How To Crack An IIM Interview

Tell us something about yourself.” This was the quintessential question that greeted me as I sat before two distinguished professors of IIM Lucknow. What followed was a barrage of discussion on my background, cities I had lived in, the college I had studied, projects I had worked on, interests and a lot of other things. Did I do exceptionally well? Not really. Looking back, I can certainly say that I could have tackled some questions better had I been more prepared. Therefore, I decided to write this piece to help other aspirants prepare better and ace their dream colleges. Don’t worry; I will not bore you with a word by word description of how the interview progressed. I’ll only talk about what I learned from the interviews, not only of IIM L but also of other colleges. I sincerely hope it helps 😊


Tell Me Something About Yourself

This question in many ways can be the deal breaker. But it doesn’t mean that you mug it and vomit it before the interviewer. You should know what you want to say but say it in a manner that the interviewer feels you have not mugged it up. It will give you a lot of authenticity in the eyes of the interviewer. Think of it as a comic play where the actors are well rehearsed, but each time they perform they seem so spontaneous. Coming to the content of this answer – make sure not to bore them with the minutest detail of your life. What I did was a brief background – city, college, company, and project. After which I tried to bring topics I wanted to discuss, which in my case were the industry I was working in and Indian politics.  For you, it could be a project you did in college, your favourite novel, sports, literature or simply anything you are confident enough to discuss.


Guiding The Interview

Try and bring your strong areas in the conversation. If the interviewer asks what you did a day before CAT, tell them you read your favourite novel or you watched a repeat telecast of the football match. Basically, you want to give the interviewer pointers to ask you a follow-up question.


Industry or Domain Related Questions

This is your chance to show the panel how smart you are. If you have worked in an organization, know everything about it – the CXOs, the competitors, latest trends in the industry, etc. Read news articles related to your organization and the industry it operates in. If you do not have any work-ex, you can easily expect a few questions from your subjects. This also holds true for people who have some amount of work ex. Prepare at least three subjects and be prepared to answer questions from them.


HR Answers

No matter which interview you are sitting for, HR answers will come to haunt you. Invest a lot of time thinking about it. Why MBA, strengths and weaknesses are only a few examples. Just google ‘HR questions’ and start preparing. Always bring in examples while answering these questions. E.g. if the interviewer asks you your strength, don’t just say that you have leadership skills. Instead, narrate an incident where you demonstrated these skills. This will lend you credibility in the eyes of the interviewer.


A few more tips

•    A lot of us wait to start our preparation only when we get calls. This is the single most unpardonable mistake you can make. It is highly possible that you may have just a week between getting a call and having an interview. So if you feel you have even 10% chance of getting calls from top colleges, start your preparation straight away.

•    Start reading the newspaper. Trust me it helps more than anything. PI, WAT, GK – it sorts everything.

•    Don’t fret. Don’t think of what will happen if you don’t get a call. You have come this far in life. You can surely crack CAT and get your dream college. Just do your bit – work hard, and everything else will fall into place. Good Luck 😊

samaksha vaish

Samaksha Vaish is a second year student at IIM Lucknow. He is also a member of the Industry Interaction Cell and Manjunath Shanmugam Trust.