Hailing from Vadodara, Gujarat, Anjana Nair found her place in the city of dreams and it turned out to be truly memorable for her. After completing her BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Anjana headed to NMIMS Mumbai to pursue MBA in Pharmaceutical Management.
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Backed with confidence, Anjana was ready to face the questions and challenges shot at her in the selection rounds of NMIMS Mumbai. From sitting in a room full of candidates in her GD group who came from different parts of the country with the diverse educational background just like her, to questions which left her mind-boggling, her experience is indeed interesting. Her way of answering each question left her panel and peers impressed, which is why this inter. Know how she tackled each situation at the GD-PI rounds of NMIMS Mumbai and her worth-reading responses in this interview below.
Careers360: What is the selection procedure at your B-school?
Anjana: I am a first year student of MBA Pharmaceutical Management. Initially, we have a Written Aptitude to test one’s basic knowledge regarding Pharmacology and Biology in general. After the same, there is a Group Discussion, which goes on for about 10-15 minutes. Topics can range from the happenings of the Pharma Industry to any other Current Awareness topics. This is followed by a Personal Interview.
Careers360: What was your overall experience of attending the selection procedure of your B-School. Share in detail.
Anjana: I had a great experience during the entire procedure. The various levels of the process were clearly demarcated and well planned. I live in Vadodara, Gujarat and I have done BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Maharaja Sayajirao University. It was my first time in the city of dreams and it turned out to be truly memorable. From getting all the documents ready for D-Day, to coming out of the interview room with a glorious smile, everything was great about the experience. The process started early in the morning, where we were first given a Written Test on basic biology and pharmacology, followed by a group discussion and then a personal interview.
The other candidates in my GD group also came from different parts of the country with a diverse educational background, which made the discussion even more interesting. The interview panel was very encouraging and had a friendly demeanor, which made me answer the questions without any hesitation or nervousness. Overall, the process was very enriching and a memorable one.
Careers360: Which other B-Schools’ selection procedure did you appear for? How was your experience in other institutes vis a vis in your institute?
Anjana: I had attended the selection procedure for TAPMI, Symbiosis and Birla. I had a similar experience is all these institutes. Due to my thorough preparation, I managed to present myself well for all the interviews that I had attended.
Careers360: How was your personal interview experience? How big was the panel and what were your feelings while facing them?
Anjana: My panel consisted of 2 members – both for Group Discussion and Personal Interview. I was confident before entering my PI as I could put forward some relevant points during my Group Discussion. The interview started with them asking about my family background and educational details. I had hand-written my Statement of Purpose (SOP). I was asked about the reason for the same. I had penned about my desire to enter the Pharmaceutical Industry and the role that I would like to establish myself in.
The questions then focused on why I chose to be part of this field and how I will tackle the challenges. I was asked to explain in detail what my SOP comprised of. Later, they asked me to explain the social and political implications of Brexit to the UK and the rest of the world. Then the interview continued with some questions regarding Genetics and Microbiology (I had mentioned that I had these subjects as part of my curriculum). Towards the end they enquired about my father’s company and asked me about the implications of the recent acquisition.
Careers360: Among all the interviews you have appeared in, which one was the best and why? Share your best PI experience with us.
Anjana: My best interview was in Symbiosis, Pune. I felt that the interview procedure was more like a conversation. They asked me what the recent news was. I explained the Tamil Nadu political fiasco in detail, which seemed to have impressed the panel members. When asked about the reason of switching my stream from Pure Science to that of Management, I elaborated how Cell and Molecular Biology has helped me to be insightful and how it developed my abilities to think out of the box.
Careers360: What were the questions which you found most difficult to answer? What were your answers to those questions?
Anjana: I was asked how I can act as an efficient link between the R&D Sector and the consumers of the Pharmaceutical Industry (based on my SOP). I explained the roles of a Brand Manager and how he/she can efficiently monitor the value chain of a drug from its manufacturing to its ultimate consumption. I also talked about what role Marketing can play in this scenario.
For my interview in TAPMI, I was asked to sell a pen in as many ways as possible. I focused on many features like the quality and overall look of the pen, the ink, price, weight, grip etc. I also mentioned some add-on qualities like LED, storage device, scanner etc.
Careers360: How did you handle the questions for which you had no answer? Was the panel rude or easy on you?
Anjana: The atmosphere set was definitely for building pressure to test how well one can tackle those tough questions and stay composed. When asked about the major challenges faced by the R&D sector (as I had mentioned the same in my SOP) in the Pharma Industry, I was unable to give a concrete response. I clearly indicated that I was unaware and I assured that I definitely will look it up to realize the importance of the same.
Careers360: What were the most interesting questions you were asked? Please share your answers as well.
Anjana: I was asked to compare the human body to the Earth. Though I could make some initial correlations, I found it difficult to dig deeper. I explained how the blood vessels that carry blood to each organ is like the atmosphere that surrounds and connects us. Then I elucidated how the transverse plane of our body is analogous to the equator. I also added the concept of the dynamic nature of both the body and the Solar system i.e how everything is constantly moving.
Careers360: How did you prepare yourself for PI? What were the PI questions that you searched for your preparations?
Anjana: Before initiating the preparation, I introspected what exactly I wanted from my life and jotted down the key points. I took two days to dig deep, think and write the answers for all the probable questions that could be asked during a PI. I also consulted my professors to check the document that I had prepared and requested them to give their valuable feedback.
Careers360: What factors or qualities, you think the PI panel looks for in a candidate?
Anjana: Attitude is a major influencing factor during an interview. The panel members look how composed one is when asked a question to which the answer is not known. One is also judged upon the level of knowledge and content that one can bring in the conversation. In addition, the way one communicates is extremely vital.
Careers360: Has there been an embarrassing moment for you/or a question you think that was difficult or impossible to answer? What was your reaction at that time?
Anjana: There definitely was an embarrassing moment during my interview at NMIMS. The interview was about to end and the panel members asked me about the history of the University where I had done my graduation. Unfortunately, I was not able to recollect the same. I ended up mentioning how the University got its name.
Careers360: What was your GD topic?/GA theme?
Anjana: My GD Topic was, “With respect to the Pharmaceutical Industry, India is 3rd in Volume and 13th in Value. Comment”
Careers360: How many candidates were there in your group?
Anjana: There were 5 members in my group
Careers360: What was your approach towards the topic?
Anjana: I initially penned down what exactly the term ‘Value’ meant. Then my approach was to decide the major reasons why India is lacking in Value and then formulate reasons to support my claim. I continued the discussion with the possible solutions to overcome the issue.
Careers360: How much did you contribute towards in discussion/activity/exercise?
Anjana: I contributed a great deal. While I patiently listened to the others' points of view, I made sure my own was heard. I spoke eloquently, for a majority of the time allotted and put forth the key points which I felt could drive the GD to a particular direction. I also backed up my points with statistics.
Careers360: Did the discussion/activity reach a conclusion?
Anjana: Though many points were put forward regarding the major reasons and possible solutions of India being ranked 13th, the discussion did not reach a solid conclusion.
Careers360: What was the overall experience of this part?
Anjana: Overall, the GD was conducted smoothly. I did not find difficulty in thinking about my views on the topic, and the entire process was easier than what I expected. I also realized the importance of listening to my fellow candidates’ opinions.
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