Converting IIM-A after a pure stress interview - Kshitij Bhatt - Ramjas to Ahmedabad!
So you write the CAT. You get a killer percentile. You get that amazing mailer from that dream college of yours - Interview shortlist! *Bells are ringing, Violins are playing* (Sorry, drama is a problem with me)
You show up dressed smartly. You’ve rehearsed your introduction, your family history background, academics, sports current affairs, static GK, quantum physics, philosophy and linguistics (you know, the basics)!
And your interviewer just... does not care.
You feel pressurized from the second you walk in. Almost like the interviewer wants you to fail!
That’s not a nightmare but the reality Kshitij Bhatt lived through after he got a chance to sit before the interview panel of his dream college after 5 CAT attempts. Read on for a 6-minute thriller, haha!
Spoiler alert - He is my batch-mate at IIM-Ahmedabad. It worked out, guys!
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10th - 10 CGPA | 12th – 95.2% (Commerce) B. Com (Hons.) – 78.2% Ramjas College, Delhi University Work ex – 27 months (as of Jan 2020), Investment Controller - Continental Tires CAT - 99.83
Interview experience - IIM-A
Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi
16 February 2020 – 8:15 AM Slot
Interview Duration – 35 minutes
AWT (20 minutes) - Has social media made the world a more democratic place to live in?
I was second in my panel to face the interviewers. One of the professors came out to order tea/coffee after the first interview was over (I didn’t know that he just wanted some coffee) and I said “Sir, I am Kshitij!” to which I got a reply “Did I call you yet?” (what a horrible start).
5 minutes later, I was called inside.
Two professors (P1, P2), Candidate (KB)
P1: So Kshitij, how are you feeling today? KB: Good sir, but also a little nervous.
P1: Why the nervousness? KB: Sir because I have finally arrived at the most important interview of my life.. (interrupted)
P1: Oh come on. Is this the end of life? KB: No Sir. But it’s definitely a means to an end.
P1: Fair enough. So, have you attempted CAT before? (I had a gap year from 2016-2017) KB: If you are referring to the gap, sir, I did attempt CAT in 2016.
P1: What happened? KB: Sir I had 7 calls during that year and I managed to get rejected in all of them. *I have no idea why I said this and now I had no clue which direction of the interview was going*
P2: REJECTED IN ALL 7?? You must be reallllllllyyyy bad. Did you introspect? KB: Yes sir………. (was interrupted)
P1: Did any one of us take your interview ever? KB: Yes sir, P2 did in 2018.
P2: After seeing my face, you must be like OH MY GOD, not again? KB Haha. No sir, not at all.
P1: Chalo maine toh nhi liya na interview pehle. Good. (At least I haven’t taken your case before) KB: Yes sir *Still have no clue what’s happening*
P2: So yes, introspection! What did you realize? KB: I did not prepare my acads well.
P2: What else? KB: I felt that I was a bit arrogant.
P2: Arrogant! Hmmm… What else? KB: I also felt that I was quite overconfident. *BLUNDER ALERT*
P2: Arrogance coupled with over confidence. No wonder you got rejected. P1: Tell me one thing. You are from a less than average college - Ramjas. I mean compared to other colleges like the IITs and NITs, or even SRCC, you stand nowhere.
Kis baat ka ghamand raha hai zindagi mein? (What are you overconfident about?)
*I literally want to kill myself for saying that I was over-confident, I also noted how the professor was trying his best to make me feel low*
KB: If you take note of my school, you’ll realize that it’s a pretty modest one.
P1: Let me see. (scrolls iPad) East point school. What is this? Never heard of it.
KB: Yes Sir. That’s what I meant. I have studied all my life here, from kindergarten to my 12th.
Small school strength. All my life, I have been a topper.
Any activity that existed in school, Kshitij Bhatt was there. Quizzes, Debates, Elocution, and Sports. And not just one sport. Every sport that you can imagine: Football Captain, Badminton captain, Volleyball, Athletics.
And sir I wasn’t just participating, I was winning everything. I even have a bronze medal in national level softball! Apart from this I was the house vice-captain, house captain the next year and was the president of my school in my last year.
(both professors gave me a weird look)
I know all this looks far-fetched but imagine what this does to a guy in his teens. Sir, I feel, unknowingly and unwittingly, all these achievements made me overconfident.
P2: So, you thought you were unbeatable? KB: It was more like I was invincible. *What the hell am I doing?!*
P2: Invincible. That’s a strong word. What I have seen over the years is that people from modest schools have a powerful drive to dream big, don't you think?
KB: Sir I absolutely agree with you. And that is why even after so many rejections over the years, I am sitting here in front of you, interviewing for IIM-A - the best management institute in India.
P2: Do you think you’re humble now?
KB: Sir, I won’t say that I am humble but compared to what I was 3 years back, I can confidently say that I have become much humbler. *I personally feel that this was a very good reply :P Honest at least!*
P2: How did that happen? *I was hoping they ask this*
KB: Sir everything changed when I joined Continental Tires… (interrupted)
P1: Arre ye Continental kahan se aagya. Tell me what happened in Ramjas.
KB: *Flummoxed*… When I joined college, I met a lot people from “big schools” … (interrupted)
P1: What do you mean by big schools? *just when I thought the direction of the interview is my control, I lost it again*
KB: Schools like DPS, CJM, and other decent Convent schools.
P1: Are you telling me that schooling impacts your education?
KB: It has a huge impact sir, definitely. I realized that almost all of my friends in college were better than me in terms of presentation, language, fluency-both written and spoken, and especially the way they carried themselves. I strongly believe this was because of their school background. *I have no clue where this interview is going*
P1: Okay. Tell me, is education like a vitamin B complex? KB: *???????????????????????*
P1: You know what B Complex is right? KB: It’s a multivitamin if I am not wrong.
P1: Good. So? KB: *???????????????????????*
P1: Do you know what Vitamins do? KB: They increase the overall immunity of the body.
P1: No Kshitij. I am not a biologist. Even I know what Vitamins do. KB *I have started to lose my confidence* Sir, as far as I know, Vitamins and Minerals improve the immunity strength of our body.
P1: Okay leave this. Tell me how Ramjas could have improved your B.Com Hons education? KB: Sir I felt that there was too much theory without giving us practical examples….(interrupted)
P1: You youth only want practical application. Do you think we are vocational trainers? Hum bhi college mein theory hee padhate hain. *Confidence has now been shattered* What do you mean by practical application?
KB: Sir I felt that the work I was doing at Continental is not really related to any of the theories I read in college. I …… (Interrupted)
P1: Didn't you have the intelligence that your education and work-life will be different? Should Ramjas have “Continentalized” B.Com Hons for you? Is that what you wanted?
*At this point, I am dead. No clue how I reached here and how to proceed*
KB: Yes sir you are right….. (interrupted again)
P1: What right? C’mon Kshitij. I poke you for 2 minutes and you agree with me? I did not expect this from a guy who has had so many interview experiences.
*felt like crying, shaking my head, looking down the floor*
P2: When you came in, you looked such a lively personality, all bubbly and smiling. Now you are quiet and nodding.
KB: (Took a deep breath and tried to climb out of the pit I had fallen into) Sir when I said lack of practical experience I meant, there could’ve been case-based studies like you guys teach in a B-School. This would’ve helped me realize how the principles of theory are actually implemented in real life.
P1: Good. That’s the kind of answer I was looking for.
P2: Do you have any extra-curriculars?
KB: Most of the extra-curriculars I have, I mentioned them to you previously. Nowadays I play badminton after office hours and football on weekends.
P2: Why no extracurriculars in Ramjas?
KB: Unfortunately, the football ground was under construction and there was no badminton court. But I did play regularly outside college in sports stadiums.
P1: Let’s discuss Continental……
The next few mins (around 7-10 mins) were all work-related technical questions. I answered most of them confidently. This was probably the best section of the interview.
P1: Okay Kshitij. Thank you. All the best.
KB: Thank you, sir.
Honestly, I was quite disappointed with my interview performance. When I came back, dejected, to the verification room, one of the professors came all the way from the interview room and tapped on my back and said "we forgot to offer you a toffee"…and obviously gave me a toffee. I have never ever seen this happen, so it was quite weird.
Verdict – Converted
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