December, 2011 | Apphelp blog
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Oxford Said interview experience, questions 2011-2012

Profile: IIT, 2 yrs Manufacturing, 1 yr Finance

Here are mt interview questions:

1) What is your role in current job? Explain your career progression from manufacturing to finance.

2) What do you want to do immediately after MBA?

3) What is leadership according to you?

4) If you are given 2 minutes to talk, what would like to tell me?

5) What is XXX (a start-up I co-founded)?

6) How will you contribute to the class?

7) What is the biggest challenge you face in your current job?

8) Did you face any failure in job? What did you learn?

9) Did you face any conflicts in job? How did you resolve them?

10) 10) Any questions?

IIMC PGPEX interview experience 2011-2012

Profile: 7 years IT consulting/ analyst

My documents were checked first. The professor carefully checked my experience letter issued from the company. When he saw my leadership award letter, he remarked – ok, this is internal to the company. Then he saw an award letter from Shell and asked if it was my client.

Prof: How many months of experience will you have by March 2012?

6 years 9 months

Prof: Are you married? What type of accommodation will you prefer? Married accommodation is limited and you may or may not get one.

I am married for 3 years. I would like to be honest with you. I will prefer a married accommodation as of now. However, my wife is working and we have not discussed it through if she will come with me, so I might shift to single accommodation later.

Prof: What does your company do, and what do you do? I see that you directly report to the Country Head.

Company ABC is a Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) firm that provides research and analytics services. Do you want me to tell you about KPO? Prof: No. Me: Company ABC collects data, analyses it and then provides insights to the client which helps them take their business decisions. If you look at the consulting value chain, Company ABC occupies the lower and the middle part of the value chain, while the upper part (recommending to the client, implementing recommendations onsite, measuring impact, etc) is done by the consultants. Me: Do you want me to tell you more. Prof: Yes. Me: Company ABC is a 10 (in fact 11) years old firm, and has offices in Chile, Romania, India, China (It’s a CRIC strategy, with smile!). Prof: where is it headquartered? Me: It is headquartered and registered in Bermuda, as it’s a tax heaven. However, the main office of the company is in India – it has 2 offices in Gurgaon. Out of 2500 employees, 1800-1900 employees work out of India. Recently, Company ABC restructured itself into 3 business units: Corporates and Professional Services (CaPS) of which I am a part of, Financial Services (FS) and Healthcare. You might think as to why a separate BU for Healthcare, when CaPS itself has verticals such as Energy, ICT and Transportation and Logistics. Prof: Is it because the business coming from Healthcare is too large? Me: Not really, it’s because with experience, the company realised that Healthcare is a different animal, and one cannot sell Healthcare unless one is a PhD or masters in microbiology or biotechnology. There were some bad experiences by the sales people, and that is why the company decided to pull out Healthcare as a separate BU. I am talking from the perspective of a salesperson. For selling energy or telecom, one does not require too much expertise to sound reasonable and a minimum understanding can be quickly acquired.

Prof: You have a great GMAT score? Have you applied outside India?

No, I would like to stay in India due to personal reasons. Prof: Have you applied to ISB? Me: No, because ISB has candidates with 2-4 years of experience, while I would like to study with more experienced people. Your website says that IIM Calcutta students have 400 years of total work experience in the classroom, and that is 1 reason that has motivated me to try for IIM Calcutta. In case I don’t get through, I will try IIM Lucknow or a few more IIMs. IIML is starting it’s 1 year course this year. But IIMC is my preference. Do you want me to tell you more about why IIMC? Prof: No

Prof: Have you been to Calcutta?

No. Prof: Oh, you have never been to Calcutta. Me: My father lived in Calcutta some 35 years back. So he tells me some stores, but they are not relevant in the present point in time. Prof: Where did you father live in Calcutta? Me: I don’t know, he pursued his high school education there till class 8th. My grandfather was an accounts officer in railways in Calcutta, and hence my father was there. Then, my grandfather was transferred to Jamalpur in Bihar and my father left Calcutta and since then, we have had no connection to Calcutta.

Prof: Why do you want to do an MBA?

I have worked on near-consultancy assignments for a little more than 4 years – as an analyst and later as a project manager – managing projects and client communication end-to-end. So, it is like been there done that, and then I have had a challenging general management profile for last 2 years. Now I would like to move up the value chain. As I told you, Company ABC does work which occupies the lower and middle part of the consulting value chain. I would now like to become a consultant for which I need to build a strong foundation in all functional areas of management (finance, strategy, etc). My learning in my current industry has reached saturation levels.

Prof: What do you do apart from work? What type of books do you read, and what music you listen to?

I listen to mainly Bollywood music. Prof: New or old? Me: mixture of both, but mostly new. In my free time, I also play cricket and chess. Even when I was in Cluj, Romania, I played cricket and joined the Cluj Cricket Club. And I would like to mention that I inspired 4 office colleagues (Romanians) to join this club and play the game. Also, there was cricket world cup so the fever was high. Romanians did not know this game but they started playing.

Ok, but what type of books you read?

Well, frankly I don’t read many books. I prefer to surf the internet.

Prof: You don’t read books!

Me: After full day in office, and with GMAT and MBA applications, I don’t get time. I rather surf the net and read Economist, BBC, and Times of India websites. Over the last couple of times, I have started reading books, but left it midway due to professional or personal work, and this has led to me not to pursue reading books further.

Another interviewer: But if you don’t read books, how will you do MBA at IIM-C?

Me: Well, if it is a full-time activity, then definitely yes. But I am talking about my life with full-time in office.

Prof: Ok, tell me few advantages of books over internet?

Me: Books are convenient to use, and can be read say lying down or in a flight as well. In a book, I can mark important points as I read them and later when I revisit the book, I know which were the important points. I can do this on net as well, but it will require effort. Another interviewer: What about authenticity of sources? Me: Yes, that’s a good point. Generally speaking, on internet, I will have to see whether the sources are reliable or not (say, reliable sources would be economist, govt websites, EU websites, etc), while if we have a book, we are more or less convinced that the book is reliable (unless it’s a cheap book, which we are not considering here), and we can just read it like a bible.

Prof: You still did not answer my question, you are talking about convenience of books, tell me why book is better to use than internet if you are pressed for time.

Me: First point, in a book if I read 5 pages today, I can mark important points, and revisit them when I read the sixth page. So, one can keep track of important points. This is difficult on the net. This is a reason why I still use a hard-bound dictionary. Point 2, on the net, we will get multiple sources for a topic, and we will have to spend time thinking which is the most relevant. If I have a book, this time is saved. Point 3, what you mentioned (other interviewer), that when reading a book, I don’t have to care about the authenticity of sources.

Prof: said something about numbers and pdfs

Me: When it is about numbers and statistics/maths, definitely a book is better. So let me summarise as the discussion went long on this (and I went ahead and summarised): 1. If it is about numbers, statistics and maths, a book is way better and convenient. 2. When one has limited time at hand, it is more convenient to follow a book and save time. 3. When there is no time crunch and no specific agenda, internet is better and more interesting to read. (The professor looked ok with the response now).

Other interviewer: Do you have any questions for us?

I asked 2 questions, which the professor answered:

  1. Recently, IIMA was placed in FT rankings, does IIMC participate in FT rakings?
  2. IIMC has a great brand in India, and also outside India, but it seems there are no foreign passport holders in PGPEX class. Is IIMC doing enough to promote participation of multinational and multicultural people in this class – what is the vision like?

Finally, I left saying ‘Have a nice afternoon.’ The interview lasted 15-20 min.


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