How To Prepare For IIM Ahmedabad PGP Interview? – Tips From An IIM A Student

There are four facets of preparation for the interviews. I will describe each one in detail:

Questions on your form/Extra-curricular

When I say form, I mean everything starting from your name. What does your name mean, your surname community (if it’s distinct in any way, issues faced by your community (if any)), another person with name same as yours and quite famous. Why is your name Rajat? All of these were asked to me in one interview or the other.

Why is your CGPA low (if it is low)? Why should we take you if we are not sure you will study in MBA? and if it is decent enough then be ready with an answer to “Your CGPA is good, that means you have done your field of study really well, then why do you want to shift to MBA?” See which one applies to you and prepare accordingly.

Then comes achievements on your form. Again know what you did in the sport/activity/competition in and out. What was your strategy, the challenges you faced, how you overcame it, what did you learn from that achievement’s experience.

This is more like preparing your CV with every detail well prepared and rehearsed.

To share my experience, I was asked to approximate the number of sudoku puzzles possible in IIM C interview as I had written my hobby to play sudokus. Also, I was asked the plot of recent novels I have read, which ones I liked the most and why when my form said my hobby is reading detective fiction. The panel will go deep into the details of anything that catches their eyes. In my honest opinion, your hobby should be something which can be prepared in 3–4 days very easily if you don’t have 2 hobbies at present already well prepared.

GK & Macroeconomics

This takes the centre stage for IIM Calcutta at least but rest assured they will be asked in every interview. There will definitely be questions based on what is currently happening in India and abroad. Be 100% prepared for following topics: (of course it is not a comprehensive list)

Demonetization (short term, medium term and long term effects),

Trump presidency repercussions (for India, China & world),

Brexit and India,

The Tata debacle,

BCCI & SC, banning of instigating religious & caste sentiments in politics by SC, the concern over ordinances in SC, less appointments to judiciary than demand requires, (also look at other major decisions of SC in the recent past),

South America (a lot has happened there),


Elections in 2017,

Rise of the right wing (UK, USA, Italy, upto some extent in France & Germany),

The Budget (how merging railways budget is a boon/bane, advisable to take a pro-govt. stance),

Transparency in politics (w.r.t. disclosing incomes),

Bengaluru Incident (discuss it with statistics from other countries),

Kashmir & article 370; ISIS & Refugee crisis (they are evergreen)

Reading newspapers daily is sufficient to ensure that you are abreast with the latest developments but merely knowing a few things will not help. You need to be well prepared on the major topics by conducting an extensive detailed study of the topics yourself and forming an opinion backed by hard facts.

For example when talking of demonetization, you must be familiar with the numbers released by RBI regarding the increase in card swipes/wallets, the cash collected, the percentage of black money estimated to be extinguished, the total cash in economy, views of economists on the issue, GDP growth rate revision, tax collection, and other figures (official and estimated) floating in the media.

Form your opinions around numbers wherever possible, it will give you a direct edge over others who are simply blabbering their opinions without evidence. Moreover, management faculty loves numbers, you will be through at least on this front if you talk numbers and base your conclusion on them.

The great sources to read are: The Hindu, The Indian Express, Livemint, Quartz, Yojna magazine for IAS, Vision IAS magazine. You don’t need to be thorough with everything in last two magazines, just scan it once and see the topics which are of higher relevance to you. Of course, you can go in detail

Core field of study/ Work experience

This is most important for IIM A interviews. There will definitely be questions from your core branch. Be thorough with your B.Tech. project or whatever project you did in your undergraduate. Also, prepare at least one or two sub-fields in detail. Like for Civil Engineering, it is advisable to prepare for any 1/2 of structural, hydro, environment, geotech, soil etc. Moreover, you should be able to relate whatever you learnt to real life scenarios. For Civil Engg., it can be explaining the structural design of any major skyscraper in the world (watch megastructures 1 or 2 episodes to familiarise yourself with the major terms to be used). For economics, it can be dissecting a major policy decision (demonetization will serve here as well) using macroeconomic models.

In essence, for engineers, second-year course learning is sufficient for the interviews.

HR Questions (Fit-test)

The key to HR questions is to realise that they should be prepared so well that by the time you are sitting in the interview, you are narrating them even without thinking and sounding genuine all the time. It should be like a salesman pitch, prepared, well rehearsed but still sounding as genuine as it could be.

You know you are lying, they know you are lying, but no one cares. You can take my word for it.

HR questions are the ones which are asked to gauge your interest towards pursuing MBA, to know about you as a person and see your interpersonal skills in general. The most important is undoubtedly the ‘Why MBA?’ and ‘Tell me about Yourself?’ question

You can read my strategy to the first one here: Here’s how I answered the “Why MBA?” question. In short, it is best to answer the question with some solid reasoning of doing MBA from your past experiences which made you realise your true passion for doing an MBA. Make a story.

To the second one, answer following things: Your college, your hometown, your hobbies, your company where you are at present, your key achievements in college, and at job among other relevant stuff.

Long term, short term goal in life? (Should be aligned to Why MBA) and please don’t say, my short-term goal is to do MBA (that’s not a goal) or pull something stupid like, “to be in your place in 10 years”. Any such stupidity will ensure a reject for sure.

The questions like strengths and weaknesses are generally not asked, but it’s better to be prepared.

This article first appeared on Quora.


About the Author:

Rajat Jain has done his graduation from IIT Delhi. After scoring 100%ile in CAT 2015, he converted the call from IIM Ahmedabad and is currently a part of IIM A 2016-18 batch.


One comment

Shayan Zaman

Really appreciate the effort the author has put in. It would be really helpful if he could list some important topics for 2018 interview season.