Just adding this here as it was one of the best interview experiences of my life and I am so glad this journey turned out so well. Since this was my lone old IIM call, I went in with “you only live once” attitude.

CAT 2016: 99.46%ile

GD/WAT Topic: Future Wars will be fought over Air and Water instead of Economic Wealth and Patriotism

Fish Market GD. Decent WAT.

P1 and P2 both profs. P1 is Dean of Academics at IIM K.

P2: Come in Abhinav. *I wish Good Afternoon*. Good Afternoon. Please sit down.
*Hands over the documents*
P2: So you are working in Bank of America? What is your job description?
Me: *blah blah blah* Server Management basically
P1: Which architecture are your servers on?
Me: We have around 6 servers. The ones we work on are on IBM iSeries.
P2: Are they new? Haven’t heard of them?
Me: No sir. In fact they are quite old. They were released in 1998. Also we are in process of shifting them to newer technologies like MISP.
P2: So you mean to say BofA faces issues with legacy systems?
Me: Yes sir. In fact most the large MNC banks which are old face this.
*P2 nods*
P2: So tell me which is bigger bank? Citi or BofA?
Me: It depends. In terms of Assets under Management BofA is larger, in fact the second largest after JP Morgan(UBS is first and BofA second actually but he didn’t point out) (about 2 trillion $). In terms of how widespread the bank is, number of employees Citi is larger.
P1: Ohkay. So what are the main focus areas for BofA?
Me:*shit*Uum…Investment Banking, Mortgage, Private Banking.
P2: What was the role of BofA in the 2008 fiasco?
Me: Told about how Credit Cards were issued without history check. Loan defaults. Had to pay 10 Billion$ debt. Bought Merrill Lynch.
*P2 nods*
P2: So Chemical Engineering first then BofA? Doesn’t match up. Would you say you wasted your engineering degree?
Me: *great this again* No I wouldn’t say I wasted my degree. In Engineering you get to learn a lot of skills which are helpful in any field you go. You gain an ability to comprehend complex matter in short span of time, time management among others. Overall the experience helps.
*P1 looks at me somewhat convinced*
P2: So why MBA then?
Me: An MBA seems to me the best logical step to further my career. When I observed the kind of decisions my manager (who is an MBA) makes and the kind of work I do, I realized my work is still one dimensional in nature. I need that leap which would take me to the next level. I have always been good with my technical knowledge. What I require are people skills and a holistic knowledge as to how a business works. An MBA hence seems to me the next logical step.
P2: But don’t you think it is better to continue with your job instead of doing an MBA?
Me: I am not sure whether I want to work in the IT industry in future and MBA at this point would give me ample opportunities to learn about different fields and maybe settle for one.
*P1 is meanwhile dozing off the whole interview and occasionally looking at the docs*
P1: So you have travelled a lot?
Me: Yes sir over 19 cities.
P1: You must be good with Geography then *Hell no!!*
P1: Where does Kaveri river originate?
Me: *what?* Uhh Tamil Nadu and goes to Karnataka.
P1: Are you sure?
Me: Not sure sir sorry.*damn*
P2: Ohkay so you played Squash during your college years?
Me: Yes I represented college twice winning Gold once and Bronze the other time.
P2: Ohkay so tell me what is basic strategy you follow in Squash? What drives the game?
Me: *figured out he is player* Told about the importance of center of court. The “T” zone it’s called. Players try to stay in this zone as much as they can so that they can move around the court effectively.
*P2 agrees*
P2: So suppose I am at the “T” and you are retrieving the ball. What shots can you play which will ensure that I can’t get back to this zone?
Me:*shit!* I try to answer but he says you are not understanding the ques. I tell him to repeat again.
After some thinking:
Generally you can play shots from which you can’t attack. Like the drop shot which is played just above the tin mark. The player has to reach out and he only shot possible is a defensive lob from which you can again attack making it difficult for him to get in a position.
*P2 smiles and agrees*
Although sir this is just one way.
P2: Tell us about any famous Squash players?
Me: Ramy Ashour, El Shorbagy, Jahangir Khan, Janser Khan.
P2: Anyone from India?
Me: *shit what was his name* Sir I don’t remember. Sorry.
P2: Haha he is not doing well anyway. So what is the statistical achievement of Jahangir Khan?
Me: Told. 555 consecutive winning streak.
P2: Ohkay Abhinav that will be all. Thank you.
Me: Thank you Sir.

VERDICT: Direct Konvert!! 🙂

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