My First Failed Interview – A blessing in disguise.

I would have not given more than 5 interviews in my life for a Job after campus. The first interview was with Shilpa Krishnan – analyst at Kotak securities. Second – was to Telecom analyst at Merrill known for short temper. The third was for I-SEC in 2007 from where I retired.

My first failed interview was one of the most defining interviews of my career.  Kotak securities in 2005 was one of the best places to work with Sanjeev prasad as Head of Research and Alroy Lobo as Head of Equities.  I had applied for a job as an associate under the Cement analyst – Shilpa Krishnan.  The interview was quick with Shilpa and she cleared me and I was next to meet the Head of research.  Sanjeev Prasad asked me typical questions on DCF and WACC and I would have given reasonable answers which had cleared me for a job. I then met someone from HR and they detailed from me by when I can join.  However, as what seemed to be a formality before confirmation, I was to briefly meet Alroy Lobo. 

Meeting with Alroy Lobo – turned out to be unexpected. I was not aware that Alroy had been an ex-IT analyst.  In my first year at SBI caps – I was an associate to the IT analyst – Pratish Krishnan.  As part of my first report as an associate – we had initiated coverage on a company called Subex systems (now bankrupt) and within a few months, the stock had nearly doubled.  Alroy had read about my coverage in my resume and started to ask me questions on Subex. 

Some of the questions were:

  1. How is the accounting of acquisitions being done by the company?
  2. What is the Cashflow adjusted ROI of the company?
  3. How is the company accounting for revenue from its contracts?

I tried to mumble a few answers. I soon understand that Alroy had gauged into my soul and understood my complete ignorance and superficial understanding.  I knew the end result.

Not getting the job – was the best thing to happen.

I did not get the job but after the interview, I made a pledge to myself to never feel humiliated when questioned.  I started to work 6-7 days at SBIcaps putting in late hours– something that was not regularly done at SBIcaps. All I can say is that failed Interview with Alroy was one of the best things to have happened to me.

I met Alroy a few years later when he was part of Kotak MF as their team wanted to understand the TV18 group.  Their team was told that I was the go-to guy for anything on the TV18 group – despite not having coverage. The meeting which was supposed to last for an hour – lasted for more than 2 hours.  At the end of the meeting – I thanked Alroy for the failed interview in 2005. 


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