That time of the year again where everyone is working hard to clear the last leg of the journey to their dream B-schools. Reading up on their acads, reflecting back on their work experience, preparing their HR answer and what not. A time of intense pressure. I have decided to share my experience to help out the aspirant in whatever capacity that I can. But remember, the interview process is unique and random so be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. (Remember: don't go in there with any preconceived notions)
XLRI BM: (Didn’t apply for HR)
Date: 10 March 2019 ( Same as last year)
Location: Welcome Hotel, Delhi
10th/12th/Graduation: 9 CGPA/93.8%/77.05%
XAT: 99.976 %ile
Profile: Mechanical and Automation Engineer (2018 Graduate)
Work Ex: Maruti Suzuki as a Graduate Engineer Trainee (8 Months)
WAT and GD: There is more money for Indian companies in foreign markets than there is in Indian markets.
Wrote Well, touched upon archaic labour laws, Indian companies that have made fortune in the Indian market like Ola and Flipkart, about variable voting right shares, talked about the more consumption-centric market like the USA and how they good for growth in the short term, Indian market size, the population and long term benefits. Also wrote and talked about how large companies are trying to enter Indian Markets.
With over 20 minutes for the GD, there was plenty of time for everyone to make their own points.
Next was the PI and I was the 3rd person to be called in.
I went in, greeted them and took a seat with my folder on my lap. Now apparently for some reason, I was sweating before even entering the room, so decided to keep my handkerchief in my hand and kept wiping my sweat throughout the interview but with full confidence on my face and in my speech.
The 3 panellists asked questions one by one and hence I have segregated questions of each panellist. I ‘ll refer to each panellist as P1 (Female), P2(Male), P3(Male) and myself as M.
1. So where are you from?
M: From Delhi, Ma’am.
2. Always lived in Delhi?
M: Yes Ma’am, born and raised in Delhi.
3. Which subject do you see yourself taking up at XLRI?
M: Ma’am, I haven’t yet fixated on a functional area but I do have an interest in Marketing and Economics.
3a. How did you develop this interest in Marketing and economics?
M: As far as Marketing is concerned, I first got introduced to the various concepts of marketing was when I started my own website back in the 2nd year of college….
*cuts me in between*
4. Tell me more about your website.
M: It was a content website. I used to write about different topics that interested me and I had significant knowledge about like fitness, travel, facts etc. I monetized my website and I actively marketed it and learned a lot about various concepts like SEO, Social media marketing, backlink generation but soon realised that my know-how of things on the topic is just not strong enough and the knowledge is quite patchy and hence this inclination towards marketing.
5. Do you still write on it?
M: No Ma’am.
6. Why not?
M: As I said, I was just not prepared to run the website successfully with limited knowledge of the subject as well as limited knowledge about how to manage various aspect related to it. And very honestly, being a college student, it was a bit heavy on the pocket to renew the domain name and website.
7. One challenging situation you faced at Maruti?
M: During the on-job training period, I was assigned a task to validate and improve WIS. *Further explanation of the process* …… One of the processes wasn’t being followed by the operator. When I looked further into it, I realised that the process mentioned in the WIS, though safe was not ergonomically feasible and would lead to fatigue while the process followed by the operator wasn’t safe though ergonomically feasible. So in order to ensure operator ergonomics as well as safety, I recommended that we need to implement door carrier to achieve that goal.
8. So what was the challenge in that?
M: The challenge here was to convince my manager to get the system implemented because being in the training phase, your word isn’t taken seriously and any serious recommendations that you make are simply shrugged off. So I had to convince the people above, about the need of the balancer.
9. How did you overcome that?
M: All I did was present my view ahead of them in a coherent manner with all the proofs and present a valid argument. I then took him to the location to show the situation and what all quality as well as safety hazards that entail the current process. Ultimately my suggestions were moved forward for implementation.
9a. Do you like your manager?
M: Yes Ma’am, he is a really good manager and a person. Being in Maruti, you need significant operating knowledge which is gained over time. So in the initial days, he was always there to help me out whenever I needed him and that really helped me do better at my job.
9b. What if he makes a decision that he thinks is good but you think is crazy and would harm the company, what will you do?
M: Well, the first thing is that I’ll give him the benefit of doubt since he has much more experience than what I have. I would listen to his point of view and try to understand it.
*Cuts in between*
9c. No, you have seen his side of the story and analyzed the situation and the decision still sounds absurd, what will you do?
M: Well, in that case, I’ll present my argument to him. Present all the facts and proofs and reasons why I think that the decision is not the best one. Even then if he doesn’t accept it, I’ll trust the process because Maruti has a foolproof system wherein any major decision that affects the company will go through a lot of seniors and will ensure that any issues in the decision-making process are ironed out. But Yes, I will do my part in my own capacity.
10. Any campus placements last year?
M: Yes Ma’am, I was placed in Infosys.
11. Why did you choose Maruti over Infosys?
M: Because it is related to my undergrad subject and it gave me an opportunity to implement the theoretical learnings that I got during Engineering.
12. What did you learn in Maruti?
M: One of the things that you learn working at Maruti is discipline, you have to punch your I card at 9 AM sharp, 1 minute late and you will be marked as absent for first half. So they follow the Japanese doctrine of “On time is late and early is on time”. Another thing is Equality. Everyone eats in the same canteen, from the operator to the Managing director. Everyone wears the same uniform no matter at what level he or she is.
13. 2 words that you said during your answer, first, was “Ergonomics” the right word used?
M: Yes Sir, As the task dealt with how the operator worked and his position while executing the task, hence the word “ergonomics” was used by me. *Went on about ergonomics a bit*
14. How do you analyse if the employees in your department are working or not?
M: As far as Maruti is concerned the KRAs filled by the employees include their productivity improvement measure. We can see how has the production at line been affected.
15. Anything else?
M: We can also look at the rejection reduction in the line where the person is stationed and responsible for proper production facilitation.
16. Anything else?
M: Ummm, Can’t really think of any other measures, Sir.
17. If the price of 10 sensors is 10 lakh rupees, it that a good investment?
M: Can’t say, until we do a cost-benefit analysis of the same. (He said that that’s what he wanted to hear from the beginning)
18. You said protectionism is good, is it really?
M: (I answered the question but the person sitting next to me made that point. He then again asked a certain question on a point said by the other guy to which I told him that the point was made by the guy sitting next to me but I will be more than happy to present my views on the same, he said, no no, it’s ok)
19. You used the word monetize. What does that mean?
M: Sir, “monetize” means that something is starting to generate income i.e. it has been monetized. As I placed ads on my blogs hence it was monetized although they didn’t generate any significant income. Although the main motive was to garner user data, their interaction pattern with the website and the advertisements.
20. So was it really monetized?
M: Okay, I see your point here sir. But I still believe that the adverts are inherently there to generate income so it was monetized.
21. Okay, I will give you a situation. (Gave me a situation of workers and the time taken by them to complete 3 jobs. Something related to operation research.)
M: Solved it by elimination but failed to convert it into an LPP problem to minimise the time taken although my answer was correct
22. But it is just one of the solutions. How will you justify that it is the best solution?
M: Sir, there is a certain concept in operation research that is used to find the optimal solution but I can’t seem to recall its name or the method. But I can justify the solution. (I took all the 6 cases one by one and showed that my solution was the one with the minimum time possible)
OK, Ashish, That will be all from our side. Please have a snack from the table.
There was this spread of different stuff on the table but I had my eyes fixated on that fruit cake and as soon as he said that I said thank you and proceeded towards the fruit cake in a hurry and picked one up, they all start laughing a bit, I join them and start smiling sheepishly.
I ate the cake before even leaving the room. All in all, a really fun interview and equally fun panel. One of the best experiences I had this season. It was just as fun as my IIMC interview (Waitlisted there).
VERDICT: Direct Convert!
So a few learnings from this experience:
Some really helpful advice given to me when I was fretting over whether I'll get in or not because of sweating throughout the interview: Sweating is no sign of weakness. The panel knows better than to dismiss a candidate solely based on the reason that he is sweating. There are plenty of reasons for sweating.
Don’t give up, the panel is always trying to help you out. Just try and pick up the cues that they hand out to you.
Just have a positive attitude and keep smiling no matter what the situation. Things will work out just fine.
So just go out there and enjoy the process. All the best!
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