Aspiring management students, who wish to make their way to the coveted Indian Institute of Management (IIM) have to undergo through personal interviews after they overcome the herculean task of clearing the Common Admission Test (CAT).

Those who are able to get admission to the IIMs, recall their interview as a memorable one, while those who are grilled and fail to make it to an IIM prefer to forget it. IIM Personal Interview Experiences by Careers360 showcase the forgettable and unforgettable experience of the students.


The personal interview round is the key stage of an IIM admission process. It is during this final round that the interview panel, at times, grills the candidate about his academic background, professional qualifications, and his general knowledge.


Vinayak Kudva, Head – PG India & Mumbai Region, IMS, on why PI is important says, “A personal interview is the last step to get to know the candidate well. Personality traits that cannot be uncovered through Entrance tests, GD or WAT are evaluated here. The selectors try to understand the candidate’s personality, his/her interests, motivation, aspirations etc.


If you are starting your preparation with the personal interview (PI) the experiences shared by the successful students of the IIMs will prove to be a boon.


The interesting PI rounds

Describing each IIM interview unique, Raghav Sehgal, on Quora, says that the interview process of each IIM varies. He opines, “Each one of my interviews was unique and different. I was asked stuff ranging from railway engines, cold war, and geopolitical issues resulting in WW3, cricket, cooking, my academics, entrepreneurship, ethics and what not. They want to know how genuine you are and whether you will be a better person with the education you get.”


Sharing an interesting experience of impressing the interviewer by unexpectedly responding to one of his questions, Anirban Mukherjee, IIM Calcutta says that at times what matters is just answering one of the random questions posed by the panel. Recalling the question, which proved to be a turning point and got him an admission in the IIM, Mukherjee says, “Panel: Name the other Republican candidates. Me: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush. Panel: (delivers a killer burn) Well you could have supported Bush because sometimes you beat around the bush. Interview over, and IIM Calcutta seat booked.”

Another Quora user, Parth Shah, presently studying at IIM Ahmedabad, talks about the response which turned the table in his favour. He shares, “Interviewer: So you play chess. Answer these questions as fast as possible. He had a tablet in front of him. He asked me 15 questions on chess from it which included some like, what is FIDE rating, how is it defined, Against whom Anand lost recently, Anand's rating, Carlsen's rating, my chosen first move, E4-C6 is called what, Fool's mate, Queen's gambit... I answered all questions correctly. “


Forgettable PIs at IIMs:

Sometimes the interviews to IIMs are a cake walk, while on other occasions, it proves to be a nightmarish experience. Sanath Sunny, who despite being selected in IIM Indore, was on tenterhooks till the final result was out as the interview panel grilled him.

Me: Opened the door to enter.

Interviewer: Just looked at me saying to come inside in angry faces.Don't you have any manners to close the door?
Me: Sorry sir. (went and closed the door)
Me: Good evening all, (Time: 4:05pm)
Interviewer: What are you talking? (Shouted again) Don't you know even difference b/w afternoon and evening?

Me: Converted the call after an hour-long grilling!

Syed Naser, 98 percentiler in CAT, states that interviews are at times a roller coaster ride. But one must always stay confident before the interview panel.

In one of his interviews he was asked a number of questions, to which he did not know the answers. He shares, “One of the interviews went off the course at the very beginning and that roller coaster was my worst experience. I was asked how is the President of India elected? What is the difference between a republic, democratic and sovereign country,? Discussion revolved around Telangana. I was asked about similarities between Chattisgarh and Telangana. One of the questions, which came out of the blue was the National Anthem of Bangladesh(I was asked this question as I had said that I love poetry)...I was completely taken aback as I had no clue about the answer to these questions.


Another candidate who shared his ordeal on Quora was Ankur Garg, who during an interview for IIM, Lucknow was asked if he was from an “Upadravi gotr’(‘Upadravi’means an anarchist). The term was used by Kiran Bedi, when she was competing against Arvind Kejriwal during the 2015 Delhi assembly elections.

P1 (in Hindi): Upadravi gotr ke ho kya?

(Translation: Are you from 'Upadravi gotr'?)

Me: Sorry sir, I didn't get that.

P2 (while going through my marksheets): Rehne do, isko samajh nahi aayega, 10th mein Hindi mein kam marks hain.

(Translation: He won't understand as he anyways has less marks in Hindi in Class 10th)

Me: Facepalm.

Amit Singh expresses his anguish on Quora on how the interview panel at IIM Lucknow gave him a tough time about his hobby ‘Ophiology.’ Despite answering the questions to his satisfaction level and getting positive acknowledgement from the panellists, Singh was rejected.

Though it is a dream for every candidate to make it to the prestigious institute, however, a rejection should not affect his or her confidence.  With the passage of time, it is the experience that you acquire while working.



Also Read:

PI- Dos and Donts

What B-schools look for in a Candidate

PI-WAT Topper Interview

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Showing 8300 out of 8300 Questions

I have 76% in 10th, 88% in 12th and 80% in graduation. Addition to that i have a 2 years work experience. How MUCH percentile do i need to score in cat to get a call from IIM ABC ?

Harshita Sharan Srivastava Student Expert 30th Mar, 2020

Hello Aspirant,

As per the details provided, you have decent academic record and its really good that you have 2 years of work experience. It'll give you an edge in selection process. Also, if you belong to general category, then to get a call from IIM A,B,C you should focus on getting a minimum of 98 percentile in cat.

All the best


Hlo....mam or sir! Im Rajlaxmi frm Odisha.. How to preparation for CAT ... during bba 2nd yr... how to crack CATexam ..

Prateek Sinha 30th Mar, 2020

Prepare for the syllabus according to the weight age of each section.  Give mock tests and improve upon your timing skills. if you join a coaching class it would be good as you will get a clearer idea.


why these exams are conducting

Aniket Sharma 29th Mar, 2020

hi lramprasad,

CAT is commencing on 25th November in 2020. So it does not need to get postponed/cancel due to corona virus. The situation should get better till November. So, we can't argue why CAT is conducting.

Please elaborate your query and provide more details so that we can help you better!!



Can i apply for MBA at JK Lakhmipat University if i have not given CAT?

Megha 29th Mar, 2020

Hello Abhishek !

Yes ,you can apply at JK Lakhmipat University if you have not given CAT , because as per their eligibility criteria for getting admission their the candidates must have appeared in CAT/MAT/ATMA/XAT/CMAT or any other national level entrance test.

In case the candidate has not appeared for any of the mentioned tests, they will have to appear in the JKLU Management Entrance Test (MET) to qualify for the programme.

So, you can apply there by appearing in their Entrance test.

Hope it helps !


What is the CAT exam pattern ?

Aashima Puri 29th Mar, 2020

Hello aspirant, hope you are doing well!

CAT ( Common admission test) is a very reputed entrance exam conducted by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) for admissions into various colleges for MBA. The duration of the exam is 3 hours for all the categories and 4 hours for the PwD category. The sectional duration for each section is 60 minutes each whereas it is 80 minutes for the candidates of the PwD category.

The total number of questions asked in the entrance exam are 100. It is a computer based examination.

Candidates lose 1 mark for each incorrect answer and gain 3 marks for every correct answer. No marks are deducted for the questions which the candidate didn't attempt.

The examination consists of 3 sections namely - Quantitative ability , Data interpretation & logical reasoning and Verbal ability and reading comprehension. These sections consists of 34,32 and 34 questions each respectively.

The candidates are not allowed to switch between the sections. He/she can move to the next section only after attempting the previous section which he/she was completing. Though, the candidates are allowed to switch between questions within the same section.

These were some of the main points to be kept in mind for the CAT exam.

Further you can go through this link to know everything about CAT exam.

Hope it helps! All the very best for your future endeavours!

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