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IIM Group Discussion (GD) - Skills Evaluated

Group discussion is an important dimension of the selection process. Any institute requires students to
work with others for effective functioning. Therefore, people skills are an important aspect of any MBA
program.

In today's context, the educational institutes and organizations are interested in team players rather than
individual contributors. During the Group Discussion, the panel essentially evaluates the candidate's
potential to be a leader and also his/her ability to work in teams. Remember that institutes are typically
on the look out for candidates who will inspire to lead and succeed and for that you need to be a good
team player.

Here is a sample list of skills assessed during a group discussion:

Leadership skills:
Ability to take leadership roles and ability to lead, inspire and carry the team along to help them achieve
group's objectives.
Example: To be able to initiate the group discussion, or to be able to guide the group especially when the
discussion begins losing relevance or try to encourage all members to participate in the discussion.

Communication skills:
The participating candidates will be assessed in terms of clarity of thought, expression and aptness of
language. One key aspect is listening. It indicates a willingness to accommodate others views.
Example: To be able to use simple language and explain concepts clearly so that it is easily understood by
all. You actually get negative marks for using esoteric jargons in an attempt to show-off your knowledge.

Interpersonal skills:
Is reflected in the ability of the individual to interact with other members of the group in a brief
situation. Emotional maturity and balance promotes good interpersonal relationships. The person has to
be more people centric and less self-centered.
Example: To remain cool even when someone provokes you with personal comment, ability to remain
objective, ability to empathize, non-threatening and more of a team player.

Persuasive skills:
Ability to analyze and persuade others to see the problem from multiple perspectives without hurting the
group members.
Example: While appreciating someone else's point of view, you should be able to effectively communicate
your view without overtly hurting the other person.

Problem solving skills:


Ability to come out with divergent and offbeat solutions and use one's own creativity.
Example: While thinking of solutions, don't be afraid to think of novel solutions. This is a high- risk high-
return strategy.

Conceptualizing skills:
The ability to grasp the situation, take it from the day to day mundane problem level and apply it to a
macro level.
Example: At the end of the discussion, you could probably summarize the findings in a few sentences that
present the overall perspective.

Don't be disheartened if you did not do well in your first group discussion. The best possible
preparation for a group discussion is to learn from one's past mistakes...
IIM CAT Group Discussion Tips (GD)
GROUP DISCUSSION
A group discussion (GD) is a simulated exercise, where you cannot suddenly put up a show, since the
evaluators will see through you easily. In this page you can find tips on GD and how to handle them to
ensure a positive outcome.

Here's how most group discussions work

• Normally groups of 8-10 candidates are formed into a leaderless group, and are given a specific
situation to analyze and discuss within a given time limit.
• The group may be given a case study and asked to come out with a solution for a problem.
• The group may be given a topic and asked to discuss on the same.

A panel will observe the proceedings and evaluate the members of the group.

OBJECTIVE
Lets start from the basic. One needs to know what one's objective in the group is. A good definition of
your objective is - to be noticed to have contributed meaningfully in an attempt to help the group reach
the right consensus. What does this essentially mean?

1. The first implication is that you should be noticed by the panel. Merely making a meaningful
contribution and helping the group arrive at a consensus is not enough. You have to be seen by
the evaluating panel to have made the meaningful contribution. What does that mean in
practice?
• You must ensure that the group hears you. If the group hears you, so will the evaluator.
That does not mean that you shout at the top of your voice and be noticed for the
wrong reasons.
• You have to be assertive. If you are not a very assertive person, you will have to simply
learn to be assertive for those 15 minutes. Remember, assertiveness does not mean
being bull-headed or being arrogant.
• And most importantly, you have to make your chances. Many group discussion
participants often complain that they did not get a chance to speak. The fact is that in
no group discussion will you get a chance to speak. There is nothing more unacceptable
in a GD than keeping one's mouth shut or just murmuring things which are inaudible.
• Participate in as many practice GDs as possible before you attend the actual GD. There
is nothing like practice to help you overcome the fear of talking in a GD.

2. The second important implication is that making just any sort of contribution is not enough.
Your contribution has to be meaningful. A meaningful contribution suggests that
• You have a good knowledge base
• You are able to put forth your arguments logically and are a good communicator.
• The quality of what you said is more valuable than the quantity. There is this myth
amongst many group discussion participants that the way to succeed in a group
discussion is by speaking loudly and at great length. One could not be more wrong. You
must have meat in your arguments.

Therefore, think things through carefully.

Always enter the room with a piece of paper and a pen. In the first two minutes jot down as
many ideas as you can.

When you jot down points, keep these pointers in mind.


If it is a topic where you are expected to take a stand, say for example, "Should India sign the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty?" note down points for both sides of the argument. It will be
useful on two counts -

• One, if you do not start the GD and are not amongst the first five speakers and find that
everyone in the group is talking for the topic, then it makes sense to take the alternate
approach and oppose the topic even if you initially intended to talk for the topic.
• Second, it helps to have a knowledge of how group members who take a stand
diametrically opposite to yours will put forth their argument and to be prepared with
counter arguments.

3. Everybody else will state the obvious. So highlight some points that are not obvious. The
different perspective that you bring to the group will be highly apprecaited by the panel. Some
pointers on being relevant while having a different perspective are:
• Be careful that the "something different" you state is still relevant to the topic being
debated.
• Can you take the group ahead if it is stuck at one point?
• Can you take it in a fresh and more relevant direction?

4. The last implication is that you must be clearly seen to be attempting to build a consensus.
• Gaining support or influencing colleagues is the mantra adopted by many a successful
Business Leaders.
• Nobody expects a group of ten intelligent, assertive people, all with different points of
view on a controversial subject to actually achieve a consensus. But what matters is "Did
you make attempts to build a consensus?"
• The reason why an attempt to build a consensus is important is because in most work
situations you will have to work with people in a team, accept joint responsibilities and
take decisions as a group.
• You must demonstrate the fact that you are capable and inclined to work as part of a
team.
The Ascent team shares with you some GD-tips to give you the edge. The tips given below are
appicable in any GD. The only difference between most other GDs and the GDs conducted by the IIMs
after CAT or other top B Schools is the intensity of the competition.

• Be as natural as possible. Do not try and be someone you are not. Be yourself.
• A group discussion is your chance to be more vocal. The evaluator wants to hear you speak.
• Take time to organize your thoughts. Think of what you are going to say.
• Seek clarification if you have any doubts regarding the subject.
• Don't start speaking until you have clearly understood and analyzed the subject.
• Work out various strategies to help you make an entry: initiate the discussion or agree with
someone else's point and then move onto express your views.
• Opening the discussion is not the only way of gaining attention and recognition. If you do not give
valuable insights during the discussion, all your efforts of initiating the discussion will be in vain.
• Your body language says a lot about you - your gestures and mannerisms are more likely to
reflect your attitude than what you say.
• Language skills are important only to the effect as to how you get your points across clearly and
fluently.
• Be assertive not dominating; try to maintain a balanced tone in your discussion and analysis.
• Don't lose your cool if anyone says anything you object to. The key is to stay objective: Don't
take the discussion personally.
• Always be polite: Try to avoid using extreme phrases like: `I strongly object' or `I disagree'.
Instead try phrases like: `I would like to share my views on…' or `One difference between your
point and mine…' or "I beg to differ with you"
• Brush up on your leadership skills; motivate the other members of the team to speak (this surely
does not mean that the only thing that you do in the GD is to say "let us hear what the young lady
with the blue scarf has to say," or "Raghu, let us hear your views" - Essentially be subtle), and
listen to their views. Be receptive to others' opinions and do not be abrasive or aggressive.
• If you have a group of like-minded friends, you can have a mock group discussion where you can
learn from each other through giving and receiving feedback.

Apart from the above points, the panel will also judge team members for their alertness and presence of
mind, problem-solving abilities, ability to work as a team without alienating certain members, and
creativity.

Don't be disheartened if you did not do well in your first group discussion. The best possible
preparation for a group discussion is to learn from your past mistakes...
MBA Group Discussion(GD) - Common Mistakes
Wise men learn from others mistakes, while the less fortunate, from their own.

Here's a list of the most common mistakes made at group discussions

Emotional outburst
Rashmi was offended when one of the male participants in a group discussion made a statement on
women generally being submissive while explaining his point of view. When Rashmi finally got an
opportunity to speak, instead of focussing on the topic, she vented her anger by accusing the other
candidate for being a male chauvinist and went on to defend women in general.

What Rashmi essentially did was to

• Deviate from the subject.


• Treat the discussion as a forum to air her own views.
• Lose objectivity and make personal attacks.

Her behaviour would have been perceived as immature and demotivating to the rest of the team.

Quality Vs Quantity
Gautam believed that the more he talked, the more likely he was to get through the GD. So, he
interrupted other people at every opportunity. He did this so often that the other candidates got together
to prevent him from participating in the rest of the discussion.

• Assessment is not only on your communication skills but also on your ability to be a team player.
• Evaluation is based on quality, and not on quantity. Your contribution must be relevant.
• The mantra is "Contributing meaningfully to the team's success." Domination is frowned upon.

Egotism Showing off


Krishna was happy to have got a group discussion topic he had prepared for. So, he took pains to project
his vast knowledge of the topic. Every other sentence of his contained statistical data - "20% of
companies; 24.27% of parliamentarians felt that; I recently read in a Jupiter Report that..." and so on so
forth. Soon, the rest of the team either laughed at him or ignored his attempts to enlighten them as they
perceived that he was cooking up the data.

• Exercise restraint in anything. You will end up being frowned upon if you attempt showing-off
your knowledge.
• Facts and figures need not validate all your statements.
• Its your analysis and interpretation that are equally important - not just facts and figures.
• You might be appreciated for your in-depth knowledge. But you will fail miserably in your people
skills.

Such a behavior indicates how self-centered you are and highlights your inability to work in an
atmosphere where different opinions are expressed.
Get noticed - But for the right reasons
Srikumar knew that everyone would compete to initiate the discussion. So as soon as the topic - "Discuss
the negative effects of India joining the WTO" - was read out, he began talking. In his anxiety to be the
first to start speaking, he did not hear the word "negative" in the topic. He began discussing the ways in
which the country had benefited by joining WTO, only to be stopped by the evaluator, who then
corrected his mistake.

• False starts are extremely expensive. They cost you your admission. It is very important to listen
and understand the topic before you air your opinions.
• Spending a little time analyzing the topic may provide you with insights which others may not
have thought about. Use a pen and paper to jot down your ideas.
• Listen! It gives you the time to conceptualize and present the information in a better manner.

Some mistakes are irreparable. Starting off the group discussion with a mistake is one such mistake,
unless you have a great sense of humor.

Managing one's insecurities


Sumati was very nervous. She thought that some of the other candidates were exceptionally good. Thanks
to her insecurity, she contributed little to the discussion. Even when she was asked to comment on a
particular point, she preferred to remain silent.

• Your personality is also being evaluated. Your verbal and non verbal cues are being read.
• Remember, you are the participant in the GD; not the evaluator. So, rather than evaluating
others and your performance, participate in the discussion.
• Your confidence level is being evaluated. Decent communication skills with good confidence is a
must to crack the GDs.

Focus on your strengths and do not spend too much time thinking about how others are superior or
inferior to you. It is easy to pick up these cues from your body language.
GD Topic : Forex, foreign exchange rate, convertibility
The GD topic that we has been taken up for analysis is

"With over USD 120 billion forex reserves, Rupee should become completely convertible"

The basic concepts behind forex reserves, exchange rate systems, rupee-dollar exchange rate and
convertibility are discussed below. This refresher will assist you during your group discussion on the above
topic. It is important that you get familiar with these economic and financial jargons and understand what
they mean. As your GD topic could be from economics or finance, your prowess in these basic concepts
will help you talk confidently in the GD.

What are Forex reserves?


Why hold forex reserves?
Historic Perspective on India's Forex Position
Exchange Rate - Fixed Regime to Market Determined Floating Regime
What is the Appropriate Level of Forex Reserves?
Cost and Benefits of Holding Forex

What are Forex reserves?


The amount of foreign currency, SDRs and gold that are held by the Reserve Bank of India or the Central
Bank of any country is known as the foreign exchange reserves of a country.

Why hold forex reserves?


Technically, it is possible to consider three motives

A. Transaction - International trade gives rise to currency flows, which are generally handled by
private banks driven by the transaction.
B. Speculative - Individual or Corporates trade and invest in foreign currencies for gain.
C. Precautionary - Reserve Bank's reserves are characterized primarily as a last resort stock of
foreign currency for unpredictable flows, which can classified as a precautionary motive

A list of objectives in broader terms may be encapsulated viz.,

a. Maintaining confidence in monetary and exchange rate policies - i.e the value of Rupee vis a vis
major foreign currencies like the dollar, euro etc does not nosedive suddenly.
b. Limiting external vulnerability by maintaining foreign currency liquidity to absorb shocks during
times of crisis including national disasters or emergencies;
c. Providing confidence to the markets especially credit rating agencies that external obligations
(like borrowings from IMF, World Bank etc) can always be met.

Historic Perspective on India's Forex Position


India's approach to foreign exchange reserve management, until the balance of payments crisis of 1991
was to maintain an appropriate level of reserves required for importing goods and services. It was defined
in terms of number of months of imports equivalent of reserves.
For example, let us say India's import for a year was USD 36 billion and India had a foreign exchange
reserve of USD 4.5 billion, then it was expressed as our reserves being the equivalent of one and a half
months of imports. Emphasis on import cover constituted the primary concern to managing foreign
exchange reserves till 1993-94.

The approach to reserve management underwent a paradigm shift in the mid 90s.

The relevant extracts are:

It has traditionally been the practice to view the level of desirable reserves as a percentage of the annual
imports-say reserves to meet three months imports or four months imports. However, this approach would
be inadequate when a large number of transactions and payment liabilities arise in areas other than
import of commodities.

These started happening with the liberalization that led to foreign investors investing in Indian companies
either through the Foreign Institutional Investor (FII) route (Morgan Stanleys of the world investing in
Indian stock markets) or through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) route (Enron investing in Dabhol Power
Corporation!!). These were instance of foreign currency coming into the country. For each of these
inflows, there will be a future outflow either when the FIIs repatriate their investments or the FDIs taking
back profits of their investments.

In addition, liabilities may arise either for repaying loans or paying interest on loans. The new approach
was aimed at determining the level of forex reserve, by paying attention to the loan repayment and
interest payment obligations in addition to the level of imports.

In addition, with the opening up of the economy since the early 90s, the impact of changes in global
currency markets is bound to affect Indian shores as well. Further, emphasis was placed on gaining the
ability to take care of the seasonal factors in any balance of payments (foreign exchange inflows - foreign
exchange outflows) transaction with reference to the possible uncertainties in the monsoon conditions of
India and to counter speculative tendencies or anticipatory actions amongst players in the foreign
exchange market.

Exchange Rate - Fixed Regime to Market Determined Floating Regime


During the period 1991 to 1995, India moved from a fixed exchange rate system to partial float exchange
rate system to a free float or floating rate market determined exchange rate system.

In the fixed exchange regime, which India followed till 1991, the exchange rate was fixed by the RBI and
was pegged to a basket of currency - US Dollars, Pound Sterling (UK), Deutsche Marks (Germany) and few
other currencies.

After the Balance of Payment crisis in 1991, as part of the IMF's stabilization program, India moved to a
partial float mechanism. As per this mechanism, the inward flow of foreign currency into the country by
way of exports was converted into Rupee in the following ratio - 60% at a rate fixed by RBI which was
around Rs.28 to a USD and the balance 40% at a market determined rate - which was generally higher at
Rs.32 to a USD. However, anyone in India who wants to buy foreign currency for importing goods has to
pay the market determined higher rate of Rs, 32 to a USD.

This partial float of the currency was later changed to fully floating or a market determined exchange
rate system, where neither RBI nor the Government of India fixed the exchange rate and allowed the
players in the market determine the exchange rate. So any foreign exchange that was brought into the
country was converted at a rate determined by the market. It was the same case when anyone wanted to
procure dollars for imports or to travel abroad or to buy a book from Amazon.com
What is the Appropriate Level of Forex Reserves?
The foreign exchange reserves include three items; gold, SDRs and foreign currency assets. As of
November, 2002 India has over US $ 65 billion of total reserves, foreign currency assets account the major
share. Gold accounts for about US $ 3 billion. In July 1991, as a part of reserve management policy, and
as a means of raising resources, the RBI temporarily pledged gold to raise loans. The gold holdings, thus
have played a crucial role of reserve management at a time of external crisis. Since then, Gold has played
passive role in reserve management.

The level of foreign exchange reserves has steadily increased from US$ 5.8 billion as at end-March, 1991
to US$ 54.1 billion as at end-March 2002 and further to US$ 65 billion as of November, 2002. The
traditional measure of trade based indicator of reserve adequacy, i.e., the import cover (defined as the
twelve times the ratio of reserves to merchandise imports ) which shrank to 3 weeks of imports by the
end of December 1990, has improved to about 11.5 months as at end-March 2002.

The debt-based indicators of reserve adequacy show remarkable improvement in the 1990s. The
proportion of short term debt (i.e., debt obligations with an original maturity up to one year) to foreign
exchange reserves has substantially declined from 147 per cent as at end-March 1991 to 8 per cent as at
end-March 2001. i.e. most of the foreign exchange reserves that we have right now have a repayment
obligation that exceeds three years - which reflects a higher quality of reserves.

Cost and Benefits of Holding Forex


The direct financial cost of holding reserves is the difference between interest paid on external debt and
returns on external assets in reserves. I.e. let us say India has borrowed USD 20 billion @ 5% p.a. rate of
interest and has reserves of USD 40 bn which is kept in the equivalent of savings account at 3% p.a rate of
interest. Then the managers at RBI have the option of either repaying the USD 20 bn loan on which they
pay 5% while earning only 3% on the same thereby saving on net interest outflow or continue paying 5% on
the loan and get only 3% for their investment for sake of holding reserves.

Such costs have to be treated as insurance premium to assure and maintain confidence in the availability
of liquidity. The costs of comfort level in reserves are often met by some benefits, but both are difficult
to measure, in financial or economic, and in quantitative terms.

What is convertibility?
Convertibility can be related as the extent to which a country's regulations allow free flow of money into
and outside the country.

For instance, in the case of India till 1990, one had to get permission from the Government or RBI as the
case may be to procure foreign currency, say US Dollars, for any purpose. Be it import of raw material,
travel abroad, procuring books or paying fees for a ward who pursues higher studies abroad. Similarly, any
exporter who exports goods or services and brings foreign currency into the country has to surrender the
foreign exchange to RBI and get it converted at a rate pre-determined by RBI.

After liberalization began in 1991, the government eased the movement of foreign currency on trade
account. I.e. exporters and importers were allowed to buy and sell foreign currency, as long as the items
that they are exporting and importing were not in the banned list. They need not get permission on a
CASE TO CASE basis as was prevalent in the earlier regime. This was the first concrete step the economy
took towards making our currency convertible on trade account.
In the next two to three years, government liberalized the flow of foreign exchange to include items like
amount of foreign currency that can be procured for purposes like travel abroad, studying abroad,
engaging the services of foreign consultants etc. This set the first step towards getting our currency
convertible on the current account. What it means is that people are allowed to have access to foreign
currency for buying a whole range of consumable products and services. These relaxations coincided with
the liberalization on the industry and commerce front - which is why we have Honda City cars, Mars
chocolate bars and Bacardi in India.

There was also simultaneous relaxation on the restriction on the funds that foreign investors can bring
into India to invest in companies and the stock market in the country. This step led to partial
convertibility on the Capital Account.

"Capital Account convertibility in its entirety would mean that any individual, be it Indian or foreigner will
be allowed to bring in any amount of foreign currency into the country and take any amount of foreign
currency out of the country without any restriction."

Indian companies were allowed to raise funds by way of equities (shares) or debts. The fancy terms like
Global Depository Receipts (GDRs), Euro Convertible Bonds (ECBs), Foreign currency syndicated loans
became household jargons of Indian investors. Listing in Nasdaq or NYSE became new found status
symbols for Indian companies. However, Indian companies or individuals still had to get permission on a
case to case basis for investing abroad.

In 2000, the forex policy was further relaxed that allowed companies to acquire other companies abroad
without having to go through the rigmarole of getting permission on a case to case basis. Further, Indian
debt based mutual funds were also allowed to invest in AAA rated government /corporate bonds abroad.
This got further relaxed with Indians being allowed to hold a portion of their foreign exchange earnings as
foreign currency, subject to a limit in the recent monetary policy in October 2002.

In general, restrictions on foreign currency movements are placed by developing countries which have
faced foreign exchange problems in the past is to avoid sudden erosion of their foreign exchange reserves
which are essential to maintain stability of trade balance and stability in their economy. With India's forex
reserves increasing steadily, it has slowly and steadily removed restrictions on movement of capital on
many counts.

The last few steps as and when they happen will allow an individual to invest in Microsoft or Intel shares
that are traded on Nasdaq or buy a beach resort on Bahamas without any restrictions.

Top MBA Institute Personal Interview Tips (PI)

What to Expect in an IIM Personal Interview?


The focus of a B-school interview can range from specific questions about your job to broad discussions on
life. Approach the interview as a conversation to be enjoyed, not as a question-and-answer ordeal. It may
be about your hobbies - your recent cross-country trip. This doesn't mean that the interviewers are not
serious. It just means that you're being sized up as a person and a future professional in all your
dimensions.

Try to be your witty, charming, natural self. Donot try to put on. The interviewers will be able to see your
masks through. Students, faculty, admissions personnel and alumni conduct interviews. Don't dismiss
students as the lightweights.

It is important to have a good idea of "What you consider to be your greatest strength, why and what are
some examples that show this", before you go into an interview. Although the interviewer will most likely
ask some pointed questions, you may also encounter something as broad as "So, tell me about yourself."
These open ended questions are usually the ones that help you lead the interview.
Either way, you should have in mind what you want to convey about who you are before you go into any
interview. Lack of preparation is a common complaint among interviewers, and if you are prepared, you
will stand out among your competitors.

First steps on how to approach an interview?

Do your homework
Have well thought out answers for questions such as "What are your strengths? Why are you right for that
particular business school? Why is that particular program right for you?"

It shows organization and forethought if you know some specifics about the program to which you are
applying and can explain why those features fit well with your career goals. For example, if you are
applying to the Xavier Labour Relation Institute (XLRI), through some simple research you will discover
that they are strong in Human Resource Development. Perhaps, you have worked with a recruitment
company or have been a trainer in an institute. Relate these in the interview.

Don't Waste Time


Don't waste time discussing things that are already indicated on your application. You can elaborate if the
topic illustrates something about your character and preparedness for the b-school experience, but do not
be redundant.

Remember that the first impression you create is very important. When asked to say "something about
yourself", most candidates just blurt out their schooling, college, marks and qualifications. All this is
already there in the application. Why tell the interviewer something he/she already knows. Ideally, you
would want to use this opportunity to show how you are different from the thousands of other applicants,
not to blend in to the crowd.

A final word on approaching this question. After you have said what you have to say - don't venture any
further. Don't drone. You just might say something foolish. Sometimes interviewers don't interrupt in
order to give the candidate the impression that he has not spoken enough. This is just a stress/error
inducing tactic. Don't fall for it. If the pause gets too awkward for your liking, just add something like, "Is
there something specific that you would like to know about me"

Useful Links for MBA aspirants

CAT Coaching class in Chennai, CAT training institute in Mumbai, CAT Study Material, CAT Correspondence
course for students living abroad, CAT Boot camp for Math and Data Interpretation, CAT Summer crash
course, Weekend Math and DI crash course for CAT, Mock CAT Test Series, Prep classes for GMAT in
Chennai, Attend MBA Entrance classes for just one topic of your choice in Quant, Verbal, DI, Group
Discussion and Personal Interview training for CAT and MBA entrance exams, Classes in Madras for XAT -
entrance test to XLRI, XIM Bhubaneswar, LIBA
Interview - Sample Questions & Suggested Answers

Justify your decision to pursue the MBA programme?


Don't tell the panel that you are looking for a "challenging job in a good firm with lots of money, status
and glamour". Instead, you must convey to the interview panel that you have made a rational and
informed decision about your career choice and your intended course of higher study. There are broadly
four areas which your answer could touch upon :

• Career Objectives: You could talk about your career objectives and how the two year MBA
programme will help you achieve them.
• Value Addition: Value addition will essentially be in two forms knowledge and skills.
• Background: This is where you connect your past to your future. If you are an engineer, try and
say that the MBA course and your engineering degree will help you do your job better in the
company that you will join. You should be able to convincingly justify how your engineering
qualification will help.
• Opportunities and Rewards: You could also at this stage mention the opportunities that are
opening up in organizations for management graduates. At this stage mentioning superior
monetary rewards for management graduates may not be a bad idea.

Why do you think you would enjoy your chosen area of study (Eg: Marketing)?
Marketing is key to the success of any organization and the function has always appealed to me, because
it requires a combination of creativity, strategic and analytic ability - all qualities that I feel I possess.
Through discussions with some of my seniors, I have a pretty good idea of what it's like to work toward
taking up a marketing job, and I know I will enjoy the work.

How do you spend your spare time?


I have a good collection of books of different genre and enjoy reading. In addition, I love driving during
late evenings or on rainy weekend afternoons. Also, for the last two years I've been volunteering at the
local children's hospital on Saturday mornings.

What are your weaknesses?


I used to be somewhat disorganized, but eventually this got me into trouble when I missed an
appointment I hadn't written down. It was clear that I had to learn how to be more organized. So, with
the help of my senior colleague we worked out a system that I still use today. Not only do I stay on top of
things, but I'm more efficient, too.

The first thing you need to do prior to interviewing is assess yourself. This includes listing your strengths
and weaknesses, your accomplishments and achievements, reviewing your strong and your weak subjects,
and recording some of the key decisions you have made in your life.

You should then review your interests, the disappointments you've encountered, your work environment
likes/dislikes, your business and personal values, your goals, needs, restrictions, and life style
preferences. It would help if you're ready to practice answering the following potential questions
IIM MBA Personal Interview - Practice Questions
Prepare structured answers for the following potential questions.

1. Why should we admit you into our MBA program?

2. What are your strongest abilities?

3. What skills would you be bringing to the classroom?(relevant if you have job experience)

4. What are you looking for in this program?

5. Tell me something about yourself?

6. What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?

7. Where do you want to be in 5 years?

8. Why do you want to study in this institute?

9. What does "success" mean to you?

10. What does "failure" mean to you?

11. What are your three major accomplishments?


12. What have you disliked in your past jobs? (If you have worked in more than one organization)

13. What kinds of people do you enjoy working with? (If you possess work experience)

14. What kinds of people frustrate you?

15. How long before you can make a contribution (Not monetary) to the institute?

16. In the past year, what have you been dissatisfied about in your performance?

17. What according to you is your ideal job and how will this program help you realise the same?

18. What can you tell me about your past bosses? (If you have work experience)

19. Which is more important to you: money or the type of job?

20. What have you learned from your activities in college?

21. Were your extracurricular activities worth the time you put into them?
22. What have they taught you?

23. What qualities should a successful manager possess?


24. What two attributes are most important in your job?

25. What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it?

26. What have you done that you consider creative?

27. Who do you admire? Why?

28. What do you get passionate about?

29. What courses are you taking?