Dear IIMC students who participated in the Jindal Stainless internship selection test on April 5,
A day spent with you gave me much to remember, learn, and respect. It transported me back to my days at Indian Institute of Mass Communication, 13 years ago. I’d look at fellow students with awe, a tad too conscious of being present among geniuses. That was exactly how you made me feel among you. I was once again marveling at the selection procedure of IIMC, that brings home such an incredible talent pool. Once again, I was back in love with the college.
I have to admit that the intervening period had somewhat doused my faith in IIMC. I had met and interviewed a few IIMCians who did not make the cut. That was, personally speaking, disappointing. Considering how much of myself the college had helped me find, I expected better from its alumni. Forgive me for my ‘intellectual laziness’ (a termed refreshed by one of you that day), I was beginning to generalize that the good old days of rigour and devotion were gone.
Thank you for proving me wrong. My faith in young talent, and in IIMC, stands restored.
You were brilliant. Some of your compositions were so good that I was tempted to declare that the examinee is better than the examiner. The fluidity of expression, the thoroughness of thought, the depth of emotion, the construction of logic, the attention to details, the teasing openings, the thundering closings – you guys nailed it clean.
The journey of short-listing less than 10 students from a group of 140 bled my heart. In the end, I felt vain to be sitting in judgement. And yet, it had to be done.
I’m not sure if as a 21-year old, I could have written, or spoken, the way you did. I’m not sure if I can do that even today! As you took the stage, group by group, I was witness to a show-reel of talent. Some of you had steel in your voice. Some seemed prepared for national TV already. Some combined the playfulness of youth with the gravitas of seasoned professionals. Some of you possessed a vocabulary used by scholars to pen thesis papers. I have no qualms admitting how star-struck I was. I swelled with pride to think that I graduated from this college.
Today I want you to know, that that day, you were my teachers. You revealed to me, that the interviewer learns as much as the interviewed. And here’s what you taught me:
- Don’t lose hope because processes aren’t always hundred percent flawless: 4 panelists together shortlisted 5 candidates from a group of 140 candidates. Doesn’t this say enough about the possibility of missing half a mark here and there?
- Brilliance and fitment are two different things: You could be the most intelligent person in the campus, and still not make the cut. Your employer could be looking for something other than intelligence. Maybe expression. Maybe emotional depth. Maybe empathy. Maybe people-skills. Reflection is useful. Self-doubt is useless.
- Humility forms the base of learning: I remember an adage that says, ‘The day you think you know it all, you might as well be dead and gone.’ Being sure is very good. But being very sure…maybe not. In words of Shabana Aazmi, ‘Aapki mitti geeli honi chaahiye.’
- Each method of interview has its own value: I realized that the elementary grammar test was as important as the original composition test. And that a presentation could not substitute a face-to-face interview. In fact, each one of these was so important, that they influenced not only the next, but even the previous scores! There’s always room for course correction, for future and for past.
- Last but not the least, circumstances play a role: While the drill was on, I was waiting to get confirmation on the final number of interns. Imagine if that number was different. Chance has the last laugh.
Next time I am being interviewed, I will remember all this. I hope you, too, will. Thank you for giving me that day; it will remain indelible in my memory.