Interview @ IIM C

IIM Calcutta

I have skipped on WAT and GD, I pretty much sucked at both of them. For overly curious, the topic for both of them was in short “TV serials show stereotype women, should they change. Discuss”

So, coming to interview, I was 4th in my panel

Date: 12th March 2012

Time: 4:22 PM

Confidence         9.5/10

.5 cause of all the current affairs I heard they were asking and some statistics questions like variance and some other stuff which I just don’t get. Also, there was no lady in my panel, damn!!

Preparation 2/10

2 points thanks to IIM L interview, that’s it. I had no mock GD or mock interview.

There were 3 people in the panel:

Alumni (A): Young looking person probably in late 30s, looks cool and calm. He is seated on extreme left.

Professor 1 (P1): Probably in 60s, looks serious, doesn’t look like the guy who would return you a smile. He is sitting in the middle.

Professor 2 (P2): Late 50s, he smiles, looks like a person who is happy with his life. He is on the right.

Me (M): All my thoughts are in italic, just to make clear, what I am saying and what I am thinking.

M: Good Afternoon Sir

P1: Good afternoon, please take the seat.

There is a huge table between us, I have my folder in my hands, I look for a chance to pass it to them, but no one looks very much interested, they are looking at some documents or something else. I just keep it with me and sit down.

P1: What are you doing right now?

M: Sir, I am at 4th year IT-BHU, Ceramic Engineer. (Wasn’t clear enough)

P1: What?

M: I am currently in my 4th year at IT-BHU, doing Ceramic Engineering, though I am working as a Game Designer right now.

A: Game designing, such as games for EA Sports, Lan Gaming?

I have this cool smile on my face all this time, don’t know why but I guess it’s the word ‘Game’ that bring it to my face

M: Sir, I started my company in 2nd year Bright Ants with the aim to develop social games for all platforms starting with Facebook.

A: What are your views about LAN Gaming, EA Sports etc.

M: There is a difference between traditional games and online games, social games.

A: Online Games, so you mean games from Zynga?

M: Yes sir, I worked as a game designer in Zynga recently in December and January for 2 months. They had come to campus for recruitment of engineering profile, but during the interview it changed direction and I ended up as a game designer. As, they had never hired a fresher as a game designer so I was asked for an internship. I talked with my HOD and he gave me permission for some time.

A: So, what are your views about it?

M: Sir, Social gaming is here to stay, it’s not a bubble waiting to burst. Zynga few years back was considered nothing as compared to EA Sports which was 5 Billion dollar company. Recently, in December when Zynga IPO was launched it was valued at 10 Billion and since then the share price has increased from 10 USD to 14.65 USD.

A: So, you’re wasting your talent by doing an MBA.

I knew it was coming sooner or later, here comes the most important question, Why MBA?

M: Sir, as an MBA, I would learn a lot, it will help me learn and evolve as an individual.

A: I honestly can’t find one reason for you to do an MBA.

M: Sir, I have not done an MBA, so I don’t know about the course structure and what I am going to learn, but there would be a lot to learn not just from my teachers but also from my peers.

P3 looks quite happy, he has been happy throughout, maybe he just likes my face.

A: You’re not getting my point, there is no point for you to do a MBA, just run your company, you’re good at it, why become manager?

M: Sir, as an MBA, I would learn to better manage myself, my company, my team.

He looks somewhat satisfied, looks towards other professor. There is a silence for sometime. I intervene.

M: Also, 10 years down the line, I would like to take my family business to new heights.

I knew the conversation was going nowhere, and I did not want to come to Current Affairs or tech questions, my only bet was to take it towards Tourism industry, though I had not done anything for it, nor was I prepared but it still seemed a safe call. I knew at least why MBA would end now!!

3 sec pause, I was exploring the uncharted territory now, waiting for them to ask “What Business?”

P1: What business?

M: Hotel Business. We have 4 properties, 2 running, and 2 under development. We have recently tied up with Royal Orchid in Jodhpur. I assume they know the name Royal Orchid.

P1: Tourism is a risky business. Is there guaranteed income and revenue?

M: No sir, it depends on various factors, like for example in Rajasthan, it is dependent largely on international tourists. So, in case of a global epidemic like anthrax in early 2000, it was a big hit on industry. Also, if there are any terrorist threats in the country it affects directly to industry.

I was not paying attention to grammar, nor am I very good at it. So, you’re expected to see more mistakes in one paragraph then probably in a whole essay. That’s the way it works for me, I just keep saying something that makes my ideas or views clear enough.

P1: Isn’t it over crowded already?

M: Actually not, In India there is actually a need to increase the number of budget rooms. The global ratio of a luxury room to budget room is 1:7 where as in India it is only 1:1. So, we have a lot of scope for development here.

P1: Do you know how many are business or travel?

M: Sir, I don’t know the exact numbers, but it actually depends what place we are looking at, like in metro cities Delhi, Bangalore, business travelers are high, and in Rajasthan, Varanasi tourists are more.

My confidence was kind of sky rocketing at this moment, I knew I was timing it middle of bat.

P1: What is the future of this sector?

He looks serious all the time, I wonder if he’s ever going to smile. May be he just had a bad lunch.

M: Sir, it is a service based business, I personally feel it’s got huge untapped potential that we need to utilize. For example, when I was in Germany(I had to put it somewhere about my internship) last year, I used to travel a lot around Europe on weekends. So, they have so much developed their any small historical building, they will project it as a must see.

I was super excited this time, making all sorts of weird hand signs and facial expressions, kind of like telling a story.

As soon as you arrive at any station, they obviously have exceptional transportation system. But, they would give you these very good, creative pamphlets, brochure of their city, especially made for youth. Where as in India, even the great Chouhan Fort of Ajmer is degrading (the best word that came to my mind, I know I suck at vocabulary and everything related to English). We need a lot of efforts from government, individuals to promote Terrorism, O! I mean Tourism (I am laughing and so are they) definitely not terrorism.

A: you want to promote terrorism?

M: Laughing, literally No I am fine with tourism, no terrorism.

P1: Hmmm, but don’t you think it’s over exploitation, I mean when more people will go, it becomes damaged. So, in order to protect it, you need to stop tourism.

It sounded absurd, and I was confident that I could tackle this illogical conclusion.

M: Sir, I understand what you’re trying to say, for example, you reach on the top of Sand dunes in Jaisalmer, and you see coke bottles, wafer packets lying around, you won’t like it. You might like it the first time, but you won’t like to recommend it for next time. It becomes a onetime experience, I won’t be recommending it to my friends.

P1: So, you’re getting my point, you need to stop tourists to make it clean.

M: Sir, I personally believe everyone should take a break and travel around, relax a bit and enjoy their life.

I don’t know why I said those words; it was totally out of context. He shows a disappointed look.

P1: What I mean is you’re damaging the environment.

M: Sir, government is not doing adequate efforts. So, now it becomes the duty of the businessman to make sure they keep it clean, because their business is dependent on it.

I knew I was beating around the bush, how could I be trapped in such an illogical inference. I was losing some vital confidence here, but I knew I had to hold ground anyhow.

P1: You know even Mount Everest it getting dirty, the beautiful Ajanta and Ellora caves are not even close to what they were 10 years before. He gets a bit loud trying to prove his point.

M: Sir, I agree to with you on the problem , and If you are saying such a case in Ajanta and Ellora caves then it must be true, but your suggestion of stopping tourism will affect a lot of people who are dependent on it. Again I am talking non sense here, but whatever I am doing I make sure I at least look confident.

P1: That is not the issue, see tourism is like Petroleum, it’s a depletable resource, more you use it, it will not be available for future generations, like you use petrol, so it will end one day.

I have a real broad smile on my face.

M: Sir to me that sort of solution is not a solution, but rather not attempting the problem, you’re trying to run away from the problem, I am sure there is a better solution which is more efficient, we need to look at alternatives for effective usage.

I have no clue what I am saying, but I am saying it clear and I am sure Tourism is not Petroleum, so I would get some points soon.

P1: What is effective usage? Caves are dying!!

A flash of bright light, I got an idea. I am way more confident now. So, I start speaking a bit more affirmative, while making all sorts of weird hand signs and expressions

M: Sir, take the example of Eiffel Tower. You don’t let 1,000 people go top, you have to stand in a queue, wait for your turn, you have to preserve it. When people come down then the next group is allowed to go top, if they are done for the day, then nobody can go. They have different levels and charge differently according to each level. You don’t rush people in.  I am saying the same thing again and again, yeah!! I got a point this time.

So, in our case if we cannot manage 1,000 people inside the case, we need to limit them. If we don’t have enough resources or man power to manage a large group, we keep it to a limit to make sure it’s not damaged any further due to overcrowding. This way we presever the scenic beauties for our future generations, make sure our natural resources don’t vanish and people enjoy tourism to it’s maximum potential

I knew I had nailed it here this time.

P1 and P2: And how would you distribute the tickets, first come first serve or auction based, because according to Supreme Court auction is the best form of distributing a resource which has supply and demand. See, there is demand for it and supply, so there should be auction?

I have a smile as usual, though I wonder where did this come from, weren’t we discussing Tourism and Petroleum.

M: I don’t think so, then you’re limiting the experience to the rich, everybody has equal right to travel, enjoy the beauty, have fun, so auction can’t be the method.

P2: You’re talking about experience, so a poor person who eats at Dhaba( mind you, lot of people eat at dhaba and they are not poor, but I decided to skip this one with him) should just go to the 5-star hotel and claim to have equal rights to that experience of a lunch at 5-star, you can’t limit him from that according to your logic.

Now I am smiling so wide, I have a look like “are you kidding me?”

M: Sir, when you are using a natural resource or something that belongs to everyone like Sand Dunes, or Caves, you cannot sell it on a higher price cause it belongs to everyone, but when I talk about a 5-star experience that’s what I have made, I have every right to sell it at whatever price I want. I am not forcing anybody to come and pay me for it, everyone is free to either use it or not use it, but because it belongs to me I have every right to charge whatever I want.

P3 nods his head and smiles, P2 has his looks.

P2: But, whatever you do, whenever there is a demand and there is a supply there would be black marketing and people would be willingly selling their places at higher prices. See, there are some temples which are free to visit, but they have long queues where you have to wait for hours or even days maybe, but if you’re willing to pay a luxury fee you can get entrance easily. So, whatever you do it will always happen.

I was wondering if they would get on the ethical question of if it’s right or wrong, because that would be a real tough nut to crack, but they did not ask it.

M: Sir, I agree with whatever you have said, I would like to point out a recent example about which I was reading recently. In Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary there used to be bookings online for travel visits. So, travel agents used to book online early and then sell their seats later on an exorbant prices. So, what they have done now is you need to have an ID proof for using your ticket later on. I think the same can be done in all cases where we want to protect the place from Black marketing. Anybody who wants to use it must bring in his ID-proof at the time of visiting. I think this will largely solve the problems.

I was happy nobody questioned the ethics of visiting temples by paying prices, relieved.

They all looked pretty satisfied now.

A: So, I am done sir.

P1: I am done too.

P2: But, you cannot let him have such a free ride, you have to put him under the grill.

3-5 Sec Pause

I am smiling, over confident look as usual. Kind of like “Bring it On”. I was wondering should I express Poker interest right now.

Right then, the thunder struck

A: Alright, so “What is Integration?”

I hear it the first time but he wasn’t clear. So I ask again hoping it’s not the ‘I’ word.

A: “What’s integration?”

I Smile

M: Sir, integration is basically Summation of values over a period. I have this look like, yeah, cool, it’s this thing. Though it was pretty clear I was not in my comfort zone.

A: So, you know what’s integration right, you know it’s ‘dx’ and over the area under the curve basically.

M: Yes, I know.

A: So, can you please integrate “X^2 +2” from 0-2 without integrating but using summation.

M: I can take 10-20 seconds.

A: Yeah

I take the paper with a pencil, start cribbing something on the paper, wondering why the hell I had to stuck up with integration, why would it come back to haunt me in my interview. Why do you always have to pay for your bad deeds? After, thinking about these thoughts for some time.

M: Sir, I am a bit confused, So I can’t actually integrate

He laughs off

A: Obviously, integrating directly is going to be very easy.

Take another 15 seconds wondering, the curve would go up. At 0 value is 2, at 1 value is 3 and at 2 value is 5. Can I approximate this thing somehow?

M: Sir, actually I am not able to focus right now on the question

A: He smiles, Why?

M: I don’t know, maybe it’s the interview pressure or something else, but my mind is not able to solve this one right now.

A: What exactly is going through your mind?

M: It’s just blank right now. Otherwise, I would have solved this one easily. Sir, I can give you an approximate answer.

A: Can you give an exact answer?

M: ‘No’

Only if I would have done something productive at that time, maybe only drawing the curve I would have solved this one, but, alas I had to wonder about Integration and its love with me.

A: Ok, what is differentiation?

M: Differentiation is basically rate-of-change-of..value.. of …curve. It is slope of curve.

Making sure I extend each vowel to it’s maximum limits, I answered in that tone.

A: Ok, So, can you differentiate Mod X Cube?

I start writing something on my paper. After 5 seconds.

A: Ok, can you differentiate Mod X?

I again start writing something. After 3 seconds

A: Do you know what Mod X is?

I start smiling loud, draw Mod X graph point it towards him

M: Yeah this one I know. Show it to him, with a way too big a smile in the lost cause.

He is also smiling.

A: So, can you differentiate it?

M: No, sir we cannot differentiate it because it has 2 values at 0.

I know it’s a noob answer, but, that is how my calculus is, I don’t get limits, and that sign of integration itself creeps me out. Why is that the case with me? It is a totally different story, completely beyond the scope of this interview.

A: How It has 2 values?

M: Sir, as on the positive side value is +1 and on the negative side value is -1So, we cannot have a fixed value at 0, so we cannot differentiate it. Totally, non engineer style answer continues.

A: Don’t use the graph to explain, explain in terms of logic. Ok, tell me what can you differentiate?

M: Sir, we need the graph to be continuous to be differentiable (Seriously shows my lack of knowledge in the field, don’t think I was in pressure, it’s just that I don’t know even basic calculus).

A: And what is continuous?

This answer is going to be awesome.

M: Sir, continuous is that which we can differentiate.

I have a wide smile on my face, he laughs.

A: Don’t make a loop and even that is incorrect.

P1: You see that Mod X graph is continuous or not?

M: It is continuous.

P1: So?

M: Yes, so not necessarily continuous graphs can be differentiable, they should not have a sudden change in their slope.

P1: Listen, it’s like this, the limit RHS value is not equal to Limit LHS value, so we cannot have a single value.

I keep nodding my head heavily while saying yes sir, yes sir.

P1: You can also look at the graph and tell it.

M: Sir, I was explaining it from Graph, but he (I look at A) told me to explain without graph. I wanted to say this only that the slope is not continuous.

M: Actually, sir I have been completely out of touch of integration from last 4 years, otherwise I used to be very good at this before.

I have a familiar smile on my face.

A, P1, P2: Thank you.

M: Thank you.

I stand to leave and notice that the folder was with me only the whole time. Damn, why did I not pass it in the beginning? I wonder if I should pass it now. Anyways, it’s already too late. I walk slowly towards the door, pause for .5 sec in between and then just go through it wondering Did I screw it up bad? What do you guys think? Let me know.

I missed out on a lot of things, few of the game design documents in my folder, one research report, my intern at IIM A, my independent applications, some cool projects. Pretty sure if I had passed that folder things would have been different. But, all’s well that ends. Can’t say ‘ends well’ here :)

Time: 4:50 PM



UPDATE: 11th April 2012


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11 thoughts on “Interview @ IIM C

  1. sir it ws indeed a good one pretty informative interview sessions
    would be my pleasure if i could enquire with you for some career guidance purpose
    i am currently engineering student and dreaming of CAT, XAT.GMAT and all
    dont know where all these are gonna take me to

  2. I don’t know about others but I am deeply motivated reading that even engineers do fumble at integration and derivation. Thanks dude, you made my day!

  3. in first half u really made them to talk what u wanted to hear, but man later on they ripped u apart..but man u were superb…got idea of how interview’s r done….

  4. Thumbs up (+1 in facebook terminology) to your narrating skills!
    Really well portrayed and conveyed.
    Enjoyed reading your ‘THE-THEN-TENSE-NOW-FUNNY’ experience.
    Great job
    P.S. From first year engineering student with goals unspecified!

  5. Is CGPA an important criteria to get shortlisted in IIM-C (and XLRI or other top institutes) too? What was your percentile?

  6. Superb D. Chauhan – Ajmer fort of Chauhan..Few thing comes from blood!! Script of interview is Aw….some !

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