17th of February, I received a mail from SJMSOM IIT Bombay (SOM) for being shortlisted for the Personal Interview round. That day brought a ray of hope that eventually became a full day of joy when I finally received the admission. I am a mechanical engineer graduate and had scored 98.69 percentile in cat 2020. I have a pretty average profile with 86-71-84 in academics from a non-branded college. I did have 20 months of work experience going for me, but my mentors had already crossed the IIT Bombay from the list of my dream colleges. So saying I was happy after receiving the call letter would be an understatement.
The interview call brought a lot of excitement and a lot of stress. SOM is very famous for steering the interview in the realm of academics with which every engineer with work experience has a “Chattis(36) ka aankda”. I had touched my engineering books after leaving college only once or twice. So I knew the journey ahead will not be easy. But if I had to make it to one of the top-tiered B schools of our country, I have to be one of the deserving candidates, so sitting and complaining was not an option.
My interview was on the morning of the 3rd march, the very first slot. So you can imagine the level of nervousness and anxiety. I had roughly 10-12 days to prepare. It felt good to study old concepts and to remember the time when I was first introduced to them. SOM had assigned a mentor to each one of us under their ‘Buddy program’. It was a tremendous help, as my mentor cleared a lot of my doubts. SOM also used an online platform called ‘gather’ to simulate the interview experience of an offline setting, which was quite unique, and everyone appreciated the efforts taken by the college and our seniors.
The interview day was not that stressful, and I realized I was worrying too much. We all “gathered” in “gather” in a virtual hall and then adcom members directed us towards our respective interview rooms and document verification room (which were also virtual). A three-member panel interviewed me. They didn’t waste time with the introductions, so I don’t remember who they were. I started with my brief introduction and then almost my entire interview revolved around my work.
I joined a small consulting firm for the pharma industry called cGMP pharma ‘n’ plans immediately after college. There I used to design mechanical systems for our projects. They asked me a lot about my work, my company, the industry, and current affairs concerning that. The panelists were not grilling me for my answers but seemed genuinely curious. My interview went well, and as they didn’t ask too many questions about my academics, I was very happy. When the final list came, I was a bit disappointed for being wait-listed, but when I eventually got admission I was on cloud nine.