PGPM Interview At SPJIMR Mumbai – 2018
On 27th April 2018, I had my interview at SPJIMR for 1-year PGPM course, which requires a minimum experience of 5 years.
Just a brief to my profile – I have 29 months of experience in TCS, 24 months of experience in RAKBANK (Dubai) as relationship officer and 6 months of experience as a marketing manager in a publication house based in Noida.
SPJIMR is known to have an interview, which judges you in and out on your past experiences. For this candidates are required to send a ‘candidate profile sheet’, which contains questions regarding your past experiences such as ‘how has your past experience shaped your present competencies.’
This profile sheet in a way prepares the panel for questions that need to be asked to you.
There were two rounds of interviews and SPJIMR takes group interviews, basically, people who have similar past experiences or who have applied for same specializations are paired together (this is what I felt, though SPJIMR does not tell if this is the real case).
In my group interview, I was paired with a person who had 8 years of experience – 2 years in IT, 6 years in an insurance company and was a winner of Telugu KBC (quite a good amount), and has applied for same specialization – marketing.
My panel consisted of a well-experienced professor (P1) and a lady professor (P2).
The interview started with me and I was questioned about many the decisions that I have taken and how much I am sure of my goals.
P1 – So Ashim please share us your story, as your journey seems quite interesting.
Me – Sir, it is a pleasure for me to tell you my journey from being an engineer to a marketing manager today – told them about my college life that I was part of literary committee, in which I organised and have even judged a lot of literary events and how my inclination towards business (as being from a business family) made me switch my career from IT to sales/marketing.
P1 – So you could have joined a company in India also, why did you go to Dubai?
Me – Sir, I did get selected for some roles in India too such as I got selected in Zomato, but I thought it was a time for me to have an international exposure, as Dubai attracts citizens around the world such as from many European and Asian countries, and the idea to interact with so many people excited me to work in Dubai.
P1 – So why did you come back to India then? And that too in a pay lower than what you were being given in Dubai?
Me – Sir my main objective was to expand my vision, which I feel I did in 2 years time, and when I was offered a better role in one of India’s leading publications company I thought to shift back, and sir yes salary is lower than what I got before, but living in dubai was also very expensive, thus less expenses compensates the lower salary .
P1 – Ashim you seem to do whatever that comes to your mind, I don’t see a plan out there, and you have mentioned you want to be a digital marketer, so for how long you plan to do that? Seems you will again shift after 2 years.
My throat went dry, it was like I was being questioned to the extent – why are you alive? (but I kept calm)
Me – Sir I agree with you that I have switched industries, but I always had inclination towards sales/marketing, as it is something that keeps me on toes, I am never sure of what is next, as even in my Dubai experience I never knew in the morning exactly how I will accomplish my targets and whom should I reach for my product, and this is what makes me love sales/markeing. I have changed industries but I have always kept my learning with me – in sales, I kept my IT attitutde of doing things on time, as in sales most of time people lie to their manager about targets and prospective clients, but I always made things clear and this is what even made me earn respect from my manager. (Now coming back to digital marketing) Sir, I am pretty sure to work in this field, for that I even did courses though sales job did not allow much time. I even maintain a website to practice the digital marketing tactics.
P2 – So what metrics do you use to check website traffic.
Me – Ma’am I use Google Analytics for that.
P2 – How does Google Analytics work? And do how you track traffic details on that?
Me – Ma’am, we need to put a code on our website and with that we can track all the traffic, and we get to know – the sites that user was on previously (to check if our ads are working fine), the place the user lives or was at when the site was accessed etc.
P2 – Do you know about SEO?
Me – Yes ma’am, it is search engine optimization – briefed them how it works and what’s the importance of it.
P2 – Have you helped your present employer with Digital marketing? And have you generated some leads for him?
Me- Ma’am as it is a publication company, only people who know about it come to site, thus I helped to track down if the prospective clients, on which my MD is working, are interested or not by checking if they have they visited our site or not!
P2 – what does your company do and what role have you played there?
Me – Ma’am it is a publications company, which has schools as its main clients, and we need to compete with other big publications such as oxford etc to remain in market. I have helped my company in finding new potential areas/clients – briefed them on how I did it, and how I held meetings with prospective clients to onboard them.
P1 – So Ashim, how much did you earn in Dubai?
Me – Sir, first year was quite tough as I had to rely on my salary, but then I started to pick up and earned good amount of incentives (told them a figure)
Finally the concentrations shifted to the other person (who was with me was Group interview) though his interview was little more than half in length than mine and we were asked for a role play in which he had to sell me fire insurance, as I was playing the role of the owner of a tobacco firm. It was good, as I asked him about what advantages his insurance has and finally agreed to buy his insurance.
The second round included only two questions (different panel), but it seemed like a psychological interview as only one panelist asked question and other only noticed the candidate while he answered the questions.
P1 – Why you want to do an MBA?
Me – Sir, I have worked in two different fields with three different roles, and I feel I have expanded my vision, as I made professional improvement by applying methods of one industry to another. MBA besides classroom learning helps us to interact with so many people coming from different backgrounds, I feel seeing their approaches to different problems will increase my arsenal, as I feel all business problems needs to be seen with different visions of people with different backgrounds such as engineer, accountant, sales person etc.
P1 – What did you learn from your experience at TCS?
Me – Told them how sticking to deadlines helps a lot with different examples (I feel should have asked if I could speak about my learnings from RAKBANK too) .
So same questions were asked too the other person too, with whom I was paired.
In the end – it was a very good interview experience, and none of the candidate was sure how the interview went – was it good or bad? And that is what I felt is the beauty of interview at SPJIMR, where you have to brief about your life descions, but you are not sure if you justified or not.