Venue: IIFT Bhawan, Delhi.
Time: 15th Feb, 2006, 9:30 AM.
Gave my first proper interview of the season yesterday.
I got there at about a quarter past nine, feeling very grown-up in my brand new black Van Heusen suit, black 'formal' shoes and pearl earrings stolen from my mother. I was clutching a black folder with my meagre collection of certificates filed inside. My parents wished me 'Best of luck' and I walked in. The guard directed me to the building in front, and I went straight through. A series of people directed me to a room on the first floor (it was actually the second floor, but the ground floor is called basement for some reason.) where there were a whole lot of other people sitting in tense anticipation.
I took my seat, signed the attendance sheet and was given a sheet of paper for the essay. There were still ten-fifteen minutes to go for 9:30, so I looked around at my other competitors. Most were in suits. The handful of girls were all in black suits, I noticed, except for a girl in a salwar-kameez. The girl next to me smiled and asked my name. I replied, but we didn't speak much after that. The minutes ticked by, with more people coming in.
Finally, at nine-thirty, a Professor came in, told us what we would be judged on (content, clarity of thought, and language) and gave us the topic - "Transformation of Indian Cinema." Brilliant, I thought, now what do I do? Couldn't they have given us something like SEZ's or M&A's or something? Anyway, I managed to write something or the other. Covered both sides of the sheet at any rate. Wrote about the challenges facing Indian cinema today - how Bollywood is often considered synonymous with Indian cinema, and also about censorship. I wrote the last word a second before the twenty minutes ended, so didn't have much time to proof-read.
Afterwards, we went to the rooms where we were supposed to have the GD's. The topic was "The Indian electronic media is highlighting trivial issues." There were eleven people in the group, nine guys plus two girls, and each of us was supposed to speak for a minute and a half on the subject first. I thought this would the worst part, but I did well enough. Didn't manage to finish my points though, so my speech didn't have too much structure.
The discussion itself was pretty much a disaster. We could have discussed so much - TV, radio, the internet, mobile content - but no, we chose to restrict ourselves to TV, and that too, to news channels. Some people tried to bring in new angles, but they weren't taken up, and the discussion kept jumping from one place to another to another and then back. We kept bringing up the same examples again, despite the moderator having told us in the beginning, after having listened to our speeches, that he expected us to go beyond the topic itself and discuss improvements and so on.
I did contribute, but couldn't express myself well at all. I'm so angry with myself, because I didn't use the one advantage I had over the others, which was my comfort with English. I kept being short of words for some reason. I used such cliched expressions and awkward phrases, that thinking of them makes me wince even now.
Afterwards, the interview. I was fifth in line, so didn't have to wait too long, because they have ten-fifteen minute interviews at IIFT. Don't want to do a post-mortem of that, because I'm convinced that the interview didn't put me in a good enough light at all. The very first question was about my poor marks, and I wasn't able to justify my results properly.
So in the final analysis, I don't think I'll get though, because my interview and GD were both pretty average. There are about 90 seats on offer at IIFT Delhi, and around 1100 calls, so the whole thing would have had to be pretty exceptional for me to get a final call, and it wasn't.
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