Here’s an interview with SG Shrinivas, on his experience at the Personal Interview Round in IIM Ahmedabad.
Name: SG Shrinivas
Current Institution: IIM Ahmedabad
Interviews Cleared: IIM A, IIM K, IIM Raipur, IIM Rohtak, IIM Trichy, MDI
Interviews Attended: IIM A, IIM K, IIM I, IIM Raipur, IIM Rohtak, IIM Trichy, MDI, SP Jain
Educational Background: B.Tech (Civil Engg) from NIT Bhopal
IIM A Interview Type: Structured
IIM A Interview Experience:
The process started with the 30 odd candidates being separated into 3 panels of 10 each. Two professors took charge after this and announced the essay topic.
Topic : Social Insensitivity is the trademark of Contemporary Indian Society
Time : 10 mins
Prof 1 (P1)- Middle aged gentleman (Prof Diptesh Ghosh)
Prof 2 (P2)- Another middle aged gentleman with a nice french beard (Prof Rajanish Das)
P1 : Good afternoon. Have a seat
Me: Good afternoon sir, good afternoon sir.
P2: Please give me your certificates file, so that I can have a look.
Me: Yes sir.
P1: (Glancing through my personal data form) Ok, Bhopal. What do you know about Bhopal?
Me: Sir, The foundation for Bhopal was laid by Raja Bhoj. Talking from a Civil Engineering point of view, he was the one who designed the city of Bhopal and the entire irrigation system. After him, Bhopal was taken over by the Nizams.
P1: (Interrupts) When you say irrigation system, what do you mean?
Me: Sir, as a city Bhopal does not lie on the coast or near a River. It doesn’t have very good rainfall either. Hence it needed a very good irrigation system so that it could sustain. Raja Bhoj, did this by designing various lakes across the city (under the impression that I was giving him a nice overview of the city)
P1: Which lake are you talking about? Chota Talaab or Bada Talaab??
Me: (In shock, woah, these guys know everything) Sir, Bhopal has a total of 7 lakes including Upper Lake, Lower Lake, Shahpura Lake etc.
P1: Okay, so what is the source of water for these lakes?
Me: Sir, the Bhadbhada area is the source for the lakes, but I’m not very sure about the exact river.
P1: Have you heard of Bairagarh?
Me: Yes sir, it is in the outer of Bhopal
P1: Do you know about Bairagarh falls??
Me : I’m sorry sir, I dont know
P1: Aren’t you basically from Bhopal? Why dont you know this?
P2: (Interrupts) No no, he is from Chennai
(Silence for a few seconds follows)
Me: Sir, I was born and brought up in Chennai. And did my schooling from Padma Seshadri School which is well known for its alumni like A R Rahman, Surya, R Ashwin etc.
P1: AR Rahman, ok. What was the second name you said?
Me: Sir, Surya. He is an actor.
P1 : (Gives a shrug indicating he hasn’t heard of him)
Me: Sir, he was the one who acted in Rakta Charithra and the Tamil version of Ghajini.
P1 : (Gives a shrug indicating he hasn’t heard of him)
P2 : Ok Shrinivas, you are in your final year of Civil Engg, What is your project on?
Me: Sir, It is a project under the aegis of UNICEF and MP PHE for removal of Flourides from Handpump water. In the states of MP and Rajasthan, Flourosis is a major issue. The fluoride content of water is about 8-10 ppm when it is supposed to be 1 ppm according to the standards. Even this 1 ppm is obtained from the Toothpaste we use. Due to this, the people are much affected in the rural hinterland. When you go there, you can see people with bend backs and bones due to Skeletal and Dental Flourosis.
P1: What technique are you using?
Me: Sir, right now in the field, adsorption is being used with alumina. We are trying to use a natural medium like Neem or Eucalyptus bark for adsorption of the flourides that are present.
P1: What is adsorption?
Me: It is a surface process due to which the particles of the Flourides get attached to the surface of the leaves. The rate varies with the surface area.
P1: But how will you vary the surface area of the bark? You cannot put a particular area of the bark into a bucket.
Me: No sir, we grind the bark into powder and through Sieve Analysis separate out the particles as per their particle size. What we are trying to do is to plot graphs between the Efficiency after a particular time and Efficiency with increase in Particle size.
P1: But I still haven’t understood what adsorption is!
Me : Sir, it is a process where the surface adsorps the particles that are present ..
P1 : (Interrupts) Ok, so if I ask you what is Chennai, you will tell me it was earlier called Madras and if I ask you what Madras is, you will tell me it is now called Chennai. (and all of us have a laugh)
P2: You said particles, but is flourine present as gas or salts?
Me: sir, it is present as dissolved salts. Actually, using bone mash ie Calcium gives a very high efficiency. But due to the sentiments of people against using something that has passed through bone mash, we have been asked by the college authorities not to use it.
P1: The college advises you on what to do???
Me: Sir, because we get funding form UNICEF, we have to report to the college authorities.
P1: Have you got any job offers?
Me: Yes sir, Two. One from Shapoorji Pallonji Constructions and another from Virtusa.
P1: What is this Shapoo ..
Me: Sir, it is a 150 year old construction company based in Mumbai, founded by Shapoorji Mistry and Pallonji Mistry. They initially designed the irrigation system of Bombay. Recently they have constructed a 50 floor tall residential building in Mumbai. They are mainly into residential projects.
P1 to P2: You recently went to Mumbai, did you see this building?
P2: No no. I dint. Are you sure this is a finished project?
Me: Yes sir, it has been completed and handed over to the clients.
P2 : I havent seen it. What was the 2nd company?
Me: Virtusa sir, it is a Srilankam software company.
P2 : What do they do?
Me: Sir, they are mainly into BFSI – Banking, Finance and Insurance. Most of their revenue comes from this.
Me: Yes sir.
P1 : Okay, which job will you join?
Me : Sir, I haven’t thought about it sir. I want to complete my studies and do an MBA now.
P1 : Ok, assume you dont get admission. Then? Let me test your decision making. Tell me the pros and cons of each company.
Me: Sir, shapoorji will give me continuity with what I learnt in Engg. Whereas Virtusa will be in Chennai, location will be a positive. Shapoorji will mean a job on the field and as I want to do an MBA, it will not give me much time to prepare once again for CAT. Whereas Virtusa will give me more time for that.
P1: But then if you go to Virtusa, what is your Civil Engg for?
Me : Sir, agreed that the main knowledge wont be of much use. But the practical skills I learnt from hostel life …
P1 : (Interrupts) Dont give me the same thing about problem solving skills, analytical ability. All you engineers say the same. Not like other graduates dont have that!
Me: Sir, but Virtusa will be in tune with what I want to do in Life. When you are in 12th, your outlook of the world isn’t that huge. But now, after engineering life, I know what I want to do. I want to get into the financial side of sporting businesses, in football and I feel that Virtusa will be a better step in that direction.
P2: Sporting Business? Which sport?
Me: Sir, football.
P1 : What do you know about that?
Me: Sir, if you take the example of a football club in Europe like Manche ..
P1 : (Interrupts) No, take India
Me: Sir, in India, if you see, the state of football is very bad. There is no professional management. The talent we have isn’t reflected in our rank.
P1 : What is our rank?
Me : 144 sir
P1 : Ok, so what does this have to do with bad management? It is lack of talent.
Me: Sir, if a Yusuf Pathan could come to the Indian Cricket team from the streets of Baroda, it is because of the excellent structure of Cricket in India. Whereas in Football, that isn’t possible. There is no structure.
P1: You mean, the street kids will defeat the football team?
Me: No sir, I didn’t mean that.
P1 : You and I will never agree on this!
P1 : What do you want to do? Manage a football team?
Me: No sir, I want to go into the financial side. In every football club, there is the financial side that takes care of how to market the club, how to finance the various stuff that a club needs etc. I want to go into that side.
P1: Okay. Name 10 .. no 5 football teams in Chennai
Me : Indian Bank FC is based in Chennai. Other than this, there aren’t any other prominent teams.
P1 : But football is not popular
Me : Sir, that is where the opportunity lies. Today, due to the coverage of European Soccer, the amount of kids watching football has increased tremendously.
P1 : What has been India’s football rank before?
Me: Sir, earlier, India was a footballing giant in Asia. We were 4th in the Olympics, during the time of PK Mukherjee. But since then we have gone to abysmal depths.
P1: What was India’s rank 5 years back?
Me: 135 odd sir.
P1: 135 to 144 and you call it improvement??
Me: Sir, but if you see the structure, it has improved tremendously. Before the National Football League and the National team’s matches used to clash. But now we have a professional structure and both Clubs and the country are complementary to each other. We even qualified for the AFC Cup sir.
P1: Who sets the ticket prices for the games?
Me : Sir, the clubs ..
P1 : For the IFA Shield, was it the clubs?
Me: No sir, that being AIFF organised it was decided by them.
P2: Ok, did you have economics in Engg?
Me: Yes sir. We studied the basics like Demand, supply etc
P2: What is supply consumerism?
Me: Sir, I’m sorry I dont know sir.
P2: Demand-Supply Law?
Me : Sir, I remember very vaguely.
P2 : What about 5 year plans yaar. Engineering Economics is 5 year plans. What 5 year plan are we going through now?
Me: 12th is being formulated now sir.
P1 : What is the difference between the 1st and lets say the 12th 5 year plan?
Me: Sir, the outlooks. That time we were just independent. The focus was on jobs for everyone. Today we have more of private sector.
P2 : Did you go through the budget?
Me: Yes sir, I did.
P2 : What about yesterday’s match?
Me: Cricket sir?
P2 : Yes yes. Did you think it was fixed?
Me: Sir, some days back when Pakistan conceded 100 runs in the last 5 overs, we called it match fixing. Now, we’ve lost 9 wickets and scored 25 runs in 10 overs. Nothing wrong if we are suspected of it sir.
P2 : How many 100s has Sachin hit?
Me : 99 sir.
P2 : In ODIs?
Me: Sir 49.
P2: No it was 48. How many out of that has India won in?
Me: 33 sir.
P1: Okay, you told about PK Banerjee. Which team did he manage?
Me: I’m not sure sir. But if i can guess. It is East
IIM A Interview Smart Tip: Be aware of your profile, and about why you are making this particular career choice. For freshers, academics are very important