GD-PI-WAT: How CAT topper Soham Barman cracked GD-PI to enter MDI Gurgaon?
CAT topper Soham Barman cracked GD-PI at MDI Gurgaon to secure admission to the top B-school. In this interview, the B Tech graduate shares his Group Discussion and Personal Interview experience with MBA aspirants. He also talks on his GD-PI preparation strategy for admission to top B-schools.
Soham says he approached his GD at MDI Gurgaon with a balanced approach and presented arguments backed by relevant facts which helped the group reach a consensus. Soham advises aspirants to necessarily take mock PI sessions as it helps them to actually know their strengths and weak areas.
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Group Discussion (GD) Experience:
Careers360: How big was your group size and what was your topic for GD?
Soham Barman: The group for my GD comprised 8 members. The topic for discussion was “Aadhar card: A step forward or backward?”
Careers360: How did you present yourself in GD?
Soham Barman: I was well read about the topic and hence had lots of facts and figures to put forward. It was a good opportunity for me to start the discussion. I started by discussing the motive behind the Aadhar initiative and made 4-5 brief entries in between, quoting some facts to strengthen my argument. I made sure that the points put forward were succinct and not too elaborative. I also got the opportunity to summarize the discussion and tried to cover all the points, against and for the motion, that were discussed in the course of the group discussion.
Careers360: How did you defend your logic during the discussion?
Soham Barman: I did not take a stand initially, even though I was a proponent of the Aadhar card. I discussed both the positives and negatives of the initiative and mentioned about the crucial role of Aadhar card in DCT (Direct Cash Transfer) scheme and in plugging the leakages that the government incurs while doling out subsidies. Knowing few figures about its relevance helped my cause in discussing about both the positives and negatives of the Aadhar card implementation.
In my final two entries, I tried to weigh the positives and negatives and show that the positives outweigh the negatives and hence it’s definitely a step forward.
Careers360: What was the strong logic from the group members against your approach on the topic?
Soham Barman: Few of the group members questioned the utility of the Aadhar project considering the cost. Another counter-argument was regarding the difficulty in covering a significant proportion of the population. Chances of fraud and duplication were also issues raised by few of the members.
Careers360: Did your GD reach any conclusion? If yes, please share.
Soham Barman: When we started the discussion there was no consensus amongst the members of the group, about the usefulness of the Aadhar project. However we managed to build consensus, because of the constructive discussion that we had during the process. It was unanimously accepted by the group members that Aadhar card can be a boon for the country if the government takes measures to plug the loopholes inherent in the system, instead to rushing to implement the project.
Careers360:How long did your GD last?
Soham Barman: Time allocated for the group discussion was 12 minutes. We managed to finish the discussion within the allocated time.
Careers360: How many members from your group were finally selected or offered admission?
Soham Barman: Two members from my group were finally selected.
Careers360:How did you prepare for your GD? When and how an aspirant should seriously start preparing for GD?
Soham Barman: I personally feel preparation for GD is a long process and cannot be done adequately in limited amount of time. The first step towards the preparation, in my case, was reading a business newspaper daily to stay abreast of the current happenings. This helped me a lot in the later stages as I was never short of content when the topic under discussion was from current affairs. Towards the later stages, I formed a group with few of my friends and we used to sit together in the weekends to discuss about the current affairs. This not only helped me develop good content and knowledge, but also improved my communication skills immensely
Careers360: What were the key factors which you think influenced your selection at GD stage?
Soham Barman: When the GD topic is on current affairs, facts and figures related to the topic play an important part in the discussion. My knowledge about the subject helped me in contributing to the discussion constructively. I backed all my arguments by relevant facts and that I feel helped me in getting selected.
Personal Interview (PI) Experience:
Careers360: How many members were there in your interview board?
Soham Barman:There were two members in my interview board.
Careers360:How was the interview structured? Please share a few questions asked from your academic background, professional experience, interest/hobby, and generic issues?
Soham Barman: The interview started with few basic questions about my work experience like
What is your role in the company?
What was your key learning over the past two years?
It was followed by a few questions about the performance and growth of the company (Infosys) over the past few quarters. After this, I was asked a few technical questions from IT domain- few relevant to the job that I performed and few general questions.
The discussion then revolved around my hobbies and interests- cricket, table tennis and dance.
Towards the end, I was asked few questions related to Indian economy, mostly because I had stated once in course of discussion that I follow it very closely and have keen interest on the subject. Few basic questions on economic issues such as Indian GDP, growth prospect, fiscal deficit, Current Account Deficit were asked. In most of the cases my opinion about the government’s policies was solicited. I was also asked few questions on my Engineering course towards the end of the process.
Careers360: What was the toughest area for you to answer? Please share some questions asked which you found difficult?
Soham Barman: In the beginning of the process I was asked a few technical questions from IT domain and many of them were not related to the job which I performed. I found it extremely difficult to answer such questions. When I was not sure about the answers to the questions I promptly informed them about the same. Also I was asked a few intriguing questions on economics and lot of counter questions were asked based on my answers to the questions. It was difficult for me to handle such questions in a couple of occasions.
Few of the questions that I was asked were-
What is core inflation?
How does the government tackle inflation?
If you were Chidambaram, would you do anything differently in the budget, 2013?
What is your view on the current state of the Indian IT industry?
What is fiscal deficit and how is it different from Current Account Deficit?
Careers360: What were the key factors which you think influenced your selection at PI stage?
Soham Barman: During the PI stage I was asked questions on my job experience, engineering, hobbies and interests, Indian economy and economics. Barring a few instances, I was able to answer most of them confidently and convincingly. Whenever I was unsure about the answer to a question, I did not scruple to convey the same to the interviewers. The interviewers were particularly impressed by my knowledge of Indian economy and economics and about the fact that I was well read and up to date about the current economic scenario of the nation. Also I feel the confidence level while answering the questions is very important and I feel I did pretty well on that front. So, overall my knowledge coupled with positive body language and confidence influenced my selection at PI stage.
Careers360: What is your advice to aspirants for Personal Interview?
Soham Barman: For PI it’s very important to try and guide the personal interview towards your strength. So it’s important to identify your strengths i.e. topics which you are comfortable with and try and guide the discussion towards those topics. Also it serves well to prepare answers to some standard questions like-
Tell me something about yourself.
What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why do you want to do an MBA?
Why do you want to join MDI?
Confidence level and positive body language are also very important and play a crucial role. It’s also important to be well read about the current happenings in the country.
Careers360: How did you prepare for your PI? When and how an aspirant should seriously start preparing for PI?
Soham Barman:Regularly reading newspapers was the first step that I took towards preparing for GD/PI. Apart from that I enrolled in a coaching institute for PI sessions and that helped me immensely. Through the mock PI sessions, I became aware of my strengths and weaknesses and worked on them. It also helped me in becoming aware of the kind of questions that I might encounter in the process. Mock PI sessions amongst friends also played an important part and helped me in the final phases of preparations.
Stay tuned to bschool.careers360.com for more topper interview on GD-PI-WAT for MBA admissions.
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