It was early 2015, I think. That’s when I first heard about MICA. Honestly, I procrastinated a bit (read: 1 year) but I knew that this was the place I want to be. And in 24 years of my life, I can assure you that I have never wanted anything as much as I have wanted to get into this college for this specific course.
I attempted MICAT in 2016 and then again in 2017.
2 years, 2 CATs and 4 MICATs later I got a chance to appear for an interview.
A basic run through:
As of now, MICA gives you two shots: MICAT 1 and MICAT 2. Best of both scores are considered. After you get shortlisted, there are two main legs: Group Exercise (GE) and Personal Interview (PI)
I am going to share my GE and PI experience with an intent to give you an idea of how it went for me. (Hoping that if you’re planning to get in, it will help you)
Interview Date: 16th March, 2018
Place: Ashraya Hotel, Bangalore
Slot: Morning (8:30 AM)
Topic: The XYZ Bank is caught in a scam. Design a marketing campaign to repair the damage and gain the trust of their stakeholders
(The structure might differ from how it was but the central idea was the same)
Group Size: 6 Members
Duration: 30 minutes
We all decided to use three communication channels to promote this campaign.
– Emailers to all its stakeholders
– Hoardings and Social Media (Chart Paper)
– TVC (skit)
Now comes the interview. This was one of the best experiences I have had so far and thus I suppose this would run a bit longer than you expected. Here it goes.
Panel: Dr Ruchi Tewari, Unidentified (M) – probably from the industry, Unidentified (F) – she was in my GE as well
Duration: 40–45 minutes
I don’t recall who exactly asked which question so I will address every Question with a Q and Answer with an A
As I entered the room, I was greeted with smiles. I asked for their permission to sit and as soon as I sat I was asked a question.
Q: So, Aditya, 30 months in Wipro. What were you doing there all this time?
A: I was working as a security analyst but I have recently resigned since this is not what I want to do.
Q: Okay, so what are your plans now and how are you going about it?
A: I have recently got a job offer from a Media Agency and I am serving my notice period right now. I am clear about the field I want to get into which is also the reason why I am sitting here.
Q: Then why did you go with Wipro?
A: When I graduated from my college I had a job in hand and I was confident that I don’t want to get into my field (IC). I didn’t want to go for a Master’s degree just for the sake of doing it. I was 21 years old then and Wipro had a 1-year bond. So, I decided to invest 1 year and actually see how the industry is from the inside. I dedicated 1 year to it and then realized that as much good I am in what I do here, I don’t want to do this all my life. So, I started freelancing in Marketing and Content Creation during my after-office hours. I did that for almost a year. From this, I gained enough relevant experience to be taken seriously by recruiters and then started applying for jobs in January 2018. I got a job by February end.
Q: What all were you doing as a Freelancer?
A: I was working as a content writer for an independent journalism platform for 4 months, I started performing poetry and then co-founded a spoken word poetry initiative. Then for a year, I was working as a Brands and Events Curator for The Project Cafe, Ahmedabad.
*The Panelists knew about the cafe and so they asked me more about my role there. I gave them a run through of my JD and KPIs. This conversation went for about 4–5 minutes.*
Q: What are some of the difficulties that you faced within the team? How did you resolve them?
A: I come from an art background. You see, I was scouted by the cafe for the role after we (Povera) collaborated with them for an event. The major difficulty was to balance revenue and engagement models. How did I resolve it? You know how that quote goes – One for the Stomach, One for the Soul? (The panellists smiled at me). I did that. We started doing events that on one hand generated constant revenue and then ran engagement campaigns and events.
*The third panelist now changed the topic.*
Q: Aditya, What is your take on Brands coming up with alternative sub-products based on gender? Like Fair and Handsome/Fair and Lovely
A: I think it can work to their disadvantage. Take into consideration one of the most recent examples. Johnny Walker released an alternate Jane Walker to rope in their female customers. But by doing this brands are losing out on a majority of their audiences – LGBTQIA+ for example. Bifurcation in demographics might not always be advisable according to me.
Q: Then what about the bifurcation on the basis of age? Like Axe for Old Men and Young Men.
*I said something and they looked unconvinced. I then smiled and remained silent for a bit. The Panelists then said that you got the question wrong. What if it is backed by data?*
A: I am extremely sorry. If that is indeed backed by data then it deserves to be tested in the market atleast once.
Q: You’ve written here that you don’t like imposed gender roles. Which are some of the ads that you think were contributing to this movement?
A: I absolutely loved #ShareTheLoad campaign by Ariel and Touch of Care by Vicks. Those ads really made me think about my stance and if ads like similar message are produced on a regular basis; it can change the outlook of the society and how they perceive gender. (The panel was grinning at the end of this)
Q: How would you suggest a brand like Royal Enfield which is portrayed as masculine should do to be more inclusive?
A: I would ask them to invest in a TV series or branded content. For example how TVF did Triplings; they can get in touch with creators to come up with a series where say two women go on a road trip on a Royal Enfield. Also, as a matter of fact, with introducing Bikes like the latest Thunderbird X which moves away from the bulky image; they are trying to include a larger audience.
Q: What is your idea of Masculinity?
*I was confused here. I remained silent for a bit and made eye contact. Then asked them to please repeat the question because I didn’t understand the context.*
Q: What according to you is Masculinity? It doesn’t need to be an individual outlook but a collective one.
A: I think it is about being comfortable in your own skin and comfortable with your life choices. So, say if I am keeping this beard (pointing at my beard), it should not be a choice taken with the labels into consideration. It, according to me is being content with your life choices.
Q: You say that you don’t like gender bias. What will you do if you find out that the place where you are interning when at MICA has a sexist atmosphere?
A: Well, I am assuming that the place where I work will be a brand. I believe that there should be congruity in the image of a brand both externally and internally. So, it becomes my duty to point this out to the management/HR and figure out a way to curb it. Because, if something like this goes out, it will damage the reputation of the brand.
Q: What do you want to do in life Aditya?
A: At the risk of sounding mushy, I want to tell stories. That to me is my core purpose.
Q: So, how will MICA help here?
A: A story could be of a brand or an individual. I have laid out my preferences and Advertising & Brand Management or Media & Entertainment Management are the industries where I will be able to do the most of what I want to do. And it makes complete sense to me to come to MICA where both these opportunities are fostered under a single roof. Plus, the access to the network is something I am looking forward to.
Q: You perform poetry. How do you think Poetry can be relevant and tangible?
A: There are two poets called Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye who educate people through poetry. In India, Airplane Poetry Movement and Climber are organizing online classes to give people a tool to express themselves.
Q: Have you done anything in this field?
A: I haven’t done something on such a large scale but I did take a workshop on Introduction to Spoken Word Poetry in my School for Class 10 and 12 students. I still get emails from students which gives me immense pleasure because now they have an opportunity that I didn’t. Plus talking about tangible output, a friend of mine recently did a piece on the Farmers’ Protest…
Q: What is your take on that?
A: With such a large scale protest, it is evident that a problem exists. Quite recently Mr Fadnavis said that they are going to approve the demands. But I think that giving Loan Waivers is not a solution. It is just a temporary fix. Much like The Cobra Effect. But then again, I am looking at this from the place of privilege. It would unfair of me to come to a decision about it without knowing what the farmers go through every day.
*Ruchi Mam at this point smiled at me in agreement.*
Q: List out top 5 international brands for us.
A: Walmart, Amazon, Apple, Virgin, Microsoft.
Q: Which one of these has really innovated and experimented in recent times?
A: It has to be Amazon. With Amazon Key – where you get an option to let them drop a parcel inside your house, to drone delivery, offline pickup stores, Amazon music and prime. They are trying to cement their stand in their biggest market right now – India.
Q: You have listed Instagram in one of your likes. How would you feel if Instagram discontinued from tomorrow?
A: I would feel very sad! Because I don’t use it just as a social media tool but a platform to promote my work. This will be a huge disadvantage for independent creators.
Q: What according to you is the difference between Facebook and Instagram?
A: I had given some facts and figures here and the primary intent of both platforms and the growth stats of both apps.
Q: Tell us one of the most embarrassing and insulting experiences that you have had.
*I had got a little comfortable and was able to open up rather easily.*
A: I laughed and grinned a little. When I came to Bangalore for the first time, I got to know about this thing called an Open Mic. I decided to try my hand at it. So I went to a very popular place in the city and reserved a spot. When I went up there; I fumbled, spoke too fast and had selected short poems to perform. I was booed off the stage by 100 odd people and the host said some mean things.
Q: What happened after?
A: In the first 10 minutes I said to myself that I should stick to writing poems and have someone perform them for me. A month later I tried my hand at it again. Wrote a longer poem. Performed it at a Slam and came second. I gained some confidence and started performing regularly and in the same month, with the help of a friend, co-founded Povera – a platform for poets in Ahmedabad to perform. Give them the chance I didn’t have.
They looked at each other and came to a consensus that they didn’t have any more questions.
We shook hands and I left.
On 31st of March at 12:30 AM I got a message from a dear friend and my to-be senior stating that the results are out.
I made it.
My CAT percentile was 70.76 and my MICAT score was 43 (not scaled). This post is also written with an intent to tell you that MICA really believes in the capability of its students and not just marks. I was really scared, nervous and extremely stressed because I didn’t want just my marks to be the decider. And it isn’t.
PGDM-C 2018-20. <3