Niteen Bali’s IIM Calcutta Interview Experience

My IIMC interview was around flag end. Having read a novel late night, I was sleepy and had dozed off when I was called in. I had below average profile. Decent grades, no major acad achievements. No work ex.  A bit of sports. But I remained calm and composed and kept a smile most of the time of the interview. It was like sending a message that it’s not just me who needs IIMC, but the need is both ways


Your surname is Bali. Do you know the significance of that?

Told about the Bali city of Indonesia, Bali of Ramayana and the Kerala god Bali. They were taken aback with the extreme details of the stories I told.


Next one was a quintessential yet important one. Why IIMC? *Bombing had began early*

Gave a candid answer. My interests. My ambitions. My  aim and how it has been shaped by my upbringings. Connected everything to the relevance of me at IIMC. Got interjected a lot of times in between to keep me confused and get crisp answers.


Next one was totally out of the blue and bizarre. I guess they look for a Freudian slip. Why are chemistry terms used to describe relationships and why physical terms to describe movements of stock? 

Used the basic definition and difference between the two subjects learnt ages ago and juxtaposed the same to the relevant context. Upon being pointed out a nominal factual error, quickly apologized but stood ground on my analysis.


Questions regarding the recent budget were thrown in

Didn’t give monotonous, off the paper-rehearsed answers. Gave answers with perspectives and also compared same with previous budgets and their implications. It clearly came out that I do keep a keen interest in reading about history, current affairs.


After some time, one panelist interjected and asked me the repercussions of the budget one year down the line?

I tried shedding some light on economic parameters like fiscal deficit, social parameters, exchange rates etc. They just didn’t seem satisfied and kept nodding head in disagreement. Finally, I had to give up and said that even Paul Krugman doesn’t have a definite answer to this since economics implications aren’t easy to forecast else bankers wouldn’t have been paid so much. At this point, they smiled and said “Can’t you say Acche Din ayeenge”.  Almost instantly I knew their intent and began laughing and exclaimed something about morality not being black and white, but rather differing shades of grey and similar with economic decisions. Each have dual effect. A prudent fiscal deficit might benefit traders and businesses but it means lower social spending. A strong currency means good for importers (consumers) but bad for exporters.


But one panelist; although seemed impressed, rubbished me off by saying “You know nothing about economics”. Thought of saying ‘That’s why I’m here to learn’, but was immediately asked why I had done my schooling in a boarding school. I told about my rural background. They said that they asked since few are put into boarding since they are naughty and they wanted to know whether I was naughty. I laughed and said “yes I was a naughty child, but so are most children. But I doubt that was the primary reason. Maybe so, I don’t know”. I guess this candid answer assured them candidness of my why MBA answer.

PS: Writing after a year of the interview, so can’t recall full details of it. Also, this is my individual experience and in no way can be generalised.

Had just cleared cut off to make it to interviews. Being a fresher, I wasn’t too desperate to crack it. Moreover, I read stuff on a regular basis, hence didn’t prepare exclusively for interviews. Nonetheless used to read a lot about others interview experience. There is no fixed lines that panelists pre-decide to judge candidates on. The interview all depends on the panelists and hence can be variegated. The best one can do is to be oneself. Questions can be on anything. It is all upto oneself to drive the interview’s direction with the answers. Also, panelists are human too and they are interviewing many candidates with quite similar talents and also answers.  So it’s important to keep the interview interesting and answers a bit ‘hatke’. The panelists observed me keenly throughout the interview. It was like their gaze pierced my body and looked into my eyes. Yet, I tried to maintain eye contact.

Overall it was a refreshing interview. The general notion is that IIMC has a knack for crazy interviews (I guess they want crazy albeit smart people). Panelists tried to make it a stress interview. One interviewer was smiling constantly, another kept cutting me in between while glaring and nodding head in disagreement while the third was just observing me deeply.

Niteen Bali

Student at Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta