Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why is it called an Interview?

I am jubilant. I have stayed away from the newspaper for a week. The feeling of nausea due to overconsumption of information has finally ceased. I have even stayed away from the many news channels that crowd the first 50 channels of my television box. So what if the world is slipping deeper into recession and India is anticipating two events (IPL and the Elections) which will see expenditure of 0.6% of our GDP in just over a month? Not much can change within a week. At least nothing that has any influence on me.

Why the sudden aversion from current affairs one may ask. I was preparing for a b-school interview. The array of questions that they can ask you is insane. And as a result, even if you consider yourself to be generally well-read, you are never as ‘aware’ as your interviewers are of the world around you, at least you don’t interpret things they way they do. Hence to try to raise the bar, I was reading like never before, reading topics which I would conveniently skip otherwise, understanding terms in finance and economy like market capitalization, recession, depression, debt, credit, sub-prime and updating myself with all the happenings in the political and business world. Frankly, it did help during the interview too, to an extent.

I always wondered, why can’t you simply Google information when you need it? Why do you need to know? Of course you need to know, it’s important for a good manager to be aware. You can only Google if you know the keyword to search. But then how can they expect an aspiring manager to understand everything they way they do? If he already did, then why go to a business school in the first place? Quite honestly, they don’t. They just want to see if you can make sense of the information. The whole process is centered on just two factors – presence of mind and analytical reasoning.

But that’s just one part of it. There are things you are certainly expected to know and understand in all ways - objectives, strengths and weaknesses, your education and work, your core values, interests and most of all yourself. And this is the tricky part because we all thing we know and yet we are not fully convinced ourselves. We don’t counter questions ourselves. Why should they have any rights to break our little dreams? We don’t want reality checks so early in life.

With all this I am sounding as if I was tortured during my interview. On the contrary, I was not. It was like a discussion like the ones we have in office over the current ‘hot’ topics. Not one question about anything to do with me. I didn’t come out smiling but I was not shocked either. In fact most interviews did probe some or all of the above issues in a very subtle manner, leaving the interviewee with little or no idea of how they thought he/she fared in those 15 minutes. My case was no different.

At the end, regardless of whether I get through or not, all the introspection helped me understand myself like I never did before. I am a lot clearer about my goals and will go on to achieve them with or without an MBA, but an MBA will make it a lot easier. I dug deep and struck gold. And for now, I have enough on my plate to last the next few weeks, even months.

The conclusion is completely unrelated to the interview but in sync with my mood. I have managed to read Deception Point, a masala novel by Dan Brown and I just love the excess of wild creativity and the lack of thought-provoking ideas. I am drifting again.


Metallica bhakt! said...

thought-provoking in the last line! the t is missed :)

vishesh said...

well I have stayed of current affairs too :P

priya said...

If you have an interview coming up, you should probably live on television =\

You're calling Deception Point a masala novel? Have you read Digital Fortress yet?

@ "Metallica Bhakt" - Gosh.

The Illuminator said...

@Yashshri - Rectified.

@Vishesh - When were you on them?

@Priya - It's done!! Long before I wrote this post. Yes Deception Point is a masala novel. I may not read Digital Fortress. For now I am hooked on to The Zahir..which has a very different feel. And why are you 'Gosh'ing MB?? What has she done?

priya said...

Oh! How did it go?! Digital Fortress is the baap of masala novels. Good for you. Don't read. You've read The Kite Runner?
I "gosh"ed MB cos of her comment =\

Anonymous said...

lol do you know i always wondered that? as a journalist-to-be, it's considered sacrilege if i don't have up-to-date details on this, that and the other. and my argument is always this: WHAT THE HELL IS WIKIPEDIA THERE FOR, ANYWAY?

though i like reading the papers ever morning. makes the day incomplete if i skip it. but you will never know as much as "you need to", simply because what is "needed" is so damn ambiguous.

The Illuminator said...

@Priya - Yeah, I loved the Kite Runner. The letter Hasan rights to Amir is so incredible. I always have a tear or two in my eyes. And don't compare it with a Dan Brown novel. Please...

@Astrodominie - Totally. You never know enough to be able to use it in your work. You only know enough to realize which direction to look in.

I am back to the newspaper. I don't read every article though, over dose of politics these days.

Sthupit Girl said...

Aah yes. You read and you read and you read, and then they throw you off the course with a "Are you satisfied with you hair cut?"

Good luck on the months to come, I hope you find what you need most.

Dan Brown so late? How come?


The Illuminator said...

Totally. I was in for a big surprise. But I should get what I want.

I have read Dan Brown before too. Makes a fun read.