Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My IIMK Interview Experience

The selection procedure for full-time Management Programmes in India is weird.
Performance in an Aptitude Test is used as a criterion to shortlist two in hundred students. And then the selected guys (most of whom are 22 year old kids) are grouped into batches of ten where they are made to discuss Bertrand Russell's musings. Followed by an interview wherein one is often grilled on Bhakti/Sufi saints, English Royal family and stats related to the Indian IT industry...

Here goes my tryst with the famed GD/PI process of one of these so-called institutes of excellence.

GD : A passage from Bertrand Russell's 'Analysis of the Mind'.
It dealt with empirical/experiential learning and seemed to support the view that 'learning' has a neural basis.
Started the GD by making some arbit comment abt empirical learning.
Chipped in 3-4 times in the course of the GD. Tried to differentiate between book learning and experiential learning. At the end, we reached a consensus that 'experience' per se might be neural, but the learning that one derives from it requires the application of reasoning.

PI :
Panel 2
Two panelists
Mine was the second interview.
P1 : Dark, short guy
P2 : Well built, clean shaven guy.
M : Myself

P2 : Related to the cricketer Srikkanth?
M : nah... (we share the same surname)
P1 : What does Shrikanth mean?
M : It is one of the names of Lord Vishnu....'Shri' denotes wealth...'Shrikanth' is the possessor of wealth.
P2: Are you rich?
M : nope...
P2 : What do you do?
M : am a softie....elaborated on what my company is into...
P2 : Why didn't you join infy?
M: blah
P2: did the 'pay' influence your decision?
M: yes
P2 : How is your product different from Cisco's
M: elaborated on the difference between a services gateway and a router.
P2 : How is your gateway different from the Gateway of India? (as weird as it gets)
M: (fumbled a bit at this point)...spoke abt the symbolic significance of the monument. The fact that it was built in 1921 to commemorate the arrival of Prince of Wales.
P2: Who is the current prince of wales.
M : told
P2 : why is he not the king?
M : c'mon
P2 : Is queen elizabeth a widow?
M : no...mentioned the Duke of Edinburgh
P2: Why is he not titled 'King'?
M : because he has married into the family.

P1 broke in at this point.

P1 : Why was Diana called the Princess of Wales? She too is an outsider, right?
M: Well, dunno.... i guess she wouldn't have been called the 'Queen' if Charles had acceded the throne when she was alive...Queen Consort maybe. Not sure abt this.
P1 : ok.
P2 : name the countries in UK
M : told...england, scot, n.ireland, wales.

P1: What's the size of the Indian IT industry in terms of revenues?
M : dunno
P1 : take a guess
M : 30,000 cr ???
P1 :hmm
P1: how many people are employed by this industry?
M: around a million.(if you include BPO/ITES)
P1 : sure?
M: yes
P1 : nah.. it's closer to 7 lacs...

P2 : you've said that you're a very lazy person...(looking at the form)
(I had used the word 'laidback')
M: not exactly...working on it....i lack the killer instinct to travel the extra mile at times.
P1 : but that's a weakness that all Indians have...
M: but it's a weakness nonetheless.

P1: what are u doing to overcome it?
M: setting goals and deadlines...
P1 :what's the target for this week.
M: finish the book I'm reading.
P1: which one?
M: History of India Vol1..Romila Thapar...
P1: Is she a leftist...
M: mmm yes..but writes objectively.
P1: Tell me abt the Bhakti movement....the period..
M: 13-14th century
P1: name a few saints.
P1: ah...is kabir a bhakti poet....isn't he a sufi...
M: i'm pretty sure..
P1: name a few sufis
M: moinuddin chisti....can't recollect anybody else.
P1: name a few south indian bhakti figures...
M: Ramanuja.
P1: What!! what's his period.
M: 11th c
P1: then how can he be a bhakti figure?
M: well, he was one of the pioneers...he stressed on Bhakti as a path to salvation....
P1: well that's what even sankara said....would that make him a pioneer?
M: no...went on to highlight the differences b/w advaita and vaishnavism...
P2: do u believe in all this....
M: (actually i don't)....didn't ans this properly.

P1: subjects in final sem
M: told
P1: final yr proj
M: told
P1: Which Microprocessors have you learnt?
M: 8086/85
P1: name an advanced MP released recently
M: Itanium
P1: how is Itanium different from 8086?
M: talked about 8086 being a 16bit mp and itanium 64bit...said both are CISC...he didn't get it thankfully....(actually itanium is RISC)
P1: 16bit??8086? (seems incredulous)
M: yes...8085 is 8bit
P1: what does all this mean?
M: talked abt data and address bus lengths...virtual address space.

It went ok till here...then things turned awry.

P1: shall i ask u questions from Math?
M: i'm not in touch...but i'll try....(biggest bloomer)
P1 : explain integration in layman's terms...
M: unsatisfactory answer
P1: applications of derivatives...
M: (arrgh....donno why i said this)....i think it finds application in stock market derivatives, but not sure.
P1 & P2 : laughed aloud.
Any other application?
well, the prev qn had devastated me...kept mum...body language suffered.

P1: name 3 economists who went on to become fin-ministers...
M: manmohan singh....well john mathai--maybe....not sure
plenty of economists have become rbi governers though...
P1:stick to the point....i asked fin-min
M: can name only these two
P2: so u a quizzer, eh?
M: yes, not big time.
P2: name derek o'brein's company..
M: dunno.
P2: who produces kbc?
M: siddarth basu's 'synergy' firm.
P2: name a big-money quiz show hosted by derek of late.
M: the one that pits corporates against bschoolers?
P2: that's not big money.
M: dunno
P2: bbye

P2 was particularly unimpressed throughout the interview
Frankly, I don't care a damn.


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