Essay/GD/PI @ IIM-L

This guest post is written by Amit Agarwal, IIIT-H alumnus, sharing his experience at IIM-L on 8th April.

Here I have tried to replicate the complete situation along with all the answers I gave to give a complete feel of what happened out there with me.

Essay Writing
Time: 15 minutes
Topic: Nudity in art is prerogative of the artist.

Wrote about different forms of art and took a diplomatic approach. Argued that artists generally bare themselves to create the masterpiece and so nudity is not bad as projected and is in fact the correct representation of what the artist is thinking. On the other side some use nudity in art just to gain popularity and such acts should be curbed. So to conclude it is prerogative of the artist but it should be monitored from rogue elements.

Group Discussion
Time: 20 min
Group Size: 12 people
Topic: Same as essay.

Talked about what was in the essay and gave a proper analysis of what I thought. GD went to fish market few times but was mostly repetitive. I made sure I presented my analysis fully when I talked and then moved back and listened. 2-3 people were not able to talk at all who were asked to summarize in the end. One was asked if he had anything new to add when he started summarizing which pissed off the professors. They stopped and asked him to give a new point but he continued summarizing.

Personal Interview

After GD, the professors said they will call in the same order as we were seated and I was the first one. We all were asked to wait outside and told that we will be called. I went out and had some water and put my tie in order again, cleared my throat and sat. After 5 minutes one of the professors came and called me. I entered the room.

Me: Good morning, sir (to the first professor P1)
Me: Good morning, sir (to the second professor P2)

They showed me a chair indicating to sit. I smiled, said thank you sir and sat down.

P2: give your profile.
Me: (Confused)... sir, I beg your pardon.
P2: (pointing to my file) your certificates.

I smilingly forwarded my certificates to him.

P1: So Amit, tell me something about yourself in about 1 minute.
Me: (Had prepared a lot…so started off) Sir, I was born and brought up in Barakar, west Bengal and did my schooling from the same place. I did my +2 from Delhi public school, Bokaro and then went to IIIT, Hyderabad for my engineering. During my academics I have been very consistent and have achieved silver medal in mathematics Olympiad and have appeared twice in deans list and once in merit list. After engineering I joined IBM and am working as the SPOC for memory controller unit and also lead the hiring team. During this tenure I have received technical excellence and execution excellence award which is given to top talents. Also I have been nominated for talent spark. Reg my…

P1:  (Stops me) Tell me about your family?
Me: Sir, I belong to a traditional Hindu joint family and was brought up by my uncle.
P1: what about your parents?
Me: Sir, my father passed away couple of months before my birth and my mother is a housewife..
P1: (taken aback) what happened.
Me: sir it was a car accident. (my voice breaking by this time)
P1: (gave a sigh and a sad expression and moved on) So Amit, you say you are good in mathematics.
Me: (trying to get back into the interview after a complex start, gave him a smile)
P1: Using numbers 1 – 9 and 0 form a equation which is equal to 1.
Me: (what the hell, I should know this but I don’t know..crap)  Sir, can I use repetition of digits.
P1: Do anything
Me: sir, (1-9)*0 + 0!
P1: How…
Me: first term is equal to 0 and second term is equal to 1.
P1: Are you sure 0! =1
Me: Yes sir ( I was getting confused but stuck to my opinion and cursed myself for not using 1 simply )
P1: Are you sure.
Me: Yes sir.
P1: I am not sure, I will check.
Me: (he will not remember to check…scored the point )
P1: I was looking for (1-9)^0 .
Me: (Oh crap, yeah that was the answer)
P2: (Deeply lost into my certificates and documents suddenly wakes up) …what is this. You have very poor marks, very very bad academics. What is this… just 88%, 84% … that is very bad.
Me: (Thanks to time faculty who gave us an answer for this..) Sir, I have been involved in extra-curricular activities as well. In IIIT was the founder of robotics club.. (both were sort of ignoring by this time… and I was left all alone with no-one listening to my poor soul)
P2: You said you were good in academics and consistent.
Me: yes sir, consistent.

P2 looks at my B.Tech marks which was 86.1 with ever increasing GPA year on year basis convinced him of consistency and he said okay and repeated that its still bad academics.

P1: What are the different areas of mathematics?
Me: (what crap) Sir, I did not get you. Sorry
P1: like algebra.
Me: Trigonometry, geometry.
P1: Geometry?
Me: (I realized I have messed up) No, sir. I don’t think
P1: Then what is it
Me: Sir, it’s a combination of trigonometry and algebra.
P1: What else?
Me: Sir, I am not sure.
P1: So you are from Barakar, What is famous in Barakar?
Me: Sir, Barakar River (wanted him to take the direction of Damodar river which I had studied after my IIM Indore interview)
P1: Anything else?
Me: Sir, it’s a very small town and that’s the most famous thing (still trying to get to the rivers)
P1: What about coal?
Me: (Shit… how can I forget that... I decided to play smart) Sir, coal is definitely there in the surrounding but not in Barakar specifically. Its there in Kumardhubi, Raniganj, Asansol.  (FYI. Barakar is sitting on coal in the same way as other places I mentioned but said confidently thinking he will surely not know Barakar)
P1: (looked suspiciously but did not cross-question)
P2: (Still listening as I maintained decent contact with both of them while answering)
P1: Why MBA?
Me: (Happy over a prepared question). Sir, I would like to nurture my skills and gain and understanding of….
P2: (Furious) Don’t give me such crap. All of you say that. It makes no sense. All you trained bastards.
Me: (Shit. What to say now. Just stay calm).
P1: Still, you should do M.Tech.  Why did you do B.Tech then?
Me: Sir, engineering has taught me how things work but I have been in leadership roles all through and I think I am ready to take the next step (thanks to Sukesh who said this sometime back) so I would like to go for management career.
P2: what is the full form of SEBI?
Me: (Forgot, so took a blind guess here) Stock exchange board of India

P2 starts laughing out loud…

P1: (as if he missed the joke of the century asked him) what happened?

P2 tells my answer... Stock exchange board of India

Me: Sorry, sir… its securities exchange (realized better to say no than guessing again) ... sir, I am not sure.
P2: Who is SEBI chairman?
Me: I am not sure, sir.
P2: Who controlled the market before SEBI
Me: (took a very dumb guess here) Sir, RBI
P2: (laughing on his knees by now) what is this!?
Me: Sorry sir, I don’t know.
P2: Okay. What does RBI do?
Me: (Thankfully I know this) Sir, RBI regulated the money in the market. (Praying, please don’t ask me details I don’t know)
P1: You read newspaper?
Me: yes sir.
P1: Which one?
Me: Times of India and Economic times.
P1: What was the headline in yesterday’s newspaper?
Me: (yippee, I needed this question) 72 CRPF jawans killed by Maoists.
P1: So who are these Maoists?
Me: (good question, I have prepared for it )  Sir, it is a group of people who rose against the upper class back in 1967 and were for a good cause but eventually it got politically motivated and is now a threat.
P1: threat to what?
Me: Threat to the administration and society and more so to themselves. They have been given guns without even knowing what they should do of it.
P1: So Barakar is a small town, why is that some places develop and some don’t?
Me: Sir, it is because of the government’s policy of exclusive growth instead of inclusive growth. Governments focus on some towns which develop and the ones which are ignored.
P2: (Now looking totally frustrated. It was morning and I am the first guy, I am like, what is wrong) what are you talking about? You are not answering what the professor is asking. You are just speaking randomly.
Me: (Boy, I am giving a decent answer please listen, why are you frustrated) I am sorry sir, Can you please repeat the question?
P1: What is the basic issue that some places develop and some don’t?
Me: (thinking of a different answer) Sir, education is not there.
P1: Leave education, what is the core issue?
Me: (thinking hard. What else to say.) Sir, it is the mindset of the people as well (yeah, I started my philosophy. I was like now he can’t beat me). People born poor think that they will remain poor all their life.
P1: (interrupts) So you say nobody wants to grow? That’s not true.
Me: Sir, I did not mean that, but people in backward region believe in miracles that someone will come and help them out of their miseries. Places where such miracles happen develop and where they don’t happen remain backward. (I was on my toes again and almost said... “In your face, now argue”)
P1: (Giving up and in a lazy tone) I am not sure if there are many people in Durgapur or Barakar and if those places will develop.
Me: (Boss, I cannot be provoked here... this is all bull shit you are talking and I can sense that)
P2: What is the foreign exchange reserve?
Me: $200 Million
P2: (laughs out loud and P1 as if sleeping and missing out on another joke asks him what happened)

P2 in a low voice tells him the question

P1: (Repeats the question) what is the foreign exchange reserve?
Me: I am sorry sir; it’s around $300 Billion
P1: Do you know the difference between Million and Billion?
Me: (very confidently) yes sir, its 3 zeros difference.
P1: okay.
P2: What is the foreign policy?
Me: (took it as economic policy) sir, pre 90’s
P2: Forget past, talk about now.
Me: (pretty exhausted this time) sir, its pretty open now. And government is inviting companies to invest in our economy.
P2: (gave a dull look and looks at P1 and returns my file)
P1: Okay, we are done.
Me: (to P1) Thank you, sir
Me: (to P2) Thank you, sir

Placed the chair properly back and moved out of the room.

RESULT: I was finally selected for IIM Lucknow. :D