Sunday, March 22, 2009
Fourth time lucky
Sadly, this first also marked an end. And end to Rapu's and my days of quizzing together. Before someone points out the MMS, let me say that General Quizzing is quizzing for us. The others don't count. Although, the fact that we almost won MMS as well is heartening.
These 4 years of quizzing were amazing. A major reason behind why these 4 years overall were so precious. College quizzing, at least the serious part of it, has ended now, and I'm happy to have enjoyed it. A big thanks to everyone who made it what it was for me. The senti post might follow later. The biggest thanks, however, to the man, the legend, who was beside me throughout. I'm certain I could never have had a better quizzing mate. A toast seems to be in order. To one of the best quizzers I've met and an ever better friend. To Rapu. Cheers.
And I'm richer by 3500/3. That cheers me up too. Naman, I sincerely hope we get the money.
PS- Once again, congratulations to Dela and Prondi for winning TATA Crucible Chandigarh. For the uninitiated, it was the zonal round of a national business quiz.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
C for Catamite
The GD: Topic was 'Ethics should be taught'. Usual kind of GD. Everyone speaking at the same time, and very few sensible things being actually said. Very predictably, both Ramalinga Raju and Maddoff were mentioned. Obama missed the bus here. The only sensible thing that I thought I had to say was that ethics are often subjective. People misappropraitng funds might be doing so believing themselves to be in the right- for their families' sake for instance.
The interview: 4 panelists this time (1,2,3,4). The fourth was the strong and silent type- didn't utter a word throughout. 1 was painfully verbose- I could never make out what I was asked.
1: Final year Meta? See metallurgy is specialized. Management is general. Won't there be dilution of skills? Creative destruction?
Me: Some gyaan on acquiring new skills, more job options etc. Talked about Meta not being that specialized. We're trained not just to be good metallurgists but to be good engineers, were the operative words.
1: No, but you have no work ex, you don't know anything about a job. You're talking about satisfaction. I'm looking for concrete answers... blah blah.
Me: Some nonsensical blah blah. I could never figure out what he wanted me to say.
2: Can you name some metallurgists from the industry?
Me: (Like an idiot) I don't think so sir.
2: What about the head of TISCO?
Me: (Like a bigger idiot) I know about TATA Steel. I don't know if it's the same as TISCO. Althought TISCO is TATA Iron and Steel Company so it should be the same (was told it was the same). The CEO of TATA Steel is B. Muthuraman. He's from IIT Madras. I never knew he was from Metallurgy, but yes, it makes sense for him to be.
3: See, you know that 2.5 lakh people apply to the IIMs. Only a couple of hundred make it to IIMC. So you have to be among the top 1%. You're not even in the top 10% in your batch (I'd mentioned my lamentable DR earlier), so how can you be amongst the top here?
Me: I've proved myself in CAT sir. I'm in the top 0.5% there.
3: Ok, so that cancels out your college performance. Otherwise?
Me: Sir, I've been a consistent academic performer. Cleared JEE and CAT on first attempt. Always done well in school. Not 96% perhaps, but you don't just want toppers, there are so few of them.
3: What are you top at then?
Me: Sir, the skills that are tested in CAT for instance- DI, Quant, Verbal...
3: No, no. I mean wholistic etc...
Me: You mean my strenghts sir. Rattled off.
3: So, can you say that you're among the top 1% most creative people in the world?
Me: In my opinion, yes sir. But my opinion counts for nought.
3: On what do you base your opinion?
Me: Mentioned the Mag. Was asked for more extra-curricular details. Mentioned quizzing and debating.
3: So, do you think IIT should be at R? Do you like the place?
Me: Yes sir. It's in its own little world. University town etc.
3: Outside of campus?
Me: Very calm sir. Scenic beauty. Depends of perception of course. Hardly any academic distractions?
3: No what do you think? Good or bad?
Me: (Like a further idiot) Bad sir. No cinema theatre. Not too many colleges outside so fewer events to take part in. Placements get screwed. (Translated to- I don't care if there are no academic distractions- the lack of a cinema hall irks me. Is my DR that surprising to you?)
There were some questions on placements in general. And reagarding the spelling of my name. Otherwise, that was it. 8-10 minutes. Short, and very confusing.
And that, dear readers, is it. Regarding the title, after 90 of the most miserable minutes of my life, I daresay I'm feeling like one.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
A for Abracadabra
Thursday, March 05, 2009
L for Lollobrigida
The break after the first two bouts has ended and it’s interview season once more. The only thing of note, and of considerable note that has happened is that ‘We are the Champions’ in more ways than one. Man U won the Carling Cup. Rapu, Good Girl and I won the inter-dept quiz at last. Trophy-less, true, but richer by 3k. In the dying minutes of the quiz, Good Girl showed that she was, metaphorically, the Man, and we short-circuited the Electrical boys (Bad luck, guys. But you were really good. You’ll probably win next year). Anyway, that’s another story.
So I was back at home sweet home and this time the interview centre was in the neighbourhood sweet neighbourhood. Got their in time, discovered an acquaintance and with that, let the story begin:
The GD and Essay: “You should not expect old heads on young shoulders” was the topic. 20 minutes each for writing and then discussing. Very well-mannered discussion. Hardly any interruptions. Everyone got to speak and air his views lots of times. Big smiles all around. From Obama to Advani, Dhoni to Sachin, Bill Gates to Ratan Tata, almost everyone was discussed. Bhai Paramanand was conspicuous by his absence.
The interview: During the aforementioned GD, yours truly was the first person on the panel. Hence, yours truly was also the first to be interviewed. And before you start reading, a word of caution, the interview bore a strict resemblance to Amaron Batteries. It lasted long, really long.
2 professors- P1 and P2. P1 had hair, P2 didn’t have too much of it.
P1: Tell me about yourself…
Me: Mentioned college, some activities, Noida, Patna etc
P1: Metallurgical Engineer, right? What is the scope of your branch?
P1: In an economy, would you want a Materials Engineer or a manager?
Me: I would want a healthy mix of both. You need one for engineering and technical applications and the other to commercialize what the first does and to make efficient use of resources. In fact, I would say that I would want a healthy mix of not just these but doctors, lawyers, economists etc.
P1: Give some examples of semi-conductors.
Me: Si, Ge, Ga
P1: Is diamond one?
Me: No, sir
P1: Why not? It has the same structure as Si? Can it be used as a storage device?
Me: I’m only conjecturing, sir. But I think not. Some random funda on why not.
P1: What is the melting point of Si? Why should we know it?
Me: I don’t know sir. But we should know it because during fabrication we have to melt Si. Also when we dope it, we want resultant material to be homogenous so doping is in liquid state.
P1: How do you find out the strength of materials? What does it depend on?
Me: Stress, strain, structure, grain size… meta meta
P1: Metals have been around for ages? What is your contribution as a metallurgist?
Me: We improve on them. Develop better alloys and composites. Mentioned what I did(?) at L&T as I was studying better materials for application in boiler industries.
P1: Why do modern laptops get heated up so quickly?
Me: I didn’t know. Was encouraged to guess. Guessed wrongly. Was told correct answer. Humbly apologized. Was told it was ok.
P1: What do you consider you most significant accomplishment?
Me: JEE on first attempt. It was my dream, got into IITR etc etc.
Now enter P2.
P2: Where’s your scorecard? (I got it out) How are you in Maths?
Me: I’m pretty good sir. Never had a problem.
P2: No because your grades aren’t too good. You’ve got Cs (I had 6 in my first 2 sems)
Me: Sir I didn’t do too well in my first 2 maths courses. But in my third semester I had 2 maths courses and I got an A and a B+ in them. So, I’ve always been good in maths. Cleared JEE and CAT also. Plus, I like maths, so it’s really not an issue. (Here, like an idiot, I forgot to mention Maths Olympiad)
P2: Ok, because in IIML, if you make it, you’ll need maths.
Me: I’m sure I’ll cope with it sir.
Me: Blah blah.
P2: Ok, so you do an MBA. Then HLL, Marketing head, selling Lux soap. How doest that tell for a metallurgist from an IIT?
P2: What is the probability that you’ll get into IIML? What will you require from us to answer that?
Me: I thought he was asking for my opinion. Talked about weightage given to everything. How my interview was. Luckily I also said I’ll need to know how many you called an how many you plan to take. He’d asked this question as a maths problem.
P2: What is probability?
Me: Oh, you mean favoured events upon total possible events?
P2: Yes, so how does weightage and all come into it?
Me: Sir, if I knew all that, I could give a better result for favoured events as it would help me eliminate certain cases.
P2: How would probability change if I said 50% seats were reserved for girls?
Me: Explained with example.
P2: Ok. Which are your dream companies?
Me: It’s too early to say that now sir.
P2: So you don’t decide the destination before the journey?
Me: Depends on context sir. During JEE, I decided I wanted to get into IIT and then went about preparing. Now I’m keeping an open mind while doing a management course. I know I want to get into a good well-respected company, but I can’t say which field or sector.
P2: 3 Indian companies you admire?
Me: TATA, Reliance, Future Group. Talked about how they’re diversified and doing well.
P2: So you think a diversified company is a good one?
Me: Gyaan on how both specialization and diversification are good.
P2: In a way, you are also diversifying? Is this sort of risk-management?
Me: You could say I’m diversifying, yes. But I don’t see this as a risk. I consider it a well thought out decision.
P2: What are your hobbies?
Me: I read a lot. I’m fond of quizzing and debating. I follow most sports, specially football. I also like playing computer games.
P2: You like tennis?
Me: Yes, sir. I even play tennis for my hostel (didn’t think it prudent to mention that I’d played one match against the mighty Yashu-with-the-big-serve and lost so badly that I’d won just 3 points in the entire match.)
P2: Your father is a bank officer? Can you tell me why banks have reduced their home-loans interest?
Me: Some gyaan on encouraging consumerism. Boosting up the economy. People were not willing to invest in Real Estate and companies were doing badly.
P2: What about the Repo rate and reverse Repo rate?
Me: Sir, I know Repo rate is the rate at which RBI lends to other banks but otherwise I don’t have too much idea. However, I can learn fast.
P2: That’s ok. No I just wondered, since your father is banker, do you talk about all this?
Me: No, sir. We generally talk about cricket.
Then there were some questions on correlation factor. I explained to him, emphatically, how I had never been taught that in maths. Said that there were some things that I’d been taught and forgotten, but this I knew I’d never been taught.
P1: Ok, that’s it. Send the next person in please.
And so ended round 3.
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