I still remember the day which I still deem as one of the most crucial days of my life, when I was headed to JP Siddharth hotel via the blue line of Delhi Metro. The date was February 17th and the slot in the afternoon. I have always been terrified of group discussions, so it was a slight relief for me that CAP only comprised of written test and personal interview rounds. However, my percentile being on the lower side, I knew I needed to ace my interview to get through. To give a brief about my profile; I scored 94.44 percentile in CAT 2019 with all the sectionals above 90. I have done my bachelor’s in arts domain with honours in Statistics. I have completed my secondary and senior secondary education with 95% and 87.44% respectively. Being a fresher with no prior internships, I was a little skeptical of my candidature for an IIM.
To revive the gap in my composite score, I needed to give my best in the CAP rounds. The first round was the written ability test (WAT), where every candidate was given a topic and the time of 20 minutes to critically evaluate it in the form of an article. My topic was “should road construction in India be privatized?”. I used to follow a lot of channels on YouTube and gave at least an hour to it each day to brush up my current affairs. I preferred watching videos and taking notes over reading long and verbose articles. So, credits to those channels, I was comfortable with my WAT topic and was able to produce a satisfactory content in the given time. Thereafter we were divided in into various panels for the interview rounds.
I was the 5th in my panel so I patiently waited for my turn. The interview went on for about 20 minutes for each candidate. Everybody seemed tensed after coming out of the interview room and it made me even more nervous than I already was. Finally, it was my time to meet the panelist. I had heard that no matter however nervous you are, walk into the room confidently as it gives a nice first impression. So, I did exactly that.
There were two interviewers in my panel. I was asked to introduce myself first with the facts not mentioned in my CV. I gave an already prepared answer for the same. Having no work experience, the next set of questions were majorly focused on my under graduation and the subjects I was fond of. I was comfortably able to answer the statistics-based questions but then one of the panelists decided to delve deeper into the topic Operations Research which I declared as one of my favorite subjects. I couldn’t answer some of the related questions he asked me as my curriculum did not cover those topics. However, although it was fine to not know everything being asked, I began to let the situation take control of me.
Finally, the other panelist moved from academics to my hobbies and asked me about the famous authors of Bihar (my home state). There were a few more questions related to Bihar before I was asked about two favourite authors of mine with reasons. I saw this as an opportunity to redeem myself and part with a better performance. In the end they asked me if I had any question for them. I politely denied and took my leave with a candy they offered me.
Tip for this year’s aspirants:
Do not get nervous or try to talk to the candidates after their interviews. Remember, the process is different for everyone. If it is grilling for one person, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same for the other.
Apart from that, if you do not know any answer, politely tell them that you don’t. At the same time try to find a chance to get back into your comfort zone and play your strengths. Try to ask the panel members a relevant question if given a chance to. It leaves a nice impression in the end.