First year students ranking in the top 20 in CAT from each of the IIMs are eligible to apply to this scholarship. It pays for the tuition fee for the two years at IIM-B, and hence is worth about Rs. 2 lakhs.
The resume is the key to shortlisting. The Aditya Birla group assigned a weightage to each achievement (depending on whether it was at the national level, state level, college level, etc.) and added up the points. The top point scorers were chosen. Some points are awarded to the write-up also. From IIM-B, Vijayalakshmi and myself were shortlisted in 1999. 8 were shortlisted from IIM-A and IIM-C respectively, while 2 more were from IIM-L. The scholarship was awarded to 10 people finally. The distribution was 4-1-4-1 across A, B, C and L. Viji won it from IIM-B.
In 2000, 13 were shortlisted from IIM-B, and the following 8 were in the 10 that won the scholarship. Vikas Purohit, Karan Bajaj, Prahlad Rao, Yashodhara Lal, Pratyush Tiwari, Lavanya Chari, Prashant Koorse, Saurabh Jhalaria
In 1999, Viji & I were put up at the Grand Hotel. They briefed us the earlier night about allowances (Rs. 1,000 + 50% of the travel fare). Since I’d flown, I ended up making a loss on the trip — but spending an hour at the Taj Hotel was worth it. The interview was spread across the next day from 9AM to 6PM, and the results were announced over dinner at 8PM. We flew back the next morning, just in time for Prof. Ramesh Kumar’s first lecture on marketing.
The interview panel was ‘star-studded’. I didn’t know anyone except Dr. Alagh of the planning commission. The others were from NGOs and big companies.
- Which is more important: character, competence or charisma?
- What do you think India needs to do to improve?
- How do you plan to contribute socially after you graduate?
- How can an educational institution like IIM-B take steps to improve its effectiveness?
- Tell us about some challenges that you faced when at work.
It was an ad-hoc interview, only partly based on the resume. The only question based on the resume was “How will you apply Chaos Theory to management?” Mine was the first interview, and I thought I had done well.
- The writeup is critical. They hired an external agency to do the evaluation, and study it very carefully.
- The competition is the toughest I have faced. Guys from the other IIMs (they were all GUYS, except Viji) are extremely smart.
- I think the interview counted for more than the writeup, at least after the shortlist. I had done fairly well in the writeup, and the interview was the unknown factor.