of my role. They asked if I had contacted IIM B Alumni. Further they probed onto why I had continued in the current job for so long and what I enjoyed about it. Few things again on how the people management aspects had changed at Infosys over the last decade.
Then they moved on the why MBA part and why now and finally ended up enquiring on my personal life(family etc). Ended with a question from my side which they tried their best to answer.
Hoping for the best.
Final Result : Admitted