In the last week of April 2019, the temperature was well above the forties. Lakes had dried up and so had my aspirations of getting into a decent B-school. That was when I got a call for WAT/PI from IIM Nagpur. I chose Kolkata as my interview location as it was nearer to Ranchi, my hometown.
On May 8th, 2019, I stepped inside the hotel, the interview location. After documents verification, we were taken to a room where we appeared for WAT. Following the past year trends and the IIM N pedagogy, it was a case-study based WAT. The topic was drawn from a corporate social responsibility case. For me, the WAT went quite well.
For the interview round, three panellists were present (P1, P2, P3 are the notations for the three panellists). I went inside the room and asked if I could sit down. They nodded, “sit down man.”
P1: So Vaibhava, what does your name mean?
I told him it means prosperity. Follow-up question was whether I considered myself happy or not and how much prosperous I was. I explained to him that for me, being happy did not rely on how much prosperous I was. Rather, it depended on being content with my life.
P1: Who all are there in your family and what are they doing?
I answered and in my opinion, an impression of being ‘youngest son, hence pampered’ was projected. I sensed it from their reactions and immediate expressions, that included a faint glaring at me.
P1: What were your job responsibilities?
I explained to him about the front-end side of the web development and how a website goes from identifying business requirements and development to production and release. Very basic questions were asked by them to get a basic knowledge of the field and they seemed satisfied with the answers that I gave.
P1: What do you think a person should have but cannot have in his life?
This question perplexed me for a while; I tried to answer a few attributes but he rejected each one of them telling me how can I have them. At last, he said it was luck. :) I agreed.
P3: How good are you in Mathematics?
I said that I remember the concepts that I studied till intermediate but not from my B.Tech's Engineering Mathematics. The follow-up questions were easy and I was able to answer them very conveniently. He asked me to write a cubic equation and I did, a quadratic equation’s roots and graph, I wrote it down explaining the steps. Then he asked me what does a (dy/dx) represent. I replied that it represents slope. He didn’t seem to be okay with it. So, he asked me again.
P3: What is the slope of a car?
Whaaa…aaattt. I asked him to repeat the question. P1 told me that panellist P3's question meant slope of a curve :) I replied, 'It's doing the differentiation at various points that gives us the slope of the curve at that point. He asked me to put it on a graph. I drew the tangent to represent the slope that he wanted to see. He looked fine with the answer.
P2 (this panellist carried a serious look right from the beginning): What are the differences between a solar and an electric car (I was a part of the solar car team during my graduation)?
I explained to him the basics. He asked me about the competitions that we participated in and some related questions. I answered those as well.
P2: What do you think are the three biggest problems in India?
I stated the problems point-by-point starting with poverty and unemployment. As I was going on, a different question was asked by P2 about sketching (mentioned as my hobby). I told him that I sketched from my childhood days and continued till high school and how do I plan to pursue it alongside my studies.
P3: Tell me an event with zero probability?
I said, “an asteroid hitting us in this room exactly this second”. P1 said it would not be zero, rather very infinitesimal. I answered 54 Sundays in a year. He said, 'Arey baba, let it be'. They said they were done and smiled.
It was a very nice and smooth interview which went on for around 20-25 minutes. I felt happy with my performance. On May 25th, 2019, the first admissions list was released and I got a congratulatory mail that I have been selected for the PGP program at IIM Nagpur. And eventually, it also rained that day. :)
About the Author
Kumar Vaibhava hails from Ranchi and is a PGP 1 candidate at IIM Nagpur. He completed his engineering from NIT Jamshedpur and worked for Sapient Ltd. During his leisure hours, he either sketches or goes for swimming.