SDA Bocconi GDPI Experiences

SDA Bocconi GDPI Experiences

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SDA Bocconi GDPI Experiences:

A brief background of my Candidature: I am an engineer from VIT, Vellore. My academics have been decent(More than 90% 10th, 12th CBSE; & 7 CGPA in Engineering); extracurriculars/co-curriculars – Techfest organizer, football team and a bunch of online certifications in marketing. I have been working in TCS for a couple of years now.

The Personal Interview round was conducted online, with two panellists from the B-School. One was an Alumni(P1), and other from the management team(P2). Both were cheerful but had a few papers in front of them.

P2- So, tell us about yourself?
Me:  I had prepared for this and a few questions in advanced, gave them a well-rehearsed answer. I highlighted my consistent academics and interests in extracurriculars.

P1- You seem to have had great scores in 10th & 12th, more than 90% in both. Why has there been a fall in your graduation? Was there any reason in particular?
Me – I wanted to steer my interview out off any technical questions about engineering but I didn’t want to make it obvious, so I had prepared an answer which took the middle ground.

I spoke about how I worked hard during my board exams, about how I had planned and prepared my schedule before my exams. This was to highlight my diligence and motivation to do well. And for my engineering days, I spoke about how I wanted to pursue the subjects of my passion over just getting marks. Also, I highlighted how I was involved in campus events, organizing tech fest, participating in sports etc.

P2- Would it be safe to say that you were not as passionate about engineering?
Me- Although in my head I wanted to say yes I wasn’t too keen on engineering but I had spoken to enough seniors & mentors to again take a middle ground.

That wouldn’t be true, I have always been passionate about science subjects. Understanding technology is especially relevant these times. In my undergrad years being away from my family, living in the hostels it gave me a sense of freedom. Sometimes, it also gave me an extra impetus to pursue things which were out of my comfort zone (I don’t know why I said this).

At the end of the day marks are important, although I tried my best in balancing my passion and marks. Sometimes I fell short in some subjects like Microcontrollers and in some subjects like Control systems I did exceedingly well.

P1 – So do you still consider theories around PID controller, Zeigler-Nichols method relevant for your current job role or your B-school? Do you remember any of it?
Me- These were some of the topics that I brushed up in the days leading up to my interviews. My mentors had specifically advised me to brush on atleast a couple of engineering subjects.

I gave the technical answer to their questions, as far I remember I didn’t fumble the co-efficient but the P1 looked suspiciously at me at one point but I kept my confidence intact and went ahead. I went about this answer in as detail as possible. Explaining control loop, feedback and industrial control through my engineering internship at ONGC.

P1 – While you seem to have given the technical answer somewhat satisfactorily you still haven’t answered if you feel it is relevant to your current role at TCS or your B-School?
Me- Although in my current role at TCS I do not have an opportunity to implement those learnings from technical engineering subjects. I believe it is still relevant since control theory can be related with management practices. In my current project, I work for one of the largest Indian technological and engineering institutions. Once you grow in your career, I believe interdisciplinary approach is highly appreciated, a senior in my project whom I highly respect has always pushed towards learning in depth about any subject that you undertake. (At this point I was impressed with myself and thinking I am doing well)

P2- So did you learn about Microcontrollers in similar depth? (He remembered that I mentioned it was my weak area)
Me – Sheepish smile, I try to learn as much as possible in subjects of my liking. I can try answering any question but it was a subject that I was not very good at.

P2- Alright, we will not trouble you any further by testing your engineering expertise. Tell us why do you want to switch to management.
Me- This was again a question I had prepared for. I mentioned about my interests in marketing, management etc. Linked it with my current role, aspirations and organizing committee experience in college.

P1 – Why International Master in Business? And why SDA Bocconi Asia Center?
Me- I highlighted the International exposure, the fact that SDA Bocconi was among the few schools with triple crown accreditation, in India the batch size was relatively small. And this gave opportunities to interact with International Faculty and peers a lot better. Moreover, I had also interacted with few seniors and alumni. I mentioned how their work was inspiring and their career trajectory was something that I wanted to replicate.

P1- What is the specialization that interests you?
Me – Without hesitation and being prompt – Marketing.

P1 – Traditionally, Marketing is a creative role, do you think Marketing would be a good fit for you? Why not operations?
Me-  I highlighted my interests through the various online certifications that I had completed on coursera, digital marketing certification etc. I spoke about how even during my college undergrad I was involved in creative aspects of techfest like sponsorships, design and content.

P2- So a complete NO for Operations, Finance, Human Resources specializations?
Me- My passion is marketing. However, as I had mentioned before I would explore all the subjects. It is especially relevant in today’s age to be multi-faceted. Most of the CXOs in their webinars have highlighted the need of having a good understanding of different domains and verticals. (I felt I repeated this a few times- P1 gave an appreciative smile at this point.)

More GD Topics and expected Interview questions

P1- Let’s assume you are working for a traditional company, a Control Sytems vendor. How do you propose on increasing the Customer lifetime value for your firm?
Me- Although I have heard the term often, I knew the basics of it in theory. So I bought a little time by  trying to ask few relevant questions like what were my products, which type of companies I trying to cater to, which region I operated in etc. Using which attempted an answer which revolved around – digital transformation, increased content marketing, changing in pricing structures(here P2 wasn’t convinced).

P1- So what would be your aspirations after your program?
Me- I would be seeking a role which aligns with my domain interests. My aspiration is to be part of an organization which allows me to explore different verticals and domains. Although a dream is  to understand how an effective ecommerce marketing campaign is launched and executed end to end. However, being an engineer technology is always going to part of my life. I would love it to be part of my marketing role in some capacity. Also, I want to eventually start something of my own which will be in social entrepreneurship.

P1- Oh awesome. Do you have any ideas that you are working on?
Me- No, I have few ideas but this isn’t something that I wish to pursue without getting domain experience.

P1- Maybe the on campus 180 degrees consulting club at SDA is something that you should explore.
Me- Yes I had actually heard about their work during one of chats with the seniors. But surely I will ask him more about it now that you mentioned.

P2 to P1– I think we have a few more candidates today. Shall we..

P2- It was a great interacting with you and knowing your background and aspirations. If you have any questions do let us know, we can extend for 5-10 minutes.
Me- Thank you for the opportunity. I wanted to know which skills should I learn and equip myself with before the start of the program.

P1 – There will be bootcamp sessions before the start of program which will help you brush up the basics. Since you come from an engineering background, try and explore the finance subjects a little bit beforehand.

P2- Yes, apart from that I would suggest you to continue your marketing certifications as that is your area of interest. Also, analytics and data science is something which is closely linked with marketing. You may want to explore there too.

P1 – It was great speaking with you today. Wishing you the best of luck with your admissions journey.


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