How was my IIM Ahmedabad Interview Experience?

Find out all about the IIM Ahmedabad interview experience of IIMA Alum, Ruchi Aggarwal. Learn how to crack top IIM interviews!

Overview

Getting started

According to Bloomberg, IIM Ahmedabad is one of the toughest B-School to get into. Naturally, an IIMA interview can be nerve-wracking, and it’s the last step to the coveted admission.

I’m Ruchi Aggarwal, the founder of Mentoresult – I’ve helped over 2000 students crack admissions to top B-Schools, but I’m sharing a different story today. Not as a mentor, but as a student – The story of my own IIM Ahmedabad interview!

(Spoiler Alert: I’m an IIM A alum, so you can guess the ending of the story!

Through this experience, you’ll learn more about the questions from an IIMA interview, my prep strategies, and what the results page looks like 🙂

My IIMA interview profile

Here’s a snapshot of my profile going into the interview:

CAT score: 99.99 %ile

10th Score: 96.71% (ICSE – All India Rank 9)

12th Score: 89% (Maharashtra State Board – Gold Medallist)

Undergrad Score: 6.88/7 (B.Com from Mumbai University – Perfect 7 in final year)

Chartered Accountancy: All India Rank 8 in Foundation

My Extracurriculars:

  • National Parliamentary Debate Winner at IIT Bombay’s Mood Indigo
  • Times of India ‘Young Editor’ Winner
  • Guitar + Piano player

Positions of Responsibility:-

  • Chief Editor at Young Endeavor, the official college magazine
  • President of the Debating and Literary Club at College
  • Basketball Captain

Work Experience: No full-time work experience (except for some work during my CA articleship)

Interview Day

I was quite nervous for my interview

Date: Feb 7

Venue: The Orchid Hotel, Mumbai

We were asked to bring our filled interview form, all degree certificates, work experience papers, co-curricular and extracurricular certificates, along with an ID proof.

The first round was the Written Ability Test, followed by the interview round. I was scheduled to go 4th in my interview panel.

Written Ability Test

WAT Topic: We were presented with a ~150-word excerpt on an NGO wasting money on meeting in five stars and not doing anything for the people, and how NGOs are not effective. The excerpt suggested that the government should be doing something for the people as it’s their job. It also mentioned that emotional advertising is ineffective. We were then asked to share our opinions on the except, the role of NGOs, and whether they were desirable in society.

My write-up: My write-up started with the point that money wasted on preventable overheads can be applied to change a life for the poor, and hence NGOs, must be held accountable for wasteful expenses. I also mentioned that in some situations even the best-intentioned NGOs might lack the awareness and reach to create change where an effective government is best placed to step in, but there might be leakages there too. There are few people who provide selfless service (e.g. Nunneries) but the rest are not infallible. As for emotional advertising, I opined that it might add value by mobilising those who were previously unaffected by the issues.

Overall, I was quite happy with my balanced views and managed to make a decent case in my write-up.

My Interview

Interview Experience: My panel consisted of 2 male professors in their 30s. They were quite friendly and made me feel comfortable. One prof was doing most of the talking, while the other was silent but listening in. I had prepped for my interview, but was still nervous.

PART 1: CA deep dive

Prof: Hello Ruchi, you seem to have a great academic record, we see that you also have a CA rank!

Me: (I smiled and nodded)

P: What was the rank for, can you explain?

Me: This was for the Foundation course, it’s also called CPT.

P: Which CA firm did you do your articleship at?

Me: (I mentioned the mid-size firm I was interning at, no further discussion)

P: Can you tell us what is depreciation? What is its purpose?

Me: Depreciation is the value lost on an asset due to wear and tear, obsolescence (explained some basic points)

P: From a future point of view, what is more important – Balance Sheet or Profit and Loss statement?

Me: (expecting some sort of a trick) They’re both important and indicate the change form the position last year.

P: No, you have to choose one.

Me: From a future perspective, the balance sheet would be more helpful as it indicated the financial position at the end of the year and the values we carry forward.

P: Yes, balance sheet is right.

PART 2: Maharashtra Politics

P: Who is the CM of Maharashtra?

Me: Devendra Fadnavis

P: What is his constituency?

Me: Nagpur, no Nashik – No, Nagpur. (It was Nagpur)

P: Who is the Governor of Maharashtra?

Me: I don’t remember the full name, it’s something Rao…

P: Is it Vidyasagar Rao?

Me: (unsure of the first name, not wanting to bluff) I don’t recall exactly, sir.

P: Why was the Gateway of India constructed? (I had already predicted this question – I’ve explained the secret at the end of the article)

Me: (I explained with all details, George V and how the foundation stone was only laid when he arrived. Thoroughly enjoyed this answer)

P: Should Maharashtra be split? Why is this topic discussed?

Me: This topic comes up because of the resource discrepancy in developed regions vs underdeveloped regions like Vidharbha. (I also explained that we must test the administrative efficiency on the ground and detach from any emotional attachment before taking a decision that can potentially help millions)

P: What are your views about the coalition between BJP and Shiv Sena? (This question is especially ironic in today’s Maharashtra political battlefield!)

Me: There is a divergence in their ideologies and viewpoints, but it is a very old coalition. They are managing their differences.

PART 3: Hobbies and fun!

P: What are your hobbies?

Me: (Spoke about my fondness for reading and my writing experience as the Editor-in-Chief of my college magazine)

P: What type of books do you like?

Me: I flit between genres, non-fiction and fiction. Outliers and Hunger Games are both favourites.

P: Thanks for your time, Ruchi. Have a candy!

Me: (I thanked them, chose a greenish mentos and left, smiling)

My Reflections

The interview lasted 15–20 minutes, and was quite enjoyable. I was happy with my answers, and there were no glitches.

One question was my favourite: ‘Why was the Gateway of India built?’

This question seems like a complete googly – Why would a top MBA school need knowledge about architecture from the early 1900s?

BUT believe it or not, I should have predicted this question from a mile away.

You might not realise it by reading one interview experience, but if you carefully analyse thousands of interviews, you will realise that seemingly ‘difficult’ interview questions all follow a pattern of predictability.

B-School interview panels are looking for curiosity about your environment, and their questions are tailored to your profile. Given I was a native Mumbaikar, 20 years in the city should have made me curious about the most popular architectural site in my city. This was also why I was asked about the name of my constituency’s MP and the governor of Maharashtra, along with my opinion on the state political alliance.

The key to cracking interviews is not mugging up a set of answers, but understanding the logic and reasoning behind the questions. If you understand and apply that to your context, you will have an 90%+ rate of prediction of your interview questions.

When I coach my mentees for their MBA admissions, I use these data-driven insights to help them prepare answers to the right questions. Each session has a very different direction basis the profile of the mentee, and that’s what makes all the difference.

Because of this, I already knew all about the Gateway of India – It was built to commemorate the arrival of King George V, the first British Monarch to visit India. But what stole the show was a bit of trivia I remembered – King George only saw a cardboard cutout of the planned structure. The actual construction began 4 years later!

I’ve shared my entire MBA Interview prep strategy here.

Results!

After the interview, it was a very tense wait for the result. IIMA was my second result – I already had converted IIM Bangalore and eventually converted IIM Calcutta as well (you can read those interview experiences here & here).

A few weeks later, I opened the IIM Ahmedabad portal and saw this:

I had secured the admission! I was over the moon, and it was the start of a life-changing journey for me.

At IIM Ahmedabad, I learned so much, met so many amazing people and developed my professional toolkit. I also landed my management consulting job at McKinsey at IIM A, and today, as a founder and mentor, I still owe so much to my time at IIM A.

In another pleasant coincidence, both the professors who were my interviewers were also my teachers in my first term itself, and were mentors for me on my IIMA journey!

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed the little trip to memory lane!

If you’re preparing for your MBA journey, then don’t be afraid. The interview is a hurdle that you can cross easily.

IIMA is a dream for many, and I’ve been very lucky to study there. I’ve also been fortunate to be a part of so many more IIMA journeys as a mentor and guide, right from the start of the MBA journey to the interview stage.

You can setup a personalised 1:1 interview prep session with me here. If you’re starting your MBA journey and want to map out your entire journey, then find me here.

Leave your questions in the comments, and join the mailing list for more MBA stories from me!

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About the Author

Ruchi Aggarwal

Ruchi is the founder of Mentoresult. She was a management consultant at McKinsey & Co, has an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and has scored a 99.99%ile in CAT and a 770 in GMAT.

Through Mentoresult, she mentored over 2000 candidates in reaching their career goals. Her success stories can be found across top jobs (McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Google, Amazon), top global MBA admissions (Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Columbia, Yale) and top Indian MBA (IIM A, IIM B, IIM C, ISB).  

She’s a prolific writer, with over 10 million views and 50,000+ followers on LinkedIn. You can find her on a 1:1 session here.

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