Friday, February 27, 2009

The Big B

I reached the venue 45 minutes before time but had search for my interview hall in the huge and majestic Habitat World at India Habitat Center. My group had 8 people(including 2 girls) most of whom had work-ex ( Only 2 were freshers), in some cases as much as 3.5 yrs. :O The panel consisted of an Old Lady(Who at the end of my interview identified herself as Malathi) and a relatively young man (Anil Suraj), both from the area of Public Policy. Our Group discussion topic was whether India should spend on Manned mission to moon or instead should spend on addressing current issues like poverty, illiteracy etc. The GD was unexpectedly messy with 4-5 people ending up talking at the same time on some occasions. The girls were dominating but I could not stop them as it is suggested not to interrupt girls and also because there was a lady member in panel. :D I was also put in a corner that was close to the panel which made the matters that much tougher. I, literally, had to force my way into the discussion for the first couple of times. We had to write the summary of the GD in 10 minutes after 20 minutes of discussion.

Mine was the first interview. (From here on I will refer to lady as M and the guy as A)
(I tried to hand over the certis to the lady but she refused. The guy asked for them and looked at them.)
M:So, you are studying 4th yr in Comp Sci. at IIT Kanpur?
V:Yes, Ma'm.
M:When are you going to complete it?
V: By the end of April.
A: So, which political party do you support?
V:(perplexed at the first question)errrr.... BJP.
A: Why?
V:I am disgusted with pseudo-secularism etc etc.
A: Define secularism.
V:blah blah.
A:Ok. So, pseudo secularism is blah blah. and you believe its existing.
V:Quoted PM's statement "Minorities shall have the first right over the country's resources".
A: He did?
V: Yes, sir. He did at some conference.
A: But, these people are backward. You need to develop them etc.
V: Sure, the opportunities are there blah blah.
M: But not all people are at the same level.
V: I agree, but I don't think religion or caste as a basis of reservation is justified.
Then topic shifted to reservations, creamy layer etc etc.
A: But, who brought these reservations.
V: VP Singh.
A: No, thats okay but this creamy layer thing is proposed by BJP etc etc.
V: Every body is bad, its just the qstn of choosing the less evil.
(continuing) Lok Satta party in AP...
V: Then why did you say its the party that you support, I dint say it had to be popular one. etc etc

The discussion diverted a bit towards leadership, to be able to sell ideas etc etc

M:Ok. So, what is Chiranjeevi doing in AP.
V: Same mess. caste-based politics blah blah.
A:So, do you vote?
V: No, I didn't till now, I am getting my voter card.(:P)
A:IOMG! You are not entitled to have opinions. You don't even vote.
I explained that I was in the process of getting one.
A: (smiling) Ok. So, a committee has been set up. huh..
V: (smiling) Yes, sir.

A: How did the GD go?
Then we discussed about the GD, how it is, whether a position where a person is seated matters, if so, what should be the strategy of a person sitting in my place(corner) and whether or not I did it etc etc.
M:What if you don't get selected:
V: Work for sometime, then do an MBA. eventually wanna start off.
M:Any ideas?
V: No. but find get some (and sort of answered why MBA there itself)
A:Ok. So, what are your other interests?
blah blah
A:What's the special thing associated with Shakespeare's b'day.
A:Ok. FYI his DoB and DoD are the same!!
A:What do you think about the Oscar hype? Should we care?
Then I told them how much I hated Slumdog millionaire giving reasons and dismissed it as a masala film.

M:Ok. So, do you think it'd have won an oscar with an Indian as a director.
V: No. blah blah
Then some more discussion.

M and A: Ok. Ask us anything if you wanna ask?
blah blah.

The interview lasted for about 25-30 minutes with 0% acads. Couldn't have asked for more!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My K-experience

Here I go, penning down the proceedings of my Kozhikode Gd/PI experience, a full 30 hours later. This was my first interview, with the remaining five lined up over the next few days.
I took a train from from Kanpur to Delhi on 16th and it took only 12 hours to reach!! (What an auspicious beginning :D) To make my matters worse, then I got stuck in the traffic jam and finally managed to reach IIT-D at 8:30 in the night. (I left IIT K at 5 in the morning) I caught some sleep amidst the noise of speakers in the hostel and the aeroplanes, got up at 6:30 and reached my venue by about 8:15, a good 45 minutes before time. Bhal was already there.

By about nine, a prof came out and read out the names of people according to the panels(there were three). There were 11 people in eachI was in panel-2. The profs introduced themselves, Dr. Bhatt was wearing a suit and the other person was ramesh (He had a scarily long beard a la Shibu Soren :P)

Now, moving on to the more important things, we were given piece of an article about Kerala where the people had basic amenities but had virtualy no disposable income. We were given 5 minutes to go through the piece, and then 20 minutes to discuss. There was no summary. As soon as the prof. said start, a guy went off like Usain Bolt, talking about arbit crap like interim budget and what not! This kickstarted the chaotic next 20 mins. I tried to enter the GD for first 5 minutes but coudn't. I managed to make 3,4 entries and I think I made some decent enough points. That was it. Then we were told that we are to appear r the interviews in the same order as we sat for the GD. I was the eighth guy and had to wait for 2.5 hours before I got in. I acquainted myself with some people in thw meanwhile.

(I will now refer to Bhatt as B and ramesh as R. I am V.)

V:(smiling and handing over certis) Hello Sir!
B and R: Hello, have a seat!
B: Tell us about yourself.
V: I was born in..........................I am a passionate quizzer and am interested in history, sports, politics, literature and movies.
B: Ok. So, you got placed?
V: Yes sir, at Deloitte Consulting.
B:Nature of work?
V: related to data mining blah blah.
B: How many of your batchmates got placed?
V: I think about 55 percent , Sir.
B: Why so low?
V:Global recession.
B:What is recession?
V:(defined it)
B:So what happens then.
V: consumption goes low etc etc.
B: So, is India affected? In what way?
V: explained which sectors will be affected. which will remain stable etc etc.
B: what can the government do?
V: ensure credit and encourage entrepreneurs etc etc.
B:When demand is falling how can entrepreneurs survive.
V: there is always demand for cost effective solutions blah blah citing examples of microsft, apple, dell that emerged out of 1980's recession.
B:But there was demand for PCs
V: No sir, I think till the first PC was released I don't think there was market because people never knew what a PC could do.
B: Ok. What else can the government do.
V:give tax cuts a la Obama. :D
R: (Taking over, looking at my form) So, you are a quizzer, huh!
V:(Smiling) Yes Sir, I am.
R: Tell me the difference between a manager and a leader.
V: Leader is visionary, sees beyond what others can make out, takes people along with him etc. while manager optimises and maximises the efficiency or output.
V:Steve Jobs. creating markets etc etc.
B: Indian context?
V:(thought) Satyam's outsourcing funda.
R:Ok. name a few managers who are not leaders.
V: (duh!!) Sir, I can't think of any. but may be the second rung executives of the companies could be an example.
R: Okay, what about Sridharan?
V:(interjecting) The Delhi metro rail guy?
R: yes, is he a leader or manager?
V: Can I take a minute?
R:yes, sure. you can.
V: I think he's more of a manager than a leader (explained it)
R: what about the father of the nation?
V:Gandhi? I think he's a leader. because he mobilized the support of the masses which was previously not there.
R: Sam Pitroda?
V: Definitely a leader, Sir. Pioneered telecom revolution, currently knowledge commission chairman etc.
B:(suddenly noticed something) Your GPA in first two years is 5.6 but you were getting 96.9 in twelfth and 93 in tenth.
V:(Oh no!! not again) infinite freedom, got lost.. blah blah
R: your rank in your class?
V:no formal notion.
R:(smiling) informally?
V:blah blah.
R:Thats not high.
V:Yes sir. It is low. but we also should consider the fact that we are looking at a class consisting of the top 129 rankers of the JEE.
R:But, you could've done better.
V:I should've done better.
R:(correcting himself) yes, yes. you should've.
R:You've done anything in accounting, finance?
V:No, Sir.
R: Projects in Core courses?
V:blah blah
R:(some qstn related to career aspirations)
V:blah blah.
R:role model?
V:(continuing) he was ambitious, very ambitious... may be to the point of being foolish. He was a great leader, had a holistic view of all things and wasn't myopic. (gave some examples from his life)

R and B: (looking at each other and then at me) All the best.
V:Thank you, Sir.

In all, it lasted for about 25-30 minutes.