How to crack GD/WAT PI rounds of top B-schools
Aditi Garg, 22 Feb 2019, #CAT
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How to crack GD PI WAT rounds of top B-schools - The Group Discussion, Personal Interview, and Written Ability Test are already underway, which makes it even more crucial to know the preparation tactics to ace each stage in order to and secure the final admission. While there is no fixed formula or strategy as to how to crack GD PI WAT rounds of top B-schools, prospective candidates can surely take the toppers’ guidance who can lead the way. As no particular syllabus is laid down for these rounds, one can expect anything to come their way and be prepared for it with a well-devised plan on how to prepare for GD PI WAT rounds. As the top B-schools have started declaring the shortlist, and the other institutes will soon declare the shortlist for the GD-PI-WAT rounds, the preparation must start at the earliest, and the time is now. Here, we share you with you topper tips on how to prepare for GD PI WAT rounds of IIMs.

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How to crack GD PI WAT rounds of top B-schools

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In this column, toppers from various B-schools including IIMs, IIFM Bhopal, and NMIMS Mumbai share their success mantras and how to prepare for GD PI WAT topics of top B-schools in India. Read them below.


IIM Shillong GD-PI Experience: Both, fluency of speech and cogent arguments are crucial, says Priyanshu Gupta

Striking the right balance of preparation alongwith a good attitude is the key to crack any GD-PI. For aspirants aiming for top B-schools in India, Careers360 brings to you the GD-PI experience of Priyanshu Gupta, a CAT 2017 topper, who secured admission in the prestigious IIM Shillong.

          

Careers360: What is the selection procedure at your B-school?

Priyanshu: We were initially shortlisted based on CAT on profile followed by Group Discussion and Personal Interview.


Careers360: What was your overall experience of attending the selection procedure of your B-School? Share in detail.

Priyanshu: The overall experience consisted of preparing till the last day to make sure that I leave no stone unturned.

On the day of the interview, I was relaxed as I had taken other interviews and felt confident about academic knowledge as well as current affairs. The document verification hardly took any time and I spent the time waiting for my interviews by interacting with other candidates and getting know what kind of prospective students I will be spending the next two years with.

The Group Discussion was collaborative and everyone got a chance to speak and present their ideas. During the interview, the interviews were not grilling and it took the form of a discussion, where they focussed on academics, current affairs as well as my personality and my outlook towards my career and life.

                   

Careers360: Which other B-Schools’ selection procedure did you appear for? How was your experience in other institutes vis a vis in your institute?

Priyanshu: I appeared for IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Lucknow as well. The interview was focuses on personal qualities and my hobbies in the case of IIM Lucknow where IIM Ahmedabad was more about knowing all the details, including the trivial ones about the topics of my interest. IIM Shillong was the most all-rounded one as it also included current affairs and asked me more open ended questions which tested my thought process instead of factual knowledge.

                   

Careers360: What was your WAT topic and how did you structure it? Did you find it easy or you had a difficult time writing it?

Priyanshu: For all my processes, I structured my WAT in the general essay format:

  • Introduction

  • Argument 1

  • Argument 2

  • Conclusion

                   

Careers360: How did you prepare for WAT? When did you start your preparations for PI-WAT rounds?

Priyanshu: I did not prepare separately for WAT process as my focus was on knowing about diverse topics which would be useful in both WAT and PI.

                   

Careers360: Do you think that a separate preparation strategy is required for WAT?

Priyanshu: A separate preparation strategy is not required but one should practice a few essays so that you can think on the spot if any abstract topic is provided and you have a basic structure in mind.


Careers360: Please share the WAT topics which you were asked during the admission rounds last year?

Priyanshu: The topics that I have been asked during my processes are:

  • One plus one is not equal to two

  • Order or chaos? Which leads to more welfare?

  • How can Indian Sports be promoted to reach the level of cricket?    

  • Can there be peace between India and Pakistan?

  • Case Study      

                   

Careers360: How should one tackle a WAT topic, if s/he does not have any knowledge about it?

Priyanshu: One should relate it to a topic he or she is aware about. They should use the learnings from one’s own life and try to implement them in the given scenario.

                   

Careers360: What must be the approach, Dos and Don’ts for WAT?

Priyanshu: One of the essential things required for the WAT is to keep the language simple. The test is of your argument and not the English, but at the same time ensuring that grammatical consistency is maintained throughout the passage.

One suggestion is that the writer must give a structure to the passage and not write it in a format where it seems that it has been written without giving the topic a proper thought first.

                   

Careers360: Do you think there are some time management skills required for a student to write a complete structured WAT?

Priyanshu: Time Management is essential as an incomplete WAT could be disastrous. One should practice a few WAT questions in order to roughly divide the time between forming the arguments and then writing them in a structured manner.

Careers360: How was your personal interview experience? How big was the panel and what were your feelings while facing them?

Priyanshu: The panel consisted of two interviewers who were relaxed, providing comfort and ease to the candidates.


Careers360: Among all the interviews you have appeared in, which one was the best and why? Share your best PI experience with us.

Priyanshu: In my best interview, I was asked to defend my WAT topic, which was about choice between chaos and order, and how order actually leads to a lower welfare state. My answer was that order was like fixed systems in economics and lead to generation of deadweight loss whereas chaos revolves around the equilibrium level for the whole world’s welfare. The interviewers appreciated the analogy and started discussing my weaknesses and were quick to refute them, making me dig deeper for what I think I need to change about myself.

The discussion moved on to academics where they discussed motivational theories with me, not only asking me to explain each of them but also my perspectives towards them and which one I would like to use as a manager.

Discussing my hobby, which is reading, they discussed philosophy with me and went on to discuss Plato, Socrates and Aristotle and how each of them differ in their thoughts even though all of them were contemporaries.


Careers360: What were the questions which you found most difficult to answer? What were your answers to those questions?

Priyanshu: I was asked about the valuations and future outlook of the auto industry and which stock I would suggest to the interviewers. Since I had rough estimate, I provided an outline and mentioned that a detailed analysis needs to be conducted about the growth and revenue projections and the current reason for higher valuations in the equity market.


Careers360: How did you handle the questions for which you had no answer? Was the panel rude or easy on you?

Priyanshu: My simple answer was that I am not aware about the answer. The panel appreciated that I am not beating around the bush and moved on the next question.


Careers360: What were the most interesting questions you were asked? Please share your answers as well.

Priyanshu: I found one question particularly interesting. They asked me, since my sister owns a fashion start-up, I was asked why do I not help her instead of doing my MBA? Is it because I believe that siblings can never work together?

My answer was that I do believe that siblings can work together, it is just that me and my sister have not planned to. Moreover, I will be helping my sister in whatever capacity I can but I am sure my sister is capable of handling the management on her own and will ask for my help if and when she requires it.

I was also asked my views on Atheism and if I think theistic people are wrong. My answer was that I fail to understand the rational motive behind belief and that is something that I wish to understand by reading more about the topic.


Careers360: How is an IIM interview different from a non-IIM yet top B-School interview?

Priyanshu: One key difference that I realised during my interviews was that IIMs were less focussed on the technical profile and wanted candidates to have thoughts and ideas. During each of my interviews for IIMs, the technical and HR questions were followed with discussions which revolved around testing my attitude towards issues that need to be solved and how proactive I am towards these issues.


Careers360: How did you prepare yourself for PI? What were the PI questions that you searched for your preparations?

Priyanshu: Instead of searching questions from other people, I focussed by preparing my topics of interests such as reading. I also focussed on current happening through newspaper and publications such as Economic and Political Weekly. Being from a finance background, my focus was on answering the technical questions but also emphasising that I am well-read and love discussing a plethora of topics.


Careers360: What factors or qualities, you think the PI panel looks for in a candidate?

Priyanshu: The quality that is looked for the most is curiosity. The same is tested through questions about hobbies and interests. It is important because the B-School environment provides you enough opportunities outside the classroom but one must be driven to take up these opportunities.

Being a management student, communication skills are important and the interviews look at not only the fluency of speech but whether the arguments are cogent or not.


Careers360: Was there any embarrassing moment for you/or a question you think that was difficult or impossible to answer? What was your reaction that time?

Priyanshu: One of the unconventional questions that I faced during the interview process was:

“What do you think about?”

Having been used to questions which usually tested my factual knowledge or my opinion about an event, this question made me pause and think due to its open-ended nature. My reaction was to pause and think about what drives me and makes me study every day. I think the purpose of the question was to know whether I have independent thought and indulge in thinking about bigger issues.


Careers360: What was your GD topic?

Priyanshu: The Group Discussion was based on a case wherein a dam was needed to be constructed but it would adversely affect the local community as well submerge a temple in the valley. We had to discuss whether the construction work should be undertaken and if yes, how should the issues of the local community be solved.


Careers360: How many candidates were there in your group?

Priyanshu: The group consisted of 8 candidates.


Careers360: What was your approach towards the topic?

Priyanshu: My approach was to initially describe the problem and develop the context. As the discussion moved ahead, I countered some of the point and gave alternate solutions, including developing an alternate society as well as employment generation for the community during the construction.


Careers360: How much did you contribute towards in discussion/activity/exercise?

Priyanshu: I was an active part of the discussion as I provided points towards both the arguments and also participated in weighing these points against each other in reaching the conclusion.


Careers360: Did the discussion/activity reach a conclusion?

Priyanshu: The discussion did not reach a conclusion as we decided that construction of the dam was more feasible but further analysis and campaigning is required to know the detailed awareness of the people.


Careers360: What was the overall experience of this part?

Priyanshu: The overall experience was positive as even though there was debate, the discussion was collaborative and did not devolve into a fish market. Case analysis was an appreciated part as it tested the thought process and team work of the candidates rather than the factual knowledge.


IIFM Bhopal PI-WAT Experience: Correlate the keywords to tackle a WAT Topic, says Sneha Sukare

Careers360 brings to you the PI-WAT experience of Sneha Sukare who secured admission in the prestigious IIFM Bhopal. Backed with confidence, Sneha had a clear strategy in mind during her selection rounds at IIFM Bhopal. She emphasises that confidence, common sense, calmness, and team work are what the panelists look for in a candidate. She prepared herself by knowing more about IIFM, and knowing about the areas in which IIFM works and what are the opportunities in those areas to remain prepared for some probable questions. Read on to know more about Sneha’s experience at IIFM Bhopal.


Careers360: What is the selection procedure at your B-school?

Sneha: Candidates are shortlisted for interview and WAT on the basis of CAT/XAT score.


Careers360: What was your overall experience of attending the selection procedure of your B-School. Share in detail.

Sneha: Even though CAT/XAT was the criteria for the first stage they gave importance to WAT which reflects one’s skill to present his/her thoughts better. PI was also comfortable enough to express oneself. The weightage given to each rounds was also reasonable enough.


Careers360: What was your WAT topic and how did you structure it? Did you find it easy or you had a difficult time writing it?

Sneha: My WAT topic was “Is referendum necessary while taking strategic decisions?”

I applied a word-to-word approach. I started with what referendum actually means and then defined strategic decisions. I took two conditions - one where referendum was important and another where it was worthless. In the end I tried to conclude that it depends upon the condition we can not ignore it completely.


Careers360: How did you prepare for WAT? When did you start your preparations for PI-WAT rounds?

Sneha: I followed the study material given by my coaching institute. I started preparing just after my CAT exam. Before CAT exam I used to read different books also.


Careers360: Do you think that a separate preparation strategy is required for WAT?

Sneha: Yes, according to me it is difficult to cover all the aspects of your topic in short period of time and in proper manner. So practice of WAT is important.


Careers360: How should one tackle a WAT topic, if s/he does not have any knowledge about it?

Sneha: Keywords in the question can give us a little idea about any topic. By correlating them one can tackle a WAT topic.


Careers360: What must be the approach, Dos and Don’ts for WAT?

Sneha: I would say that while writing WAT, one or two examples are enough to substantiate your essay.


Careers360: Do you think there are some time management skills required for a student to write a complete structured WAT?

Sneha: Yes, before writing WAT one should make a row structure of your topic which will help you to write in systematic manner.


Careers360: How was your personal interview experience? How big was the panel and what were your feelings while facing them?

Sneha: Interview was quite tough, interviewer gave me situation and asked to find out a solution if I was to be in that situation. They asked questions like why do you want to join this college, what are your strengths and weakness, how will you overcome your weakness. 

There were two interviewers.


Careers360: What were the questions which you found most difficult to answer? What were your answers to those questions?

Sneha: A question on 10th grade chemistry seemed particularly difficult. I was not able to recall some terms even though I knew the concept.


Careers360: How did you handle the questions for which you had no answer? Was the panel rude or easy on you?

Sneha: I was honest at that time. I simply told them I did not know the answer and they were fine with it.


Careers360: What were the most interesting questions you were asked? Please share your answers as well.

Sneha: One of the most interesting questions was “Would you be able to survive in rural area and how?”

I answered I lived in rural area for 10 years and I think I can connect with people easily.


Careers360: How did you prepare yourself for PI? What were the PI questions that you searched for your preparations?

Sneha: I prepared myself by knowing more about IIFM, thinking about how my graduation subject would help me in pursuing PGDFM in IIFM, knowing about the areas in which IIFM works and what are the opportunities in those areas.


Careers360: What factors or qualities, you think the PI panel looks for in a candidate?

Sneha: According to me confidence, common sense, calmness, and team work are what the panelists look for in a candidate.


NMIMS Mumbai GD-PI Experience: Level of knowledge, content and communication skills are vital, says Anjana Nair

Hailing from Vadodara, Gujarat, Anjana Nair found her place in the city of dreams and it turned out to be truly memorable for her. After completing her BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Anjana headed to NMIMS Mumbai to pursue MBA in Pharmaceutical Management. 

Backed with confidence, Anjana was ready to face the questions and challenges shot at her in the selection rounds of NMIMS Mumbai. From sitting in a room full of candidates in her GD group who came from different parts of the country with the diverse educational background just like her, to questions which left her mind-boggling, her experience is indeed interesting. Her way of answering each question left her panel and peers impressed, which is why this inter. Know how she tackled each situation at the GD-PI rounds of NMIMS Mumbai and her worth-reading responses in this interview below.


Careers360: What is the selection procedure at your B-school?

Anjana: I am a first year student of MBA Pharmaceutical Management. Initially, we have a Written Aptitude to test one’s basic knowledge regarding Pharmacology and Biology in general. After the same, there is a Group Discussion, which goes on for about 10-15 minutes. Topics can range from the happenings of the Pharma Industry to any other Current Awareness topics. This is followed by a Personal Interview.


Careers360: What was your overall experience of attending the selection procedure of your B-School. Share in detail.

Anjana: I had a great experience during the entire procedure. The various levels of the process were clearly demarcated and well planned. I live in Vadodara, Gujarat and I have done BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Maharaja Sayajirao University. It was my first time in the city of dreams and it turned out to be truly memorable. From getting all the documents ready for D-Day, to coming out of the interview room with a glorious smile, everything was great about the experience. The process started early in the morning, where we were first given a Written Test on basic biology and pharmacology, followed by a group discussion and then a personal interview. 

The other candidates in my GD group also came from different parts of the country with a diverse educational background, which made the discussion even more interesting. The interview panel was very encouraging and had a friendly demeanor, which made me answer the questions without any hesitation or nervousness. Overall, the process was very enriching and a memorable one.


Careers360: Which other B-Schools’ selection procedure did you appear for? How was your experience in other institutes vis a vis in your institute?

Anjana: I had attended the selection procedure for TAPMI, Symbiosis and Birla. I had a similar experience is all these institutes. Due to my thorough preparation, I managed to present myself well for all the interviews that I had attended.


Careers360: How was your personal interview experience? How big was the panel and what were your feelings while facing them?

Anjana: My panel consisted of 2 members – both for Group Discussion and Personal Interview. I was confident before entering my PI as I could put forward some relevant points during my Group Discussion. The interview started with them asking about my family background and educational details. I had hand-written my Statement of Purpose (SOP). I was asked about the reason for the same. I had penned about my desire to enter the Pharmaceutical Industry and the role that I would like to establish myself in. 

The questions then focused on why I chose to be part of this field and how I will tackle the challenges. I was asked to explain in detail what my SOP comprised of. Later, they asked me to explain the social and political implications of Brexit to the UK and the rest of the world. Then the interview continued with some questions regarding Genetics and Microbiology (I had mentioned that I had these subjects as part of my curriculum). Towards the end they enquired about my father’s company and asked me about the implications of the recent acquisition.


Careers360: Among all the interviews you have appeared in, which one was the best and why? Share your best PI experience with us.

Anjana: My best interview was in Symbiosis, Pune. I felt that the interview procedure was more like a conversation. They asked me what the recent news was. I explained the Tamil Nadu political fiasco in detail, which seemed to have impressed the panel members. When asked about the reason of switching my stream from Pure Science to that of Management, I elaborated how Cell and Molecular Biology has helped me to be insightful and how it developed my abilities to think out of the box.


Careers360: What were the questions which you found most difficult to answer? What were your answers to those questions?

Anjana: I was asked how I can act as an efficient link between the R&D Sector and the consumers of the Pharmaceutical Industry (based on my SOP). I explained the roles of a Brand Manager and how he/she can efficiently monitor the value chain of a drug from its manufacturing to its ultimate consumption. I also talked about what role Marketing can play in this scenario.

For my interview in TAPMI, I was asked to sell a pen in as many ways as possible. I focused on many features like the quality and overall look of the pen, the ink, price, weight, grip etc. I also mentioned some add-on qualities like LED, storage device, scanner etc.


Careers360: How did you handle the questions for which you had no answer? Was the panel rude or easy on you?

Anjana: The atmosphere set was definitely for building pressure to test how well one can tackle those tough questions and stay composed. When asked about the major challenges faced by the R&D sector (as I had mentioned the same in my SOP) in the Pharma Industry, I was unable to give a concrete response. I clearly indicated that I was unaware and I assured that I definitely will look it up to realize the importance of the same.


Careers360: What were the most interesting questions you were asked? Please share your answers as well.

Anjana: I was asked to compare the human body to the Earth. Though I could make some initial correlations, I found it difficult to dig deeper. I explained how the blood vessels that carry blood to each organ is like the atmosphere that surrounds and connects us. Then I elucidated how the transverse plane of our body is analogous to the equator. I also added the concept of the dynamic nature of both the body and the Solar system i.e how everything is constantly moving.


Careers360: How did you prepare yourself for PI? What were the PI questions that you searched for your preparations?

Anjana: Before initiating the preparation, I introspected what exactly I wanted from my life and jotted down the key points. I took two days to dig deep, think and write the answers for all the probable questions that could be asked during a PI. I also consulted my professors to check the document that I had prepared and requested them to give their valuable feedback.


Careers360: What factors or qualities, you think the PI panel looks for in a candidate?

Anjana: Attitude is a major influencing factor during an interview. The panel members look how composed one is when asked a question to which the answer is not known. One is also judged upon the level of knowledge and content that one can bring in the conversation. In addition, the way one communicates is extremely vital.


Careers360: Has there been an embarrassing moment for you/or a question you think that was difficult or impossible to answer? What was your reaction at that time?

Anjana: There definitely was an embarrassing moment during my interview at NMIMS. The interview was about to end and the panel members asked me about the history of the University where I had done my graduation. Unfortunately, I was not able to recollect the same. I ended up mentioning how the University got its name.


Careers360: What was your GD topic?/GA theme?

Anjana: My GD Topic was, “With respect to the Pharmaceutical Industry, India is 3rd in Volume and 13th in Value. Comment”


Careers360: How many candidates were there in your group?

Anjana: There were 5 members in my group


Careers360: What was your approach towards the topic?

Anjana: I initially penned down what exactly the term ‘Value’ meant. Then my approach was to decide the major reasons why India is lacking in Value and then formulate reasons to support my claim. I continued the discussion with the possible solutions to overcome the issue.


Careers360: How much did you contribute towards in discussion/activity/exercise?

Anjana: I contributed a great deal. While I patiently listened to the others' points of view, I made sure my own was heard. I spoke eloquently, for a majority of the time allotted and put forth the key points which I felt could drive the GD to a particular direction. I also backed up my points with statistics.


Careers360: Did the discussion/activity reach a conclusion?

Anjana: Though many points were put forward regarding the major reasons and possible solutions of India being ranked 13th, the discussion did not reach a solid conclusion.


Careers360: What was the overall experience of this part?

Anjana: Overall, the GD was conducted smoothly. I did not find difficulty in thinking about my views on the topic, and the entire process was easier than what I expected. I also realized the importance of listening to my fellow candidates’ opinions.


IIM Raipur PI-WAT Experience: WAT requires practice to express ideas cogently, says Saumith Dahagam

Saumith Dahagam attended the selection process at not just one, but a wide range of top B-schools across the country. From IIMs to non-IIMs like SP Jain, MDI Gurgaon and IIT Delhi, the CAT 2016 topper cracked the selection rounds and made his way through the top B-schools to finally secure admission in IIM Raipur. In this series of GD-PI-WAT experiences, Careers360 brings to you the account of Saumith Dahagam, who shares his rich and insightful tips on how to crack PI and WAT rounds of top management schools.


Careers360: What is the selection procedure at your B-school?

Saumith: The selection procedure at IIM Raipur involves two stages,

    • Firstly, the shortlisting of candidates for WAT and PI based on the CAT scores

    • Second-the WAT and PI process



Careers360: What was your overall experience of attending the selection procedure of your B-School? Share in detail.

Saumith: My selection process took place on February 28, 2016 around 4:10 pm. It was conducted at Monarch Luxur Hotel, Infantry Road, Bengaluru.

The selection process was through CAP process (WAT and PI). My WAT topic was “Dynastic power transfer in Politics and Business”. The word limit given to us was 300 words and time limit as 15 minutes.

I started by giving examples from ancient times where kings transferred power to their kin and so the traders in business. I gave contemporary examples, explained the reasons for dynastic power transfer and also mentioned the exceptional cases. Since the topic neither questions nor asks about opinions, I adopted a holistic approach and presented multiple perspectives in a logical manner.

During the personal interview, there were 3 panellists in the room, one male(P3) in front of me and the other two were ladies.


Careers360: Which other B-Schools’ selection procedure did you appear for? How was your experience in other institutes vis a vis in your institute?

Saumith: I attended selection process for IIM Ahmedabad, S P Jain, MDI Gurgaon, IIT Delhi.

IIT Delhi and MDI Gurgaon. IIM Ahmedabad interview was more focussed on General Knowledge and Entrepreneurial spirit. S P Jain process involved group interview, where I gave interview along with five other candidates It was focussed on preferred stream in MBA (Marketing, Finance etc).


Careers360: What was your WAT topic and how did you structure it? Did you find it easy or you had a difficult time writing it?

Saumith: My WAT topic was “Dynastic power transfer in Politics and Business”, I structured it in a logical manner by going from generic to specific aspects, using a neutral tone. I felt the topic was easy and within my knowledge.


Careers360: How did you prepare for WAT? When did you start your preparations for PI-WAT rounds?

Saumith: I prepared for the WAT by practising essay writing online and offline, getting it evaluated by my peers. I browsed and collected sample articles online. My preparation for WAT-PI started on the day I received my CAT results.


Careers360: Do you think that a separate preparation strategy is required for WAT?

Saumith: Although, the knowledge levels required for the WAT and PI is same, the strategy should be different as WAT requires writing in logical and cogent style. It requires more practice and evaluation by experts.


Careers360: Please share the WAT topics which you were asked during the admission rounds last year?

Saumith: “Dynastic power transfer in Politics and Business” – CAP

“Joint ventures in Family Business” – IIM Ahmedabad

“Problems Unite and Religion Divides” – MDI Gurgaon


Careers360: How should one tackle a WAT topic, if s/he does not have any knowledge about it?

Saumith: WAT topics are usually general in nature, but, sometimes it is possible that you might not even be aware of the topic. In such cases, you need to identify the key words in the topic and try to make content based on the key words. WAT topics sometimes ask for a critical analysis of issue or sometimes ask our opinion. One should carefully distinguish the topic, and based on the relevant keywords provide the examples in a structured manner.


Careers360: What must be the approach, Dos and Don’ts for WAT?

Saumith: Dos for WAT-

        1) Maintain Logical and coherent structure.

        2) Write in a neat and legible manner

        3) Provide numbers, data, examples

        4) Go from Generic to specific

        5) Repeat the core idea before concluding the essay


Don’ts for WAT-

        1) Don’t provide irrelevant examples, analogies.

        2) Don’t provide too many examples, a maximum of four examples in the article would suffice

        3) Avoid silly grammar mistakes.


Careers360: Do you think there are some time management skills required for a student to write a complete structured WAT?

Saumith: Yes, WAT requires a lot of practice, so that you can complete expressing your ideas cogently during the process. Although, time management skills are not a prerequisite for a good WAT, practice is must.


Careers360: How was your personal interview experience? How big was the panel and what were your feelings while facing them?

Saumith: PI  –There were 3 Panellists in the room, One Male(P3) in front of me and the other two are ladies(one to the left(P1) and other to the right(P2))

P1: Took my file and was browsing through my file.

P3: Tell me about yourself?

Me: Gave a brief introduction about my background, internship, interests etc.

P2: Asked me about types of patents in pharmaceutical industry, drugs, regulations etc.

P1: Asked about IPO of Narayana Hrudyala

Me: I had no clue about it, honestly answered that I didn’t know

P2: Asked me about cardiac stents, government capping of stent prices, and effectiveness of the policy.

Me: Explained them in detail the major players in the market(foreign and local), the reasons for high prices of stents, margins earned by middlemen in the supply chain, and also why the policy is ineffective.

P1: Asked me about my interests.

Me: I mentioned I like reading Indian Mythic Fiction Novels.

P1: Who are the immortals in Hindu Mythology

Me: Answered

P1: Who is Rishi Markandeya

Me: Answered

P2: Asked me which stream would I choose in MBA

Me: I answered I would choose Marketing


They thanked me so did I, the interview ended.

There were few questions which I was unable to answer, for which I honestly said I did not know. For those questions I knew, I answered everything, putting my best efforts, expressing my complete knowledge on the topic,.I was feeling tensed in the beginning, but, later I started giving answers confidently. Overall, it was great experience.


Careers360: Among all the interviews you have appeared in, which one was the best and why? Share your best PI experience with us.

Saumith: My best interview experience was for IIM Ahmedabad. Interview process was in Hyderabad. There were two panellists(both young males in their 30s)

P1: Tell me about yourself

Me: I answered


P2: Asked about Personalized medicine

Me: Made few guesses and answered


P1: What Business newspapers do you study?

Me: Economic Times


P2: Tell us about three recent major business events.

Me: I answered Brexit, H1B visa issue, Tata Sons-Cyrus Mistry issue


P2: Asked me in detail about the Cyrus Mistry issue.

Me: I gave a diplomatic answer based on knowledge obtained from studying Economic Times, explained the reasons for the tussle from a business and economic perspective.


P1 was very impressed: Asked me how would I convince ISIS chief to quit terrorism.

Me: I said that it is against the core tenets of their religion and also it is not a sustainable strategy because in future there is a chance of other organizations to come into power with use of greater technology and powerful weapons.


P2: Asked me about three novel startup ideas.

Me: I gave few ideas, some of them were already in existence. This went upto 20 minutes.


My overall Interview was 40-45 minutes long. I was tested on my General Knowledge and Situation Handling.


Careers360: What were the questions which you found most difficult to answer? What were your answers to those questions?

Saumith: I found the most difficult questions in my MDI interview. They asked me read a newspaper, and asked questions based on it. They asked me questions like “Why Ola is going for VC funding?” I answered that they need to expand into Tier-2 towns quickly and penetrate more into the market. They were not satisfied and started questioning further. I was unable to answer more on the topic and was silent for few minutes.


Careers360: How did you handle the questions for which you had no answer? Was the panel rude or easy on you?

Saumith: It is quite common that you would not be knowing answer to each question in an interview process. One should not be desperate to answer every question. Just like in CAT exam where we try to attempt questions which are easy and doable and thereby, maximise score. In an interview one should be both diplomatic and honest in answering the questions. The questions for which I did not have an answer, I simply said it. The Panel was not rude, but sometimes they tried to put me under pressure.


Careers360: How is an IIM interview different from a non-IIM yet top B-School interview?

Saumith: Apart from IIMs, I gave interviews at MDI and IIT Delhi, MDI interview was more focussed on business acumen and knowledge, IIT Delhi interview was simple, they asked about my background , interests etc. IIM interviews were balanced with focus on general knowledge of the candidate.


Careers360: How did you prepare yourself for PI? What were the PI questions that you searched for your preparations?

Saumith: I prepared by reading articles related to WAT-PI experiences on Quora and relevant websites. I used to read newspaper daily, I selected 30 Indian and Global events/issues and collected articles on those events. Some of them included Jallikattu, GST, Brexit, NJAC etc, this helped me phrase my content during my PI, and confidently express my ideas during interviews.


Careers360: What factors or qualities, you think the PI panel looks for in a candidate?

Saumith: PI panel looks for candidate who has a clear idea about his short term and long term goals and why He/She wants to pursue MBA. They don’t expect a candidate to be expert in management, but the candidate should have a basic idea about what he/she is going to learn in MBA.

Genuineness and equanimity is much appreciated. One should know about their own strengths and weaknesses and should be able to support it with suitable examples during interview.


Careers360: Was there any embarrassing moment for you/or a question you think that was difficult or impossible to answer? What was your reaction that time?

Saumith: For difficult questions I requested them for some time to think and phrase my ideas. I tried to be pleasant and control my anxiety while answering such questions.

 

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