Updated: May 4, 2020
Grad: BA LLB Hons, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow
CAT'16: 98.07 percentile
Work-Ex: 0 (fresher)
Venue: Vivanta by Taj - Dwarka, New Delhi
Date: 10/02/2017. (Afternoon slot)
We were segregated into 6 different panels, each comprising of 8 students. From there on, it was a three stage process, administered by the same set of 2 professors.
Round 1: There was an Academic Writing Test (AWT), which is very different from the WAT essay esque process conducted by most B schools. This was more closely related to the Analytical Writing Assessment questions of GMAT. The time limit was 20 mins and the writing space was restricted to a blank side of an A4 sheet. Since I had no prior exposure to these type of questions, I wrote the first things on my mind.
Round 2: IIMA had intimated us in advance that there would be a Maths Proficiency Test on the interview day. We were told in advance that the test would have no bearing on the final selection process. It was to ascertain whether a prospective candidate would need a QA Preparatory course. However, the paper came as a complete surprise to me, which left me laughing in middle of the exam room. There was a question on matrix and another couple of basic calculus questions. This was something I did not prepare for and five years of law did not do much to assist. However, under no pressure to perform in this test, I actually managed to do something there since I ended up not receiving a prep course call.
Round 3: I was 7th in order to go for the PI. So there was a lot of time to kill, which was consumed largely in talking to other candidates there.
Panel: Two IIMA faculty. P1, the younger one on the left and P2, the senior professor on the right. R - Rajat.
*sentences inside “” are my thoughts/not part of conversation.
** Trying to recollect from the best of my memory.
P1 calls out my name. I step inside, greet them and take my seat.
P1: Tell us something about yourself, briefly, which is not there in your interview form.
R: Answered something in roughly 25–30 seconds.
P1: So, you are from Lucknow, do you know about Lucknow’s history.
R: Answered in what specific timelines from when I would know.
P1: So have you read “The Last Mughals” by William Darlymple?
R: I have not but I have it on my reading list. (which was in fact true.)
P1: Which country is he from?
R: [I remembered him being from Britain.] Answered England. [Correct answer was Scotland.]
P1: So you are a law student. Tell us about this famous Bengali lawyer in Tokyo during the WWII.
R: [I make a second blunder. The Bengali in Japan before/during WWII was Raas Behari Bosh, my brain bluffs and tells Rash Behari Ghosh - who was a very prominent Bengali lawyer, but he was nowhere close to the WWII timeline.] Still unsure, I apologize for not remembering the name.
P2: Tell us about judicial activism. Tell us three cases where there was an instance of judicial activism.
P1: Now tell us how that it was not judicial activism but an overreach, taking the same three cases.
R: [Caught off guard] Tried to answer.
P1: Assuming if Modi, like Trump, announces ban on illegal refugees in India, give us one legal argument from either side.
R: From the government side, I argue the constitutional safeguards to public safety and order and the possible application of intelligible differentia. From the refugee’s side, I mention India’s many International law obligations, the Refugee Convention (even though India is not a member) being almost non-derogatory and other human rights conventions. Additionally, I state how India has in past helped refugees. Be it the Tibet refugees in Dharamshala and rest of India, or India’s active assistance to refugees during the East Pakistan civil war, or the Sri Lankan civil war [should not have mentioned it].
P1: Glad you mentioned the Bangladesh liberation war. Tell us which international convention was applicable in the aftermath of the conflict.
R: Sir, there have been multiple Vienna, Geneva and Hague conventions on the laws of conflicts and wars. Could you be more specific? [makes a poker face]
P2: Think of something which happened and connect to an international convention.
R: Are you indicating towards the convention Prisoner of Wars formulated in Geneva [?] post the WWII?
[Both P1 and P2 nod. I go on a show off mode and tell them about the surrender of the Pakistani army in Dhaka and the terms of surrender and finally build up to the Simla Agreement and how that made the territorial dispute a bipartite issue and made the LOC the then current border.]
P1: Since you mentioned Simla Agreement and the LOC; under International Law and customs, what is the binding value of the same vis-a-vis the UN Resolutions on Kashmir dispute and the boundary dispute thereto.
[Starts absolutely fretting at this juncture. No chance that this could be asked outside a Public International Law class or a Moot Court Competition.]
R: Tried to answer with whatever I remembered from my PIL classes, brought in VCLT to justify my answers. [Not very satisfactorily I must admit.]
P2: What are your areas of interest?
[They simply did not ask anything from them and moved on.]
P2: What are your favourite subjects from law school?
R: Answered. [Did not ask anything again]
P1 & P2: Why do you want to pursue MBA after law?
R: Answered. [A detailed discussion on the same followed.]
[Next, there was a fair bit of sports law on my interview form]
P1: You have done some sports law. Tell us about the ongoing dispute between the BCCI and the Supreme Court.
R: Answered like a clockwork. From the Mudgal report to the Lodha recommendations and how Supreme Court took the matter. Discussed the procedural history. Took the side as to how Supreme Court is correct in my opinion. Mentioned about the major points of disputes very comprehensively. As I was winding it up, I mentioned about the 4 member administrative panel constituted by the Supreme Court to overlook the clean up. P1 interrupted.
P1: What is your opinion on the appointment of the 4 members.
R: I name the members and point out that I fail to understand the Court’s wisdom to appoint Ramachandra Guha on the panel.
P2: You mean Guha does not have the said credentials?
R: I believe he has a lot of passion for cricket and I really appreciate whenever he writes columns regarding the same. However, this is more of an administrative job than a cricketing job and the other members have far more related credentials.
[P1 then tells how Guha was actually a very good cricketer and P2 mentions about his journey as a cricketer. Since I was not aware of this in much depth, I made a poker face and took the gyaan, because I was myself very interested in the discussion]
[P1 leaves the guards, offers me to P2. P2 had been mostly smiling and occasionally giving inputs so far.]
P2: We have a doubt regarding your ability to manage Mathematics in IIMA! [probably saw me laughing during the Maths test].
R: Sir, I have had mathematics till my class XII and I understand that the questions asked today were fairly easy. It was because I did not expect Calculus and have been out of practice for almost 5 long years, that is why I was not confident about the test. However, I assure you that with a detailed revision, I would be able to do it.
P2: However, this is something different. Maths is an important component for the subjects you study there…
R: Tried to answer by bringing in the Term 1 curriculum at IIMA. I tell him how the course structure has subjects like commercial and business laws, and these would be subjects where I would be fairly at ease, given my prior exposure to them. So, everyone who joins there is at a comparative advantage/disadvantage. Mine is in mathematics. So I would put extra shifts for that and hope to do well.
[P1 and P2 are still not convinced with my explanation. The discussion on the same topic goes further and gets a tad bit uneasy for me. They then end the topic there.]
P1: Alright Rajat, we are done from our side. Do you have anything for us.
[thinking that the interview did not go very well, I just let my guards go and did something, which I should not have done in retrospect.]
R: Thank you sir. I have one query. Regarding the earlier question on the Bengali lawyer in Tokyo, was Raas Behari Ghosh the answer you were expecting?
[P1 and P2 start chuckling and nod. Could not make anything of it.]
R: Or sir, were you expecting to hear about Justice Pal at IMTFE and his dissenting opinion recorded in the LRWCC for IMTFE?
P1: Something on the lines of that…
R: Please give me another 2 minutes, I know the answer and can explain it to you.
P1: Dont worry. We are not going to evaluate you on the basis of this one answer. Anything else?
R: No sir. That’s all. Thank you.
P1: Take toffees.
[I grab a couple of them. Was sweating by that point of time.]
Have some water also?
R: Thank you sir. But we have sufficient water bottles outside. We’d run out of candies though, so I happily took a couple.
[both of them laugh]
I wish them again and exit the room.
Verdict - Coverted!
This answer has been reproduced from Quora with Rajat'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.