The Unique Interview Experience At An IIM | The Average Engineer’s Encounter

Once the Common Admission Test (CAT) scores are out, the final race to secure a place in the premier MBA institutions begins.

However, as it stands out, just getting a call for the WAT or PI round is often not enough to secure your IIM dream. Generally, only 20-25% of the candidates who get calls eventually make it to an IIM.

In order to acquaint you guys with the process, I will be sharing an interesting interview experience that I had.

Ruminations: Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.

Student Profile

10th – 88.3

12th – 75

B. Tech (CSE): 74.9

College: IP University

23 work experience (IT)

CAT Percentile: 99.50

Time and Date: 23 Feb 2016, Morning slot 8:30 AM – Panel 3

Topic for WAT/GD- Volkswagen scandal 

Total members – 10

WAT was immediately followed by GD. I started it and spoke for around 30-40 seconds. Everyone got a chance to speak.

I pitched in 3-4 times and threw a lot of numbers regarding it, Rest was fine.Then after just a minute, I was called by the panel members.

Two member panel. Denoting by P1 (age 30-40 Strategy Prof at IIM) and P2 (age 40-50 operations faculty at IIM)

Went in and greeted them.

P2 – Relax have water if you want.

Me – Thank you, sir, I am fine (smiling as I was expecting them to instantly jump on me).

P1 – Ok, introduce yourself.

Me – Blabbered the prepared answer

P1 – Asked about my workplace.

Me – Told him everything about it in details, the major clients that I have worked for and also the latest technologies that I have implemented.

P2 – So you are a singer and a tabla player, who plays the tabla nowadays?

Me – Told him everything about tabla, the origin of its name and about famous tabla players. Also offered to play it in front of them right now.

P1 – Please show us (Removes the bottles on the table)?

Me – started slowly then showed them the full speed. (I was thinking, is it really happening, I don’t know how many people would have done it in their IIM interviews)

P1, P2 – Both astonished.

P1 – Enough, Tell me the difference between Android and Apple OS from a coder’s or a programmer’s perspective.

Me – Told, they seemed satisfied.

P1 – Who founded Microsoft?

Me – Told them bill gates.

P1 – he must not have done it alone who else was there?

Me – I cannot remember sir.

P1  – So how is our economy doing nowadays?

Me – told him that the service sector is generating 57% of the GDP despite employing only 31% of the workforce. The rest two sectors still need improvement.

Now P2 started.

P2 – Tell me about Make in India?

Me – Told

P2 – How much revenue is the IT industry generating?

Me – Told.

P2 – Then again asked me something I can’t recall.

Me – I don’t know sir.

P2 – CEO of Volkswagen?

Me – I don’t know sir.

P1, P2 – You don’t even know this. Get out of here (Smiling and looking at each other.)

Me – Smiling (I guess they wanted to see how I would react to pressure)

P2 – GDP of Japan?

Me – I don’t remember exactly but I can guess

P2 – No don’t guess.

P2 – How good are you in Maths?

Me – It is not my strongest area

P1 – Oh common you have scored 99.50.

Me – okay sir please ask.

P1 – Then he gave me a speed time distance question.

Me – Did it in 10 sec.

P1 – Another question of Probability.

Me – Took a lot of time but did it.

P1 – So you remember you CAT stuff

Me – I did it for 3 years, I cannot possibly forget it.

P1 – How much did you scored in your previous 2 attempts in CAT

Me – told him (95 and 96 percentile)

P1 – So you are a persistent guy.

Me – yes sir (smiling)

P2 (Smiling) – tell me about the intolerance debate.

Me – Told him about Govind Pansare, Rohit Vemmula gave a balanced view, was grilled on it.

P2 (Smiling) – So your father is a businessman tell me about it.

Me – Told him was cross-questioned.

P1 – So tell me why MBA?

Me – Told – He didn’t seemed too satisfied with my answer.

P1 – So you have done financial certification, why not CFA?

Me – Told him that I will give it this December.

P1 – Suppose, I buy a share in 2007 for Rs 100. Its current market price (2017) is Rs 1000. What’s the annual compounded return?

A – (Took a pause for a while. Asked for pen and paper and deduced it mathematically)

We can take Rs 100 as the Principal amount, and Rs 1000 as the total amount including the compounded return (or interest) after 10 years.

1000 = 100 (1+r) ^10, which gives you r=10^1/10 – 1

(P1 looked satisfied)

P2 – What is your greatest strength?

A – I am very fast with calculations

P2 – (immediately) tell me what is 27×36?

A – Said 972 within a few seconds

P2 – (Thinking) Woah!

P1 – why such low marks in academics

A – I wasn’t very studious in my early years but I have started working very hard now, you can see my achievements in my work experience, I am the youngest team leader in the company globally.

P2 – But your CAT score is high only because of multiple attempts

A – Sir, I believe that it is extremely tough to score a high percentile in the 3rd-4rd attempt since you have to overcome the blockage that can form in your mind if you don’t score a high percentile in the initial years.

P1, P2 – satisfied

P1 – The person who came before you in the interview yesterday was a triple 9 (90% in each of 10th, 12th and B.Tech) and he was also an IITian, tell me why should I take you and not him?

A – Sir, a person like him would have probably never really encountered real failure in his life, He might have failed in a few subjects or his girlfriend might have left him sometime, but I doubt he would have ever really failed as a PERSON in his life.

I, on the other hand, have encountered several instances where I had to look at adversity and failure right in the eye and I still bounced back to win (told about CAT 3rd attempt and struggles to find a job to reinstate this fact). This makes me someone who will be better suited to the dynamic challenges of the real world and not just someone who is good at cramming and scoring marks.

P1 – Smiling.

P2 – What other calls do you have.


P1 – Okay thank you, that tabla you played was really good. Now you can leave.

Me- Smiling, thank you sir.

Verdict: Straight Convert


The Last Midnight Ruminations

“Some moments are nice, some are nicer and some are even worth writing about.”

In the end you will realise that talent is nothing without an enormous amount of hard work behind it.

And I love that even in the toughest moments, when we’re all sweating it – when we’re worried that the bill won’t pass, and it seems like all is lost – The protagonist never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise. Just like his grandmother, in that moment it seems like he is more than just a man, he just keeps getting up and moving forward… with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.



jugal popat

You’ve written this anonymously but you have mentioned your name mistakenly in the post. Hope you can correct it if you want to protect your identity 🙂