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IIMA PGPX Interview Preparation package
Although I had a good feeling after the interview, I am not sure exactly how it went. None of the conventional questions was asked - why MBA, career goals, achievements, strengths etc. Results are awaited.
Initially, there were 2 faculty members in the panel but during the interview, a third interviewer joined. They were surprised that I am from Pune and yet, interviewing in Bangalore. So I told them that I have a few friends in Bangalore and I took that opportunity to catch up with them. Then I was asked about how far I had been staying and I told them it took me 30 minutes in an Uber cab. They took this line of questioning about Uber. We discussed the disruption new technologies cause, protests around Uber and what can be done to ensure that the negative impact is kept to minimum.
Then, I was asked to choose a topic for extempore and I took a couple of minutes to organize my thoughts. The topic was about 'Diversity is not necessarily an indicator of success' and then, there was further discussion about this. It seemed like I misunderstood the topic and initially, perhaps I took the discussion in the wrong direction. But there was some discussion around the points I made.
I have some experience in the non-profit education sector and so they asked about that in general - different education models, thinkers I follow in this area etc. Some cross-questioning there as well.
There were no further questions, not even the 'Any questions for us'. I am not sure what to make of that.
Although I was a little nervous, all the interviewers were cordial and tried to make me feel comfortable from the very beginning.
Fingers crossed for now.
Two professors in the panel say P1 and P2. Mostly P1 asked the questions and P2 did the cross questioning.
P1: Starts with some questions about my native place.
Me: Start answering.
P2: Gets into discussion.
P1: GIves me a topic on extempore something like Leadership leads to economic capital.
Me: Put up some points on how leadership will help for the same. Lot of cross questioning was done here.
P1: What do you consider your most significant experience?
P2: Some cross questioning which I answered.
P1: Why MBA?
Me: Gave them the reasons for pursuing an MBA.
P2: Some cross questioning and the interview was done.
Panel of 2 professors
Extempore Topic: Of the people, for the people, by the people- scoundrels take advantage and gullible are exploited.
I was given 1 minute to gather my thoughts and was then asked to discuss the argument. They wanted me to take clear sides and give valid reasons.
I used this to talk a little bit about the education sector and my work.
Post this I was directly asked why teaching and education.
How will an MBA impact my growth?
They asked about my College project and how I managed it (My Contributions)
Initiatives I took in Accenture.
How will you fund your education?
Do you think it is a good investment? why?
No cross questioning. They played Good cop bad cop. 25 minutes
My IIMA PGPX Interview panel had two professors ; P1- around 55-60 years old, calm and poise; P2- around 35-40 years, engaging and active.
P2: Why PGPX?
Me: Answered with the limitations of my career and learning curve onboard.
P2: Quoted a friend of his who is into some business after sailing as Master mariner onboard and doing great. Why not this route? Ultimately its happiness that matters, isn't it?
Me: To each his own sir. I would though for sure want to connect with your friend and learn.
P2: Why not Ops in a shipping company after taking command?
P2: Why IIMA? We are sure you would be in by now at IIM B?
Me: Yes. I am. Quality of peer group and wish to move out of comfort zone sooner.
P2: So you need IIM A for a job?
Me: Yes, check any website you wish to. All good jobs require tier-1 MBA and with IIM A brand, getting a job is easier.
P2: Pick a chit and speak on the topic for a while and some discussion on the same topic and relating topics like Sardar Sarovar dam, etc.
P1: Strengths and weakness. Which companies are you looking at and why would they hire you?
P2: What do you do in your free time?
Me: I watch cricket
P2: What player inspires you?
Me: Virat Kohli
P2: Best recent performance
Me: Rangana Herath vs Pak
Conversation now moved in Hindi and a huge discussion/ debate on the topic for next 4-5minutes.
P2: You are too headstrong a person, do you think you will work in a team?
Me: Yes if I decide to work for a cause.
P1: What happens if I dont pick you this time around.
This interview lasted for around 15-20 minutes and I didn't knew what to make of it. But yes, this interview did test my patience and composure to core. The content of speech is prime important. I by the end of interview started thinking before I uttered any word. The professors use their full patience to listen to you and test your understanding of any topic that may arise in discussion.
Final result :Offered admission
Interviews started at 9:00 am, almost at time. There were 3 panels, and there were approximately 90 candidates lined up for the day. My interview started at around 9:30 with a panel consisting of 2 Professors - Rekha Jain and Pingali Vishwanath.
The interview started with a brief chit chat about my travel from Pune to Ahmedabad and where I am staying etc, and then the profs asked me to pick up a chit from a bowl on the table and asked me to present my thoughts on the topic.
The topic I got was - Industrialisation at the cost of human rights.
I took a couple of minutes to gather my thought, noted both positive and negative side of the process of industrialisation, and spoke my thoughts. In between, Mr. Rekha Jain disagreed on a couple of point, gave her views, but asked me to proceed. I spoke for some more time. Then Profs asked to quote a very specific example of an instance in which I think industrialisation is violating human rights, as I spoke that it does violate human right. I took a pause, probably 30 seconds, and gave them an example of Badarpur power plan running in Delhi and how its adverse impacts. The profs then asked me about my job, what I do and how I add value to the business. I answered these questions. But from their reaction I felt that they weren’t getting my description (not sure whether I was articulate enough). Then Mr Pingali said since I am a CFA level 3 passed, so how would I determine financial viability of a project that Elon musk might do to take people from earth to another planet. He then asked what Is HSBC share in commercial lending market, what is customer acquisition cost. To such Questions, I didn’t have an answer. But I could have handled the responses better. I gave answer related to NPV, but I believe that I jumped onto conclusion very early without explaining the complete process of NPV etc.
Then Ms. Rekha asked me - what I read in my free time. To that I replied that I don’t read rather I use other mediums of learning such as video etc. I gave some examples of youtube channels etc that I watch to educate myself. She then asked me to take a stand and justify why books would be better source of learning than video. I had to take a pause - 15-20 seconds and replied that may be books are more authentic. With this my IIMA PGPX interview ended.
Here are the questions:
1. I work in Pune but I chose Delhi for my IIMA PGPX interview, so they asked me why so?
2. There were some slips kept in a bowl and I had to pick one and speak on the topic written on it. My topic was 'Are Good days on their way?'
There were some cross questions.
3. Some questions related to the company I work at.
4. Question on my essay in which I mentioned about my biggest failure.
5. Why IIMA PGPX?
6. How was your international experience, apart from work?
7. A question on my hobby.
Final result :Offered admission
Had a panel of 2 professors, Prof Sachin Jayaswal & Prof Sidharth Sinha (found these names by doing some background check after interview).
Extempore Topic: Reservations in private sector: A mere social engineering.
I started off by saying that YES, private sector reservation will be mere social engineering and would not fetch any results. I was cross-questioned on my position, which I felt I defended reasonably. My line of reasoning was that private organizations heavily depend on performance & profits. Reservations in such organizations will not sustain if profits are affected. I clearly said that reservation should be limited to training/educational institutes. I felt both the Profs were ok with my argument.
Then Prof Sachin had thoroughly studied my profile and asked questions regarding my work as a technical consultant. I was asked to describe some cases and my contribution in solving them. This part was bit easy as I was well prepared for such questions. As I have done my MTech in a Structural Engineering, Prof. Sachin asked whether PhD was a natural progression for me rather than an MBA. I said that I don’t intend to be a subject specialist and would like to understand different facets of business. Then followed the question of WHY MBA & WHY IIM A. Again I was well prepared for these answers.
At the end Prof Sinha asked me what else do you read apart from your technical stuff. I replied that I read articles/papers published by top consulting firms. These articles provide the firm’s insights & futuristic predictions based on its experience. I was asked to elaborate one such article which I liked. I also said that I read general management books and again was asked to name a few and my learnings/inference from these books.
(IIM A loves people who read different books/articles. I had this input by attending an info session of IIM A PGPX. So please prepare well for this answer “What do you READ?” and also attend info sessions of programs you intend to apply)
Overall the interview experience was nice & calm. At no point was I put into a corner or stressed.
Profile: Engineering from IIT, Indian Male with 7+ years of Intellectual Property Experience
There were two professors in the interview panel. The interview started with the extempore. The topic for my extempore was “Progress in Information and Communication Technology has failed to bridge the real digital divide”. I was given two minutes to think over the topic and present my views. The interviewers listened to the points I put across and put in their points as well. Post the extempore, I was asked the basic MBA questions:
1. What is my work profile and what kind of clients I handle?
2. Where are your most of the US client based? East coast or west coast? (Since I mentioned that I mostly deal with US clients)
3. Why did I choose to work in this field after my graduation?
4. What are my post MBA goals and how does PGPX fit into the whole picture?
At this point, one of the interviewers asked me about my hobbies. He seemed to have a common interest in reading Classic literature (one of the hobby I mentioned) and next 15 minutes focused on what are my favorite books and what books have I read recently. I had recently finished Crime and Punishment and the interviewer was interested in my take on the main character of the novel. Finally, the interview ended and they offered me sweets/candy. Overall, I have a positive feeling about the interview and am looking forward to the results.
Panel: 3 People
1. What do you do Mr ABC.
2. Why are you looking to do an MBA.
Then they went on to the extempore topic.
Extempore topic : Any idea is cranky before it finds success.
He gave me a minute to think.
I spoke how many ideas are mocked initially but later find when they find success people eventually praise them. Gave historical evidences on how people would thing the world was flat but when someone pointed out that the world isnt flat the church thorougly opposed it. Gave other examples.
Then they asked me counter questions such as:
1. So you seem to believe in this theory.
2. There are some ideas which you can verify such as the world is flat. But how do you verify conceptual ideas and say that it will be success such as say nationalism, capitalism etc.
3. Do you think guys like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos or Steve Job were cranky.
4. Is every new idea worth giving a shot. What if someone has a really crazy or stupid idea.
5. Suppose you are the CEO of an organization and someone comes up with a new idea and you have absolutely no idea about it. What will your reaction to it.
6. Marissa Mayor the CEO of yahoo only took 2 weeks of maternity leave. Now someone can point out if she can manage with only 2 weeks why is it required to give 6 months to female employees as part of maternity leave, what do you have to say to that.
7. Say you have to implement the maternity leave policy of your organization how will you go about it.
So they asked me a lot of other questions in between based on the responses i gave them. The discussion literally went on for 20-25 minutes. It was a bit grilling. In hindsight i feel i could have given better argument.
In the they asked me.
1. You have applied twice earlier. Why arent you looking at other options. Why only IIMA.
I said i already have an admit but IIMA is my 1st choice and I gave them my reasons for choosing IIMA.
2. Are you sure you want to do an MBA from the other school in case we dont select you this time around.
Profile: Indian, IT, Male
My interview was mainly profile based. They explored more on the work I had done, the responsibilities I handled, initiatives taken, few things on my current company and why MBA.
It started off with asking me with what my current responsibilities were and then they started dwelling on the people management aspects of my role. They asked if I had contacted IIM B Alumni. Further they probed onto why I had continued in the current job for so long and what I enjoyed about it. Few things again on how the people management aspects had changed at Infosys over the last decade.
Then they moved on the why MBA part and why now and finally ended up enquiring on my personal life(family etc). Ended with a question from my side which they tried their best to answer.
Final Result : Admitted
Profile: IIT, 10+ years of technology experience incl. international experience
There were 2 interviewers in the panel. They were true gentlemen, very calm and polite. They made the whole process smooth like butter and my interview was over before any stress could set in. When I was waiting in the waiting area, one of them called me to the room. On our way to the interview room, we had few informal conversations such has how their day have been, about the weather etc. Once we entered the room, he took his seat and the other panelist asked me to take my seat. I think both of them were professors. There was no alumnus in the panel.
My extempore topic was lying in a piece of paper in the desk. It was ‘Recession is the mother of innovation’. I was asked to think for 2 mins then talk on the topic for a while. I gathered my thought and was ready to start with in a minute. I started to speak in favor of the topic, at the same time did not rule out other factors leading to innovation. The 2nd panelist countered me by saying that the word ‘ Mother of’ implies that it was the ONLY reason for the innovation. I realized my mistake and changed by stand by saying that ‘Recession leads to innovation, but not necessarily the only reason for the innovation. I was cross-questioned few times and was asked to sight some examples when recession happened in recession and when it happened in No recession. This process continued for a while before the panelist moved to other questions.
The other panelist shot some regular questions,
The other panelist shot some regular questions,
1. Since how long I have been in the USA?’
2. Before coming to USA where was I working?’
3. ‘Who is my Client and what he does?’
4. What is the nature of my work?
5. Why I want to do MBA and where do I see myself in next 5 years.
While I answered these questions, other panelist asked me about my onsite experience in Sweden, which was my first onsite experience. I discussed in detail about my experience. The mood of the room was relaxed and tension free; we were in more of a discussion mode.Â They seemed to have liked my experience in Sweden.
He then enquired about current scenario of mess workers in my college. I was General Secretary of Mess and this probably had caught his attention.
We then talked about Indian political scenario and my views. I, being avid followers of current affairs, discussed it in detail.
At the end, it was over; I shook hands with both of them. One of them did mention liking the conversation with me. Overall, I am happy about the whole process and I am optimistic about the prospect. Finger crossed.
Final Result : Admitted
Profile: MS from US, 10+ years of experience in Sales, Marketing, BD etc
My PGPX interview process was in my opinion far superior than EPGP interview process. The two man PGPX panel focused on a friendly, polite, conversational style of interview. I was given a topic and asked to speak about it. When I made my first mistake the interviewer stopped and corrected me and used it as a take-off point for the conversation. He even helpfully drew my attention to a particular aspect he wanted me to focus on. Topics discussed during the interview ranged from the Chinese president to my thoughts on a good development model for India. Throughout the process I got the feeling that the moment I strayed away from the topic the interviewers drew me further away and it was up to me to bring it back on topic.
Final Result : Admitted
Profile: IIT, 20+ years of experience incl. international experience
I just had my interview yesterday. The extempore topic was ' What should India do to win 200 medals in the 2020 olympics'. Other than that, it was about the current company, work and the hobbies that I had mentioned in the application. A question about Mary kom. Why I wanted to do the program at this stage and a few questions about past work experiences. They talked to me about the program and wanted me to know that it is quite intense and placements are not 100%(not the same as the 2 year pgp program).
Final Result : Admitted
GMAT score: 690
Profile: 6 years Indian Army, 1 year HR
There were 2 interviewers both were IIMA profs. Interview was conducted in IIMA campus on 30-09-12.
Q1 So you asked the other interviewees what is being asked in the interview?
Ans No. Not much. Rather current students were there and I asked them many questions.
Q2 What did you ask them?
Q3 Where all were you posted in Army?
Ans I said my first posting was in Allahabad then there were questions on what all is there in Allahabad. There is a famous church in Allahabad and I knew who build it and why it was build in Allahabad. One prof asked me whether I know what Allahabad University was earlier. I said I do not know.
Q4 You have done BBA and Certificate program in Management then why you need to go for PGPX?
Ans I answered that objective of PGPX and other programs which I did earlier is different and I elaborated it a bit.
Q5 Why you want to go into Retail or Real estate industry (I have written in my essay that I want to get into operations role in these industries)?
Q6 Do you think you will be able to survive in Real estate industry where there are lot of unethical practices?
Ans I said I will keep my ethical standards intact. After this they gave me extempore topic and one Prof glanced through my documents. While seeing the certificates she asked why you did MSc in Applied Psychology. I answered it and this led to a discussion between two profs.
Q7 What are the five things that corporates can learn from Army?
Final Result: Offered Admission
GMAT score: 720
Profile: 16+ years in Apparel industry
I was the first candidate of the day, 8.30 AM slot. I was directed to Panel-3. There were 2 profs.
I shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.
Q1: Walk us through the resume - I kept it short and started from latest assignment and moved backwards all the way towards 12th class. In the process I highlighted significant achievements at each stage . This lasted for 5-6 minutes.
Prof no.1 was scanning my originals which were neatly put in a folder in serial order.
Q2: Why MBA /Why now
Q3: Future of textile industry,
Q4: What will you do for textile industry
Q5: How has China changed the landscape in textiles & apparel industry
Q6: Surprise question : I had indicated that I am fluent in Tamil, so they asked me to recite “Thirukkural” - I could remember one of the couplet studied 3 decades back, I recited it well with meaning.
Q7: They informed that the course is tough and would call from tremendous dedication, I told them that I am prepared etc etc ..
Final Result: Offered admission
Location: IIMA PGPX campus.
Interview panel No: 3
Interviewers: 2 one smiling (let’s say A) and another not smiling (let’s say B)
1. A - so when did you arrive? (ice-breaker)
Answer - Yesterday in Ahmedabad city. Today at 1:50 out here.
2. A - Gave me a topic. Asked to think and speak - Space Tourism.
Answer - Frankly could not remember much except Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic is saying he will invest. Good to have research on how to do it cheap.
3. B - not smiling. Wants me to speak about what I do - Presales.
Answer - some stuff .. Also made mistake - did not practice this answer well.
4. B - asks about ERP business today (I do presales for ERP).
B - So is ERP dead today?Answer - No! More and more businesses are moving to it.
5. A - asks about why MBA
Answer - told him some well practiced stuff.
6. A - define strategic leadership, if you were to go back to your company what role will you play? How will MBA help?
Answer - Again, some practiced stuff.
7. A - Asks about strengths as an IT guy - 4 or 5.
Answer - God! I did make this one up on the spot.. Bet he understood!! Luckily did not BS much. Even “Prof Smiling A” did not seem too impressed though.
8. A - Why is Europe in such a bad shape today?
Answer - funds arrived in the Euro Zone. Ireland is good study in failure. Everyone thought they had access to it. So funds were mismanaged and misappropriated. spoke too much as well L
9. A - Max team you have lead? Currently?
Answer - Some facts and figures.
10. A - What else can you tell me about yourself?
Answer - Interested in Tae Kwon Do. Etc.. etc..
B - So you still do Tae Kwon Do?
Answer - Yes.
11. A - Any question for us?
Answer - A practiced question ... Nothing tremendous.
12. A - anything else you want to ask us?
Answer - There was a student that we were talking to outside. He answered most other things I had to ask. Thanks!
Results speak: More than 5 admits to IIM A PGPX Class starting in 2020.
Aastha Tiwari - IIMA PGPX 2020 Admit
Krupesh Ved - IIMA PGPX 2020 Admit
KavyaShree - IIMA PGPX 2020 Admit
Anindya Sengupta - IIMA PGPX 2020 Admit
Shankar Mohan - IIMA PGPX 2020 Admit
Results speak: More than 5 admits to IIM A PGPX Class starting in 2019.
Rohan Kawley - IIMA PGPX 2019 Admit
Karan Yadav - IIMA PGPX 2019 Admit
Mukul Tripathi - IIMA PGPX 2019 Admit
Vishal Parasher - IIMA PGPX 2019 Admit
Praveen Singh - IIMA PGPX 2019 Admit
Results speak: More than 7 admits to IIM A PGPX Class starting in 2018.
Nishant Parashar IIMA PGPX 2018 Admit
Neha Arora IIMA PGPX 2018 Admit
Nitin Goyal IIMA PGPX 2018 Admit
Nikunj Agarwal IIMA PGPX 2018 Admit
Pankaj Gupta IIMA PGPX 2018 Admit
Results speak: More than 5 admits to IIM A PGPX Class starting in 2017.
Sunny Goel IIMA PGPX 2017 Admit
Naveen SG IIMA PGPX 2017 Admit
Shalini Tiwari IIMA PGPX 2017 Admit
Bhanu Pandey IIMA PGPX 2017 Admit
Results speak: More than 5 admits to IIM A PGPX Class starting in 2016.
Suman Saha IIMA PGPX 2016 Admit
Abhinav Gaiha IIMA PGPX 2016 Admit
Rupesh Singh IIMA PGPX 2016 Admit
Sumit Srivastava IIMA PGPX 2016 Admit
Tushar Shankar IIMA PGPX 2016 Admit