XLRI HRM GD/PI experience
1:45 PM on 1.03.2017 in the XLRI campus, Jamshedpur
ICSE (Xth) : 95
ISC (XIIth) : 97
B.Tech (Chemical Engineering) from NIT Allahabad: 8.45
GD topic: 5 years of service in rural India should be made compulsory post-MBA
9 people in the GD. It was kind of chaotic. There were few people who were speaking over and above the others. After a point, everyone was looking to snatch opportunities to speak.
I quoted a few comprehensive facts in the GD (For example, 884 million people live in rural India, of which 36% are illiterate. Of the 64% literate ones, only 5.4% are high school graduates and only 3.4% are college graduates). Facts like these were picked up by the group and extensively used in the summarisation process.
INTERVIEW (20-25 minutes)
P1 (male prof), P2 (female prof), P3 (senior male prof)
P1 took my file and began going through the certificates
P3: So, 884 million. How do you know so many facts, man? Is it a part of your preparation?
Me: Sir, I am very much interested in politics and hence, read quite voraciously. So if I ever come across a fact which arrests my attention, I record it on my phone, and go over them regularly; I can use them in my conversations and they also constantly remind me of how much of what exists is still so painful and so much is still to be done for humanity. If you permit me, I can tell you a few more interesting and surprising facts.
This was followed by me quoting facts for 2-3 mins. The professors were showing astonishment and amusement at several facts. The last fact I stated was that the IITs have a combined faculty shortage of 36%, with KGP leading the pack with 46% shortage.
P1: So, what do you think is the faculty shortage at XLRI?
Me: Sir, your placement statistics don’t point towards any shortage at all.
(This was followed by general laughter)
P1: So you are interested in politics. A few days back, Virender Sehwag was in the news, but not for his batting. Do you know anything about it?
Me: Explained the entire Gurmehar Kaur incident as had happened. Also stated that although I am keenly interested in politics, I detest the firebrand student politics that seems to have become the order of the day since the BJP has come to power.
P1: You are a chemical engineer. So tell me, is soap made from oil?
Me: Yes Sir, soap is made from fat/lye, same as oils.
P1: So how can oil in soaps remove oil from hands?
Me: Sir, soap is amphiphilic. So a part of it is hydrophilic, which attaches itself to a water molecule, and the other part is hydrophobic, which attaches itself to the oil molecule. In this way, it accentuates the dirt removal properties of the water molecule, as it individually cannot attach itself adequately well to the dirt.
P1: What is a molecule?
Me: Sir, we need to understand the difference between an element and a compound first. The simplest form in which substances occur naturally is called an element. Two or more elements together make up a compound. So a molecule is the smallest form in which a compound can exist, without losing its identity.
P1: What is the minimum number of atoms required to make a molecule? Also give an example.
Me: Sir, a minimum of 2 atoms are needed to make a molecule. For example, 1 atom of Na and 1 atom of Cl together make 1 molecule of NaCl.
P1: What happens when you break a molecule?
Me: You will get the constituent atoms and a lot of energy is taken. The identity of the molecule will cease to exist.
P1: What is that energy called?
Me: Sir, it is called the energy of formation. Sometimes, energy of dissipation is also used to refer to it.
P1: What is the formula used to calculate it?
Me: Sir, I do not know.
P1: Yes, you must have forgotten.
P2: If you are so much interested in politics, why do you want to do an MBA?
Me: Ma’am, I have been a student of science all my life. Science, for all its wonders, doesn’t help understand laws, economics, finance and other areas which are pivotal for success in public life. At XLRI, I will have subjects such as Development Economics, which directly deals with efficient public policy as a driver for overall economic growth. Subjects like Labour Law Applications and Industrial Jurisprudence will teach me about existing laws, their shortcomings and possible alternatives. I strongly feel that in the days to come, the paucity of jobs, which the youth today confronts, will be a major challenge for any policy framer. Even for this, XLRI offers interesting courses like Managing Redundancy. So upon graduating from here, I will be armed with the necessary knowledge in the necessary areas to really make a difference. Besides, one of XL’s HR alumni is Mr. K. Pandiarajan, the erstwhile School Education Minister of Tamil Nadu. So, I even have inspiration to be found here.
P1: Can you tell me a bit about Pandiarajan?
Me: Sir, he is a part of the Paneerselvam camp and was expelled from AIADMK by Sasikala just before she went to prison.
P1: Was he always a part of the Paneerselvam camp?
Me: No. He was a Jayalalithaa loyalist and after her demise, once Paneerselvam came into his own, Pandiarajan threw his weight behind him.
P3: You said that the situation pains you. So what have you done about it?
Me: I haven’t done anything grand yet. I humbly concede that my knowledge base is woefully small for me to be truly effective if I take up active public service right away. But I am sustained by the truth that my intentions are pure. I have been involved in several teaching-related activities, with primary and high-school children as I feel that education is of utmost significance for the upliftment of lives. Now, in my college, I can see that there is a healthy atmosphere of debate and discussion over politics. People want to be aware of these issues. I feel that I can take some credit for it because of the societies facilitating these discussions which I have set up in college. On graduation from XL, once I have the necessary know how, I will be in a position to do far more.
P1: Tell me one thing that you particularly like to do.
Me: Sir, I love to write. I am also the Chief Student Editor of my college magazine.
P1: And one thing that you absolutely dislike doing?
Me: Sir, I don’t like attending parties and am not very good at socialising with people. I like to be in my comfort zone, around my friends, not attempting to introduce myself to new people. I know that this introverted nature of mine may prove to be a deterrent in the career that I have envisaged for myself. I have been working on it and have also made improvements, but I still have a long way to go.
P1: Are you sure you are an introvert? You spoke well in the GD.
Me: Sir, in matters of debate and discussion, I am always in my element. I can talk with anyone on these issues for any amount of time. But in parties…
P1: You can’t gel in?
Me: Sir, let’s just say I have trouble shedding my serious side.
General laughter follows.
P2: Do you wish to get into politics completely seriously and properly?
Me: Yes, ma’am. This may sound like a childlike ambition to you, but I wish to be the PM of India. If not that, the HRD/Education Min. And I will get there.
P1: You will get there?
Me: Yes Sir, I will get there.
P1 looks at P2 and smiles
P2: Rohan, had you been in colleges like JNU or DU, you would have had a good launching pad to prepare yourself for politics. Since you aren’t affiliated to such a university, how are you preparing yourself for politics?
Me : Ma’am, firstly, I am fundamentally against these student unions which swear loyalty to one party or another, and have reduced centres of educational and academic excellence to focal points for petty politics, hooliganism and patronising behaviour.
P2: Okay. Tell me how you are preparing yourself for peaceful politics.
Me: Ma’am, I read a lot. I have a set of political heroes, who were instrumental in changing lives and uplifting people through amazing feats of leadership. By reading about their decisions, policies and ideas, I have a vague idea of how one country became the world leader in education while another saw a record number of movement of people from poverty to the middle class. I have heard Bill Clinton’s lectures, read Lee Kuan Yew’s and Barack Obama’s books and also regularly read informative and reputed journals, newspapers and reports to get an insight into important issues. Once I join XL, I will also have the necessary technical knowledge to complement my existing ideologies, which I have received, through extensive reading, from people who I consider champion leaders and statesmen and my role models.
P2 (nodding): So you want to learn before working hands-on. Okay.
P2: One last question. Will you be sitting in our placement process?
Me: Ma’am, I am glad that you brought that up. I am very much interested in XL’s unique initiative called “Parivartan”, which places students in the social sector, in organisations which do noble work for the betterment of society, at large. I would prefer this to the conventional placements any day. Could you also maybe tell me a little about it?
P2: Actually, I don’t know much about it. Maybe Sir (pointing towards P3, the senior prof) can tell you.
P3: You already know enough. (:p)
P2: So, thank you Rohan!
I shook the hands of all three panelists and left!
Please feel free to comment on how you think the interview went and also if you may need any further clarifications.
Thank you and all the best!