It was a cold winter morning in Delhi. I was looking out of the window of the rented car that I had booked to Radisson, Dwarka. The place where my fate would be decided. Or at least my hard work of the last 1 year would bear fruit. Or …..
I had been preparing for the CAT for the last 1 year without a job and as fate would have it. I had a singular old IIM call. From Kozhikode, said to be the only college which forgives your past. Unlike the preparation which I had done alone in a singular room in isolation, I had a very familiar companion sitting with me on my way to the process.
My loving mother was accompanying me to the interview centre.
It was an interesting car ride. I was tired of studying for the interview and really just wanted the damn thing to start. But my ever caring mother was reciting some Chief Minister’s names so that I was the best I can be for the interview. I wasn’t paying attention to her monotone. I was contemplating life uptil that moment in the car ride and almost too soon. We were at the centre.
The hotel’s lobby was majestic and there was a handwritten sign on a board which said IIM K Process 1st floor Lobby. I said bye to my mother as quickly as possible, her hopeful eyes were torture to my anticipation of doom. I went up to the lobby.
I was fairly early and my document verification was done quite quickly. My pessimism made the process fairly daunting as well. I was fearful that my documents might not have been in order despite having checked it at least 10 times.
The waiting room was amply large. And the people doing the verification were quite professional. I waited patiently for the WATPI process to begin.
A friend of mine showed up out of the blue, I hadn’t expected to see him here. And against my better judgement, we stepped out of the hall to explore the hotel.
It was fun.
What happened subsequently. Wasn’t.
We headed back to the waiting room only to find quite a few people missing. My heart was in my mouth. Upon observation, I realised that panels had already been allotted and Panels 1 to 5 had been escorted to their respective WAT PI rooms.
THIS IS GOING TO BE DISASTER. I panicked.
Panel 6 was being announced. And my name was on it. What a stroke of luck. I wasn’t going to miss anything after all.
We were led through a glass elevator overlooking the atrium of the hotel onto a higher floor. I don’t remember which one. And soon we were led into a hotel room, it had been emptied of the bed. In the centre of the room lay a huge table. 10 of us were seated around it and blank papers were handed to us. The top of the paper had the insignia of IIM K. ♥
The topic for WAT was something on Climate. I did a decent job, my 2 months of learning and practice allowed me to articulate my opinions satisfactorily. The next evaluation process was an absolute surprise, it was the first time something like Resume Writing had popped up in the B-School process. I had spent the previous 2 days practising writing my own resume. I felt prepared.
Until I saw the paper. I felt shocked. But not beaten.
There were 2 HR questions. About overcoming failure and dealing with conflict. I knocked them out of the park. 2 months of practice coming to my rescue again.
Time was up and we were escorted out of the room.
This was the first time I noticed my invigilators closely. One was a man with an army like posture, he talked with a south Indian accent and was immaculately dressed. His age was clearly hidden by his fitness levels. The second one was a much younger man, he had short hair, almost an army cut and mischievous eyes. Clearly a junior to the other man.
And then it struck me, these were my interviewers and not any normal invigilators. A thought passed my mind, had my interview already begun with the WAT PI? Were the inspecting my body language?
I let that thought go.
We waited outside the hotel room. A few of the interviewees decide to take a small snack break and left towards the atrium. 3 of us remained outside the hotel room. And as luck would have it, the older man stepped outside and called a name out. There was no answer. We informed him that she had gone away. He took another name. No answer. He took a third name. No answer.
Perplexed, he asks the three of us. “Any one of you would like to volunteer for the interview?”
My hand goes up immediately. There was no strategy behind the move. Just a desire to get over with it as soon as possible. And with a wide smile, I’m led inside the room. I don’t have any thoughts in my head, It’s time to light it up.
I head over to the room, due to space constraints, instead of sitting directly opposite to me, one professor was seated to my right and one was seated opposite. They asked me to sit down and simultaneously asked me to hand over the file.
I did not process both the requests. I handed over the file. I didn’t sit down. The older professor (P1) asks me to sit down again. I sheepishly sit down.
And thus began the most memorable interview of my life. Read my personal interview here!