First of all, let me congratulate you on getting an interview call from one of the country’s best business school, IIM Calcutta. You have worked hard to get to this point, but the real battle is yet to come. You will now compete with the best minds of the country - graduates out of IITs/NITs/ St. Stephen's/ SRCC or maybe having experience of working at the top-notch firms. So, you should be aptly prepared for the end-game. :)
All of this might look frightening but don't worry. Just keep yourself calm, talk to your mentors/teachers/seniors, and prepare well. Having gone through the process and making it to IIM Calcutta, in this article, I will help you to fill the PI Application form that you are supposed to upload before your interviews.
In the form, there are many questions related to your academic and other personal information. Answers to your personal information are fixed for each one of you. So, I will help you with the remaining questions.
Here we go!
Q1. List out your hobbies with a brief description.
Ans- Hobbies are activities that you love to engage in your free time. It relaxes you, and you do it only because you like doing it and have fun doing it. Theoretically, you can mention anything in your hobby. You might like to watch movies or play cards with your friends in your free time. But when you are applying for a college/job you should refrain from writing these in your hobby list.
Instead, if possible, you should mention those hobbies that help you grow your skillset and have a good chance to help you in your career or everyday life. For example, you can say that you like- swimming/playing any other sports (it keeps you fit), playing musical instruments (a great skill to have), painting/drawing (considered a sign of a creative person), debating/acting (shows that you are a confident person). If you have won any awards, then it will be the icing on the cake. Similarly, if you mention a hobby that complements your extracurricular activities, then it will look great.
Important: Don't write anything that you know very little about. Interviews can move in any direction, and if you are caught in a lie, then it will be disastrous.
Q2. Mention your extracurricular activities.
Ans- Extracurricular activities are the activities that you do outside of class. If you don't have an excellent academic record, then this question is a boon for you. It will help you differentiate yourself from others.
IIM Calcutta prides itself in producing great managers and leaders. And to continue their legacy, they need promising candidates who possess qualities of a good manager. Attributes of a good manager constitute many different things such as his/her leadership skills, multitasking capabilities, communication skills, openness to new experiences, passion towards the things they like or believe in etc. A list of extracurricular activities of candidates is inspected to find out these attributes in you. Therefore, you must show the interviewers that even though you might not have an excellent academic record, you do have the above qualities, and you are very active in your life. Extracurricular activities show who you are at your best. These activities are the best indicators of how you act when motivated and dedicated to something. Your involvement in extracurricular activities reflects your commitment and dedication to the things you like. Hence it is important that you should show that you have delved deeper in these activities (you have won awards, you were head of an event, you implemented changes during your tenure, you have made an impact). Also, it will be better if you mention your recent extracurricular activities rather than the ones that you have done in your school.
So write whatever shows the above-mentioned qualities in you. For example - you can mention that - you were the organiser of some event in your college/company, you have won competitions, you were member/head of some club, you play the guitar (you might have your own YouTube channel) etc. Let your activities tell your story, and make sure that it's a good one.
Important: Remember, whatever you write, it should show one or all of these three things: passion, leadership, and impact.
Q3. Career goals.
Ans- This is the most critical thing in your application form. Interviewers want to see how informed and dedicated are you towards your decision to join a B-school. Are you passionate enough? Have you done considerable research or you just made-up your mind because your friends were going for an MBA? Interviewers hate candidates who don't have any idea on what they are doing and why they are doing it. So, the answer to your career goals should be very clear, coherent and well thought through. Through this answer of yours, you must try to convince the interviewers that IIM Calcutta will indeed help you in achieving your career goals.
Some examples -
Example 1: If you write that you want to start your own company after doing an MBA. Then you will be told that you don't need an MBA to start a company, and at that moment you must justify your answer.
Example 2: If you mention that you want to become an Investment banker, then you will be asked to tell what you know about the job, what you know in finance, what have you learnt till now on your own? If you haven't done your homework, then you will be in trouble.
You can write your career goals in two parts. At first, you can mention your short-term goals (duration: 4-5 yrs) which will help you to achieve your long-term goal, and after that mention your long term goal (what you want to accomplish in your life). Your long term goal should be grand. After all, this is what you want to achieve in your professional life.
Important: Though this answer of yours, you should try to convince the interviewers that IIM Calcutta will indeed help you in achieving your career goals.
Remember, whatever you write, be fully prepared to answer any question that can arise in it during the interview. Do your homework (research the topic), think about the questions that can arise (take help from your friends/seniors) and prepare justifiable answers.
That's all for now. I will be writing my next article on how to crack the IIMs interview. Stay tuned.
Recommended readings for you:
IIM Calcutta External Relations Cell prepared published these videos to help you prepare for your WAT-PI. Do watch them!
If you've received a shortlist call from IIM Calcutta, here's how InsideIIM & Unilever can help you get into IIM Calcutta in 2020!