After sailing through the high tides of CAT17 exam, I had to climb the mountain of WAT/PI process to get into my dream IIM.
Common Admission Process (CAP) was conducted by IIM Rohtak in 2018. The process provides an opportunity to get an admission offer from the New IIMs (Trichy, Rohtak, Raipur, Ranchi, Kashipur, Udaipur, Bodhgaya, Amritsar, Sambalpur).
Here goes my experience of CAP interview process.
Interview Date: 19th Feb 2018
Venue: Radisson Blue Hotel, Dwarka, New Delhi
Slot: Forenoon 8:30 AM
X - 88 %
XII - 83.38 %
UG - 8.81/10, B. Tech in IT from IIIT-Allahabad
3 years of work experience as a Software Developer (Employers - Practo and Naukri.com)
Written Assessment Test (WAT) Topic: Roles and responsibilities of opposition leaders in the holistic development of our country.
We had to analyze the topic and present our conclusion. Total 20 minutes and one A4 sheet (both the sides can be used) were given to write the response.
I was the last candidate to be interviewed and the time was around 12:30 pm. By then I was well aware that each candidate was given an impromptu topic to speak about for 2 minutes.
There were two panelists. Both were male, let’s call them P1 and P2 respectively, both were in their mid-forties. I stood near the chair and waited for permission to be seated. As soon as I sat, I was asked to hand over all my documents and certificates, P2 was checking the documents while P1 took the interview forward.
P1 (smiling): Hi Apurva, please have a seat.
A: Thank you, Sir.
P1 (showing curiosity): So Apurva, you’re the last candidate in the panel. How are you feeling right now?
A: Sir, I am feeling both excited and nervous at the same time. Feeling good too as I am sitting in an IIM interview.
P2 (may be an attempt to make me feel comfortable): Okay, so you must be knowing by now that we are providing impromptu topics to the candidates. You must have got all the topics from the candidates outside. So go ahead, choose any one and start speaking.
A: Haha, no, Sir. I did get to know a few of them but I would like you to give me a topic of your choice. I would love to speak on that.
P2 (with a serious facial expression): Alright, then tell us whether privatization is good or bad? Your views?
A: Sir, although there are issues, I believe the advantages of privatization outweigh the cons. Privatization as a policy norm seems to countermands political compulsions as a tool for achieving resource optimization and competitive efficiency as the world economy tends to become one global village. It will also help in strategic planning to realize the full potential of the economy and also terminating administrative corruption. Consider the electricity boards, if electricity is supplied by private companies we’ll be receiving uninterrupted power and will be having lesser downtimes and load-shedding. To me, privatization is the need of the hour, Sir.
P1 (with a sarcastic smile): But don’t you think the cost per unit will increase if that is the case?
A: I agree with you, Sir, that cost per unit might increase in that case but side-by-side we’ll also be enjoying proper benefits - our level of frustration will get down. Also, Sir, if privatization is done at a rapid scale it will be beneficial in enhancing the quality of the products by reducing unit costs and thus in curbing public spending.
P2: Good. Now tell me about yourself?
A: Umm. Sir, my name is Apurva Sharma and I hail from Kota, Rajasthan. I did my under graduation in IT from III-Allahabad. I have been very consistent in my studies and I love to write. I am an ardent and hardcore coder and have worked as an Android app Developer in product based IT companies like Naukri.com and Practo.
P1: Okay. What are the programming languages you’re comfortable with?
A: Sir, I am confident and comfortable with JAVA, C, C++, SQL.
P1 (while expressing interest to know more in-depth about my academic knowledge): Nice. You told you are a hardcore coder; I would ask you a basic question to know how much clear you are with the basics. Tell me what is the difference between C and C++.
A: Sir, C supports procedural programming paradigm for code development while C++ supports both procedural and object-oriented programming paradigms. Object-oriented programming is not supported by C and therefore it has no support for encapsulation, polymorphism, and inheritance. But C++ supports all because it is an object-oriented programming language. C, being procedural programming, it is function-driven, while, C++, being object-oriented programming, is object driven. C++ uses NAMESPACE which avoids name collisions while C doesn’t’ have this feature.
P1 (interrupting): Okay, that should be fine.
P2 (with a thoughtful expression): You have worked in matured start-ups and so must have been earning a lot. Why do you want to do an MBA? If you wanted more hikes, you could have just switched your job and earned plenty more - it could have been at par with what you will get after your MBA.
A: Correct, Sir. But to me learning something is more important than just earning money. More education will help me to develop a greater sense of self through greater rigor in thinking and self-reflection. I believe that if I make it to an IIM I will receive proper management education and necessary tools that will equip me with the necessary techniques of successfully handling various business-related issues that are faced by various organizations. I wanted to do my MBA since quite some time and I feel with the amount of work -ex I have at this moment, it is the right time to join a programme which will not only give me a real feel of the academic rigor - and IIMs are famous for this and but will also help my mind to propel innovative ideas.
P2: So you talked about having the right amount of work-ex. Tell us what are your achievements at your workplace?
A: Sir, I worked in releasing Practo app international project for Indonesia which consisted of translations and features control modules, developed New Insurance feature which is visible in international countries where Practo provides its services. Sir, I also performed analysis and fixed implementation flaw during code clean up in deep-linking, due to which user traffic was getting redirected to mobile web, added customer support feature so that customers can directly report issues to the FreshDesk team instead of reporting on play store. The release played a crucial role in reducing customer complaints and negative reviews implemented new UI design in-app and deployed features like filters, location, doctor profile, and hospital profile screens. At Naukri, I was involved in end to end development of questionnaire feature to get the user data through multiple pages and also in live UI bug fixes related to job search result screen, image, and logo alignment issues.
(Here goes the rapid fire round)
P1: Used any new cutting edge technology at Naukri or Practo?
A: Yes, Sir. At Practo, I initiated machine learning implementation through indexing for the latest customer support feature.
P1 (by then he looked satisfied with my response): That’s nice. Any positions of responsibilities held? Like did you lead any team at any point in time?
A: Sir, I led a team of 3 to develop, design, test and deploy an Android application called Storywizz while I was working for Naukri.
P2: Alright. Anything that you are proud of doing at your office? Like any deployment or is there an award that you have received?
A: Sir, I almost single-handedly led implementation of login module which contained login via mobile number, Facebook and email and it was successful. I feel content and satisfied with this work of mine. Also, Sir, when I was in Practo, I had received the Top Gun title for being one of the top developers in the organization.
P1: Any accolades that you have won for academics?
A: Yes Sir. I am a recipient of the Gargi Award given by the Government of Rajasthan. I received it when I was in my 10th standard. I secured the 13th position in District Board Examination, Kota, Rajasthan.
P2: Do you know what is going on in your surroundings. Talk in terms of smart cities?
A: To me, it is basically a step towards smarter India. The Mission covers 100 cities and its duration is of five years - from FY2015-16 to FY2019-20. The three pillars of a smart city include institutional infrastructure, physical infrastructure and social infrastructure. There are various core infrastructure elements considered in the planning like adequate water supply, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing - especially for the needy, assured electricity supply, sanitation, including solid waste management, e-Governance, etc. with the objective of offering a sustainable and clean environment and thus enhancing the quality of urban life. Moreover, my hometown Kota is also added under the list of smart cities of the country.
P1: Any calls from the older IIMs? From which other colleges did you receive calls for an interview apart from this CAP interview call?
A: Sir, I have received calls from IIM Bangalore, IIM Lucknow, and IIM Shillong. Taking about other institutes, I have received a call from SJMSOM - IIT Bombay.
P2: We are done. Thanks, Apurva. All the best!
A: Thank you, Sir. It was an honour to get interviewed by both of you. Thanks a lot for your wishes.
Result: Received offers for admission from all the new IIMs.