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Tips for GD/PI Processes

1. Should I carry a Resume – Many of you have asked if it is necessary to carry

a resume. While the GDPI process does not require you to carry one, it is highly
recommended that you do so, not just for this, but for all your interviews. Not only
should you carry a resume, you should spend a lot of time preparing your resume.
If you have a resume with you that highlights your achievements, it is easy for the
interviewer to see what you have achieved over and above your marks, qualifications
and the companies you have worked for. It allows you to focus the interview around
what YOU want to talk about and are comfortable with. Spending time on preparing
the resume will also give you clarity about what your major achievements are and
how you can best present them. Also, you can spot any obvious weaknesses or
inconsistencies in your profile and think about how you will defend them.

2. I am a fresher. Will I be asked questions related to my acads? – The interview

process (like that at most top business schools) can test a lot of aspects. There are
many professors with a solid engineering background here and they may well ask you
technical questions. You should brush up around 5 subjects from your curriculum – at
least the fundamental concepts. It may be excusable to forget formulae and concepts
that you studied in 3rd semester. But there is no excuse for not knowing concepts
that you have studied in 6th or 7th semester. Further, if asked your favourite subject,
try and pick one where your grade is good or may be asked why you did not score
well in your favourite subject. Also, be thorough with your project/summer training,
including details of the company where you carried them out.

3. I have work experience. How likely am I to be asked academic questions? – If

your work ex is less than two years, you should be prepared for questions related
to your subjects. Knowledge of at least a couple of subjects is recommended. For
people with over two years of experience, questions on college acads are less likely,
but you should still be prepared with a couple of subjects. Also, if you are working in
the field you graduated (Eg. automobile sector, for mechanical engineers), you may
be asked questions about the application of technical concepts to the field. Lastly, it
is extremely important to know the state of your sector (key players, market share,
growth rates, strengths and weaknesses, recent big deals etc.) as well as your company
(as detailed as possible). This applies to freshers who have done their summers/
projects in companies as well.
4. My marks are not very good. Will this be a problem? – While good acads is
always a big help in an interview, poor or average acads need not disqualify you.
Make sure you can convince the interviewer that you did not waste your time in
college – point out extracurricular activities, sports, research projects etc. that you
may have spent your time in. NEVER SAY YOU DID NOT DO WELL BECAUSE
answer any academic questions correctly, it would show that your marks are not a true
reflection of your knowledge.

5. I have an unusual profile – I worked in my family business/an NGO/some other

offbeat job. Will this be a disadvantage? – An unusual profile can actually be a very
big advantage for you. You can use it to stand out from the other candidates. Talk
about how and why you chose that field, what you learnt and achieved, what your
responsibilities were and how it is linked to pursuing an MBA.

6. Why do you want to do an MBA? – This is one of the trickiest questions to answer.
But a good answer for this will be useful and impress the interviewer ion every
interview process. Think over your entire life and career to date and what you want
to do in the future and try and show how an MBA is a logical step between what you
have done and what you want to do. Never say you want to do an MBA for a higher
package. It is also dangerous to say that you need an MBA to be an entrepreneur
unless you can back it up with examples. There have been any number of non-MBA
entrepreneurs. Do not stress on the placements part too much. Instead, talk about the
learning that you hope to get from an MBA.

7. What other things can I be asked? – An interview is basically a conversation in

which the interviewer is trying to know you better. So he/she can ask you almost
anything. Here is a list of things that you should be prepared with –

a. Personal Questions –

i. Strengths and Weaknesses – Please try and come up with different

strengths and ones that are not obvious in your resume. Do not say you are
a team player, hardworking, have good marks etc. Talk about things like a
diverse range of interests, a willingness to always do more than expected,
the ability to pick up new skills fast etc. Most importantly, back everything
up with solid examples. For weaknesses, do not talk about things that
cannot be remedied – I went to a mediocre engineering college, I have
poor acads etc. Talk about things that you can and will improve – I used
to trust people too easily, but now I am more careful. Or, I am trying to
get better at delegating work while leading a team. Try and show how you
have made some improvement in that weakness over the past year or so.
ii. Other Calls/ Which college will you pick? – Be honest and realistic
here. Nobody is going to believe that you would join a lower rung institute
even if you converted IIM Ahmedabad. On the other hand, if the choices
are between a similar range of colleges, give convincing reasons why
you would pick a particular college – faculty, location, inter-disciplinary
institution, more learning opportunities etc. Remember that all faculty and
students tend to be proud of their instis. So, in an interview, always pick
their insti over any but the top 2-3 others and elaborate with reasons why.
If you can come up with reasons why to join an institution, it shows that
you are genuinely interested and have done your homework.
iii. Tell me something about yourself – Do not just recite your resume. Talk
about yourself, your interests, accomplishments and qualities. Add some
things that make you different from others. End this answer by saying
something which you would like the interviewer to go into more deeply.

b. Business knowledge/Current Affairs Questions

i. Economics/Business News/ Politics etc. – You need to stay up to date

with the recent happenings in the business world as well as current affairs.
You should know the recent trends in the stock market, big M & As,
controversies etc. For business events, this includes the 2G scam, the
RIL-BP deal, 3G spectrum auction, the microfinance controversy, FDI in
multi-brand retail, the Budget (extremely important), tax reforms (DTC
and GST), inflation, the Tata Nano, banking reform, outsourcing, Indian
companies in Fortune 500 and several others. Reading a good business
daily is recommended – Mint if you cannot understand Economic Times.
Also, you should read a good business magazine like Business Today
and current affairs magazines like India Today/Outlook. Current affairs
events would be the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, the Commonwealth
Games scam, the Maoist insurgency, the Adarsh scam, farmer suicides
etc. More than just knowing about events, you should have an opinion
about them that you can explain. Do not express very extreme or negative
views. Besides all this, certain fundamental definitions should be known
to you – SLR, CRR, Repo Rate, Reverse Repo Rate, Prime Lending Rate,
capital account and current account, Fiscal and monetary policy. I was
asked in my DMS interview why prices were going up in spite of the fact
that the inflation was officially falling (this was March 2010)? To answer
this correctly, one needed to know the difference between Wholesale Price
Index and Consumer Price Index.
ii. Marketing/Finance/Other MBA area knowledge – It may be a good
idea to think beforehand about which area you would say you want to
specialise in. Be sure to mention that you are keeping an open mind, but so
far this is the area you think you want to take. In such a case, you need to
know some basics about the area – especially if your interviewer is from
that area. Certain things you might want to read up about are:

Marketing – Difference between sales and marketing, Marketing Strategy

– STP and 4Ps, Product Life Cycle, definition of brand, brand equity,
brand positioning

Finance – Different kinds of financial statements, very basic accounting

principles – separate entity (Why losses are assets and profits are
liabilities?), going concern, conservatism etc., different finance profiles
(What does an investment banker do?), absolute basics of financial ratios

Organisation Management/HR – Difference between effectiveness and

efficiency, difference between recruitment and selection, legal types of
companies etc. Also general questions that you must always be prepared
for are the difference between a manager and a leader, what makes a good
leader, ethical questions and the like.

8. My JMET rank is very low. Can I still convert my call? – Yes, yes and yes!
Generally, the JMET score is taken into account and not just the rank. The difference
between a rank in double digits and the last rank to be called is usually not more than
3-4 marks. This margin can easily be made up in the GD/PI. Some of the lowest ranks
called are part of our batch as well as the senior batch. Most of them converted their
call directly without even a waitlist. So prepare well without worrying about a low

Other Interview Tips

1. Think of some good questions to ask the interviewer. These should not be about
how your interview went or placement statistics. Instead, focus on the learning
opportunities, electives available, research possibilities if you are interested etc.
2. Always remember the interview is basically a conversation and not an examination.
Be confident, but not arrogant, smile a bit, speak with conviction and do not come
across as wooden or boring. The faculty is interviewing hundreds of candidates. Stand
out from them and give the interviewer a reason to pick you.
3. Blazers are not necessary for the process. However, even if it is not specified, be
dressed in well-ironed matching formal shirt, trousers and tie. Avoid striped shirts in
favour of solids. Shoes must be polished well. A well-groomed appearance shows that
you are serious about the process.
4. Try and back up what you say with examples. For this, you will need to sit down
and think carefully about examples from your own life. Come up with good relevant
examples that leave an impact. This will help you not just in the interview, but later
during summer placements also.
5. Carry a file with your certificates. There may be more than one interviewer and
while one of them is asking you questions, the other may flip through your file. Your
extracurricular certificates may let you steer the interview around to them. Politely
hand the file to the panel when you enter the room – do not wait for them to expressly
6. Get all the printouts and other material you need the night before.

7. Most importantly, RELAX! Your interview may be nothing like what we have
described above. It is important for you to keep a cool head and think clearly at all
times. Your attitude and poise in the interview is as important, if not more, than what
you know or do not know.

GD Tips:

1. The GD topics can be extremely random and anything including something like
Blue Blue Blue, Blue Green Green and Should there be a GD for business school
selections? The former topics are obviously trying to test your creativity and thinking
skills, apart from how well you communicate them. If you get an abstract topic, do
not panic. Try and come up with some interpretation of them that you can logically
explain. Being a business school GD, it would be good if you can link them to
business. Also, abstract GDs need not discuss only one interpretation of the topic, you
and the others can come up with as many as you can think of.
2. If you have never heard of the topic or do not know what it means, let someone else
start and pick up the thread from there. It is not important to start the GD. What
matters are the quality and to a lesser extent, the number of points you bring in.
3. While you can always build on someone else’s points, try and make two or
three original points of your own. Otherwise you come across as having nothing
worthwhile of your own to say.
4. Your listening skills are important and they show in your facial expressions and body
language. Always remain engaged in the discussion, even when you are not speaking.
Do not bend your head and furiously scribble stuff on your pad. In fact, after the GD
starts, it is a good idea not to write anything down. Never look at the panel – while
listening or speaking. Imagine they do not exist.
5. Being nice will not get you too many brownie points. Everyone will be trying fiercely
to bring in their own points. Do not wait for them to give you a chance to speak. You
have to take it without interrupting someone else abruptly. Look for the troughs in the
discussion and come in during them.
6. Nobody will give you to deliver a long monologue. Make the point you have to
briefly, in the limited time you have. Otherwise, you will be interrupted without ever
saying what you wanted to say.
7. Do not be negative about anybody and never make personal attacks. If you are
shooting down a proposal, you should have one of your own to replace it with. Also,
never ever get involved in a two or three person conversation. Always address the
entire group.
8. Unless expressly asked to sit somewhere, try and take a chair in the middle of
the group. This will allow you to address the entire group as well as follow them