...and cheat as much as you can!
You must have seen the ubiquitous water-trolleys in Delhi! I have heard a rumor that the ice used in the water-trolley is obtained cheaply from morgues in hospitals...you know, the ice used to preserve the dead bodies! I want you to confirm it! One way is maybe, you can go to the AIIMS hospital to find out about what they do with the ice in their morgue. Can you do it? Come back to me at the end of the day and give me a short report on your findings!When you design a process to cull the best grads in Delhi for a public policy research internship, it isn't easy. What makes it difficult is the requirement from the interns to be street-smart and at the same time an academic edge to unravel a micro-market issue. Issues relating to the latter factor can be discerned in a closed room interview. Question is how do you "capture" street-smartness? Fortunately, I had the freedom from my organisation to design such a process based on my own experiences.
While coming to the office you must have seen the dirty garbage dump! I want to know who is incharge of cleaning it; I want to know his name, his regularity of cleaning, the process by which garbage-cleaners go by their work, and who is incharge of checking it! You have 8 hours and two pages to report!There a few things that I learnt about interview process from my stint as a campus placement student coordinator. However I learnt more about discerning individuals from my "experience" of ragging. When you apply pressure for an objective and allow choice of the course of action, you are bound to be surprised.
Hmmm...you are a student of St. Stephen's college. Your college offers subdised education to its students. I want to find out the amount of subsidy and its categories. Can you do it?Interns come in expected to do academic research and work on mahaan topics. The perception is that most research is a kind of literature review. I don't blame them. But we needed Indiana Jones-style researchers ! How do you break their mold and show them that they are much more capable than their usual fare?
You must have seen a car-plate. I want you to find out what every colour, number and dash on the board means. And I want you to find the rules and authorities behind it. Mail the report to me tomorrow morning. And you are allowed to cheat!When you need initiative, the written paper can only tell so much about a person. You can have a group discussion but that evinces articulation, not "street-smartedness." Frankly, I didn't know of any techniques that can capture that element and finally had to resort to the street test. After the initial round of written and interview rounds.
Dilli Haat has a selection of cuisines from different states. I find the prices too expensive. For some state-shops, I don't even find the cusines matching with the "original" taste of the state. Can you find out how the contract process is done for these shops? Are there any price ceilings on the food? What are the rules for lease and ownership of the shops?As a student, I have often faced this feeling of disempowered, of not doing "big" things and being allowed to fail! It is how you fail that matters, not whether you fail, usually. This interview technique was my own little way to break the cycle. And showing that understanding the world can be done from first principles, pen and a paper. Period.
Autodrivers in Delhi seldom switch on their meters unlike some other cities. Why does it happen? Does it have to with the quality of meters or the rates. Please provide a short account on it by the end of the day back at the office.It is in part to this process that we could end up with a group of talented researchers who fulfilled our quest of desirable qualities. Qualities which are needed for understanding and communicating issues about micro-markets. And what they found out makes for interesting fare for another post!
Blood is sold outside the Safdarjung Hospital. There are certain regulations that make it difficult to get blood in hospitals if you don't have a donor to replace the blood that you buy. Hence this informal market for blood. I want you to find out the rates and the process by which it is done.Any ideas to better the process?
Sorry to keep you waiting for the interview. It is lunch time! You must have seen the SDA market outside the IIT Delhi gate near the office. You can go and have lunch there. By the way, there are quite a few street-vendors there. Can you please find out about the bribes charged from them? What are the categories of bribes? On what basis are the bribes charged? Write and submit the account to me here. And please do cheat!