"Yes you may put your foot in your mouth now sir...":
Just back from my IIMK interview and GD session and they went along very very well.
Intro: Went to Loyola in Chennai and got down from the auto at the gate. Then I find out that the venue (LIBA) is a very long walk from the gate. So I had to make a decently long march to find the venue. Already sweaty, dirty and crumbled shirt and tie, i.e. ideal Indian Manager. Once there, there was a waiting room with an interview hall on either side. There were I guess around 14 people, with one girl who had come for a change of date. She was the only one who appeared too aggro and well had a pretty big attitude problem. At around 11:20 or so four panel members walked in, led by a rather snappy guy in a brown safari suit. He did the introductions, split the groups and we left for the GD. There were two panels, I got the brown safari (the leader I gathered), and a nice youngish chap. Very nice, warm and sweet guys.
GD: We went in for the gd, and the topic was, "Young graduates, show less loyalty and leave jobs quickly, should they be made to pay compensation to their employers." Again like at IIMA, a guy started too quickly, and was told to hold on. The aggro girl was in our panel. We had a three member team from IITM and one guy was particularly aggro. However I made maybe four attempts but the GD was always on the verge of breaking into a fish market, and there was too much one-up-man ship going on. I though making a few crisp points and retreating was the best method, but no structure at all, and really did not go anywhere. I did ok I guess, but the group was really not upto scratch. The girl in particular was screaming all over the place, a few guys didnt contribute anything much. GD was ended by the Brown Safari (BS). And the interview started soon after, I was second on the list.
Interview: The first guy came out and mentioned have a good reason for MBA. I went in sat down and they took my form. I was asked to say a few things about myself. Started on about what I do now, schooling, college, CIC repping, work ex, why MBA, mid, long and longer term plans, interests, hobbies, passion and well ended it. (a minute and a half maybe, but thats what set the stage for the interview, a real life saver and tactic worked perfectly). He asked my about why I want to do an MBA, and I said to start a company and for the IIM brand (BS actually liked the second reason a lot) . The Young chap (YC) delved into what prompted me to be an entrepreneur, and I gave examples from Work ex and some personal idealistic stuff (corny, idealistic but sincere..) YC took up maybe five minutes, while BS went through the form. But he remebered a lot from my intro...(i.e. my reply to "Tell me arbit self-praising dogmatic statements about yourself...") YC was thorough in making sure of my eagerness to start a company. And I had mentioned that I want to serve the Indian consumer, and he grilled me on that too, but it was peace. Threw in a few references about Ford, Amul, Asian Paints etc. It was very good. Then the BS guy picked up about Behram Contractor, my favorite author, thats when the interview went totally into history and thinking and Indian attitudes, really my areas of speciality. He had read Contractor too, and we had a nice time discussing about that. He then asked me what I was reading right now (A history of the twentieth century) and had a nice talk about that too. He mentioned I was good in history for my age. A reference about my schooling, what I thought were reasons for where the country is today (as in attitude wise, not geographically), my experiences and all. Very good, and right up my alley of fave speech subjects. Then we were talking about justice and things legal. Finally he asked me f I though India had a chance to improve, I said yes with some attitude changes. I mentioned how in the last two years, I had been approached only once for a bribe, and things are not as bad as we think. BS was like "At your age do not pay bribes, and all of us are not chronic bribers and all..." Good natured of course, but thats the only time he looked like being an IIM prof. He agreed with me on numerous issues and was very very appreciative of 99% of my views and philosophy (there is no other way to describe the stuff I said, not for the light hearted...). Finally they exchanged looks, looked pleased, (pleased with me, or to see me off... I dont know.....), and said "thats it, well Sunny best of luck for your career, and your future, may all your hopes come true" or some such thing. I asked if I had bored them with my ideals, and they said "No we are here to hear all you have to say and we have heard everything." YC had nice pleasant look on his face, and BS was snappy as usual but well I had nice little feeling he enjoyed himself. I left feeling mighty good. The one adjective I could use was that the interview was 100% sincere and well connected....
All in all I would grade it in the high nineties out of hundred. Could really be honest and passionate about a lot of things. I would have spoken for a good ten of the fifteen minutes. Only the bribe statement in the end would prevent me from giving it a full hundred on hundred. Had I made that statement in the beginning it may have been a whole different ball game. So like Sachin almost a century but caught out by inches. But 98 nonetheless. They did not go through portfolio, and went through only the form. The impression I got was that the two profs on my panel let you speak yourself into a hole, I did not, was consistent in views and all. 10 for atmosphere, 9 for content, 10 for effect, 10 for factual correctness, 8 for eye contact, 7 for the venue (no ac, scary rooms, looked a lot like the customs offices in Bombay airport..thats from my shady past....), 9 for the panel, again had an excellent, and sweet panel, 6 for the GD (it was group dishum- dishum). Over all like I said def. 95 plus on hundred. So a good day out. (By the way, marks I gave above are out of ten, please dont think it is out of 15 and give me a complex...)
Advice to junta: that "tell me about yourself" is a killer invitation to control the interview, sit up straight and make the hot air count. Be really passionate about something, (you can be just passionate about nothing in particular, but its impossible I have tried it, works with a few profs at rect though...), and throw good facts names, and things, keep the interview coherent and all. I can of course give you the fundas in person, but thats 200 bucks an hour, (150 bucks an hour over a sponsored meal....) ....and thats sponsored by you.....(not vice versa....)
Sidin out (out of this email, but not out of K I hope....).