Toppers Speak

The story of Shrey Jain [NM College to IIM Ahmedabad]

Interview Process:

I got calls from IIM A, L, K, S, new IIMs and XLRI. IIM A was my first interview.
I had my interview at IIM A campus. I got to stay at the campus and that feeling was quite exemplary. That really motivated me to perform well in the interview.

    Amongst the questions I was asked in my interviews, following were a few of them that I remember and that put me off guard –
  1. On my form, I had mentioned that I like cricket. Acknowledging my interest, they asked me about Women’s and U-19 cricket. U-19 World Cup was going on at that time and India had a match on my Interview day itself. The interviewers asked me about U-19 world cup, India’s chances, and some questions on the players representing the country. I remember reading about it and gave them the information. It was clear that they expected me to know all the required information about my interest areas.

  2. Another question they asked me was – Which is the longest bone in a human body?
    I was completely shocked but still I thought for a few seconds and gave the answer. I was asked a couple of more questions on bones - number of bones present in a human body. Thanks to Munna bhai, I tackled the first one. Then they asked me how many bones are there in the body of a young child. I did not know the answer, but with the CA background of sensing some trick question, I answered that they have more bones than a grown-up. Fortunately my estimate was close enough to the answer (300).

  3. Having a financial background, the interviewer asked me multiple questions on the reasons for recession in 2008, what role I played during that time (that stumped me as well), and what impact it had on my firm. They also asked me on the present day banks’ problem of bad loans and the steps that are required to be taken to counter this problem. Material from CPLC provided by Prof. Shishir was helpful in this regard.

I think it is very important to be calm and not to take it as an interview. We were told at CPLC that this is a selection process, and not a rejection process. Unless you give them reasons to reject you, they will select you. You have to be honest and be who you really are.

Interview Preparation:

Once I got a call from IIM A, I started asking people as to how should I prepare and what are the things I should keep in mind. One important thing I was told was, “If you’re going to mention ‘XYZ’ in the interview, you should know two levels deep down as to what ‘XYZ’ is. You should be prepared with the all the what, how, who, why, when related to that. I also prepared very well for the HR questions.

Usually one is supposed to know - why MBA, tell me something about yourself, why IIM A and questions like these before one even attempts the CAT. But ironically, we do that after we get a call. It becomes extremely important to know the right answers to these probing questions. For my interview preparations, I put twice the number of hours which I had put for the CAT preparation, because interview is where everything gets decided. I used to take up one current issue every day, read about it and then discuss it with someone who knows the topic really well. I prepared answers for all the possible questions I might get asked and got it reviewed from faculty and relevant people I knew, who were well-versed with the subject.

How I prepared for CAT:

I always thought that Quants is my strong area, but as I started my preparation, I realized that I was more comfortable with LRDI and Verbal. So Quants needed special attention. I did not really have a strategy as such. But I made it a point to go through all the Assignment and Practice questions which CPLC had provided. Apart from that, I made it a point to focus on topics in Quants in which I was comfortable.

What really worked for me in the CATwas that I was not fussed about scoring well. I did not pressurise myself to score well, and that helped me take each question on its merit and leave those that I felt would consume time or the ones I did not know the solution to. After all, as I was told in my interactions with the faculty, accuracy is the key to success in CAT and not the number of attempts. The good thing was that I didn’t follow a particular strategy on the exam day, as I believe that the CAT has a nasty way of breaking your strategy if you’re not adaptable.

TI honestly feel that your mindset determines your CAT score even before you take your seat at the exam center. Not just the CAT, even at the interviews, it is the mindset which plays the biggest role. Rest is just channelizing and application of thoughts already engrained in you.

Background:

10th Score: 85.83%
12th Score: 85.38%
Graduation and Post Graduation: B.Com (83.71) and M.Com from N.M. College
Other Degree: CA, CFA L3 candidate
Work Experience: 31 months (KPMG)
Extra Curricular Activities: President - Rotaract Club on NM College, Planning Forum head, Founding member and Vice President at Yuva (NGO), Umang
CAT (2015) Score: 98.8%ile

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