Updated: May 4, 2020
Grad: B Com - 61.28% and CA (inter plus final) - 66%
CAT'18: 98.27 percentile (Gen)
Work-Ex: 28 months (Deloitte Taxation, Mumbai)
Date: 1 Feb 2019 , Location: Mumbai
"B schools should stop offering job placements" (Time - 15 Minutes)
Personal Interview: (10-12 minutes max)
2 panelist - one female (aged 32–35) and one male (aged 50+). We will call female interviewer as P1 and second one as P2.
P1 invited me for the interview and asked me to sit down.
P2 asked for all the mark sheets and was checking them, rather was scrutinizing them.
P2: So you have completed CA , CS and CWA and your B.com.
Me: yes sir I have completed my CA and cleared final examinations of CS and inter examination of CWA. I have not obtained the degree for CS as I did not complete one training.
P2 : Which training?
Me: told the name of training and explained why I did CS and CWA as it helped me in clearing CA final examinations. (Both seemed utterly uninterested in this story though I thought I should mention that.. lol)
Meanwhile P1 was going through the personal from which I had filed for IIM L. But she was not leading the interview.
P2 - So Vatsal, do you know what is the break even point?
Me: yes sir it is a state of no profit and no loss.
P2 : how will you calculate the break even point for Hindustan Unilever?
(Shocked and was thinking why are they grilling on a financial management concept when my work experience is fully on taxation for 28 months.)
Me: came up with an answer that I will analyse the profit and loss statement of the company and based on their costs I can determine at what revenue they can break even. (don't know if this is correct or not)
P2: Do you think break even point as stated by you is correct?
(knew never to change stand once taken)
Me: with slightly lower tone- Yes sir.
Just when I thought the worse is over, their came flurry of academic questions and that too not from taxation.
P2: Heard the concept of modified IRR?
Me: sir I have heard of IRR when I was preparing for CA final examinations in 2015. But not of modified IRR.
(Still not letting it go)
P2 : So tell me in what situations do we use NPV and IRR?
(Facepalm and again no clue about the situation just knew how to use them)
Me: gathered courage to speak something and was explaining that sir IRR is internal rate of return and it is to be used when you are reinvesting the amount as same rate. (I discussed what I knew but obviously P2 was not satisfied).
P2: I am asking you about situation.
Me: tried to explain discounted cash flow and all the bakwaas which I have no clue (just had one thought that when will work experience or current affairs be discussed but the journey was far away). Finally said sir I do not about the situation.
P2: Are deferred revenue expenditure allowed as per Indian accounting standard?
(Same fate. Only one thing was going in my mind …lol..How can I as a person who worked in hard core taxation for 5.5 years will know about a specific accounting standard)
Me: Sir I do not know.
P2: I asked you because you have completed your CA , CS and other exam.
Me: sir for the past 5.5 years I have been working in taxation field and these all things were read by me last in 2015. So that is the reason I am not sure on the topics.
P2. Ok, so have your heard of the concept of accelerated depreciation ? And only one example is there if you can give?
Me: tried to explain that accelerated depreciation as I have heard is more depreciation than normal. But I do not have an example.
P2: It is used in USA
(And he was assuming that I should know that what is used in USA in tax, when even taxation of India is so complex?) Ordeal…!!
Finally the ordeal came to rest and the captaincy was taken by P1 and she meanwhile was reading my full form.
P1: Smiling and said apart from academics what do you do?
Finally something I knew…
Me: told about cricket, writing on Quora and finally said about being a certified teacher on Unacademy.
P1: So, what course you have developed on Unacademy?
Me: Mam I have analysed some editorials and shared them on the platform.
( Hoping she would also ask which topics and I will confidently say what I have done)
But ostensibly she had other plans..
P1: So Vatsal, you read newspaper and yesterday and today Chanda Kochhar was in news. Give me what your analysis would be on that case as a Chartered accountant and not as layman. Explain like you would do to your students.
(I knew about the case but had read it long back and yesterday only I read that the committee found her guilty) somehow pressure was immense and my first words fall out like these:
Me: Mam Ms. Chanda Kochhar.
P1: Interrupting.. Ms..?
Me.: Sorry Mrs. Chanda kochhar (was constantly similing but believe me I could sense that I was sweating but thankfully was not showing the nervousness..)
Me: told them case but used wrong words to explain the things like related party and vested interest. ( Should have used the words conflict of interest)
P1 and P2 both jumped in action :
P2: It was definitely not a related party thing..
Me.Sir...I meant vested interest (cursing why I am not able to recall the words ‘conflict of interest')
P2: Even vested interest is not the right terminology and as a CA we expect you to be clear and not use vague terms. (Again only smiling and nodding, was now thinking only about writing this on Quora…lol)
Me. More explanation about how during her tenure she granted the loans to Videocon..
P2 Interrupting: You think a single lady can sanction loan alone?
Me: sir I meant that during her tenure when she was CEO , the board approved the loans to Videocon and then Videocon disbursed the loan amount you nupower in which her husband had interest. And recently a committee had convicted her for misdoings.
P1 and P2 were not satisfied.
(I knew that I did not have any positive view about this case. I only remembered the negatives and this was killing me. As a candidate you are expected to know both sides and give a balanced view. However, here I was flabbergasted and confused to the core. Could not think of more points. Only smiling. What's else to be done.)
Me: Sir the case was this this and Mrs. Kochhar could have abstained from voting or could have disclosed the interest.
P1 and P2 both jumped again and were grilling on why she should have abstained and how could she know.
Me: Tried to explain about interest and all things but nothing concrete came out.
Interview ended. No chocolate no cookie offered.
In the end I explained the case and kept my stand but knew that if I could have presented a balanced picture, things would have been much simpler.
The look on the both the faces suggested the outcome. And somehow I also knew that there was utter disappointment on both sides.
I will edit when verdict comes however I knew for sure what the likely outcome is. Still fingers crossed. In the start of the interview season, I felt like I was playing in England conditions without Kohli in the team.
Hope the readers can understand what they might be tested on when they go for an interview. In my case no work experience was discussed and that was a negative point. However my mistake was that I should have known in depth about the case of Chanda Kochhar.
Cheers and all the best..!!
Other calls: IIM A, K and S. Apart from that SPJIMR and IIFT.
This answer has been reproduced from Quora with Vatsal'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.