I have attended nearly 10 interviews for admission into B-schools, in the last 2 months. The selection process for each oh them first required shortlisting done on the basis of an MBA entrance, in which I scored above 90 percentile and that was decent enough to fetch me interview calls for at least 10 schools. The interview call consists of a Group discussion(GD)+Written essay+Personal Interview(PI).
This process was never going to be easy as one needs to have a good knowledge of current affairs to clear the GD, above average writing skills for the essay and most importantly, confident enough to clear the PI. Moreover, all of the institutes that I had applied to appear among the top 20 institutes in at least one ranking, so a tough selection procedure is followed by these.
One of these interviews will hold special importance to me. I was grilled on a lot of subjects and I had never expected so many unexpected questions in a single interview. I was grilled on almost everything I said, but I tried to remain calm and confident. I thought I shall share this experience with you all, and moreover, I can look at this post in future to assure myself that I have faced something so tough in the past.
The selection process that I am talking about is of IMI- Delhi. 1200 people had been shortlisted for the course that I had applied. Final selection would not exceed 60 which happens to be the total no. of available seats. This as going to be tough, highly competitive, but hat really bugged me was the fact that this institute had selected only 45 candidates last year, saying that they did not find anything special among rest of the people and they could not compromise with their quality just for the sake of filling 60 seats in total.
The selection process started with a written essay of 250-300 words (time limit 15 minutes). This was followed by a personality test in which we had to answer some general questions that would help the evaluators in determining some of our personality traits.
Next was the interview round. Students were divided into certain batches and each batch was assigned a panel which would interview them. I was the last person in my panel. It was 11 in the morning when I saw my name at the bottom of the PI list and I had already spent 5 hours at the interview venue. I went for documents verification, took a nap and then had my lunch. My watch read 1 P.M.
Now I had nothing to do, so I started interacting with other candidates. I talked to them about the questions that were being asked in the PI and tried to compile them at one place, but all in vain for no conclusion could be drawn from them. There was no specific pattern and it seemed what one answered for the first question lead to a series of more questions. We patiently tried to wait for our chance. I met a senior from my college who had a work-experience of 3 years. His stories only gave me more reasons to do MBA as a fresher. I tried to approach a hot chick there but she was already done with her PI and was in a hurry to leave the venue. My turn finally came up at 3:30 PM. Here starts the description of my PI in detail:
Three interviewers- P1(an HR faculty), P2 (Finace HOD), P3 (an industry expert). P3 was bald and all of them looked to be in their mid-forties. I enter the room expecting the first question to be ‘tell us about yourself!’
P1(smilingly): So you had to wait a lot, the last person. Are you annoyed?
Me: Yes sir, but thankfully, one person before me didn’t turn up and that saved my 45 minutes. Annoyed? Not at all, I just made some good friends outside. Moreover, you people have been interviewing us right from the morning, you have been busy all the time, it does not give the people like me who are just ‘waiting’ to be annoyed.
P1(no change of expression): Hmmmmmm…
P3: Tell me where are you from? What is famous about your place.
Me: My native is Jharkhand. My state is famous for Dhoni.
P3 starts laughing. P1 and P2 join him.
P3: Hahaha… not minerals, not forests, not about steel plants, but you say Dhoni.
Me: Sir that would have been my answer had you asked what’s good about my state! If you repeat your question then I will still give the same answer, because that’s how people from other stated recognize my state, that’s how my friends reacted hen I told them that I am from Jharkhand.
P3: Fine, I have already answered the good things. Tell me few bad things about your state.
Me: Poor literacy, poor infrastructure, most importantly, the political instability. There have been 8 different chief ministers of my state in the last 12 years and currently there is a President rule with no chief minister.
P3 looks convinced but doesn’t say anything.
P1: You have applied to the HR course. Tell me what interests you about HR?
Me: I love challenges. I believe that an HR professional handles the toughest job, since he has to handle people. The definition of management itself says getting things done with the help of people. This makes people the most important asset of any organization!
P1: You are a fresher. Tell me what you know about HR?
Me: (I had researched a lot on this. Told them everything that I knew).
P1: I agree with what you have said, but tell me how can you learn to manage people without having any work experience?
Me: I don’t have any work experience, but I have a ‘Life experience’. In the last 3-4 years I have desperately tried to learn ne things, failed a lot and yet never gave up. Now I have learnt most of those things. If you talk of learning then that’s the reason why I have applied to your college. I am sure I can match up with others or even outperform them with my dedication. I have made a few commitments in my life. I wake up early every morning, sweat myself in the gym, get outside my comfort zone by doing those extra Push-ups. The same discipline with which I do that one extra Push-up, the same discipline with which I push myself for trying a complex note on the guitar, that same discipline applies to all other aspects of my life.
Me(thinking, wtf! I just said such strong lines and all he has to say is Hmmm…!)
P2: We will give you an extempore topic now. Think for 1 min, stand and speak without stopping for 3-4 minutes). The topic is ‘ Is HR as a profession underrated’?
Me: Spoke for 3-4 minutes.
P3: What are the things that interest you?
Me: Fitness activities and playing guitar interest me a lot. I am also interested in reading and writing Philosophy.
P3: What’s the use of Philosophy? It’s just another genre, just like fiction!
…………………… TO BE CONTINUED!