Citibank awards Rs. 50,000 to 2-3 candidates from IIM Bangalore based on leadership traits. We had to submit ‘brief’ writeups on what leardership is, why we’re good leaders, what our social contributions and academic achievements are, etc., along with our resume. We also had to turn in a student and faculty nomination. Since I had lots of time (I was bedridden with a fractured ankle) I prepared quite well for this interview. 11 were shortlisted. The interviews were scheduled for 20 minutes each.
My preparation largely involved reading what I’d submitted, and preparing for some standard questions like ‘What are your career goals?’, ‘Strengths/Weaknesses’, etc. In our previous batch, 3 people won the award — Hemalata, Saurabh Singh and Sahil Bhandari. All 3 were good speakers with accents. So I brushed up my accent too — turned out to be unnecessary, though.
Prof. Umesh Rajamani & Prof. Rupa Chanda were on my panel. They asked me about my leg (I was on crutches), and went on reading the writeup. All questions were directly based on the writeup.
- Who do you think are easier to lead? Tamilians or Kannadigas? (Prof. Umesh Rajamani asked this question, and soon said that he wasn’t really looking for an answer.)
- Tell me about your experiences as a project leader at IBM.
- Some details on your social contributions… (based on the writeup)
- What are your extracurriculars at IIM-B?
- What did you learn as the captain of your basketball team?
Mostly, they were asking me to expand on what was there in the writeup. It was a relaxed atmosphere, and Prof. Rupa Chanda was very encouraging. The results were announced on 3rd March. Sunny Sharma and I made it.
- I think they were looking for a well-rounded personality.
- Personal experiences were given a lot of weight. They were especially interested in what I had done in such-and-such a situation.
- all questions were based on the writeup and resume. I feel they gave equal weightage to the interivew and the writeup — but the writeup may have been used only for shortlisting.
- Confidence during the interview was very important.
- They were looking for someone with the ability to communicate well, too.