Questions asked in my ICAI campus interview

Aritra Majumdar , Last updated: 20 March 2018  

Hello everyone, I am writing this article in reference to my previous article called ICAI Campus Interviews - The experience where in the comments a member said that she was more interested to know about the questions and answers pertaining to my interview rather than general questions.

In the panel there were two members- one lady and one gentleman. As soon as I entered the room I wished them good afternoon and they wished me back. I was told to make myself comfortable by keeping my bag and folder in a sofa. After that they said first they will introduce themselves and after that they will start the interview. Both of them mentioned that the hiring was for mergers and acquisitions department. After that the process started. I am writing about the same in the form of a question and answer session.

Panel: Tell us something about your CV.

Me: My name is Aritra Majumdar. I am born and brought up in Kolkata. Since childhood I have this fascination with numbers so even if I am not provided a calculator I can do mental calculations pretty easily and quickly. During three years of my articleship, I got an opportunity to visit our neighbouring country Bhutan which made me realise the beauty and eco friendly environment of this small mountainous kingdom. I am an avid reader, it helps to build up a strong English vocabulary. I also like singing which is in my opinion is an activity through which we can express our feelings and emotions.

Panel: You said you can do calculations without calculator. Can we give you one such calculation?

Me: Yes. No problem.

Panel: 540 * 320

Me (after 2 seconds): 1,72,800

Panel: Are you sure? You can check and confirm.

Me: I am sure that it is correct.

(Panel solves it on pen and paper and finds it to be correct)

Panel: Tell us something about your academics.

Me: I can tell about one such achievement which is mentioned in the second page of my CV. In class 10 school leaving exams, candidates who used to do well were exempted from the secondary examination results(unless of course one is unsuccessful which is kind of impossible). A total of 170 students out of 800 students were awarded this exemption. It helped me because my secondary exam results not even 75%, but I was able to continue in the same school without requiring to change my school.

Panel: Which school is it? We haven't heard of such a system before.

Me: South Point High School.

Panel: That's interesting. Now, tell us a bit about your family.

Me: I am the only child of my parents. Dad is a CA and mom is a housewife.

Panel: Why don't you join your dad's firm?

Me: Since March 2017 he has been unable to continue his practice in his firm because he has been diagnosed with early signs of Parkinson's and currently he is undergoing treatment for the same. Also the firm is very likely to be dissolved soon because the senior partner feels because of his age he is not in a position to continue his practice any more(senior partner is around 85 years of age)

Panel: Which term did you qualify CA exams?

Me: Nov 2017.

Panel: How many attempts?

Me: It was my second attempt.

Panel: Favourite subject?


Panel: That's MAFA, right?

Me: Yes.

Panel: We would like to ask you some questions relating to this subject.

(I will just mention the questions they asked because these are general questions)

  1. What is CAPM?
  2. How does one calculate cost of equity?
  3. How to calculate WACC?
  4. Cost of debt vs. cost of equity- which is cheaper?
  5. If debt is cheaper than equity, why don't companies have more of it in their capital structure?
  6. What is BSM and its use?
  7. What is capital employed?
  8. What is net worth?
  9. What is Walter, Gordon and M-M Model?
  10. What is buyback and how does it impact EPS?

After these questions, I suddenly said- Can I say something? I feel it's rather important that it would be shared right now.

Panel: Sure. Go ahead.

Me: I was unable to get a suitable Advanced ITT batch because I was waiting for results. After that because I had to do MCS to sit for campus, I got a batch which starts in Mid April. The batch would continue upto 1st week of May.

Panel: Dates of the batch?

Me: 16th April to 7th May.

Panel: No problem. It's good that you mentioned this.

Me: I hope that this information would not impact my selection if selected.

Panel: It won't so don't worry.

Now they asked other question which are as follows:

Panel: One day you find that I am shouting at you for something you haven't done in front of everyone at the office. How will you respond?

Me: The basic difference between humans and dogs is that the latter barks most of the times. So I will simply ignore the shouting which will obviously stop after a certain point of time.

Panel: On Friday evening you have a concert to attend. It's your favourite singer so you have bought tickets long back. In afternoon you receive an email that the project on which you worked has certain issues even though you did not commit those mistakes and some of your teammates were responsible for the mistakes. Rework on the same will require around 5-6 hours which means you will miss the concert if you decide to stay back till the rework is completed. What will you do?

Me: I will stay back till rework is done and miss the concert. Later on, I can watch the concert from social media such as Youtube, Facebook Live etc.

Panel: Your strengths and weaknesses?

Me: Strength- self motivated and ability to motivate others also

Weakness- Inability to say 'no' easily so I have started prioritizing things so that I can say no to the less important ones.

Panel: Do you consider number of hours as yardstick for measuring performance?

Me: No. For me it's about productive hours. Ever since I passed my exams, many friends asked about number of hours I used to study...I said around 8-10. They sounded surprised..then I explained to them that just long hours is not the solution, it's about your productivity.

Panel: On a scale of 10 how patient are you?

Me: 9

Panel: You are a smiling Aritra or very dedicated and serious Aritra?

Me: A mixture of both. I am very dedicated towards what I do and fully concentrate on it without bothering about anything else. But when I am relaxing I forget completely about any work and enjoy the time available to me. Throughout school, all the teachers have mentioned that I am a very serious student who takes an active interest in studying and is highly obedient. They were pleased that I was one of their students.

Panel: Are you comfortable working in a team?

Me: In my college we had to do assignments and projects team wise which formed the basis for evaluation of our semester results. Most of the times I used to be the leader so it's no problem working in a team.

Panel: Which college?

Me: St Xaviers Kolkata

Panel: We would like to ask you some accounting based questions.

Me: Fine.

Panel: RIL pays dividend Rs XXX. What would be corresponding Journal Entries?

Me: P/L Debit to Dividend Paid and Dividend Paid Debit to Bank.

Panel: What about CDT?

Me: I forgot to mention. So far as CDT is concerned, company will do grossing up of the same as per Amendment made by Finance Act,2014. The effective rate of CDT will be 17.304% (15% + 12% surcharge + 3% cess)

Panel: Say you are the CFO of a large MNC which is a software company. What would keep you awake at night?

Me: I guess exchange rate fluctuations. Because software company would be concerned about any movements in functional currency because its main source of revenue would be exports.

Panel: What is exported- goods or services?

Me: Both.

Panel: Are you comfortable with latest technology?

Me: Even though I can't afford latest technology but I keep track of it's improvements.

Panel: In our organization you will have to work with a lot of new technology and devices. Let's assume I don't explain you how to use the same. What will you do?

Me: I will try to find a way how to use it. I always like learning new things, and I can learn pretty fast so I can adjust accordingly.

Panel: If we were hiring for either Taxation or Assurance, which one would be your preference?

Me: Assurance.

Panel: But we are hiring for mergers and acquisitions. Is that a problem for you?

Me: No. It will be an opportunity for me to work in a new role and which I believe is a challenge no doubt, but I always like working with numbers and figures so it is an ideal profile for me.

Panel: Where did you do your articleship? Was it a relative's firm?

Me: T Pal and Co, Picnic Garden in Kolkata. It was a sole proprietorship firm but not a relative's firm.

Panel : Why do you want to join here?

Me: In your website, I came across a concept that I never heard before. It's called 70:20:10 concept which is explained as follows:

  • 70%- on the job learning
  • 20%- learning through coaching
  • 10%- learning based on classroom

Panel; But isn't that the same for other organizations?

Me: Maybe. But I am hearing it for the first time and being a fresher it will be a good opportunity to be working here and learning something new.

Panel: Are you comfortable with travelling/transfers/relocations?

Me: Yes. I am fond of travelling even though I haven't travelled for quite some time. Travelling gives me an opportunity to write travelogues. Often people who have gone through these travelogues have said my descriptive writings makes them feel they have been transported to that place.

Panel: Any questions for us?

Me: I wanted to know about transportation facilities provided.

Panel: Where do stay in Kolkata?

Me: Deys Medical, near Ballygunj Phari.

Panel: No problem, we have buses that will pick you up from pickup spots. Is there anything else that comes to your mind that you want to ask?

Me: That's all at the moment.

Panel: Ok Aritra, thank you for your time. HR person will get back to you shortly.

Around 10 minutes later, my name was called and I was taken to another room where the person asked a few basic questions.

  1. Where are you from?
  2. Name of school?
  3. Name of college?
  4. Where do stay?
  5. What do you know about us?
  6. Why do you want to join us?
  7. Do you have any questions?

I asked him about the breakup of CTC, he said it will be explained later. After that, I was told to wait. Half an hour later my name was called, I was sent to that same room where a different person said congratulations Aritra, you have been shortlisted for the profile of senior associate in mergers and acquisitions in the organization and my place of posting would be Kolkata. He explained CTC as follows:

Fixed- 6.21 lakhs p.a.

Variable- 50k (25k after 6 months probation and rest after completion of 1 year)
Annual performance linked incentive system- Additional payment based on performance. Average performers will get 55K. Non monetary benefits- around 40k consisting of mediclaim for family, gratuity, group insurance etc.

Is it ok with you?
I said yes. Then he gave the declaration form and letter of intent on which I signed. He mentioned that offer letter would be released by email soon.

My final question was about date of joining-I mentioned about Advanced ITT. He said there is a joining from April or May so I just need to mention preferred DOJ in the employment application form.

I remember a lot of people telling me when I had been shortlisted by PWC SDC Kolkata that the interview is simply a cakewalk where only good English and self confidence was tested. But I did not think like that and did extensive research on current topics, IFRS, IND AS,GST,TDS etc because I wanted to make sure I had prepared well. Obviously not all questions they asked I gave correct answer, but I made sure that even if I didn't know answer to a question, I would like to try and find out about it soon.

I am sure that most of us including me felt the mouth and throat feeling dry while speaking. it's quite common to have feelings like these but it is equally important that such feelings shouldn't make us feel rejected. Fear of rejection in interview is exactly like the fear of failing in exams. For those who have this fear, ask yourself the following:

When I passed my CA Final exams, results were XX%. In campus interview, percentage of jobs offered/accepted as against shortlisted is way higher than XX% (study the placement results of past years from the website and you will see what I mean)

If I have managed to crack one of the most challenging exams, surely I can do the same in the interviews. Obviously, good preparation, self-confidence and presence of mind is the key to cracking the interviews.

With that I would like to conclude by wishing future campus interview aspirants all the very best.

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Aritra Majumdar
Category Career   Report

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