Interview Experience At IDC IIT Bombay

Qualifying CEED is not enough to get admission in M.Des. The admission process of reputed institutes is quite exhaustive and tests candidates' aptitude at several stages, DAT and Interview. Here, I'm sharing my experience of the interviews at IDC (Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay) during March'14. I was lucky to be called for interviews of all the three disciplines I applied for.

Visual Communication Interview:
I am a product designer by passion. I had no VC work to show except a collection of my cartoons- my free-time fun and my second passion. I guess, I should have applied for Animation Design with my cartoons but I didn't do so because I wasn't sure of getting placed after studying Animation. 
VC! My first meeting with professors of an IIT. The panel didn't seem interested, because of my portfolio? Who knows? They asked me to show the best three works of mine.
"Sir, all are my best. You can see any of these," I said.
"No, we want you to choose," one of the two members replied.
I smiled and opened my VC portfolio from a random mid page. Akkad Bakkad Bambe Bo! I had set the order from best to little less best but I thought random would go best. Who knows what they'd like and what they'd not.
"Hmm! Nice! Look," he smiled and showed my cartoon to the other member who was notably noting down my activities or probably the marks.
"What have you show here, 'The Most Common Sight On Delhi Metro?'"he asked.
I explained the cartoon in short.
"Next," he pointed towards the portfolio.
I flipped through another random page.
"Logo design! What for?" he said.
"I designed it for my own, for the products I create and the sketches I draw," I replied.
"Ok! At what angle this line is?" he asked pointing towards the tail of my logo.
"Thirty degrees sir, from vertical," I said promptly with a smile.
Now, seeing his expression I turned my page, randomly of course to the third project.
"Cartoon strip!" he said.
"These are based on famous english poems: Lord Ullin's Daughter and The Melon City. I did this for my younger brother for his school holiday homework," I said.
He smiled and after carefully observing he turned to see the next page of it.
"You want to become a cartoonist?" he asked.
"No sir, I want to do something for the education sector. I want students of my country to enjoy the learning process and attain knowledge not by rote learning but by observing what they see. I will term myself as a successful visual communicator if I'm able to contribute towards it," I replied.
He was smiling in appreciation and when I looked to the other member of the panel, he was listening too.
"Good! Chetan you have applied for other disciplines as well. Which one would you choose?"
"VC sir," I said.
"O-k-a-y!" he said with his head oscillating signalling that they were really done this time.

I said 'thank you' and left. It was not even 5 minutes long, Man! Well, I wasn't surprised since it was happening like this only and there were people who had broken my record already, who were sent out in 3 minutes. I was lucky that got interviewed in VC first; my nervousness pacified for MVD. Nice experience overall. They were cool.

Mobility And Vehicle Design Interview:
The MVD panel was very much experienced, grey hair were the evidence. And the only professor with black hair entered last when I was almost done. And probably they were from Mechanical domain since they asked really a good number of conceptual questions.
They were really talented, I must admit. With one hand flipping the pages of my portfolio, the other writing, eyes on my laptop which was showing animation of WagonR and Car and they were also asking questions alongside.

What is the motto of this design? Why lamps are like this? Why have you shaped mirrors like this? They were more inclined towards the conceptual part of Mechanical Engineering. What is stress concentration? Types of loads? Bearing Design? How are balls put inside the bearings? The members started shooting questions one after the other. As I was finishing one answer, the second question was already ready. And I was like...Ok! I know answers to all your questions but which one you want me answer first? I answered all the above questions. Then they asked few more technical questions on Production Technology and Machine Design and my Final-Year Project. I answered them as well in brief. Then they saw my application and asked,
"You are Mechanical & Automation Engineer. In final year, you have studied Mechatronics, Microprocessors, Tool-Design and...Robotics [he modulated his voice]. You have just graduated, in Robotics can you tell me anything about Robotics or what is DH method?"  
[Man! he knows Denavit-Hartenberg Method, the most difficult part of Robotics which I never learned.] 
"Sir, I graduated a year ago, I can tell only the basics," and I started weaving few paradigms of DH and started to loop them around the basics of Robotics.
This is what engineers are really good at.
"You have graduated recently so should have explained it in detail!" the other said.
[I was tight-lipped. So what if I could not answer your one question properly. I tried. And didn't I answer all your previous questions?]
"Why should we buy the car you have designed?" third member changed the topic for good pointing towards the red car on laptop.
I started telling the unique features of the car, the technology it'd have, blah blah blah!
"But I didn't like your design," he said.
"No problem sir. You may buy a different car you like," I replied.
"But then how'd you sell it?" he asked.
"This is what I'm here for sir. To become a complete designer- to learn to market products," I replied, "This is why competition is there for different cars in the market; Some may like WagonR but I don't, I like Beat."

They were done and asked me to leave. Before leaving I requested them to see my Doodle chart as well which had lots of car interior sketches. They were kind enough to agree and I earned another 2 minutes. I had travelled such a long distance so wanted them to see all the stuff I carried.
Why this design? Why such dashboard? Why such AC vents? They started firing again. Perhaps I should have left without showing the doodles.
"Aesthetics sir," my answers to all their next questions. 
[I cannot market every sketch of mine! What will you teach me? Are you expecting an MBA in marketing for this seat?]
"We have been seeing such sketches since morning, What is new in them?" he said to me asking the other for agreement. 
I said 'thank you' and left.
[That was rude at the end. I should have shown my cartoons to them! Probably they were bored of seeing cars and bikes since morning. What do you expect in MVD interview except transportation sketches? Still I showed you a different set of sketches, otherwise who focuses on car interior so much! What different they wanted?]

When I came out the next candidate asked me how it was like and I answered,
"Worst panel! They made me nostalgic about my college practicals and viva. All were simply pulling my leg and deliberately asking questions I'd not answer," I said and left the Shenoy Studio.

Product Design Interview:
My  PD interview was on the next day; I got rest after a pathetic MVD interview. I shuffled the Transportation sketches and Product Concepts in my portfolio. 
Best panel! They were really decent while talking. Happy! Smiling! Giving good vibes! They were really happy with my PD application (sort of an SOP) and my product descriptions of Kadhai, Dhoti and Bow-Arrow (I'll write about these later). They were also happy with the table-lamp I had crafted in Material Test. They also liked one of my projects,
"Bottle Opener For Elderly! based on one of the CEED's question, isn't it?" he said.
"Yes sir," I smiled.
"Good!" he said.
While they were exchanging my PD folio, one of them passed a snake to me,
"Material and Process," she asked.
"Umm!....[long pause] Some kind of polymer," I said in an unconfident fluctuating voice after touching the snake.
"Process?" she asked again.
"Probably casting," I wasn't sure this time as well. And I got really scared.
And suddenly the professor who was sitting in between stood up and came beside me. He put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to worry.
"Are you nervous?" the first professor asked.
"No sir, I'm little anxious and excited," I used synonyms of nervous.
And they started laughing.
"Chetan why are you anxious?" he smiled.
"It's great to be here sir. This is what I want!" I replied.
"Okay [with smile]. Process and Material," she passed another product. This time a top.
"Material-Wood and Process..." I said and took a pause.
"Take your time," she said.
"I can make it by Turning on Lathe but I don't know if it's the actual process," I said confidently.

Then they asked a few more questions on Processes which I don't remember now. And the interview got over. They bid me goodbye with smiles and wished me luck. On the whole, it was too cool to digest that I thought- 'Daal Me Kuch Kala Hai!' Maybe they were too positive to bid me goodbye forever. And this is how interviewers should actually behave whether the candidate deserves a seat or not...

Results: For those who didn't know, I didn't get selected in any of the three disciplines.
"Maktub, it's written...You always get what you deserve."
Related links:-
IDC IIT Bombay Calls For Interview
When IITB Made A Blunder

Interview Experience At IIT Kanpur


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