-- The interview seemed very different from rest of the interviews I read on PG. May be it is tailored more for GMAT entrants. I hope it is helpful for the next year call getters.
Honest Tip -- I had prepared so much fluff but what came about during the interview was mostly honest and I think it paid off. So, I guess you do not have to aim to impress them. You need to aim to find out the strengths in your and show them to impress the Interviewers.
Category : General
XII : 93.4
Undergrad : 4.25/5 (Engg, Nanyang Tech)
GMAT Score : 770/800
Work ex : ~3 years in I-banking/tech
P1 - Amazing chilled out Prof. Thankfully he was wearing Jeans. I felt better coz I was the only one who was NOT dressed in a business suit in the entire cohort of 50 well dressed individuals.
P2 - Amazing chilled out Lady Prof.
What's in the name?
P1: So, exchange student in Singapore?
R: No, Sir. I studied there for 4 years.
P2: Ah Rahul. Did we have another Rahul today?
R: Yeah, but not in your panel, Ma'am.
P2: Right. So what does your name mean?
R: In Arabic, it means a Traveller. Acc to Upanishads, it means Efficient. In Buddhism, it points towards a pious relationship - the relationship between Gautam Buddha and his son called Rahul.
P2: No, I was hinting at something else.
R: I heard my name also means Moon but I do not have any reference for that. Is that what you were saying?
P2: No, I meant Rahul means BOND.
R: Haha. Do you mean James Bond? Coz I do not mind that.
P2: How you wish! (smiled)
R: Btw I really like the Arabic interpretation of my name. Coz I am a traveller.
P1: Interesting. How did it come about? I thought Rahi is traveller and so may be Rahil name should mean Traveller.
R: May b Rahul is derived from Rahil. I am not sure Sir.
WHat's in the education?
P1: Ok Rahul, so what did you do at NTU?
R: Sir, I majored in Comp Engg and my minor was Business. I realised I had always been interested in Business.
P1: Then why engineering?
R: Sir, let's just say if in India you score well, it is a given that you take up Science stream and become Doctor/Engineer. But I realised Finance interests me a lot more. My first course in NTU was Accounting and I loved it. After that I took up Marketing, Corp Finance, Management Decision Tools, Organizational Bhevaior, Risk Management - every course strengtheing my interest in Fin. And My love for Finance did not end after graduation. I immediately started preparing for the CFA Charter.
P1: Good. So when do you take Level 1?
R: Sir, I have already taken Level 1. I am a Level 3 candidate this june.
P1: (surprised) Really good. So, how does that translate in your job?
What's in the job?
R: Sir, I am working with the FX Desk. So, some of the concepts I've acquired from CFA do help me get a better grip on what I am doing. But in all honesty, my current job does not really require Finance skills.
P1: why? What do you do?
R: Sir, I started my career with Global Rates Team in Merrill Lynch. I used to develop the trading applications which were used by the Rates desk. I enjoyed coding in c++ but it wasn't giving me much exposure to the Front Office. SO, I decided to take up the FX Support Role in JPM. Here, I am much closer to Business. We provide suite of e-commerce applications to institutional clients. And manage the trading systems. And also work towards improving the efficiency in the processes.
P1: (Disappointed) Oh, so you are in a Technology role?
R: Yes Sir.
Majulah Singapura (Long Live Singapore)
P1: Well, how is it in SIngapore?
P1: I heard the work culture is fantastic? Do you think you would want to work in India?
R: I think it's all the same in Asian countries with great power distance, Sir. We do have to wait till the Boss leaves (smiling)
P1: But working hours are balanced.
R: They indeed are. My manager never lets us work for over 8-9 hours. But I prefer staying back. As it is, I do not have any family responsibilities at the moment. And my work is very BAU (Business as usual). SO it is the after-hours where I get time to look back at things and improve our daily efficiencies. I love scripting. I enjoy finding out non-value adding manual tasks that we have to do and I try to automate that. Right from Merrill Lynch, I have enjoyed automation of tasks. I was actually hired in JPM coz of that. They did not need me to be a fantastic coder. But, an efficient scripter.
P1: Ohk. But still there is a life after work which is good in Singapore?
R: A life is not dependent on city but people. My after work life is fab in Singapore and that's coz of my great set of friends.
Jai Hind (Salute to India)
P1: Then why India?
R: (I had prepared all the India is Emerging market n GDP 9% shit but what came out is this) Sir, I am an Indian at heart. I think I can relate better with Indians. Most of my frnz in SIngapore I hang out with are Indians. Not saying I don't gel with others. Rather, I have lot of good professional relationship with people from lot other nationalities. But I am more comfortable around my set of people.
P1: I am sure there are lot of Indians there?
R: Indeed. Just that when I have a chance to be around 400 top students of India who would be CEO's of top global companies tomorrow, why would I want to be around just 50-60 Indians when I know this is essentially the network I want to capitalize upon? As it is, I am coming back to make a good set of friends. Since I have been brought up in India, I understand this culture better. For me, connection is very important which somehow happens faster with Indians. For eg, when we were all sitting outside waiting for our interview calls, we ended up socialising. It was great. I never felt I am meeting these folks for the first time. I do not even know few of their names but we have been talking as if we know each other from Adam's. Indians like to enquire about you, get to know you which foreigners feel is an intrusion of privacy. Like in SIngapore, they would never ask me my salary unless someone is really close to me. And here, discussing salaries was so common. But I do not seem to mind it all. I think all these things are good to know and help understand the other person better. And well, everyone who came out of the interview room before me discussed his/her experience - gave me tips. I was stunned. I am their competitor and still they are helping me out. This all the more strengthens my faith in the brotherhood that Indians swear by.
P2: How about your family? Your neighborhood? Are you close to them?
R: Ma'am, most of my family is in New Delhi, only few folks in the States. And yes I am close to them. My neighborhood - not so much. Coz we moved in to a new place around the same time when I moved to SIngapore and well I do not really have any close friends where I live.
P2: Well, you do meet Indians from all walks of life. Tell me one thing that is common across all?
R: (stunned - could not speak for a minute. After so much of bhaashan on Indians) Ma'am. I think it is the respect for others that Indians have for others. (And to spoil it further) But I do not think it's only Indian thing. I guess it's an Asian thing to be courteous and respectful. (Why do I have to bring in Asian context all the time. I am a die-hard Singapore lover but I dont have to exhibit it)
P1: Ok, well your profile mentioned you like Travelling "like a commoner". What do you mean?
R: Sir, I do not enjoy staying in a lavish resort and travelling in chaffeur driven cars. When I am travelling, I like to feel the city. I would take a DTC in Delhi, Best/Local in Bombay, Train in Barcelona, walk in Sydney and ride a scooter in Taiwan and see what the common people are upto - how they live by, the challenges they face. And I feel one with them when I do that. For eg, recently when I went to Taiwan on Chinese New year which is their equivalent of Diwali, we rode on bikes and stopped by and tried talking to the locals. They would not understand English. I wouldnt know Chinese. But we communicated via language of humans. They even invited us in evening to light firecrackers with them. And believe me, for the first time in so many years, I felt I am celebrating Diwali. It is NOT about buring crackers. It's about love of a family which is showered on you on that you treasure. That's Diwali for me.
P1: I see
R: Rather, I was so hell bent on going to Kumbh Mela since I am already in India for taking my interview but thanks to all the stampede, my dad suggested it was not apt for me to go.
P2: Well, you could go. Tomorrow is the last day. Now, it wouldn't be too crowded.
R: Yeah, I am embarking on a trip to Udaipur with my family after my interview. Kumbh will have to wait I guess.
P1: So, tell me about your hobbies?
R: I love to write. But I am a depression romanticist. WHich means that I write only when I am sad. It's a way for me to let out my emotions. I dont usually telling my family when I am sad. Coz they feel that they are sitting afar and cant do much to help me out. So, I just pretend to be all happy when I am talking to my Mom over the phone.
P2: Well, I am a Mother and I know how it is. But well, you kids think you are smart. From your tone, we can make out whether you are happy or sad irrespective of whether you tell us or not.
R: (Wow, I connected to prof on a personal level. Bingo) Yeah I do not deny that Ma'am (Smile)
P1: So, what do you do when you are NOT sad? (chuckled)
R: (I was about to say when interrupted)
P1: Travelling I guess. Coz that's your other hobby?
R: Haha. True.
P1: But you travel only once every 2-3 months you mentioned?
R: Yes Sir. I try to take trips every quarter. A good break from monotony of life.
P1: SO, that means for rest of the quarter when you are not travelling, you remain SAD.
R: Not at all Sir. I have great set of frnz to make me happy.
And that's what we call CLOSURE
P1, P2: Alright then Rahul. I guess we are done.
R: Thanks for your time. It is a bit unfortunate that the Interview process ran over by 20 mins today. I see the next batch already arriving outside. It is a pity you wouldnt get time for a break.
P1, P2: yeah
R: Have a good day ahead.
---RESULT: Admitted. 😃