Road to MICA: My Group Exercise – Personal Interview Experience

Road to MICA: My Group Exercise – Personal Interview Experience

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)

 

Group Exercise:
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.

 

Personal Interview:
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

 

 

 

Why Facebook/Instagram should come up with a feature like LinkedIn Premium

Why Facebook/Instagram should come up with a feature like LinkedIn Premium

by Aditya Mankad 0 Comments

A few days ago I created a poll on Facebook and Instagram asking people if they would buy a feature on Facebook which would enable them to see who has viewed their profile and how many times. A whopping 80% of them said No. Which is well, understandable. But I beg to differ. I think if this feature does come, it can be groundbreaking.

Let me cut right through the chase.

Ever since Facebook hit the market, it has been used and termed as a social media app. And rightly so. Not only is it the most used social media app, but India now forms the majority of its user base. But like every other product, Facebook and Instagram has made a shift in its usage. While a lot of people still use it for its conventional intent – to “let people know what are you up to”; it could be proven that its usage has shifted from just a social media platform to much more.

It has become a normal habit for us to scroll through the feed. And when we see that carousel of “Recommended Friends”, It draws out that metaphorical inquisitive rat in us. Like almost a reflex, we either tap on a profile or scroll through until we find someone who crosses that threshold of inquisitiveness. Or say when you have come right from an event and you overheard someone’s name. It is more often than not that your hands automatically slides to that search bar and you use your “researching” abilities. Quite harmless. Right?

Not quite. While your intentions might be honest, there’s a huge set of people who don’t use it for the same reasons as yours.

“The level of online harassment in India is extremely concerning. Our latest research shows that more serious forms of online harassment including threats of physical violence (45 per cent), cyberbullying (44 per cent) and cyberstalking (45 per cent) are very high,” said Ritesh Chopra, Country Manager, Norton by Symantec, in a statement.

Source: Indian Express

Without delving into technicalities, let me explain what I mean by the premium feature. LinkedIn has this LinkedIn Premium feature which allows its users to see who has viewed their profile among other very helpful features.

In a similar manner, if Facebook and Instagram can provide this feature it would be incredibly helpful to a major part of its users (my opinion).

My argument is pretty simple. It is a two-part argument. Here it goes.

1) Privacy

It is not an alien concept to us of how pervert, offensive and sometimes dangerous people can be on Facebook and Instagram.

This for all you men, ask your female friends of how many creeps/hour do they encounter in their “Others” Inbox or their “DM Requests”. You’ll be surprised. And scared. And then feel disgusted.
Facebook and Instagram do have that option – Privacy Settings and Private Profile. Sure.
(Also, let’s make creeps/hour a thing?)

But that seriously affects your account’s reach. And while it might not make a huge difference to you if you aren’t a creator but if you are; man does it not give you a serious disadvantage.

Let me give you my own example. I have a public profile on Facebook and Instagram. I keep it public because it gives my posts and updates a better opportunity to float on the web. Last year I came across a profile which had stolen my and my friend’s pictures, poems and a few of my posts and was living my/my friend’s life (online). And that is super scary to me. If you are a creator, you know how much of a headache plagiarism is.

Point being, if there was a feature which would have helped me to see who is viewing my profile; I could have reduced the damage.

And this applies to every artist and creator. This feature can genuinely help you to control plagiarism and maintain that privacy without compromising.

Even if you remove that aspect, this can really help you to post things you want to post without worrying about creeps. Just block ’em if you find them suspicious.

2) Reach

Social Media is changing. Everyday. And it is difficult to keep up when the rules change. Facebook and Instagram recently changed their algorithm which can be a small hiccup for medium and large scale brands. However, if you are a small scale brand or an independent artist; Iceberg Alert!

While there have been some major changes in the algorithm; here are two things are very relevant here:

  • The updates from pages will show less on your feed
  • Pages will require to push ads, put relevant content – regularly to keep up

If you’re doubting that this will affects brands then let me show you the result of a small survey by Buffer Social

social media stats about Facebook

This will have two major repercussions – YOUR updates – posts, videos, live videos, etc will have chances to appear more on others’ feed and if you are not too comfortable with ads or don’t have a budget for it yet; your page is going to take a hit.

Entertain the possibility of this feature:
What if you knew who was looking at your profile? Would it help you as a creator?

Everytime I come back from a show, within 24 hours I upload a video of my poem or a piece. This is the perfect time to do so because not only you’re engaging your followers but are also giving a relevant update to the new-found followers. You’re giving them what they probably came for.

Probably.
Because, you don’t know much.

Who are they?
What if there was a chance to know?
Would you take it?

Do you know how people say I was at Right Time at the Right Place.
Well, what if there was a way to show The Right thing to The Right person at The Right Time.

Won’t it give you a clearer idea of who your audience is but also insights on how to target them?
If used properly, this feature will arguably give better results than Facebook Ads.

There, I rest my case.

Note:

This feature won’t make much of a difference to you if you’re just using it for socializing (which indeed is its primary purpose).

It would be better if there was a provision in this feature that the users who have opted for it will have an indication of sorts on their profile. Thus, saving that inquisitive metaphorical rat an embarrassment without affecting your cause.

There’s no doubt that it has its cons. This will change the face of social media marketing. Question is, Do the Pros trumps the Cons?

You tell me.

Image Source
Books and Poetry

Books and Poetry

by Aditya Mankad 0 Comments

I come from a bomb shelter
made with a lining of books.
I come from a place where
metaphors are served
for breakfast.
I come from a house where people
would run to save a shelf
in case of a disaster.
I come from a place where
we weep to pages instead of
pillows.
I come from a childhood where
words melted in my mouth more
often than cotton candy.
I come from a place where we
popped verses like sleeping pills
on a tough night;
Religiously and a little too many.
So don’t ask how I turned to poetry.
How could I not?

Hold it!
Gold fishes - Artwork by Gajesh Mitkari

Hold it!

Hold it like Hodor.
Never let your guard down.
Speak nothing.
Like a broken mixtape on repeat that plays just one song;
incidentally, the only song that reminds you of your dead lover;
just keep on chanting:
“I am okay”.

Hold it like Aerys,
Pull out the swords stuck in your
stone of a heart;
Make a throne of those swords, sit on it.
Give orders to burn all the memories that remind you of her
with the wildfire.
Be called the mad king.

Hold it like Gollum.
Take the one thing you loved,
and let it drive you to madness.
Find pieces of your heart in a
thing that reminds you of her
and let it be the end of you.
Smile while you fall.

Hold it like Thor.
Make it your pride.
Make it your necessity.
Let the universe know
that you both are meant to be.
Lose it.
Fail to live without it,
but also fail to die.

Hold it like “the one who can’t be named”
Be convinced that she is yours to keep.
Spread parts of you in search of her.
Find out that you were wrong all along.
Stand in front of a dementor.
See it make a fool of itself
as it tries to suck all the happiness out of you.
There’s none left.

Hold it inside like a fish bowl
with no water and dead fishes.
Be the reason of doom of the
one thing that was supposed to
be your purpose to exist.

Exist.

Artwork by Gajesh Mitkari
Of Rain and Tea Stalls

Of Rain and Tea Stalls

by Aditya Mankad 0 Comments

If you stare long enough
at the bokeh of car lights,
you will see how insignificant
time is.

And yet here we are counting everything
in seconds and minutes and years,
trying to grab everything we can
with two paper hands.
(and it’s pouring outside)

 

If you stare long enough
at the trails of rain drops,
you will see how insignificant
a place is.

And yet here we are putting labels on our
luggage about the places we have been
and the places we will go just in
search of a home.
(and we are nomads)

 

If you stare long enough
in my eyes,
you will see how I carry
the rain and lights in them.

And here I am,
trying to defy what
rains and lights do
when you stare at them
long enough – disappear.
(and I am not even strong)

 

Featured Art by Aditi Shastry (@ekcup.chai)
Image captured by Shubhangi Pandey (@shubhangipandey27)

 

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