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With most of the MBA exams like CAT, NMAT, SNAP, TISS-NET, IIFT entrance over now, Careers360.com brings you a series on toppers’ GD-PI-WAT experience.
In this interview, CAT topper and IIT graduate Akshat Modi who scored 98.72 percentile and secured admission to IIM Rohtak, shares his Personal Interview experience and preparation strategy for the same. The topper, who participated in PI and WAT under Combined Admission Process for admission to new IIMs, also speaks on his Writing Ability Test (WAT) and key highlights of GD-PI experience at other B-schools. He also shares moments when the interview was filled with stress and he had a stand-off with the interviewer.To prepare for CAT 2014 click here
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Personal Interview (PI) Experience:
Careers 360: How many members were there in your interview board?
Akshat Modi: Two(both male)
“They started by asking questions from my internships during my undergraduate. They gave me the feeling of a strict professor taking a viva. With each question I answered, they raised the level of difficulty of the questions till I failed to answer a question on academics (both internship and core academics).”
Careers 360: How was the interview structured? What was the percentage of questions asked from your academic background, professional experience, interest/hobby, and generic issues?
Akshat Modi: The interview was structured in a logical flow and covered almost all the areas. It started with the usual “Tell me about yourself”.
From my answer, they picked the fact that I was a mining engineer from IIT and from that point the interview turned into more of a viva. Both the interviewers did not seem friendly in the manner they talked to me. They started by asking questions from my internships during my undergraduate. They gave me the feeling of a strict professor taking a viva. With each question I answered, they raised the level of difficulty of the questions till I failed to answer a question on academics (both internship and core academics). After that, the question shifted to “Why MBA?” Listening to my answer which was mainly focused on entrepreneurship and carrying forward my father’s business and transforming it to make it a national company, they asked me why I chose mining engineering. After that, the questions were focused on my father’s business and my involvement in it. Then again they asked me about my hobbies, from which they picked up football and asked a couple of questions on my favorite football team i.e. FC Barcelona. Finally they asked a couple of questions on recent issues and then my interview ended.
Careers 360: What was the toughest area for you to answer? Please share some questions asked which you found difficult? How did you tackle those questions?
Akshat Modi: The toughest area for me to answer was based on my academics. With my each answer they raised the difficulty level. From general mining questions to specific case questions, they asked me everything. I tried to answer the questions as specifically as I could. They cross-questioned many of my answers. One of them was from the industry and so the only concern running through my mind was not to let anything wrong slip from my mouth that could be held against me. I had to keep my cool as they tried to put me under stress. They asked me case specific questions too and details about the mining machinery and where it is used. I did not expect them to ask such deep questions and so it was the toughest area for me to answer. Also, chances of having a mining engineer in the panel is very less and that in my knowledge not many people encountered such questions for their MBA interviews.
Careers 360: What was the toughest moment during your PI?
Akshat Modi: The toughest moment in my PI was when there was a standoff between me and one of my interviewers. He asked me about the machinery specifications in the mine where I did my summer training and although I did not remember the exact details of each machine, I gave him the answer to the major machines used and their specifications. He then challenged my answer blatantly and told I was wrong. I stuck to my point. But, even he was adamant and told me that he had been to that place and he has seen the specifications. It was very tough for me because I had to give the right answer without offending him. I think he was trying to check my confidence level.
“I think that the composure I maintained in my interview and the fact that I was very clear and lucid in my answers influenced my selection at PI stage.”
Careers 360: What were the key factors which you think influenced your selection at PI stage?
Akshat Modi: I think that the composure I maintained in my interview and the fact that I was very clear and lucid in my answers influenced my selection at PI stage.
“I would advise the aspirants to be thorough with their academics as well as current affairs. One should remain calm even in times of stress and stick to one’s stand if he/she believes in it.”
Careers 360: What is your advice to aspirants for Personal Interview?
Akshat Modi: I would advise the aspirants to be thorough with their academics as well as current affairs. One should remain calm even in times of stress and stick to one’s stand if he/she believes in it.
Careers 360: Did you appear for any other PI exercise at other top B-schools? Please share a few experiences (where you went wrong).
Akshat Modi: Yes, I appeared for the interview of SPJIMR and FMS too. SPJIMR has a unique interview process in the way they have 2 group interviews and both have eliminations. I can never forget my first group interview. Also, while filling the form of SPJIMR they ask for the specialization I wanted to opt for. I had chosen Finance in that. My first group interview had 5 candidates (including me) with three of us opting for finance and two others for Operations. The lowest work-experience was fresher (me and one other guy from St. Xaviers Calcutta) and highest had a work-experience of four and a half years. The panel had 3 members (two interviewers, and one SPJIMR student who took notes of the interview). As soon as we entered the interview room, the madam asked as to why we looked tensed. I took the opportunity to say that we are not tensed but a little nervous. With this answer, all the eyes rested upon me. Then she asked as to why I was nervous. I replied that since that was my first group interview ever so I did not know what to expect from it. Her reply flabbergasted me. She said “Ok, let’s do a thing. We are mute spectators, you take the interview.” I had never expected this to happen but I kept my cool and for the next 10-15 minutes I took the interview of others. The panel was very impressed with my confidence and I was chosen along with the other two Operations guys for the next round. The second interview had 7 members but the questions were directed to each one of us in order and no question was thrown open to the group. Thus each one of us faced the panel directly for 10-15 minutes each. I faltered when I was asked questions about some of the famous alumni from my college and that made all the difference.
FMS interviews are very short and the questions they ask are based on either your GD, or your extempore or regarding the answer the previous candidate gave to the panel. My interview went pretty decent and I scored a very good score on that (FMS releases the scores after the interviews). But, since FMS gives 70% weightage to your CAT score and I was on the lower side as compared to other candidates, I ended up in the waiting list.
“I believe an aspirant should start preparing for the interview well in advance and from my experience in different interviews, interviewers ask different questions and you never know what you may encounter. Ideally, one should start at least 2 months before the interview. ”
Careers 360: How did you prepare for your PI? When and how an aspirant should seriously start preparing for PI?
Akshat Modi: To prepare for my PI, first of all I made a list of questions asked in the interview which one easily gets on the internet. I collected a comprehensive list of questions asked in MBA interviews, and prepared bullet point answers for them. I also gave many mock interviews in TIME where the experts grilled me. I and my friends in college who were MBA aspirants also made a group that regularly did GDs and took each other’s PIs. The final placement season in my college had also exposed me to a lot of interviews and thus, I had a good interview experience. I believe an aspirant should start preparing for the interview well in advance and from my experience in different interviews, interviewers ask different questions and you never know what you may encounter. Since, I also went till the final interview of ISB YLP program, I had started preparing for interviews as early as September which helped me a lot. Ideally, I believe one should start at least 2 months before the interview.
Writing Ability Test (WAT) experience
Careers 360: What was your topic for WAT? How did you write on the topic?
Akshat Modi: The topic of my WAT was “Since there have been talks on formation of Telangana, analyze on the socio-economic impact on the newly formed states in India.”
I broadly classified the three newly formed states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand on their relative sizes and respective parent state divide and then mentioned that since I myself hailed from Ranchi, Jharkhand I would focus only on Jharkhand and its transformation vis-Ã -vis socio-economic condition before and after its inception as a separate state.
I then explained the social and economic changes that I had witnessed in the area since last 15 years and how it has changed the lifestyle and behavior of people, and what is the hope it has given.
I supported my arguments with specific examples and finally concluded my viewpoint.
Careers 360: What was the allotted time and how quickly you completed your writing on the topic during the test?
Akshat Modi: The allotted time was 30 minutes and I took the entire available time.
“My approach on WAT was to clearly communicate my viewpoint on the given topic and to try and make the reader interested in reading it. I defined a proper structure in the beginning and gave the proper roadmap as to what I wanted to convey. Usage of simple language and short sentences was something I focused upon.”
Careers 360: What was your approach on WAT?
Akshat Modi: My approach on WAT was to clearly communicate my viewpoint on the given topic and to try and make the reader interested in reading it. I defined a proper structure in the beginning and gave the proper roadmap as to what I wanted to convey. Usage of simple language and short sentences was something I focused upon.
“My preparation for WAT: After I wrote an article I would mail that article to 3 of my very close, able friends belonging to different domains (engineering, arts, and medicine). Also, I used to mail one article to my mentor and another to the mentor assigned by the IIMs. Their inputs always helped me and I always tried to incorporate their inputs into further articles.”
Careers 360: How did you prepare for your WAT?
Akshat Modi: WAT carries a huge weightage on one’s selection into an IIM and so I decided to prepare well for it (especially once I got a call for the process). After getting the call I made it a habit to write at least 5 articles per week. I defined my goals in terms of week and not day because I knew some of my prior commitments would prevent me from doing so and I had no intention of not adhering to the rules I make. After I wrote an article I would mail that article to 3 of my very close, able friends belonging to different domains (engineering, arts, and medicine). Also, I used to mail one article to my mentor from TIME and another to the mentor assigned by the IIMs. Their inputs always helped me and I always tried to incorporate their inputs into further articles. I strictly adhered to the clock with clear focus on first 5 minutes for thinking and last 5 minutes for conclusion. Continuous reading of articles in the newspaper and online was a must to maintain and improve the quality of the write-up. Also, I believe it is always advisable to support your arguments with facts and I tried to do the same and newspaper reading came in handy there.
Stay tuned to bschool.careers360.com for more topper interview on GD-PI-WAT for MBA admissions.
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According to some past year data, the cut off through CAT ranges between 85-90 percentile general category
But the safer score could be more than 90 percentile. As cut off may differ every year depending upon how many candidates appear the exam and difficulty level of the exam
Hope this helps
All the best
Hello student yes you've a very well academic background you'll definitely get admission in top MBA colleges if you've score good marks in CAT entrance examination and PI. But if your first aim was CA and you've clear till 2nd stage with good score I'll suggest you not to Quit now its okay if you get demotivated for some time but CA course need lot of patience and hard work you're just few step away to become a chartered accountant so ask yourself if you really want to quit or its something else.
Feel free to comment if you have any doubt
Indian Institute of Management have set criteria for calling candidates for Interview round to which 10th, 12th and Graduation marks contribute. The AR is very crucial for overall CAT score, which is calculated through 0.5*(10th marks) + 1.5*(12th marks) + 2.5*(Graduation marks). [for IIM Ahmadabad]
In your case, you need to score at least 99.5+ percentile in CAT written examination to be called for esteemed and old IIMs'.
Later to which, you will be facing WAP and Personal Interview round, and if you excel in all rounds, your admission would be successful.
Hello dear student,
there are so many places where you can gain knowledge from the experiences of the personalities from the industry directly. You can attend workshops organised by them and gain understanding of their experiences. Then you can attend their seminars , webinars etc . That ways will be easier and helpful. While you can also just Google it and read all about them.
To get admission in Alkesh Dinesh Mody through CAT exam you have to apply to the All India Quota seats in the cap round counseling process
So the cut off is around 90-95 percentile at that time as the seats are less in All India Quota
Feel free to ask doubts in comment section
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