SP JAIN Interview Experience – SARTHAK ROUT

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(Originally shared on Quora)

I got a profile based shortlist from SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Mumbai in Operations and Supply Chain Management. Below is my profile on the basis of which I got shortlisted :


10th (2009)– 95.00 (CBSE)

12th (2011)– 86.33 (Odisha Board, CHSE) (Among the top 0.02 percentile)

Graduation (2015) – 81.7 (National Institute of Technology Rourkela – Mechanical Engineering)

Post Graduation ( 5 years Dual Degree B.Tech + M.Tech) (2016) – 89.1(National Institute of Technology Rourkela – Mechatronics and Automation)

Work Experience

Coal India Limited (Aug 2016 – Present) – Posted at Bagdewa U/G mines of South Eastern Coalfields Ltd. as an Electrical and Maintenance Engineer in charge of all the heavy machinery employed in the underground mine and responsible for allocating duties to 52 subordinates including fitters, foremans, welders, electricians etc in my shift.

Academic Achievements

  1. NTSE Scholar – Awarded the prestigious National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) scholarship by NCERT, New Delhi (2007).
  2. Erasmus Mundus Scholar – Awarded the Erasmus Mundus Heritage Scholarship by the European Commission of the EU to pursue a 6-month semester exchange program at Ecole Centrale de Nantes, France during 3rd year of B.Tech (2014)
  3. National Cyber Olympiad – Gold medalist in 6th National Cyber Olympiad where I secured an All India Rank of 92. (2006)

Extra Curricular Achievements

  1. Formula Student FSAE – Represented NIT Rourkela as a part of Team Roadrunner in the biggest International competition for mechanical engineers where we fabricated a formula style racing car with a 600cc engine. Secured rank 4 in cost event and an overall rank of 13 out of 80 teams across the world. (2015)
  2. Ecokart SAE India – Represented NIT Rourkela as a part of Team Green Knight where we fabricated an electrically driven eco-friendly kart. The team received the best prize for innovation and first rank in virtual design round out of 120 odd teams. ( 2015 and 2016)
  3. Won the second prize in CATIA CAD design event held at NIT Rourkela.

Positions of responsibilities held

  1. Placement Coordinator (Dept. of Mechanical Engineering) – Served as the placement coordinator of the department of Mechanical Engineering of NIT Rourkela where I worked as a liaison between the Institute and the visiting recruiters and was successfully able to place 91/100 students in different companies.(2015–16)
  2. Chairperson, Society of Automotive Engineers – Served as the chairperson of the largest Technical society of NIT Rourkela where I managed an yearly budget of 25 lakhs for the various functioning of the club and took important decisions related to that. (2013–14)
  3. Public Relations Coordinator – Served as the PRC of the first ever East India Automotive Symposium held at NIT Rourkela where more than 400 students from 25 different institutes across eastern India participated. (2012–13)
  4. Founder and Assistant Editor – Co-Founded and managed NIT Rourkela’s first ever Automobile Magazine Turbobytes and successfully published 2 editions of the same. (2014–15)
  5. Coordinator, Alumni Relations Board – Served as the coordinator of the Alumni Relations board of NIT Rourkela and served as a bridge between the students and alumni of the institute and organised various seminars, webinars and workshops involving the alumni. (2014–15)
  6. Event Coordinator – Served as an event Coordinator in NIT Rourkela’s Technical festival Innovision in the years 2013 and 2014 and also served in the hospitality team of National Entrepreneurship Summithosted by E-Cell NIT Rourkela in 2013.


Presented a research paper at the National Symposium on Rotor Dynamics (NSRD) 2016 titled “ Design and Analysis of an active magnetic bearing”.

Extra Certificates

  1. Completed first semester of French Language at Jawahar Academy of Languages, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi scoring 180/200 and placed in the first division. (2013)
  2. Was part of the hostel cricket team at NIT Rourkela that emerged runners-up in the Inter-Hall Cricket tournament. (2012)

Interview Experience

Date : 23rd January, 2018

Venue : SPJIMR Campus, Andheri(west), Mumbai

Time : 11 :00 am

The candidates were initially called to a room where the Adcom (Admissions Committee) thoroughly verified the documents like 10th, 12th marksheets, graduation marksheets etc.

After the document verification, we were taken to another room for the WAT(Writing Ability Test) + Psychometric test. Total time allotted for completing both the rounds is 30 minutes.

Round 1 (WAT + Psychometric Test)

The psychometric test consisted of 2 sets of 10 questions each and the corresponding answer choices were Totally agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree, totally disagree. We needed to check one among the 4 options for each question. At the end of it, we were needed to choose 3 questions each from the 2 sets of questionnaires and describe it with an experience.

The WAT was pretty straightforward. The topic was “Is Caste System a way of life or a grave injustice?”. We needed to write it within 300 words.

Advice for aspirants – Please maintain a fast writing speed while writing answers of the psychometric test and make sure to anyhow complete psychomtery test before starting WAT. Time is really limited and 30 minutes will pass by in a flash.

Round 2 (Group Interview 1)

There were 5 candidates (including me) for the group interview and 3 panelists. The candidates consisted of 3 from Finance, 1 from Marketing and 1 from Operations(me). The Panelists included 3 professors, one each from Humanities, Finance and Marketing.

We were seated in a row from left to right. The group interview started with the panelists asking each of us to “Introduce Yourself” from the leftmost to the rightmost candidate one by one. Then they started asking questions to each of the candidates individually for a time period of 12–15 minutes before moving to the next candidate.

Let’s refer the panelists as P1, P2 and P3.

P1 – Since you work in maintenance and you wish to pursue an MBA in Operations and Supply Chain, what difference do you see in your pre MBA and your post MBA life?

Me – I work in an underground coal mining project where we are given targets by the coal ministry to accomplish every year. I believe I am stuck in a routine job which tends to hamper my creativity and innovative abilities. I therefore want to pursue an MBA in Operations and later on shift to the FMCG industry where the job is more challenging and I get to learn new developments in the field of technology in operations every single day.

P1 – What is your contribution as an engineer in your workplace?

Me – I am incharge of the maintenance of the heavy machinery employed in the mine like LHD, UDM, Conveyor Belts, Pumps etc. The working of the 3 shifts throughout the day depends upon how quickly and efficiently the maintenance team hands over the machinery to them. With my insights and previous mechanical workshop experience I was able to learn the intricacies of the machines very quickly and consequently helped in bringing down the average breakdown time of the machines by 10%. This helped in increasing the productivity of the three shifts and subsequently lead to more production of coal.

P2 – What is the most challenging aspect of your job? How did you overcome it?

Me- The most challenging aspect of my job was when I was made the sole decision maker for managing a team of 52 people. The challenge in front of me was in dealing with some workers who were illiterate and some who were not so educated and were solely trained to work in coal mines. To understand their problems and grievances, I learnt the local Chattisgarhi language in order to deal with them in a proper manner.

This answer impressed the panelists

P3- Apart from the soft skills, have you faced any difficulty in your technical aspect of the job?

Me- The engineers of Coal India who worked in underground coal mines needed to be exposed to every kind of underground technology for their overall development. For this, I was sent on a training to Jhanjra Coal Mines in West Bengal, the biggest UG mine of India. The sudden shift from conventional mining methods used in my workplace to the High-Wall Mining imported from China used in the new workplace took some time for me to get accustomed to. With increased discussion with my senior management and cross questioning the operators and technicians of the new technology, I was able to get over my previous apprehensions and now I am more comfortable to deal with any new technology.

P2 – You have mentioned that you have been on a exchange program to France. So Comment ca va ? (He asked me “How are you?” in French, turned out he himself was a French)

Me- “Ca va Bien, et tu?” (Basically i replied, “I am fine, what about you?”

P2- Speaking some alien terms in French.

Me- Sir, i was in France 3 years ago. I am really sorry but I have completely forgotten the language (Followed by a slight chuckle)

P1, P2 and P3 and the rest candidates laugh at this confession of mine. A light moment indeed.

P3- Coming back to business, you said that you want to venture into the FMCG industry. Suppose you are made the Chief Operations Officer of HUL, how will you drive your company forward?

Me- I will try doing an in depth analysis of all the steps involved in the entire supply chain beginning from the suppliers of raw materials till the final consumer and find out the shortcomings of each step. I will then constitute different teams to look after each step of the supply chain in order to improve the overall efficiency of the company.

(P3 not that impressed with my simple answer)

P3- Tell me some methods followed in Operations management which is used to improve efficiency.

Me- I know of Six Sigma manufacturing, Kaizen method of manufacturing and Lean Manufacturing as some of the methods presently followed in the Industry to improve productivity, quality and efficiency.

(P3 impressed with my answer, tells me “Thank you” and my interview was done)

Since this was an elimination round, we were informed of the results after an hour, and 3 among the 5 candidates including me made it to the second stage i.e Group Interview 2.

Group Interview 2

The panel consisted of two professors (a lady and a gentleman). There were 4 candidates including me.

The interview started with the lady professor asking one among us “Your WAT Topic was on Go Green Initiative(It was the topic for the 12 noon slot). Can you elaborate your views about how you can encourage the initiative at the grassroot level”.

The discussion further continued with each one among us putting forward our viewpoints and concerns. Sometimes, there was interference from the panelists as well . The discussion started from Go-Green initiative to Vegetarianism over Non-Vegetarianism to imposing higher taxes on plastic products to role of corporates in saving environment. Mainly the panelists were judging us on our listening skills because they sometimes asked anyone randomly to elaborate on a point mentioned by the previous candidate.

After this discussion was over, the lady prof asked us “What do you think of adult men crying sometimes (It was a question asked in the psychometry test earlier)?” And then again continued a further round of discussions and deliberations.

And finally the Group Interview 2 ended with the panelists asking us whether we have any questions for them in return.

Verdict awaited. Final admit to be declared in last week of March 2018.

P.S- Every candidate who clears GI 1 and gets into GI 2 is handed over an SPJIMR pendrive. The pic is attached below. Cool Stuff 😉


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