GD/PI | When You Came in For GD, You went & sat on Chair 1.. What Logic Was That?

XLRI BM interview Date 21/02/2017

10th/12th/Grad: 93/86.5/7.77 (B.E. in Computer Science) ; 1.5 years gap due to UPSC Preparation (cleared Prelims)

XAT Score: 99.33; GK: 99.957 ; Essay : Pretty good

GD: Consumerism as an indicator of economic prosperity.

GD went well. Everyone participated and we explored a lot of different areas. I focussed on the challenges of consumerism and could bring in a lot of different areas. We didn’t follow the prescribed format nor could conclude (as no one was watching the time). However I enjoyed the quality discussion and was quite satisfied with my performance

PI: 3 Panelists. Two male (P1, P2) and female (P3).

It started on a horrible note.

P2 – So you are from BITS Pilani. Tell me where are the other campuses?

Me – Hyd, Goa and one international in Dubai

P2 – So tell me, why do they open new campuses?

Me – Blaberred something about brand expansion, cover different geographical locations, compete with quality institutions like IITS etc.

P2 – you are still not coming to the point. Go back 15 min in time.

Me – Oh yes, because demand – hence supply (I had raised this issue in GD). But I still could defend my line of thinking as education is still non-profit in India and it has an altruistic motive than a market one.

Then comes the bomb

P2 – Ok, tell me about the subjects in Comp Science

Me – Networks (yehi padha tha), Algorithms Data Structures, …

P2 – Don’t you have hardware?

ME (I am dead now look) – Yes Sir

P2 – Tell me how microprocessors are made

Me – Sir it was a long time back that I studied this. Really unable to recall

P2 – okay, tell me the use of prime numbers

Me – cryptography

P2 – Algo to find whether a number is prime?

ME – Start a linear search and keep dividing. Go on till log n (genuine slip of mind)

P2 – log n?

Me – Can I rethink it for a minute? Quickly used a pen and paper and arrived at root n.

P2 – Now you are just throwing random functions of n

Me- No sir, I can justify this. Went on to explain.

P3- Okay so you seemed to know a lot about economics (I had talked about investment cycles, credit expansion etc.) What else are you good at? (Evidently not at computers) which you learnt during the gap year.

Me – Philosophy?

P3 – Asked a couple of questions about philosophy that I was able to answer.

P2 – You are a manager and you have to take a decision where you either pay a bribe or lose the contract causing a loss of livelihood to 400 families.

Me – I’ll explore all the legal alternatives. There are many examples of ethical businesses

P2 – Suppose that you have reached a critical point

ME – I’ll not go ahead with it. Even if we consider the utilitarian benefit, there is always a chance of it being exposed and the contract being void ultimately. That will cause more harm to the company, employees in the long run

P2 -think about it.

Me – Yes sir, I can’t accept bribery

P1 – Accept bribery (smiling)?

Me – The concept of bribery, sir

P1 – Alright

P1 – Okay tell me do you know Cartesian philosophy?

ME -yes

P1 – Cartesian physics?

Me – No sir did not read that. Talked about Cartesian dualism, mathematics, cogito ergo sum etc.

P1 – Asked me the difference between inductive and deductive logic (again philosophy). When you came in for gd, you went and sat on chair 1. What logic was that?

Me – Sir it was a simple deduction, as it followed your instruction of sitting at position 1

P1 – but what made you assume that the chair won’t break etc.

Me – Yes sir, all elements of common knowledge came after inductive logic.

P1 – asked me about my favourite philosopher in the west

Me – Kant

(Followed by some satisfactory discussion on Kantian ethics)

P3 – Do you practice any of these philosophies?

Me – yes – Buddha’s middle way and compassion

P3 (laughing) – Oh you rest on Buddha after all that! Would you take up a high paying corporate job or work in the social sector, given a chance?

Me – I want to work in a managerial role in the social sector. (Blabbered something about how after a decade I would love to look back and see the impact I had etc. but now that I think about it, she just wanted the answer, not the justification)

P2 – asked about types of Karmas which I could answer. He seemed satisfied.

Some other questions that I don’t recollect now, but were easy to answer.

As I was about to leave, P2 (the tough sir from the beginning) said, “Quick question, do you believe in Aham Brahmasmi (Vendanta concept that one is Beahman, the whole of reality is within you) yes or no?” Other panelists smiling.

I broke into a smile and said yes sir, I do!

I am unable to decide how it went ultimately, but I had a really good time.  Also I won’t post my HRM interview separately. While the GD was great (Employee privacy vs employee productivity_, the panel felt that I was under confident in the PI. Also I could not justify how my knowledge of philosophy could make me a good manager (I think). I answered a few gk questions they asked like on Mumbai civil polls, Pakistani artist ban etc. but mostly the interview was on the self-assessment questions and behavioural. Grilled me on having too many backups – UPSC, XAT etc. I replied those are the only two options I considered and are quite similar roles too. Then asked what if I don’t make it to XLRI (as I was honest that I didn’t give CAT due to clash with Mains), I said will take up a job and give CAT and XAT again next year. At this point, I felt maybe honesty wasn’t such a good policy after all

Talked about my training in classical music, half finished novel etc. But overall I don’t think they were very impressed.

Can someone tell me about my chances? Is a bad PI (but really good GD) that detrimental to success?