Monday, November 03, 2008

Summer placements at IIMB: The last lap

Just done with my mid term exams for this term. Earlier I used to think Open Book exams were the coolest things on earth (after warm water in Bangalore). But now reality has struck me hard. These blasted things only make you feel worse. Imagine having an international edition text book in your hands and still not being able to answer most questions! Does quite a lot to one's sense of self respect. Anyway, people have lived through this and exited. So this will pass away too! :)

Now that mid terms are done, it's only going to get even more hectic. For at least a week more.


It's probably the biggest ever happening in one's life at an IIM. Bigger than the Vistas and Unmaads, and maybe even the final placements! Cos this is invariably seen as a sorting exercise - segregating the I-bankers, the consultants, and the rest. Once the summers process is done, one's company becomes one's own identity. Even more so next year when juniors land, they would tend to judge a senior by the company he interned with.

So bloody unfair!

This is where peer pressure rears its ugly head here. It does in Acads too, in the first term. But typically people start chilling out once the first term is done. They do not take grades too much to heart (the vast majority. The others are the ones who belong to the Director's Merit list).

So the point is that almost everyone wants to become a consultant (no one talks about I-banking any more than the world of magic talks about Voldemort). One might truly be interested in marketing or operations or HR. But not willing to be seen as a determined loser, he would still pursue "better" (day zero) roles he is not interested in. Not many realise that the "betterness" of the role is actually subjective!

But going by my interactions with seniors here, I think the realization DOES come. After summers. After people go through myriad experiences at their internship locations and return, they seem to have an uncanny sense of stability of thought. Maturity. From what I hear, people are more reasonable during the final placement process. They listen to their hearts. At least most of them.

BTW, back to the summers process. Consulting interviews are actually loads of fun. They are typically case interviews, where you would be given a business problem, or would be asked to estimate some number. You then keep asking questions to the interviewer and solve the problem. Once one gets into it, its quite enjoyable.

Some samples:
A regular case question could be:
A beer maker from the US launched his product in India. But sales have not been good. Can you find the problem?
So one would first ask a few questions and understand the company, the market in India etc. Then one would get down to specifics and crack the case. The problem could be anything as "trivial" as "the colour of the beer does not match people's preferences" to the supply chain being inefficient to the product simply being very costly. It could be anything! How one goes down from the generic question to this specific issue is what is tested in the interview. Exciting stuff!

Guesstimates are even more exciting. At first sight they might appear totally random, but one can find some way of getting an answer.
A very simple sample:
How many bottles of wine are drunk every week in the US?
One way of solving this could be:
- US population - approx 300 mn
- Roughly 250 mn could be adults
- Roughly 200 mn could be those who drink
- Roughly 150 mn could be those who drink wine
- On an average, lets say each person drinks 2 glasses per week. This means 300 mn glasses of wine are drunk per week totally
- On an average, 5 glasses make a bottle. This means 60 mn bottles of wine are drunk every week in the US
DONE :) Reminds you of Alaipayuthey right?
The point about guesstimate interviews is that the numbers are inconsequential. What is important is the structured way in which you zero in on it.

Got a whole weeks of preps of this sort left :) Wish me luck!


Karthick Prabu said...

"Reminds you of Alaipayuthey right?" Very true. Quite interesting though.

As sure you too fall under the "Directors Merit List" category :)

subs said...

You make it sound all interesting.Great example.

First of all,are you allowed to work in unison?? Like each take a section and cram in a bit and then write the exam.Easier to search na??*grin *grin

Once the juniors get there and begin to slog enough,they would make no comments or judgement of their seniors' summer placements:)

I agree with Karthick Prabhu-you are sure to be in the list.If not,like you say
"Anyway, people have lived through this and exited" (i would say existed:))

Detailed and great explanation as ever

subs said...

Oh oh forgot forgot..All the best:)

Nikhil said...

Nice reference you made there to Guesstimates... Those have gotten me thru many an exam ;-)

All the best for your placements macha...

alpine path said...

Just like Alaipaayuthey! And that helped me a lot in multiple choices :) Have fun! :)

Muthu said...

both were excellent examples ... wish you all the best !!

Vivek said...

You say no one talks about ibanks! Well, you have an exception in me!!

JP Arun said...

Hey da Vishy..good interesting example. All the doubt you will rock! Cheers.

King Vishy said...

thanks a lot!! :) just 4 more days...

Vin said...

hey Vish..found ur link in blogadda as i was searching in homour...this post reminds me of the one time i tried to prepare for the CAT...then never dared to buy the registration form!!
god knows what kinda IQ levels u guys have???
ur tests must be over as i read this..hope they were good:)

King Vishy said...

People here are definitely extremely capable, and sure do have a higher IQ than average..
But all IIMB students are normal youngsters after all.. I strongly feel the halo effect existing outside is a bit too much.. If you visit the campus once and meet people, you will agree with me..
The one thing that sets people here apart from the rest is consistency in achievement.. Otherwise, I do not see much difference..
Thanks a lot for visiting! :)