Clearing a management entrance exam like CAT 2018, XAT 2019 or NMAT 2018 to get a call from your dream B-school is only the tip of the iceberg. What lies ahead is the mammoth task of converting that call into an admission seat. Group Discussion and Personal Interview are the stepping stones towards achieving that goal.
Group Discussion: An activity that lets a group of participants with various thought processes to exchange their views on a particular topic usually that are socially, economically, politically or globally important and relevant.
Role of GD round: An MBA degree is a lot to do about awareness of your surroundings, communicating them well and putting forth your viewpoints healthily and productively. A round of group discussion helps the panelists judge such aspects in the candidates. You will be tested on 7Cs like:
- Current Affairs Knowledge – Awareness on topics that are of national & international significance
- Communication Skills – Command over the language
- Clarity of Thought
- Competence to listen to and understand a fellow participant’s opinion
- Coordination and Cordiality in the group
- Capability to lead and conclude the group discussion.
Types of GD topics: There are usually two types of topics that can be given during GD rounds:
Intellectual topics are a statement or idea on which the group has to carry forward a discussion. You can quote examples from your personal life or your surroundings to put across your point of view and arguments. Some examples of intellectual GD topics are:
- Good luck is the residue of strong preparation and execution
- Peer pressure can make or mark your future
- Mistakes Are the Portals of Discovery
The fact-based topics are those that are based on a recent occurrence at a national or global level and has a social, economic or political impact. During such discussions, it is essential that you are aware of that particular area and can quote some facts or numbers regarding that topic. Some examples of fact-based topics that can be asked during GD round are:
- Impact of NPAs of Indian Economy, Industry and Banks
- Why FMCG companies believe that rural markets have more potential than the urban markets?
- Air pollution management in India
- Oil Imbroglio on Iran, Implications for India
How to Prepare for Group Discussion: Some tips to prepare for GD are:
- Be regular in reading newspapers and magazines – current affairs and editorials
- Watch news online or on TV
- Perform mock GDs and practice with friends
How to Conduct yourself in a GD Round
- After the GD topic is given, quickly think of relevant points
- Try to start the discussion and be the ice-breaker
- Always maintain eye contact with the fellow participants while speaking
- Be assertive and not aggressive while talking
- Try to know the names of the fellow participants and address them when you are interjecting or supporting their viewpoint
- Give others a chance to speak as it highlights your team-spirit
Personal Interview: Personal Interview is a one-on-one interaction between a candidate (interviewee) and a panel of interviewers.
Role of PI Round: Personal Interview is usually the last round conducted after a WAT and GD. This is the final leg of the selection process and there are 2 to 3 panelists who conduct the interview.
Thus, a PI round judges you on 5Ss:
- Self-Awareness – How well you know about yourself and what are your goals and objectives
- Self-Confidence – How confident are you talking about things you know and things you don’t
- SWOT Analysis – Your Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats
- Storytelling Ability – How effectively and crisply you can talk about what is being asked
- Sincerity – How truthful and honest you are about yourself.
Tips to prepare for Personal Interview
- Prepare and re-visit your CV thoroughly
- Prepare for questions like:
- Tell about yourself
- What are your strengths and weakness?
- What were your favorite subjects in graduation?
- Why do you want to do an MBA?
- How did a particular internship or training or prior work experience (if mentioned in CV) help you?
- Quote examples where you have shown leadership skills in your life
- Your views on recent events like elections, various satellite launches, new economic policies and new legislations or laws enforced or abolished
- Practice your answers in front of a mirror
- Perform mock PIs with a friend or a mentor.
How to conduct yourself in a PI round
- Greet everyone and walk with confidence to your seat when you enter the room
- Dress smartly and formally for the interview
- Sit straight, maintain eye contact and keep a smiling face
- Be assertive while answering
- Be precise in your answers
- Talk about your achievements smartly and quote examples from your prior work and academic experience
- Be thorough with what you have written in your resume
All the best!
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