IIM Rohtak WAT/PI Preparation Series: A Guide to Ace the Interviews

The WAT-PI shortlist for many b-schools is out. Soon, you will be immersed in the preparation for the Written Ability Tests and Interviews. Your area of functional expertise, or work experience are not the only areas of questions you will be asked about in the interviews. You will have to face a gamut of behavioral questions too.

Some pointers, that you will help you ace the interview:

I) Dress Code:

  1. Business Formals i.e. an understated Business Suit.
  2. A proper tie with an understated design, preferably solid colours.

II) Eye Contact – Please maintain eye contact with all the interviewers. Also, try looking at the panel naturally to keep speaking to all interviewers.

III) Body Language – No crossed hands, no frowns, no glib stares, no inappropriate laughing, a comfortable smile will do.

IV) Now that the hygiene issues are out of the way, here are a few pointers that will help you ace your IIM interview.

  1. The professors are like human lie detectors. So, please do not evade the truth. Being honest and forthright will take you places.
  2. The interviewers may solicit your opinion on some burning issue; most likely a controversial one and may or may not be current. It is okay to not know about  the issue.
  3. Look alive, be enthusiastic in general, but please do not seem too eager to please. An enthusiastic look on the outside does wonders to your confidence as well.
  4. If situational questions are asked, please relate your personal experiences and how you handled such a situation. If the outcome was positive, share it; if it was not a success, please share with the interviewer what you learnt from the experience.
  5. If presented with a situation and asked how you would behave, it pays to be honest about how you would handle yourself. If the situations given really stump you, do ask for time, think, collect your thoughts into an answer and speak confidently.
  6. Preparation is the key to confidence Be confident so that almost  no questions related  to your functional expertise or experience fazes you.
  7. Be assertive and confident, but not arrogant. State your points with enthusiasm, but remember that it is possible to hold other points of view.

There is no syllabus to the interview. However, not just anything under the sun will be asked. You will be asked questions that are relevant to your context. Context refers to where you stay, what you studied, what foods you may like, where you work, what the region you come from is famous for. Even your hobbies and passions are fair game for questions. So, do a quick check if you have enough ideas about all of the above-mentioned things.

V) Let’s address the bane of all IIM interviews – Tell me something about yourself. This is one of the most deceptively simple questions. Here are some things you need     to keep in mind when asked a question like this:

  1. Please do not say things already mentioned in your application.
  2. Though you think you have a lot to say, gauge the interviewer whether he wants you to go on, or you should pause.
  3. Please tell them something else. You are absolutely different from anyone else. You are someone with a unique story. Your story is a context of how you came to be the person you are.

VI) “Why MBA?” – This question is crafted to understand your motivation for MBA. Ask   yourself, why would you join an institute for two years of rigorous academics when you could have probably earned a lot more working full time for two years, or could have built a company by yourself, then why spend 2 years?

This is a question you might have to do some soul searching on to find an answer. Remember, you are quite capable of finding the answer on your own. Many of your peers facing the interviews will recite one of the many answers on Quora, or Google. But none of those answers are your own. If you cannot move beyond the obvious, ask any of your seniors (who have appeared for IIM interviews). They may give you some pointers on how to think. But at the end, it is still up to you to answer the question.

Ask yourself these questions to find out the answers:

  1. Are you an analytical person, always wanting to get to the root of why things are the way they are and you are always willing to look beyond the obvious answers?
  2. Are you a creative person and want to start a venture of your own? But you want the  business know-how to get started?
  3. Are you someone who looks for a more holistic view of things? Would you like to have a more well-rounded perspective?
  4. Are you interested in the kind of peer groups that institutes like IIMs can provide you with? Because you want to always compete with the best, as it brings out your best efforts?
  5. Have you reached the saturation point of growth in your current job and the only way upwards is to gain more holistic worldview and do you see MBA as one of the stepping stones for further growth?

Scratch the surface and you will have your own unique answers.

VII) Remember that in the interviews, it is not your job to impress the interviewers. They seriously want to get to know you, to check whether you will be a good fit in the institute and whether your expectations match the offerings of the institute and whether you match the expectations the institute has from a student. So, answer truthfully and try to go beyond the obvious answers.

Finally, remember you are about to experience something that many CAT aspirants are eager to experience. Regardless of the outcome, you will learn something, and even have some fun!

Written By: Subhro Ghosh, First Year Student at IIM Rohtak