How To Get Into An IIM – An Interview Guide

I remember, not so long ago, when I was in that very position. When our MBA training institutes, hell bent at making us learn our ‘HR answers’, had convinced us that there’d be veritable dragons sitting on the panel who will look at everything – from the crease on your collar to your missing dupatta! And then there were all the legends, who someone had heard from a friend’s friend, of panels with over 10 dignitaries from various fields asking you questions with no correct answer possible just to test your mettle! Obscure riddles and situations – from an interviewer breaking a glass and asking you to count the pieces to someone asking you how many stars are there in the sky! Everything had made its rounds.

People with a low percentile, who’d got an interview call were convinced they were not going to get through and the call was just a joke played on them by fate!

Well from the other side of the wall, I can tell you that it can all be very anti-climatic. You realise sitting there that the panellists are not half as scary as they were built up to be. They are just normal people interested in knowing you who are! Don’t get me wrong, you can get tough panellists who will cross question your every single answer and make you sweat like you’re in the middle of the Sahara Desert, but what you have to remember is that they are ordinary human beings like you and me.

If you talk about percentile, let me tell you hard facts – I have friends with 99 up percentile sitting at home, cursing their life and some with a percentile as low as 95 living in an IIM, cursing their life. So you see, anything can happen.

Getting into an IIM is a lot more about luck than people would like to accept. Having said that, there is still a lot one can do in terms of preparation. Following are the key points in a nutshell.

  1.  Know all your subjects well – don’t just mug up theory, understand it
  2.        .   Current Affairs – Have economic times for breakfast, India Today for lunch, Business Standard for dinner and reader’s digest for dessert if you have time and have digested the first three!
  3.            If you’re making up a hobby, know it well!
  4.             Make a list of everything interesting about you

You can tone down point 1, to a few key topics if you are hard pressed for time and execute point 2 just a few days before the final interview as well. (But you may ignore me since I didn’t do one of the above. But I still made it, so the choice is yours)

The most important of all points, which I didn’t wish to include in the above because of its gravity, is Confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t do anything. You have to be calm, confident and charming during your interview. And if you succeed with these three Cs, you’ll need nothing else!

Here Inside IIM, having spoken to my own interviewers, sat across them in classes and heard them crack jokes, I see them for the personalities they are and not the person with the final say on my candidature. So I know you won’t understand when I say they’re just human because you haven’t crossed that line, but trust me if you make yourself realise that you’ll have already crossed it.

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About the Author-

Kirti Jhunjhunwala is a First year PGP student from IIM Lucknow.

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