Monday, December 04, 2006

My Wharton interview (insert huge grin)!

I'm really happy to say that "My Wharton interview went off very well!"

I had my interview at the Mumbai hub this morning. My day began with an interesting start. First of all I had to wake up at 5 am, which is simply unhealthy for a purely nocturnal creature like me. Since I'm not familiar with routes in Mumbai my uncle and aunt insisted on accompanying me. We made a train journey in a surprisingly empty Mumbai local, had a relaxed breakfast and leisurely strolled down to the McKinsey office in Mumbai where they dropped me off. I was right on time at 8.45am. But poor li'l me had no clue that it takes 5 minutes for a lift to come down from 3o odd floors. So I was waiting for the lift when I should have been seated in one of the overseized couches in the plush McKinsey reception. And to add to my agony, when I reached the 21st floor, the receptionist with the plastic smile informed me- "The interview is on the 24th floor ma'm". Thankfully the fire exit was nearby and I did not have to put up with the tardiness of the lift. I ran up 3 floors, 3 steps at a time. I leave the state of my suit, hair and face to your wildest imagination. I went in and there was this guy smartly dressed in a suit, waiting for the interview too. On enquiry I found out that his interview was at 9.45. I thought I was done for, but nice guy that he was, told me that I was right on time, that the interviewer and the receptionist themselves had just come in. Phew! I will gently remind you here that I went through all of the (e)motions mentioned above in an interval of no more than 5 minutes :D

I had exactly 5 more minutes to smooth my hair, stop panting like a dog, check my dress and shoes:D and all the other girl stuff:-). My interviewer took me into the room at 8.55 sharp. She put me at ease in no time. She asked me if I lived nearby and I promptly informed her that I came from Bangalore and that I had spent the past 2 hours travelling to the venue. This must have explained my rather dishivelled (I'm just assuming this, 'coz I'd not seen a mirror in the last 2 hours :D) appearance. Thus we come to the end of my "interesting start".

My interviewer was a really expressive person with a lot of smiles to offer, which made me comfortable instantly. She took a full 3 minutes (don't ask me how I know the exact number...) to peruse my resume completely and she said "Crystal Clear". A small "yippie" to myself and a polite "thank you" and a smile to her. She started off with "What is your current role in your organization". I gave her an idea what the product was and what I do, clearly separating the technical and non-technical aspects of my job. Then she asked me "Why do I want an MBA?". I took the liberty of telling her that I would elaborate on my goals before I get there and did just that. I spoke about my goals, why those goals (which covered nearly 7 years of my life:-)) and how I think an MBA can get me there. Then came "Why now?". Simple, honest answer followed. After that she switched topics by saying "So we have spoken about your leadership at work and extracurriculars..." Here again I took the liberty of telling her that my list of extracurriculars is not complete and elborated a little on the left out aspects. She wanted to know about "1 strength and 1 weakness". I gave her a true strength and a true weakness (I don't care if it damages my prospects). Then I gave her a discourse on what I expect out of Wharton and what made me apply to Wharton.

That's pretty much the list of questions as such. But I had the luxury of guiding the interview in whichever direction I wanted. So in the course of the conversation we spoke about Social consciousness, IT industry- who are the major players, Mumbai life (Although I've never lived there, I've been there enough number of times to know a lot about it and of course, I love Mumbai!), the disparities between the upper and lower economic segments of any city. We also touched upon topics like idealism, why Indians return to India from the US, the safety net in European countries etc. I don't know how it happened, but our conversation was peppered throughout with such extremely interesting digressions. Finally I got to ask her some questions, for which she gave me very detailed, insightful answers.

She gave me feedback (which I did not ask for of course :D). The words "exciting", "impressed" and "successful" were used! I thanked her, told her it was very nice talking to her and left. I ran out of the door and called my anxiously waiting mother to share my exultation. When I noticed the time I realized we had been speaking for 45 mins (15 mins more than the stipulated time). I'm sure the guy who was waiting for his turn must have cursed me :-).

I don't know if this will convert to an admit, after all the interview is not the make or break in Wharton's holistic process. I came out feeling completely satisfied and that is all that matters to me at the moment. I will not blame the interview if I don't make it.

So now I'm back in Bangalore and really need to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........