Apart from Calcutta and Kozhikode, I have also applied to S.P.Jain (Mumbai). They have a group interview instead of a group discussion. We were six of us. Four with work experience and two freshers. There were four panelists. All the questions are open to everyone and you have to give your opinion.
P1: Middle aged guy, was very sleepy and dozed through the entire process.
P2: Young guy, was constantly encouraging us and was asking most of the questions.
P3: Old lady, very hard to please (not that way :P). She didn't ask us any questions but was busy noting down points.
P4: Middle aged lady, similar to P2 in mannerisms.
P2: So we are all a bit sleepy after so many rounds. Could you all please introduce yourself one by one and please be loud so that you wake us up. And also tell us, why SP Jain.
Me: [--Introduction included what I am doing currently, family background, academic and extra curricular achievements, hobbies--]
(P2, P3 and P4 raise their eye brows when I mention ballroom dancing as my hobby.)
"And as to why S.P.Jain. Firstly, it is one of the premier institutes for management in our country. Secondly, it is the only institute which has profile based calls along with CAT score based calls. So I would get to feast on a buffet of brains from diverse backgrounds and that would help me bridge the gap of my lack of work experience. Thirdly, it promotes value based education which is also what my school promotes and so we are on the same page there."
One guy mentions about weight loss in his about me and this leads P2 to ask the group,
P2: What is your opinion about feel good V/S look good?
Me: I personally feel that today marketing strategies portray that by looking good one can also feel good. But I tend to disagree on that. Looking good at most times becomes an obsession with girls trying to achieve hourglass like figures and guys trying to be the next Adonis. And when such goals are not met, it leads to lowering of self esteem. Feeling good on the other hand helps you to accept yourself as you are. And feeling good permeates to all aspects of life and gives you self satisfaction.
P3: There is this huge wellness industry. They concentrate a lot on looking good.
Me: Yes, that is their strategy. They make us believe that if we look good, we will also begin to feel good within, which is not always the case.
P2: You all must be aware of the entire economic slowdown. How is India faring and what should be the next move.
Me: India along with China haven't been affected that much by the slowdown as compared to other countries. The main reason being that India doesn't rely that heavily on America. In the future, we should look to diversify our investments in various countries so that a similar slowdown would not stunt our growth majorly. We should not be like the European nations who put all their eggs in one basket. And as to the next move, heavy investment should be made in infrastructure and primary education. And us being an agrarian economy, we should introduce agricultural reforms as well.
P2: Alright. Supposing we propose a system where your fees for the course are waived and you do your MBA from SP Jain for free. But your income of the next three years will go to the college. You will get some minimum amount to look after your needs. But rest all goes back to SP Jain. Are you game or not?
Me: No (3 said yes, 3 said no)
P1: Do you think it is fair or unfair? Don't give me any reasons, just yes or no.
P2: So all of you'll who are with work experience, tell us your greatest achievement in work. And freshers, tell us why should we select you ahead of these guys.
Me: Sir, both freshers and experienced candidates have their own strengths and weaknesses. But as a fresher my thinking would not be stereo typed like them. I wouldn't be afraid to think out of the box. I would give the entire process a whole new dimension. My friends may have prejudices build up through their work, but I am free of all this.
[--We had to bring with us a sheet bearing 5 uniqye qualities. We were asked questions on this. Except me, everyone else was asked only 1 question. I was asked 3!--]
P4: Shawn, you have written here that the events you have participated in have made you realise that you can learn a lot from your so called opponents. Give me an example.
Me: I always participated in elocution competitions. In the seventh standard, in an inter school competition I saw a guy with glasses, remove them and recite. So I asked him as to why he did that. He said that expressions are mainly rendered with the eye and with your glasses your eyes cannot be seen clearly.
P3: So you believed him?
Me: When I went back home I recited my poem in front of the mirror with and without my glasses. And the difference was there to see. The raising of the eyebrow, the dilation of the pupil were much more pronounced without glasses.
P2: You have mentioned that as a literary head of this IEEE thing you were innovative. How?
Me: In college fests, we have literary and technical events. Literary events are given a shoe string budget to work on. The easy way out would be to give them answer sheets with word puzzles. I didn't want to do that as it would seem like an exam. I had envisioned an elaborate treasure hunt which required about 10 treasure chests. Now, I didn't have that kind of budget. So what I did was I tied a string around a should box on two sides and attached a lock to it. That was my rupees 5 treasure chest!
P4: So Shawn, do you think these college festivals are needed and why?
Me: They are needed. It provides a vent after a rigorous week in college. At the end of the fest, people let their hair down and dance, I can't do that! And besides it helps to create a bond between students and skills like teamwork and leadership are honed.
[--They continued asking everyone else. After they were done, P4 looks at me and smiles--]
P4: Shawn, I want to experiment with you! Just stand here in front of me.
[--I go and stand in front of the panel--]
Now, I want you to give me a 30 second speech. As soon as I give you the topic, you have to start off. No time to think. And your topic is "If rotation becomes revolution and revolution becomes rotation, then..."
Me: [--I'm wondering what wrong I did to be given this, but I begin immediately--]
Ma'am, the Earth rotates around itself and revolves around the sun. If rotation becomes revolution and revolution becomes rotation, then in 24 hours we would all the seasons and we would have 6 months of sunshine and 6 months of darkness.
[--25 second over. But I can't think of anything else--]
P4: Alright, 30 seconds over. Thank you, Shawn.
P2: Wait a minute, before you leave, can any of you tell me if you could computerise one thing in India that has not yet been done, what would it be? Like for example, banking has now been computerised.
[--One guy mentions satellite communication! The panelists tell him that he is talking about technology and not computerizing something! I then answer--]
Me: One thing that could be done in India is like the US have a unique identity number for each person and computerize their medical records. So in case of an accident, you need not test the blood group and waste time in all that. All you have to do is find the record in the database and see the person's blood group and the things he is allergic to and all. This would help save precious time.
P2: Very good. Probably we could have an Information Management MBA from our college only to design that. You all can leave.
Results were announced:
Candidate 1: 720 GMAT + 3 years work ex ----> Rejected
Candidate 2: Me :) ----> Selected
Candidate 3: 99.94 XAT + fresher ----> Selected
Candidate 4: 750 GMAT + 3 years work ex ----> Rejected
Candidate 5: 98.6 CAT + 4 years work ex ----> Rejected
Candidate 6: 98.9 XAT + 2 years work ex ----> Rejected
Round 2 coming up shortly!
9 months ago