Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SPJIMR interview

I had my SPJIMR interview yesterday. My CAT score was poor but XAT score was decent. I have an above average profile and I guess that is why the only MBA call I got was from SP Jain.

My interview was at 3p.m. at IIM Banagalore and I reached there at around 1p.m. I had gone through some forums on pagalguy and read some interview experiences bloggers had posted. There were very few helpful reads, and so I decided I would post my interview experience. Maybe others will benefit from my experience.

SP Jain conducts two rounds. The first round is elimination and the results are declared in 5-10 minutes after it is over. Both, the first and the second round, are group interviews.

In my first round, there were 6 people in my group. But, due to one guy's absence we were five in the room. There were two SPJIMR professors on the panel- a man and a woman. One taught organisational behavior. I can't remember about the other. Both were nice, listening to us patiently, giving us ample time to talk and nodding and smiling at us. That made us quite comfortable. The strange thing was they didn't even ask us to introduce ourselves, just gave a topic for GD.

Topic- What should be government's role for us to come out of recession. Pretty cliched, but even then somehow I could hardly find anything to say. More so, because as soon as I would start talking and make a brief mention of a point, this other guy(for future reference Mr. X) in my group would pick up that point, raise his voice and make us others shut up. I had to stop him once or twice for otherwise I would have been thrown out for not trying to control the situation!! so many complexities. During the GD, they had a look at our profile sheets also ( a questionnaire they had asked us to fill). Next, a 2minute intro and some general questions like why MBA , why marketing and a few others based on our introductions.

Overall, I felt it went OK. I wasn't really confident. Doesn't matter,I did clear the first round. Personally I feel that was mostly because of the second part of the first round- one on one interaction while 4 others are silent spectators as one person blabbers about his/ her career goals, and how he/she has been a great student, has a billion business ideas, has been the integral part of the team and so on...

Jokes apart, it was a nice experience. I interacted with some people who had finished with there second round. Everyone was using one word for it - weird. They were asking people for there opinion on Slumdog Millionaire and if they supported Barack Obama. Few others were asked to define Indian culture, a leader and similar things in a single sentence.

For my second round, there was a panel of two. One of them was a student and the other one didn't introduce himself. I had heard in the waiting/registration hall that one of the panelists was a psychologist! Statistics of the group- 8 people, 2 freshers(both from BPGC- me and Piyush) in a small room which could hardly accommodate so many people. And for my dismay Mr. X was again in my group :| He did his best to interrupt others and kept answering questions meant for others, and when a question was directed at him, he just went on and on and on...

So, the first question- you guys know what a personality trait is right? What is that one trait that describes you best? ... all sorts of answers came up- hard working, diligent, amiable, motivated, inspired yada yada . One guys said he was 'gregarious'. The panelist actually asked him the meaning and if the people around him understood this particular word when he used it !

Next up, So what do u think are the traits of a leader. Some fools gave totally different traits from what they had associated with themselves. The next question was obvious. Do you think you can be a leader, especially as you do not have the one trait you think is most essential for a good leader? Mr X. was one of those who had made this blunder. It was so funny to see him try and explain things in his verbose manner. Actually similar thing happened to me... though I think I handled it better than X. We were discussing Narayan Murthy and Leander Paes as leaders in the corporate world. Next came Anil Ambani and this one word 'enterprising' just didn't strike me. I settled for 'adventurous' - not a bad option, but Piyush definitely bettered it with 'enterprising'. For some 5 odd minutes we discussed the meaning of a cultured individual... I still don't know the different points that arose from the discussion!

It slowly turned to hobbies and interests from there. 6 people had described their hobbies in as passionate words as possible. Piyush was the 7th and I was the 8th. In three crisp sentences he explained how he had been involved with organisation and thus got to be a part of many activities. One sentence about TT and he was interrupted by the panelist. He asked us if we had heard what Piyush had just said and what was to be taken away from it. He even asked us to summarize whatever he had said. For some weird reason Piyush thinks the guy was being sarcastic when he took note of what he had to say. I feel other way. Anyways, mine was the regular answer... my passion for dancing is well known to all my friends... mentioned sketching and painting and a few more things.

The ending was the surprise- the panelist asked the student from SPJIMR, who was sitting next to him to ask a question! The question- While in a group, we try to conform. Conformity leads to reduction in quality of output. So would you choose to be a perfectionist or a conformist? I chose to answer the question first and chose the middle path and so did a few others. It was a unique interview experience- a group interview. The entire thing took around 4 hours and you can't even begin to guess what the panel was looking for!!

Looking back at it, I feel I performed well. I am waiting for the results now, and only then will I know how I performed. And yes, there were loads of BITSians... around 7 I think and one in the same group as me. It made me understand the reach of the BITSians and how small a place the world is, especially if you are a part of the BITS family. I am sure wherever I go from here, I can be assured of finding a BITSian around me. Will never really miss BITS...

I will always have company :)