Now when my dear friend Robin has publicly announced how he was screwed at TAPMI, it has given me motivation and enough courage to share my job interview experience with GTL technologies, Mumbai (now how can both courage and motivation come at the same time, but I guess when u get screwed a lot of times, it comes naturally). Yeah so now coming back to the main topic, it was the final year of my MBA at Icfai Mumbai and GTL technologies came to the campus. One look at their profile and I was hooked. Now here was one company which was offering a core marketing profile in their Telecom Vertical. I looked at the sky and thanked God that my prayers had finally been answered, but I think I should have prayed a bit more. What happened later on told me that perhaps I should have prayed more. So after the profile thing was settled I looked at another potential hurdle… Ok, no 60% throughout criteria required, boss, this is all falling in place for me were my thoughts. Then came the moolah… of course I was ready to compromise on that point: 23,000 to start with should not be too bad; after all I was getting a CORE MARKETING JOB!!
About an hour and a half devoted fully to the company website and I was ready to take them head on. I knew that my background was computer science and that gave me even more confidence. The Pre-Placement presentation started and they made it very clear that they were here to recruit the cream. Now that was something that I have always been unable to comprehend. I mean with a CGPA of 7.95, I did not exactly belong to the cream, but given my day I could be better than even the best. The CV’s were collected and the very fact that 110 students had applied for the job gave me shivers. But I knew I had been praying for this day and finally when I made it to the short listed 40; I heaved a sigh of relief. Now came the most difficult and the funniest part – The Group discussion. I say both at the same time because while all my friends and well wishers believed that I will ace the GD, I was most afraid of them. Anyway the GD started and I followed all the guidelines which I learnt at PTindia.com during MBA entrance preparation (I still remember them by the way…the English teacher was really cute…). The Final cut off list came and they surprisingly selected only 10 students for interviews. Names were called out and the first name was mine…I could not believe it…could this be true?? I did clear the GD and that too mine was the first name to be called out!! (Later I came to know, the list was randomly arranged though, so much for achievement)
The interviews started and the disadvantage of being the first on the GD list stared right at my face. Yes yes…u guessed it right…Mr Jain would be the first to be interviewed. Now, dear friends, I have always heard of gang rapes in the media, books, movies etc…But if at that point of time did I even have the slightest idea that it will happen to me over the next 45 minutes, I would have surely ran away. I entered the room confidently and saw a GD formation on the other side of the interviewee chair…Yes; there were 9 of them waiting for me.9 guys?? for an interview…cmmon man!! Are u serious??. Yes, and if I had any doubts regarding the seriousness of the interview, they vanished right away. I don’t think my college people even served them lunch, such was the hunger in their eyes, or maybe I imagined it…18 eyes scanned me and I, fumbling like a newly wed girl with milk (I only had my file folder) settled into the HOT SEAT. I turned my head full swing both the sides to get a “holistic view” of the interview panel…The one seated right in the center introduced himself as the Chief Strategy Advisor (he never bothered to introduce the rest 8) and decided to bowl a full toss to start with.. Mr Jain, Please introduce urself to us. Now I had practiced that answer so many times that even if at 2 AM in the morning u woke me up and asked, not a word would be different. He caught the cue for the next question in my answer itself…What did you say?? Computers is it?? Right? So u are a graduate in Computer Science. Yes Sir, I am…Ok Mr. Jain, do you think the IT infrastructure of your college is sufficient and please give us an estimate as to how much would it cost to set up the infrastructure of a similar MBA college…Now its true that I am a graduate in computer science, but I knew and had studied only about software, I did not even know the price of a computer motherboard. Ok Sarah,…think fast think something…I said to myself..cmmon!! I started ..Sir what is the budget that I have..Hmm…Let’s say 1 Lakh Rupees, he replied…What?? In 1 lakh rupees he wants me to set up the IT infrastructure? Is this guy mad? I blurted out, 1 lakh is too less. Oh is it?? Let’s say 10 lakhs…now lets start…Ok, I will put 100 second hand computers with a modest configuration that should cost around 5 lacs ….and suddenly I realized even with 10 lakhs at my disposal I was heavily short of cash…shit!! I should have said at least 15-20 lakhs…While I was thinking this, I heard his voice..No..No..Saurabh..We don’t want any second hand stuff, everything must be new..Ahh..here’s my chance to get the budget increased, I thought…Sir, then even 10 lakhs is too less, because even a decent new computer that a MBA student can use will cost 10,000 -12,000 bucks, plus the cost of cabling, wireless LAN, servers etc…The entire setup cannot be managed within 10 lakh rupees. Cmmon..Mr. Jain, you have already started complaining…You are a solution provider, you have to see how you will do it and in this budget and we do not want any compromise on quality. Ok, Sir if we cannot do it well, I will ask for tenders from outsiders who can set up our infrastructure and can mange it for us within our specified money…No no, how is this possible, again tendering will mean competitive bidding, compromising on quality, you already know my conditions Mr. Jain..The room was A/c but I was already sweating now. I just could not think of anything else, I again turned my head both sides to gauge the reactions of the other panel members who I was sure were having solid entertainment at my expense. At the extreme left corner, I saw Aparna Krishnan. She was my senior who got placed last year in HR in GTL..Yes..She can be my saviour. At least she should do this much for her junior. I filled my eyes with all the pity in the world and gave her that timid and weak look..That had immediate effect and she said, Saurabh do you want some water?? Water was the last thing on my mind and I politely refused. Our Chief Strategy Advisor cleared his throat and decided to take charge again. Ok Saurabh, here you have said that you are the chief editor of the college magazine Manthan, right? Yes Sir, that’s correct. Ok now here is my chance to nail him, I know all about the magazine. I was practically running it like a personal venture with 2/3 other friends. Saurabh tell me, what is the difference between the map litho paper and the newsprint. WHAT?? Which paper?? I had never heard of anything even close to map litho paper in my life (later when I enquired about it from the magazine publisher, he told me that is in between newsprint and bound paper and used for such magazines) I don’t know sir, I blurted shamelessly again.. And u are the editor?? Sir as editor my responsibilities are to ensure that the magazine is out every quarter, that articles are well researched and proofread correctly, that we have covered all the college events and we have a inventory of articles for us. Ohh..I see. Very well. You are an MBA in marketing right? Yes Sir, I am. Very Well, he said and started smiling. I did not think it was an opportune for me to smile, but somehow I managed a weak one..Ok, what is the difference between sales and marketing..Ahh..Finally some relief. I rattled off both the definitions and the differences between them..Hmm..Hmm..Which book do you refer for marketing? Philip Kotler Sir, I replied. Well, is this the definition given in Philip Kotler then? Sir, I don’t remember the definition of Philip Kotler and I think it’s more important to understand the difference between the concepts and I very well know it. No Saurabh, give us the definition given in Philip Kotler..By now I was damn sure that the guy had only yesterday got out from mental asylum. It was time again for the shameless reply – “I DONT KNOW”. Well Well… and he calls himself MBA in marketing..ha ha ha..and the rest 7 joined him as well (Aparna did not laugh though.. I don’t know whether she was embarrassed because of me or she also felt pity for me, but she did not laugh)By now the tap on my head was running full flow and I was sweating profusely, I was also feeling very hot when I realized that my ears had turned brick red. Now I did not care whether I got the job or not, I just wanted to run away from the room, but our Strategy Advisor apparently thought otherwise.Ok Saurabh, do you understand what is meant by revenue model? Yes Sir, it means the way u generate money to sustain your business. The way things had gone the entire afternoon, I was very sure even this thing I would have said incorrectly, but I was surprised when he smiled and nodded his head and said, good, so this you know. I let the sarcastic remark pass by and kept quiet.. So, imagine you are the CEO of a food chain that provides food to people for free. Tell me what will be your revenue model? So whether I liked or not, I had another chance to salvage my lost pride. Or was it another chance for him to put the final nail in my already packed coffin..Soon I would find out..I started. Sir first of all I will enter into tie ups with some charitable organizations that will support me in my endeavour. I will also give the space on the restaurant walls to companies to advertise so that way I will generate money and….Mr Jain, How long have u been living in Mumbai? For the past 2 years, I replied. Ok, so you are well aware of the kind of crowd that eats out at the restaurants. When there are people who will pay through their nose to enter the costliest of the restaurants, who will come to your free restaurant.. Now I got heavily confused. Sir, when people pay money to eat outside definitely I will have masses waiting to eat for free, and why should I be worried about the targeting here. My motive is to only make money from a free restaurant. Richie Rich will anyways never come to a free restaurant.. No No Mr. Jain think out of the box, after all you are marketing guy na..ha ha ha..By now my box had got closed completely. Sir, I don’t have any other answers with me, I replied bluntly.Ok Mr. Jain do you want to ask us anything? The only question that I wanted to ask was why they had screwed me so badly and what they wanted to accomplish out of that, but I decided to get a little sarcastic myself. I remembered Mr Kalam’s lines. When the mind is without fear and the head is held high. By now, I knew that I will not get the job, so the fear got removed. I asked, after I am selected, what will be my profile? An eerie silence descended upon the room immediately and they started looking at each other. I couldn’t resist a smirk but managed to keep a straight face. Our strategy advisor replied again, once you are selected and then for the next 5 minutes he explained me the full profile in detail. That done, I greeted them all and came out. People outside were just waiting for me to come out for many reasons. Firstly because I had been the first to go, secondly because the interview lasted around 45 minutes and they wanted to know what was happening inside for such a long time and I am sure my profusely sweating face would have even increased their curiosity. But I was in no mood to answer anything, I just ran away from there and found solace in the canteen over a pastry, cold drink and a masala dosa. Later I came to know that out of the 10 candidates they interviewed, they did not recruit any one. Their parting statement was (of course the Chief strategy advisor’s, the rest I think were all mute”) – “We did not find the students capable enough”.