This is very late, but hopefully useful for those appearing for the interview next year.
X - 85.1 %, Maharashtra Board, 1998
XII - 89.5%, Maharashtra Board, 2000
Undergrad - BE Electronics, 66%, 2004, Mumbai University
Grad - MS Electrical and Computer Science, GPA 3.8, 2007, Rutgers University (NJ, USA)
Capital One Auto Finance (USA) - 34 months
IL&FS; Cluster Development Initiative Limited - 15 months (as of interview date)
CAT 2011: 99.57 %ile
Interview & Essay
Date: 11th Feb
Essay and GD Topic: All exact sciences are dominated by the idea of approximation
Number of Ppl present: 8 (one was absent)
Time for essay: 10 minutes
Time for GD: 12 minutes
Brief Snapshot of the attempt: Essay was fine, but miscalculated the time. Was asked to stop in the middle of a paragraph, which wasn't even the concluding one. In GD, I spoke a couple of times. However, there were a couple of guys who just absolutely refused to let others speak and kept interrupting. Was frustrating.
Rate your preparation(0-5): 4/5
Rate your performance(0-5):3/5
Panel Members Intro: Two professors (P1, who only asked personals, and P2, who asked everything else)
P1: So, Sailesh, walk me through your background.
Me: Described my life from school to graduation, and work-ex in a couple of minutes.
P1: Why did you take three years for your masters? Isn't it too long?
Me: I was also doing research work with a professor there, and such students typically finish in two and half to three years.
P1: Okay, so why do you want to do an MBA now?
Me: Explained why, based on my work-ex and the future path I want to take.
P1: Okay, so you want to specialize in...?
Me: Finance, and again described why finance.
P1: What are your hobbies?
Me: Listening to carnatic classical music.
P1: Why is it called carnatic music?
Me: The name carnatic itself is external, as in southern India, it does not have a specific name. It was given by the Marathas, whose first experience of this form of music was through the musicians in Bijapur from the Karnataka area, and they referred to this as Karnatak music. The British further anglicized it to Carnatic msuic. (Actually there is another explanation which I didnt give - the name "karnataka sangeetam" means ancient music.)
P1: Ok, so are there any similarities with Hindustani music?
Me: Yes, there has always been a lot of exchange between the two forms. Hindustani music itself branched out from carnatic music due to Persian influence in the 12/13 hundreds. Even today, ragas from Hindustani music are used in Carnatic music and vice-versa. For example, Sindhu Bhairavi in Carnatic has been influenced by Bhairavi in Hindustani, and Darbari Kanada has been influenced by the raga of the same name in Hindustani.
P1: (Looks satisfied and motions for P2 to continue the questioning).
P2: Do you know about the Satyam scam?
P2: What can we do to prevent such things from happening?
Me: From what I understand, it was an auditing scam, and hence, it should ideally have been caught by the external auditors - Delloitte (actually it was PWC). Hence, they should be held accountable as well. Also, we can look at increased reporting by companies which can be reviewed by the Government to ensure that there is transparency (should have really come up with a better point).
P2: What is CSR?
Me: Do you mean Corporate Social Responsibility?
P2: Yes. Do you agree with this idea?
Me: Yes. The idea is that a company has succeeded due to the society it is in, and CSR is a way for the company to repay the society for supporting it and helping it thrive. It is something akin to giving back to the community. So yes, it is a way of generating goodwill for the company.
P2: Satyam had a very big CSR department, and have also won many awards for it. How could such a company have been involved in so big a scam (or something along those lines)?
Me: Like I said, CSR is a way of generating goodwill, and is a means of creating a good image. This doesn't automatically mean that everything the company does is equally good. We shouldn't treat any company as fair simply based on their CSR activities.
P2: That is true.
Me: Further, it is also probably true that a company with such a big scam cannot be completely clean in all other aspects. If we look at the details of each company, there may be indicators of something going wrong in other smaller ways. For example, trying to illegally influence policy, or something similar. If we identify such companies and pay closer scrunity to their activities, we can stand a better chance of catching onto scams like Satyam.
P2: Okay. The finance minister is worried about the subsidy bill. Suppose you are the finance minister, how will you reduce the bill?
Me: Two ways - one is to reduce the amount of subsidies, the other is to increase revenues. Talking about the first part, there are many subsidies which shouldn't exist in the first place. Ignoring those applicable to the poor who otherwise cannot bear the fluctuations of the economy, we can look at removing subsidies given the middle class. Petroleum subsidy for example.
P2: Do we have subsidies in petroleum?
Me: There is a price mandated by the government, currently at around 70 rupees per litre. Whether oil companies get reimbursed for their costs, or are forced to be at that price, the price fix amounts to a subsidy.
P2: Okay, so what other areas can we target?
Me: Subsidies given to industries. Maybe a case can be made for subsidies given to micro scale industries. But small and medium scale industries are also currently given subsidies, which is equivalent to the government trying to direct the economy, which is not its role and it shouldn't be doing that.
P2: Which industries have subsidies?
Me: Textiles for example. There is a Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme that provides interest and capital subsidy on machinery.
P2: So textiles industry has subsidies available to it?
Me: Yes, like I said, TUFS. It expired last year, but was reintroduced recently.
P2: (As I mentioned this, he was shaking his head as if to imply that I was wrong. I found it strange, since such a scheme did exist at the time of the interview) :shock:
P1: (Cutting me off) Thank you, Sailesh.
Me: Thank you, sir.
P2: Please take a toffee!
Me: Thank you again.
Thinking back, it was a chilled out interview. Both P1 and P2 calmly listened to my answers before asking the next question. None of my responses had a follow-up question either.
I don't remember a couple of questions that P1 asked, but they were personals, and pretty straight-forward ones.
Rate your preparation (0-5): 4
Rate your performance (0-5): 4