Updated: May 4, 2020
CAT 2015 - 94.97 percentile.
Higher Secondary - 94%
Graduation - 8.55 CGPA, B Com from St. Xaviers Kolkata
Date - 8th March, 2016 Venue - Hotel Monotel, Kolkata Time slot - 8.45 am
WAT Topic - "Rock Bottom is a Good Foundation" Time allotted - 10 mins
Interview - Lasted for around 15-20 mins
Panel consisted of a young man in his 40s (P1) and an elderly lady in her 50s (P2). Italics represents my thoughts.
Being the first interviewee I was tensed. P1 came out to call me. Asked me to enter and take the seat.
P1 asks for my file.
He was going through it when P2 asked me if this was my first interview. I said yes.
P2: Why? No other calls? Me: No ma'am. I perhaps didn't meet their shortlisting criteria. (I was happy that I won't be asked questions like why Shillong and why not ABC etc)
P2: So you applied for others but didn't get a call? Me: Yes ma'am.
P2: Have you prepared for the interview somewhere? Me: Yes. I had a mock interview and PDP classes at my tuition.
P1: So Akash, tell me something about the current political and social scenario of Bengal. (Why politics! I hate politics) Me: The state election dates have just been announced by the Election Commission. It's commencing on April 4 and will go up till May 5. (It was the only thing I could remember at that moment)
P1: So what according to you is going to be the outcome of this election? Me: Sir, I think that the current govt.(TMC) will come back in power.
P1: And why do you think that? Me: I gave reasons on its popularity with the masses and how that'll result in them getting more votes than other not-so-popular parties in Bengal.
P1: But then don't you think that if it comes back in power we're not going to see any changes in in Bengal in the next 5 years? Me: I agree sir but.. (Please move on from this topic)
P1 (interrupting): The industrialists are completely unhappy with the current scenario of Bengal and would not want to invest. So no investment means no growth, no growth no employment, and then no development. Me: I definitely agree with that sir but TMC is much popular with the masses than say BJP which is why they're going to get greater votes..
P1 (again interrupting): Why is BJP not popular? What strategies would you recommend them to change that? Me: I gave amateur reasons which were not so satisfactory.
P1: But these are general strategies which everyone is following. Any reason for this? Me: Sorry sir but I am not very fond of politics.
P1: So what are your interest areas? (At last politics is over)
Me: Sir, I have much interest in technology.. and finance.. and.. (I was stuttering)
P1: Okay. So what do you think of the rise in e-commerce? Their financials, etc (I don't remember everything but his questions were very big) Me: In the last 5-6 years there has been a dotcom boom in India. More and more e-commerce companies or e-tailors to be specific. (I said something more which I don't remember)
P1 (again interrupting): These are general things. Be more specific. Me: I said a few things which I don't remember.
P1 looked neutral - neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. P2 took over.
P2: Continuing from the previous question what do you think of these companies' sustainability ? Me: I said things on how these companies are still running into losses.
P1 (interrupting): Do you know their loss percentage? Me: No sir I don't remember exact figures.
P2: So if they're running into losses will they exist? Me: I explained by giving example of Amazon and Alibaba. How they also had no profits and not even a break-even for long but their main motive was to capture the market. Similarly in India these e-commerce sites want to first become synonymous with shopping such that it becomes a household thing. Then in future they'll be able to start earning profits. And this is why investors are investing in them. Because of their future.
P1 & P2 both look satisfied.
P2: Okay Akash so what do you think of the recent currency devaluation by the Chinese government? Me: I began with how Chinese government has full control over their currency exchange rate..
P1 (interrupting): So do you mean Indian government doesn't have control? Me: No sir. Ours is a democratic country and our currency's exchange rate depends on the markets.
P2: So how does currency devaluation help China? Me: Told them how it makes their exports even cheaper in the world markets and it boosts exports.
P1: But then you see low price with high sales would result in a net revenue of same amount. So why devalue? Me: Told them how China's aim is to get greater world export's market share and that it already had a huge foreign exchange reserves so it doesn't need to increase it.
They were pretty satisfied.
P2: So how does China's currency devaluation affect India? Me: Told them how this devaluation leads to higher investment in currency market then fall in primary commodity prices. This fall helps India as India is an importer. Moreover countries across the globe are losing their confidence on China because of this move. This is what the current government is trying to capitalize on through the 'Make in India' campaign.
P2: What is your opinion of this Make in India campaign? Me: Told them how I feel about it and it's prospects. The recent Make in India campaign week.
P2: What according to you are the three things required for its success ?(don't remember exact words) Me: Told about transparency in governance, simpler laws, and easy taxation policies specially regarding the retrospective taxation?
Then P2 asked one or two questions on what's retrospective tax and the difference between a normal tax and retrospective one. I gave satisfactory replies and how investors lose confidence due to retrospective tax. She then asked me what was mentioned about retrospective tax in this budget. I told that Mr. Arun Jaitley has promised that there would not be any further retrospective taxes and all ongoing cases specially Vodafone one would be solved on an urgent basis.
P2: Okay Akash so what do you like to do in your free time? I said that I like to do some photography in my pastime.
P1: Which photography? Then I told them that in digital photography I like nature and non-living object (forgot the exact words at that time - abstract) photography and told them why.
P1 looked at P2: Okay then. P2 nodded.
P1. Okay Akash Thank you. Me: Nice meeting you. Hope we meet again.
P1 (pointing at a bowl kept in front): Have some candies.
I took one chloromint, thanked them and walked out.
Note: I don't remember the exact words and have missed out a few questions here and there. Pardon me for that.
Results - Wait listed and finally not selected.
This answer has been reproduced from Quora with Akash's permission. He wished all the non-engineers good luck for their upcoming interview rounds and hoped that this could benefit them.
For more, keep reading the IIM Interviews.