Snehahis Ghosal’s NMIMS Mumbai CD-PI Experience – 2018

Another season for MBA aspirants is about to end. Some are eagerly waiting for the results of their desired b-schools, some have settled for the ones they have already converted, and other optimistic ones will be preparing for another long year to try and get into any one of the most coveted b-schools.
A year-long tussle of preparing for all the different exams and the anxiety of the results finally came to an end when I got the final shortlist of NMIMS Mumbai. After the disaster of CAT, IIFT and XAT, I knew this was the only opportunity that I had of getting into a good college and hence the unbridled joy when I saw that I had converted what was the only meaningful call I had.

NMAT score – 225
10th – 93.34 (ICSE)
12th – 91.2 (ISC)
Grad – 72.16 (Mech. Engg.)
Work ex -10 months in a core company

Date – 13th Feb
Venue – NMIMS Mumbai

I had reached the day before and had spent the night in a hotel room watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. to try and stay calm. Having opted out of the HR process, I had to reach college by 1 PM the next day.
I reached the college by 12 and was sent to the lounge to wait. At around 1 PM we were sent to the fourth floor where we were divided into different groups for our CD and were made to sit accordingly. After the document verification (or rather just verifying our identities), and a speech by a professor explaining the entire process, we were sent to our respective rooms for the CD.
CD Topic (in short)
The kali-peeli taxi drivers of Mumbai are planning to reduce the prices by 20% to compete with Uber and Ola. Keeping in mind the previous price wars in the Indian airline and the e-commerce industries, and the adverse effects it had on the different companies involved, will the price war by the local taxi drivers be feasible?
The CD was decent almost till the very end. Everyone had a chance to speak and put forward their points. I too pitched in 3-4 times with real-life examples and how the taxi drivers needed to think from the perspective of an Indian customer to take any final decision. Almost the entire group agreed to the fact that just reducing the price would not be the only solution, but there was this one guy who was totally against the group. Anyway, we were asked to conclude and then simply out of the blue, someone told that we should listen to everyone’s conclusion separately. This is not how a CD is supposed to be concluded as we are needed to come to a common conclusion, and I even made that point, but the guy who was against the entire group during the CD started saying his own points again. This continued for a couple of minutes more after which we were told to stop.
Then we returned to the previous room and after 15 odd minutes, the interviews started. There were a number of panels, equal to the number of groups that were formed. I was 10th in my group. I knew what was to come, the agony of waiting and getting even more tense by the minute. And to make matters worse, our panel turned out to be the slowest of them all. Just three of us from our group remained in an otherwise empty room. It was around 4.30 when we were called upstairs. I was even apprehensive about the fact that I was the only one in my group who was not wearing a blazer, thinking I might be grilled on this as well. The wait does manufacture pretty random thoughts.
Finally, I was called in. There were 3 panellists, all male. P1 was cool, P2 was not saying much, and P3 was asking weird questions.
Entered, wished them. They told me to sit down and be comfortable.
They were looking at my profile first, didn’t say anything for a minute or so.
P3 : Vedanta 8 lacs de raha tha? Why did you leave?
P2 : Ha, acha company hai. They pay a lot.
Me : Told about health issues and being allergic to a specific fume in the plant.
P1 : You got placed during campus placements in college?
Me : Yes sir.
P3 : Okay, what was the exact problem you were facing?
Me : (Aur kitna specific bolna padhega?) Explained about everything in details.
P3 : Aur baki log kya kar rhe hai woha? They are also coughing?
All started laughing, and I had to give those fake smiles.
Me : (Haha..!! Very funny) No sir, it was an allergic reaction and it affects every individual differently. You might be allergic to some food which might not affect me in the same way.
P1 : Why MBA after engineering?
Me : Told the prepared answer.
P1 : Have you decided on any specialization?
Me : Yes Sir, Finance.
P1 (jumped as if there was some sort of spring in his chair and it had malfunctioned) : Finance? Why finance?
Me : told about how my interest grew after I watched The Ascent of Money.
P2 (who was up to this point just looking at my profile sheet as if there was some hidden treasure inside) : Have you seen Inside Job?
Me : No sir, I have heard of it. A friend had recommended it to me last week and I plan on watching it after going back.
P2 goes back to his treasure hunt.
P1 : So you have a very good academic record, you are from a good engineering college, how will you apply this in finance?
Me : Told about how engineering was not all about academics but was a learning process and bla bla bla…
P2 : Finance is an ocean, what exactly in finance?
Me : Investment Banking.
P2 (the spring malfunctioned again, judging by the way he jumped) : What is investment banking?
Me : Was telling about what it is and that I want to get into mergers and acquisitions when I was interrupted by P3
P3 (who was just giving a smirk to this point every time I had looked at him) : Then what is merchant banking?
Me : (At least let me finish. Huh..!!) Sorry sir, I don’t know.
P3 : Do you read books? Any newspaper?
Me : No sir, I have in shorts in my phone. It provides me with the headlines.
P3 : What are today’s headlines?
Me : Talked about Modi being in Oman and UAE and about cryptocurrencies.
P1 : So finance? Finance mei to tumko khansna nahi padhega.
All started laughing again, so did I. No other option but to laugh at all these jokes, even though I was the subject of most of them.
Me : (Come on, not again) No sir.
P1 : Any other hobbies?
Me : Yes Sir, football. Since my childhood, I have always loved playing football and I have also been the captain…
P3 (interrupting): What is India’s rank in football?
Me : (For the love of God, let me complete) I am not quite sure. Told them something around 100.
P1 : Okay, that will be all, thank you so much and best of luck.
I thanked them and left.
Verdict – Converted.

Snehasis Ghosal

Engineer and an MBA aspirant, nothing extravagant.