Monday, February 27, 2012

IIM Lucknow (2012-2014) Interview Experience

So, finally I have decided to give a detailed account of my interviews with my answers, hopefully it will help a few and also help me remember what happened on these days.....

So, to start with, here I give my account of the IIM Lucknow interview :

Venue: Bangalore

All of us were divided into groups of 10, for the WAT (written ability test or the essay writing) and GD

It was announced that the essay would be for 15 mins. And then the GD on the same topic for 13.5 minutes (whatever that means J )

The topic was : “Inflation is as violent as a bugger, as threatening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.”

I tried explaining the three aspects as given in the topic, e.g. the robber robs you of money by taking it away.. Inflation robs you by reducing the value of money with you.. etc.

The GD was a very peaceful one, as we tried to stick to the topic and not start giving some useless statistics (which happened with another group)... it was a nice discussion where everyone had something to add.

Then came the interview time, I was 7th to be interviewed in my panel, but it didn’t take that long.

There were 2 panellists, one old, the other younger than him, let me call them the Older professor (OP) and the one younger than him, (YP)

YP: Please take your seat (Also takes my mark sheets and certificate folders)

OP: So, Ankit, you have written your religion as Hinduism...why so?.. the others have written it as Hindu.

Me: Sir, Hinduism is the religion, I am a Hindu, but my religion is Hinduism.

OP: Where did the word Hindu come from?

Me: Sir, people living across the Sindhu river( also known as Indus) were called Hindus.

OP: But who gave this word?

Me : Don’t know Sir (actually the arabs gave it)

YP: So you are from Lucknow, what does your father do...and the others in the family?

Me: told

YP: So IIT Guwahati, nice... arrey very low grades (6.82/10) J ...why?

Me: Sir , I was involved in a lots of extra-curricular activities ..

YP: But that is EXTRA curriculars, after curriculars, so it means you can’t manage time properly?

Me: Sir, I did realise my mistake, as you can see in the final year I have got more than 8s in both sems

YP: Final year has projects too, I know :D ....So.what activities were you involved in?

Me: Sir, I agree it was a mistake on my part,I have realised it and have tried correcting myself in all ways possible. As far as extra-curriculars is concerned, I was so passionate about my sports, that I almost didn’t give anything as much importance in my life at that point of time .

OP: Did you achieve anything in sports, what sports were you involved in?

Me: Sir, i was involved in weightlifting, I built the college team from scratch which is a strong team today at the Inter-IIT level. I also won gold at state level and was in the state team for North-east games.

OP: That’s nice.... J

YP: Inter-IIT ? many IITs are there?

Me: Sir 15 ( if another didn’t come up yesterday J)

YP: Arrey, awesome %ile(99.99)... must be having all calls?

Me: No sir, A and C apart from L

YP: Why??...may be because of your college CPI,,,, see I told its important (smiling) J

YP: So you work in HAL?...why HAL?

Me: why HAL as in?

OP: Like did you have any other offer?

Me: Yes Sir, I had for TCE, I chose HAL because of the varied experience which I was going to get here, I get to design a component, see it manufactured, installed on an aircraft, used by the pilot and then a feedback from the pilot, so even if I am involved in only the design , i get to see the whole process....which provides for immense learning.

OP: But you have got the feedback and stuffs at TATA too...

Me: Sir added to all this, the salary was also a bit higher for HAL...and the fact that working with Fighter aircrafts is an experience in itself, i get to see the jaguars and the Mirages everyday, I learn so much by just looking at their designs.

YP: So, why is Tejas project taking so much time

Me: Sir, we should appreciate the fact that though the project is running very late but projects for design and development of fighter aircrafts do take a long time for even the successful organisations...more so in case of Tejas, the things like the sanctions imposed after the nuclear tests have contributed immensely in the project getting late....

YP: Which engine are we using currently for Tejas?

Me: Sir, currently the GE made engine is being used..

YP: Ohh.. the Kaveri engine is still not in use?

Me: No Sir, It has not been able to satisfy all the required parameters.

YP: Why are we lacking so much in these technologies..

Me: Sir Kaveri is being developed by GTRE, so I can’t comment, but we should understand that developing the first jet engine is a big milestone... once we have achieved that..the path ahead would be much easier..

YP: But still, where do you think we are lacking?

Me: I can comment on HAL and the inefficiencies I find here...(told about the under utilisation of the talent available... merit based on years and not performance, the managers are not managers....etc.... a long discussion..more than questions answer session)

YP: To OP, Sir would you like to ask something

OP: So you have done mechanical engineering, what are your favourite subjects in it?

Me: Sir thermodynamics, also I get to use a lot of SOM in my work.

OP: SOM....ok (........sanattaaaa..... J)

Me: Sir I really liked the course on Collaborative Design, in the final year.

OP: What did u learn in it...what’s special about it?

Me: I got to know the steps involved in designing anything...also there was hardly any theory in the course... all was learnt by doing..we were divided into groups and worked on assignments where we learnt the concepts of the course....(some gyan sharing after that J )

YP: So , Ankit it was nice talking to you, all the best for your future, you may leave J

Me: Thank you Sirs


Saturday, February 25, 2012

IIM Ahmedabad (2012-2014) Interview Experience

So today I will post the experience of the interview, which gave me sleepless nights J

The IIM Ahmedabad process did not involve a GD, there was an essay though for which 11 minutes (1minute for thinking and 10 minutes for writing) were given.

The topic of essay was “The sate of poor health care in India”.

I tried touching upon the reasons (lesser funds, corruption leaking the funds), consequences (poor quality of life, poor hit the most who need it the most) and solutions (such as greater public private partnership) briefly. 10 minutes mean you hardy have time to do much.

A word of caution: IIM A was very particular about things, such as not having mobile with you, so that should be followed strictly.

Then came the interview, I guess I was 5th to be interviewed, it really helps to have some off the topic chats with the people around, keeps you your natural being.

So there were 2 panellists, 1 very young, the other one was young too, so i’ll call them the prof . on the left (LP) and the prof. On the right (RP)

RP asked me to come in and take the seat, LP took my certificates and kept looking at them for almost 10 minutes, but it never came up in the interview.

So here it goes:

RP: So you work in HAL, please tell us briefly what work do you do?

Me: I work in the wing structural design department of HAL, do blah blah...

RP: Why do you want to study management?

Me: Sir i believe that i can contribute in a much more meaningful way with the knowledge of management , my experience in the industry is only going to help me understand the principles better and to be able to use it in the best way possible.

RP: But in your company you won’t get any preference because of an MBA

Me: Yes Sir, that’s true, i would like to work in a similar field, not in my organisation after MBA.

RP: So, do you feel this aspect hurts your organisation?

Me: Yes Sir, it definitely does, people reach the higher managerial positions by the virtue of their years of experience in the technical domain and not because of their managerial skills.

RP: Can you give an example where the lacking of these skills proves to be disadvantageous?

Me: The division of the teams within the department is very random, the tasks allotted too, there are cases where the manger and his team members are very well versed with the domain knowledge required, whereas some other teams, where neither the manager nor his team members know the things very well. The overall performance of the department is severely paralysed due to this, where all the resources available are not used optimally. Different people have different strengths; these should be kept in mind while allocating the work, which again is allocated randomly. All these happen due to the inability of identifying the best ways to optimally utilise the resources available!

RP: OK, so what do you mean by Public private partnership?

Me: Sir, its a joint venture in which public, that is the government joins hand with the private organisations to execute a project for mutual benefit.

RP: Can you give an example?

Me: The building of a road, after which the private partner is given the permit to collect toll tax for a certain period of time to recover the costs and the profit margin.

RP: How does the government contribute in that?

Me: Sir it gave the permit, it gave the land on which the road was built upon!

LP( for the first time) : So, where do you work?

RP: he works in HAL J

LP: Who are your customers?

Me: Its primarily the Indian Air force.

LP: What’s the revenue of your company?

Me: around 13,000 crores

LP: Liabilities?

Me: Don’t know!

LP : How is the payment made like?

Me: Sir, most of the payment happens in advance

LP: In which month does that happen?

Me: It keeps happening for the different projects all over the year

LP: But still, if they had to make it in 1 lot, which month would they do in?

Me: Don’t know for sure!

LP: Take a guess

Me: Probably April, when the new funds have been allocated, and also the revised tax rates!

LP: Why so they pay in advance?

Me: They are our only customers; we design and develop according to their customised needs...more so aircrafts are very high value products, a lot of money is required during the development phase too, we cannot develop and produce a fighter aircraft and hope that they would buy it!!

LP: (cross questioned a lot on this, why advance, i kept repeating the high investment, guarantee of buying , customised product stuff in different words J )

LP: So let me ask you a few probability questions, suppose I have a revolver with the two bullets(adjacent) in it, I shoot at you once but it’s a blank, now if you have a choice of asking me to revolve the wheel once before shooting or shoot immediately , what will you do?

Me: Sir revolve it, because i won’t be using the blank which has been used in the 1st shot if you don’t revolve it.

LP: OK, another question: You wait a bus stop (for 10 minutes), and you could be found at anytime between 3:00 and 4:00 equally, the same is the case with your friend, what is the probability that you 2 would meet.

Me: (thought of a time somewhere in between)... sir 1/ it would vary.....just a minute...

RP: can you draw the curve over the time range?

Me: 1/6 at 3:00 increases linearly to 1/3 at 3:10...stays till 3:50... and then decreases linearly to 4:00....(don’t know if its correct, went a bit wrong somewhere, but he questioned me something which brought me back to what I finally drew)

RP: So, tell me what do you get when you differentiate a function?

Me: Sir, the slope of curve at the point of differentiation

RP: How do you know if it’s a minima?

Me: If the 1st differential is 0 and the 2nd differential is +ve

RP: Why so?

Me: Because it means the slope is increasing at that point which will happen for minima, not a maxima

RP: Draw y=x^4

Me: Drew

RP: What’s the minima?

Me: x=0

RP: But 2nd differential is 0 too.

Me: Sir, the 3rd differential is 0 too, so we would look at the 4th minima in the same way as we looked at the 2nd!

RP: Why so?

Me: (Tried giving some useless gyan which was obviously far from convincing)

LP: OK, I want to ask 1 more question, an airlines is flying 2 aircrafts, 1 is used for a singe 8 hours flight daily, the other one is used for 4, 2 hour flights, which one is depreciating faster?

Me: The 2nd one, which is used for 4 hours daily.

LP: Why so ?... the one with 8 hrs flight will have so much damage to the engine...

Me: If it is being flown for 8 hours, it means it is capable of doing that, more so.. the aircraft goes through maximum damage , wear and tear during landing, so 4 landings would cause much greater harm than 1, also for each turn around, several non-value adding activities would be performed on the aircraft, required for clearance and safety precautions.

LP: But that adds to the airlines expenditure, doesn’t depreciate the aircraft

Me: Landing does, Landing is the worst phase for an aircraft during its flight, the maximum damage, wear and tear happen during this phase, this in itself will outweigh most of the ills happening to the aircraft with just 1 landing per day and would surely cause it to damage and depreciate more.

LP & RP: We are done , please take a toffee, you may leave!

Me: Thank you sirs !


Sunday, October 3, 2010


This word keeps amusing people. I somehow am more amused than most of you. No, I did not demolish the mosque. Neither do I have any interest in seeing a mosque being rebuilt, nor am I going to pray if a temple is built there. The reason is, the place is very close to where my parents come from. My father's village is around 25 kms and my mother comes from a place around 30 kms from ayodhya. No wonder, I have grown up listening a lot of stuff related to the place, the issue etc.

The so much hyped (obviously by the media) verdict came on the 30th of September and to be very honest I couldn't have been more satisfied with what I saw. The verdict, for me was spot on. The reaction was also pretty good. Though there was a reason to it, which I did not find a mention of, anywhere. One of the biggest reasons why all the political parties were so much restrained about what they were saying is probably the media itself. Had it been 1992, the electronic media almost non-existent, things might have been very different. That, India has ‘moved on’ , has become ‘more mature’, might sound very good, but can be debated at length to be sure before being proud of. As an example, one of the channels showed one of their reporters asking some random 'dudes' and 'dudettes' on some city streets about the whereabouts of Ayodhya. Most of them didn't know where it was! If this is called having moved on, I personally, can only laugh about it. Not knowing something which has dictated the politics of your country for almost 2 decades is nothing to be proud of (my views, you may differ). Closing your eyes to an issue is not "having moved on", in my dictionary, at-least.

I am a very big fan of the thought that ”we” don’t represent India. How can a person sitting at his home watching an English news channel represent India? How can a person reading a blog on his/her laptop represent India? If he/she thinks so, I am sure he has no idea about what India is. I say this because I hear diametrically opposite views when I talk about this issue to people in my office or my circle and when I do the same with my relatives living in villages. So, what I believe is that acknowledging the fact that a certain belief exists(whether right or wrong) is very important. It’s very similar to dismissing an organization completely as if no one believes in it. I am sure if you know everything about RSS from what media has shown you, you will not agree that it has more than 5 million members and what all activities it undertakes.

Getting back to the point, the verdict, in my view was a very balanced one. Such issues can only be solved in a way where everyone gets something and compromise on some other things. It’s a debate which has no end, unless you are not India. No one can be absolutely right or wrong in these issues.

When I see the views and personally think over it, here is what I find.

For the Hindus: A place believed to be the birthplace of lord Ram by Hindus, has to be taken a proof enough that it is in fact a holy place for them. That he was born there or not is irrelevant. No fact associated with faith can be proved in a court of law. If that starts happening the secular nature of the law is itself questioned. So if that is true and with the other beliefs such as that of a prior temple at the same place, Hindus do have a point there.

For the Muslims: A mosque was there, which was brought down in 1992 in an act which the law holds as criminal. Whether the mosque was built over a temple or not 500 years back is again a point which is not very important. Islam is no more than 1000 years old in India (at least in a significant number). A religion which itself is not more that 1000 years old can not be expected to have religious symbols dating prior to that. And as a matter of fact, most of the Islamic history has been full of religious violence and conversions, demolishing a temple to build a mosque would not have been a very rare thing then. So, if we get into questioning the legitimacy of those structures now, it would almost be questioning the faith itself, which once again I find to be against the secular part of our constitution.

Basically the point is, everyone has a valid point, and getting clear winners out of it is only next to impossible. Justice Khan quotes from a prior Supreme Court verdict:

'As far as a title suit of civil nature is concerned, there is no room for historical facts and claims. Reliance on borderline historical facts will lead to erroneous conclusions.'

I guess this is the best possible solution we could have had and the parties interested should now actually “move on” as the media says.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I have wanted to write on this, probably since I started liking it, but somehow never have. Today I will. The motivation also comes from the fact that the team I built from scratch is for the first time going to be devoid of any of the founding members. And it would be nice to share my experiences and feelings, which might help and motivate them.

I will tell about my experiences and related things. But first things first. What exactly is weightlifting? Contrary to what many believe its very different from bodybuilding or powerlifting. It's an olympic sport, requires power (strength and power are different things), speed, flexibility in the body, a solid technique and above all a herculean mental strength. If your max. lift is 100 kgs, it requires everything to be perfectly aligned to repeat it on the stage. It required twice the everything to make it 101.You have to be focused and have to dedicate yourself to training to add that 1 kg to your arsenal. I have learnt so much after weightlifting that if I start talking about it, the rest won't come and more so it would almost be impossible to appreciate it if you yourselves have not experienced it. So let's start with my experiences.

I got into weightlifting accidentally. I was probably returning from some class when Mohit met me somewhere and told me that some people were required to join weightlifting so that a coach can be brought in, and as he was very interested, he insisted that I just give my name, come for some days, and when the coach is there, just leave. Ironically he left and I remained. :P
So that year, which was my 2nd year, finally 3 people participated from our college in the Inter IIT sports meet. Myself, Bhutani and Satish bhaiya. There I had a chance to meet IIT kgp legendary lifter :) Deori. He gave me the idea and encouraged me to make efforts of developing a full fledged team by the next meet.

Not wasting much on the background stories, lets get on with the real thing. My first event, and I was as nervous as anyone could be. I had probably started weightlifting 3 months(or lesser) back and was competing there with no experience whatsoever. I had never ever even witnessed any weightlifting event and knew nothing. Only during the meet did I get to know the politics and the tactics which is used. I stood no chance for any medal and was asked by the coach to just relax and give my best. Easier said than done. When I was sitting in the warm-up room, the scenes in front of me were no less than a horror film. Likes of Srikanth (whom I really admire and have asked for his help so many times) were doing warm ups without any effort with more weight than my max. lift :p. The first lesson for youngsters is here to be learnt. No matter what others are lifting you should focus on your performance. What others are doing is something which should be kept in mind during the training phase and as a target. But when you are there in the competition, what you have to do is re-do what you have done in the practice room. You have to lift the maximum you have done and may be in the last lift attempt something greater, that too if its creating the difference of a medal. I have seen so many falter just in the heat of the moment, raising their lifts and then getting cleaned up.

I did finish a distant fourth in the event, to my liking :) and a surprise for many. It was a nice experience. After that I played at the state level, won a medal but seldom talk about it because it was more of a default medal owing to the absence of good lifters. In the next inter-IIT, we had a team. :) Myself, somu (Somdutt), Akhtar, saharan (Amit) and sardar (Mandeep). We gave a good fight. Somu had a good chance but nervousness took him. Akhtar was the star for me with giving his 200% and improving upon his best. Saharan and Sardar also performed well and that these people are going to bring medals in the future was very visible. I faltered in the famous last lift (with me hiding the face :P after the lift ) and finished 4th once again :(. I was attempting something which I had never done before but didn't work out in the end. But that was also the time when my knee injury was in the worst phase. You should always give due respect to your body and know its limits.Over exerting might look good one day but an injury can ruin everything you have been working for. I still remember the day when I skipped a couple or warm-ups and got to a heavy squat directly. The knee suddenly started paining and then it never got right.

Just a video of my that last lift (you are allowed to laugh after this one :P) and ya, turn off the volume, or else your neighbors might not take it in the right spirit :D

After this in the even sem. hardly any practice was done, we did decide to do it, but then until the motivation is not strong enough, its very difficult. To add to all this, my injury was still there.
Just after the summer vacations we had the state level. That was probably the best day in my weightlifting career. With almost no practice and the knee injury still there I was able to give a decent performance winning bronze in what was a good competition. . Competing at the state level gives a very good exposure and its a real confidence booster to see yourself competing amongst the best. Winning or not winning is immaterial and it is this exposure which I liked the most. The quality of the videos is not that good, sorry for that.

We did practice hard after that. It was my last year but I still competed, and so have somu , saharan and sardar. I really appreciate that and would want that to be the usual practise in the weightlifting team. The inter-IIT meet at madras was a dream come true for me. Somu and Saharan bagged medals, sardar missed but got the push to go harder and eventually achieved it the next year. Akhtar's performance was exceptional and he had made improvement which no one had expected. I am sure if he had made up his mind to continue in the final year we would have seen one more medal coming our way. Anyways that was the last competition I participated in and got the well deserved :) farewell. I unfortunately on the personal front missed again thereby making the inter-IITs a tragic story on the personal level. But that has hardly bothered me because my larger objective has been fulfilled. You can see the videos of my failures here and learn from them. :P. I had not done the required things, had just flown to madras a day before. Did not have my lunch and dinner properly on the previous day, and it all reflects in the end.

I just want to tell all the newcomers that what you are seeing today is not very old. This team is the newest but arguably one of the most successful, and there is a reason for that. We have not followed what others have done. We have made our own rules, our own objectives, set standards for ourselves and then dedicated ourselves for it. The people who want to play for certificates and stuff should be thrown out. The reason to join this team should only be one.

Miss you all.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I am still playing for my college in the final year in the inter iit sports meet, a very unusual thing, especially for iitg. But the question which keeps coming to my mind again and again is that am i really playing for my college.

The answer to this question after a lot of introspection is "no". I am actually playing for my team and myself. I dream of our team winning the weightlifting championship, and thats all.

The reasons for this sort of feeling are a result of so many things i have seen here during my stay.When we say "playing for the college" , whom do we exactly talk about? The administration? which has never done anything for us. The students of the college? who probably don't even care what happened at the meet. Is sport really given the respect it deserves in our college? Are the sportsperson of our college treated the way they should be?

Incidentally, I met a guy today(who is himself in the 4th year) and while talking about a few issues he commented on the players of our college saying "yahan ke inter walon ki koi aukat bhi hoti hai? " When you hear people saying such things in your face afters years of dedication and hard work, it really makes you think over so many things.

When people say such stuff, they actually make fun of your defeat in the competition. But are the inter iit sports meet all that we lose. It's so obvious that we have the worst infrastructure in sports, almost no coaches, smallest number of junta to pick from and in spite of that the performence has been improving rapidly and there are already games in which iitg has earned a respectable name. No one thinks of these aspects and "make fun of" is probably all that they are capable of. If we start counting the fronts where we lose, the things would actually start to look a bit ugly but still it would be important to point out,that if we call our football team to be a loser if it lost against, say iitb ,then we would have to call the whole alcheringa and techniche teams loser as well (we all know about moodindigo and techfest).

The day people realize that being a sportsperson requires same amount of commitment and dedication and sometimes even more than those working for the fests(we all know about the core-bag-core-bag people), people like me might actually start playing for the college.