Surendra’s Ph.D. Interview Experiences at IIM Lucknow and Trichy | OB and HR area | 2020

Surendra Babu Talluri

Surendra did his Graduation in Engineering (Information Technology) from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in the year 2010. Thereafter, he has completed his Masters in Business Administration (HRM and Business Analytics) in the year 2012 from School of Management Studies, NIT Calicut with the best of the curriculum where he had the rare opportunity to have most of the faculty from IIM K and IITs. In the year 2011, he did an internship with AAUM Research and Analytics Pvt Limited, IIT Madras where he worked as Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of the firm. Later on, he was associated with Coal India Limited for 97 months worked in the HR Division where he shouldered greater responsibilities. As an HR Head of Coal Mining Projects, he got exposed to typical Industrial Relations, Disciplinary Procedures, Statutory Compliances, Manpower Planning, Performance Management, Organizational Climate and also versatile HR practices. In the year 2017, he got certified from XLRI as an Internal HR Auditor. These responsibilities exposed him to different behavioral aspects of the workforce and human resource management in the organization. These behavioral patterns stimulated his interest to further research on Organizational Behavior, Human Resource Management, and the role of HR Analytics in Organizational Development.

Congratulations on joining IIM L. How do you feel?

Thank you so much for your wishes. I am happy to receive admission offers from various top ranked management institutes of the country and selected IIM Lucknow to join finally. I look forward to produce quality work that will contribute to the advancement of research at IIM Lucknow and the scholarly community as a whole

Apart from IIM L, did you apply to any other IIMs?

I have applied to ten IIMs and received interview calls from eight of them. I appeared in six interviews at IIM Lucknow, Indore, Trichy, Kashipur, Raipur and Sambalpur. I have converted IIM Lucknow, Trichy and Sambalpur for HRM Area and Kashipur for Strategy Area.

Share your interview experience

IIM Trichy:

It has 2 Rounds

Round-1, Panelists-4 (Area Faculty), Duration-25 min.
It has area faculties in the panel. I appeared in OB&HR.

The panel asked:

  • My Introduction
  • Why FPM in IIMs Only and Why IIM Trichy
  • Questions related to Work Experience
  • Motivation to pursue a doctoral program
  • Career Goals after Ph.D.

Round-2, Panelists-3 (FPM Committee), Duration-35 min.

  • My Introduction
  • Why FPM after having 08 years PSU work experience
  • Questions on Work Experience and Present Job Profile
  • What are the books you read and how will you apply those methods in your professional and personal life?
  • Name some HR Journals
  • Aspects and components of a research paper
  • Interesting research themes and reason
  • Some Personal Questions like How will you survive during the Programme duration with family
  • How will you manage your finances during the program (As I am married)?
  • What are the career goals?

IIM Lucknow: Only one round

Panelists-3 (Area Faculty), Duration-20 min.

  • Questions related to work experience and elaboration of my job profile
  • Why FPM and Career Aspirations after the completion of this program
  • Interesting topics of Research and questions based on them
  • What are labor legislations apply to your organization and what are the compliances need to be made
  • What are the recent changes in labor laws and the thought process behind them
  • Do you know about the structure of the program?
  • How will you cope up with the rigorous coursework?

    As I have attended a few more interviews apart from the above, all the aspects are covered from the above information.

You decided to finally join IIM L. If possible, please share the reasons.

IIM Lucknow having better reputation among my other offers and at the same time I found faculty with similar research interests at IIM L. These reasons helped me to finalise my decision.

How did you prepare yourself for the interview? (Exam Score?, books read, blogs/ articles followed)

I have prepared for interviews on two aspects. The first one is developing a good understanding of basic statistics, research methodologies, qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques, etc. The second one is developing a good understanding of functional domain knowledge. As I have applied the OB HRM area I have read extensively on all the OB Concepts, HRM topics, and few research papers on these areas.

 As per your experience, what qualities, an interviewer looks or wants from the potential FPM/ Ph.D. student?

Good Preparation on basic statistics, functional knowledge about the area, research methodology, clarity about future plans will help. Brief research about the faculty before appearing for the interview will give you the advantage to drive the conversation towards it. Aspirants should match their Statement of Purpose (SOP) to the faculty research interests of the institute as it plays a vital role in the selection process.

SOP should be unambiguous and clear as the panel may ask most of the questions from it and you should be in a position to explain each and every part of it.

Glancing through the academics from bachelor’s level will help if the panel poses some questions related to it.

In almost all the interviews, the interview panel would mainly verify Motivation for the Program, Relevant Skill set, Discipline, and Relevant experience, Clarity of thoughts

Any message to the Ph.D. aspirants.

Be clear about what are your research thoughts and future career aspirations. The panel will try to discuss and comprehend these things very deeply during the selection process. Try to read a few research papers very thoroughly related to your area of interest that will help to a great extent.

Finally, be genuine, composed and assertive. Good luck.

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