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MBA GD/PI Chronicles

Posted by RB Kollannur on April 14, 2009

Author’s Note : Based on excerpts taken from emails I send in February 2005 to my high school yahoogroups. (Slightly modified and appended)

5th February 2005, New Delhi

Good f(x)

Pre Script: f(x) = Morning if time < 1200
Afternoon if time >1200 and < 1500
Evening >1500

This is me reporting live from Delhi.

The weather is cold up here. The temparature’s gone down to -16 degrees below freezing (Added : A double negative, in case you missed it). The dawn crept out of the death of the night life with the sun rising in the east. As the sun sets and the cold winds churn the city, the youth of the city shed the skins of the student life to have fun and party.

Earlier …

I started off at February 1 2005 AD, 1:15 PM 25 seconds from my home with my dad. This was my first time in North India, so my dad insisted he will come, though he was recuperating from an angioplasty. We placed the the luggage in the car. The driver turned the key in the ignition. (If the reader can add the sound of a car starting, it will be extremely helpful).

Everyone knows the sights and sounds of Thrissur (Added : I was writing to my school friends most of whom were from my hometown) , so I am skipping that. The train was late as expected.  So off we went, bidding adieu to the “city” of Thrissur at around 3 O’clock.

The train journey was long. There were a couple of army men going to Kashmir to defend the country from external threats. There was also a group of players from Punjab and Haryana who had come to play the National Champonship for Indoor Cricket.

Yeah. You read that write, Indoor Cricket (First time I’ve heard of it).

Unfortunately for us, they were given only a half ticket concession, whatever that means. So, the compartment was overcrowded for the entire journey. They were pretty friendly, talking about their journey and the cricket matches. There was a mention of how they ordered “upma” thinking it was a sweet dish and found out it was quite the contrary.

We reached Delhi on 3rd of Feb. From there we went to straight to the National Institute of Immunology (Where my uncle worked) and ran into a school friend who was doing a project there. My uncle gave me an introduction of the work he was doing related to the gene mapping of tigers. There was also lot of interesting stuff regarding animals there,

[Author’s Note : The following paragraph about the girls at NII has been deleted, in case the friend from NII happens to go through the mail.]

Back to present …

As I was saying the next day started, with the sun rising in the east.  I had to go all the way to Ghaziabad for my first GD/PI. It was in the afternoon at 1330, but we were not sure of how to get there. Finally, we managed to find an auto to take us to the Delhi-UP border from where we hoped to catch a bus.

The auto guy was pretty trustworthy. He straight away informed us that his meter did not work and informed us of a set rate. (Yeah, right). Anywho, we managed to get to Ghaziabad without much hassles.

What happens next? How were the girls at Ghaziabad? Read my next mail. Ran out of time.

9 February 2005, Hyderabad

Back to Delhi (Well actually Ghaziabad),

So I walked in wearing my new Raymonds suit to give my best for the panel. I ran into a friend from TIME in my hometown. He had just completed his GD in the morning and was about to leave. They were calling people alphabetically and there was no shortage of girls whose name start with R. But it could throw up some funny situations as well. Apparently they had a group of 12 in the morning all with the same name – Rahul. Would be a fun GD especially if the panel wanted to address someone by name.

I had reached a bit early. There was a girl from Ranchi and guy from Delhi who were also waiting for the evening sessions to start. We chatted for a while. The guy had a three year workex, was a Six Sigma Black Belt and had a call from IIMK. Wow. Now, that is a lot.

The GD was good to go. The guy next to me was a Sikh. I foolishly enquired whether he was from Punjab, since I was under the impression at that time that every Sikh was from Punjab. Fortunately, he took it lightly and informed me he was from Noida.

There were 12 people in my GD group. And 5 girls. Pretty high number of girls for a GD. Among the GDs I gave last year, only at Amrita University were there more than two girls.

The first girl was from Hyderabad. She apparently remembered me from the TIME classes there, when I attended the post CAT GD/PI sessions. I think I’ve seen her, but couldn’t recollect.

The second girl was from Delhi. She is from Andhra, born and bought up in Trivandrum and currently studying in Delhi and happen to know Malayalam. She had lovely eyes and looked great with her hair cut short. Was dressed kinda informal though, in sweater and trousers.

The third girl was from Punjab. Had a good smile.

The fourth girl was a Delhiite. All executive looking in her suit. Good looking girl. She basically controlled the GD. Was too good. Worked in TCS.

And the last was the girl from Ranchi I had met earlier.

So, that’s it for the girls from Ghaziabad. As for my GD, it was crap. I barely spoke. Don’t think I’ve had worser GDs that these. Not much expectations. The interview was semed more like a formality. They asked five six basic questions. Seemed like they had already rejected me after my weak GD.

After the process was over, my dad and I left for NII. We took couple of buses back, first from Ghaziabad, which seemed to be a marketplace on wheels, with 5-7 vendors selling stuff all the way. From the UP-Delhi border, we took another bus to NII. This one seemed to be sticking to the UP border. It took a gruelling two and a half hours to reach NII. For a while we were worried we had got on the wrong bus, especially when we saw outposts of Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Border Security Force. For a while I thought we had reached Tibet. But they dropped us off right next to JNU (which was adjacent to NII) in the end.

The next day, my dad and I had a trip in the Delhi metro. Was real cool. I was actually expecting a subway like in Kolkata, but as it turned out it was a sky rail. Shows you how much I know about Delhi. Got off a place called PratapNagar. Wish I hadn’t, because it was not a place I would have willingly gone to. The skyrail ride was pretty cool. You should try it next time you are in Delhi.

Dad had some business stuff to take care the next couple of days. We left Delhi on Monday to Hyderabad. Just got here today morning. I have a presentation and interview scheduled.

10 February 2005, Hyderabad

Well, finished my interview today. Was a big disappointment as far as the girls was concerned. Completely unexpected it was though. There were around 500-600 ppl coming in for presentation/interview on the day. The B School had around 14 centers around the country and all were having a combined selections process. There were lot of girls, but nothing compared to Ghaziabad.

The presentation went OK. I had prepared one on “Mergers & Acquistions”. I was part of an 8 member group. The other members in the group asked questions after the presentation. Pretty standard stuff. The interview  followed. Three member panel. Asked questions relating to acads, job and hobbies. No complications there either. Everything was over by 1 o’clock. The complication was that the announcement of the result on the same day. Not many B Schools do that. So, I had to wait till the end of the day.

The results came in at 6 o’clock. Didn’t do that bad. Secured myself a seat in Hyderabad. Well, if things don’t work out elsewhere, I’ll be back in Hyderabad next year.

14 Feburary 2005, Thrissur

This is me back in Thrissur after a long and grueling trip. My third GD/PI was a major disappointment. Just 1 girl. There were a total of 17 in the group. Reached IIM-B an hour early for the GD. The selection was for Delhi based B School. Got lost a couple of times before finding the GD venue, within IIMB. Fortunately ran into someone else who was also searching for the place. (We would join the same B School later). There was a 15 minute essay preceding the GD on “Possible solutions for the Kashmir problem”. The GD was about “Religious beliefs are rational or irrational. Do they do more harm than good?” It went well for me. A satisfactory change from my usual GD performance. The interview was pretty informal. We had an alumni asking most of the questions. That went on OK.

After the GD, I had lunch with few of my school friends. My dad had left for Kerala the previous day. So I was on my own. We went to a pub afterwards and took a couple of pitchers (hic), I mean pictures there. My friend happens to be the worst photographer one can ever find. He took a couple of photos of us and messed it up both the times. The girls who were sitting behind us were more dominant in the picture.

Bought Michael Crichton’s “State of Fear” from Bangalore. Reached half way. Will give a review once I am done. (Added : Yeah, we used to review  a lot of books back then)

20 February 2005, Manipal

My next process was for a B School in Manipal. Met a school senior while I was waiting for my interview. Didn’t talk much. He was in his second year there. Ran into another guy whom I knew from my PC days as well.

The B school happen to have a very long process starting with an extempore. For some unknown reason, I got stuck at the word go and froze. There blew any chances of selection. The GD and PI went okay. Incidentally, one of the faculties in the panel was in my panel the previous year as well, when I attempted CAT the first time.

24 February 2005, Bangalore

Something unprecedented happened when I started off to Bangalore yesterday. The train actually came early. The station announcement said the train was going to come at 10:10, but it came at 10. Mind you, the scheduled time was actually 7:40 and the train was running 2.5 hours late.

25 February 2005, Bangalore

Finished off my last process so far. It was a B school in Indore. My interview season is unofficially complete. BIM Trichy has to put up their list and if I get a call it will be late next month. NMIMS I had already decided to forego thanks to an additional fee for attending the next round. Also, my performance wasn’t that great and I was vary about their reserved seats.

Things started off at 0900. 25 guys (no girls) divided into groups of three. We were divided into groups of eight (I was in an all Mallu group incidentally). Finally a small enough group that can actually have a decent GD without going to the fish market. I was the only non engineer (Might be helpful for selection). Everyone had high percentiles except for me and this other guy with 96.5 percentile. One had 99.99 percentile while another 99.97. Tough.

We had a case study for GD. A bank gets robbed. The teller lets the thief leave with the money, chases him down and captures him and becomes a hero. The problem is he broke the rule by chasing the robber. Bank policy was to wait for the cops. The Manager is been advised to let him off as well as to punish him to make sure it does not set a bad precedent. We discussed for 15 minutes and a 5 minute discussion summary followed.

As for the interview, they asked me a few questions from acads and some GK stuff (mountain ranges in India, earthquakes, tsunami, monsoons). I think the interview was quite short compared to others, but it isn’t easy to figure out from the interview room. Anyway, expecting the results in early April. They have interview on 31 Mar anyway.

Funny story. While we were chatting before the interview, we were comparing the percentages of engineering given out by different universties in Kerala. One of the guys who was from REC Calicut said, his friend’s neighbour had criticised him for getting only 75 in engineering. She was saying her granddaughter was getting 99 percentage. The funny thing was that her granddaughter was studying in LKG. Nice way people compare marks. Don’t expect the Indore guys to do the same anyway. Incidentally, though all of us were from Kerala, none of us spoke a word in Malayalam.

After the interview I caught up with another school friend at the Koramagala CCD. He had also completed a long inter state journey for MBA admission. Fortunately for him, he had cleared one of his interviews and was headed for Pune in the spring. I also bought a copy of Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress and Deception Point for reading on the way back.


Author’s Note : I do sympathize with my friends who had to read these mails in 2005. My PJs are really bad. But it will be unfair to them if I let off others from reading them.


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