Now i laugh about it, sometimes i brag about it, but when i had given this interview, honestly, i was surprised and also scared. Surprised at the way i had given the interview, it was almost an outburst of some kind of an anger. Scared thinking what my dad would say, when he would know about the interview.
I had just finished my engineering and was totally lost as to what i should be doing next ? While i was going through this stage, saw an ad in the paper for a job titled “Mechanical Engineering Graduate Trainee”. It was obviously meant for fresh graduates and since i passed with a distinction ( now i wonder how ? ) and since i also believed in a philosophy that “Never let an opportunity go waste” , i applied for the job.
A week , 10 days letter i got a call for the interview. And so did 80 other candidates. Some of them were M-Tech graduates. I don’t exactly remember what i was going through my mind , but i do remember the questions that were asked and more importantly the response i gave.
First round of interview
There were about 7 people in what was a round table interview. After reviewing my credentials, i was in the line of fire for the next 10 – 15 minutes with a barrage of questions related to mechanical engineering. They were getting increasingly agitated and so was I. All hell broke loose when one Mr X , asked me
“Aren’t you ashamed of yourself ? You got a distinction and you are a fresh graduate and yet you don’t know anything about mechanical engineering”.
The angry young man in me came out. This was my response
“Excuse me Mr X, but during my entire 4 years of engineering, i never studied to understand engineering, but just to get the distinction. and there is a huge difference between the two. Never did i imagined my self to be working as a full time engineer” .
Mr X: So why did you come for this interview ?
Me: I gave my philosophy 🙂 , “Never let an opportunity go by, without giving it your best “.
Mr X: I can’t give you a job if you can’ answer my questions. I shall give you another chance and let you prepare for a week and then you come back for the interview.
Me: Thank you sir, but let’s say i prepare chapters 1 – 6 , but you asked me something from chapter 7 , i won’t be able to answer it. So would you give me another week to prepare ?
Mr X was furious and so were the others in the room. But i’m not sure why, i got selected for the second round.
Second round of interview
There were 3 senior managers and as soon as i walked in, they told me “Heard about your previous round of interview. Quite impressed with your communication skills. But can you tell us one thing that you learned in your engineering”. I told them about my project work , which by the way was also a big joke , as most of the time it’s just a formality. However i did try to understand the project when it was first assigned and so was able to answer that very confidently.
And then one of them asked, why is this utter lack of interest in mechanical engineering ?
Me: Sir with all due respect, there is no motivation to become a mechanical engineer although I was doing mechanical engineering. The lecturers themselves would talk about “GRE”, “TOEFL” and encourage us to prepare well for the exams, so it would be easy for us to get admission abroad. Engineering was just a conduit to go abroad.
To my surprise , i was offered the job. But the next 6 – 8 months, i was put through hell, because Mr X made it very personal. I quit the job for personal reasons, but the interview experience taught me some important lessons.
Anyways, if all we had to do is come to the US after engineering, why go through all the pain , the pressure of preparing for EAMCET , IIT and other entrance examinations. Why all the fuss about engineering ? Why all the pressure ? Never really understood.
I’m trying hard to not let my kid go through this mad race. She is just 4 now, but i can already see it’s not an easy thing to do.