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Interview Preparation package
Q1- Please tell me about yourself.
A- Sir, I'm a kind of person who switches between online and offline mode on a daily basis. During day time, I work as a senior consultant in PwC. I solve the regular issues of my client, KMC. I also have to be very patient as they are one of the high-end bureaucratic. And I enter into my online world with my venture 'Venture ABC' at night. Ideating Venture ABC is the biggest achievement of my life till date.
I am the youngest son of my parents who both are retierd bankers. My elder brother is a R&D engineer at Dell.
Q2- So, you work for Venture ABC?
Yes Sir! I co-founded Venture ABC with one of my professors.Currently it's the largest online grocery in eastern India in terms of market share.
Q3- Oh! you co-founded it?
A- Yes Sir. In 2011, I came up with the idea of an e-grocer with a unique business model and some unique added values. In 2012 December, we started our journey....
Q4- Are you a partner?
A- No Sir, as I'm working full time in PwC, I'm not a partner at this moment. But I will be inducted as soon as I devote the full time within 2 years. This is the exact reason I find this year is the best time for me to enhance my business knowledge from one of the best institution of the country.
Q5- What is Venture ABC's monthly turn over at the moment?
A- Sir, for last month, it was INR*.
Q6- Which businee model have you adopted?
A- Sir, we have adopted into a unique business model known as 'Hub and Spoke'.... Explained....mentioned about the fact that this model is being taught as the case study at IIM calcutta (both PGDM and PGPEX courses) and XLRI.
Q7- Why don't you agree with Mr. Biyani's statement regarding online grocery?
A- Sir, I think it is a Wishful thinking by Kishore Biyani. Online Grocers will experiment, continue to run and come out with their best economic model and continue to flourish. With people becoming more and more busy, women power to do household activities in short supply, online grocers are likely to succeed.
Q8- What is your expansion plan?
A- Explained with the definite expansion model.
Q9- That's good, but what will happen if you join PGPEX course? Who will manage your tasks?
A- Sir, We have a backup plan regarding this. Even if I don't contribute for single day in coming year, that will not effect Venture ABC.
Q10- So that means, you won't participate in placements here?
A- No sir. I am confident about my venture. I want to join that full time.
[personal assessment: I should have talked about back up plan and participation in that case]
Q11- Why second MBA?
A- Gave three reasons...firstly, couldn't apply the previous learning into real world experiences, secondly, effective business network, brand value and thirdly,contemporary business knowledge!
Thank you very much!
Thank you sir!
1. Introduce yourself.
2. Why did u leave Company A? -> Counter questioning here
3. How do you feel working in Company B now?
4. So, Why MBA?
5. What is your target industry post-PGPEX? Will you remain in same function/change?
6. Why Company B share price is decreasing?
7. What to do to increase its profits?
8. What is the ratio of manpower cost to total cost at Company B ?
Venue: Hotel Monarch Luxor, 67 Infantry Road, Bangalore
With thoughts swirling about the usual quant Q in the IIM-C interview, I got to the hotel at around 3:10 PM. Unlike the IIM-A interview exp, there weren't too many candidates to be seen around. Met two folks each with around 5 yrs exp and then over the course met another 4 or so candidates. There were two panels with each having two professors. While I waited for my turn, a guy who had also come for the 4 PM slot was called in at around 3:30 PM. I chatted a bit with the candidates while I waited for my turn. Surprisingly, a guy with 5 PM slot was called even before I got my turn. For a moment, I thought if IIM-C received my acknowledgement for the interview.
Finally I was called in by a professor who walked from his room to the waiting area and escorted me to the interview room. After the warm welcome, I was asked me to show the original docs for GMAT, Degree, and experience proof. I was asked if I needed family accommodation and I said that I am still single.
They were surprised that I had stuck with one company for this long, and the 1st question was what I made of the statement "Rolling stone gathers no moss" with respect to me being loyal to one company. I answered that "rolling stone" was a relative term - with respect to my roles within my company, I had many and hence did "gather moss" in regards to the varied experiences and skills. I was asked if I was satisfied with my GMAT score, to which I answered promptly that I wasn't. They asked - what happened and I told them that I had a finals cricket match two days prior to the exam. They asked if we won the game, I said we lost it. Pat came a comment in lighter vein that "it was a wrong decision". The questions that followed were:
The overall interview was a pleasant experience and lasted for about 25-30 mins, with the profs acknowledging intermittently that they appreciated my answers. I was asked to guess which areas they specialized in, based on their individual questions. I said I was too focussed on the interview to gauge their areas of expertise. However, I guessed that they both were from "Finance", they smiled that was I right wrt to one prof and very close with the second prof. They finally closed the interview stating that "They hoped to meet me again".
Profile: A 7 years IT consulting/ analyst
My documents were checked first. The professor carefully checked my experience letter issued from the company. When he saw my leadership award letter, he remarked A€“ ok, this is internal to the company. Then he saw an award letter from Shell and asked if it was my client.
Prof: How many months of experience will you have by March 2012?
6 years 9 months
Prof:A Are you married? What type of accommodation will you prefer? Married accommodation is limited and you may or may not get one.
I am married for 3 years. I would like to be honest with you. I will prefer a married accommodation as of now. However, my wife is working and we have not discussed it through if she will come with me, so I might shift to single accommodation later.
Prof:A What does your company do, and what do you do? I see that you directly report to the Country Head.
Company ABC is a Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) firm that provides research and analytics services. Do you want me to tell you about KPO? Prof: No. Me: Company ABC collects data, analyses it and then provides insights to the client which helps them take their business decisions. If you look at the consulting value chain, Company ABC occupies the lower and the middle part of the value chain, while the upper part (recommending to the client, implementing recommendations onsite, measuring impact, etc) is done by the consultants. Me: Do you want me to tell you more. Prof: Yes. Me: Company ABC is a 10 (in fact 11) years old firm, and has offices in Chile, Romania, India, China (It’s a CRIC strategy, with smile!). Prof: where is it headquartered? Me: It is headquartered and registered in Bermuda, as it’s a tax heaven. However, the main office of the company is in India A€“ it has 2 offices in Gurgaon. Out of 2500 employees, 1800-1900 employees work out of India. Recently, Company ABC restructured itself into 3 business units: Corporates and Professional Services (CaPS) of which I am a part of, Financial Services (FS) and Healthcare. You might think as to why a separate BU for Healthcare, when CaPS itself has verticals such as Energy, ICT and Transportation and Logistics. Prof: Is it because the business coming from Healthcare is too large? Me: Not really, it’s because with experience, the company realised that Healthcare is a different animal, and one cannot sell Healthcare unless one is a PhD or masters in microbiology or biotechnology. There were some bad experiences by the sales people, and that is why the company decided to pull out Healthcare as a separate BU. I am talking from the perspective of a salesperson. For selling energy or telecom, one does not require too much expertise to sound reasonable and a minimum understanding can be quickly acquired.
Prof:A You have a great GMAT score? Have you applied outside India?
No, I would like to stay in India due to personal reasons. Prof: Have you applied to ISB? Me: No, because ISB has candidates with 2-4 years of experience, while I would like to study with more experienced people. Your website says that IIM Calcutta students have 400 years of total work experience in the classroom, and that is 1 reason that has motivated me to try for IIM Calcutta. In case I don’t get through, I will try IIM Lucknow or a few more IIMs. IIML is starting it’s 1 year course this year. But IIM Calcutta is my preference. Do you want me to tell you more about why IIMC? Prof: No
Prof:A Have you been to Calcutta?
No. Prof: Oh, you have never been to Calcutta. Me: My father lived in Calcutta some 35 years back. So he tells me some stores, but they are not relevant in the present point in time. Prof: Where did you father live in Calcutta? Me: I don’t know, he pursued his high school education there till class 8th. My grandfather was an accounts officer in railways in Calcutta, and hence my father was there. Then, my grandfather was transferred to Jamalpur in Bihar and my father left Calcutta and since then, we have had no connection to Calcutta.
Prof:A Why do you want to do an MBA?
I have worked on near-consultancy assignments for a little more than 4 years A€“ as an analyst and later as a project manager A€“ managing projects and client communication end-to-end. So, it is like been there done that, and then I have had a challenging general management profile for last 2 years. Now I would like to move up the value chain. As I told you, Company ABC does work which occupies the lower and middle part of the consulting value chain. I would now like to become a consultant for which I need to build a strong foundation in all functional areas of management (finance, strategy, etc). My learning in my current industry has reached saturation levels.
Prof:A What do you do apart from work? What type of books do you read, and what music you listen to?
I listen to mainly Bollywood music. Prof: New or old? Me: mixture of both, but mostly new. In my free time, I also play cricket and chess. Even when I was in Cluj, Romania, I played cricket and joined the Cluj Cricket Club. And I would like to mention that I inspired 4 office colleagues (Romanians) to join this club and play the game. Also, there was cricket world cup so the fever was high. Romanians did not know this game but they started playing.
Ok, but what type of books you read?
Well, frankly I don’t read many books. I prefer to surf the internet.
Prof: You don’t read books!
Me: After full day in office, and with GMAT and MBA applications, I don’t get time. I rather surf the net and read Economist, BBC, and Times of India websites. Over the last couple of times, I have started reading books, but left it midway due to professional or personal work, and this has led to me not to pursue reading books further.
Another interviewer: But if you don’t read books, how will you do MBA at IIM-C?
Me: Well, if it is a full-time activity, then definitely yes. But I am talking about my life with full-time in office.
Prof: Ok, tell me few advantages of books over internet?
Me: Books are convenient to use, and can be read say lying down or in a flight as well. In a book, I can mark important points as I read them and later when I revisit the book, I know which were the important points. I can do this on net as well, but it will require effort. Another interviewer: What about authenticity of sources? Me: Yes, that’s a good point. Generally speaking, on internet, I will have to see whether the sources are reliable or not (say, reliable sources would be economist, govt websites, EU websites, etc), while if we have a book, we are more or less convinced that the book is reliable (unless it’s a cheap book, which we are not considering here), and we can just read it like a bible.
Prof: You still did not answer my question, you are talking about convenience of books, tell me why book is better to use than internet if you are pressed for time.
Me: First point, in a book if I read 5 pages today, I can mark important points, and revisit them when I read the sixth page. So, one can keep track of important points. This is difficult on the net. This is a reason why I still use a hard-bound dictionary. Point 2, on the net, we will get multiple sources for a topic, and we will have to spend time thinking which is the most relevant. If I have a book, this time is saved. Point 3, what you mentioned (other interviewer), that when reading a book, I don’t have to care about the authenticity of sources.
Prof: said something about numbers and pdfs
Me: A When it is about numbers and statistics/maths, definitely a book is better. So let me summarise as the discussion went long on this (and I went ahead and summarised): 1. If it is about numbers, statistics and maths, a book is way better and convenient. 2. When one has limited time at hand, it is more convenient to follow a book and save time. 3. When there is no time crunch and no specific agenda, internet is better and more interesting to read. (The professor looked ok with the response now).
Other interviewer: Do you have any questions for us?
I asked 2 questions, which the professor answered: 1. Recently, IIMA was placed in FT rankings, does IIMC participate in FT rakings?
2. IIMC hasA a great brand in India, and also outside India, but it seems there are no foreign passport holders in PGPEX class. Is IIMC doing enough to promote participation of multinational and multicultural people in this class A€“ what is the vision like
Finally, I left saying ‘Have a nice afternoon.’ The interview lasted 15-20 min.
Profile: IT/ Internet marketing Entrepreneur
I had my interview scheduled from 12:30 p.m. I reached the interview centre at 12:00 p.m. only to find that the interviews are running late by half an hour.
I had to wait for quite sometime and also got the chance to chat with people coming out of the interview hall. Everyone seemed helpless and frustrated.
Finally I was called up at around 1:00 p.m.
The interview was conducted in a big hall and the interviewers were sitting somewhat far away from me. They were two in number and both were the professors at IIMC. They started with my hobbies, interests, achievements and tried extremely hard to put me down. They moved to the current affairs and had asked a few questions before moving to General Knowledge questions. One of the two interviewers was always laughing while the other one was always serious and was trying to demotivate me. The demotivating one told me that as you have done your BE in Electrical Engg. and you are working in IT, you have wasted your 4 years, not only yours but also your teachers’ and your peers. I gave the answers to all the questions but when I came out, I was nowhere near being satisfied. I don’t know if I had done better as that was the format of the interview but I was certainly not confident.
Later after talking to many students I found out that everyone faced the same situation.
Not much can be done for GK and Current Affairs. Just read and read.
Be thorough about your hobby.
GMAT score: A 690
Profile: A 6 years Indian Army, 1 year HR
Interview was taken by 2 IIMC prof. One prof had gone out so initial round of questions were from one prof only.
Here are the questions
Q1. What was your role in Army and which arm in Indian Army you were in?
Q2. What is your qualification?
Then second prof enters and I explained the same things again. Prof 2 calculates my experience and writes on a sheet which also contained columns regarding qualifications (whether it is BE/BTech or others), PG or graduate.
Q3. What are the 2 things that are similar between Army and corporate world and 2 things that are different?
Q4. Whether you will be taking Single or married accommodation?
Q5. Where is your wife working?
Q6. This course is very intensive and you will need good quantitative skills?
Answered I said I have been good in Mathematics. I scored well in 10th, 12th, Grad and GMAT in Quantitative subjects. I also had lot application of Mathematics in Army too. I said if there is something I need to learn I will do so.
Q7. Have you studied Calculus?
I said I have not been exposed to Calculus as it was not part of my curriculum
One prof said if you are aware of areas you need to work upon then you will be to improve upon that.
Final Result: Offered Admission
My IIMC PGPEX interview was scheduled at 1:00 PM slot in New Delhi. There were 3 panels for interviewing around 30 candidates in afternoon slot. As per the list, I was among the last ones to be interviewed and my turn finally came at 5 P.M. By that time, I was too hungry and impatient.
The interview panel had 2 professors only who did not introduce themselves. First question to me was to introduce myself and why I needed a MBA after 6-7 years of work in downstream Oil & Gas and engineering industry. They seemed to be fine with the answer. One of the professors cracked a joke on my company’s name and we laughed. Then they questioned exactly what companies I’m targeting and do such companies hire from PGPEX. Regarding this, I had done my homework and had discussions with current PGPEX students who shared similar background in my industry. I gave them examples of target companies and also explained such companies hire from exec. MBA courses from other IIMs and since PGPEX placements are totally student driven, they can come to hire from PGPEX too if we have right talent pool. I also apprised them of my backup plan of off-campus job options. They looked convinced.
Then, as it usually happens in IIMC interviews, the discussion veered away from profile-centric discussion. The panel asked me about NREGA and Mamata Banerjee’s WB state policies. I managed an okayish answer. The panel had an opinion contrary to what I said but I maintained my stand. At the end, panel snubbed me off saying that probably I’m not too fond of Mamata Banerjee.
Overall, it was a casual discussion and I wasn’t grilled much. The 20-min. interview ended with an offer of 2 cookies which I readily grabbed (Hungry I was)
Result: Received admission offer.
My IIMC PGPEX Interview was conducted on Skype.
Panel - Two professors from IIM C
1) Tell us about yourself?
2) Describe your current roles & responsibilities? More questions on my current job.
3) Why MBA?
4) Do you think you are a good leader? If yes, give us an instance from your life where you showed leadership skills.
5) Why MBA from India and not USA?
6) Questions on US elections.
7) As you are from North east India, tell us the steps that needs to be taken for the development of the region.
8) Do you have any questions for us?
Interview ended (Duration - 20 mins)
I was asked the following questions
1) Why MBA now and why not before
2) Why India
3) You are getting good salary there, I would get less than 20L here
4) Scenario based question on conditional and binomial probability. I was informed that if i answered the question, I would get selected . Answered the question correctly.
5) Leadership scenario based question
6) Whether my wife works here and what kind of accommodation is needed here.
Panel of 2 professors
What is your current role?
Do u think being a girl is a disadvantage for you?
How did u overcome the doubts your board had regarding your abilities and experience?
How will a MBA help?
Do u want to study in IIM for the brand value? I answered YES, That is an added advantage.
How good are you in maths? Asked me to solve a probability question and explain the working.
Which other colleges you applied to?
Did you get interview call from any other college? converted any?
Why do you think they rejected you? I told them that my experience in Accenture does not interest them and thus my experience is not enough for ex. MBA.
Do you agree with them? I told them all the things I have learned in my Accenture tenure and how I have applied them in my School.
What are your views on current education system and government, aid towards primary education.
Very interactive interview. Lasted for 30 minutes.
Final result : Offered admission
Had a panel of 2 alums & 1 professor (Prof. Mritiunjoy Mohanty)
My IIMC PGPEX Interview started off with a direct question “Why MBA & Why IIM C”. Prof started cross questioning my post MBA career goals and asked me name a few alums in the field, which I was interested in. I had done my research well on this one so was not a problem. Then the discussion shifted to Oil & Gas economy and Prof. outrightly denied my statements and my study. I tried to defend in a professional and calm manner but I think the panel was not convinced. I had read that IIM C interviews are stress interviews and so I just tried to focus on my answers.
The alums asked me about my background and some profile related questions. These were not difficult.
Generally IIM C panels ask cranky/weird quant questions, which can put you off guard. Prof. asked me whether I know probability. I said I will try to answer to the best of my ability and also told the panel that the outer world knows about these weird quant questions are just to stress the student. The panel laughed at it and asked where I got this information from. I mentioned a current student’s name and some websites. And finally I was not asked any of those quant questions.
Prof. also asked some current affairs questions regarding a movement in Maharashtra. I was comfortable with this one as I had read about the movement.