Date: 16 March 2017 Time: 8 am
Venue: IIM Calcutta, Kolkata
WAT Topic: Should films/books/literary material be banned as anti-national? Give your opinion (30 minutes)
Wrote a decent essay revolving around freedom of speech and expression. Quoted few famous examples like Salman Rushdie and MF Hussain. Wrote about difficulties of imposing a ban in the internet age and recent intolerant India tagline.
PI - Duration: 15 minutes. Type: Strees Interview (Rapid fire).
My profile: I was in the Final year of BCom., had completed CA-IPCC and was doing my articleship with Deloitte in the direct tax function. I am based out of Ahmedabad.
I was last on my panel. Everyone coming out of the interview room was describing just how hard our panellists grilled. Plus candidates gave me the jitters by telling me how everyone on my panel was asked History and Geography (social studies is not my strongest suit). After a 4-hour long wait filled with nervousness and an overwhelming desire to just be done with my interview, I was called in at 12:50 pm.
P1, P2 and P3. P3 comes out to call me.
I go in and greet everyone "good morning " (internal facepalm, it was 12:50 pm).
P3: So u had to wait from early in the morning and so u are still saying good morning.
All 3 panellists "good afternoon" P2: sorry for having to wait for this long. You'll soon be done.
P3: describe yourself
I go on with the well-rehearsed answer. My education bla bla..Our community bla bla
P3: (interrupts) So we know ur community places value on academics, do u place any value?
Me: academically brilliant bla bla read books, write poetry
P3: What poetry do u write? (Free verse) What is a verse? (Explained) What is a metric pattern? (Explained) Types of metres (explained) What are syllables? (Explained but my answer contained a technical flaw I realised as soon as I spoke it out loud)
Ok, break Aishwarya into syllables (did, had a brief discussion on whether the reph used in devnagri script can be considered as a separate syllable)..P3 looks with a bored expression.
P3: ok, you work in direct tax as a part of ur articleship, so tell me what is the Laffer's curve? (I asked what, can't hear you, sir, P2 and P3 started laughing.me: sorry haven't even heard of it)
P3: Ok, tell me something about the corporate tax rate in India. (Explained trend of rates, present rates, amendment in rates applicable to small companies as announced in Budget 2017). Is the tax rate high? ( yes, must be lowered). What is the rate of compliance in India? (Me: gave all relevant statistics ). What would you do to prevent evasion? (I got started with a rehearsed answer on steps taken by PM modi, P3 interrupted and told me I asked what step you would take if given the authority, I said sorry and spoke on unearthing benami, implementation of GST, effective e-assessments, automating the tax dept, speedy disposal of tax disputes to increase collection, clarification of laws bla bla)
P2: (interrupts my answer) What is MAT? (Me: explanation along with rates) When is MAT applicable? How is MAT computation reflected in return of income? (Answered) P2 and P3 ask few more questions but can't recollect all because the pace of the interview was too high to remember all details.
P3: So, you have read the Bhagawad Gita, what was your Gita Competition all about? (Me: explained the format of the competition and chapters of Gita I had read and gita sar)
P3: Where is Kurukshetra where the battle was fought located in modern India? (Me: Haryana) Where is Hastinapur located (Near Delhi ) Where is Panipat located? (Haryana) Ok, what is Panipat famous for? (Me: totally stumped. Reply Battle of Panipat 1, 2 and 3, all 3 panellists start laughing, I smile sheepishly not knowing what I was supposed to say)
P2: Why are e-commerce companies valued so high? (Explanation on GMV method of valuation) What is GMV? (explained) Name other methods of valuation. (Named a few)
P2: What was the 2008 crisis about? (Explained asset price bubble, terminating with the collapse of Lehman Brothers) What asset was it? (Couldn't recollect at that time, internal facepalm but nothing induced me to remember. P2 says u must have studied and discussed all this in your economics class, were u sleeping in class? I admit having discussed but not being able to recollect today)
P3: Who were the sister concerns of Lehman? (Didn't know) Which other banks failed? (Explained about the Fed Reserve's initiative to not let other banks fail and acting as lender of last resort)
P2: What constitutes capital in a bank? (Explained and spoke about tier 1 and tier 2 capital) What is Basel committee? (Answered but not very accurate ) what do they do? (Set capital adequacy norms)
P3: What is the height of mount Everest? (8848 ft) P2: mts or ft? (Say I am extremely sorry and correct myself to mts) How do u convert mts to ft? (Gave the conversion) Ok, so if I go now and measure the Mt. Everest, will it be exactly as tall as u said? (No, new fold mountain, slight variation in height every year..approximately it will be this height as height every year changes in cms)
P2: What is the reminder when 3^7/8? (Did not apply property, was too nervous by then and so got the answer wrong twice, panellists started smiling)
Ok, so that's it say P2 and P3.
P1 finally decides to speak up. Do u have calls from other IIMs? (Yes) What about IIM-A? (Yes) Is the interview over? When was it? (Yes, in January ) Why did u come all the way to Kolkata from Ahmedabad? (Wanted to see the campus) So, did u see it? (No, not yet) so you were thinking to get rid of this pressure and then see it? (Yes, all panellists smile ) P2: what is so nice about this campus? Who wants to see it? (Was curious, never been to east India bla bla)
P2: Ok, thanks a lot and all the best
(No toffee or dry fruit)
Me: have a nice day sir/s
P3: U too (still no toffee!)
Note: Can't remember all the questions as stated earlier due to the fast pace of the interview and the rapid fire questions thrown at me.