Thursday, May 31, 2007

MBA Entrance Exams, Determination and ME :) :)

This is probably the post I have been waiting to write from a long time - its as I have put it up on Pagalguy - the section - 'All I Wanted to Speak about CAT' ...

My pleasure in presenting it here as well. Note that the names mentioned in the entire article/story are all PG members.


Disclaimer: All characters/ incidences below are purely real – and any attempt of associating the stuff with fictional mumbo-jumbo will NOT be tolerated. ;).

Acknowledgements: Chandoo’s first article. (I always dreamt of writing one just like that – some day J)

Warning: This article is meant for fun-reading, inspiration – and may be of some help only to the average percentilers at CAT and other entrances. If the top scorers and absolutely confident 100 percentilers at CAT think that they need better gyaan, they better look elsewhere ;) ;)

Amidst the myriad questions of ‘Why MBA’, ‘Long-term goals’, ‘Short-term goals’ etc etc – was me – somewhere in July or August 2003 – when we began with Semester 5 in my engineering college. Probably that was the semester, which kicks off Computer Science on the whole – and here I was – dreaming of some other things – like how was my life proceeding, and whether I was evaluating myself properly. Programming certainly wasn’t the thing I would be happy doing for the rest of my life :D . I believed more in the Howard Roark philosophy – When I have around 50 more years to live, I feel I should be spending them in the way I like – and ork in the field I am best at.

Probably it was the Economics and Management subject in Sem 5, which set me thinking in some direction about the same. The ideas inspired me – and I could associate with the subject better – maybe also because the teaching of the faculty rocked. A post-graduation in the field of Management – an MBA, had heard about it long back – even before I had joined my engineering college. Is it the real push for a great career? Is it the thing I would need to build myself to better prospects? I needed to find out. Got some magazines – old IMS magazines on Advancedge – read more. Inspiring stories, great institutes – yes – maybe I had to get there. This is probably what is real education – real learning.

The Common Admission Test – had heard about this before – but never knew I would be taking it at any stage in life. I enrolled for the IMS Correspondence package at Goa, and they sent me some average material. One of the days in June 2004 I was sitting listening to an inspiring lecture from a student who had made it to IIML that year – a senior Goan. At the end of the lecture, he had one piece of advice – use this site – its really very helpful. I rubbed my eyes and for a second couldn’t understand what he wrote – whatever did that name mean in the world of MBA entrance examinations. Nevertheless I took it down on my book and thought I would sign in right away. J

From then on began a roller coaster ride of studying DI, Verbal and Quant. CAT had leaked just the year before and had come out in a terrible form at the time of the re-test – with a terribly tough Quant section. Hence of course the normal rigmarole which I wasn’t aware of, at that stage at least – the coaching classes start putting up mock tests which have difficult Quant sections only. At that time however, IMS was the only institute I was aware of – being the only one in Goa. The additional info would come from PG – for some days I failed to understand why were threads entitled AIMCAT 0503, 0504 etc etc. It really took me some time to know that these were mock cat names – or rather numbers J. Goa still had to open out in terms of coaching classes and the prepratory environment for MBA preparations.

Sectional tests, Mock tests – I was on a spree – I wasn’t scoring great – but well kya mazaa aa raha tha… competition – nice fun. Got some TIME mocks, CL mocks xeroxed from my cousin who had taken the test series in Pune. They seemed tougher than the IMS Simcats (except for the godly IMS DI :D). I must have taken around 60 to 70 mocks in those 4 months or so – in the end it was almost every day – with the hope that the max score dwells on D Day. I made many friends in PG – some high-edged mock cat’ers, who would beat the hell out of the others in the percentiles. I would hardly be studying the college stuff at that time – the seventh semester passed away so fast that I hardly came to know. I had only one thought – CAT. Probably that’s why what awaited me on that day took its share of fun – and I had my share of misery.

CAT 2004 – Dadar, Mumbai. Goa had been removed as a CAT center that year itself (to my bad luck) – so the trip to Mumbai was necessary. Kept cool on the previous day while revising only very important stuff. What was landlocked in my mind was how I had to answer the paper, my ‘strategy’, my scoring sections etc. Yes – childish stuff. November 21 2004. IES School at Mumbai was crowded (had already been there the previous day). Once I was seated at my place I was simply praying was a 3 section paper like CAT 2003. What came was a 3 section paper – but with a blast of surprises – differential marking for the first time, reduced no of questions (to 123), and well, loads of surprises inside the paper too. What I did in the next 2 hours involved more of praying and less of confident problem solving – yes – I wasn’t confident – of each and every question. Even in Verbal, which had been my strongest section. I tackled the ½ markers, the 1 markers and then the 2 markers – in that order. My order was supposed to be verbal/DI/Quant – 40 min for each. I must have taken 45 min for Verbal, then came to DI (my weakest section) and tried to go in for the 2 markers (read as overconfidence). Unfortunately I attacked that question which was wrong – the infamous hockey set problem of CAT 2004. Checked it out for some time, cudnt make any sense out of it, and then moved to the one markers – no more himmat left for the two markers. Managed to solve some of the one-marker sets and then moved to Quant – tried to blast this section, but apparently I ended up ‘not’ doing it. This section had loads of scoring problems, which I managed to oversee :D . The two markers were a piece of cake, but in my spree I didn’t even notice it. Managed an attempt of some 75 marks in the paper and came out quite shaky.

The wait till the New Year was long and unbearable – and the result – one of the biggest shocks of my life.

Overall percentile – 85.XX :( :(

DI – 84.XX Quant 83.XX Verbal – 77.XX (supp to be strongest :( :( )

Expectations came crashing down, thoughts of wrong bubbles shaded passed by – well, so many other things happened. The first reactions were, of course, its useless for me to take it up again. Already lost so much money having applied to NITIE, MDI etc in the same year. Anyway I had my campus placement secure, though I had lost out in the seventh semester marks, after having topped the University in the sixth semester.

I couldn’t get over the entire thing so easily. This was soon followed by a mediocre IIFT entrance (Mumbai again) and a mediocre XAT (some 85 percentile again). Still the thought of the coveted schools wasn’t leaving me. But I had to forego it for sometime at least. Finished my engineering, and was awaiting the joining letter from my company. In the meanwhile I applied to several other companies (maybe to prove myself to me) – companies vied by several others. The joining letter hadnt arrived, and I had some other personal issues on my head. Thoughts of CAT 2005 floated by, and I grabbed hold of them. I had to leave Goa, and opt for a better test series, and of course work harder. With some news of my posting being at Bangalore, I left for the city in the end of July 2005. I signed up for the TIME test series, and started taking them up eagerly. At the same time I also sat for some company tests/ interviews. September 2 2005 – I come to know that I have made it to one of the best MNCs in the world, and my joy knew no bounds. Eventually I joined it on September 19 2005. During this period the mock cat series was on, but my scores were diminishing badly. Only once or twice could I get the score to a 95 percentile or a 96 percentile. To make up for my confidence, I enrolled at Career Avenues and interacted with Amit Saboo – who gave me some amount of confidence in the entire thing. I took up his mock cats too, in which I would at least score better than what I did at the TIME mock cats. I took up some of the old CAT papers and managed to solve quite a few. I tried to understand some of the mistakes I had made in CAT 2004 – but probably they are too many to enlist. I made sure somehow that I did not burn out myself with mock cats as I had done in 2004. I somehow got a broader horizon to CAT by having interacted with a lot of people – grasped it more as a skill gauging test, rather than a flat 3 section paper and so on.

At the same time I made some very close lifetime friends through PG, who took the mock cats with me – nicked as akhil_agrawal, bhandari, nitin_jain etc on PG. We shared thoughts, exchanged loads of views, took mock cats together etc. Besides these of course I made tons of other friends on PG. Enjoyed at some PG meets in Bangalore – finally met Psychodementia and some other known Pgites like Orca (was in my company itself), bingo (one of the first timers on PG) and many many others – most of who might be absconding from the scene now. A simple evaluation would tell me that I was strong on my HR skills, and I needed an MBA to get on into that field. It was the only thing which would get me there. Though, somehow with the hectic training etc at my company I was kinda all lost. I decided to give a couple of entrances, but apply to not more than one college in each. Thru CAT it was only the IIMs – probably as I wasn’t at all confident, and gauging myself from the mock scores, I could see that nothing was possible for me this time. But I simply couldn’t resist taking the exams.

CAT 2005- North Bangalore, Vivekananda College. I stayed overnite at a friends place the day before and it was quite a normal day, with absolutely no stress from my side. And why should there be – I had nothing to lose if I didn’t make it. Probably the attitude was lacking this time though. The morning of CAT – the normal crowd. My friend departed just before the exam – and I sat there, expecting the worst to happen – well, its CAT – and there are bound to be surprises. The paper had even more reduced questions, 90 this time, with continued differential marking, though this time more structured. My method of solving was simple – the same – Verbal/DI/Quant – 40 min each. Whizzed through Verbal, and landed up at DI – the usual nervousness. This was one section I could neva get even with – and well, the nervousness existed in some small amount coz I had neva managed to practice enough for this section – had always got bored during my entire preparation cycle. Solved only 13 marks here and moved ahead to Quant – where I could solve at least some of the questions with ease. I had kept in mind this time that I only had to pick the sitters, and had practised well at it. Hence I could do it with some ease at least. Attempted only 65 marks on the whole. I knew it was very less the moment I counted it out.

Just a week later I came to know that in the lone 2-marker set I had solved in DI, I had made a very silly mistake. That ends the story – I didn’t need to look more at the result – the loss with that one set was mammoth. The tragedy was that of course, I had to get the bad news on yet another new year J

Overall percentile – 89.XX

Verbal – 93.XX Quant – 93.XX DI – 35.XX (holy cow !! ;) ;) :D :D :D )

Immediate thoughts – no more CAT for me. I would never be able to solve the kind of problems which came for DI. I was a loser at these puzzles – and would neva manage them inside the exam hall. Yes of course, given some good amount of time, maybe I could do it, but not there in the hall :mg: :mg: .

Yes, to provide some solace were the other entrances – IIFT, which was immediately after CAT that year – went good, but eventually a shocking reject – couldn’t believe it, but I guess I was getting used to the bad luck. :mg: JMET banged right in my face – disqualified – not even a rank, XAT had the same mark left – some 85.XX percentile. And well, there was FMS too this time – with a cascaded reject effect :mg: What went really wrong was the TISS application – one real big tragedy in my life – my TISS application somehow never reached them – and got stuck due to some problem in the courier office. I came to know this only after the list for the students answering the exam was released, and my name was missing. I was devastated – the only exam left in the year also had had me bowled out – that too without taking it. :( L L

Eventually after the GD/PI some of my friends made it to some B-schools, and left from Bangalore with a promise from my side that I would make it the next year. I really don’t know why I committed in that way – did I have any confidence left in me, when nature itself was turning against me and telling me a different tale? At this point of time, I really didn’t know. I needed a lot of time to myself – and I made good use of it. I put to thinking as to whether I really needed an MBA – the answer was surprisingly a ‘yes’. The roads to the HR sector branched through this field of education – it was either some correspondence course I had to do, or a residential MBA, and I would anytime have preferred the latter. 2006 was a turning point in my maturity and my thinking levels. I put in a lot of hard work at the work place, and spent the remaining time mulling over the entire thing and also reading a lot of books. Did loads of research in the HR field too. The road ahead appeared tough, but it was definitely my last shot – couldn’t take it once more, as probably I was giving a lot of my personal self and resources to it. I decided to give it all I have this time.

I was hell bent on making the preparation more structured this time. Mocks – yes – but not without proper analysis. I introspected myself well, and saw that I was an average CAT taker, who could make it to an average 97 to 98 range – but on a high scale could just peak if the score required was less. (People in this case always pray for a difficult CAT paper). I can say that in 2006 I must have spent around 65 percent of time at devising strategies, and 35 percent for concepts. If I enlist whatever preparation I did in the latter half of 2006 – it would probably lag on for a few more thousands of words ;) ;) – so lets keep it minumum. I enrolled for both TIME and CL mock test series. I used to take the TIME tests on Sunday mornings and CL tests on Sunday afternoons (read as useless – in fact the quality of the mocks deteriorated and so did my performance). Besides these I would take up the CAV mocks posted on PG too. I started giving more time to preparations and lesser to the office work.

Read a huge lot of stuff from the net/PG/other areas on tackling the entrances. I had it entrenched in my mind that the concepts are best wrapped up fast and all problems of similar kinds which had to be broomed. :D . There were two main things I did. From August, I solved all the old original CAT papers from 1996 till 2005. I knew that the problems coming in the mocks had a style picked up from old CAT papers, and I was right. Besides I noticed something strange and advantageous – the questions in the CAT papers were repeated too – believe it or not, several quant questions had been repeated, some styles of verbal questions, and some DI types. This would be great as the questions could be repeated now too. The second thing I did was keeping a notebook to note something I called ‘Out of the box fundae/problems’. These were fundae that one would hardly find in the basic concepts books, and in normal problems. You can find some of them floating on PG now, but previously they were hardly present. Some problems too, which had fundae which cyclically repeated throughout mock tests and entrance exams. I found this extremely advantageous in the mocks.

Though I saw that my scores did not improve in the mocks – in fact, they worsened. I would score in the CL mocks, and not do so in the TIME mocks. I would score the best in the CAV mocks, which I felt were really designed well. Then I did something drastic – I stopped seeing my TIME and CL mock scores. I did this for two months upto CAT. Believe me, I just used to answer the test, come home, solve the unsolved problems – that’s it. I made a ‘repeated mistakes’ doc separately – which I would keep seeing after October. The only mock scores I would check were those of CL FLT’s and the CAV mocks that I took at home. These were my only morale boosters.

However much one is prepared, the CAT surprise throws him off guard. This is something well heard of. As usual there were rumours and half truths on PG on how CAT would be this time. 2.5 hours – of course that was the in-thing new for 2006. But anything else was unknown. I had decided there would be no surprise in terms of paper pattern that could throw me off-guard – and well – definitely the mock tests were helpful in it (in fact TIME covered almost all patterns possible). Besides this, I myself made a ‘countdown’ doc in which I prepared my final strategy – as to how I would answer CAT 2006. This strategy was devised by having put all the initial 8 to 10 mock cats of the season to severe experimentation in terms of order of sections, break up time etc. This would be what I was most comfy with. Besides this there was a supplement in the doc that made the adjustments for all kinds of patterns – starting from 75 questions, 25 per section to 200 plus questions (which was also predicted by TIME, Munira L etc). All such things boosted my confidence – inspite of low or unseen scores in mocks etc. Besides all this, I would continue solving home tests, and new problems. The struggle continued till Nov 17th.

CAT 2006 – North Bangalore – Malleswaram – MES College. Spent the previous evening at the same friend’s place. Much much more at ease and confident than on the 2 years before. Enjoyed a bit with these guys before finally hitting the bed at nite. The morning crowd as usual – was used to this more than anything now. The college was a popular one, though not a huge one. Having relieved myself, I sat in my place – and didn’t know what to expect – nothin could much of a surprise now – was sure about it. The paper in – 75 questions – 25 per section – one of my expected patterns – but one of the least expected ones. What were the IIMs doing reducing questions was my first thought. This was a desparate way of evaluating people – a single drop would kill – instantly ;) ;). What I missed to see initially was that there were 5 options per question – somehow missed seeing that. Though the neg marking was 1/4th , the only relaxing factor. Besides this, nothing was relaxing for me once I started off with the paper. 20 min into it and 2 bubbles shaded in verbal – an utterly, hopelessly ambiguous section. Was wondering what the others were experiencing. My luck was it that somehow I struck on the right easy questions in DI. Though I couldn’t make the most out of the Quant section – how much ever easy it may have seemed at the first shot. At the end of the entire thing I put my head down – nervousness had once again taken the better of me. Had managed a decent attempt, but could have done much much much better. Knew the others could have blasted this CAT.

Attempts – overall 45 questions - Verbal – 19 questions, DI – 12 questions – Quant – 14 questions. – totally dissatisfactory inmy standards.

The drama that followed in the next 2 months is well known – the usual jhagda between the coaching classes over the English answers – it was counted out as an endlessly debatable section – with totally ambiguous answers (and well the IIMs came out with some totally different answers at the end :D ;) ). The pattern of CAT resembled GMAT this time – but the Verbal section could have been much better. Besides this were the mis-prints and so on. I don’t need to state more about it – its well known. The jhagda over the the CAT Retest still rings in PG as of today too ;) ;). Though I stayed aloof from the coaching classes hassles – didn’t check my scores/answers etc. Was not at ease – but somehow managed it. Didn’t take IIFT this year as I knew I could neva score in that test. JMET was well balanced – but could have done better – though the result was terrible (some 3000 odd rank – useless to say the least). The only other exam which probably boosted me was SNAP this year – decent paper and managed it real well – all due to my sound prerparations – a score of 91.25.

Though the new year brought sad news again. The score at CAT –

Overall percentile – 94.56 Verbal – 85.35 :( :( Quant – 93.XX DI – 89.XX

The enthu after CAT results was all lost – faint hope for the other B-schools, but of course not the IIMs. The worst part was that I noticed that so many of my good PG friends lost out coz of the same – the ambiguous Verbal section. (one of the biggest gang I had made in 2006 – awesome Pgites, all brainies to say the least). And then there were people who made it coz of sheer luck, maybe blind shading, or riduculous reasoning. There was little energy I put after this in XAT – was calm, composed and had a decent paper – though it was the worst possible paper I had seen in my life – perfectly CAT imbibed, though with a monstrous ‘none of these’ in each question which destroyed it. (sorry XL guys, but I have said this before too ;) ). To add to it the shock at the results – a 28 percentile which XAT gifted me at my birthday – wat the hell was zattt??? :D :D ;) was shaken up – but kept control :D ;).

I can say that TISS was the only entrance that I blasted this year – left only 3 to 4 questions out of the 120-question paper. After the XL debacle, this was the only best college I was aspiring for. Thankfully it was an easy and decent paper. The DSE paper I took last went well, but I was unlucky – maybe I needed more speed in it.

Feb first week I had all my season-end calls – SIBM, SCMHRD, TISS, MDI (HR).

GD/PI Preparations

Probably one of the most dear, memorable and enriching phases of my life. Memorable coz we had a good number of PG meets in this phase. :D :D . Dear coz it finally bore fruit. Enriching coz I must have neva increased my own knowledge as much as I did during this period :D. As usual, I have always been more confident for the GD/PI phase than for the entrances – though I had neva reached it uptil 2006.

SIBM/SCMHRD involved almost NO GD/PI preparations. Except for an all interview questions doc I prepared – listing out all the ‘most common’ interview questions and my answers to each – eg Tell me somethin about ureself, why MBA, why HR, best experiences, memorable incidents, work life etc etc. This doc was my only weapon for the interviews. The GD’s had almost zilch preparation done. I managed to convert SIBM - though I had to leave the call (thats another story ;) ). Soon after the first 2 GD/PI’s I enrolled at IMS for the GD/PI classes and attended two mock interviews at the Achievers Workshop, which was indeed helpful. But what helped more was my personal preparation – interaction with HR guys in the company, with managers, top-notch introspection, preparation and modulation of the answers, speaking to the college seniors on chat etc – and above all a lot of work on the net. Wikipedia was my biggest source of information. I must have downloaded hundreds of webpages from Wiki about past political and social events, general knowledge, facts, trivia etc etc. Things that have happened in the past in India, and too in detail – most of the things that I wasn’t even aware till now. Truly speaking I never had the habit of reading the newspaper since childhood – maybe one reason was coz we always used to get a regional language paper at home. At Bangalore I somehow forced myself into the habit. Though the info I gained from Wiki, Google etc was of immense help to me.

Besides this was of course our great weekend GD/PI ‘bash’ – the Bangalore PGites meeting up for some GD/PI practice. Anarchy, Prem, Krishanu, Mufasa, Ashwini, Billy, Vijay, Saurav, Atul – some of the people I can enlist, along with whom I really practiced a lot – and the gd/pi sessions were indeed really helpful (hats off to Anarchy’s feedback sessions ;) ;) ). Somehow all these things together clubbed to uphold my confidence levels. The interview questions doc expanded like anything, and so did my folders on ‘India and issues’, ‘Docs to read for gd/pi’ etc etc. These contained other things like info on institute background, faculty of the institute, about the course, the electives etc etc. Background study of HR subjects like OB (my personal interest), other HR related arenas were also included.

All in all – I was a reasonably confident man on approachin MDI on March 12th at IIMB and TISS at Mumbai on April 16th. The GD/PI experiences are as described in the post before this one.

All done – I was just awaiting the results. Probably this year was the most ridiculous year for MBA aspirants with an errored CAT paper, a cry for a retest, delayed results initially, vague results, and then the OBC thingy – which delayed the final results even more. WL 15 was my MDI result – was very much hopeful about it – but fingers were crossed. Though the longest wait was on the day of the TISS results. It was something I had expected more than anything – with an excellent test and PI, a decent GD and a decent profile. Though it wasn’t to be – I had a reject from TISS – and spent 2 or 3 of the worst days of my life thinkin about why did it happen. The blow was harsh – though things worked out in May second week when MDI converted. Yes – finally it happened – for me – and for u folks too who have been bearing with me throughout this full story ;) ;) :D .

Looking back now I want to leave all my regrets behind. The HR course at MDI ranks third best in India, and MDI is definitely in the top ten colleges – hence it ascertains my target (one in the top 10). Maybe whatever happens always happens for the good (a dear friend’s advice which I shall always remember). My losses through the entire journey would probably be mainly monetary, and psychological – but my gains were totally on the intellectual and on the social side. I have grown – have matured – as I can see now – to someone who didn’t know CAT – to someone who will be doing his masters from one of the best colleges in India now. I have gained a lot of experience and wisdom in the entire experience – and would be more than grateful to grant it to others. Along with this, I have gained friendship of some of the most intelligent people in India through PG – one of the best places I have been at. Friendships that would last for a lifetime – that too even before I have done my MBA. :) :) .

Advice to future aspirants (if you consider me worthy to be givin it J )

On Mock Tests:

TIME – Probably the best for experimenting, but real difficult at times – so take them with a pinch of salt
CL – Superb in Verbal and DI – way too tough in Quant
IMS – Have improved much much more in 2006.
CF – Decent, and good morale-boosters.
PT – Heard they were just about ok.

I would say any of the above with good analysis of where you went wrong after each mock, and noting ‘out of the box’ problems would suffice more than enough. Of course above all this comes solving all the previous CAT papers, being thoroughly sure of every old problem that has appeared, and also of the concept attached to it.

On indivudual sections:

Verbal – My strongest, but didn’t help me much when I wanted it to. A good day bad day concept (read my notes elsewhere on PG – and on the new Verbal thread for this year). Be inherently good, and crack it. No one day/two day preparation can help you here. Especially when the ambiguity in it is increasing to large extents. Focus more on comprehending stuff – watever it may be. Will be very hepful – both in Verbal and in RC.

Quant – Past CAT papers – the best source of information. Besides these come the ‘out of box’ problems. Try things like TWI and Vedic Mathematics if only you are very confident about them ( I wasn’t, hence they didn’t work much for me). But TWI is indeed a very useful approach, especially the ‘bottom-up’ approach (through the alternatives).

DI – I am not the person to contact for this section. But what I referred – DI A Question A Day on PG, puzzles by George Summers (hardly solved any, but helpful), and of course CAT oriented problems.

On CAT on a whole:

One thing I agree with Munira L on this - the sectional percentiles do matter, but what matters more is the overall percentile. If the overall percentile is low, you are directly out of the race. Though its slowly moving to the stage when the cutoffs wud be sectionally 99/99/99 and overall 99.5. The day is not far when this too will happen.. Another point - CAT is best when cracked at an early stage. As every year is passing by, CAT is becoming increasingly difficult. If you are thinking tat lets give it a try this year and a better shot next year then think again. This year might just be your best chance - you neva know what can happen the next year :)


I attended IMS only – so cant comment much on the others. But this is where there is maximum preparation required on the personal front. I could probably do much better here coz of the confidence I had in myself. Make sure you get a hold of the workshops which IMS/TIME/CL conduct – they are really decent and a very good practice. I am always reachable on PG for help on this phase of the preparation (might not be a very good contender for the previous phase ;) ;) )

On the personal front:

1: Be sure of where you are now, where you want to be, and how would an MBA bridge the gap between the two. Only then can you jump into the ocean of preparation for these entrances – else its useless – believe me.

2: Only this site would give you info, reviews, opinions from thousands of people who have made it, and loads of loads of trivia. I don’t think I need to say more about how to tackle CAT mentally/physically etc. Believe me, its more a game of the mind than of anything else. As so many others have said, get out of the hype surrounding it, and be a winner. Most importantly, (its tough but try it) – be yourself when the time is cricical – around ten to fifteen days countdown to CAT, on the day before, and of course on that day. It will always have surprises, and the aura of the unexpected. Its how you wish to tackle these things, by being prepared and being confident, or by thinking that after all its only an exam. Refer Pagalguy for words of wisdom from Chandoo, PsychoD, Orca, vinz and several other veterans on hundreds of different threads. Since I began on CAT, there has been almost no day when I haven’t checked PG – it has become a part and parcel of my life – and will be so too. In the words of Amit Saboo, it is really a goldmine that Allwin discovered 5 years back.

How I believe the CAT should be:

In the current world scenario, I believe that the CAT should have some subjective stuff also, probably an objective screening test, and then a second level test accompanied with essays, SOP’s, situational problems etc. This would screen out the real managers from those who make it through plain IQ. Of course following this can be the GD/PIs. The hype surrounding the supposedly 2 lakh aspirants would also be diminished in this case – as those who are worthy, and know why they need to pursue a career in management would be differentiated from those who don’t.

Signing off for now with a ‘kind of’ satisfied feeling. The calm mind is yet to see another storm, and even more thunder – the next 2 years promise to be two of the most gruelling years of my life – and yet the most fun-filled. Looking forward to an even more enriching phase of life now.

Ashish Kolvalker

(Batch of 2007-09)

TISS GD/PI experience

This was probably my best - but didnt get me da result expected :(.

Date and time: April 16th - 9:30 am
Place: Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai

Reached at around 2 pm on Sunday the 15th and spent that evening at TISS - met many new PG friends - Vachan, Rajiv and of course later Saki and Ram (whom I already knew)... the stay overnite was nice - doesnt feel as if u are in Mumbai when inside the campus at TISS :) - small in size but really nice to have a walk in da evenings etc - and extremely conducive atmosphere and surroundings for study - and well - the latest news is that TISS has become wi-fi :) - all da info was poured in from Babu who met us on Sun evening and answered a lot of questions from our side...

Woke up early in da morning - got ready and went to the main lounge where there was a smal crowd - not as much as expected - we had a small presentation on the know-how of TISS by a second-year'ite of the HRM/LR program... later we came up and were grouped into different batches (as put on da notice board) - and were led to da different classes for the GD/PI - Mine was in class XI - 8 of us (2 absent) - 4 boys 4 gals... so even ratio :)

GD: Globalisation is a mixed blessing for the youth of today (it was the same topic for all the batches in my main group) - the other group had got Gandhian values etc etc... ( though the topics are being changed evryday - so dont go by them :| )

Very decent GD - chipped in a lot of times... was surprised by da female junta as some spoke real well, and real fluently. By da way we ourselves decided that we wud use paper, and recollect our thoughts for sometime - the 2 supervisors didnt have a prob with it - though when we decided on the topic as globalisation and started writing, one of them said 'Isnt this a GD ?? ' - and well - one of the ladies started rite away. Two of the females seemed to be dominating the show - though all guys spoke well too - and well - chipped in a lott of good points - though the youth aspect was kinda fading away with all the industrial and economic aspect takin toll of da topic :mg: - all of us spoke without majorly cutting others - as we had been reminded that domination of the GD wud lead to getting -ve points.

Rating: 8/10

After this - we were led into a room, and were told that there is still some time for the PI. Hence we moved off - grabbed a vada-paav for a quick bite and then came back - to our disbelief the PI's had already begun - apparently the people were being called RANDOMLY. Was surprised at this - but there was nothin we cud do. We just gave our names, and sat there hopin for a quick call. I was called in just before the lunch call - though they dedided later that I too shud be pushed in after lunch :|. So i went ahead, ate somethin and returned. The wait before the PI was long. The PI finally happened at around 3 to 3:15 pm. I was all jittery before as I had heard my panel had been stressing the people in da morning and blasting on GK... finally I was in...

PI: The panel - Oldish smiling lady - L (did almost all questioning)
Elderly man in between - E
Different lookin elderly person with long tied hair - D
Bakra moi ;) - B

B (enters and wishes all - sits)
E: Whats these documents? (pointing to my change of name docs)
B: (Explains what were they)
E: But why did you change your name ?
B: blah blah
All 3 of them: Ok ok
L (smiling eternally :mg: ) - So u are working in XXX - how long?
B: blah blah
L: Oh - thats a lot of time - wat are u working in?
B: blah blah (cool workex questions :mg:)
L: Ohk so such a nice field - why do u want to come into HR?
B: Blah blah blah blah -( some kind of an answer which I had thought of... explained properly - wat do I get -- EXPRESSIONLESS faces from all except from L - she is smiling in an understanding manner - E is checkin my papers/docs/certificates)...
E: So what do you know about HR as a field?
B: blah blah - tell them the basics
(all shaking head except D of course ;) )
L: Ok - so Ashish tell me bout what you think of women in this present day corporate world? And what are the issues faced by them ?
B: blah blah - sexual harrasment, ego problems from men, etc etc
L: Ohkie - so wat are the things companies have been doin to prevent such things like sexual harrasment?
B: blah blah
(trying to maintain eye contact with all - but E is busy with file - doesnt look at me AT ALL - and D is well - blank - stone-faced - no expressions! )
L: Ohkie - so tell me about the reservations issue now -
wat do u think bout the reservations issue in the private sector?
B: Blah blah blah blah
L: Ohk cool - (looks at others for their turn)
D (all of a sudden): What are the different central trade unions in India?
B: (says somethin which goes kinda unheard)
D: wattt???
B: blah blah (explains)
E: Ohkay yes yes
D: (shaking head)
D: Can you name some trade union in the unorganized sector?
B: umm - dont think I know any - but i guess BMS can be one of them
D: (smilingly looks at L)
Moi understands that my answer is wrong :(
D: So which are the new states in India??
B: blah blah
(all quiet for sometime)
L: (asks E if he wants to ask any questions)
E: No nothin actually - so bout ur hostel accomodation at TISS -- blah blah ( they were askin this to all at their interviews)
B: blah blah
L: Ohkay thats it then - thanx Ashish
E: yes thanks
D: expressionless :|
B: (wishes and exits)

Approx 15 min - Dont know wat to say - questions were ok and I answered without any gaps etc -managed it well- but hardly any reaction from the panel - except for the lady at times... the people before me and those after me had a similar kinda interview - though not entirely on GK questions - theirs were even shorter - some 8 to 9 min...
Looks like they were lookin for more than just mere answers... :|

Rating: 8.5 to 9/10 (from my side)

Travelled in da evening to Churchgate to meet a friend and stayed overnite with him - had kinda fun - and then travelled back to airport da next morning to catch flite back to Blore - Saki (chaosunlimited) and another girl accompanied me in it - so that was good fun too :)

General opinion: Diverse interviews being conducted - entirely on luck which panel u get, and also how ur interview goes. Heard later that my panel conducted stress interviews in the latter half of the day... was again surprised at that... The panel with the dean was stressing most of da guys (like every year) - so guess people had to watch out there...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

MDI (PGP-HR) GT/PI experience

This one probably has a silver lining to it :D . Had got some good time to prepare for this - and believe me, koi kasar nahin chhodi :D

Batch: 2 pm to 5:30 pm (12th March)
Place: IIM Bangalore
Ratio: 5 boys - 4 gals - 1 missing :D

This was a decent procedure, with me making it on time, finding some friends applying to the PGP and PGPIM programs - some PGites whom I knew too - some in blazers etc. I was told that my red tie would surely be questioned on :D . Soon there was a big crowd, and I was unable to make it out which are for which programme. When the faculty arrived, the people for PGP and PGPIM were taken to the floor above, and the PGP-HR batch remained down.

What I noticed with the interactions I made with them. People had simply marked PGP-HR course for no reason - some by mistake. They actually wanted PGP... some had multiple calls - one gal, who i must say was good had C,L,I calls... (and now she has a C convert too :) )

GT: A task where they gave us a lot to read at first - which didnt make any sense... panelists were 2 ladies... one elderly, and the other young, good looking, but strict too ;) . We were given articles like rubber band, pen refill, stapler pins, thread, a cd etc - and told to first decide how many articles we can make, and then make them of course - in the first 10 and 20 min respectively. I guess the full group was bamboozled initially, as all were individually writing down bout da articles to be made - but then at some stage, we were told that 'we' had to come up with a number to be made. I immediately put across that its a group task and has be pursued togetha - from then it took some shape - there were some good contributions - esp from the person next to me - named Vinod (he finally didnt make it though :( ) - he was da most active fellow I guess... We estimated 7 articles - created 8 - out of which 5 were accepted by the panel..

Conclusion: I guess the main part was the group perspective. I heard later of other groups who purused the task individually as they were neva told its a group task. Thankfully we chose to use our communication skills ;) ;).

Rating: 8/10 - decent contribution from my side.

The break after the GD's was better as we were served some refreshments, and we interacted with each other. Some decent profiled people - some freshers, and some work-ex guys/gals - as expected.

Interview: - Panel same - 2 ladies - one elderly, smiling kind - E
second young, strict, non-smiling kind - Y

Both of them looked very knowledgeable, especially the elderly lady... and well, also looked liked they would finish us off... :D - but an interview with such high profiled people is always interesting - and i heard that in the morning they had taken the PGP interviews - so well - the panels were interchanging between the programmes too :)

I was the seventh as per the order in the GD. They started in the same order. All da people were comin out one after the other being stressed out on why HR, individual profile questions, general questions (not GK) - mostly related to da form filled... so i guessed tat the form had to be filled with care - i had tot that the interview was goin to be a good one today ;) as I had coloured my form pretty well :D ... due to which the others were like ' You are seriously goin to have it in the interview ! ' - somethin else was in store for me though :(

They changed the order at the fifth person, started callin randomly, then finished off the 3 gals remaining, and i was kept LAST :(... - at around 6:40 pm... no one was left there - only me...

Moi goes inside -- Moi - M

E: Hello Ashish, sorry to have kept u waiting for so longg... blah blah.. :D :D
Y - (also joining in) - yeah yeah - smiling (was surprised at that - was nice to see her smile :D)
M (wishin): Its ok ma'am etc etc... :D
E: -- (explains that recruitment is a long procedure and takes some time)...
M: I understand ma'am.
E: Ok - so I see here that you have graduated from Goa, schooling Goa etc - why Goa?
Y: Maybe he is from Goa.
M: Yes (koi gunaah kiya kya ? ;) )
E: Oh Goa !! Wow - we have a Goan among us !!
Y: Yes its very interesting to be interviewing a Goan
M: :D :D - also joining in - (guess they are getting ready to slaughter me - so are they gonna ask me on Goa? :| )
E: So I can see some nice grades in Xth and XIIth, but it dropped in grad - y so?
M: Blah blah - good percentile though...
E: So Goa University doesnt give high percentages?
M: Blah blah - only to comp sci it gives low, to Electronics its favourable :mg:

(During this while, Y takes my files and goes thru - was pleased at that ... wanted her to see them :D )

E: (turning the form) - So well, u have been workin in Oracle and have a nice profile as a consultant, good pay etc... good good - well then why this program now?
Y - joining in : yes, u have applied to IM program etc etc...
M - cuts short - No Ma'am - only PGP-HR
M - Starts the Why HR answer - and suddenly goes blank :( - (uh oh - gadbad)
E: Thats all... and starts her gyaan
M: cuts short - gives my gyaan
E: gyaan - 'Look Ashish, we are here to help u... we dont want u to make a wrong decision etc etc... ;) ' -- (wow - really?? :D )
M: gyaan

:D :D :D :D

(This was followed by a huge convincing battle from both sides on Why HR... nothin much to gain in it etc etc etc ... both sides givin gyaan - both sides adamant :mg: :mg: )

- Very tough to tell who ended up convincing whom... :D :D - but they were hell bent on throwing me out of the room tryin to say 'Its a wrong decision on your part'... though I defended real well - looks like they didnt want to ask anything else - and I didnt want to lose out on the argument :D ;)

Y: Which other calls?
M: SIBM (converted but left) and TISS
E: - (Stern look) - If you get both MDI and TISS, which one would you go for?
M (coolly) - Ma'am - if you ask me at this point , it would be TISS ... coz...blah blah ( was honest here :D - had decided to short told the truth first - which they were expecting, and then praised MDI on all the significant points)
E: Ok thank you Ashish
Y: Thank you (smiling)
M (Wat the F$$$... !!! ) - Thank you ma'am (almost said - thats it?? )
E: Yes thank you.

(Before leaving) M: Ma'am do you want the attested CAT score card/work ex proof
Y & E: No we have checked it
M: (when did they do so? )
M: Thanks Ma'am (wishes and exits)

Thats it - ten min interview - maximum time only ONE question - didnt know what to say - almost all others had around 20 to 25 min interviews with a lot of questions asked... moi had nothin like that...

Rating: 7.5 to 8 /10 - only on my performance in the interview.

Bachaale bhagwaan... :) :) - was my first emotion on coming out. Went off to meet a friend at IIMB from there, and had dinner there itself. The experience was interesting - but too short. I had absolutely no idea that later I was going to be a part of this great B-school :)

SCMHRD Experience

Now this was one experience I dreaded from the beginning - simply because the GD's were the elimination for the PI, and I hardly had had any experience at GD's. And well - the worst possible happened.

Time: Around 1:15
Place: Indian Social Institute, Benson Road, Cantonment Side, Bangalore
Batch: (fgot :D )

No PI involved in this experience - rite - kinda sad story... SCMHRD didnt like me so much :( ...

ISI was really far off from where I live - so left at 10:30 am itself - reached by 11:45 am. I took some time to find the otherwise unknown place. Quiet surroundings - only the SCMHRD process on. We were seated in a room, with a group co-ordinator - Aditya by name. A very nice and kool dude - but was definitely solvin all the doubts only 'diplomatically'... - keeping to the safe side of praising SCMHRD well ;) ;)

The wait was a bit long - during which I heard good stuff like a lot of people from the groups making it to the PI's... and tat the panels were impressed with the Bangalore people... ;)

I saw my group when we were called -all boys - 2 without workex... total 8 of us...
We entered the room at around 1:35 pm.The panel consisted of two old gentlemen - one of whom spoke really fluently... the other guy was kind of the typical, uninterested guy...

GD 1 - Apparently a GT - but no cartoon strip, no video clip (as I had heard of other SCMHRD stuff from the Pune processes) - it was a huge transcript of one normal psychological exercise - 8 survivors in a tragedy (world comin to an end) and we have to select 3 out of them - based on the description of each of them... real tough to describe how this GD went coz all brought out good points (including me ) - but all knew that we were ratofyin our way around ... the 3 we selected finally were just about OK people...

Frank evaluation: I did pretty welll - chipped in a couple of times - and yes, during a major time of the GD I had the people lookin at me only... and i saw to it that I didnt simply hog air-time... (coutesy my Bangalore PG mates ;) )

Rating: 7.5/10

GD 2 - Case study - a one page transcript - total business related- about two companies who had a joint venture and were doin well - but one company is in the lead and due to the other's failures/set backs, the merger suffers. Lots and lots of other data. We have to think on whether the merger should continue to exist or should split up.

The GD was good enough - came to a decent conclusion (thankfully the same one I had selected) - though I had very less points in this one - and some people came out with some very good business-related points. There was a CA in the group who apparently would bring out some excellent points which overshadowed everyone else.

Frank evaluation: Decently managed it - but losing factor was I had very less actual contribution besides the two points I had jotted earlier. These points were brought out by others too. But overall, once again I was kind of among the top 3 speakers in the group - and the thing about emerging as the leader etc was all good enough - in fact - the consensus was initiated by me

Rating: 6/10

After this we were ushered to another room - nothing offered to eat too (dat was a bit bad as we all were very hungry - at least I was - come on SCMHRD guys - at least Marie biscuits are affordable :D ;) ) - I had tot i would get to grab somethin to eat after the GD's - but it wasnt goin to be the case...

45 min of wait and then the printed results - only 3 from our group were in - and well - i wasnt in them - so it was the 'bad luck' day for me...

Guys selected - no use givin their profiles coz only the GD/GT counts at this stage and they dont look at one's profile - the first fellow was da CA guy - real good in the second GD - gave a lot of good points - jotted down stuff in between GD, tried to conclude well etc etc . Person 2 had some good points which were jammed down by the others (and well me too - anyway its a fair game - all wanna have a share of the GD) - the surprise was Person 3 - spoke very less - had the group listening but i felt the points he made were crap with regards to the discussion goin in - didnt expect him to make it - but he did... (no hard feelings buddy ). The guys selected had to write an SOP kind of essay ( which I had really prepared well and come - pointless though :( ) - and then come for the interview on the next day.

Guys not selected - frankly there were 2 of us - me and another fellow who made some decent contribution, and gave the GD some shape when it was going haywire - but probably that WASN'T what the panel was lookin for... the others had some points too - but probably werent selected as they couldnt keep up with the pace of the GD...

It was a long ride back from the place to home - but as it managed to finish earlier - I cud manage to reach office and finish off some pending work. But yes, the day was kind of a let down. I had heard of many others who didnt make it through the SCMHRD GD's and finally made it to some better institutes - and relieved myself with these thoughts. Probably the institute never deserved me ;) .

Conclusions from my side for future SCMHRD aspirants:

- Sincerely no advice on how to go about doin it. Yes, some people were selected on the basis of the content - but some werent too... so hard to say which one holds more... So to be on the safer side - as the SCMHRD guys on PG have been sayin ---be good in your content...
- Leadership skills, how you speak, how you sit, listening blah blah is bull shit when this institute's GD process is concerened - - (sorry SCMHRD guys but this is my opinion)... frankly ALL of us were doin these things really well today... but it DIDNT count...
- The morning batch has a better chance of makin it - at least this is my conclusion. I read it elsewhere on this thread too. The ratio being selected in the morning were 6/8 or 7/8 etc. The afternoon figures dropped to 3/8 and 4/8. Another fellow I met before I left told me that in his group only 1 guy was selected out of the 8 people - I feel thats kind of really bad as people have really worked out their way for getting till here - elimination on a 50-50 basis can be decent.. like 4/8.
- Dont know about the females converting - but I heard a lot of them did make it today (saw it too) - inspite of being in low number this time... and some real good ones too

Not all that bogged on not being selected - comments on the evaluation procedure ---> give some weightage to the profile before throwing out at the GD stage - mite help throwing out a 3 or 4+ yrs experienced guy just because he cudnt make it in a fishmarket gd is unreasonable... so there should be some consideration (not stating my case here)- my personal opinion is that without the PI a person can neva be eliminated - but that doesnt hold here - so just try considering the above suggestion...

In fact lookin at the bright side of it - at least I wont have to get up at 5:45 am for Yoga... (verified fact - no hard feelings SCMHRD guys ). Just expecting something better from the other GD/PI's - the best ones to come.

Monday, May 14, 2007

SIBM GD/PI experience

Posting this one a bit late - though had kind of decided that I would post all my GD/PI experiences at one shot - after having got through a particular b-school - and here I am now - a proud to-be-MDI-alumnus penning down the experiences of this year..

Jan 30th 8 AM- Pune ( first batch in the entire GD/PI process spanning 4 days)
Institute: Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM)
Batch - 1XF
( had a SNAP 100 scorer in this batch too )
Composition: 10 boys, 1 gal... but well - the gal wasnt present in the GD's and GT's with us...

The sight of SIBM wasnt really a pleasing one for me, as I had seen it the previous day - as it was nothing more than a building - frankly speaking even smaller than my school. Though I was here, and I had to attend the GD/PI now. The previous evening had been spent meeting friends, and also meeting my buddy Chinmay at SIBM (a buddy was supposed to guide he/her through the entire GD/PI process)

There was a crowd outside SIBM - the line of students for registration had reached the road ( the institute is one building right outside the road ). I got in the line - and it didnt take time to finish the registration procedure. I was given a batch tag - and was directed upwards to one of the floors above. We were made to sit in a classroom - some 3 or 4 batches in the morning. After a brief presentation by the seniors on SIBM and its culture, we started off. The first thing on the programme was the essay

Essay as told above - Whistle Blowers are guardians to democracy..

Hardly any time to recollect thoughts and write some stuff, in fact the topic needs better understanding and better examples as a good essay - which of course mine lacked.

Rating - 5/10.

Following this we were led to separate rooms where we sat with our buddies/other coordinators, who I must say were extremely helpful. My batch was seated in a small circle, and the coordinator gave us more ideas on how life at SIBM is. Soon we were called for the interviews - which was unexpected to come before the GD's. I was the third on the list in the group. We were led to another room, where the three of us had a seat on the bench outside. The first person was a guy who was from PG ( - and had interacted with him in the morning. He seemed to have a good profile (2 years at DRDO, owner of a tech-forum online etc), and I was all apprehensive of him going before me. Still I was more at ease then expected. He had a cool interview, and so did the person before me - a 2 year experienced fellow at GE.

The next to enter was me. The following is how it all went.

Panel: One internal faculty(in middle) - F
One Senior HR Manager from Pepsi - P
One IIMA pass out - A
Myself - M

F did most of the questioning.

M (enters, greets and sits down)
F: So Ashish, tell me about yourself, your schooling, your extra curriculars, your workex, your hobbies and so on.
M (prepared answer): blah blah
P: Hmm ok - so which coaching institute have you prepared this answer from?
M (taken aback): Frankly this is my own prepared answer Sir, I do not require any external preparation for this - so I did not take help from any coaching class.
P: Thats good - its a general answer rite - so it doesnt require any preparations.
M: Yes Sir it doesnt
F: So Ashish, you have had workex as a technical consultant, so why an MBA now?
M: Blah blah - interests in HR etc
F: So Ashish, I see you have done your schooling and graduation at Goa. Why then do you want to come to Pune to do your management from SIBM? I am sure Goa too has a nice management institute.
M: blah blah - why SIBM prepared answer :D ;) - qualities SIBM possesses.
F: So what in HR interests you?
M: Blah blah - more on Traning and Development
P: Ohk - tell me more about what kinds of trainings are there in Oracle
M: Blah blah
P: Ohkay - are all these trainings required at all levels?
M: No - as you go higher in the ladder, you require to take certain types of trainings.. blah blah ( had discussed most of the T&D part with an HR manager I knew - phew - was saved here ;) )
P: Ohk
F ( looks at A )
A: So you say you like reading - what books do you read?
M: blah blah - all kinds blah blah
A: So name some books of Paulo Coelho
M: blah blah
A: Ohkay so you have interest in Hindu mythology...especially in Mahabharata - so I suppose I can ask you anything from it (big grin)
M: I guess so (scared a bit ;) )
A: Ohkay - how many siblings did Dhritarashtra have?
M: 100
A: Siblings?
M: (oops!!) - Oh sorry - he had one sibling - thats Pandu
A: Are you very sure?
M: Yes Sir
A: Hmm - I think you need to revise your concepts on Mahabharata again then (all laughing)
M: Perhaps sir - if you say so...(was reasonably sure of the answer)
F: Ohkay Ashish - so what if we dont offer you the admission at SIBM? Whats the backup plan?
M: (prepared answer): blah blah - have to do it this year itself - maybe correspondence in HR - cant pursue a residential MBA after this year - blah blah
F: So you are hell bent on doing HR this year itself
M: Yes Sir
F: Ohk then thank you Ashish.
M: Thank you Sir

M (thanks all and leaves)

Quite a decent interview - would rate it 8/10.
Was bugged as they didnt go through my files at all - though they were there in my hands all the while etc. - Had really arranged them well and brought - and I tot i had some things to show in them

GD - Case study ( I guess all had case studies )... first case study of my life - hence was a bit nervous...

The case was about a person who joins a company as a programmer, then the company changes its domain of technology, and along with it, this 4 yr experienced guy has to adapt to the new domain, and new business. He is unable to do it , and underperforms, hence is warned from HR manager to be removed. The guy gets pissed, applies to other companies, gets reco letters from known people etc etc. One year down the line or so, the HR manager tells him that he has to leave the company. The guy loses it and threatens to sue the company for the treatment and show the reco letters as proof etc etc.
What should the HR manager do?

PS - this is as far as I can remember the case - ne one else please correct me...

Okish discussion - lot of argument - there was more talk about the reco letters and the suing , rather than the HR manager's alternatives for tackling the problem - probably thats where we lost out. (my opinion).

The two panelists were ok (one male one female) - the female leader stopped us twice to make the quiet people speak - the male guy was noting our expressions, how we spoke etc... the GD was stopped by the female lady (probably she got bored )

Rating for my performance: 7.5/10

Group Task: (This was the weirdest part in the procedure)
Panel: 2 old gentlemen

Task 1: This was a handkerchief placed at a distance from all of us - and we had to somehow touch it by crossing the line before it, without touching any part of our body to the ground. Weird rite? We discussed for a major part of the time - but I landed up convincing them to spend more time on doing the task at the end - so we somehow started. One fellow volunteered to be held by the others - and we all held him in some strategic method. Somehow we managed to do the task eventually. Looks like they were observing more of the group dynamics in it.

Task 2: This was a restrainer-captive task - where the prof stands at one end. We have to pair ourselves with a partner. At one instance I am the restrainer, trying to hold my partner from reaching the prof at the other end of the room. Next I am the captive, and he is holding me, preventing me from reaching the prof. We had this exercise - and well, I had some fun tickling my partner (he complained, but I retorted sayin that the prof had mentioned 'the restrainer can do nethin in his power to stop the captive'. So it was kinda allowed. :D ;) . At the end of the task, we all were made to stand in a line, and were questioned one by one on whether we liked to be the restrainer or the captive. This was dumb as the others further in line would try to mould their answers acc to what we answered. I chose to be the captive, as I gave some gyaan about having a certain goal to move to etc.

Tough to rate myself - but would give it a 6.5/10.

Our group was the first to finish that day. We left at around 12 - and me and my restrainer partner (Akaash) went over and had something at a Java Green center nearby. From there we departed, and I moved to my friends place where I was staying, and prepared to leave Pune.

Overall I was kind of satisfied with the entire experience - knowing I had done well with most of the proceedings - though I knew that if I got other calls later, I would have to leave this one for them - as the last date to pay the fees (75k) was 28th Feb. Eventually I did land up converting SIBM, but took a strong decision and gave up the seat without paying the fees. I had other better interviews to attend - and was confident in cracking at least one more of them.