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“You are the average of the five people you most associate with” : Tim Ferris

We got on a late night call with Kshitij Sanke who is graduating from IIM Kolkata in a few months, and took him on a walk down the memory lane asking him questions about how IIM Kolkata has transformed him. Here is what he has to share with us:

Kshitij Sanke, IIM Calcutta

Me: We have gotten a video with tips on WAT – PI which we will be sharing with our students. Is there anything you would like to tell our students from your end?

I would say the most important factor is clarity of topic. It is very important to understand what the topic is. For instance, when I gave my WAT PI, the topic was ‘Terrorism and Youth’. A lot of students went on to write about how the youth doesn’t get enough employment opportunities in a terror- prone country because terrorism drives away investment. While this is true, it takes the essay away from the essence of the topic.

Don’t try to use flowery language unless you’re really comfortable with it. Otherwise there are chances that you would end up using a word incorrectly. Put more emphasise on communicating your thoughts clearly with simple sentences while maintaining coherence.

Me: I totally agree with all that you have said. I have a query here. I personally don’t believe in
quoting a lot of statistics while making arguments because it gives an impression that one is covering the lack of strength in arguments by throwing in numbers.

 Aniket I believe that in using numbers and figures, relevance, context and inference are important. If you’re saying that GDP is growing at rate of 7% then make sure you explain why are you bringing this up. Is this higher than the average or lower and how is it related to what you’re trying to say ? Don’t state figures to display your memory.

Talking about personal interview, prepare two questions diligently.

1. Tell me about yourself. I suggest you have two answers to this question. A 2-minute answer
and a 5-minute answer. It depends on the interviewer to decide whether they ask you to
give a time constraint or not. Do not try to mention 15-16 things, pick 5-6 aspects that have
really changed you as a person and tell them more about those.

2. Why MBA? It is okay to say things like you have interest in these subjects and you are yet to
figure out more about the options thereafter. You don’t have to give excruciating details of
what you want to do in the future to impress them.

Me: Kshitij I have had personal interactions with you before too. I believe that you have learnt a lot in the past two years. Where does the majority of your learning come from?Classes, summers or competitions? What do you think future candidates should focus on?

I came across this quote from Tom Ferris, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with”. I think you learn a lot from your peers during your MBA. It is important that you choose your company wisely. Apart from that, classes at IIM C are dedicated to case discussions which help you solve real business problems. Summer internships are definitely a great learning experience too. I interned with Mahindra Group in their general management cadre. I worked on a strategy project and learnt a lot about the industry. Learning comes everywhere, do not limit it to any one thing.

Me: With your MBA coming to end what would you miss the most about being a Joka?
IIM Calcutta is away from the city. It is about 1.5 hours from the airport. It is a world in its own. So when you live here, you build bonds for life. I will miss my friends and the ‘chilling’ that we did here.

This interview is in two parts. This is part one of the interview.


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