Sunday, August 2, 2009

My IIMK interview


Topic: -- Internet is killing creativity. People are just borrowing
ideas from it. It has affected their language. They are socializing
less. God save this generation from Internet!

A good GD which did not turn out to be fish market. Every one got a
chance to speak.
I could enter three-four times.
A guy said something like our language is changing to SMS language. I
said that language is a dynamic thing. If we read whatever Chaucer,
father of English, wrote in 14th century, we will see how much we have
deviated in our current English usage from it and it can be no one's
argument that this change is for worse.
Again, I entered at one point saying that sites like which
provide a message board allowing users to comment have incorporated a
false sense of participation in political process. People are turning
into keyboard warriors thinking that they have fulfilled their
responsibility as a citizen just by voicing their opinion on internet.
Then the discussion veered towards borrowing of ideas and I said that
plagiarism is an issue but it depends on the ethics of the person.
Also, it actually helps when we want to undertake some new project; we
can look for other works done in that area and borrow ideas so that we
don't keep reinventing the wheel


P1:-- an old professor
P2:-- a lady professor

P1:-- You have written about leadership in your form. What is the
difference between a leader and manager?
Me – Leader is a much stronger term than manger. Leaders have a
vision. They have certain type of mysticism attached to them.
P1:-- Ok tell me one leader.
Me—Mahatma Gandhi because he could inspire people to rally around him
on such themes like salt and turn it into the civil disobedience
P1—no no business leader
Me—Bill gates
Me--Dhirubahi Ambani
P1—what about Tata?
Me—yes ,he could visualize a demand for 1 lakh car and
deliver it despite rising costs of input and problems in West Bengal
puts him into the leader category.
P1—compare Ambani and Tata on ethics and social responsibility.
Me— Fact is that there have been allegations against Reliance business
practices. Mr. Ramnath Goenka, editor of Indian Express, in 70-80s
investigated Reliance closely and raised various uncomfortable
questions for the company. Since there has not been any such incident
against Tata, I feel they are beyond reproach. But till Satyam fiasco
happened, no one could have suspected Mr. Raju also.
Smiles from P1 and P2
P1—You have heard about what Nestle is doing in Moga district of Punjab.
Me—sorry sir, I haven't
( Nestle's initiative in Moga )
P1--- what would you say about AMUL's social responsibility?
Me—I would compare AMUL with another Gujarat industry Jamnagar
petroleum refinery. AMUL channelizes the local resource,
gives it a brand name and ensures value addition to local milk
producers. This puts it into a better light than Jamnagar plant. There may
be spillover effects of that refinery in local economy, but it
contributes less substantially to local population than AMUL.
P1—you have heard about the business practice of India Coffee House?
Me—sorry sir, I haven't heard about India coffee House.
P1--(very surprised) -- your hobby is quizzing and you don't know about it.
Me (now embarrassed) – sorry sir, Is it some sort of coffee chain like Barista? Do they have presence in North India?
P1—no, it is a hotel and they are everywhere even in Delhi.
( India Coffee House on wiki )
P1—Ok tell me about your present job.
Me— I work in Electronic Design Automation (EDA) industry in which we
supply tools to help the semiconductor design companies in designing
electronic circuits. I work in synthesis area where we make tools
which can convert a Verilog code into the circuit needed to implement
its functionality.
P2--Your alternative career option is teaching. When and what did you teach?
Me—I used to give private tuitions during my IAS preparation. I used
to teach Physics.
P2—You like Physics.
Me-- yes maam
P1—Why did you want to become an IAS officer?
Me—I am fascinated by the diversity in the IAS officer's job. No two days are same for him. I think he is the biggest manager of all as he has to do disaster management, financial management, people management everything. Unfortunately, I couldn’t clear the second level of examination.
P1—You are earning Rs x per month. After two years, when you pass out
and you can't get a job matching it, will you regret it?
Me—There is one Hertzberg's motivation-hygiene theory in work
motivation which says money is a hygiene factor whose absence can make
you dissatisfied but its presence automatically doesn’t lead to job
satisfaction. It is the nature of the work, chances of personal growth
and job responsibility which lead to satisfaction. So, I would not be
disappointed. ( I am still shaking my head in disbelief that I could convincingly argue that money doesn't matter for me, when I know that is not true. )
P1- why do you want do an MBA?
Me—sir, my 3.5 years of experience in EDA and telecom sectors has
provided me with assignments which were challenging but myopic as far
as giving complete picture of product development cycle is concerned.
Secondly, when I look at the educational qualification of top
executives in my EDA industry, which is not an industry where MBAs are
dying to come, there also I find if there is one degree which is more
common than others is some sort of management degree. (P2 at this
point shakes her head in approval) .I feel that challenges for top
level executive are different than for a mid level or entry level
executive and a formal grounding in management teaches skills which
are difficult to acquire just by experience. I want to do management
so that my lack of these skills doesn't become glass-ceiling for me
P1—See you passed out long back. Do you think you will be able to cope
with academics once again?
Me-- yes sir, the fact that I cleared CAT is a testimony that I am not
completely out of touch with academics. Also, I spent two years
preparing for civil services which were also basically my exposure to
textbooks and acquiring new knowledge.
P1—how will you find the inverse of the matrix?
Me—divide the adjoint of matrix by its determinant
P1—what is Cramer's rule?
Me – I explained on paper how it can be used to solve simultaneous
linear equation by creating a matrix of coefficients
P1—no that is wrong
I think I could not explain him properly because I checked it and
basically I knew about it but probably couldn't structure my thought
at that moment.
P1—what is a continuous function?
Me— A function for which at every point in its domain left limit,
right limit and value of the function are equal.
P1— any other way to check whether a function is continuous or not
Me—we can check its graph and it should not have discontinuity
P1—Heights of 100 students is given – Is it continuous or discrete function?
Me—continuous because height can take any value
P1—collection of all points between 2 and 3--Is it continuous or discrete?
Me-- continuous
P1—So which calls you have?
Me—only one.
P1 checks something in his data sheet
Me—I guess my lower overall score.
P1—see our students generally are of the age group 23-25 years. Would
you able to fit in?
Me—yes sir and I will be bringing diversity to your batch and a fresh
perspective in classroom discussions. I have read the whole graduation
level syllabus of Psychology as it was one of my optional in IAS exam
and I'll bring ideas from it in discussion.
P1—so what did you think about GD in the morning?
Me—I think as the topic was very close to what we all do everyday, and
not vague as in some GDs I have heard of, everybody had something to
say. It was a healthy discussion and not a fish market as has happened
in some of the earlier GDs I have attended.
P1—which one did you attend?
Me—Career Launcher mock GDs
P1—So what did they tell about GD?
Me—They said that content is king. Many people emphasize that it is
the way you speak but unless you have something interesting and
fruitful to say, it will not matter howsoever well you speak. Don't use slang. Also, when you are sitting in chair, you shouldn't position yourself in such a way that you block the view of the person sitting next to you cutting him off from GD. You shouldn’t use exaggerated gestures. Also, if one of the members is having a difficulty entering GD, you should help him by telling the group to listen to his point.
P2—Did that happen today?
Me—since everyone was contributing, there was no need for it.
P1—how much did Career Launcher charge?
Me—Rs 500
P1—(surprised) that's cheap
P2—You must have read economics for you IAS examination
Me—(mar gaye—yeh topic kahan se aa gaya? Abhi tak to thik hi chal raha
tha...) yes maam we had to read about WTO, IMF, World Bank, planning
in India and stuff like that. It wasn't theoretical economics but more
like its applications.

Now I was waiting with bated breath for the dreaded Economics questions.

P2--- OK so your hobby is reading fiction novels. Which are your
favorite authors?
Me—(I was so relieved I felt I should thank her for not grilling me on
economics. :-))Salman Rushdie, Ayan Rand, Joseph Heller.
P2—You have read Salman Rushdie
Me— yeas maam I have read one of his books Midnight's children
P2—what did you like about it?
Me—His style of combining magical realism with India's story after
independence (kucch bhi bol raha huun…)
P2—which books of Ayan rand?
Me—We The Living, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
P2—So you like Howard Roark's character
Me—yes maam
P2—But Ayan Rand talked about a laissez-faire capitalistic system. Do you
think her view is discredited in the light of recession?
Me—I don't think so maam. This system has its flaws but it is the best
we have. The best would be a system where we could combine Keynesian
emphasis on government spending and laissez—faire but I am not sure if
it can be done given that they are basically talking about two
contrasting things. There is no point in going back to Communism or
Socialism as it is dead (Was it a mistake to say so in front of
professors from Kerala – a bastion of communism? Not sure about their
political views.)
P2—Don’t you find Rand's philosophy self-centered?
Me—Her point is that those who find her philosophy self-centered have no self.
P2 starts smiling
Me—She has argued for this in her book "virtue of selfishness"
P2—Yes I have read that book. Ok I am done
P1—Ok thanks, you may go
Me—thank you sir and maam

Keeping my fingers crossed for result day, 10th April 2009
(had to uncross them while taking lunch/dinner:-))


  1. Nice interview Bomu No doubt you made it into K :) :)

  2. Cheers are such an artistic writer and u have a wealth of information as well to dominate the opposition.
    Keep spreading that knowledge at K :)

  3. @amit and dhirendra,
    thanks yaar :-)