New IIMs (CAP) Interview Experience – Rutul Shah

It is ironical to even think that you almost gave up a year or maybe more in return for a 20-minute intimidating experience which might possibly change the course of your life. Here’s an excerpt of those 20 minutes.

New IIMs (Trichy, Rohtak, Raipur, Ranchi, Kashipur, Udaipur, Bodhgaya, Amritsar, Sambalpur). Common Admission Process (CAP) conducted by IIM Rohtak.

Date: 20/02/2017

Location: Dadar Catering College, Mumbai

Slot: Afternoon 12:30 pm


10th: 81.6%

12th: 84%

BCom: 75% (Fresher)

A gist of my CV:

My academic profile helped me get through the initial shortlisting but wasn’t exemplary enough as compared to my peers. Fortunately, I had done a couple of Finance Certifications like NISM’s Equity Research Analyst and CFA’s Investment Foundation Certification. I was banking on my extracurricular profile wherein I had won various business plan and case study competitions at both, state and national levels.

Written Assessment Test(WAT) Topic:

“How has Facebook and Twitter affected and changed our lives, both personal and private?”. Time allotted was 20 mins and word limit was 300 words.

The topic was unexpectedly generic, and I tried covering as many aspects as were possible, pros and cons but limited myself to Facebook and Twitter to maintain the word limit and manage time. Wrote about how social media sites have inculcated various inferiority complexes and created social imbalance, how this has affected us at a psychological level. As far as pros are concerned wrote how social media helps people to communicate and experiment especially introverts and how something like Twitter can help us stay in touch with someone, with whom we couldn’t before. (Gave the example of how tweeting Sushma Swaraj enabled people to get aid in foreign countries)

Personal Interview:

Two female panellists were sitting, let’s call them P1 and P2, both were in their mid-fifties. As soon as I entered, I was asked to verify all my documents and certificates, P2 was verifying while P1 took the interview forward.

P1: Introduce yourself.

Me: My name is Rutul Shah, born in Mumbai and brought up in Ahmedabad. I got 81% in Xth-

P1:( Interrupts) We already know everything. Tell me something which isn’t there on your CV.

(Had to talk about my hobbies) Well, I’m into fitness, I’m an author on Quora and I binge watch web-series.

P1: Fitness?

Me: Explained my tryst with fitness and how I worked to get into shape from 98 Kgs to 78 Kgs and that my mom is a yoga professional

P1: (Interrupting again – smirking) So why not Yoga?

Me: Ma’am, I believe Yoga is about mind-body dualism theory and spirituality.

P1: (Interrupts) So, you mean to say spirituality isn’t important? (smirking again)

Me: (Smiling) No, no. I completely agree with you that spirituality is important but I’m into gymming and that’s how I believe in keeping my body in shape.

P1: (Interrupts) So someone who practices Yoga isn’t in shape?

Me: (Smiling again and giving that reassurance look) No, no ma’am. In fact, yoga practitioners are more flexible than those who go to the gym.

P1: If yoga does everything, then why gymming?

Me: (Completely blank) Ma’am, gymming is more about getting a ripped body and working on each muscle of your body and that’s why I prefer gymming.

P1: Okay. Did you mention some other hobbies?

Me: I am an author on Quora (God! No questions on this, which I desperately wanted)

P1: Anything else?

Me: I enjoy binge watching series (specifically web series)

P1: What are web series?

Me: Web series are just like TV Series but they upload their content periodically on YouTube and other platforms like TVFPlay

P1: Which genres do they cover?

Me: They cover every genre from Rom-Com to Business series like Silicon Valley to Drama-

P1: (Interrupting) Which is your favourite web series?

Me: TVF Pitchers

P1: Why?

Me: It’s a journey about 4 protagonists struggling and fighting to find their way through their startup. Its genre is Comedy and Business.

P1: So, Rutul tell me what qualities should an entrepreneur have?

Me: I think, it’s the attitude and the approach that an entrepreneur has that makes him different. In this era, an entrepreneur can have his wit, his qualifications and a team that stands resolutely behind him, but his attitude about not missing out on opportunities and utilizing his resources as productively as he can make him a true entrepreneur and not merely a start-up.

P1: Apart from that, what do you in your free time?

Me: Ma’am, I like to meet new people and network. Being from a business background, my father has always emphasized the importance of increasing one’s social circle.

P1: (Interrupting) Okay, so you’re social, tell me the importance of social media analytics in business and what is your approach towards it?

Me: I would definitely be interested in that. Social Media analytics, for example, can help you identify your market and your customers. (Explained how getting likes from a specific age group can help you identify your potential customers and knowing the places from where the page has been viewed the most can help you identify your physical market)

P1: So, you like to network?

Me: Yes, I do. The more you meet people, the more you learn. A random conversation can add a lot of value, so that’s why I like to network.

P1: So, you seem to have a lot of hobbies and a lot of free time in your life.

Me: (Face Palm) No, ma’am as you could see my CV, I’ve been part a lot of events and committees. I’ve been the head of various clubs and participated in quite a few State and National Level competitions.

P1: So, you have done everything in your life except academics?

Me: Ma’am, I was the Student of the Year nominee of my batch i.e. among the top 5 students in my batch.

P1: But that doesn’t mean you’re smart, I mean getting good grades is not a parameter to be smart, is it?

Me: (Whatttt? Now what, you want me to get an Olympic medal?) No, ma’am it doesn’t, that’s why I devoted a lot of time to do various activities.

Now, P2 takes over abruptly.

P2: Okay, Rutul what’s the difference between accounts and finance?

Me: Accounts is about book-keeping and recording all financial transactions, whereas finance is about making management decisions after interpreting financial statements.

P2: So, you mean to say accounting hasn’t helped you because now as you’ll be majoring in Finance, your accounting knowledge will be redundant.

Me: No ma’am, I won’t. Technically, if one doesn’t know how to prepare accounts and is not well versed in various accounting standards, he/she won’t be able to interpret it.

P2: How has demonetization affecting accounting?

Me: (Huh? Demonetization has affected finance and not accounting, but still explained) Started with accounting on how all the accounting practices need to be revised at an individual and institutional level, how demonetization cost us $18.8 b and then switched over to how demonetization affected finance.

P2: How does PayTm function? What’s its business model?

Me: PayTm is payments gateway just like PayPal.

P2: (Interrupting) What’s the revenue model?

Me: (I was done and confused with my interview till now, I was almost blank) Ma’am advertisement revenues, but still that isn’t a major source and Mr Aditya Puri of HDFC said PayTm’s business model isn’t sustainable and recently PayTm made a loss of $235 million, so apart from ad revenue I don’t have much of an idea.

P2: That’ll be all. Thanks.

Most of the time, both the panellists were smirking and calling at each other, they interrupted every question, but I maintained my confidence, agreed with them and kept the polite smile on my face to the best of my ability. It felt like a stress interview and I wasn’t very sure if the vague nature of the entire interview was because they found my profile interesting or because something in it irked them that they wanted to see how much they could push me till I faltered or if they were indifferent and took the interview as a formality.

Verdict: Converted IIM Trichy, Ranchi, Raipur, Kashipur and Udaipur. (Apart from Baby IIMs)

Rutul Shah

Rutul is a PGP student at IIM Trichy (Class of 2019). He has done his under graduation in Commerce with prime focus on accounting. A finance enthusiast, his areas of interests are : corporate finance and capital markets. A voracious reader, he also likes to write in his free time. Currently, he is a member of External Relations Committee and FinvesT, Finance and Investments Club at IIM-Trichy.


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