Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pit Stop 1 - IIM B Interview 14th Feb 2007 (Part 3)

What a date to have the interview :)))))) And I do not mean it in a positive way... The first drawback... In our company we have something like a leave planner where we update our leaves... So, to my luck - 2 people from the team took leave on Valentine's day... The next unfortunate thing was - it was me and another guy from the team... Oh man!!! The team had a gala time bantering, badgering and teasing the hell out of us!!! If any of you guys thought that people in big IT offices act all mature and professional then you think wrong... These guys had a field time when both of us applied for those leaves on V-day...

Anyway, moving on - I thought the first thing in the interview would be why is Valentine Day celebrated? What is your idea of celebrating this day? What do you think about Shiv sena's reactions to this day etc... Well, Wikipedia and google were very handy and all these answers were done... Then why I would select IIM B, other typical MBA questions, Infosys news (which I kept feeling appeared often as if media knew it was my interview coming up so I be max occupied), some current issues etc...

Went to the interview (scheduled at 9:00 am at Dadar) decked up in a nice salwar kameez and looking my formal best :) After reaching there, read up stock prices of Infy, Sensex closures, Headlines etc... The group was called - case study was about to begin... Said the penultimate prayer and went in... The case study was about some people going to South Pole for an expedition - basically showing the different styles of leadership... Now, this discussion in the 17th century and we were asked to give advice to the next indian leader going there... My entire prep (in the first 2 min was with this assumption) and we were all set for the discussion... Just as it started - one guy assumed that this advice is present day and he pointed out a gamut of devices that can be used... And the whole group discussed that... Shit!!! I have no points - panic set in... Ordinarily, I can get groups' attention - I could have said we can look at it from this POV - but some mental block just debilitated me... I did not say anything... I was pretending to listen intently (coz we had to write the summary individually later) but racking my brain for a new point... 15 minutes passed and I realised that I have had a not so good GD... Tried to maximise in the written summary and wrote all points (MoM writing during telecons helped me here)

We came out (I was fourth to be interviewed) and I was trembling... Was it coz the AC intensity was high or was it coz of my performance in the GD - I do not know... But next hour or so went in calming myself... Read up all the papers present there... People came out and everyone pounced on them to ask what kind of questions were asked.. RG giri (a very IIM B concept - not helping or rather misleading your competitors) started here itself - coz they were very vague... Did not give proper questions... My turn came in - prayers again and I went in... A nice smile on my face...

Prof to me (looking through my documents) - "You have not got your degree certificate..."
Smile went away - color drained off my face...
What crap!! (in my mind) - Oh, is it (to the prof).. "Actually I checked the list and this was not specifically mentioned... I am sorry"... Prof - "Dont be sorry, just make sure your certificate copy reaches the institute asap..."

Ok, so tell me - What is the optimisation that you hav done in your project?
M (ok this is my turf :)...) - Some gyaan about reduction in time of delivery...
I - explain in detail
M - did that....
I - why management now - after 2.5 years at Infosys...
M (again happy that he asked something I had prepared) - Global gyaan on how betterment of profile, better opportunities etc..
I - So, how many of the founders of Infosys are managers?
M (first time cursing my company founders for not doing an MBA) - I said none...
I - Oh, there you go - it is not needed...
M - I said it was not that competitive then... It is very competitive now and this gives me an edge...
I - Oh, is it.. So, do u imply that in this generation NRN and others would not be as successful
M (getting defensive) - No! I did not intend to doubt their acumen...
I - Ok, let it go Sharmili!! So, if this is so important then why doesnt Infosys start a Mgmt Institute?
M - Coz it is a S/W IT company... the requirement is more for SW and not the managers...
I - Do you know Infosys is recruting people aggressively?
M - Yes, we just had a batch of 2000 people join Mysore DC (this was total fart...)
I - So, just as they have a prog where 4 years of engg is condensed into 4 months, they can have 2 yrs of mgmt condensed into 2 months and produce managers itself... Why wudnt they do that?
M - mgmt is a genralist stream.. The only reason they could condense this training coz it is stream specific... They only teach one stream and not the entire engg syllabus... But his cannot happen in mgmt...
I - Rubbish - Why would a HR guy need financial knowledge?
M - Coz he needs the knowledge of balance sheet to know how much he can spend on HR policies...
I - Ok, Marketing guy - why would he need Finance gyaan?
M - Same reason... He would need to know how much can he spend on his campaigns...
I - Just let it be Sharmili - you are not going anywhere with this... Ok, now tell me how has being in Infosys helped you evolve...
M - I have got the technical knowledge as a trainee, a testers knowledge in my first project (how I need to be thorough etc), and team skills as a team lead...
I - give examples?
M - gave
I - ok! tell me one thing... If you work for more than required hours in IT industry would you do a better job?
M - More hours need not mean good work... But if utilised properly it would translate to more work YES!
I - Ok, so when you hear that India is a services country... Her manufacturing sector is weak - then why do we not use this policy and help our manufacturing sector grow?
M - It does not only depend on the Labour factor... Utilisation of machines, demand of H/W etc all influence and hence we cannot use this model...
I - Ok, leave that too... Tell me, what is the advice you would give Nandan Nilekani to improve infosys?
M - I have seen that the rate at which people in company are growing - infrastructure is not... So, this results in many disappointments and hence reduced motivation levels.. At no point do I say stop recruiting but this skewed ratio of development needs to be addressed
I - What infrastructure is needed? Computers are getting smaller... (then he himself says) May be the people are gettting bigger... (laughs.. me join in too)
M - second reason is that if resource alignment... It is not addressed properly and hence it affects motivation levels again which results in bad work... Like freshers are in large number but trained on platforms differnt from the ones they are working on... Middle level management is extremely in low numbers etc.
I - Dont you think adhering to values is an issue?
M - I do not see that... I, myself, follow the company ethos with rigor...
I - Ok, tell me who would follow more rules? Senior Mgmt or Juniors?
M - Senior Mgmt..
I - Then dont you think this should be answered?
M - But this stems from dissatisfaction and that is due to reasons above...
I - But still you should enforce values... So, Sharmili you are into Social Service...
M (getting happy coz he again entered my domain... it was like a lalllu ball which I would toss for a sixer) - Yes
I - Tell me the names of 2 social reformers from Maharashtra
M (in my mind) - What??? Social reformers??? Names.. Names... (to the prof) Please give me a minute... I should be able tosay something..
M - Baba Amte (thanks to the tenth standard lesson... I remebered)
I - Good, so what does he do??
M (completely blank now... I remebered the lesson, its name, his name but no hint about what he did... Took a random guess) - He cleans (Man, what a lame answer...)
I - Cleans what???
M (thinking - arre wah, my guess was right... he does clean) - Streets - He cleans streets (crossing fingers)
I - No, No... I think you are mixing him with someone else... Ok, what about the second one...
M (gave up) - I really dont remember now...
I - Does the name Anna Hazare ring any bell???
M (well I did hear about him) - I have heard about him..
I - good, tell me what he does now?
M (arre, yeh mujhe mera kaam chhodke kya pooch raha hai?) - No clue sir...
I - ok, does <> (i dont remeber what he said - but it was some drive name that Anna Hazare has started) ring any bells?
M - No (my faking had gone too far... couldnt risk this now)
I - Ok, last question Sharmili... How badly do you want IIM B?
M (should I give a smart answer, a witty reply, an earnest reply??? think think think.. couldnt come up with anything funny or witty so just said) VERY BADLY sir...
I - thanks Sharmili, please sned the next one in...

And I came out... people pounced on me too... No presence of mind questions, no silly questions, no current affairs questions... Plain simple - they wanted to know me...

Did I give them a satisfying answer to their query? Did they think I was capable? Frankly, then I did not think so... All, I could remember were the mistakes I did and how I could have answered this better...

But I guess I did give them something concrete... Coz I converted the call... :)

2 comments:

canceraru said...

i was waiting for this blog

Amit said...

Read through all parts. Make sure you ask all these irritating questions to the prof when you take his class :)