I remember the day I saw my CAT Registration no. in the list of shortlisted students for PI by IIM Lucknow. I couldn't believe myself, and I started dancing in excitement. I had my XAT Paper the next day, so I tried to gather myself and focus on the same, but the ship had sailed. Right from that day until the one where I gave my interview, the whole journey was one roller coaster ride.
I remember my very first interview was of IIM Rohtak, and out of a sudden, I was questioned on the Father of Indian cinema (My background is in finance), and I was shocked. I replied whatever I could to them with a smile on my face, but the first thing which came in my mind after coming out of that room was how my Lucknow interview was going to be? I am not prepared.
That was when I decided that I needed to change my strategy. I started watching videos and spoke to a few of my senior friends who helped me a lot.
My interview was scheduled for 16th March 2020. Before that, I had my Goa institute of management's interview on 14th and CET Exam on 15th I was very nervous because I had been giving back to back interviews the entire Feb. I was all set. I made sure that I was ready with every certificate I had and all my HR answers. A big thanks to this natural pandemic that I get a mail on 14th that my interview has been deferred. I was so prepared.
I saw this as an opportunity to brush myself even more. I maintained this diary with me right from my 1st interview until now. I had everything written right from the names of previous Indian prime ministers to the impact of this great pandemic on the economy. (This diary was my life saviour)
I received a notification a few days later that the entire process had been shifted to online. My interview has been scheduled for 30th April afternoon( and I had another IIM interview scheduled just 3 hours before it). I was sad for a while. I wasn't sure if the online interview session will play out well for me, but I was that it is what it is
Finally, the day arrived. I remember my dad saying it is okay. Whatever happens, will happen.
Interview time 4:30 Two males (Probably in their 40s)
P1: Hello Hemali, how are you doing?
I am doing good sir, thank you for asking.
P2: Can you tell us more about yourself
I told them about my school and undergrad, POR and how I've been using lockdown as an opportunity to learn different dance styles.
P2: Can you tell us some Indian folk dance and their places of origin.
Told them about Lavani, Odissi, Bhangra
P1: Okay, Okay. We understood that you know about them
P1: So we heard that the corona cases are increasing in Mumbai
I spoke about that for a while and how the number has been doubled in the past few days.
P1: Oh, so any cases in your area?
My area was a red zone, so I told him what precautionary measures we were following.
P1: Ohh, okay, so you stay in Mahim. Tell us the story of Mahim ka dargah.
Shocked. I told them I am not aware of it.
P1: Are you saying you stay there and you haven't even visited once?
Quiet for 2 secs. Yes sir. I told them whatever I was aware of to show that I am not entirely clueless.
P2: Good Good. So you're a finance graduate. What's NPV?
P2: Something about Foreign Equities.
Told them, but the answer was incorrect.
P2: You're a finance and accounting student, and you are not aware of this. First, tell us what subjects did you study?
Told them all the major subjects
P2: I am entirely clueless, what should I even ask you.
P1: Okay, let's talk about accounting here, forget finance. Where exactly does capital reserves come in the balance sheet, and how is it treated?
Answered with around 80% accuracy
P2: Give us the journal entries of forfeiture of shares.
Told them that I couldn't recollect
P2: Okay, but I want to know why does the balance sheet even balance?
P1: Yaa, like why is it getting balanced in the first place?
Answered something in terms all the profit or loss derived are adjusted in the reserved, and there is a double-entry system they seemed satisfied.
P1: So Hemali tell us what are some famous things in Mumbai
I said that there are many things good about Mumbai, but if I have to answer any 3 famous, it would be its street food and beaches (gets interrupted)
P1: Beaches? Really? We have heard the beaches in Mumbai are horrible, and literally, all of them are dirty.
Yes sir, but you asked me about famous things. Horrible things can also be famous (we all had a healthy laugh)
P2: So, Hemali, we see that you have scored low in quants. We, as an academic institution, are known for our rigorous acads.
Nodded my head
P1: Do you think you will be able to compete here?
Answered them, yes, and how academics had been essential, so I had always made sure that I was consistent in it, and I was also the gold medallist in my college
Both: Okay, Hemali, it was nice talking to you.
Thank you, sir. Thank you for your own time.
Took a deep breath. I couldn't believe it actually happened.
Some key learnings:
- Remember to smile. They are aware that you can't know everything.
- Just be positive and enjoy the process.