To appear for SJMSOM WAT/PI process, a separate application is required to be filled along with the CAT score. Candidates get shortlisted based on the CAT score and overall profile. I got the communication from the Institute in the mid of February 2018.
Here goes my experience of the SJMSOM interview process.
Interview Date: 13th March 2018
Venue: SJMSOM, IIT Bombay Campus, Mumbai
Slot: 1:30 PM
UG-8.81/10, B. Tech in IT from IIIT-Allahabad
3 years of work experience as a Software Developer (Employers - Practo and Naukri.com)
Written Assessment Test (WAT) Topic: Two topics were given to the candidates to choose from. We had to write the understandings and analysis on one side of the A4 sheet. Total of 30 minutes was allocated to complete the analysis.
Topic 1 – What course should be introduced for value addition as a part of the management curriculum at B-Schools?
Topic 2 – Discuss the status of the awareness of contraceptives among people since it is considered as a taboo in society.
I selected topic 2.
I was the second candidate to be interviewed. There were two male panelists. Let’s call them P1 and P2 respectively. Both were in their mid-forties. I took permission to sit and P1 asked me to put the documents on the table. They already had my overall profile and then they started asking questions.
Total Duration: Around 15 minutes
P1 (smiling): Hi Apurva, please have a seat.
A: Thank you, Sir.
P1 (trying to make me feel comfortable): So Apurva, how was your day? Had lunch?
A: Sir, my day was good and since I am travelling from the morning and reached the venue just in time so couldn’t have anything yet (I told them the truth since I somehow managed to attend the interview which a long story in itself).
P1: Is it? What happened and if you are not comfortable then we can conduct your interview after some time.
A: Sir, actually my flight got cancelled at the last moment and I dropped in at the venue just now so couldn’t get time. I am perfectly fine now and no need to reschedule the interview (with a smiling face).
P2: Ok Apurva, can you give a brief introduction about yourself?
A: Umm. Sir, my name is Apurva Sharma and I hail from Kota, Rajasthan. I did my under graduation in IT from IIIT-Allahabad. I have been very consistent in my studies and I love to read and write. I am an ardent and hardcore coder and have worked as an Android app Developer in product based IT companies like Naukri.com and Practo.
P1: Nice, You mentioned that you like to read, so who is your favourite author?
A: Sir, I prefer to read Hindi novels and I admire the work of Munshi Premchand the most. I have read most of his novels since they are too close to the societal conditions of our country and I find them relatable to my surroundings (then I discussed the storyline of Nirmala).
P2: Can you name 4 classical dance forms of India? (This was a random question since I haven’t mentioned anything related to this in the interview)
A: Umm, Sir. Give me a moment, I need to recollect the facts. (After 10 seconds silence) Sir, Ghoomar- Rajasthan, Bhangra-Punjab, Bihu-Assam, Kathak-Varanasi (then he asked me to think again since Kathak is a classical dance form and I mentioned it as a folk dance form. But I realized my mistake post the interview).
P1: You have done B. Tech in IT so I am assuming that you are comfortable with data structures.
A: Yes Sir, definitely. I would love to answer the DS related question.
P1: Ok Apurva, I want to save the data of CAT applicants. CAT applicants data consists of their ID, email id, phone number, address, aggregate score and sectionals score etc. Which data structure should I use?
A: (Took pen paper and drew hashmap). Sir, I would suggest using a hashmap. Key of hashmap will be the CAT id and value will consist of a node which will have all the data. This will help to search the data of the student with O(1) time complexity.
If we want to use sorted CAT id then heap data structure can also be an option.
P2 (again a random question): Apurva, so you are from Rajasthan. Tell me the name of four CM of Rajasthan.
A: Mr. Ashok Gahlot, Mrs. Vasundhara Raje, Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (I couldn’t recollect the fourth name at that time).
P2: Tell me the name of three rivers of Rajasthan.
A: Chambal river near Kota, Kali Sindh river near Jhalawar and Banas river which is a tributary of Chambal.
P2: Apurva, in your professional career, you have done quite well so far then what is the need of doing an MBA at this point of time?
A: Sir, to me learning something is more important than just earning money. More education will help me to develop a greater sense of self through greater rigor in thinking and self-reflection. I believe that if I make it to a B School, I will receive proper management education and necessary tools that will equip me with the necessary techniques of successfully handling various business-related issues that are faced by various organizations. I wanted to do my MBA since quite some time and I feel with the amount of work -ex I have at this moment, it is the right time to join a programme which will not only give me a real feel of the academic rigor - and SJMSOM is famous for this and but will also help my mind to propel innovative ideas.
P2: So you talked about having the right amount of work-ex. Tell us what are your achievements at your workplace?
A: Sir, I worked in releasing Practo app international project for Indonesia which consisted of translations and features control modules, developed New Insurance feature which is visible in international countries where Practo provides its services. Sir, I also performed analysis and fixed implementation flaw during code clean up in deep-linking, due to which user traffic was getting redirected to mobile web, added customer support feature so that customers can directly report issues to the FreshDesk team instead of reporting on play store. The release played a crucial role in reducing customer complaints and negative reviews implemented new UI design in-app and deployed features like filters, location, doctor profile, and hospital profile screens. At Naukri, I was involved in end to end development of questionnaire feature to get the user data through multiple pages and also in live UI bug fixes related to job search result screen, image, and logo alignment issues.
P1: (Since I have worked as an android app developer) Tell me the functioning of the Android app.
A: Sir, every screen of the app is either an activity or a fragment. To add further screens, we use fragments which depends on the requirement of the overall flow of data and features. To send data between the fragments or activity, we need to pass intent which contains key-value pairs of data and that is used at the recipient fragment. All the UI is handled app side in XML code and all the elements of the UI such as text, color, size, animation etc. are defined in the XML file for each fragment. Different permissions are required to use the features such as camera, internet, and contacts saved in the device.
Data can be saved at the app side that depends on the feature. Search data is fetched from the backend APIs. If the user wants to search something, then the search query along with network detail, type of query (headers related to networks) and other information (if required) is sent to the server. Then the response is received at the app side in JSON form. JSON is extracted in the data objects using POJO files. Then the extracted data is shown at the UI of the corresponding screen. User responses are collected and the same process will be repeated for other features.
P1: Can you write a JSON object? You can take an example of your choice.
A: I took an example of a doctor search and drew a JSON object structure on the paper.
P2: So Apurva, do you follow news apart from your work?
A: Yes Sir, I do.
P2: So there is the latest discussion going on about GST. What do you think about both the favourable and adverse effects of GST and who are the stakeholders affected?
A: Sir, first of all, I will talk about the advantages of GST. Some of the advantages of GST include the fact that it eliminates the cascading effect of tax; the entire procedure is online and easy as the lesser number of compliances is involved, defined treatment for E-commerce operators and composition scheme for small businesses.
And if we want to consider some of the disadvantages then GST will mean an increase in operational costs, increased costs due to software purchase and also that all the businesses including the SMEs now need to be GST-compliant.
The affected stakeholders are manufacturers, distributor, and retailers. Mainly, GST is introduced to support intensity and performance in the manufacturing sector of India. Declining exports and high spending on the infrastructure are only a portion of the worries of this sector. Numerous indirect taxes have additionally expanded the authoritative expenses for producers and distributors and it is being trusted that with GST set up, sector will develop all the more unequivocally and compliance burden will get lowered.
P2 (while interrupting): Till now you have talked about products. What do you think its effect on the service industry?
A: If we talk about service providers, the greater part of the taxation rate is borne by domains, for example, IT administrations, media transmission administrations, the insurance industry, banking, and financial administrations and many more. These pan-India organizations as of now work in a unified market, and even though they see compliance burden becoming lesser, but in reality, there will not be much change in the manner in which they work even after the implementation of GST.
P1 (with a serious look): Any calls from other B Schools?
A: Sir, I have received calls from IIM Bangalore, IIM Lucknow, and IIM Shillong and New IIMs. I didn’t apply to other institutions (I thought he was going to ask more questions over this but he concluded).
P2: We are done. Thanks, Apurva. All the best!
A: (while shaking hands) Thank you, sir. It was an honor to get interviewed by both of you. Thanks a lot for your wishes.
Final result: Got an admission offer from SJMSOM.