IIM Calcutta – Personal Interview ExperiencesAnisha Mukhija
SUDARSHAN SINGH CHAUHAN
I was 4th in my panel
Date: 12th March 2012
Time: 4:22 PM
Confidence 9.5/10 (.5 cause of all the current affairs I heard they were asking and some statistics questions like variance and some other stuff which I just don’t get. Also, there was no lady in my panel, damn!!)
Preparation 2/10 (2 points thanks to IIM L interview, that’s it. I had no mock GD or mock interview.)
There were 3 people in the panel:
Alumni (A): Young looking person probably in the late 30s, looks cool and calm. He is seated on the extreme left.
Professor 1 (P1): Probably in the 60s, looks serious, doesn’t look like the guy who would return you a smile. He is sitting in the middle.
Professor 2 (P2): Late 50s, he smiles, looks like a person who is happy with his life. He is on the right.
Me (M): All my thoughts are in italic, just to make clear, what I am saying and what I am thinking.
M: Good Afternoon Sir
P1: Good afternoon, please take the seat.
There is a huge table between us, I have my folder in my hands, I look for a chance to pass it to them, but no one looks very much interested, they are looking at some documents or something else. I just keep it with me and sit down.
P1: What are you doing right now?
M: Sir, I am at 4th-year IT-BHU, Ceramic Engineer. (Wasn’t clear enough)
M: I am currently in my 4th year at IT-BHU, doing Ceramic Engineering, though I am working as a Game Designer right now.
A: Game designing, such as games for EA Sports, Lan Gaming?
I have this cool smile on my face all this time, don’t know why but I guess it’s the word ‘Game’ that bring it to my face
M: Sir, I started my company in 2nd year Bright Ants with the aim to develop social games for all platforms starting with Facebook.
A: What are your views about LAN Gaming, EA Sports, etc.
M: There is a difference between traditional games and online games, social games.
A: Online Games, so you mean games from Zynga?
M: Yes sir, I worked as a game designer in Zynga recently in December and January for 2 months. They had come to campus for recruitment of engineering profile, but during the interview, it changed direction and I ended up as a game designer. As they had never hired a fresher as a game designer so I was asked for an internship. I talked with my HOD and he gave me permission for some time.
A: So, what are your views about it?
M: Sir, Social gaming is here to stay, it’s not a bubble waiting to burst. Zynga a few years back was considered nothing as compared to EA Sports which was 5 Billion dollar company. Recently, in December when Zynga IPO was launched it was valued at 10 Billion and since then the share price has increased from 10 USD to 14.65 USD.
A: So, you’re wasting your talent by doing an MBA. I knew it was coming sooner or later, here comes the most important question, Why MBA?
M: Sir, as an MBA, I would learn a lot, it will help me learn and evolve as an individual.
A: I honestly can’t find one reason for you to do an MBA.
M: Sir, I have not done an MBA, so I don’t know about the course structure and what I am going to learn, but there would be a lot to learn not just from my teachers but also from my peers. P3 looks quite happy, he has been happy throughout, maybe he just likes my face.
A: You’re not getting my point, there is no point for you to do an MBA, just run your company, you’re good at it, why become a manager?
M: Sir, as an MBA, I would learn to better manage myself, my company, my team. He looks somewhat satisfied, looks towards other professors. There is a silence for some time. I intervene.
M: Also, 10 years down the line, I would like to take my family business to new heights. I knew the conversation was going nowhere, and I did not want to come to Current Affairs or tech questions, my only bet was to take it towards Tourism industry, though I had not done anything for it, nor was I prepared but it still seemed a safe call. I knew at least why MBA would end now!! 3-sec pause, I was exploring the uncharted territory now, waiting for them to ask “What Business?”
P1: What business?
M: Hotel Business. We have 4 properties, 2 running, and 2 under development. We have recently tied up with Royal Orchid in Jodhpur. I assume they know the name Royal Orchid.
P1: Tourism is a risky business. Is there guaranteed income and revenue?
M: No sir, it depends on various factors, like for example in Rajasthan, it is dependent largely on international tourists. So, in case of a global epidemic like anthrax in early 2000, it was a big hit on the industry. Also, if there are any terrorist threats in the country it affects directly to industry. I was not paying attention to grammar, nor am I very good at it. So, you’re expected to see more mistakes in one paragraph then probably in a whole essay. That’s the way it works for me, I just keep saying something that makes my ideas or views clear enough.
P1: Isn’t it overcrowded already?
M: Actually not, In India there is actually a need to increase the number of budget rooms. The global ratio of a luxury room to budget room is 1:7 whereas in India it is only 1:1. So, we have a lot of scope for development here.
P1: Do you know how many are business or travel?
M: Sir, I don’t know the exact numbers, but it actually depends what place we are looking at, like in metro cities Delhi, Bangalore, business travelers are high, and in Rajasthan, Varanasi tourists are more. My confidence was kind of skyrocketing at this moment, I knew I was timing it the middle of the bat.
P1: What is the future of this sector? He looks serious all the time, I wonder if he’s ever going to smile. Maybe he just had a bad lunch.
M: Sir, it is a service based business, I personally feel it’s got the huge untapped potential that we need to utilize. For example, when I was in Germany(I had to put it somewhere about my internship) last year, I used to travel a lot around Europe on weekends. So, they have so much developed their any small historical building, they will project it as a must see. I was super excited this time, making all sorts of weird hand signs and facial expressions, kind of like telling a story. As soon as you arrive at any station, they obviously have an exceptional transportation system. But, they would give you these very good, creative pamphlets, brochure of their city, specially made for youth. Whereas in India, even the great Chouhan Fort of Ajmer is degrading (the best word that came to my mind, I know I suck at vocabulary and everything related to English). We need a lot of efforts from government, individuals to promote Terrorism, O! I mean Tourism (I am laughing and so are they) definitely not terrorism.
A: you want to promote terrorism?
M: Laughing, literally No I am fine with tourism, no terrorism.
P1: Hmmm, but don’t you think it’s overexploitation, I mean when more people will go, it becomes damaged. So, in order to protect it, you need to stop tourism. It sounded absurd, and I was confident that I could tackle this illogical conclusion.
M: Sir, I understand what you’re trying to say, for example, you reach on the top of Sand dunes in Jaisalmer, and you see coke bottles, wafer packets lying around, you won’t like it. You might like it the first time, but you won’t like to recommend it for next time. It becomes a onetime experience, I won’t be recommending it to my friends.
P1: So, you’re getting my point, you need to stop tourists to make it clean.
M: Sir, I personally believe everyone should take a break and travel around, relax a bit and enjoy their life. I don’t know why I said those words; it was totally out of context. He shows a disappointed look.
P1: What I mean is that you’re damaging the environment.
M: Sir, government is not doing adequate efforts. So, now it becomes the duty of the businessman to make sure they keep it clean because their business is dependent on it. I knew I was beating around the bush, how could I be trapped in such an illogical inference. I was losing some vital confidence here, but I knew I had to hold ground anyhow.
P1: You know even Mount Everest it getting dirty, the beautiful Ajanta and Ellora caves are not even close to what they were 10 years before. He gets a bit loud trying to prove his point.
M: Sir, I agree to with you on the problem, and If you are saying such a case in Ajanta and Ellora caves then it must be true, but your suggestion of stopping tourism will affect a lot of people who are dependent on it. Again I am talking nonsense here, but whatever I am doing I make sure I at least look confident.
P1: That is not the issue, see tourism is like Petroleum, it’s a depletable resource, more you use it, it will not be available for future generations, like you use petrol, so it will end one day. I have a really broad smile on my face.
M: Sir to me that sort of solution is not a solution, but rather not attempting the problem, you’re trying to run away from the problem, I am sure there is a better solution which is more efficient, we need to look at alternatives for effective usage. I have no clue what I am saying, but I am saying it clear and I am sure Tourism is not Petroleum, so I would get some points soon.
P1: What is effective usage? Caves are dying!! A flash of bright light, I got an idea. I am way more confident now. So, I start speaking a bit more affirmative, while making all sorts of weird hand signs and expressions
M: Sir, take the example of the Eiffel Tower. You don’t let 1,000 people go top, you have to stand in a queue, wait for your turn, you have to preserve it. When people come down then the next group is allowed to go top if they are done for the day, then nobody can go. They have different levels and charge differently according to each level. You don’t rush people in. I am saying the same thing again and again, yeah!! I got a point this time. So, in our case, if we cannot manage 1,000 people inside the case, we need to limit them. If we don’t have enough resources or manpower to manage a large group, we keep it to a limit to make sure it’s not damaged any further due to overcrowding. This way we presever the scenic beauties for our future generations, make sure our natural resources don’t vanish and people enjoy tourism to it’s maximum potential I knew I had nailed it here this time.
P1 and P2: And how would you distribute the tickets, first come first serve or auction based, because according to Supreme Court auction is the best form of distributing a resource which has supply and demand. See, there is a demand for it and supply, so there should be an auction? I have a smile as usual, though I wonder where did this come from, weren’t we discussing Tourism and Petroleum.
M: I don’t think so, then you’re limiting the experience to the rich, everybody has equal right to travel, enjoy the beauty, have fun, so auction can’t be the method.
P2: You’re talking about experience, so a poor person who eats at Dhaba( mind you, lot of people eat at dhaba and they are not poor, but I decided to skip this one with him) should just go to the 5-star hotel and claim to have equal rights to that experience of a lunch at 5-star, you can’t limit him from that according to your logic. Now I am smiling so wide, I have a look like “are you kidding me?”
M: Sir, when you are using a natural resource or something that belongs to everyone like Sand Dunes, or Caves, you cannot sell it on a higher price cause it belongs to everyone, but when I talk about a 5-star experience that’s what I have made, I have every right to sell it at whatever price I want. I am not forcing anybody to come and pay me for it, everyone is free to either use it or not use it, but because it belongs to me I have every right to charge whatever I want. P3 nods his head and smiles, P2 has his looks.
P2: But, whatever you do, whenever there is a demand and there is a supply there would be black marketing and people would be willingly selling their places at higher prices. See, there are some temples which are free to visit, but they have long queues where you have to wait for hours or even days maybe, but if you’re willing to pay a luxury fee you can get entrance easily. So, whatever you do it will always happen. I was wondering if they would get on the ethical question of if it’s right or wrong because that would be a real tough nut to crack, but they did not ask it.
M: Sir, I agree with whatever you have said, I would like to point out a recent example about which I was reading recently. In Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary there used to be bookings online for travel visits. So, travel agents used to book online early and then sell their seats later on exorbitant prices. So, what they have done now is you need to have an ID proof for using your ticket later on. I think the same can be done in all cases where we want to protect the place from Black marketing. Anybody who wants to use it must bring in his ID-proof at the time of visiting. I think this will largely solve the problems. I was happy nobody questioned the ethics of visiting temples by paying prices, relieved. They all looked pretty satisfied now.
A: So, I am done, sir.
P1: I am done too.
P2: But, you cannot let him have such a free ride, you have to put him under the grill. 3-5 Sec Pause I am smiling, overconfident look as usual. Kind of like “Bring it On”. I was wondering should I express Poker interest right now. Right then, the thunderstruck
A: Alright, so “What is Integration?” I hear it the first time but he wasn’t clear. So I ask again hoping it’s not the ‘I’ word.
A: “What’s integration?” I Smile
M: Sir, integration is basically Summation of values over a period. I have this look like, yeah, cool, it’s this thing. Though it was pretty clear I was not in my comfort zone.
A: So, you know what’s integration right, you know it’s ‘dx’ and over the area under the curve basically.
M: Yes, I know.
A: So, can you please integrate “X^2 +2” from 0-2 without integrating but using summation.
M: I can take 10-20 seconds.
A: Yeah I take the paper with a pencil, start cribbing something on the paper, wondering why the hell I had to stick up with integration, why would it come back to haunt me in my interview. Why do you always have to pay for your bad deeds? After, thinking about these thoughts for some time.
M: Sir, I am a bit confused, So I can’t actually integrate He laughs off
A: Obviously, integrating directly is going to be very easy. Take another 15 seconds wondering, the curve would go up. At 0 value is 2, at 1 value is 3 and at 2 value is 5. Can I approximate this thing somehow?
M: Sir, actually I am not able to focus right now on the question
A: He smiles, Why?
M: I don’t know, maybe it’s the interview pressure or something else, but my mind is not able to solve this one right now.
A: What exactly is going through your mind?
M: It’s just blank right now. Otherwise, I would have solved this one easily. Sir, I can give you an approximate answer.
A: Can you give an exact answer?
M: ‘No’ Only if I would have done something productive at that time, maybe only drawing the curve I would have solved this one, but, alas I had to wonder about Integration and its love with me.
A: Ok, what is differentiation?
M: Differentiation is basically rate-of-change-of..value.. of …curve. It is the slope of the curve. Making sure I extend each vowel to its maximum limits, I answered in that tone.
A: Ok, So, can you differentiate Mod X Cube? I start writing something on my paper. After 5 seconds. A: Ok, can you differentiate Mod X? I again start writing something. After 3 seconds
A: Do you know what Mod X is? I start smiling loud, draw Mod X graph point it towards him
M: Yeah this one I know. Show it to him, with a way too big a smile in the lost cause. He is also smiling.
A: So, can you differentiate it?
M: No, sir we cannot differentiate it because it has 2 values at 0. I know it’s a noob answer, but, that is how my calculus is, I don’t get limits, and that sign of integration itself creeps me out. Why is that the case with me? It is a totally different story, completely beyond the scope of this interview.
A: How It has 2 values?
M: Sir, as on the positive side value is +1 and on the negative side value is -1. So, we cannot have a fixed value at 0, so we cannot differentiate it. Totally, nonengineer style answer continues.
A: Don’t use the graph to explain, explain in terms of logic. Ok, tell me what can you differentiate?
M: Sir, we need the graph to be continuous to be differentiable (Seriously shows my lack of knowledge in the field, don’t think I was in pressure, it’s just that I don’t know even basic calculus).
A: And what is continuous? This answer is going to be awesome.
M: Sir, continuous is that which we can differentiate. I have a wide smile on my face, he laughs.
A: Don’t make a loop and even that is incorrect.
P1: You see that Mod X graph is continuous or not?
M: It is continuous.
M: Yes, so not necessarily continuous graphs can be differentiable, they should not have a sudden change in their slope.
P1: Listen, it’s like this, the limit RHS value is not equal to Limit LHS value, so we cannot have a single value. I keep nodding my head heavily while saying yes sir, yes sir.
P1: You can also look at the graph and tell it.
M: Sir, I was explaining it from Graph, but he (I look at A) told me to explain without graph. I wanted to say this only that the slope is not continuous. Actually, sir, I have been completely out of touch of integration from the last 4 years, otherwise, I used to be very good at this before. I have a familiar smile on my face.
A, P1, P2: Thank you.
M: Thank you. I stand to leave and notice that the folder was with me only the whole time. Damn, why did I not pass it in the beginning? I wonder if I should pass it now. Anyways, it’s already too late. I walk slowly towards the door, pause for .5 sec in between and then just go through it wondering Did I screw it up bad? What do you guys think? Let me know. I missed out on a lot of things, few of the game design documents in my folder, one research report, my intern at IIM A, my independent applications, some cool projects. Pretty sure if I had passed that folder things would have been different. But, all’s well that ends. Can’t say ‘ends well’ here
Time: 4:50 PM
UPDATE: 11th April 2012 Selected
IIM Calcutta Interview: The Blood Bath
Profile: B. Tech. , Final Year, Electronics and Communication, Delhi Technological University (DCE).
10th/12th/Grad: 89%, 88.8%, 63%, CAT: 99.84 Percentile
There are three panelists, all males. Professor of Economics to my left (Econ), a younger professor in front (Prof), alumnus to my right (Alum). I’m the second last to go in.
Alum: So why is there an extra N in your name?
Me: <Told> * He starts smiling*.
Prof: So did your life change?
Me: My life has been good lately, so I have no reason to complain. *All smile*
Prof: *Looks at my form* Everything is fine, why 63% in college? (Damn)
Me: Sir, only initially the scores were low, then they rose.
Prof: Yes, but why? (I try to underplay and move on. He pushes a lot)
Me: I was a topper throughout school, but there was resentment coz of missing a seat of a decent course at IIT by a small margin, so I neglected acads. Later I realized my mistake, scores have been rising consistently, scored 78% in the latest sem.
Alum: Missed kya, you mean rank nahi aayi? What did you get at IIT?
Me: Metallurgy at IIT Roorkee.
Alum: So Delhi Technological University… Admission was through rank or board exams. I tell AIEEE. He asks rank, I tell.
Alum: Which calls do you have?
Me: C, L, I, K
Alum: So Calcutta is your best shot.
Me: Yes, sir.
Alum: Okay tell me, will the normal curve touch the x-axis?
Me: In the graphs we see, it does. May I use the notepad.
Alum: You’ll make the graph touch now. What’s the point.
Me: Sir I’m writing the equation. *I write the equation* It has to tend to infinity, so it’ll never exactly be zero, so no. Alum nods.
Econ: What is the standard form of Normal curve?
Me: Sir, N(0,1). Both nod.
Prof: *Stares at me deeply as if he can see through my soul* So, Why MBA?
Me: I want to have a venture of my own down the line. Given my experience from my internships, I would want to get into the social sector. So immediately after education, I want to get into business consulting to gain insight into the industries, gain exposure on solving problems, blah.. *Prof literally rolls his eyes*.
Alum: Why not invest now? You’ll invest Rs 10, make it 100. Turn 100 into 1000. That’s what an entrepreneur does.
Me: Sir, chances of failure are much higher without proper education and experience.
Alum: But you’ll lose only 10 Rs.
Me: Sir, there is an added cost of time and effort. And I still feel that I’ll be better off with proper education.
Prof: What are the qualities an entrepreneur must have?
Me: I start listing, he writes them down as I speak. First and foremost, Resourcefulness. Leadership. Creative thinking. Specialization in a field. *Alum cuts me*
Alum: What is leadership?
Me: (After thinking): Sir, leadership is the art of extracting the best out of people based on their potential, and helping them align with their goals.
Alum: If you get an on-campus opportunity to pursue entrepreneurship from DTU, will you take it?
Me: Definitely not sir. I want to gain experience first.
Alum: That’s talking like an employee, not a leader.
Me: I wouldn’t want to take a hasty decision without equipping myself with the required skills. *Nods.*
Alum: Give an example of specialization helping an entrepreneur.
Me: After thinking 5 secs. I briefly cite the example of Elon Musk, his specialization in physics, his education, his work on electric cars and space tech.
Prof: Give me an example where someone created something after creative thinking.
Me: <I begin to give the examples of Uber and Zomato, Deepinder Goyal being a strategy consultant.>
Prof (cuts in): Tangible item batao. You are also from the transport business (father’s business in the form), you know these are aggregators.
Me: <I give the example of wearable tech for women security by a startup of our college.>
Prof: What if I hug the girl and the device gets pressed?
Me: Sir, the device needs to be pressed twice in quick succession. So that’s highly unlikely.
Prof: Haan still, I hug her and it gets pressed twice?
Me: There wasn’t any solution yet while I was working with them. Later it must have been solved. Probably the distress signal can be canceled by the app to prevent hoax calls. That’s a viable solution. *Alum nods*
Alum: Is there any tech which revolutionized the electronics industry?
Me: Sir, the transistor. When in the 1920s they were developed, *Prof cuts says don’t tell stories*
Me: Sir, it is coz of transistors that we have such high computational capacity in our devices today.
Alum: I think it’s the bulb. It doubled your day. Without that, the transistor would never have been made.
Me: Sir, the transistor could have been developed… during the day also?… 😛 (Both smile) Transistor would have come up later, but it would have.
Alum: Bulb made people develop and use electrical energy. Without it, electricity wouldn’t have been used. *Some more discussion follows*
Me: That is true. In that case, I agree, sir.
Prof : *Goes through my form thoroughly. Visibly annoyed at college marks*: Everything else is fine. Tell me why acads are low. This is an indication that you’ll not do well at Calcutta.
Me: Sir, I agree that I went wrong. In the first half, they were low. Later I picked up and put in efforts. Scores have risen.
Prof: Show me your mark sheets.
No. That is the only thing I’ve dreaded for a month. A part of me dies as I hand over the folder. Prof takes out every single mark sheet from the folder and scans.*
Prof: What happened in 3rd sem. What is all this? What, 42%..?! …46% in 4th..?!
<I quickly tell that it’s 60% in both now, coz I cleared the backlogs, embarrassed at myself as I say it.>
Me: Sir I genuinely didn’t think these subjects would help me. I didn’t see a future in them, so I didn’t study. But, I did realize my mistake later. I retook the exams, studied over and above the academics, made my base strong.
*Alum Asks the subjects with backlogs. Probability and Stats is one. Econ says you won’t survive C without maths. I say my maths is strong. Full marks in 10,12th. Had a backlog in Probability n Stats, so studied again. Plus studied stats for 6 months alag se from edx and Coursera.*
Alum: So your base is strong in PSP now that you’ve studied. Shall I ask questions, will you be able to answer?
Me: I nod, yes sir, I should be able to.
*By now, I realize the interview is tanked, there is no coming back. I have to say yes, that I’ll be able to answer.*
Econ: *Asks 2-3 basics. I answer correctly* What’s volatility?
Me: I don’t know sir.
Econ: But you’ve studied stats. Wasn’t this there?
Me: No sir, I’ve never studied volatility.
Econ: But you’ve heard stock market volatility. (I insist I don’t know. He pushes further.)
Me: If you’ll allow me to make an educated guess, it could mean the tendency of the stock to deviate from the mean.
Alum: Does the stock market have a mean?
Me: Yes sir, it should have, mean reversion is a method used in algorithmic trading.
Prof cuts: Isn’t a deviation from mean standard deviation. So how is it different?
Me: I talk about SD. Then say I’m sorry I don’t know about volatility, though they should be related.
Prof: So for you, volatility and standard deviation are the same.
Econ: Then how is stock market index calculated in Sensex?
Me *recalling what I had read. I checked this specifically, but forgot*:
Sir, I think it’s based on indices of the top 30 companies. They are dynamic in nature. Etc etc. (I know I went wrong somewhere, waiting for them to point it out.)
*More discussion follows*
Prof: That’s comparing apples and oranges. You can’t do that.
Alum: Are you guessing or do you know it?
Me: I’m guessing sir. I don’t know about stock markets. (Shit. Sounds like the last nail in the coffin.)
*I feel like a chimp, may I leave? Can we start this all over again, is there a reset button? I thought I was better than this.*
Prof: So what are your hobbies?
I’m glad they didn’t end the interview. They’re asking more, must mean something. Or they’re just getting sadistic pleasure. I’m clueless.
Me: Playing chess and watching movies.
Alum: So in chess, (I’m hoping he’ll ask a game related technical question). Why is a rook called a rook? King is king, the queen is queen, why is rook a rook. (Fuck this shit now)
Me: *Giving an I-don’t-know, I’m-thinking-deeply look*
Alum: There must be a reason.
Me: Sir, it should have to do with the king’s army, considering the rest of the pieces. Alum nods. I know that the 8 pawns have professions farmer, doctor, etc.
Econ, Prof smile: Oh, we didn’t know that! Interesting!
Alum: So why is there a bishop in the army?
Me: Sir, historically priests and religious people have had influence over kings and queens. They have been the right hands of the royalty.
Alum: Do you know anything about European history?
Me: Yes sir, the church was powerful. (Thinking chess should be older, and it originated in India, not Europe. But the form we play today was developed in Iran or Europe, not India. I keep shut)
Alum: And they engaged in wars.
Me: Yes sir, the crusades. *Nods*
Prof: What type of movies do you like?
Me: Sir, almost all genres.
Prof: Which movie won the most Oscars?
Prof cuts: How many?
Me: It’s either 9 or 11. [it’s 11]
Prof: Is it the only movie to have won that many…9 or 11?
Me: There’s another one. Either Ben Hur or Casablanca [There are 3- Titanic, Ben Hur, and LOTR, 11 each]
Alum: What’s the oldest movie you’ve watched?
Me: 12 Angry Men, 1957.
Alum: Have you watched Mughal-e-Azam.?
Me: Yes sir, as a kid I did. (Almost immediately regretting saying that)
Alum: When was that released?
Me: I think the early 1940s.
Me: I think so, but not sure. [It’s 1960]
Alum: Isn’t that your oldest movie then?
Me: Smiling. Oh, yes, sir. He smiles back.
- Econ: Wasn’t it in color?
Me: Initially it was black and white with one song colored. Later it was released in full color.
Alum: Where did you do your industrial training?
Me: I talk about my internship at CIIE, the business incubation center of IIM-A.
3-4 questions follow. They keep a straight face, don’t seem impressed.
*At this point, I simply want to leave. I pray they don’t end the interview here. If they ask more, means I’m going right somewhere, I got something going for me. I don’t know what, but something*
Econ: Gives a math question while the two of them talk. Sum of N terms without formula.
Me: Sir it was a method famously developed by Gauss when he was a child, write series in reverse and add. *I write it and show. Econ cuts, okay okay fine.*
Prof: Can you add N^2 series.? I take 2 mins. Prof joins back in. Econ tells I solved the first one.
Prof: Have you read it before (Sum of N)?
Me: Yes sir.
Prof: On PagalGuy?
Me: No sir, long ago I read it generally.
I’m still stuck on N^2, trying to solve it using cubic series. Econ says it’s ok, leave it.
Econ writes Fibonacci series, asks me what series is it its significance.
Me: Fibonacci series sir. (You’re mocking me now?)
Econ: What is its significance?
Me: *I recall the spiral photo made with the series…. Of a girl splashing water with her hair in that Fibonacci spiral*
Sir, it makes a graph like this. I draw. It’s a logo also that I saw. [Dept of Stats and Data Sciences at UT Austin used it somewhere.]
Econ: Yes, right. What is it called, some significance?
Me: *I think and think and it hits me* Is it ….the Golden ratio?
Prof: Leave it. We asked this yesterday too. You’ve asked someone.
*What the actual fuck. You got to be kidding me. I prepared a year for this interview, and it has come down to this? I somehow manage to put up a helpless smile.*
Prof: I think we’re done. Do you have any questions for us?
Me: Sir, I’d just like to say one thing. I know my college acads are low and I’ve faced the brunt for that. I’ve had to work extremely hard in the last 2 years to make up for it. I made a mistake once, so I know not to make it again. I’m not going to squander an opportunity again and I’ve learned that.
Prof *Much more calm tone now*: See, we’re here to select people, not reject them. It’s all relative. You’ll not get a 3rd sem again at IIM. You can’t make a comeback. But we believe life gives a second chance…..I nod.
Alum: Do you have any questions for us?
Me: No thank you, sir, nothing as such.
We exchange pleasantries.
Prof: You’ve been smiling all through. Take a toffee.
I thank and take.
Prof: Uhhh, take another one!
Feels like he’s absolutely pitying me by now. I smile and say it’s okay.
Prof: Arre..Take It.
I take another, thank them and leave.
Let me give a brief introduction to my profile,
99.86% in CAT 2015, B.Tech. ICT 2013 passout from DAIICT, had around 32 months of work experience teaching quantitative aptitude, average 10th, 12th, and grad scores. This is for IIM-Calcutta
The panel had 3 interviewers (let us call them P1, P2, and P3, P1 was in the fifties, P2, P3 were in the thirties probably).
P1: So, Shreyansh, you are an academician, where do you work? Me: Answered, told that I teach quant at a CAT coaching institute (interrupted)
P1: So cracking CAT must have been easy for you? Me: Not exactly sir, Quant was easy as I teach this subject but there are other aspects of CAT examination which weigh 66% in the examination. I had to really work hard to prepare for verbal ability and logical reasoning.
P1: So, what have you learned in Verbal, vocabulary? Me: No sir, (felt sad saying this), although I have read word power.
P2: So, mostly reading novels and books? Me: YES. ( I said yes and stopped, there was a 10-sec pause after this, after the interview, I realized this was my chance to talk about all the novels that I had read and planned to talk about, but what did I answer? “Yes”: facepalm:)
P3: Okay Shreyansh, since you are a maths teacher, we are going to ask you some tough mathematics questions, as compared to other candidates, but we will start with easy ones and later increase the level gradually. Me: Smiled, nodded.
P3: Prove that sum of first N natural numbers is…. whatever it adds up to be. Me: Took notepad given by him, proved by the principle of mathematical induction, spoke all the stuff while I was writing, handed the notepad back to P3. (P3 looked satisfied.)
P1: (while going through my transcript) You have scored excellent grade in cryptography, do you know what RSA encryption is, and write an equation for the same? Me: Answered
P1: What’s the principle of RSA encryption based upon? Me: It makes an assumption that the product of a large number is tough to factorize again.
P1: You are missing a very important aspect, it is the product of large prime numbers. Me: (Amazed by P1’s interest in the subject, ) yes, sir, it is prime numbers. There is an RSA challenge being held every year to find out the complexity of the problem and improvise the method.
P1: What’s RSA full form? Me: S stands for Shamir, R for Ron, it has been a long time, not able to remember exactly
P1: Its Ron Rivest-Shamir-Adleman Me: Yes sir.
P2: Okay another maths question for you, a and b are odd numbers, a>b. By what largest number, a^2-b^2 will surely be divisible by? Me: worked it out in the head, told its 8.
P2: Please explain how you reached to 8? (I hadn’t written anything till then) Me: Wrote detailed explanation, assumed a= 2n1 – 1 and b =2n2-1 and proceeded. Explained correctly.
P3: Answer is correct but you are quite slow for being a mathematics faculty! Me: Smiling, sir I got the answer very quickly, but to prove it is 8, proper steps need to be carried out.
P2: Do you follow world news? Me: Yes
P2: Whats Syria refugee crisis? Me: Answered. (Partially correct)
P2: What is your opinion on Patel Agitation? (As I am working in Ahmedabad) Me: They are asking for reservation, but Patels are a rich community in parts of Gujarat… (interrupted)
P2: Everyone says the same, reservation should not be there.
P1: How is Anandiben Patel’s work? Me: Answered (interrupted again)
P3: Okay this is the last question for you, as you said you have improved on logical reasoning, show us your reasoning skills. (Drew a problem statement on a piece of paper, something related to constructions of flyovers and different styles of flyovers) There are two styles of flyovers I have drawn, analyze and mention the pros and cons of both. Me: Stared at the diagrams for 1 minute, explained.
P3: Correct, exactly because of this, one is constructed mostly in Mumbai, other in Bangalore.
P1, P2, P3: Okay Shreyansh, we are done.
Me: Smiling, thank you, sir.
Verdict: CONVERTED 😀
I didn’t have calls from IIM A/B/I/S/SPJ even after the percentile due to past academic performance but managed to convert my best call IIM-C. The interviewers were nice, I smiled throughout the interview except for the cryptography RSA questions part and hence sailed through. Right after the interview, I remembered all the things I could have said, 2 different proofs I could have shown for the proof asked, books and novels I could have told about that I read, but in the end, it all works out for the best. Right, when I thought I was out of the game, even though I didn’t know, I was completely in the game. #JokarForLife