What Is The Secret To Cracking The GD-PI At Top Indian B-Schools | Part – 1 | The Personal Interview
Every year lakhs of students prepare rigorously for CAT in the hope to gain admission in a reputed business school of their choice.
But as disappointing as it may sound, the various aptitude tests are just a way for the colleges to eliminate or filter-out the huge pile of applications that they get every year.
The real test is when you have to face the interview panel for Group Discussion and Personal Interview. Surely a great percentile will take you a long way in setting a positive impression in the mind of the interviewer but there are other things in which you must excel which I will discuss in this 2 part post.
In this post, I will focus on the dreaded Interview round.
The First Impression
You get called for the interview, offer your clammy hand, then lie and say, “Good afternoon, it’s great to be here.” Nothing to it; you did it the last time you had a first date.
Note: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Strong Eye contact, a pleasant, confident smile and a firm handshake are paramount.
Questions about You
IF your life is a newspaper article. What’s the headline?
The first part of the interview is all about “getting to know you”, except in the case of stress interviews where they will straight away jump all over you.
What they are looking for:
- Clarity on why you are sitting in this room (Why the hell are you doing an MBA?)
- A confident, comfortable demeanour and strong communication skills (Are you a nervous wreck?)
- Inside-out knowledge about yourself
- Leadership skills and ability
- Are you a team player (Do you play well with others?)
- Drive, aspirations, energy, morals and ethics
- Basic knowledge about the recent happenings
Commonly asked questions
You need to research yourself beforehand. Look at the list of the most commonly asked questions in an IIM interview.
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you better than the other 5000 students that we have shortlisted?
- Why MBA?
- Why do you want to come to this school?
- What did you do during your workex?
- Tell us your 3 favourite subjects during your graduation?
- Why have you scored such low marks?
- Why an MBA at this stage of your career?
- What are you 5 strengths and 5 weaknesses?
- Tell me of a time you showed leadership skills.
- Tell me of a time you were a team player.
- Give me an example of a time you influenced or persuaded a group.
- Have you ever failed at anything?
- Other puzzles, GK questions and your opinions (not facts) on recent events
This is not an exhaustive list, do your own research, note down these questions in a word doc and come up with your own answers.
Always Remember: Interviewers remember stories and accomplishments more than common answers.
So dig into the old treasure chest and come up with memorable stories and accomplishments that substantiate the skills needed to make you a strong candidate.
You know the interviewer is going to ask you why you want to do an MBA.
Now, this is important, you should have given this answer a great deal of thought long before you walked into the interview.
While I don’t want you to exactly memorize your answer, I do want you to memorize some bullet points. This makes your answer seem focused and linear. Avoid talking aimlessly. Your voice should carry sincerity and enthusiasm.
Now I can give you a sample answer here but what worked for me might not work for you. Everyone in this world is a different being altogether but still, try to look for various answers on Quora, InsideIIM and other websites and take the parts which resonate with your reasons.
Other things to focus on:
All the GK topics: GST, demonetization etc
Knowledge about current status of World and Indian economy
Latest business trends: Blockchain, marketing analytics, automation, open banking, IOT etc
Current Political Issues
Knowledge about your graduation stream
Now you must be thinking, all this is great and all but where is the secret you promised to offer me in the beginning?
Dude, just like with everything in life, the only real secret to success is just straight, downright, unimaginable hard work.
People who clear IIM interviews are just better prepared than the others, it’s as simple as that.
So go work on you GK, read about all the recent events in the last one year, be prepared to be questioned about everything that you have ever done in your life, know which things you are good at (and not good at) and this whole GD-PI process will be a lot simpler than you think.