Can’t believe it’s been 4 years. Really? Has it been that long? Looks like it all happened yesterday.
Four years ago, today, I got recruited by Oracle through campus placements. This day does not sound so significant but try telling that to a budding MBA pass-out appearing for his first real job interview! It was huge. It’s one of those days that somehow just got stuck in my memory. One of those days that I could finally look up to the skies and say, “Yes, I have done it”.
I still remember that day. It was cold, so cold and foggy that when I thought I reached Oberoi Hotel, I could see nothing. Not even the gate. Upon asking, was told I was standing right in front of that gate. All this at 7.30am in the morning, all suited up, on a bike, at the peak of Delhi winters. That was something! I thought my brain would freeze. Brrr. Not to forget, after watching a movie (Swades) till 2.30 am at PVR Priya the night before.
Yeah! So Oracle had taken telephonic interviews of candidates from 10-15 B-Schools over 2 weeks across NCR and had asked about 32 of us to appear for personal interview. Little did I know that a simple sounding ‘personal interview’ was not even the appetizers.
After registration and breakfast, we were asked to be seated as 2 separate groups randomly. And then we were made to strip! (Just kidding! Wanted to see if you guys are paying attention). So with the 2 groups ready, we were then made to do several team building exercises. This went on for more than 3 hours. I still remember all those activities. For one activity, they made us all sit in a semi-circle and blindfolded us. We were then handed some abstract object. And were supposed to identify who else has that exact same object – all this blindfolded and seated with the moderator sitting right in front observing our each and every move. Phew! Then this other activity, they made all 32 of us stand in a large circle. Every guy/girl was made to say his/her name. And then, this is the bizarre part, each one of us were supposed to repeat all the 32 names. I did manage 27 though. Anyways, all this went on till lunch. Post lunch was going to be our interview.
Round 1. I thought I’d be kicked out right then and there. Mysteriously, they called me for Round 2, which was much better. Followed by Round 3. And then they informed us that they’ve come up with the first cut. 16 were shortlisted and were going to be further interviewed. I had already packed my bag. Was thinking about dinner and which movie we’d watch later that night. And, poof, they called out my name. So, I was shortlisted. Great. Now that really freaked me out. Coz now I was this close to getting through and loosing out would really really really suck. So it was time for Round 4. This time with the senior management. It went OK. Round 5 was with Head of Recruitment. Basic irritating HR questions. Finally Round 6 was with the Director. He asked me just 3 questions:
Director: Are you ready to relocate to Bangalore?
Me: Yes. I can take the evening flight if you want me to.
Director: Have you been to Bangalore?
Me: I will, tonight, if you hire me.
Director: So, you think you are hired?
Me: Yes. I would like to think so.
Director: Thank you, Masood. (Got up and shook my hands). See you in Bangalore.
It still hadn’t sunk it. It was too good to be true. Interview with the Director or Round 6 was taking atleast 15 minutes per candidate. Supposed to be the toughest. And here I was, out in 30 seconds. There has to be something wrong.
It was 7.15 pm in the evening. Close to 12 hours since I got there. Finally, the moment of truth. They were announcing names of selected candidates alphabetically. That’s the first time I ever cursed myself for not having a name with ‘A’. Seven names were called out. And number 8 was a certain ‘Masood Salem’. All I could do was smile meekly and slowly clap. Was too exhausted for any other emotion. Only 9 were selected. Once it sank it, tears followed. I called my dad. And my brother. Other calls starting coming in. It was all happening. Laughter, tears, excitement, fear, hope, dreams fulfilled, new dreams, all at the same time.
It was one of the most satisfying and fulfilling days of my life. That day, I became somebody. I achieved something. I was going somewhere. My journey had begun.