IIM Calcutta Interview Experience | Shweta Arora

Updated: Jun 13

19th Feb, 2018, 8:00 AM India Habitat Centre, Delhi


After document verification, we were distributed the WAT answer sheets in the waiting hall itself. The instructions were given and we were asked to start. The question was (non-verbatim) -

“Some people consider Nuclear Weapons as a deterrent to war. While others claim that they’re dangerous and hence of no use. What is your opinion? ”

Discussed both the sides, backed them up by relevant examples and concluded by taking the side with more pros than cons.


After the WAT, we were asked to wait for our turn. I was the 3rd person (out of 8) to be interviewed in my panel. When the 2nd person came out, she said that they’re asking whatever is coming to their mind. Like they asked her what is the capital of Rome? (Yes, Rome, and not Italy!)


My turn came at 11:00 AM.


The 2nd person had described the panelists inside as 3 gentlemen - P1, P2 and P3. She had said that P1 (left) spoke the least, P2 (middle) asked the technical questions and P3 (right) was having fun by confusing the candidates.


Just then, P3 announced my name and asked me to follow him. As I said this was my first interview at IHC, I hadn’t seen the room before. It took me a couple of seconds to realize how big the room was. P3 lead me to the end of the room, where the other panelists were sitting. I smiled, wished them good morning and took a seat with their permission.


P2 - Please hand over your file to me, Shweta.

S - (handing over the file) Sure, Sir.


P3 - (looking at my transcript) Commerce! What’s your rank in college?

S - First, Sir. But, that is up till 4th semester.



P1 - (going through my 10th and 12th mark sheets) You’ve consistently performed well in academics. Isn’t it?

S - (thinking if they’re looking for ego issues) I tried to maintain a decent academic profile, Sir. (kicking myself for using the word ‘decent’, who says it?)


P1 - (smiles) (signalling P3 to start with the questions)

P3 - So, Shweta, you have studied accountancy, right? I’ll give you a situation. Let us say, you’re a dairy farmer and you have 50 cows. One of your cows gives birth to a calf. How would you account for it in the books of accounts?

S - (whatt!?) (smiling, almost laughing) Sir, I don’t know, but I can try. Since the cows, in this case, are not my goods & services and instead are my fixed assets, the birth of a calf would appreciate the value of my fixed assets.


P3 - How would it appreciate the value of your fixed assets?

S - The calf can be sold in the market, which will be a capital gain and hence its birth has increased the value of my total assets.


P3 - Can you give me the journal entry for the birth of the calf?

S - (thinking) Sir, I’m sure that the Assets a/c will be debited, but I’m not sure what to credit as there’s no money involved. So, probably P&L a/c. (Turns out it is the Capital a/c which will get credited)


P2 - (suddenly) Shweta, who was Kirori Mal?

S - (my memory was betraying me) Seth Kirori Mal was the founder of the trust which managed our college after partition.. err, (running out of facts).. umm, Our college was named after him..

(they try to control their laughter and I realize what I had just said, of course our college was named after him, you idiot, isn’t it already known to them?)

(damage control) Sir, our college faced staff management issues during partition and his trust really helped the college gain its reputation back. It was shifted from Qutub Road, it’s earlier location to North Campus and was also renamed from Nirmala College to KMC in the memory of Seth Kirori Mal.


P2 - (scribbling something on a piece of paper) What is an Indifference Curve?

S - told.


P2 - (hands over the paper, which has two ICs drawn, intersecting each other with 3 points on them, labelled as A, B and C) Can you rank these points in the order of preference for a rational consumer?

S - Sir, it isn’t possible to rank them. The intersection of the ICs violates the basic definition of an IC. It is a contradiction.


P2 - What is a Giffen good?

S - told.


P2 - How is the shape of its demand curve?

S - told.


P2 - Any example?

S - told.


P2 - What is the substitution effect?

S - (went blank at this point) Sorry, Sir. I’ve read it but I’m unable to recall.


P2 - You’ve done a module in financial markets, tell me what is SENSEX?

S - told.


P2 - How does it act as a representative?

S - Tried to explain. Companies from different industries with high market cap, how its movement is an indicator of investors mood, etc.



P2 - What are derivatives?

S - told.


P2 - What can be the underlying assets?

S - gave examples: shares, indexes, currency, commodity, etc.


P2 - If price of the commodity doesn’t change, will price of the derivative change?

S - (not sure) I think it can, Sir.


P2 - Why do you think so?

S - (very unsure) Because the price of the derivative also depends on the buyers and sellers of the derivative. The volume exchanged will impact its price.


P2 - What is LIBOR?

S - Sir, I’ve heard of it, but I’m not sure.


P2 - Leave it. What is risk free rate of return?

S - told.


P2 - Do you know the rate prevailing in India, in terms of percentage?

S - Sorry, Sir. I am not aware of that.


P1 - Shweta, what has brought you here, why MBA?

S - (excited to mention marketing) start with how I was interested in marketing during undergrad, more about it, the extent to which I like it.. (interrupted)


P1 - “Ye to prepared lag raha hai”.. (This sounds prepared)

S - (facepalm!) No, Sir, it’s not like that.. (interrupted)


P3 - Don’t worry, Shweta. We’ll get to that part soon. Do you read newspaper?

S - (sad that they didn’t let me talk about marketing) Yes, Sir.


P3 - As an accountant, how’d you highlight the problem in the Nirav Modi case? Remember, Shweta, just in 2–3 words. Pin-point what was missing.

S - (after thinking) Internal Check. That is what was missing.


P3 - Please explain.

S - Internal check ensures that the work of an employee gets checked by another employee which reduces the chances of fraud. In case of PNB, the work of employees issuing LoU was not checked by senior staff members.


P3 - But, if the work of one gets checked by another, wouldn’t this go infinitely? Any other body to check this?

S - There are audit committees to ensure fair audit reporting by the auditors.



P3 - And what if they also join hands in committing the fraud?

S - The company can appoint an independent body to check the auditors.


P3 - What if they join hands too?

S - (I give up) Sir, then the company needs to incorporate moral ethics in its employees’ value system which is again a debatable issue.


P3 - Have you read the Cadbury Report on Corporate Governance?

S - No, Sir.


P3 - Have you read the Birla Report on Corporate Governance?

S - No, Sir.


P3 - (perplexed) You haven’t studied Corporate Governance?

S - (understanding now) Sir, it is a part of my curriculum for this semester as the subject ‘Audit and Corporate Governance’. We’ve covered only till Audit in class.


P3 - (nodding) Do you know what it is?

S - tried to explain, but wasn’t satisfactory.


(P3 looks at P1 and P2, they nod, but P3 still doesn’t wanna end the interview)

P3 - Last question, Shweta. Do you read?

S - Yes, Sir.


P3 - Which was the last book you read?

S - (the honest answer) David Ogilvy’s ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’, Sir.


(P1 and P2 smile and P3 gives a look of disbelief)

P3 - Shweta, are you sure you’ve read that book?

S - (smiling) Yes, Sir.


P3 - Tell me one famous line from that book.

S - (instantly) “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative”.


(P3 smiles and so do I, more so because it ended on marketing, the area they didn’t let me talk about. Probably that’s why P1 and P2 were smiling too)

P3 - Thank you, Shweta. Please have a toffee.

S - Thank you, Sir. Would you like me to send the next person in?


All - No, no, it’s okay.


Personally, I liked the calmness, with which the interview was being taken. There was no grilling, no random questions except some interesting ones. Even when they didn’t let me talk about marketing (the only thing I was unhappy about), the interview ended with it, which became a pleasant memory.


Verdict - Waitlisted 12, later Converted.


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