Solve a Puzzle for Me. You are on an Island with…..

I just read an interview report of a candidate that took the interview at the same time and venue and decided to add in my two cents.

Date and Venue: 9/3, Bangalore morning slot

WAT: Media and corruption…along those lines. Very generic

Panel 5 – 3 males , late 30’s to early 40’s – Call them Left, right and center LRC

The slot order was alphabetical. I was the last person to enter (at 1.30 PM)

Me: Good evening Sir. smiled at everyone.

(All laughing)

C: Evening? Already? Are you hungry?

Me: No sir, just a little late to say good morning. wanted to cheer up the mood..So..

C: where are you from? what do you do?

Me. xxx. I work as yyy in an early stage hedge fund zzz.

R: what does early stage hedge fund mean?

Me. Technically we don’t have enough minimum capital to call ourselves a hedge fund but we follow LS strategy, which is a popular HF..

C. Give us stock tips. Can i call you every night asking for some?

Me. yes sir, always welcome

R. you pick stocks? not your company?

Me. I do sir, we are two people at firm. my boss cant track all industries. i track some and pick stocks from them.

R. where should i invest now?

Me. discretionary consumers sir.

C. specifics

Me. a couple of firms…

C. will i make money?

Me. These are the tips i gave at our firm also sir. i believe you will.

C. interrupting me, So you are a finance guy? why not IT?

Me. Why be everybody sir? This is what I like

C. so you hate software?

Me. i write codes for my work sir, but I don’t want to be in the IT industry. Plus I’m an electrical engineer. IT is not relevant to what I studied.

C. your app says you were in an oil company before. why did you leave?

Me. I like this work sir.

C. Do you enjoy this? stock picking?

Me. Yes sir, I do

C. honestly

Me. Honestly

(C smiles)

R. What is efficient market hypothesis?

Me. Explained it. 

C. I am a layman, Explain it to me

Me. Ok sir..blah blah..

R, So you mean to say that there is no way one can make money without being a Rajaratnam.

Me. I didn’t mean that sir but..blah blah…

R. interrupting me, So you know who he is..?

ME. Yes sir, jailed for insider trading etc…

C. Did you hear about “demographic dividend”?

Me. Yes sir, it has something to do with people.

C. Don’t be vague. I want specifics,

Me. As a kid I remember reading that “demos” stands for people and dividend is something that benefits everyone. So I think it means it anything that benefits..

C. Does India have demographic dividend?

Me. Yes sir

C. how is it different from say Europe?

Me. there are different parts to it – age is one of them. Our population is much younger.  For example our people age close to 35 on average, where as if you take Japan for example people are much older.

C. So what does it mean? young population?

Me. More labor.

C. IS it good?

Me. of course it is. supply of labor is essential to..

C. interrupting me, how do you get them work? what is the major occupation?

Me. India sir?

C. anywhere in the world

ME. in India it is agriculture sir, we have close to 60% population working in agriculture. So young people choose to work there naturally

C. why are you not doing it?

Me. Smiles. 

R. You mean people “choose” to work there?

Me. Yes sir but I didn’t say it’s a willful choice.

C. what is there to do in agriculture?

Me. a lot of things sir, we still depend on monsoons. Farm tilling is manual in most places. Mechanisation can happen and efficiencies can be achieved.

C. when efficiencies are attained, it means people go out of work no? Where do they go then?

Me. manufacturing Sir

C. Exactly. Thats the word I have been trying to get out of your mouth

Me. Sir, instead of Indian demographic if you asked about Europe or the US i would have said that without blinking. Thats the focus of our govt also sir.

C. what is?

Me. to increase share of Mfg from 17 to 25% of GDP.

R. you say 35, 60,25…you know these numbers?

Me. I believe they are right sir.

C. btw, Just because you left mfg job and are in financial services doesn’t mean everyone has to leave manufacturing and find a job there.


C. Ok, did you hear of land acquisition? 

Yes sir,

C. So who do these industries take land from?

Farmland sir

C. What do these agriculture employees do then?

Sir, I remember reading somewhere that 90% of indian farmers own less than 10% of land. They mostly work as farm labor. they will get jobs in industry then..major loss is to the rich that own hectares of land.

R. Are you saying its fragmented?

Me. highly sir.

R. looks me in the eye for a couple of seconds

C. How did you learn finance? Did you do a course or something?

ME. Sir I passed all levels of CFA exam

C. So you have your CFA, you are already in the industry and you are from…..(looks at my application)…IIT Madras? what do you want now? why MBA?

Me. Sir all that may be true but I want to be part of a super strong network like IIM C’s. Thats the biggest reason. It helps me grow in career. Also, my business knowledge – thru CFA or by my work- is related to fin. If you see my app, I mentioned that I want to start my own company in the future. So i need lessons on strategy and behavorial sciences etc. That is another reason why i want MBA particularly from IIM C.

L. (For the first time). Have you heard of a firm called Bridge water associates?

Me. Yes sir, its one of the top hedge funds in the world

L. What do you know about it?

Me. founded by Ray Dalio, their strategy called All weather portfolio is ultra popular.

L. Ok.

C. Ok. Solve a puzzle for me. You are on island with two types of people – Sane and Insane..Again they may be liars or truthtellers….Some conditions. Find out which one is liar..

Me. used paper and said something.

C. show me your work…

C: I dont understand your writing

Me. forget it sir…explained the solution.

L. thats one possibility..what about others?

Me. thats the only case sir..

C smiles..Consults others and says thats all

I said thank you and was about to get out.

C says take that toffee. You must be hungry and says good evening loudly.

I said the same and walked out. I was frickin hungry

must be 20-25 min in total. felt good overall. My only interview. So cant draw comparisons either.

CAT 99.90, 3.5 years WE, 7.1 in UG