After the failure of CAT/XAT 2015, I had decided to give these exams one more shot, amidst all the hype & hoopla of MBA exams, one which uniquely stands out is MICAT, the format itself is quite different and tries to bring the best out of a candidate while checking almost each and every aspect which makes him/her suitable for the management course. The exam is of 190 minutes, yet by the end of it, you feel surprisingly refreshed instead of frustrated or overwhelmed, that's the beauty of MICAT.
After an average CAT/XAT performance and a few calls here and there, it all came down to MICA, it was my best shot. The comprehensive coursework of Strategic Marketing & Communication with a focus on advertising, media, brand management and analytics sets it apart from run of the mill MBA colleges. The culture, the people the environment and not to forget the rigor of a b-school makes MICA what it is, and it sure takes immense pride in that.
I am an engineer, well a GEM from an average institute with an average profile. This fact itself reduces my odds of getting into a top b-school, IIM is a distant dream, but MICA gives you a chance regardless. It provides everyone with the same platform and sets the same level playing field for each and every candidate, it boils down to his/her potential, and not so much to the past records. Fast forwarding now to the interview day...
GE topic – Take any Bollywood item song and convert it into inspirational patriotic song without changing the tune.
We did manage to come up with a song somehow and performed it. Whole GE was over 2 mins before it was supposed to; I don’t know how would that be viewed.
PI – Panel of 3. 1 male, 2 female
My likes – Balaji Vishwanathan, NVIDIA, Skyscrapers.
Dislikes – Arrogance, Salman Khan (Actor), Ubisoft
TLDR; My interview lasted for good 30–40 mins
M1 – So, Harsh. Introduce yourself.
Me – Started giving him rattafied textbook answer, native, education, activities...blah blah..
M1 – Wait wait...All of this is written right here on the form, tell me something which is not mentioned.
Me – Okay, (gathered a little strength) I consider myself a determined person, I believe that one should always strive hard to pursue his/her passion and not settle for anything. I feel that hardwork never goes in vain and I consider failure as the biggest learning opportunity since most of my learning has come from that.
M1 – okay, list down 3 failures and your learning or how did you overcome them?
Me – Explained 3 failures (one of them being MICAT/CAT 2015) and the learning from the same. Also explained how coming from a vernacular background I wasn’t very confident about my communication skills, but over the time I managed to get a good grasp of it. (Seemed satisfied with my answer)
F1 – We are all very curious as to know who B.V. is? Can you please tell us?
Me – Explained that he is a Quora superstar and writes answers on varied topics, told about his education and startups he has worked on and for. Told how despite facing few setbacks in life he has always moved ahead with same enthusiasm and passion. (I still think that I was unable to do justice to the stature of B.V. and couldn’t conjure up the image I was supposed to, anyway...moving ahead...)
F2 – Why do you dislike Salman Khan?
Me – I haven’t watched a lot of his films but from what I can see, I think he a terrible actor, and as a person he has set a bad example. He has made a travesty of our Indian judicial system, on the one had he preaches about “Being Human” and on the other can’t own up to his own mistakes....
F2 - *cuts in between* But don’t you think that there’s a problem with our judicial system? It considers Salman innocent, where is Salman at fault?
Me – I think no system is perfect or bulletproof, there are always loopholes, Salman has gamed the system so well and exploited loopholes to such an extent that he gets away with what he has done almost all the time, otherwise Criminals do get their fair share of justice, take Sanjay Dutt for an example. This tells a lot about Salman Khan and less about our judicial system.
F2 – Okay, imagine a scenario. You are placed in “Being Human”, it’s a well-paying job and more importantly it’s THE ONLY job you have. The economy is falling and you have large loan looming over your head. Would you take the job?
Me - *paused for a second* No, I wouldn’t take the job. My goal in life is to work passionately and give my 100% wherever I decide to work, I think that I won’t be able to do the same here and by that I’d be doing injustice to the company and to myself. Having spent 2 years here at MICA, I think I will have the necessary skillset to acquire job somewhere else, maybe after I pass out from a college.
F1 – So, you’re passionate about Marketing and Communication?
Me - Yes
F1 – What is Marketing?
Me - Explained marketing and few of its aspects, told how Marketing at its core is about filling the knowledge gap between a seller and a consumer. Explained different marketing campaigns and how companies try to utilise every platform and target their audience.
M1 – Harsh, are you nervous?
Me – (A little shocked) No, sir
M1 – Is that because you have converted other colleges?
Me – No, sir. I have not converted any college so far, but I think I am not nervous because I am honest with myself and with you. Someone may be nervous if he/she is not sure or trying to fake something, but that’s not the case with me. (Went a little overboard, I know, but well, whatever...)
M1 – Do you have other calls?
Me – Told about other calls, but explained how MICA is my first priority.
M1 – Which’s the last place you’ve been to?
Me – Mumbai.
M1 – List 3 traits of Marathi and Gujarati and compare them.
Me – Told. For Gujarati – Hospitality, Honesty (Borderline blunt) and Happy go lucky Marathi, Helpful, would never want to cheat you. Honest (Taxiwallas and autowallas), A little less acceptance for outsiders, and a bit short tempered. (My experience, I may be wrong, please don’t take anything personally)
M1 – Okay Harsh (hands me a pencil). Sell this to me and use any of its attribute except writing. Go. NOW.
Me - Okay, *Salesman mode on* Takes a pencil.
Good afternoon sir! How are you doing?
M1 – Fine!
Me - Sir, do you ever feel like itching somewhere on your body but your hands just can’t reach there?
* F1 and F2 bursts into laughter*
M1 – Yes. (Thank god!)
Me – It must be really frustrating right? And it’s a common problem during this season. Now, would you be interested in a product which would completely solve this issue?
M1 – Yes! (Thank god!)
Me – So, I have this pencil with me, roughly 18 cm long and it would help you reach parts on your back which your hands would otherwise find difficult, and you can use it to scratch!
M1 – But don’t you think this would cause harm to my skin?
Me – Absolutely not, sir! The pencil has graphite and it can easily be washed out with water!
M1 – But would it not have germs? Wouldn’t that get on my skin?
Me – For that, I will be offering you a box with this pencil and you can keep it inside the box, isolated from the environment.
*F2 points out sharpener at me* and says, “You could have offered him a sharpener with pencil, that way he can keep sharpen the pencil whenever he wants to use it and keep it free from germs”
Me – But I didn’t want to offer him another product!
*Everyone bursts into laughter* M1 and F2 – Nice! that’s a good thinking on your feet!
Me - (OMG! OMG! OMG!) Thank you!
F2 – So, Harsh! Let’s talk about Gujarat Model of Development!
Me – (STUMPED!) Yes ma’am. The model has a primary focus on services, infrastructure and manufacturing sector and it has helped Gujarat develop a lot....
F2 – Yeah yeah, that’s all fine and great! But statistics say that 40% of children under the age of 5 are malnourished, is that really a development?
Me – (Say something wise, say something wise, quick!) Yes, ma’am you are right! (Duh!) I think the govt has failed to raise awareness about the issue; there should have been campaigns, especially in the rural area. If a mother does not know that her child is malnourished she wouldn’t be able to do anything about him/her at all!
F2 – So, is it just mother’s responsibility?
Me – (DAYUM!) No, ma’am both mother’s and father’s. I mean parents need to be made aware.
F2 – What do you think about women’s safety in Gujarat?
Me – I think women are very safe here, compared to other states. And they enjoy the freedom here.
F2 – What do you mean by freedom?
Me – By freedom, I mean the independence... *Explained something, but can’t remember* Sorry.
F2 – Do you know about the incident happened in Una last year?
Me – Yes, people tried to overpower dalits and it received a lot of coverage. But I don’t think that was a HUGE issue.
F2 – REALLY? I think you need to research about this. Drop. What’s your take on reservation?
Me – I think the reservation should be based on economic condition of the family, just the way it has been made out to OBC in India, if you belong to NC layer, and have the required merit, you get the reservation. Same should be done with SC/ST.
F2 – Do you know the percentage of OBC in India?
Me – No. But I do know total reservation given in Gujarat is 49% including SC/ST/OBC. (Turns out, it’s 48%)
F2 – Yeah that is okay. But what makes you think that SC/STs have reached to that stage? Have you done any research? Or this is just an assumption you are making?
Me – I haven’t done any research but have read few answers on the Quora.
F2 & F1 – Oh, that’s the case! (Laughs a little. Probably can be signified as ‘LOL’)
F1 – Why do you like skyscrapers?
Me – Skyscrapers are humongous! I can just stand and look at them for 10-15 mins straight! A lot of consistent hard-work goes behind the construction of one such building and it can easily be considered as one of the man-made marvels. Sometimes I can’t even believe that it’s made by people just like us!
F2 – Do you realise that it’s not built by people like us; it’s built by those who’d never get to live there and probably are rendered homeless because their land has been acquired?
Me - Oh, yeah! That’s an interesting perspective. I’ll definitely think about it.
F1 – What is NVIDIA?
Me – Explained.
F1 – your likes are very interesting! There’s a personality, an organisation and an object. What would you have written if there was a fourth option?
Me- *Off the top of my head* Pizza! I would have written pizza!
F1 – So you like pizza!
Me – Yes, ma’am I absolutely love pizza!
F1 – Just a vegetarian pizza or do you eat non-veg?
Me - No, ma’am I am a vegetarian, so just vegetarian pizzas!
F1 – Okay, Harsh! Thank you.
Me – Greets everyone, and leaves the room.
Verdict - Converted! :)