How Difficult Are IIM Interviews?

Everything is impossible until it’s done. And everything seems easy when it has been done. There is a lot of enigma that surrounds IIM Interviews and GDs (now WAT in most IIMs). There are a lot of stories about these interviews that float around on the internet which depict an intense and grilling nature of these interviews, thereby instilling fear in the minds of candidates. It is worth noting that these interviews are just like any other interviews you may face in your life. I will go one step further and say that these interviews are just like any other interaction you will have with a person you meet for the first time! Here are a few pointers that can make these interviews less daunting at worst and extremely fun at best:

1. Do not overthink it. It is just an interview. Agreed that it is a high stakes conversation at the end of which you might be presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. But it is not your entire life. The common mistake that many people make is putting too much pressure on themselves and treating these interviews as a do-or-die situation. This results in them panicking at the crucial moment.

2. Remember that it is just a conversation with a bunch of people you are meeting for the first time. Imagine you meet 3 people on the train and you get talking. Now you are trying to casually explain them the work that you do and how you reached where you are today. How would that conversation go? That is exactly how your interview should be.

3. A very important fact is that the interviewers are not testing your knowledge as much as they are testing your confidence in your own knowledge. It is important to have your basics in place and there is no way you can bluff in an IIM interview. But what matters the most is how articulate you are in presenting your knowledge. If you ace that, then a few mistakes here and there won’t matter.

4. The trick questions/The weird questions. These are what scare the candidates more and by no coincidence are the ones which float around on the internet the most. That is because they are fun! So remember this. These questions are asked for Fun. The interviewer wants to see how you react when you are out of your comfort zone. Your presence of mind is all that is being tested here. Knowing the capital of Indonesia or the currency of Venezuela are not going to decide your fate. The best way to tackle these kinds of questions if you don’t know the answer is to first accept that you don’t know but immediately state a related fact that you do know. For example, I don’t know the currency of Venezuela so I will immediately state that the currency of Mexico is Peso!

5. Last but not the least, it is all in the mind. In your mind. You need to believe in yourself and have confidence in your ability. You have made it to the Interview Room. You are enjoying a privilege that is earned by a rare few. You are there for a reason. So all you got to do is to convince them that they were right in giving you that privilege. All you have to do is “Be Yourself”. Literally.

Read the pointers in this answer again and you will be good to go!

Amol Aranake

Chartered Accountant May 2016 IIM Bangalore PGP 2017-19