My IIML interview:
Venue: Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi.
Time: 2.00 pm
Panel No: III
The GD: The GD was a bit different from all other GDs. First, we were given a topic "Naxalism is the symptom of Indian soft-state". We were given 10 minutes to write an essay on it on a paper provided by them (around 12 lines). Then after 10 minutes, our papers were collected and then we were asked to discuss on that topic for about 15 minutes. We were all repeating each other's points. I managed to speak 3 new points and 2 support points. So overall, it was a good one. I noticed the moderators once or twice as we were arranged in a horseshoe shape and I was no. 7 in a group of 12. So I was at the core. But this time also there were only 2-3 freshers in my group (better than the last 2 times where I was the lone fresher).
The Interview: 2 people – A man on my left and a lady on my right. I'll call them as this: S (Sir) and L (Lady).
Me: May I come in?
L: Sure, come right in.
Me: Thank You.
(I entered the room and approached my seat. They were talking among themselves in Hindi. I then said)
Me: Can I take the seat?
L: Sure, sit down.
(I sat down.)
L: Can I have your folder please?
L: So, you don't look like you are from the Northern part of India. Your name is different, right? Where are you truly from?
Me: Ma'm, I am from Andhra Pradesh. I study in Kurukshetra.
S: So, you are in your final year, right?
Me: Yes Sir, I am in my final year.
L: Hmmm, I guessed so that you are from AP. So, your parents are also in AP? Where do they stay?
Me: They stay in Secunderabad.
L: So what do your parents do?
Me: My dad works in BSNL. He's a SDE there. My mom was previously working in a bank as a clerk. She took VRS and now is at home.
L: So she is a house-wife then?
Me: Yea ma'm.
L: So what is this Nukkad Natak – Street Play you mentioned in your form? Was it at college or at school?
Me: It was at college ma'm. I took part in it because I wanted to experience the thrill of acting for once.
S: So what was it about?
Me: It was related to the aftermath of the Gujarat riots. A Hindu mob was about to attack a Muslim family, who were inside their hut, fearing for their lives. They were stopped by another Hindu, who tells them to stop this nonsense because it will only heighten the tensions already prevalent at that time. It mainly emphasized Hindu-Muslim unity.
S: Nice, that was a real good theme you talked about. What was your role about?
Me: A small role basically… I was the eldest son in the Muslim Family.
S: C'mon… no role is small in any play. All roles are equally important, right?
Me: Yes sir, they are.
L: (She was going through all my certificates while he was grilling me) So you were also into elocution, right?
Me: Yes ma'm, in my school days.
L: Can you give us elocution right now?
Me: Ye, of what duration – 2, 5 or 10 minutes?
L: Two minutes only, on the GD done.
Me: Ok ma'm.
(Then I started a summary of the GD and spoke for close to two minutes when she suddenly cut me)
L: You speak well.. Why didn't you speak in the GD just like now?
Me: (just smiled sheepishly)
L: So you are quizzer too, right?
Me: Yes ma'm, I started quizzing in college. I felt I must be a part of some extracurricular activity and quizzing appealed to me. I felt that I could become a good quizzer, so I took up quizzing.
L: So I am going to take a rapid-fire round now? Is that okay with you? (She looked at the Sir and smiled)
Me: It's ok ma'm. I won't mind it at all.
L: (laughs) Ok, when was the mouse invented?
Me: I am not sure, sometime in the late seventies I think. The inventor was Douglas Engelbart.
S: Beep… Your time was up.
Me: (smiling at him)
L: Ok, let me ask you more questions, is it alright? You selection depends upon how you perform here now? If you answer them correctly, you are selected. Ok?
Me: Yes ma'm, I wouldn't mind at all.
L: Okay, who invented the TV remote?
Me: (Giving it a bit of a thought) I don't recall his name ma'm. I read it just a week ago in the papers.
L: Ok, when was the ink-jet printer invented?
Me: No idea ma'm.
L: When was the ___________ invented?
Me: No idea ma'm. I think it was in the early sixties.
L: Ok, no need to worry. These questions were not the basis for your selection anyways.
Me: I wouldn't mind it even if they were ma'm.
S: So what is the difference between a normal quiz round and a Rapid-fire round?
Me: well, in the Rapid-fire, one tests your ability to hear fast – either you hear it once or you lose time. In normal questions, one can hear them vaguely once and then ask the quizmaster to repeat the question and formulate his ideas. Also, the questions in a Rapid-fire round are more fact-based – you either know them or you don't. in the normal questions, you are supposed to deduce the answer slowly based on your knowledge about the facts given and the era being considered. For example, we were once asked a question about something shown at Broadway in the 1930's. I asked my partner if Satyajit Ray was of that era and if he was famous then. I slowly deduced that it was "Pather Panchali", his famous work.
L: So how many in your college actually qualified for CAT?
Me: 6 of us got calls from the IIMs.. and 6-7 others got calls from other non-IIM colleges under CAT.
L: So do you guys meet up regularly?
Me: (smiling) We met up once before in January and took some topics which we felt needed more probing into. We took up two topics each, but could not meet later due to busy schedules. I did my part though.
S: So you read magazines. Which ones?
Me: Sometimes I do.. Outlook, India Today and one/two articles in Business World.
S: And which newspapers do you read regularly?
Me: Both TOI and The Hindu.
S: So you like the last pages in TOI?
Me: Yes Sir, I actually start reading the paper from the back itself which usually has all the good news. Now-a-days, the Woolmer controversy is also there, but still, better than the headlines, which I read at the end.
L: (looking towards Sir, but asking me) Yesterday, there was this girl from your college for our interview.. What was her name?? (She was trying to recall)
L: Yes, it was her. She was mentioning that your sessionals were going on?
Me: Yes ma'm, they are?
L: so you are missing the one today, right?
Me: Yes ma'm, I am missing two sessionals today. But as only two out of three are counted, I'll write the third one. So it doesn't matter if I miss one.
S: Ok, Varun. Thank you for coming. All the best for your future. You may go now.
Me: Thank You (looking at both of them)
L: And yes, send Mr. Sugam in.
Me: Ok ma'm.
My verdict: It was a pretty average interview. I never felt that it was good enough for my direct selection. Even the GD was pretty average. I made a few points... And a point which was loudly contradicted by many of the people present there. I made that point as I felt that the GD was becoming boring with the same points being repeated again and again. One of the fellows in my group - Prasoon Jain - was also selected. Also was another fellow named Manish Joshi. Prassoon was selected in IIM Calcutta and Manish got into IIM Ahmedabad. So I will miss these fellas in IIM Lucknow.