[2016-18] IIM Ahmedabad WAT and PI Experiences

Please share your experiences here.

Date - 30th Jan

Venue - IIM A KLMDC annexe

Time - 1:30 pm

I reached one hour earlier at the venue. They made us sit in the conference hall for a while. There were 2 profs coordinating there and giving us instructions.

At 1:15 they divided us in panels - 8 students in each forming a total of 6 panels. I was in the first one and  fourth in queue. They gave us a documents checklist form in which we were to tick the required documents and attach alongwith originals and photo copies of the documents or certificates if any.

At 1:30 another prof arrived and took each panel to their respective panel rooms where 3 other profs were waiting there for AWT. We were not allowed to carry anything except for a pen and the blue form (which you received through courier) in the panel room.

In the panel room - One of the profs instructed about the AWT. 30 mins were allotted and 3 sheets were provided. One contained the question, other was a rough sheet and last was the answer sheet on which you had to enter your details on the front and write the essay on the back. There was no writing allowed on the question sheet or the front page of the answer sheet.

My topic for AWT was (as far as I can remember, all 48 students got the same topic so revision from them would be appreciated) -

It contained an argument and further questions were given

"I like smoking. No one can make me quit smoking because someone says so or advertises about its harmful effects. Anyway the woman's desires are not valued much in the society. Every activity a woman makes is put under close magnifying glasses. I want to smoke till my body gives up. The pungent smell and taste of the cigarette has become my favorite.

Question :

Analyse the argument. What do you think was the line of reasoning used that made the writer arrive at the statement one is making. Identify the assumptions and supplement with facts."

After AWT you were asked to wait in the queue. I was anyway fourth so returned to the conference hall where the two profs were verifying our documents one by one by calling names in order.

(After my documents verification I proceeded to wait for my turn. You were not allowed to carry anything inside the interview hall.)

Now the story starts -

(After the third finished I knocked the door and asked to come in. They said to wait for a few minutes and they will call for me. After some time, one of the prof came and invited me in "You were too excited to enter for the interview. Come on in". I was really embarrassed and got nervous since they were calling one by one and I didn't know that and I had to make a fool of myself by going on by myself and knocking on the door without giving any time after third finished.)

So here it goes

(there were 3 interviewers sitting inside the panel room, a mid-aged fat one on the left (L), a mid-aged smiling one who gave us AWT instructions in the middle (M) and the old grumpy one who called me from outside on the right (R). R asked me take a chocolate from the bowl kept on the table for the same purpose)

M: So, tell me Rakesh, you don't consider mining as engineering branch?

Me: Sir, I do consider mining as engineering branch. Why, What happened. (he was looking at my interview form, so I guessed some mistake was made by me in the application form)

M: You have mentioned others as your discipline?

Me: Sir, basically Mining was not mentioned in the list of branches when I was applying for CAT so had to check others and then mention Mining Engg as my branch.

M: and you have also mentioned other as your university?

Me: sir, NIT Raipur was also not mentioned in the CAT application so I had no option then choose others.


R: (gazing at my blue form) so tell me (in some harsh voice) why should I be impressed claiming you as a world record holder in most people dunking cookies at a time.

(I realized that intentionally since I had no any outstanding national extra-curricular but I participated in Guiness World records for most people dunking cookies at a time in IIT Bombay organized by oreo in 2013 and we were able to make a new world record of 1796 people dunking cookies at the same time, I had mentioned that one in my blue form)

Me: (realizing my grave mistake) Sir, basically it was a mass participation event by oreo where ...

(interrupted in between)

R: No, no, did you listen to my question, tell me why should I be impressed ?

Me: yes sir, I did understand your question and I think you should be impressed because first of all it's guiness book of world records and it reflects certain skill set which one needs to possess to make it to world record ...

(again interrupted in between)

R: what do you consider as a world record. For a world record to be made there, what should be its criteria?

Me: Sir, first of all it should be unique that is it should not have been done before and secondly it involves peak performance and you have to be particularly focused to achieve any kind of world record.

R: so, tell me here why should I be impressed..

Me: sir, It involved group working ability which reflects my skill to work with a diverse group of people and leadership skill

R: leadership, how?

Me: Sir, I volunteered and motivated my group to join this particular event at IIT-B who were keen on going to some other events.

R: Ok, I do agree it consists of group-working ability but leadership, no.

(I was sweating at this time but thanked that this was over. Particular grilling on such small issue made me nervous. Soon, I realized that I was only looking to the old prof all the time and was unable to make eye contact during all this time. So I controlled myself and started making eye contact with all of them.)

M: any project you are doing, Rakesh?

Me: yes sir, currently I am working on Digital terrain modelling using DGPS.

M: what? we don't understand any jargons, clearly explain.

(I was like shit)

Me: Sir, basically we are generating a model of terrain digitally using differential global positioning system. What we do is take all the points....... (and so I explained my project work)

(I was somewhat now relaxed that this part went fine without any grilling)

M: so, have you sat for campus placements?

Me: no sir, I have not yet. I am waiting for Coal India Ltd. (I realized, shit why did I just tell that)

M: so, MBA or coal India

Me: sir, obviously MBA

M: apart from MBA?

Me: no sir, I haven't gave any thought. (again why, god why?)

M: so any interests or hobbies?

Me: Sir, I like to solve puzzles like Sudoku, rubik's cube. I love playing guitar and I read books in my free time.

R: The guitar string, it is made up of what material?

Me: sir, it's basically made up of nylon. Nylon strings are used in guitar

M: but it is made of metal, I think?

Me: sir, there are several kinds of guitar; the classical acoustic guitar is made of nylon string and other guitars like electrical and jazz guitar strings are made up of metal (I did not realized it at that time, since I was blank and the prof was trying to feed his words into my mouth. FYI, The guitar strings are made of alloy of bronze and copper)

R: oh, so how does this string made of metal works

Me: (I was haphazard at this time and could not answer it well) Sir, the plucking causes the metal string to change its frequency and vibration and this frequency is picked up by magnetic sensors on the guitar and are converted to sound using amplifier (It was not as smooth as I am typing here, I really blundered it this time and took 2-3 times to clear to them)

(so I started on my own to ease the situation)

Me: sir, I basically play rumba which is a kind of flamenco style. It consists of 16 beats which is really nice to ears.

R: What do you mean by flamenco?

Me: (again, I was like why am I always digging my own grave) sir, flamenco is a Spanish word.

R: what is the meaning of this word?

Me: (sighing) sir, as of now I couldn't recall the meaning of flamenco word, but I am sure it's a Spanish word.

R: any favourite artist which inspired you to adopt this style?

Me: (again, I was blank) sorry sir, I could not recollect any name (adding to the fire) but there was a pakistani boy who studied in MIT and I watched his video over youtube and he really inspired me to play like that (now I do remember, his name was amin toofani)

R: (making a grumpy face) so I guess that your memory is not your best thing (and he notes something down on his sheet)(I was really nervous now, on the verge of stammering)

M: Ok, coming to your essay, you wrote about inter-cast marriages, how do you think this is relevant to the topic. Had you gone through the question carefully. Did you understood it?

Me: (bleeding red) (I recalled of the thing which I mentioned was some incident in Bangladesh) ye sir, basically what I meant was inter-religion marriages which make women helpless and there was an incident in bangladesh in which the woman was muslim and her husband was a hindu and he wrote some blog related to anti-islam and he was brutally killed on the street for that

M: so how that incident is significant over here

Me: sir, what I meant to say was that there are many incidents in our country which makes women helpless and leave them victims, other cases including "nirbhaya". I do believe that India is still a male dominant society but we are evolving and the argument really was set in a negative context. This doesn't mean the end of life, this world is beautiful and she should give herself another chance rather than smoking cigarettes and ending up her life.

M: OK... (sees around to other profs maybe so as to cross-question but none do)

M: OK, thankyou rakesh, you may go now, you may take cake or chocolate in front of you

Me: No sir, I have already taken. Thanks a lot sir... (and I leave the interview hall pushing the chair back in its place, and my movement to outside was really not good. Afterall I was grilled on each topic except for my project part)

(The third prof on the left didn't ask any question any of time and was only staring at me and smiling. Maybe, he was judging my behavior under stress or noting my body language, I don't know)

So this was how it went, hope to read some of yours.

Waiting for April for the new GOT season (**** IIM-A, I'm not getting in, I know..)

Tips for candidates whose interviews are scheduled later -

  1. Don't try to be over-smart they will kill you
  2. Prepare yourself well like your hobbies and interests and internship/project if fresher. (I was so obsessed with CA I read the economist editions of over two months and CSR but were of no use. Since, they are gonna only ask you about your background. So don't waste much of your remaining time on current affairs, there is a very little chance they gonna ask you apart from your field. Well do prepare about current happenings in your field. Since, I was a mining engineer and I think they may not have much knowledge about it so they didn't bother in my case)
  3. Try to remain calm in case if they stress you. (It was my first so I messed it up)

Thank you! And all the best.


Date - 31st Jan Venue: KLMDC, IIMA Time: 8:30 am No. Of Panelists 2: Q: So you are from agri bio technology? A: No sir, only biotechnology. Btech in Biotechnology. Q: Whats the diff? A: Told the dif Q: what is DNA? A: Told Q: What is the controversy regarding biotech? A: Told Q: How do we transfer gene? A: Told P2: Do you read newspapers? A: Not regurarly sir. Headlines only. Q: Do you know the current oil prices? A: 27-30$ per barrel Q: why arent they increasing the price? A: Told them. Q: Why flipkart is called so? A: made a guess and told them that i m making a guesa Q: will filpkart sustain? A: Told them my opinion. Q: Why they are switching to app? A: Told them the reason. Q: What is your view on intolerance? A: Told them my opinion. Q: Who won the noble prize in chem? A: Sorry sir, i dont know. Then they askes a maths problem. I said sorry sir but i studied maths years ago. Then again Q: Do you know about that cloned sheep? A: Told them its past,present and future. Finally.. 'Thank you! Please have a toffee and you can leave' Took a toffee and left. Their face was so neutral that i couldnt judge anything. Theh didnt ask a single HR type ques.

can anyone detail the process of verification of documents, are they very finnicky? or is it casual?

Date: 07/02/2016 Venue: Mumbai No. Of panelists: 2 Duration of Interview: 20 minutes approx. Background: Commerce. Fresher. Took a drop to prepare for CAT. P1: So you have been doing nothing.(referring to my drop) and now CAT and interview processes are also almost complete. What is your plan now? A: MBA sir P1: Even if you get in a C grade college? Are you sure you want to do an MBA from MBA college. A: Sir that should not happen P1: So what am i supposed to take this on face value and see this as your confidence. Disasters can always happen. P2: What's your plan B A: I'll join my father's business. P1: Ok so you are from a family business. What's the business? A: Told them about it. P1: What subjects you studied in your B.Com. A: Told 3 subjects P1: So you studied a lot(sarcasm). Tell me the analogy between this hotel and accountancy. A: Can you repeat the question sir P1: (Repeated the question) ( I didn't get the question) P1: I mean what are the similarities or dissimilarities between hotel and accounts. Or there is nothing and what the hell i am talking. A. (Tried to make some guess) P1: Ok this question is very difficult for you. (P2 then asked 4-5 questions by breaking question starting from basics. I kept trying. P1 was At the end when after all there efforts when i didn't get the analogy between hotel and accountancy) P1: Ok. You cannot connect the dots. Shake your brain. ( In our AWT. A argument was given by the author that NGOs should not get the funding. And then there were questions on the analysing the argument and what evidence was provided. I wrote that argument was weak and enough evidence was not given) P2: What evidence should be provided. A: There should be some examples of NGOs. P2: Are some examples sufficient. A: I hesitated and said yes P2: Ok. Today Dhoni got out on 0. Conclusion: He is a bad player. I gave an example. Is this sufficient evidence. A: No sir. P2: I can give example of 2-3 NGOs. How much evidence is sufficient. A: Maybe a city's data. P2: Accha beta(Not really) How many NGOs are there in Mumbai. A: 3000 P2: How will you get data of 3000 NGOs. A: Sir, RTI P2: Are NGOs covered in RTI. A: ahh I dont know. P2: What you like to do in free time. A: Movies sir. P2: Thats all? A: I have started reading. New hobby. P2: How many movies you watch in a week. A: Haven't seen many recently sir. Last I saw on saturday. P2: Which movie. A: The Bucket List P2: StarCast A: JN and MF P2: Give me 3 reasons that will inspire me to watch this movie. A: 1. JN and MF did really good acting ( P2 shakes his head is disapproval) 2. It will inspire you to make a bucket list. P1&P2: we don't know what a bucket list is. A: Sir Bucket list is things you want to do. Sir you'll know when you watch the film. P1 laughs and says: This is a good answer( mockingly and sarcastically). P2: What other movie? A: Airlift P1: What happens in the movie? A:(Told the plot) P2: Why saddam invaded. A: Oil sir (guess) (Then they asked on why he did it. Countered my oil answer . but I didnt knew so couldn't answer) P1: So you just watch movies but are not interested in knowing there history? A: Sir sometimes I do but.... P2: Ok take a toffee and go. A: Thank you sir (Picked toffee. Went out in search of chullu bhar pani) All the best!

Can anybody share some experiences regarding FABM interview,

IIM Ahmedabad Interview Experience -

7th Feb, 2016

Mumbai , 8:30 am slot

CAT 15: 99.81

Was 2nd last in my panel

AWT : Case Study on argument which said that Tourism should be restricted by government as  it leads to breakdown of family structure, promiscuity, drug use etc. Is argument justified?

Wrote a decent essay covering the assumptions made by author and examples which weakened and strengthened the argument. Overall argued against the argument presented.

Prof had seen me reading Financial Express outside the room before my PI.

Q- So what did you pick up from the paper you were reading?

A- Told about IPL Auction

Q- Who is the most expensive player in this auction?

A- Did not know. Spoke about how all-rounders dominated the auction

Q- What else did you pick up?

A- Told about States demand of more money from centre due to 7th pay and Jet posting record quarterly profit.

Q- Which paper do you read usually? Financial Express?

A- Told Business Standard

Q- Who is Editor of BS?

A- Told did not know.

Q- So you are a Chem Engineer who has worked in Analytics, has completed CFA L3 and now work at Credit Suisse. Which of your 3 avatars do you prefer?

A- Told Fin.

Q- What is Double Entry book keeping?

A- Told

Q- So what is Single entry?

A- Told

Q- How are household expenses accounted and why?

A- Told Single Entry and had a discussion around why and examples of Double Entry in day to day life

Q-So how did you shift from Chem Engg to Analytics?

A-Told about Stat courses and how my interest in them led to a career in Analytics.

Q- So what is Bayes Theorem?.

A- Told

Q- Give us an application of Bayes Theorem? Take a min and think about it

A- Gave an example which was sketchy and the Profs did not understand well

Q- Alright do you know what is Type 1 and Type 2 Error in Hypothesis Testing?

A- Took a minute and explained using an analogy of presumed innocent though actually guilty and vice versa for describing them but  explained Type 1 error as Type 2 .

Q- Going by your analogy don't you think what you have described as  Type 2 error is Type 1?.

A-  Told them I think I am right(blunder).

Q- Asked what is Power of Test?

A- Told about that and correctly defined it as (1-Type 2 error)

Q- Now don't you think with what you said about Power what we are saying is right

A- Told I thought I was still right.( Was thoroughly confused about it now hence stuck to my guns)

Q- Ok tell what is Central Limit Theorem in layman's terms without any jargon

A- Told

Q- Ok so tell me assumptions under which it holds

A- Told.

Q-You are right that usually we require more than 30 observations but even with less than 30 we can do something so that Central Limit Theorem still holds. Can you tell what it is?

A- Told about T distribution and how it is used when less than 30

(cutting in middle)No T distribution is not it. Its something else

A- Told, I did not know.

Q- Okay so what do you do in your spare time?

A- Told about reading fantasy, history. Talked about India After Gandhi

Q- So who is Author?.

A- Told. When asked about his academic credentials answered about his doctorate at IIMC

Asked qtns about Indian History which I answered well explaining the Maratha Confederacy, Sikhs,Oudh when asked about how India was before the British

Q- What is your job role at Credit Suisse?

A- Told

Q-What is difference between Income Statement and Balance Sheet?

A-Told and explained properly (finally :mg: )

Both the profs looked at each other for a few seconds then told me to leave with a toffee

Pretty average interview. Frankly do not expect a convert but I guess you still never stop hoping :P 

Hello everyone.. I have my FABM interview for IIM A tomorrow in Bengaluru... I need a clarification. Is it necessary to carry a file for the Personal interview? I mean a professional file?

IIM Ahmedabad Interview Experience -

(Mechanical engineer, worked for 6 months in JSW steel and thereafter doing part time job for a year)

6th Feb, 2016

Vile Parle, Mumbai. 1:30 pm slot

Number of panelists : 2 males (both were cool), the same panelists who conducted our AWT

AWT: A critical/analytical reasoning exercise.

Topic was related to the failure of teachers training program. I've written a decent essay.

So here goes my PI experience:

One of the interviewers calls my name and goes outside.

me: Good afternoon sir!

P1: So, you are from Raigad. Tell me something about a hero from Raigad.

me: (talked about Nana Patekar)

P1: (laughing) So, don't you consider Shivaji maharaj as a hero?

me: Yes, I do sir. But I thought you asked me about a living one...

P1: oh, for your generation film stars are the heroes. No?

(P2 enters and smiles.)

me: (suddenly realised that I was not loud enough. Gained confidence. Loud enough) Actually sir, I love Nana Patekar for whatever he is doing these days. That's why I told his name so hurriedly.

P1: What are your views on current education system? Relate to your AWT topic.

me: (Explained what progress I've seen in recent years. Also tried to relate the changes that I've observed in primary education, as my father is a primary teacher.)

P2: So, what's RTE?

me: (very brief answer)

P2: age limit?

me: upto 14 years.

P1: Are you sure? Is it 14 or 15? Or 16?

me: No, it's 14, sir.

P1: Do you know the lower limit for RTE:

me: It's 5, I guess.

P1: 5 or 6?

me: I'm not sure, but I joined primary school when I was 5.

P2: You are an odd case then.

P1: So you've studied mechanical engineering. What were your favourite subjects?

me: Refrigeration & Air Conditioning

(they are still looking at me, maybe expecting more subjects)

thermodynamics, applied thermo, some part of management, fluid mechanics

P1: Tell me first law of thermodynamics and its applications.

me: (are you kidding me? explained very smoothly.)

P1: Tell us where does it fail?

me: (after thinking for a while) I don't remember.

P2: Why mechanical engg. is called mechanical engg. and not machine's engg. or something like that?

me: (tried to relate it with mechanical motion and mechanics and everything I could think of.)

P2: I'm not satisfied. Give a sound reason for this. See, electronics engg. deals with electrons and hence the name. What's with your branch?

me: (could not provide a good answer)

P1: You've studied 4 years of engg. and you don't know that? strange..

P2: How would you justify the reason for leaving your last job? (reason: job profile 😞 )

me: (talked about how I was getting civil engg work, the harsh environment and the exhaustion it caused. I was working in a steel plant, which causes too much pollution.)

P2: So how can you survive in Ahmedabad? We have 2 months when the temperature is close to 48 degrees.

me: By harsh environment, I meant harsh work environment. I could not find enough time to prepare for CAT. And my verbal was very very poor. I realised that I need to mork really very hard for that, and it was not possible if I stick to JSW. And I was offered a part time job, which could have provided me the extra hours for verbal preparation.

P2: What kind of job role do you expect from IIMA?

me: (uttered something stupid)

P1: What are your hobbies?

me: I like to listen to bollywood music. I hae an interest in classical music too, and I've been learning it since last few years.

(no cross questioning. huh...)

(OMG, P1 is yawning.. Disappointing..  Hey, but why am I paying heed to him? He is a human being. Chill..)

P2: Do you read newspapers? Which?

me: The hindu. And I've started reading headlines of The Economic Times. (why the hell I said that?)

P2: Who is the editor of the hindu?

me: (I'd read about him. Why my memory is not helping me?) I'm not able to recollect his name. (sad face)

P2: He was in the news recently because of some controversy. Do you know about that?

me: (Took their permission to guess about that controversy. Talked about somebody steeping down from a post, then how readers expressed their disapproval etc. This was totally irrelevant.)

P2: What you just talked about was related to a journal and not The Hindu.

me: Okay. I told you that I'm not sure.

(P1 and P2 look at each other, discuss something and now both are smiling at me.)

P1: Okay Milind, take that toffee and you are free to go.

(I was pretty sure that I was not going to make it to IIMA this year. The only positive thing about me was my confidence level.)

How many seats are there for IIMA FABM course?

Hi. I am writing this for my friend. He had his IIM A interview today. He is an NLS Bangalore pass out. He had provided a letter from the VP that states they have a CGPA system and there is no method to convert to percentage. So after the WAT and PI, during the document verification, the CGPA which is on 7, when they converted is 0.13 below 68. They did not let him talk to the senior officials to provide an explanation.

Kindly tell me what the procedure to be followed is.

If the conversion formula is written on the marksheet, do we have to get the conversion certificate from the college ?

Feb 15, 9am. Venue: Bangalore

AWT Topic: An argument made by social workers to NRIs asking them neither to invest nor to do business in India. We were asked to give reasons for both strengthening and weakening the argument.

PI: 2 panel members. 1 guy in 40s wearing kurta (P1) and other guy in 30s wearing formals (P2).

P1: Welcome vijay. U left job few months back. What are u doing these days?

Me: Told about skill development, gym, art of living and working with ngo. Even though I was not working I had a busy schedule. (P2 busy reading my AWT)

P1: Vijay u have work experience. Tell me about ur job.

Me: Told about automation division in titan. my job profile. What business we do etc.

P1: Titan is into life style business. How machine building come into picture?

Me: Told it started as in house manufacturing for machine requirement in watches plant then developed as separate business.

P1: What is the business of titan? Annual turnover?

Me: Told along with percentage share of each division.

P1: Whether watches still has its shine today? Who uses watch today?

Me: Watch has a personal connect and we at titan are trying to market it as an accessory not a time piece. (P2 suddenly wakes up :P)

P2: so y separate business for watch and jewellery? Both can be merged?

Me: No sir.. finally what's inside a watch is time piece. The manufacturing part of it can't go along with jewellery. They had to be separate

P2: What about smart watches? Whether they will replace traditional watches?

Me: No sir.. watches till date had a sentiment attached with it but smart watch is just another gadget. I don't think they will replace traditional watches.

P2: Then why all companies are launching it? Even titan launched its own smart watch right?

Me: Ya sir u r right.. technology improving day by day.. so people are trying to venture into that field. But my opinion is it won't replace traditional watches.

P2: Ok what and all u can show in a smart watch? I will leave my mobile in my home and just carry a watch. Whether can I use it as an alternative?

Me: Explained how smart watches function.. and told for ur application u need a wireless transmitter receiver module along with a battery in watch. It will take up more space and size will increase. It will be difficult to wear then.

P1: (Heard me speaking few technical terms and picked up from there 😛 ) Vijay tell me technology behind 2G, 3G and 4G

Me: Told about TDMA, FDMA and OFDMA. Why orthogonality plays an important role in increasing speed in 4G.

P1: Why spectrum is so limited in India?

Me: Radio wave communication has a certain bandwidth.. in that only wifi, Bluetooth, satellite communication all have a pre defined bandwidth. Only remaining thing is for mobile communication, that's y limited.

P1: But y there are so many problems related to its allocation? Is it not because of shortage of spectrum?

Me: No sir.. its more because of regulations and rules followed in auctioning it to private. Western countries have a more proper procedure and we still have to develop in it.

P1: What are your fav subjects in ECE?

Me: Digital electronics and wireless communication.

P2: What do u do then apart from work? Hobbies?

Me: I said teaching and started explaining about it.. P2 not interested in that topic. Interrupted me in the middle.

P2: (starts a rapid fire round) National animal of India, National Bird, National aquatic animal, National Game and National Language.

Me: Whatever I answered he told u r wrong 😛 (I later realized Hindi is just a official language, not national L )

P2: started asking names of urban minister, industrial minister.. Me: I don't remember the names now.. (I could recall only rajnath singh and smiti irani 😛 )

P2: which states have presidential rule currently? Me: I remember only arunachal Pradesh.

P2: Tell something about zika virus. Me: Told.

P2: what were reasons behind it? Me: Told about mosquitoes.

P2: No 1 more cause is also there.. Me: No idea sir.

P2: What news paper u read? Me: Hindu.

P2: Recently there was an article on water problem. U know? Me: ??? No..

P2: ok what are the water problems in India?

Me: Told about perennial and non perennial rivers.. dispute between states.. poor water body management in Chennai and merging of rivers.

P1: So u went to gym right.. tell name of some workouts?

Me: Told something about pushups, squats.. told my motto of joining was not to build muscle but to get out of my comfort zone. I had lot of physical work in my job and that was not something I was good at. My stint at gym helped me increase my confidence level and got rid of some inhibitions.

P1: OK vijay we r done..u can take a toffee and leave.

Me: Fully blanked out.. went till terrace in search of reception 😛 took some time to come back to normal 😁

Feb 13th, 1:30 pm slot

Gaurav Swaroop

Electronics and Instrumentation from BITS Pilani (9.0 CG, 94 - X, 93 - XII)

Working @ GS Tech.

AWT Topic: Galileo and Pythagoras should be respected more than Shakespeare and Mozart because they impact civilization as it is today. We had to give logical points against this argument. Kind of a tricky topic where it was difficult to squeeze more than 2-3 points out of the context.

There were 2 people. 1 of them was focussed on the acad based and job based stuff. The other one was about general stuff, GK, hobbies and general stuff.

Q: What do you do at GS

A: Gave a brief description of my team, overall work. My team generates and delivers reports. I work on delivery part. They didn't seem satisfied. They try to go into details about the reports and I gave a few details and clarified that I worked on the delivery part and have a basic idea of the reports. Asked a couple of counter questions. I clarified that my role was totally tech(developing web apps, UI etc).

Q: Give an example. Paint a picture of how the user sees it. 

A: Told him. He then said "So, it's a tech role". And I said yes! Seemed satisfied

Q: Why MBA?

A: I like finance and wanted to switch into it. Hence MBA.

Q: But you didn't open and read the reports. (Had me there. Had to get out of this)

A: Gave some explanation and said that I want to get into sell side/ buy side/ IB analyst kind of role. Said I was inspired by 'Confessions of a Wall Street Analyst' and also did 3 courses (Economics, Security Anslysis & Portfolio Management, Econometrics) 

Q: What did you learn in Econometrics?

A: Mentioned something about curve fittings etc

Q: What were the 2 things you learned from Econometrics, The crux i.e.

A: Probability distributions etc

Q: Can you draw a normal distribution?

A: Drew a normal distribution on x-y axis and drew a line on mu.

Q: What is that line?

A: Mean.

Q: Are you sure?

A: Yes

Q: What are those 2 lines

A: x-y axis

Q: What is the value of origin?

A: Would need details like s.d. etc

Q: Okay estimate all that

A: Went the +-1 sd = 68% +-2 sd = 95% route

Q: When does it touch the x axis?

A: Never. (Seemed satisfied. Moved on to Bachelors)

Q: So what was your bachelors

A: E&I (lets call it A8)

Q: What is instrumentation(lets call it A8)?

A: Gave them process control, instrumentation kind of definition. Also gave them heat exchanger example of how instrumentation is used to control processes.

Q: In this building where is A8 used. 

A: It's not used in electrical supply. Used in AC though. (hoping for a question on AC)

Q: Okay tell me where it's used in building wiring.

A: Said something about current control. and how system is tripped when it goes above a certain amperage.

Q: What is ampere

A: Charge flowing per second. Continued on current control.

Q: To fuse banate ho Instrumentation mein?

A: No sir, that would be a very trivial thing. But you told me explain where A8 is used in electrical supply to the building.

Q: Okay explain some example where it's used.

A: Had mentioned that my dad was a civil engg. so went ahead with an example of using strain gauge to measure strain in beams. Explained properly. With diagrams. Seemed satisfied.

(One thing to keep in mind is to explain everything in very basic terms. Extremely basic. I guess they want to understand how well you can explain)

Q: Koi Extra Curriculars nahie hai?

A: Told him that I'm a brown belt in karate and learned it for 8 years and that I was passionate about it. But then high school happened. Seemed satisfied.

Q: Okay so I see you're from Jharkhand.

A: Said I'm from Bihar. Gave them some background about my grandfather and Ranchi etc. Pretty much small talk. More details.

Q: Asked about CMs and Deputy CMs Also about Hyderabad and Telangana etc.

A: Knew some questions. Didn't know others. I hope I didn't appear unaware of issues.

Q: Went to hobbies. Talked about the last book I'd read?

A: Told them about Tipping Point which was the last one I read and it was damn interesting. It got them interested too.

Discussed this for some time and when I was done, I was asked to take a 'candy' and leave.

I don't know what to feel about the interview. But there are a few pointers:

1) Explain everything in a very basic manner

2) It'll be a rapid fire. Start your engines beforehand and get your foot on the accelerator.

3) be prepared with what's up in your field. A friend working in Qualcomm was asked about 3G/4G and Finfets.

wat timings and word limit?

Guys, here is my experience at IIM-A Interview 😃

Date - 15th February, 8:30am Slot Venue - Bangalore

We were asked to sit in a big hall, and as our attendance was taken, we were given our panel number and also the sequence number in that panel. We were asked to sit accordingly. We had to submit photocopies of our documents, as per the invitation letter. The first guy would check the copies and put them together and the second guy would verify the original documents. There was no formal order in which we were called up, rather, the people with lower sequences were preferred and they were called informally.

When the time came for WAT, we were sent to our respective panels and made to sit around a table. We were given the question on a piece of paper and we had 30 mins to write an essay on one side of an A4 sheet. No extra sheets were given and we could make use of the question paper and the other side of the answer sheet to organize our thoughts.

WAT Topic - an extract from a memorandum asking foreign nationals not to invest in India as the land being taken away from poor people.

Analyse the argument. Explain the reasons stated. What are the assumptions on which it is based. Why is the argument weak. What other facts can further support the claim?

I wrote some bullcrap :P. After the WAT, we were asked to wait for out interviews as per our sequence number.

Interview Experience

Two professors on the panel, one was around 40(P1) and the other was around 50(P2). P1 was in casuals and P2 was in formals. P1 seemed to be more fun loving and sweet, while P2 was more serious though not scary.

P1 invited me in, and as I walked towards the desk, P2 asked me to sit. I greeted them and asked, "How are you doing Sir!"

Both of them were taken aback at first and then smiled and answered my question 😛

Soon after, the interview went like this:

P1: So where are you based now?

Me: Currently in Kollam, Kerala, I'm currently running my family business.

P2: Tell me about your business.

Me: Spoke to them in detail.

P2: So what do you aim to achieve from an MBA?

Me: blah blah Dad isnt MBA, so I want MBA to further understand and expand the business

P1: So you are telling me that you can learn what took your dad 40 years of experience in 2 years? I think you are overrating the MBA program

P2: Agreed, I'm not happy with this angle, try again.

Me: *Im screwed.* Sir, I'm not saying that, rather I mean I'll get different perspectives on business from interacting with students and fellow professors * slip of the tongue*


Me: Apologies sir, I meant professors and fellow students, was a slip of the tongue *smiles the most honest apologetic smile I could manage*

P2: Honest mistake, no worries *smiles*

P1 and P2 start to question me in detail on my business, and ask me about different situations that arose and how I reacted blah blah.

P1: So tell me, apart from running your business and working with Goldman Sachs, what else do you do?

Me: Told them about CabAmigo, a platform for vehicle sharing that a few friends and I have been working on.

*more questions about this*

P1: So if you get into IIMA, then who will take care of your business?

Me: Well Sir, I have put in various systems in place...

P2: *doesn't let me finish* Acha, so systems to allow you to monitor remotely?


Me: Sir, I am aware of that! *smiling honestly* What I was going to say is that I have these systems in place and should I get into IIMA, I will have a month or two during which I intend on training my staff and my father..

P1: *interrupting me again* Do you think your dad will listen to you? With his 40 years of experience and your 9 months? *smiling*

Me: Sir, NOW he will! *Grinning with confidence*

*P1 and P2 start laughing and appreciate the comment*

Me: Actually, I am not planning on training them to run the business, but rather train them on how to use my systems to make their life easy!

P2: Fair enough *smiles*

P1: *Killer Question* Ok, so can I assume that when (*I loved his choice of words! 😁 *) you get into IIMA, you won't sit for placements and will go back to your business?

Me: Yes sir, I will return to my business

P1 and P2 give me a smile with the "Liar, I know you want the placements" look

Me: *smiling as much as I can* Sir, to be bluntly honest, this is a heart over head decision. I don't have much of a social life in Kollam and I love working in a Corporate environment and life in a metro. So my heart wants me to move out of Kollam, but my mind wants me to go back and work with my dad and scale to new heights.

P1: *laughs* Fair enough, that's actually a very good and safe answer. *looks at P2* Ok, you may leave. Please do take a candy!

I thank them and as I reach for a candy, 

P2: Did you distribute these as well?

Me: No sir, not candyman, but we did have a chewing gum called BigG or something. We had it for a while when I was in 7th standard. We had to let it go since it wasn't doing too good. I remember my sister and I working hard for two years to finish our dead stock!!

P1 and P2 chuckle in unison and wish me luck. 

I gracefully exit the room and once I'm clear of the doorway, it hits me. Fish. I just finished my last step to get into IIMA. There isn't anything more I can do now. Mixed feelings of relief and tension as I let this fact sink in...

What do you guys think? 

How many calls have been given this year for PGP? Does anybody have an idea? And how many seats are there?

Date of the final results?

Hi all, just to ease the tension, is everyone getting a toffee at the end of the interview? 😛

My IIMA interview experience:

Venue: Taj coromandel, Chennai. Morning 8:30 slot

Got permission to bring something to interview room during WAT itself.

P1: What do you want to show us that eagerly?

(Showed a poster I made with some info about me)

P1: Really nice.

Full smiles from panel

Me: I'm an artist and a designer sir.

P2: Very good. Shriram, you should put why aim for moon when you can reach Mars. (Ref to things in that poster)

P1: I think we should put galaxies. (again ref)

Me: Thank you for your compliments sir

P1: One interesting thing we noticed is that you're a food lover (mentioned in the poster). Do you know how to cook?

Me: Yes sir. I know how to cook. I picked up cooking from my mom. She has back pain so can't stand for a long time, so she'll usually start and I'll do this this (waving hands - turning action). From this this (again waving hands), I learnt cooking.

P2: This this huh? Smiling

Me: I meant turning sir. Smiling.

P2: What is this company you work for CUM-1?

Me: Sir, its C U M I. Carborundum universal ltd. Its an Abrasive manufacturer. Its a part of Murugappa Group

P2: So, tell me Shriram do you know any other group in Tamilnadu other than group?

Me: No sir. I don't know

P2: I guess there are no such groups based in TN

Me: Sorry sir. I have little idea on this.

P2: Based on your poster, knowing about groups is not strengths. Smiling

Me: Hmm. Smiling

P2: What about TVS group Shriram?

Me: Sir, if I have to answer logically, S in TVS is sundaram and it is a Tamil name. So there's a strong possibility of the same.

P2: Hmm OK. Any other Sundaram name could you remember?

Me: There's sundaram finance. I think its part of TVS group itself.

P2: OK.

P2: So you are a chemical engineer?

Me: Yes sir.

P2: Hmm ok, what is a tangent?

Me: Tangent is a line drawn with 90 degrees to a diameter of a circle. It just touches the circle.

P2: So can you draw a tangent to an ellipse?

Me: I'm not sure about that sir. But I guess, no. Because one of the main definitions for tangent is that it should be perpendicular to a point on the curve and circle is nothing but continuous points arranged in line. So I guess no.

(As soon as I told the answer I knew its wrong)

P2: OK. What is the area under the curve mean?

Me: (don't know how to start.. 5 - 10 second pause..) Area under the curve is usually measured within two limits. An integral usually is written with two limits. In fact area under the curve is determined by integration of the curve within two limits. Therefore, analogy of these two will help understand that area under the curve will give the product of quantities in X and y axis.

(Didn't know the answer on top of my head, but eventually came out with the answer)

P2: Ok. Takes a pause.

P2: Shriram, take this paper. Draw y=x2.

Me: (While drawing) Sir, it is an upward open parabola. And passes through the origin sir since it has no intercept. And negative sign of x makes it a mirror image on x axis.

P2: Can you draw x=y2?

Me: Sir, it'll be a right open parabola (while drawing). Negative of y will be left open parabola.

Drew all four

P2: OK. How about y= x2/(1+x2). Can you draw?

Me: the term has a x2 term on both numerator and denominator, so when we put 1 lakh for x, we will get a value closer to one. Therefore, its a converging expression. It'll become one at infinity

P2: can you draw Shriram?

Me: Honestly, I don't know how to to draw sir. But we can go for the traditional approach. (While making a table putting x values 1, 2, 3.. and simultaneously calculating y values).

P2: but we don't have much time, Shriram

Me: sorry sir, (drew a curve which will reach y=1 at infinity). While telling.. Since the term becomes one at infinity, this curve will touch one at infinity.

P2: this doesn't look like touching at infinity. It looks like it's gonna cross 1.

Noticed the curve moving up (geometrically wrong)

Me: Sorry sir. Let me draw a new one.

Drew y=1 line. Then drew a curve which touches at infinity

P2: OK.what will happen when we put negative values for x.

Me: Since we have x2 term. Negative values will have no effect. So y will be positive. So same curve

(Realised a mistake)

Oh sorry sir. It'll be mirror image on the y axis

P2: Changed your mind huh? Are you sure?

Me: sorry sir. Made a mistake. Now I'm sure.

See sir, it looks a bird too. (Looked a small r). Just an artistic view sir.

All smiling!

P1: Now and then, artist inside him is coming out.. Towards P2.

P1: You have written you are the in charge of value added products bulk production at work. So, what is value added product?

Me: I think it would be good if I give a small introduction about my company, what we do before answering. Or can I give some other example sir?

P1: No. Explain with your company itself.

Me: OK sir. My company produces Silicon carbide. In fact carborundum in my company name itself means silicon carbide.

(From this point I was not allowed to talk. All my answers were interrupted)

P1: Your company makes silicon carbide only?

Me: No sir. We produce silicon carbide and alumina abrasives

P1: What is this alumina? Me: Alumina is Aluminium oxide. Al2O3

P1: its an oxide. So is it a gas?

Me: All oxides are not necessarily gases sir.

P1: Hmm ok. So, you mix silicon carbide and alumina together.

Me: No sir. Both are separate products.

P1: But you said your company name is carborundum. Then where is alumina here.

Me: Sir, alumina is corundum. Silicon carbide is carborundum

P1: you are confusing me

Me: Sir, we started with silicon carbide, then moved on to make both products. Hence the name carborundum

P2: Aacha.. (Went outside.. Probably rest room.. No idea)

P1: ok where's value addition.

Me: As I explained we make Silicon carbide and this has impurities. With the silicon carbide, we'll make grinding wheels. These grinding wheels go for polishing applications. During polishing, these impurities will oxidise and create a void or gap, which is undesirable. So, before making the wheel, we'll remove the impurities from silicon carbide and avoid such gaps. This is the value addition we do.

P1: you're confusing me. So you are adding alumina to this product and you want to remove alumina, is it so? Am I correct?

Me: sir, you're partially correct and partially wrong.

P1: (genuine confusion in his face)

Me: sir, we remove impurities, that is correct. But alumina is not that we remove. It is a different product. (Did I say this earlier?)

P1: if gap is your issue. Why can't change the dimensions of gap? You should do value addition to wheel not to silicon carbide.

Me: the impurities present in silicon carbide only makes such gaps and its sensible to treat silicon carbide because it's impossible to predict where gap will appear.

P1: is this gap good for grinding? It should be right?

Me: ( scolding myself, I should've used the term crack instead of gap) Let me give an example sir.


P1: no can't imagine!

Me: smiling, ok sir. 2 sec pause.

Again imagine..

P1: (slightly frustrated)

Me: Imagine we have a smooth spherical ball. That ball has a gap on its surface. If we roll that ball on a table, when that gap present in that ball contacts the table, it creates a disturbance, probably a tuk sound. Now imagine if there was no gap, it'll roll smoothly. Now imagine this with polishing on a 1000 dollar Rolex watch. It might create a scratch which we don't want.

P1: I said I don't want to imagine.. Anyway.

(Mind voice: I haven't explained like this even to my boss. What's wrong with you?)

P2: came back

P1: What is the impurity that you remove?

Me: iron present in silicon carbide

P1: how?

Me: iron is usually basic in nature. So we add acid to silicon carbide

P1: So you produce silicon carbide with impurity (iron) and you remove it to avoid gaps in grinding wheels. Is this correct?

Me: smiling.. Exactly sir..

(Did I not say this 10 minutes ago?)

P1: You wrote, you would've avoided frugal engineering and would be gone for new process.

Me: yes sir.

P1: what is this frugal engineering that you did?

Me: in our plant we have an existing process. I was asked modify existing process and do small changes to the existing equipment. I was not asked to do complete overhaul even though I had the freedom. I should've replaced the existing process sir.

P1: first of all, what you say is not frugal engineering. Then, why do want to go for different process? And why were you asked to do frugal engineering?

Me: Current process has very low efficiency and I wanted better efficiency in a stipulated time. So changing the process only will help. Then we were not given enough fund, therefore we did frugal engineering.

P1: you are saying too many stuff. Stick to a single point. Fund and efficiency are different things. Don't confuse me. (But they asked me two questions and I gave two answers. Probably, lack of differentiation between two answers created that confusion)

P1: what was the new process that you want to propose?

Me: explained a continuous process with acid coming from one end and silicon carbide coming from other end.

P1: (seemed uninterested) ok.

Looking at P2, anything else?

P2: Shriram, do you follow news. What newspaper you read?

Me: Sir, I don't read newspaper, I use a mobile app.

P2: ooh! What is that app?

Me: it's a swipe thing. You have to swipe to get news. (forgot the name flipboard... Idiotic me!)

P2: oh! Swipe thing interesting.

Me: it's known for swiping sir. It's called flipboard. (at last)

P2: so, how it works!

Me: this app is special. We can follow topics that we like based on our interest.

P2: so Shriram, what do you follow?

Me: sir, I love following technology and about space. I love astrophysics and astronomics

P2: what is astronomics?

Me: sir, it's the study of celestial bodies around us. Like moon, sun etc.,

P2: Oh really.. Did you hear about that recent discoveryyyyyyyy....?

Me: Big smile on my face.. (Finally something that I love to talk) It's gravitational waves sir.

P2: Yeah.. Gravitational waves. So what is gravitational (saw me smiling big, probably guessed that I would give an exotic answer). Let me rephrase the question, why is this gravitational waves discovery important to a common man like me, not to space lovers like you?

Me: smiling.. This discovery is not only a discovery for Science. It's one of the greatest milestones for the entire human race!

P1: smiling

P2: really?

Me: yes sir! So far we have seen the universe by our eyes. Galileo found telescope and basically all that we know, all that we saw are using our eyes. We have done that for centuries. It's just a limited spectrum. Hubble telescope can see only visible light. But with that, we found black holes, proton stars and earth like planets.. Now we detected something which we can't see. And something which is prevalent throughout the universe. So detecting that non visible waves, opens up a new door for us to see the universe in an entirely different way.

P2: You know any other telescope? Me: No sir.

P2: hmm ok. Looks at P1.

P2: Shriram , you can leave.

P1: take a toffee Shriram

Bunch of yellow toffees with only one red toffee. Took the red one. Don't know why!?

My remarks: Not a great interview. Couldn't finish my answers when I desired the most. Panel seemed uninterested after some point. Needed something extra ordinary for selection. I was the last person person to be selected for IIMA interview according to IIMA selection criteria given in the website. I needed a home run.. Unfortunately couldn't get one!