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.

Why MBA?

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

Midnight Ruminations

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.

Karan Kakkar

A die-hard Roger Federer fan, Karan is a singer and a musician who plays three percussion instruments. After spending the first 24 years of his life in Delhi, he finally found solace in the beautiful campus of IIM Kozhikode. Known simply as Kakkar among his friends, he prides myself on having watched all the IMDB top 250 movies in a single summer long movie marathon. He served as one of the student team members/writers of insideIIM.com, representing IIM Kozhikode.



Sumit Chauhan

Bro I m little skeptical about that hand shaking thing, I mean minimal panel is of 3 people wouldn’t it be apt to just bade them goodmorning?

karan kakkar

Hey so usually in IIMs there is a panel of only 2 members, then it is ok to shake hands.It depends on you, Both a handshake or a polite good morning will work.

Jolly Mongia

Is it necessary to be clear about the field you want to pursue the MBA degree i.e. Finance, HR or Marketing? How to handle such a situation where asked about specific interest? Please share your views about it.

karan kakkar

No, It is not necessary to have a clear preference regarding the domain you want to pursue during your mba, In this case just give a straight answer that as of now I find all the fields equally intriguing, otherwise preparing an answer as to why you want to select finance, marketing etc as your specialization.

mihir bathia

Great article! Just something about your writing that just gets straight to the point and makes all the work lined up so easily..bravo!
But what baffled me more is the ‘anonymous’ under your name! Infact, now is the time you (like I am) should be boasting about number 20 for Federer!