I had completed four years into my corporate journey, and one thing that I was certain of was that it was the last chance to realise my dream of studying in a coveted league of institutes called the IIMs. If not in CAT 2017, I may not have even tried for an MBA after that.
I had cleared the first hurdle - CAT. I had also cleared XAT and had a call for HR course at XLRI, but that’s a story for some other day. One afternoon in April, I received an EOI for IIM Nagpur, after which I received a form to fill some basic details. The most interesting yet a difficult thing was the Statement of Purpose which we had to prepare and submit. Finally, I was there for the WAT and PI round in Mumbai. People always say that IIM interviews are a pressure cooker situation but to be honest the environment at the venue was very comforting. IIM N representatives were very accommodating. After verification of documents, WAT started where we were asked to analyse a situation and give our recommendations. Here my work-ex helped me a lot. As I was accustomed to such issues while working for my previous companies, it was fairly easy for me to crack it. After the WAT round, the candidates were called one by one for interviews. When my chance came, and I sat there, facing a panel of 3 interviewers who possessed grey hair and looked highly experienced.
The interview started with some basic but important questions such as:
‘Tell us something about yourself"
Tip for aspirants #1– always prepare for these questions thoroughly as whatever you say will decide the next question. Your answers may go with you or against as well.
Post these regular questions, the majority of other questions were related to my Work-ex. I had four years of Work-ex in total as an Area Manager – three years in Mahindra & Mahindra and one year in Maruti Suzuki India Limited. All the questions were related to how I contributed to the companies, about my key roles and responsibilities.
Tip for aspirants #2– If you have worked for 2 or more companies, be ready for a question on why you switched from the first one. One significant point to note here was that panellists are interested in how your work made a difference in the organisations you have worked previously. They are not looking for those regular things that you have done; there should be some differentiating factor.
In the end, I was asked some basic questions from my UG background. I completed my graduation in Automobile Engineering and questions from that area were easy to tackle. Overall, I would say that the interview is more of a discussion than an individual asking questions and you answering them. So, please treat it that way. Whatever you say will guide the interview, so be ready to defend your words. Don’t pressurise yourself too much; this is not the end. Be genuine, be yourself and surely you will crack it.
Now, after eight months into my MBA at IIM Nagpur I have a word of advice for those of you who are wondering whether you should leave your high paying job and be a student again or not, let me assure you, it’s a complete worth if not more. Calls from XLRI (HR course) and IIM Jammu were also in my list of options but an inclination towards marketing from an IIM ultimately brought me to IIM Nagpur.
About the Author: This article is written by Madhur Jain, a PGP 1 candidate at IIM Nagpur.