Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I know that elsewhere on this blog I have been rather critical of students who appear for interviews to get into an MBA programme, but must admit I did find a couple of interesting candidates the last time I interviewed a bunch of students.
I have been conducting a series of mock-interviews for those students who have got the "CAT calls" and obviously a large percentage is engineers. And the profile is almost always the same.... Engineer/IT sector/2-3 years work experience/completely disenchanted with IT etc. But at times there are these students who stand out among the group. (Before people start off about my prejudice against engineers, let me clarify that I do not have any and the description above is just that - a description)
A couple of days back I interviewed this dude (a fresher) who is an amateur graphologist and who had read and digested the Mahabharata/Prince/Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance/Brothers karamazov etc. and wanted to be asked questions on those books. The reason? He wanted to speak about his passion for reading and wanted to check if his knowledge of trivia about these books was as good as his thought it was.
I of course obliged. Asked him questions on the Mahabharata ranging from first warrior to be killed at Kurukshetra to the astra used to slay Karna to the names of Draupadi's children etc. He answered all of them and then as he was stepping out saw me writing my comments on the interview pad. He then leaned forward and started to read what I was writing. I was a bit taken aback with this but he then revealed that he was an amateur graphologist and that he wanted to "read" my handwriting. He started to analyse my handwriting without as much as a by your leave and then proceeded to write down all my "qualities". Got about 60% right must say.
This interview was only an aperitif. Then there was this girl (another fresher) who had interests in palmistry, [had my palm read ;-)] wanted to become a crystal-ball gazer, was about to learn tarot card reading and planned to start a chocolate business after her MBA. She had already conducted "field trials" in her chocolate business by making and distributing chocolates in class and had got positive "reviews" and was confident of being able to cater to discerning consumers.
Was a refreshing change from all those who aspire to rise in the corporate hierarchy and become "Manger in a Big Company". I am not saying that these two will make to the IIMs/TISS or whichever other institute that they had calls from. I am not even saying that this is the template that should be followed by others. All I am saying is that in a universe of much of a muchness it probably helps if you genuinely have interests that are slightly hatke and if you have adequate knowledge about the same. It probably helps if you can attract the attention of the rather jaded interviewers and then impress them with your undoubted knowledge in that field. Without arrogance or a know-it-all attitude.
May more such hatke thinkers/doers bloom in the B-School environment.