IIM Interviews for the candidates who are vying for a seat at the coveted B-schools of the country have started, and are going at a feverish pace (just like the second wave of COVID-19. Dark humour, I know). The CAP or the Common Admission Process – encompassing nine IIMs, viz. IIM Bodh Gaya, IIM Jammu, IIM Kashipur, IIM Ranchi, IIM Raipur, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Sirmaur, IIM Trichy and IIM Udaipur – interview rounds are also going full throttle, given we are at the fag end of February 2021.
Here is an interview experience of a candidate who attended their IIM CAP Interview process. This article is part of an interview experience series, where we share the candidate experiences, as part of the IIM interviews and the non-IIM interviews. To read the other posts of this series, head to the following links:
- Great Lakes
- IMT Ghaziabad
- IIM Rohtak
- IMT Ghaziabad #2
- S P Jain
- IIM CAP #2
- IIM Rohtak #2
- IIM Lucknow
IIM interviews: The CAP experience
There was no WAT (Written Ability/Aptitude Test) as part of the IIM CAP interview process. It was just going to be the PI (Personal Interview). The candidates had been allotted a particular date and session (forenoon or afternoon), which could be checked at the IIM CAP 2021 candidate portal, OR through the multiple emails they kept sending (telling this in a good way) to keep the candidates updated.
As is common knowledge, the IIM interviews for the Common Admission Process is being conducted by IIM Raipur.
Enough backstory. Let’s jump to the plot!
Yeah, before we delve into the plot, it is important to introduce the characters (as is the procedure in screenwriting).
The panel for the said candidate consisted of two panelists – one male and one female, both probably in their early 40s. The latter asked most of the questions, while the former tried his hand at grilling – to check if the answers were superficial, or whether the candidate knew the news in-depth – every now and then.
Since it is important to keep the candidate anonymous, let us give away some generic information without personal identifiers (like the industry practice followed by most big data behemoths). The candidate is an engineering grad with good academics, male and has enough work experience to get him a zero for the work experience weightage.
The briefing happened at around 9.35 am, after which the candidates who were supposed to attend their interviews during this particular forenoon session were put in a Zoom waiting room. The coordinator put out the order in which the candidates would be called in, so that none of them had to shoot in the dark.
Now, on to the actual interview
When the interview started, the candidate began the ice-breaker, as opposed to the convention, by asking the panelists how they were doing. The panelists were equally cheerful and enquired back, quipping, “You have asked the first question. Hereafter, it is our turn”. Then started the actual interview.
The list of questions
- From your work ex profile, it seems to us that you are not capable of sticking at one place. MBA is a two-year course. Will you stay for the entire duration? – Explained how the transitions were due to external factors beyond the control of the candidate except in one case.
- Talk to us about the roles you have performed in these organizations. How would you connect these different roles? – Formed a coherent story and connected it with how the candidate has had brief stints with different ‘MBA verticals’, so to speak.
- Okay, you speak well. Tell us something about how the fuel price rise can be worked around. Forget the taxes and the state-center debate. What are the other policy measures that could be thought of? – Mentioned that fuel price rise is going to affect the population, one way or the other, and the suggestions the candidate would be putting forth need not necessarily mean that the problem is eliminated once and for all. Talked a bit about how business-related consumption of fuel and domestic consumption are two different aspects. Gave some vague explanation about how infrastructural facilities like schools, workplaces an institutions can be developed at different regions so that the need for travel could be reduced. Explained this could just be the short-term band-aid, as there are other supply-demand dynamics involved in the fuel market.
- Interesting. Honest answer. Do you follow news? Anything you can mention from the latest news? – Talked about the LPG price hike and the ongoing Australia – Facebook – Google issue.
- Alright. Do you know Greta Thunberg? Who is she? Why is she being talked about in the news recently in the Indian context? – Talked about Fridays For Future (FFF), and about Disha Ravi being one of the founding members of the Indian chapter of FFF. Gave a passing mention about the ‘toolkit’.
- Are ‘toolkits’ bad? – Not necessarily. As the name suggests, they could be guidelines for a process. The specifics of the ‘toolkit’ make it encouraging or detrimental.
- Do you know anything about the on-going conflicts between India and China? – (Did not know specific information, but decided to go for it, with the information in-hand) Talked about the Pangong Tso de-escalation, mentioning the ‘fingers’, when, thankfully, the panelists intervened.
- What is the bilateral relationship between India and China? – Had read something in the news about how, despite the diplomatically strained relationships, the bilateral trade was still good in terms of numbers. Mentioned that and said it is important for India to stay in good terms with the neighbours.
- Okay, forget China’s surveillance and everything for which China is criticized for. Why do you think China is so successful? What can we learn from them? – Talked about the education to workforce absorption is streamlined, and how the competitive advantage they have gained over a long period of time helps them produce low-cost products that go on to dominate the world.
- Education… hmm, interesting! Are you aware of the Education Policy? Can you talk to us about that, and if possible, connect it with the Budget? – Talked about what the Policy envisions as the expenditure towards education, and how the “holistic, multi-disciplinary education” could play a role in ‘Reinvigorating Human Capital’, which happens to be one of the six pillars of the Budget.
- Okay, do people at your current workplace know that you are trying to pursue an MBA? – Yes, they do. And they are supportive.
- Any questions for us? – Asked about the composition of IIM Raipur, and how 15% of the batch strength is made of people with 3+ years of work experience, while the same stands at 2% at IIM Trichy, and if there are specific reasons for the same. The panelists explained the decision varies year-on-year based on what the industry needs are, and usually Raipur decides to give a fair chance to the people with more work experience as well.
How did it go?
Initially, it did seem like one of the panelists – the male, in particular – was more interested in grilling and ragging. But in due course of time, it became an interesting discussion, where the candidate put forth his view, and the panelists prodded more to point out and rectify the flaws in the candidate’s arguments.
The interview went on for about 15 minutes, and it was a pleasant process. Subjects from undergrad were not touched upon, and it was mostly along the lines of the candidate’s awareness about current affairs. Except the question on Greta Thunberg, where a reasonable degree of trivia was involved, the rest of the questions were issue-based and not fact-based.
Stay tuned for more such interview experiences in the coming days!