My interview experience with IIM-L

Continuing my MBA interview experience posts, this one is about IIM Lucknow. Every year the criteria for calls changes, so I’d not go into that. The earlier posts in the series can be read here: IIFTXLRI, MDI.

IIM Lucknow, one of the top 5 management colleges in the country and arguably the 4th best IIM right after ABC. There’s a lot that goes with just the IIM tag, not to mention the kind of culture and brand Lucknow carries with itself (It’s called Hel(L) for a reason). I’ll right away say that this interview wasn’t a convert, and Lucknow doesn’t declare a waitlist so I’m not sure where was I placed. In case you still want to read just to know how’s the process, here you go:

Image courtesy: InsideIIM

1. Some things here might be influenced by my opinion.
2. You may find some sentences being repeated in other posts, that’s just to make this post relevant as a standalone one.
3. Things may change this year (They have actually, weightage to cat is decreasing with every passing year), but the way they take interviews shouldn’t.
4. And lastly, a lot of tense confusion might be there since the actual post was written right after the interview.

My IIM-L WAT/PI experience.

My profile:

General /Engineer/ Male.

CAT score: 99.46

Work ex: 28 Months (I work for OFSS as a developer)

10/12/UG: 92/92/6.2 (The 6.2 translates to 62%)

I’m also a published writer and had a startup back in college.

Date: 1st March Morning slot, Noida.

I reached around 8.45 AM, was 15 minutes late, it didn’t seem to matter too much. Everybody was given a serial number and document verification was being done in that order, I was the last guy.

WAT Topic: Indifference to ideas challenging national unity can be disastrous. 15 Minutes.

It took me around 2-3 minutes to even understand and think about what to write. Managed to finish within the word and time limit. Assuming that everybody was going to relate to the recent incidents, I tried diverting a bit and didn’t give too much stress on the current affairs. Don’t know if that works in my favor or against.

After the WAT, the verification was done in my case, then I was asked to take the data form to the other building where the interviews were being taken.


I was the last guy to be interviewed. There were two people (Both Male, in their 40s) in the panel, and I guess there were 14 panels, with every panel interviewing around 12 candidates.

Interviews had begun when I reached, on an average everyone was in there for about 15 minutes, ours was Panel 1 which wasn’t grilling any candidate too much.

P1 came out and called my name for the interview. No questions about myself to begin with, they directly asked me if I was interested in ABM. I said no and that I’d already unchecked it in the data form. They asked me to write it again and sign it.

Then P1 started reading out my profile to me. Told me how I have cleared so many exams before and about my good score in Boards. I knew where this was going so I started smiling. And without further ado I was asked, why the low CGPA. I didn’t try to defend it and said that it was a mistake, I lost focus and I shouldn’t have. Then I told them about the reasons I lost focus, to try and get them to ask me something about my book or startup. But no, P2 asked if I think going for engineering was a wrong decision. I said no and said that despite being a 6 pointer I don’t think I’m a bad engineer or I’m bad at academics and told them how I was one of the best performing employees in my office. They still kept asking me if I’m satisfied with what I’ve done, if I could have gotten a better job had I scored better in college. This was followed by some more explaining.

Next P1 asked me about the three key takeaways I have from my job. I answered that. I was then asked a few follow up questions on that. Normal HR stuff. I had mentioned that creativity is a very important part of life and P2 asked me to prove that I’m creative. I gave him an example of a project at my work which was entirely different from what we normally do. I also mentioned writing a blog/book. While answering I realized that he wanted me to do something creative right away, but it was too late for that, and he seemed convinced too.

Then the big question, why MBA? I told them a 3 point answer of why I want to go for it. They seemed quite convinced with it. No follow up questions.

Then P2 asked what an algorithm is. Answered. How do you decide that an algorithm is better than the other for same program? I said time complexity is one criteria, they asked me for more, I answered but they didn’t seem convinced. Then I was asked if I’m updated with the current affairs, to which I said yes, expecting my knowledge of finance and budget to save the day for me. But they only asked me the definition of Budget. Which I told. Then the difference between Economic survey and Budget. Told that too. Then I was asked what is a 5 year plan and who makes it, and I still can’t believe it happened, but I forgot who makes it. Then P1, who was a very friendly person throughout, told me the answer and asked me if there’s been any recent developments there. I said a few things about the NITI Aayog but I wasn’t sure so I shut up soon.

No technical questions, no current affairs, nothing about my profile or extra currics, no maths… basically nothing that I’d studied for in the past 7 days. But it still went for 15+ minutes. I didn’t feel it was a bad interview at any point, but a B-School like IIM-L definitely needs more. So, let’s see. (Update: Not a convert)

Some FAQs:

1. Duration: The whole thing gets over in 2-3.5 hours, depending on your turn. I was the last guy and I was out in 3 hours. But there were candidates in other panels still waiting.

2. Take your personal data form and fill it properly, make no mistakes about your preferences etc.

3. For all I know, the ‘why MBA’ question is the most important part of the interview.

4. I’ll update as I remember more. Not a convert, but I guess my cgpa had a lot to do with it. All the best for your preparation.

I’m currently a student at XLRI, you can read this blog for more of experiences about the same and some other general crap that I write. 🙂

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