What is it like interviewing for a top 5 MBA School in India?

Updated: Apr 12

On 14th April 2019, I was interviewing for a top 5 Bschool in India - FMS Delhi.

FMS Delhi in Monsoon '20

My Profile - X/XII/UG/Workex - 9/94/9/21months in consulting

My CAT Score- 99.21 Percentile (General Engineer Male)

Latest MBA Rankings (India)

FMS shortlists 1010 students for 101 General Seats. The initial shortlists for the college has 40 percent weightage to Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, 30 percent to Quantitative Aptitude, 30 percent to Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.

Before the interview, I was in the bottom 50 of the 1010 students (I made an excel and saw the marks I'd need to score in Group Discussion and Personal Interview to get admitted. It had to be the best score possible to have any chance). Anyone I asked would tell me it's not possible to convert FMS before 99.5+ but I'd done the math. However, in my mind they made me convince it was a long shot, if there was a shot.

GD - The Naxalite movement in India since Independence

I spoke well. Put in points from Arundhati Roy (had watched some of her YouTube videos), put in points from Raghuram Rajan’s The Third Pillar. Dint cut anyone, added points respectfully. I got a 8/10 which was the shared highest in my group of 10.

I came out of the GD panel and was taken to a room with the other team members. Everyone started talking about the shortlists they had. IIM A,B,C, L. I had none. But I din't felt bad. My cat percentile had exceeded my expectations. I ate food I'd got from home and relaxed. I checked google news. Read about different things such as the grounding of Boeing 787MAX and went into detail into what was happening for each news I read.

Interview - I was the fourth person to be interviewed. While waiting outside the interview room, I heard the third guy was singing a bollywood number. He sang well. I thought he'd aced the interview.

My chance came. There were three interviewers. Two male professors (M1 n M2) and a female professor (F)

(F) Introduce yourself in a line or two.

(Me) Started answering by saying “For the last 2 years I have worked in consulting at ZS Associates”

(F) [Abrupt interruption] - Okay Aakash your extempore topic for one minute is “Consulting is not my cup of tea”. You have to speak for the topic even if you feel otherwise.

(Me) Answered.

(F) Alright Aakash. Who is your role model apart from Family members.

(Me) I follow business leaders like..

(F) Why only business leaders?

(Me) I am really passionate about business Ma'am.

(F) Ok. Tell us about one business leader and one non business leader

(Me) Sure Ma'am. The business leader who inspires me is Indra Nooyi. She's achieved so much in her professional career for Pepsi but I what I really like is how she takes care of her employees. She made day care centres at Pepsi offices. Working parents can visit their children at office. I really appreciate that employees can balance parenting with their professional careers.

[Recommendation - If you dont know who Indra Nooyi is then I highly recommend checking out this video]

The Non business leader I'm influenced by is the economist Richard Thaler who's written the book Nudge which is on behavioural economics. He's won a Nobel prize for his work.

Nudge by Richard Thaler

(M1) So how did you come to read his book. Was it because of the Nobel prize.

(Me) I happened to read his book because of an earlier book I'd read by Daniel Kahnemann author of Thinking Fast and Slow. His book is in some ways a tough read because of being kind of textbook format, I wanted something more pragmatic and got to know about Nudge.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

(F1) Aakash, tell us about any film leaders you follow.

(Me) Yes Ma'am. I really admire how Ed Catmull the CEO of the animation studios Pixar has built a creative company. He writes about how marketing dept wanted to produce sequel movies while the creative department wanted to produce new characters.

(F1) Okay great. Tell us something from Bollywood. Do you admire anyone.

(Me) Yes Ma'am I really like Aamir Khan. He's taken up movies that challenged the status quo like Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots.

(M1) Have yo