After graduating from Manipal Institute of Technology in 2018, I worked as a Quality Assurance Engineer at voestalpine India for 7 months. With encouragement from my school friends, I quit the job to try my hand at establishing a pet services aggregator start-up as I believed that it was the best time in my life to take such a risk. Though the start-up did well initially, I soon realised that I needed more knowledge in the art of business administration and made a rather late decision of sitting for B-school entrance exams. This was back in July 2019 when I got primed to run the start-up into the ground and signed up for CAT/IIFT coaching classes. 8 months later I was sitting in front of a panel at IIFT ready to narrate my professional journey and hoping they would like it enough to let me in. As many of you would soon find yourself in a similar position, I would like to share that day’s experience to help you join the college of your dreams.
Date of Process: 21st February 2020
Slot: 8:50 am
WAT Topic: Earth without the Moon
Word Limit: 300
Time: 20 minutes
IIFT sometimes gives abstract, out-of-the-world (pun intended), WAT topics and you need to be rather quick in concocting a story in case you get a similar one. As you only get a single sheet, make mental notes of the points you would like to hit, and you should definitely start writing within 5 minutes to give yourself time for a quick revision. Introduction-Body-Conclusion is always the way to go here.
GD Topic: Should governments hand out freebies?
Total Candidates: 17
Total Panelists: 2
Duration: 25 minutes
IIFT GDs are usually related to current affairs. Back then, Delhi Legislative Assembly elections had just concluded and I had prepared about the various contentious topics that were discussed as a precursor to the elections.
You have to be well-versed in every major event that has happened or will happen close to the day of your process as every serious candidate will definitely be prepared with the same. It is not necessary that you open the discussion but do try to pitch in with 2-3 good points that the panelists can register.
No. of Panelists: 3
After greeting the panelists, I took a seat across their table as they went through my CV form that I had submitted while filling the application.
Q1) Tushang, you have a pretty unusual name. What does it mean?
They usually start with a casual question to help ease us into the moment. I told a short story about how my name was coined and its meaning.
Q2) Tell us about yourself.
I am sure everyone has a 90-second intro ready for this question which details their work experience(if any) and college experience in reverse chronological order. It is imperative that you prepare your answer with someone who has been through the process once before because how you answer this question will drive the rest of the interview.
Q3) Tell us about your work experience at voestalpine.
Instead of asking about the start-up as usually happened with me, they started with my work experience. I briefly explained the technical aspect, but mind you, they are usually looking for the managerial side. So do explain how the hierarchy worked and how you managed to get work done there. For people with no work experience, they might ask about the major events that you organised or even your internship during undergrad.
Q4) Why did you quit your job?
This might be a question which not everyone will be asked as it is specific to my profile. However, if you have switched jobs or roles, they might ask you the reasons behind the decision. I simply explained about the start-up idea and how I wished to take a risk by trying something of my own. They cross-questioned about why it did not work out and my learnings from the entire experience.
Q5) So, why MBA and why IIFT in particular?
Again, this is one question that you should always be ready to answer, no matter which institute you are appearing for. Instead of using generic terminology, try and make the answer as personal and relevant to your profile as possible. You want to sound authentic and I would recommend you practice these answers in front of a mirror or other people to make sure you do not sound monotonous while answering them.
Honestly speaking, this was one answer they did not look impressed with as it was clear that I had simply memorised it. Do not make the same mistake!
They thanked me for the answer and indicated that the interview was over. I left the room feeling I could have done a lot better.
Duration: 10-12 minutes
Conclusion: Though no one can predict what the panelists will throw at you, there are certain questions that you can prepare for based on your profile. Be thorough with those and try to steer the conversation towards your comfort zone wherever possible. Like me, you might be unsure whether you gave satisfactory answers or not. However, it is imperative that you stay and sound confident throughout the entire process as that is the best judge of your character one can make in the short duration of the process.
I got the opportunity to study at this esteemed institution simply because I had great mentors who gave me these nuggets of knowledge that I hope I have effectively passed on to you. Hope to see you here soon!
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