MBA Interview Experience (MDI)

MBA Interview Experience | MDI Gurgaon | Sachin Agarwal

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In this article, Sachin Agarwal, an MBA 2021-23 aspirant, has shared his interview experience of MDI Gurgaon. Hopefully, this article will help you know what is asked and expected in an MBA interview.


MDI PI for Batch 2021–23 | 24.2.2021 (Online mode)

Profile:

CAT 2020: 95.08 %tile (85/98/89)

10th/12th/Grad: 8.6 CGPA/71%/88.8%

Grad Stream: B Com (Hons.) grad

Work Experience: 19 months at the time of PI

Interview Transcript:

 

MBA Interview Experience (MDI)

Two Panellists, both male, one in 50s and another in 40s.

Time: 12.15–12.30 PM

P1- (Ultra Chill)

1. Introduce Yourself

Gave them a prepared answer.

2. Which specialisation and why?

Told my order of preference and reasons with real life examples.

3. CAT Percentile

95.08

4. What all calls do you’ve apart from MDI?

CAP IIMs, IIM Rohtak and IMT Ghaziabad.

5. How many IIMs are there in CAP and what is your preference amongst them?

Answered (In retrospect, I feel this was a trap question).

6. Was CAT 2020 your First Attempt?

No and stated my percentile in the previous attempt.

7. What are your Hobbies?

Writing and Cooking.

8. What do write about and which type of a writer are you?

I like to write about whatever I feel like but mostly I write poems and quotes and I would categorise myself as a Mood writer.

9. What is the frequency at which you write and are you a reader too?

There is no fixed timeline that I follow, whenever I feel like, I do and I do write on platforms like Quora and LinkedIn and try to write twice in a month. I’m not an avid reader but, over the years I’ve realised that to be a good writer, one needs to be a reader too and I’m working on the same.

10. What are your Quora statistics?

Told.

11. So, you mentioned that you cook as well, What are the cuisines that you cook?

It is mostly Indian and Italian.

12. Name the Italian dishes that you’ve cooked till now?

Pizza, Pasta, Lasagna, Spaghetti and Risotto.

13. So, you find your passion for cooking during the pandemic like others?

No sir, My parents had to travel out of Delhi every month so, initially it was because of lack of choice but, slowly it turned into a hobby.

14. Tell me something about your work experience.

Told.

That’s it from my side, now my colleague will ask.

Thanked him.

P2:

1. Do you follow news and do you read newspapers?

Answered and named the newspaper that I’m following.

2. So, you live in Delhi, did your schooling from NCR, College from Delhi and you were working in the NCR region so, you’re a true Delhiite and Is India only Delhi for you?

(Shocked with the question initially) No, sir India is much more than Delhi to me and I’ve visited 18 states out of 29 till now which gave me the understanding of the rich culture and heritage that India has but, I would consider myself a true Delhiite.

3. Can you tell me something about the economy with facts and figures?

Started with the data during Covid, post Covid and mentioned the budget (with data) in between.

4. Tell me something about the economy of US and China

Couldn’t answer it, and then the faculty explained that you would be studying Business so, you should be aware of the International happenings and he himself stated some facts. I accepted and said that I should’ve known this and told that I’m aware about some of the happenings around like the Burma coup. (He seemed satisfied, though he didn’t ask me to explain it).

5. So, Sachin one last question, Do you think farmers are habitual of crying or this time they’re right for what they’re doing about the 3 new farm laws?

Told him my stance.

Thank you. All the best.


Read: My Learnings From MBA Interview Rejections


Related Articles:

  1. From Rejection To Selection – My Campus Placement Journey
  2. How Was Your ONGC Interview Experience?


I hope you found Sachin’s MBA interview experience of MDI Gurgaon helpful. If you need any help from Sachin, you may connect with him on Quora.

extra-curricular

Is the extra-curricular activity a must to get admission in an IIM?

By CAT Preparation, Interview Experience No Comments

This one question unnerved me for quite a while during my CAT preparation. Every now and then, I got worried thinking about my average profile.

And today, I get this query almost every day from the aspirants. So I feel I need to share my views on this topic based on my experience in the last three years.

There is a lot of hype around this topic. Most of the aspirants think that if they haven’t done anything extraordinary in their life, they do not stand a chance to get into an IIM.

Really?

Do you really think that all the students who study in IIMs have great extra-curricular achievements to their names?

If you think so, you are utterly wrong. Ask it to anyone who has been a student in an IIM, they would agree with my point. I think you have such a perception because you might not be knowing many IIM students with an average profile. You might not have interacted with them yet. The ones you have seen and interacted with are the people who have these feathers in their CAP.

But having studied in an IIM and interacted with students from other IIMs, let me share my experience with you.

extra-curricular

The Ground Reality:

I know many IIM students who are nerds. Majority of the IIM students have not bagged any national award. I know many IIM students who have not been at any leadership position. Yes, many such students do not have any extra-curricular activity in their resume.

Still, they made it to an IIM!

How?

Let me try to explain it to you.

Components of the Admission Criteria:

If you carefully look at the admission criteria of the top b-schools, they do not award marks for extra-curricular activities explicitly. The admission criteria of the b-schools generally give weight to the following components.

  1. CAT score
  2. Academic score
  3. Work experience
  4. Academic diversity
  5. Gender diversity

Now you may ask –

When there is no direct weight for extra-curricular activity, why is it considered important for admission in an IIM?

It is because extra-curricular activities allow you to differentiate yourself from others in an interview. Extra-curricular activities give you a topic to talk about in an interview. You can leave a lasting impression with the help of your extra-curricular activities.

So, the main point is – Differentiation!

  1. How do you differentiate yourself from others?
  2. How do you stand apart from the crowd?
  3. What is it that you have and others don’t have?
  4. Why should they induct you when they have thousands of other potential candidates?

I hope you are getting what I am trying to convey.

You need to differentiate yourself from others in the interview. Extra-curricular activity is a great way of doing that, but it is not the only way. You can differentiate yourself in many other ways also.

  1. You can talk about your extraordinary academic records.
  2. Some substantial project that you undertook in office.
  3. Any extraordinary achievement in your office work.
  4. You can talk about your other interests in which you have gained proficiency.

Conclusion:

All that being said, I would advise you not fret too much just because you have not gone the extra mile concerning your extra-curricular activities. If you are average in extra-curricular achievements, focus on being extraordinary in some other way. And the best way of doing it is performing extraordinarily well in the CAT exam. It is mainly because the CAT score generally carries the highest weight, and it can compensate for your average profile.

And even now, if you are worried about your profile, don’t fret too much about the extra-curricular achievement, you may not be able to do much in that aspect now. Instead, focus on finding ways to differentiate yourself from others in the interview. And you can do it with, as simple as, your attitude also. So, don’t fret too much. At the moment, focus on getting an extraordinary score in the CAT exam. It is because all these qualms about your profile are meaningless if you don’t get an interview call, for which a great CAT score is a must.

All the best!


Read: My Learnings From MBA Interview Rejections


Related Articles:

  1. From Rejection To Selection – My Campus Placement Journey
  2. My Learnings From MBA Interview Rejections

  3. How Was Your ONGC Interview Experience?

Summer Internship

How should I prepare for the MBA Summer Internship Process?

By Interview Experience, Life at IIMs No Comments

These have been the uncertain days for all of us. As there is no clarity about the commencement of the academic curriculum and its mode, it is quite frustrating. As such, many students have been proactive in thinking about starting their preparation for the summer internship process. In recent days, a few people who got into various b-schools have asked me about the Summer Internship Process (SIP) at b-schools and how one should prepare for SIP. So, I decided to share my views on the same. In this article, I will talk about the various rounds of SIP and how, in general, one should prepare for the same. Please note that this article is not exhaustive. It is meant to give you just the general overview of the SIP at a b-school.

Summer Internship

When does Summer Internship Process start at b-schools?

In most of the b-schools, SIP usually starts in the second half of September.

What are the various rounds of the Summer Internship Process?

SIP rounds vary from company to company. In general, companies have 2-3 rounds in SIP. I am enlisting the few common shortlisting rounds carried out by the companies. Each company may have some of these rounds in their process.

  1. Group Discussion (GD)
  2. Written Assessment Test
  3. Case Study
  4. Personal Interview (PI)

How to prepare for different rounds of Summer Internship Process?

Group Discussion (GD):

There are two parts of GD preparation.

  1. Subject Knowledge
  2. Presentation

Subject Knowledge:

Generally, I am categorizing and tabulating the GD topics into three categories.

Category What is asked? How to prepare?
Current Affairs Business related, Industry related, Burning topics

Example:

  1. Impact of COVID-19 on various industries
  2. The trade war between US and China
  3. Mergers and Acquisition-related

 

  1. Read the newspaper daily.
  2. Focus on editorials.
  3. Read articles related to economy and business.
Company and its products Marketing and strategy related topics regarding any product of the company.

Example:

  1. Which new market should Reliance target?
  2. How can the “X” company increase the sale of its “Y” product?
  3. What should be the go-to-market strategy for the new product that is about to launch?
  1. Before the process, read about the company and its primary products.
  2. Read the latest news about the company and its products.
  3. Try to implement the frameworks that you learn in your first-term in such GDs.
Industry in which the company is  operating Topics are related to a particular industry and its players.

Example:

  1. What is the future of the automobile industry?
  2. How will the cement industry cope with the decrease in demand?
  1. Be well aware of the key figures of any industry.
  2. Know about the major players of the industry
  3. What micro-and macro-environmental factors affect the industry?
  4. You can find details about any industry on Google.

What to do when the GD starts?

After sharing the topic of GD, panellists generally give the students 2-10 minutes to prepare their points. It is important to use this time effectively.

  1. Do not speak for any side of the topic directly. Instead, first, start with your analysis, and then reach to the conclusion.
  2. To analyze any GD topic, use the SWOT framework for the topic (google it).

Presentation:

I know many people who, despite being intellectually sound, fail to get past the GD round. It is mainly due to their weak soft skills that include communication skills, body language, and confidence, among many others.

Some points to remember for the GD

  1. Be confident in the GD
  2. Have a proper body posture
  3. Work on your communication skills
  4. Try to be among the first 2-3 candidates to make your point.
  5. Do not interject.
  6. Be polite. Avoid getting too blunt while disagreeing with anyone else’s point.

Written Assessment Test:

It can be in the following forms.

  1. Questions from the CAT syllabus.
  2. Questions related to QM1 (generally taught in the first term of an MBA). Such questions are generally asked for Analytics role.
  3. Case study solutions, generally conducted by IT consulting firms.

So, be well prepared with the general aptitude syllabus and QM1 for this round.

Case Study:

In this round, the company gives a business problem to the candidates. They are required to analyze it and propose a feasible solution to it. In the first term of the MBA, students get acquainted with solving the case studies, and that can help them prepare for this round.

Personal Interview (PI):

The preparation of PI varies from one role to another. However, one should be ready with some commonly asked questions in PI.

I will break PI questions into two parts.

  1. HR questions
  2. Domain questions

HR Questions:

  • Tell me about yourself? (Very important)
  • Which domain are you interested in?
  • Details about your work experience? (Very important)
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to join our company?
  • Why did you quit your job and pursue an MBA?

Domain Questions:

For the summer internship process, it is very important to know the term-1 subjects at length. One should be thorough with the following subjects of term-1.

  1. Marketing Management (MM1)
  2. QM1
  3. Financial Accounting, and if possible, Corporate Finance
  4. Micro Economics
  5. Organizational Behaviour

Final Words:

Though this article seems to be a little long, to be honest, I have covered the points only at the surface level. There is so much more to the summer internship preparation, not in terms of elements of preparation, but the depth of each point that I have mentioned here. However, I haven’t stretched it because I feel that way you may get stuck in the paralysis of analysis (I am not a big fan of long articles).

So, to sum up, in this article, I have informed you about the various rounds of the Summer Internship Process. Now, you can start preparing for it, and as you move forward, you will be able to find more and more information through various resources. But to begin with, start reading newspapers and learning more about various industries and businesses.


Read: How should an IIM student spend his two years of life?


Related Articles:

  1. When Nostalgia Hits You Hard – IIM Trichy, You Will Be Missed!

  2. It’s Not All Rosy Inside An IIM

  3. From Rejection To Selection – My Campus Placement Journey

  4. The Media Relations Committee – A Memory For A Lifetime

  5. How Was Your Life During CAT Preparation?

mba interview

My learnings from MBA interview rejections

By Interview Experience No Comments

In 2018, after my MBA interview, I had been rejected by NITIE, XLRI, MDI, and IIT KGP. From that experience, I have quite a few learnings to share.

  1. Talk only those points about which you know in detail: In my MDI interview, I mentioned about the industrial revolution in one of my answers. I knew about it on the surface level but didn’t know about the topic at length, and so couldn’t answer the cross-questions put forward by the panel. So, if you are talking about something, make sure that you have substantial knowledge about it.
  2. Don’t completely ignore the graduation subjects: In my NITIE interview, they asked me many questions related to my graduation stream, but I could not answer, because, at that time I had been working for two years, and so, I was completely out of touch with graduation subjects. So, it is better to know at least one subject from your graduation. Interviewers generally do not ask questions related to the graduation subjects if a candidate has 2+ years of work experience. However, you should not leave any stone unturned. Of all the interviews that I gave, only NITIE interviewers asked me questions from my graduation subjects. One important point: IIM Indore is an exception. No matter who you are, it generally asks questions from your graduation subjects.
  3. In a stress interview, don’t freak out: I remember in the XLRI HR interview, they asked me only one question – “what is the one thing you like about your company?” I answered, “Sharing leave policy.” That’s it! My whole interview went only around this question for close to 30 minutes. They bombarded cross-questions one after the other leaving me thinking about what I was doing there. I felt like – please let me go, I don’t want admission in XLRI. They hit me left, right, and centre with their stressful cross-questions. Each situation that they gave me left me completely perplexed. I felt I lost my cool. Even today, I don’t know how I could have handled that interview differently. I just feel that, anyhow, I should not have lost my cool there. Patience, confidence, and positive body-language matter more than your knowledge in an interview.
  4. Sometimes, it’s not you, but the misfit that becomes a reason for rejection: My IIT KGP interview went real smooth. I could answer all their questions related to work-experience and current affairs to their satisfaction. They seemed impressed. I was confident after the interview about making it to IIT KGP. And then the result came. To my surprise, IIT KGP waitlisted me. So, sometimes, it’s not your fault, but probably your personality just doesn’t fit the bill.
  5. Knowledge of current affairs is a must: Though this had never been a reason for my rejection, I have learned it from quite a few people that in an IIM interview, awareness of things happening around us is indispensable. This is quite logical as well. Managers of tomorrow must be abreast of their micro and macro environment to carry out their responsibilities effectively. Having said this, thoroughly prepare current affairs before the interview season begins.

So, these were my learnings from the MBA interview season. This list of learnings is not exhaustive. It is as per my experience. I applied these learnings from my MBA interview experience during my campus placement at IIM Trichy, and there I realized many other reasons for the failure. It was altogether a different experience when I came through multiple rejections only to have the last laugh. Yes, life keeps teaching us the lessons throughout our life. As a warrior, we need to strive to keep learning and growing. That’s what life is all about.


Read: From Rejection To Selection – My Campus Placement Journey


Related Articles:

  1. From Rejection To Selection – My Campus Placement Journey
  2. How Was Your ONGC Interview Experience?

Campus Placement

From rejection to selection – my campus placement journey

By Get Inspired, Interview Experience No Comments

The backdrop of the campus placement:

The common perception is that life becomes easy once you get into the IIM. People feel that the campus placement in an IIM is a cakewalk. But in reality, it is not. No matter which IIM you study in, the campus placement process can leave you down in the dumps. It was when I went through a mental turmoil for months that I realized that the campus placement can also push you to the breaking point. It literally exhausted me physically, mentally, and emotionally.

To help you understand my view, in this article, I am sharing my campus placement journey that lasted for two months and a half.

My campus placement journey: The failure spree

The campus placement season started in November. In the following table, I have mentioned the companies that I participated in and the outcome of those. 

campus placement
It had been quite some time since the placement session began, and I couldn’t get placed, though I got around 13 shortlists as I have mentioned above. This set in negativity all around. I felt depressed and down in the dumps. By that time, many people had got placed. It was a very bad feeling. There were a few days when I didn’t feel like getting up from my bed. I was tired of wearing that formal dress every day only to get rejected eventually. It was frustrating because I was not able to understand where I was going wrong.

I had prepared my resume well and brushed up the important concepts of my domain. I was very confident in all my interviews and my profile was also reasonably good. At the same time, many students who had barely managed to survive the MBA rigour got placed. The worst thing was that people started feeling pity for me. It felt very bad. I started doubting my abilities. It was a very tough time for me – mentally and emotionally. But I didn’t lose all the hope.

Read: From Corporate To Campus – The CAT Journey Of A Working Professional

 A ray of hope: Accenture

Accenture visited our campus the very next day, I was down but not out. I managed to pick myself up. I dressed up and walked that street from hostel to the placement office again.

In the process of Accenture, there were five interview rounds, i.e. three technical and two HR.

I had worked with Accenture before. So, I used my experience and answered their questions convincingly. This helped me and I could survive all the five interviews that lasted for more than an hour.

Verdict: Selected

I felt relieved but I was not very happy because I did not want to go back to the place that I left. But that’s how life is. I embraced it.

But that was not the end of the story!

After some time, ONGC visited our campus. It was a dream company and everyone applied for it. I applied and I was shortlisted for the interview. The interview lasted for around 30–35 minutes, and I got selected in it. My ONGC interview experience has been one of the best experience I have ever had. It was one of those light conversations where I could speak my heart out.

Learnings:

From this whole campus placement experience, I have learned –

  1. In the campus placement, besides your capabilities, luck matters significantly.
  2. If you get rejected in campus placement, it is not always that you lack in skill. It can be because of the fit as well. Maybe, you are not a fit for the role or the company culture. So, don’t doubt your abilities because of rejections.
  3. Campus placement can be physically, mentally, and emotionally tiring. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to convert their first shortlist. So, we should always be ready for it.
  4. Campus placement is more about confidence and body language than it is about domain knowledge.
    It is very important to stay away from negative people during this entire process. They can do more harm to you than the rejections. Whenever you feel depressed, do self-talk, walk alone and introspect, listen to motivational videos, and back the abilities that brought you to this point. It is just a matter of hanging in there. Don’t quit. Believe in the process. There is always a better tomorrow waiting for us. 🙂
  5. Finally, our failures should not dishearten us and break us. Failures make us strong and resilient. We might fail at something, but that teaches us some lessons for a lifetime. Period.

campus placementDon’t be afraid of failures. No great success is ever achieved without sheer trials and tribulations. Just keep moving ahead, obstacles will be left behind.

After all, More than what you achieve, how you achieve it, matters!


Read: My Learnings From MBA Interview Rejections


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  1. My Learnings From MBA Interview Rejections

  2. How Was Your ONGC Interview Experience?

  3. From Completing B.Tech In 6 Years To Making It To An IIM At 27, Rohit’s CAT Journey Of Courage And Intent

  4. From Corporate To Campus – The CAT Journey Of A Working Professional
  5. How Do I Get Motivation For CAT Exam?
  6. I Am Stuck In The CAT Preparation. What Should I Do?
  7. From 2017 To 2019 – The CAT Success Story Of A Tier-3 College Engineering Graduate
  8. Learn To Fight Alone!
ONGC interview experience

How was your ONGC interview experience?

By Interview Experience One Comment

My ONGC interview happened just a few months back. ONGC shortlisted me for the interview. However, instead of IIM Trichy main campus, the interview was scheduled at the Chennai campus of IIM Trichy.

Generally, people are very meticulous about interviews and reach the venue well in advance. I don’t know why but we were not that nervous, maybe because we had been giving interviews very frequently at that time because it was the placement season going on. So, we decided to travel by bus on a day before the ONGC interview. We thought we would reach there early morning and book a hotel for an hour and get fresh. After that, we would reach the venue. Everything was going well until after reaching Chennai, we couldn’t find any reasonable hotel. We were 4 friends, and just for getting ready, the hotel charge was minimum Rs 1500. It felt unreasonable to us.

So, we boarded a metro train and stopped at each of the stations to find any restroom where we could wash our face and get ready in our formal attire. Eventually, we found a reasonably good restroom after 3 stops and one by one, we all got ready. The washroom in-charge was staring at us, and we found it hilarious. Nonetheless, we continued and all of us got ready and left for the venue. We reached there well in time.

This was the first time ever I was attending an interview without taking a bath, and that too, for a dream company. This thought was surprisingly amusing.

The amusement did not end here.

Generally, in an interview, people expect questions related to their academics and work experience. It is very rare that the whole interview goes around your hobby. It happened in my case.

There were 5 interviewers in the panel, all above 45 years of age. One of them was a lady. They all seemed very kind.

Some of the questions I remember were:

Q: For how long have you been blogging?
A: 4 Years, Sir.

Q: You were blogging before MBA also, how has an MBA helped you in blogging?
A: “I learned about content marketing, and understood how important it is to be on a platform where your audience is. In India, people don’t use WordPress much, but most of my target audience (18–30) is there on Instagram. So, I have started using Instagram to market my blog using excerpts from my blog. This strategy has worked well so far.

Q: How will you do marketing at ONGC?
A: Sir, to be honest, I have no idea why ONGC needs marketing. There is already a huge unfulfilled demand which has to be filled and everyone knows about ONGC. And it is doing business mainly in the B2B sector, where it has a robust position in the market. To this, they nodded and laughed and explained to me why they need marketing at ONGC. See, being honest is not always bad.

Q: If we launch a new product, what strategy will you adopt to market it?
A: I explained it using STP and gave the example of companies like Reliance Jio.

Q: How will you counter the competition in the market for an existing product?
A: I explained it using the pricing strategy.

So, In the entire interview, they asked me questions about my blog, and how I market it on various social media platforms. Because I had worked on many live projects in marketing, I was able to connect the dots, and they felt my answers were in line with the actual marketing strategies and asked me a few questions on the marketing of oil products. I answered their questions convincingly with the help of marketing jargon which I learned in my MBA. I had given many interviews before this, so I was very confident and assertive in my answers. The interview went on for some 30–35 minutes and it was one of the pleasant experiences I have had, obviously because it was all my heart doing the talks there, after all, writing is what keeps me going.

They declared the result at around 6 PM on the same day and when they called my name, I was simply ecstatic. 🙂

Read: From Rejection To Selection – My Campus Placement Journey


Related Articles:

  1. From Rejection To Selection – My Campus Placement Journey
  2. My Learnings From MBA Interview Rejections

  3. When Nostalgia Hits You Hard – IIM Trichy, You Will Be Missed!

  4. It’s Not All Rosy Inside An IIM

  5. The Media Relations Committee – A Memory For A Lifetime

  6. How Was Your Life During CAT Preparation?

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