Nowadays, there are a lot of management entrance exams for admission to MBA/PGDM courses in colleges and universities in India. Every year lakhs of students prepare for these exams and hope to crack admission in a reputed business school of their choice.
After intense preparation of entrance from good coaching institutes and experts, you can definitely get good percentile. But, the real test is when you have to face the interview panel for Group Discussion and Personal Interview.
Admission or selection in business schools is basically a two-step process after the entrance test, a Group Discussion or Written Ability Test and Personal Interview.
The IIMs and other Business schools give admission to students not only on the basis of their high percentile but to the students who are a great presenter, have sharp communication techniques, and are smarter among other candidates.
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After the announcement of entrance exam results, it is the time to focus on the preparations of group discussion and personal interview.
Group Discussion (GD)
Group Discussion, commonly known as GD is a method of assessing students’ personality in terms of both technique and art. It is a discussion in a group of people who express their views upon the given topic in a free manner.
The objective of a group discussion is to appraise a candidate’s ability to critically analyze a given piece of information and collectively work in a group to arrive at a solution or develop a perspective.
The reason behind this exercise is that when a group of students is given a task to accomplish within an unstructured situation, they will try to accomplish it by establishing some order or structure. In this process, they will reveal some of their personality characteristics.
You should be update yourself about current affairs, international events, issues affecting India and the world, etc. so that you can put forward your opinion and views when asked. You need to have patience and effective listening skills to respond effectively in a group discussion.
The interview panel consists of people from the college management who are sitting only to choose the best. So, even a slight mistake can cost you heavily.
Students should to refer to Manorama Yearbooks and read it to cover general knowledge and current affairs topics. Reading The Hindu and The Indian Express editorials will help in getting the deep insight into everyday issues faced by the Indian society and politics.
Watch debate shows on English News channels like Times Now, NDTV 24X7 as it will give you an idea about how to respond effectively during a GD session.
During the Group Discussion sessions, the business schools assess the confidence, communication, and managerial skills of the students. It is very important to have a strategy as to when you should make the point so that you are heard.
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Personal Interview (PI)
A Personal Interview, normally called the PI, is a conversation in which someone is asked about their background, lifestyle and experience.
The personal interview helps the panel to evaluate a candidate as to whether or not he/ she has the capability and skills required to successfully pursue and develop a career in management.
Give a lot of mock Personal Interviews, practice answers with a friend multiple times, prepare answers for general questions like why MBA, strengths-weaknesses, short term-long term plans, why XYZ college, hobbies, area of interest, etc.
Also make sure you could speak on each point which is on your CV and Application form for a minute or so. Make sure you know about the place you were born or brought up in or any recent news, trivia related to that place.
The main thing they look for during the personal interviews is the right attitude of the candidate. Willingness to learn and smartness is among one of the valued characteristics.
Even if the first few PIs you appear for do not go as well as planned, do not get disheartened, and do not let that affect your performance anywhere else. It is important to be thorough, confident and honest for a positive selection.
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Here are some points one must observe for positive PI results:
- Introduce yourself in a very brief and formal way.
- Limit introduction to entirely yourself. DO NOT speak about parents, siblings and family, unless asked by the interviewer.
- Give straight and simple answers to the questions asked by the interviewer.
- Answer in small sentences.
- To the point and precise answers are far better than beating around the bush.
- Don’t try being aggressive, overconfident. And definitely, DO NOT try to impress the panel by using some cheesy mugged up lines. It won’t work.
- Dress formally.
- Use simple and communicative language in an effective manner. Any wrong use of figurative and idiomatic language in conversation might get you deviated and put you in trouble.
- Try to take the interview board to your domain of knowledge and skills.
- Your views in GD – Questions may be framed on whatever you spoke in group discussion, your views and way of presentation. So be ready to effectively answer the probable questions based on your GD performance.
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Interviewers have the capability of assessing you with your gestures, postures and the response you come with, to their very first question. The saying ‘First impression is the last impression’ is true to a large extent when you face the interview. After the first few minutes the interview board is simply confirming itself of the first impression.
Normally the coaching you take classes from during your preparation for the entrance exams also provide classes, workshops and seminars for the GD and PI rounds for their students.
They often conduct mock GDs and PIs to check the preparedness of their students for the next level of admissions after the exams.
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For those who self-prepared for the exams, many coaching offers such seminars to outside students as well, normally with a minimal fee.
You can also go for online preparations provided by some experts and even practice it with your friends or colleagues. Start preparing for these during the exam preparation, so that you have the proper time to be fully prepared as you have to prepare for the current affairs and general knowledge.
Giving good performance in GD and PI is as important as scoring high percentile in the entrance exam. With good communication skills, the right attitude, confidence, and knowledge about the current happenings and the course you are applying for can help you get through the admission process with positive results.
All the Best!
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