Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I look at James Bond's boss - Part 1

For those not tuned in to the weirdness that is me, the title of this post translates to 'I eye M', which is a very very tortuous way of saying 'IIM'.

The messages in my TagBoard got me thinking. I had written this post long ago (10 days, to be precise) but decided against putting it up coz I didn't see the point. But I shall now, just for the heck of it. Part 2 follows in a while.

NB: The following information may not really be of any use. For a proper, unbiased perspective on good GD/PI tactics, ask someone else. (That's about as legal as I can make my disclaimer).

Flashback: 02 April, 2005. Any time of the day. Say, 1400 hrs. Why, you ask? Well, why not?

I'm back from Bangalore, from the last of my interviews. 5-odd weeks of trying to convince guys who are usually old and sometimes humourless that I am not as much of an idiot or as incompetent as they insist on believing I am. Telling them time and again why management is really what I want to do, and that having me in their institute is a win-win situation for both. Selling my dreams and myself.

I don't really know if it'll work... anyways, the results will be out in a couple of weeks.

A lot of you have been asking me how the interviews have gone... so here goes... here's what I felt about them...

IIM Kozhikode
Super peaceful GD, only six of us! All about cricket and its relation to other sports, very very satisfying talk. On the interview panel was a very friendly mallu guy, with a very mallu moustache and a very mallu accent. The panelists were smiling and laughing throughout, though I still don't know whether they were laughing with me or at me...
Rating: 3.5/5

IIM Indore
Nice, peaceful GD. First case. Also first time I met Sujatha, Teerthankar Dubey (a nice IITM chap with 99.99 percentile), and a whole lot of other IITians at the GDs; we were fated to be thrown together at practically every other GD too... very serious panel, but I managed to crack all the Qs they threw at me... All networks Qs (IP, addressing, security, Email). This is the first time in my life I've managed to correctly answer five Computer Science questions in a row!
Rating: 3.5/5

IIM Ahmedabad
The biggie. Very jargon-heavy discussion. Supply chain, horizontal and vertical expansion, core competence, cross holdings, back-door entry... these and more such phrases were thrown about with gay abandon in a session where we ran out of ideas in about 10 minutes but we mercifully stopped before we made fools of ourselves by going round in circles. Cool panel, very easy to talk to, lots of laughter again. Came out feeling really good, but so did a thousand other candidates, so that isn't much to go by...
Rating: 4/5

IIM Calcutta
A warning was circulated among the gathered candidates not to champion capitalism to the comrades on the panel. No one knew where that came from, but there it was. Not that the chance for an intellectual discussion on capitalism arose. A rather boring GD topic, with the irrepresible Deepak Mahadevan in full flow and Teerthankar threatening to shut me up if I interrupted with the stock phrase 'If I may just complete my point...' Thankfully, just a 10 minute discussion.
A really really fun interview (no tech, yay!), where I had to convince the guy that quizzing rocks and that it makes sense to be a day scholar and not a hostelite in my college.

Panel: So, what kind of music is your favourite?
Me: Old Hindi music
Panel: What do you mean by old? For us, 1998 is old!
(Polite little heh-heh-hehs all around)

Oh, and they asked me to sing a song!
Rating: 4.5/5

IIM Lucknow
A disaster from the start. Two member panel, one super irritable guy (who didn't seem to like the way his life was going at all) and the other a chap who would definitely have nodded off had the other guy not been talking. Political GD, all about Kashmir. Easy to talk about but somewhat zzz.
Interview was one big gooey yucky bleah mess. All about economics, which I'm OK with. But all about economics statistics, which I am only half OK (i.e. O or K) with. At three different instances in the space of 8 minutes (which all clever CAT types will work out to be once every 2.67 minutes), the irritable dude (ID) said "You don't seem to know anything. I don't know what to ask you."

ID: You don't know what the percentage contribution of Manufacturing is to the GDP, you don't even know it's absolute rupee value. And you want to be a manager! (Derisive snort) You need to have this information to make a decision now.
Me: (puzzled) I realise that, Sir, and if I ever need to make a decision I'll ensure I have all the necessary information. But, in this case, what precisely is the decision we are talking about for which I need to have this information? (Or something like that)
ID: A decision of National Policy
Me: (WTF?!?!?!?!)

Rating: 1/5

IIM Bangalore
The other biggie. Another case... Loooong discussion - 20 minutes! Got jacked in the interview. One of the panelists was a Professor of Quantitative Methods (Math Dude MD), and he asked me one hell of a lot of questions on mathematics, none of which I had a clue about. The Other guy (OG) was rather quiet, except for the first 5 minutes. As soon as I walked in,

OG: You're a Computer Science student right?
Me: Yes, sir.
OG: OK, I'll ask you some questions.

And he proceeded to open up a notebook and read out multiple choice questions from it! It was all rather disappointing; I mean the fact that he did not know Computer Science himself (he read out a coupla questions/terms wrongly) and was purely checking whether my answer matched the tick in his book...
MD then took over and that's when things went downhill faster than a drunk Calvin riding an avalanche. Or whatever, I'm lousy at imagery.

MD: What do you know about conditional and unconditional optimisation?
Me: Huh?
MD: Optimisation.
Me: I'm sorry Sir, I've never come across it. We've never learnt optimisation.
MD: (Something about maxima and minima)
Me: (Nodding my head vigorously and excitedly to indicate that I had heard of these terms before and that they were not strangers to me. Not exactly bosom buddies, but not complete strangers either.)
MD: Now, optimisation (gobbledygook) two ways (more gobbledygook) maxima-minima and
Legrangian methods. Which is suitable for conditional and unconditional optimisation, and why?
Me: (Reeling) Ahem... (winning smile) I don't know.

And more and more math... Even now, I shudder as I think of it... And then Sujatha goes in and gets questions like, "What is the equation of a line?" !!! Grrr...
Rating: 2.5/5


Sudhir said...

Hey man, Dunno If we have met...Went through some of your posts today. Good stuff , like your style...Keep it going.
Also the cliched question...Time or IMS...who better than u to help me out.

AC said...

Thanks sudhir :) it's always very nice (and gratifying!) to find a new reader... Come again!

Will email u abt the TIME vs IMS thing shortly, don't really want to discuss that on a public forum...

Sudhir said...

Cheers mate!
Mail me at sudhir.syal@gmail.com

And Blog on to http://sudhirsyal.blogspot.com

P.S Yr lucky you had to handle Nandan only for 4 years..I had to for 8.

Balakumar said...

Good read AC... Cant wait to read part II! :D

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