Sorry for late post puys.. I was busy with work and I am now in NY.
Had my Essay/PI in IIFT Delhi, 5 Mar, 8:45 AM
Std X = 89.0%
Std XII = 86.4%
B.Tech (CSE, IITD) = 9.2/10
Work-Ex = 19 months (Lehman Brothers/Nomura)
Any other special thing abt u:
Decent extra currics,
I stammer while speaking; which gets more pronounced in a GD-type pressured scenario
Panel - P1, P2 (Dont remember the names).
P1 was a 30-something strict looking prof, and P2 was older and very calm.
P1 was the one who was handling the essay part.
Topic - Pubs are Anti-Indian.
Only 10 minutes given - think, write in those 10 mins. I think I did a good job of the essay. I had not written even a single essay in my preparation days (just could not motivate myself to practise that - was confident of my writing skills). I wrote against the topic and I think I argued it out well.
Before the essay, we were asked to take out the photocopies of our certificates and put them on the table. That's when I realized that they required photocopies! I had totally missed that line in the call letter!! I told P1 that I dont have the photocopies. He said, "No problem, you can get them later. Oh, but you are the first one to be interviewed". I nodded. He was a bit frustrated and said "But you were asked to bring the photocopies!". I was quiet. He said, "Ok we will start with the second person and you have 20 mins to get your photocopies". I thanked him and quickly ran to get the photocopies after the essay. Quite an experience !
P1 took the photocopies of my docs and started looking into my file.
P2 - So tell me what do you do in your work
Me - I am managing and developing a research framework that serves client and internal requests in real time.
(I had started stammering a bit by this time. Then P1 says "First of all, relax!". I said - "Yes sir, actually I have a bit of a stammering problem". He said "That's ok, continue").
I continued - quants can write services using my framework etc etc.
P2 - Who uses this? What for?
Me - This is mainly used by portfolio managers for pre trade and post trade analysis of their trades.
P2 - But there must be a system like this already in place - why are you developing it?
Me - Yes sir, there is. But we want to decrease dependence on IT team, reduce client support request turnaround, etc.
P2 - Hmm. What did you do in your final year project in IIT?
Me - Cloth modeling for virtual characters, blah, and more blah
P2 - Show me on paper how you modeled the cloth etc
Me - (started drawing a picture showing a piece of cloth and its mass particles)
P2 - How are these masses attached to each other?
Me - I was just coming to that sir. (drew springs that connect those mass particles together). Sir we used a mass-spring model to model the cloth. (gave some examples of the scenarios that we tested and how it performed).
P2 - Where will this be used?
Me - Sir this is used in animation movies. A lot of work has been done in the cloth modeling world, but that has been on the western costumes - skirt and top etc. We tried to model Indian ethnic costumes, especially the saree. (explained how we defined the profile and how the whole simulation ran).
P2 - So how exactly did you calculate the force on each particle?
Me - Sir we developed a collision model and used that to calculate the forces and then the accelerations.
P2 - Ok, let's take a simple situation. There is a person who jumps from an airplane with a parachute. Can you show me what determines the motion of the person?
Me - (He had drawn something on the paper while speaking and I continued it - I started drawing some forces and ..)
P2 - Don't draw, just tell me what you are thinking.
Me - Started telling the forces that will act on the person - gravity, tensions of the rope, and boyant force. Quickly added that the boyant force will be negligible.
P2 - Yes, it will obviously be - if I dont give the person a parachute, he will fall immediately.
Me - Exactly sir - for example on moon, there will not be any boyant force because there is no atmosphere
P2 - Right. Ok, tell me what does this tension arise from?
Me - (I started drawing a free body diagram of the parachute now. Started showing the boyant force on the parachute).
P2 - What will this boyant force be dependent on?
Me - (Thought for sometime). Sir I am not sure of the exact parameters that govern this force, but my guess is that it will be dependent on the viscosity of the air, the wind speed etc
P2 - Ok. But I want to know the exact acceleration of the person. Not in terms of tension etc.
Me - Sir if system is travelling with constant velocity, then tension will be equal to the boyant forces and hence we can calculate that.
P2 - Ok.
P2 looks at P1. By now P1 had finished looking at my file. His turn now. P1 opens the previous page of the pad I had been scribbling on, and shows me a graph. This was the usual initially-rising-and-then-constant graph with X and Y axes left unlabeled.
P1 - Have a look at this graph. Can you, from your daily life experiences/doings/Indian economy think of two variables X (independent) and Y(dependent) that follow this graph?
Me - (Thought for long, almost a minute. Then came up with an example.) If we have an automobile company, X can be the number of varieties of cars the company has launched, and Y can be number of customers per year of the company. Initially, when the company has just launched, its customers will probably increase with every new model it launches because that gives the customers new choices. After some time there will be saturation in the market so its number of customers per year will almost become constant..
P1 - So if I have to launch a car company, I am sure that I will get more and more customers as I increase my number of varieties?
Me - Sir it will also depend on the market - how much scope the market has, and how the economy is doing
P1 - But then this can go down with increasing varieties as well.
Me - Yes sir
P1 - Then your answer is not right. I want an answer that is independent of external factors and follows this path.
Me - Ok, (took some more time to think.). This can also be understood as the graph of economy of scale. When a factory starts producing...
P1 - (Cuts me short) So what is the X variable in that case
Me - (Started writing on the paper)
P1 - Dont write, just tell me
Me - Sir, X will be the volume of output, and Y will be the marginal cost attached to it.
P1 - So you mean marginal cost will increase in the beginning.
Me - (I got a bit confused here. I said something about fixed and variable costs but since I was not confident, I preferred not to pursue it further, and he decided the same
P1 - Ok, lets talk about computer science. I am a layman, I dont know anything about it. You have studied Computer Science and Engineering. Can you explain to me what exactly is the difference between "Computer Science" and "Computer Engineering"?
Me - (I had read on pagalguy that someone had been asked this question - but I never prepared for it :sad:, so my answer was ad-hoc) Sir, science has more to do with theory and algorithms, but engineering is the implementation part of it - when we have to deal with hardware issues, how an actual CPU will process it, etc etc
P1 - So you mean anything concerned with hardware is engineering?
Me - No sir, there is some science that goes into hardware as well...
P1 - (Decided to leave that in between). Ok, tell me where does the river Ganges originate?
Me - (Another very common IIMA question - thankfully, I had spent some time reading about Ganges the previous day :p). Sir, it originates in the Gangotri glacier.
P1 - Ok. (Seemed to me that he got the impression that I have heard/rehearsed this question. He asked me more to be sure of it). Which all cities does it pass?
Me - (Did not know many cities). Sir, I dont know the full path, I'll just trace its flow in my mind. It will pass through Hrishikesh, Allahabad, Varanasi - there are a lot of tributaties of Ganga in that region too. And then it flows through Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and then finally into Bay of Bengal.
P1 - I was asking about towns, not states...(His voice gets lost and then P2 starts speaking)
P2 - Have you heard of trans fats?
(I was not sure I heard the term correctly, so confirmed once. It turned out that I had heard it correctly. But I was disappointed that I do not know about it)
Me - No sir, I have not heard of it :sad:
P1,P2 - Ok, no problem. That's it, you can leave. Good luck.
Me - Thank you sir.
I was aware of the candy culture of IIMA. And I had seen the bowl of candies (Alpenliebe and Eclairs) lying on the table. I was disappointed that I was not offered a candy
I got up and started to leave. As soon as I reached the door and was about to open it, I heard a call from P2 -
"Hey Pawan, you can take a candy from this bowl"
My eyes lit up with excitement. I promptly came to the table and grapped an Alpenliebe. Happy happy happy I was :p
I think it was all designed to see the candidate's ad-hoc thinking abilities. I thought I was not good at that, but I think I did fine. I am reasonably happy with my performance, but I think that there were moments when they were not convinced with my answers - I should have been more convincing in my words.
Anyway, I'm happy that I have my candy, and have my fingers crossed :p
A long one .. No blahs this time