My tryst with destiny

Dei shanmugam edra vandiya

Sunday, December 28, 2008

ISB interview

Warning: A Long Post

It was journey of two days and more from hyd to chn and back but the interview was over in just 20-30 minutes. While the journey itself was interesting and deserves a post, i would register the interview account first.

It should be almost 6 years since i wore a tie. i expected fellow candidates to be equally uncomfortable. To my horror i found everyone wearing a complete suit. I imagined that worst case people would only wear a last minute bought/borrowed blazer over their regular formals. That wasn't to be. Candidates were comfortable and ready to join the mba classes immediately.
If you are a techie too, please imagine the scene were there is a big campus with beautiful libraries, mirror clean floors and suit wearing candidates. Since the cold wind of business aura blew, i had to wear my techie attitude glove. Aah! It felt warm then. I started to feel confident. After all, all techies can become MBAs but the reverse is not true. Believe me, these types of stupid thoughts really boosts your confidence.

With almost all butterflies killed in my stomach, I sat down to write my 100 word essay. there was a column for application reference number. I didn't remember mine. Didn't mind either. Come on! techie can afford to forget everything. The word for essay was "beat". I refrained from giving any broad views like "beating terrorism", "heart beat" etc. I told the story in which i played my first tournament match and how i beat the opponents. It came out really well. Without much thought for decency, i peeped into the adjacent guy's essay. It started with "Pakistan's attitude towards ...". Oh my god! Not again. There were four of us sitting in our couches each waiting for our panel to call us. A lady came out of the room with not so enthusiastic face. The guy next to me P asked her how it went. She said it was ok (meaning it was flop). She started wishing everyone all the best one by one and left. Only thing is that she missed me. Damn it! Don't i look like a candidate. Of course not! I overlooked one of the candidate's interview. He was pumbifying (pretend to be good boy) like anything. By the look, he didn't look confident. I could feel that he is just answering and not conversing. After a wait of 50 minutes, the same panel called me in.

Somebody said hi. I said a loud good morning and looked at my watch to confirm if it is still morning. Then the panel introduced themselves as student s1, student s2 and adcom member ad. I practiced why mba question hundred times. So i was ready to tell the answer. "When i started my careeer......" But the first question wasn't to be that way. From then on, it never went the way i planned.

ad: what is this "innovative genius award" (achievement part in app)?
me: contest of business ideas. blah blah
ad: what was ur idea?
me: (damn it i had this in my to-do list but forgot to prepare an answer) there is something called VOD and PPV. (when i was explaining the students didnt seem to understand but adcom lady did. looks like she has lived in US for a while) VOD had the option of paying it through cable itself while ppv didn't have the facility. My idea is to introduce the facility to ppv. (I was ready to answer if they asked did they give the award for such a simple idea but they never asked)

s1: so what does your company do? Its ok if it is lot of technology jargons involved.
me: end-end cable solution starting from head end to set top box (he didnt understand but adcom lady did when i repeated it again he acted as if he understood - peer pressure!!)

ad: what is this tiger team (mentioned in app)?
s1: u pounce on others?
ad: why did u name it so?
me: its an SOS team. what happened was...
ad: yeah we know, serious issue, people were not able to see channels
me: (eloborated on it further)
ad: is it always stationed like NSG?
me: no. (gave more info)

ad: what is R&R?
me: Rewards and Recognition (again i was ready to give story behind it but they weren't interested)

s1: what is this interview hobby?
me: newly cultivated one to overcome my inhibition and to understand real world which could be quite different from what we read or what media projects
s1: when i am interviewing u, u will tell me what i want to listen. how does it makes sense?
me: that happens when there is a common interest. These are randomly selected people.
s1: so it is just an interaction and not an interview.
me: no it is more than interaction since i prepare questionnaire, take a print out and asks questions. it is rare when people speak out to strangers. so when the opportunity comes i shud be asking right Qs.
s1: what do u plan to do?
me: it is just for me (fumbled a bit as he seemed not convinced then i said i will blog it and s1 gave a ok look)
ad: so give an example of the difference that u understood
me: told them abt canadian people's view abt indians.
s1: how do u plan to improve india's image?
me: why shud v influence some canadian's view. we shud focus our energy only to target audience (fumbled a bit but they seem to understand the point)

s1: how did the economic down turn affect ur industry?
me: told them abt cisco forced holiday but stressed them that my division is sound. (gave some data abt the customers and how strong they were - well answered)

s1: how big is ur team?
me: chennai but spread across atlanta, cupertino
s1: what issues do u face?
me: v don't hv communication problems...
s1: (stopped me) tell us only abt issues.
me: approaches are different. (was searching for the word extreme programming - showed them i was trying hard to get the term correct)
s1: i come from same background. i wish i cud tell the word. everyone laughed
me: (carried on without giving the term)
s1: if u r named CEO, how will u address it?
me: right now, the modules are independent across locations. i will send out the instructions for proper approach and share the modules across locations.

s1: What is the capital of Ireland?
me: huh?
s1: U are the president of a quiz club. I just know this particular info.
me: took a while to say no. (all 3 gave a that-didn't-matter look)

s1: you are the placement co-ordinator of ur college. if made the same in isb what will u do to tackle economic downturn problem?
me: i dunno how isb works. (fumbled a bit)
s1: ok then tell me how u will do in ur own college.
me: told them how we used to invite companies and how this scenario needs the co-ordinator to market his college very agressively. (regained my composure regarding isb). Again i dunno how isb works. but i will give a piece of advice to students. they shud be ready to get jobs in any company and not stick with any particular company. ur aim is to get out with a job. after getting a job, u can always jump to company of ur choice (s1 seemed to have liked the answer)

ad: what do u want to do post mba?
me: tech consulting
ad: (gave a i-knew-it look)

s1: any questions for us?
me: (looking at the lady) what did u try to understand through dam essay?
ad: creativity, problem solving ability
s1: mainly creativity
me: nothing else

Shook hands and left. Over all very confident interview from me. Working in a non-english speaking environment makes it difficult to switch suddenly to english speaking mode. So i was in want of words many times but filled those with my body language. The third guy who was supposed to watch my body language was looking pretty dumb. so , i successfully engaged him too in the conversation spoiling his job. Lets see whats in store?

Friday, December 19, 2008

ISB shortlisted

I was totally out of MBA activity for a good 2,3 weeks, not even applying for Alberta.
Now comes a good news.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Come January - Haas would visit Bangalore

I just sincerely hope that foreigners don't get paranoid about anything that sounds Taj.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I was going through one of the quiz blogs and came across this question. My goodness!! Are we so disconnected with our history? I admit that I forgot most of the important freedom struggle events and dates. But thinking that identification of a post independence prime minister (that too a famous one) would be a challenging question is beyond my imagination. Thank God no body got it wrong.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

ISB goes Youtube

ISB has created a branded channel on youtube. Recession - Says who? The charge per year for the youtube service is 200,000$ or in other words a whopping Rs. 1 Crore.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Listening-9 Reading-8.5 Writing-7.5 Speaking-7.5 Average-8

Before the IELTS exam I decided firmly that I would remain confident and happy throught my preparation, my exam and after that.

With very less support from the net and with only a practice guide (given free with registration) before me, I started my preparation just a week before. I just skimmed through the material without any interest. Before I could realise it was already friday. I wasn't even past the introduction. Saturday was the exam. I didn't go for office that day and took the practice book seriously. Everything was vague. I could neither get the feel of the exam nor understand what they are trying to test. Anyway I did all the exercises given in the book. I took the practice test in the CD. That sample test clinched the test of me.

Basically there were 4 sections - listening, reading, writing and speaking. Speaking test would be conducted individually and for me it was on a different date from the other tests. Other sections were 40 minutes long. Listening was the easiest of the lot. One has to listen to conversation, speech etc and answer the questions. A little bit of concentration would fetch you the full 9. Reading had 2 paragraphs. One smaller and another bigger. With just one day of preparation, it was harder to follow the tips given in the book. But if one follows them, it would be lot easier. On the test day, I went by the book tips. it was enough to fetch 8.5.

Writing section was a bit tricky. No clear cut winning formula was available. I applied whatever I learnt for my AWA writing. I got 7.5. Speaking test was very straight forward. A small introduction, a speech about an event, Q&A around the speech and a brief speech to conclude. I was lucky to get sports related topic. I talked about a non-existing NCAA experience, my club etc and was very emotional when asked about country's sporting infrastructure. I earned a 7.5. So, my final average score was 8. Not bad considering Haas expects at least 7. A special mention has to be made about the test experience.

It was professional to the core. British council conducted it in GRT hostel. I was one of the few people who looked like earned his own money. So, it was quite chaotic with the majority college going kids. One of them was shocked to hear that I didn't go for a coaching class. The ambience in the hall was very good. Proper light. Proper sound. Two beautiful (in fact very) girls at either side of my desk. Speaking test was in British Council itself. Sunday traffic didn't offer much resistance to my libero. I had to wait for my turn. In that period, I talked to a very forthcoing catering student from Australia. Without giving a thought about our mother tongue, we spoke in english. So, I was well warmed up. I already knew the test would be recorded. I was apprehensive to find the playback audio level so low. So I raised my voice above my normal level. The lady who conducted the test was very nice. She made me very comfortable. More than that she reacted to what I said. That really helped me. All in all the experience was very pleasant and one to cherish.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Haas submitted