Posted by: SATYASRINIVAS | April 7, 2007

gd, interview

IIM Kozhikode GD/PI

(Recording my experiences at this year’s IIM GD/PIs, hopefully this would help someone.)

My GD/PI was scheduled at 2:00 PM, I reached IIM Bangalore around 1-1:05. At around 1:45 PM we were taken in for cursory check of certificates and attendance. Then we were spilt in three panels and taken into seperate parts of the building.

Group Discussion :
We were given an excerpt from Utopia (Thomas More) which talked about how “so many poor die every year while if we survey the granaries of the rich, there will be more than enough food to feed the poor“, something of the same effect. I thought it was a typical communist manifest. We were seated around a rectangular table with 5 people on each side. I was sitting farthest from the panel and rather eclipsed behind 4 other candidates. Though I tried to get involved in the discussion, the seating was really an huge disadvantage and I didn’t say much in the GD. Still, I won’t say it was one of the fish-market GDs. One of my friends had the GD in the morning and their topic was about how sensex is a real indicator of the growth in the Indian economy.

Personal Interview :
(By amazing stroke of luck, I got the same professor (P1) to take my interview who took my interview last year. More amazingly, he remembered me! There was one more professor(P2) in the panel.)
P1: You didn’t speak much in the GD.
(I was hoping they would start with the customary “tell me about yourself” question.)
Me: Sir I was seated at a rather disadvantageous position, eclipsed behind others. I had few points to make and I tried to get involved but I couldn’t.
(P2 smiles)
P1: Ok, I’ll give you another chance.
Me: I think the paragraph given to me was a typical communist manifest. I’m not in favor of distributing the results but the opportunities among all. The poor must be given the opportunities to earn for themselves. You give them fish for one day and they’ll come back to you the next day, but if you teach them fishing, they’ll be self-sufficient.
P2: But do you think it talked about the distribution?
Me: I talked about the disparity between the riches of rich & the conditions of the poor. It emphasizes on a fairer redistribution of wealth.
P2: Forget about the distribution for a while and then think what was it saying.
Me: It basically talked about the purchasing power of poor and how they aren’t able to fulfil the basic requiements.
P1: Tell me about {my company}.
Me: {Some general things about the company then about my work in the company}.
P1: Varun, you’re getting X amount of money here. You might not get so much after your MBA.
Me: Money is not the main motive for me. I’m looking at the bigger picture and I feel in the long run the value added to my profile will be more useful.
P1: You’ve written about the essay competition. Tell me more about the competition; what was the topic?
Me: The topic was about using strategic innovation to solve real life problems. I wrote about dealing with the problems pertaining to the corrupt traffic policemen. I suggested we give the policemen a cut from the eligible challans made so they get some incentive to make right challans rather than taking bribes. Similarly, the drivers too must get some incentives for paying up the fine and not the bribe. For this the fine can be made tax exempted.
P1: So do you think this incentive mechanism can be used in solving all kinds of problems.
Me: A mix of incentives & punishments. Hindu philosophy has a concept of “Danda” which is all about incentives & punishments..
P1: Basically carrot & stick. Incentives or punishments.
Me: Yeah, a mix of them.
P1: Do you know about a study of this system?
Me: ummm..
P1: Have you heard of Game Theory?
Me: No sir.
P1: Ok.
(Then we talked about film reviews, I had written that I review films for a website and for my blog. They asked me about the criteria. I talked about RDB & Yuva. They asked about cross-over cinema and asked me to name few movies. I talked about Gurindar Chaddha. They asked me to review “Bend it like Beckham”.)

If you attended the mock PI sessions by TIME, you might assume interviewers are blood-thirsty hounds who’d nail you down as soon as you enter the room. Believe me, that’s not the case. Anyhow, you should try to get hold of the reins of interview and steer it towards your strong points. Show them how well you’d fit into an MBA program and how you’re an ideal candidate. 15-20 minutes aren’t too many, plan well in advance about what to say.

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