Personal Interview Tips: Dos and Don’ts
Urvashi Dalal, 14 Feb 2017, #CAT
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Personal Interview is a crucial stage in the admission process at every top B-school as this stage makes or breaks your chances of admissions. During the personal interview round, the interview panel evaluates spontaneity in the character; confidence level and stress management capabilities of a candidate.

Personal Interview (PI) is the last among the key components of the selection process at B-schools which includes Group Discussion (GD) with Writing Ability Test (WAT). While many B-schools have replaced GD with WAT or other components like Group Exercise or Case Discussion in the final stages of their selection process, Personal Interview has remained intact as the key component of the selection process during MBA admissions. Careers360 presents key factors the students must follow to impress the interview panel, and the Dos and Don’ts of a personal interview.

Experts suggest that before appearing for a PI, interviewees must know how to tackle witty and twisted questions of the interview panel and impress them by a smart reply. So, what do interviewers look into while interviewing a candidate?

 

Vinayak Kudva, Head – PG India & Mumbai Region, IMS, 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 candidates’ personality, his/her interests, motivation, aspirations etc.”

 

How to get started with PI prep?

There is no particular methodology to prepare for PI as the more spontaneous and clear you are, better would be your performance. Since PI rounds will also include questions on your graduation subjects, work experience, current affairs etc., an overall preparation would be necessary.

 

Kudva mentions, “The selectors try to understand the kind of person the candidate is, what all are his/her interests, motivation, aspirations etc.”

Approach for PI:

Get answers to the common questions - To start with, list down the most common questions which are asked in the PI rounds. Introspection is very important for the PI preparation. As Himaghna Banerjee a student of SPJIMR Mumbai says, “The important part of the preparation for PI involves structuring the answers to the common personality related questions”.

Sandeep Manudhane, Chairman, PT Education suggests asking the following questions to yourself as part of the introspection exercise.

  • Who are you?

  • What do you want from life?

  • How far have you come so far?

  • What excites you really?

  • What depresses you to death?

  • What do you like about your country?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • What would you really like to become one day?

  • How much money do you want to make?

  • Did you really study? Prove it.

  • Which movies do you like? Why?

  • Can you sing / dance? Do it.

“The PI section of any IIM or B-school is structured in a way which can test the candidates on different parameters like, Current affairs, Educational background, and Personal Interests, or maybe a general discussion on the GD experience and your goals”, shares Jyotsna Chadha of IIM Rohtak.

 

Have clarity on your MBA aspirations – The inevitable question in the PI round would be ‘Why MBA’. Prepare the answer carefully so that it does not sound like a mugged up answer. It must be an honest answer to be given with conviction. As Gautam Puri, Career Launcher Expert mentions, “One needs to be honest with oneself and one need to think objectively to the basic questions. There is no right or wrong answer in an interview; it depends on how the candidate offers his responses. The interviewers expect honest answers without any bluffing.” 
   

Apart from the ‘Why MBA’ question, also prepare for other pertinent aspects like ‘Where do you want to see yourself 5 or 10 years down the line?’, ‘Why do you want to take admission in this B-School?’ etc. “Also know a bit about what to expect in the B-school and the different specializations offered by the B-school. B-schools desire mature students who are able to think independently and are tolerant of differing views on an issue. You should be able to recognize the pros and cons of any issue,” says Kudva.


What does the PI test?

In the PI rounds, the interviewers get up close and personal with you. You can be asked anything under the sun, but to streamline, you can refer to your CV which includes your education, work experience (if any) followed by your hobbies, likes, dislikes, opinion on current affairs and last but not the least, your performance in the GD and WAT rounds. The interviewers can very well ask you to justify your views or actions displayed in those rounds.

Strategies to crack PI

Based on Experts analysis and toppers insights, below are a few strategies to crack the PI rounds of a B-schools management admissions.

A. Reflect confidence: During Personal Interview, you should reflect confidence while answering to different questions. Interviewers often tend to cross-question you even on your right answers just to check your confidence on your own answers. Amir Khan from IIM Rohtak shares a question being asked in the interview which was to check his positive approach and confidence. “There was a question on estimating the number of 100 rupee notes in all the ATMs of the country. I found this question a bit tough since I was not aware of the method of answering such guesstimate questions at that time but it was fun analysing the same. In the end, I understood that it was not the answer that mattered but the approach I took to arrive to an answer”, he said.

 

B. Be honest to yourself and interviewers: During PI, you are also tested for integrity of your basic characteristics like honesty. Your honest approach during your interview also makes your responses natural. Experts suggest that you should be fully prepared with arguments to justify whatever you think is right. Toppers also suggest that it is better to skip the question which you are not sure about. An answer which you yourself are not convinced may invite unnecessary counter questions which may embarrass you further and hamper your chance in Personal Interview. Jay Mehta of JBIMS says, “A candidate’s honest nature and confidence is the key. There were some ‘I don’t knows’ during the interview, which the panel appreciated as I was honest towards their questions”.

 

C.  Be Polite: Your politeness during the interview also brings positive impression on your interviewers.

In some cases, while you might be correct with your answers, you must not out rightly reject interviews’ views to your response. Instead, you should listen to them carefully and put forward your response with a better argument. Experts suggest that sometimes, interviewers may also be wrong with some information, but you should not directly point it out. Instead, you should try to convince them politely about the correct information.

 

D.   Drive the interview towards your strength: While the questions asked in the interview may vary from candidate to candidate, it is important for you to gradually invite the questions from your areas of strength as the interview progress. “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,” Soham Barman, a B-school student, shares.

E.  Be thorough with what you write in your CV: During the interview, interviewers also tend to pick questions based on the information that your CV carries. Interviewers expect you to be fully prepared with minute details on any information that you provide in your CV. Prakriti Sharma of IIM Kozhikode says, “I think it is extremely important to be thorough with everything that is written on CV. It is alright to not be able to answer some questions with regard to current affairs and academics but the inability to answer questions about oneself is unpardonable. 

 

“I believe the most important thing is to be confident when you answer questions during your PI. Prepare well for current affairs. Even if the first few PIs you appear for do not go as well as planned, do not get disheartened, and do not let that affect your performance anywhere else”, suggests Nitish Bagai of MDI Gurgaon about how to tackle and crack the PI rounds of B-School admissions. It is important to be thorough, confident and honest for a positive selection.

 

Also Read:

WAT-PI Tips: Relevance of career goals, Sincerity, Positivity keys to unlock an MBA seat, says VistaMind expert Arks Srinivas
 

Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:

What B-Schools look for in a Candidate?

GD-PI-WAT Topper Interview

Director Interviews

Top B-schools MBA Fee

Life @ B-School Campus

Top B-schools Admission Criteria

MBA Internship Series

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Questions related to CAT

Showing 7166 out of 7167 Questions
10 Views

Can I join IIM Ahmedabad using GMAT rather than going for CAT?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 14th Oct, 2019

Dear Akshat, CAT is exclusively conducted by the IIMs. So the selection for admission to any of the 20 IIMs is through CAT exam. Unfortunately no other score except for CAT score is accepted for IIM Ahmedabad. You can check their selection process at: https://www.iima.ac.in/web/pgp/apply/domestic/admission/selection-process

11 Views

i am in first year of graduation. please tell the correct time to prepare of CAT. Should i start preparing it from first year itself or from second year??

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 14th Oct, 2019
Rohan, every year, lakhs of students appear for CAT for admission in 20 IIMs and more than 1000 participating Institutions. Now the exam is not tough but to be able to score the percentile required for admission to IIMs and Top B schools is tough. So no time is too early for preparation. You should start preparing from the 1st year so that you can know how to manage time and also with practise you will know the short cuts or easier ways of solving problems. Here is the list of books for each section that can help you accelerate your preparation to ace the tests.

CAT Books For Quantitative Ability:
1.NCERT mathematics books (from 6th to 10th class) ::
These books are a good way to start if one needs to clear their basics and concepts. NCERT books are best to start your CAT Preparation with only if you have a lot of time before your exam date and need to brush up on concepts before solving advanced problems.

2.How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT (by Arun Sharma)
(publisher: Tata McGraw Hill)
This is a very popular book among CAT aspirants and really easy and simple to understand. This book also focuses on the basics first and has different levels of difficulties step by step.

3.Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations (by Abhijit Guha)
This book is quite comprehensive for various competitive exams, for both MBA aspirants and for those seeking jobs who need to prepare for the aptitude tests.
4.Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma
It is an extensive book for students aspiring to go to IIMs. It has a very simple, lucid and tailor made content revolving around CAT.

5.Quantitative Aptitude for CAT (by Nishit Sinha)
This book by Pearson focuses on in depth understanding of core topics for basic and advanced applications.


Verbal Ability Books For CAT:

1.How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT( by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay)
This book is good to brush up your verbal and reading comprehension skills. It covers three important topics: reading comprehension, verbal ability and verbal reasoning. It provides sufficient practice and mock papers for self-assessment.

2.Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension For The CAT( by Nishit Sinha)
This book by Pearson provides not only an exhaustive resource for verbal ability. It also includes numerous tests as well as integral problem solving techniques and approaches.

3.Word Power Made Easy (by Norman Lewis)
This is the go-to book to improve your vocabulary. It is not a book to be read but a book to work with daily to enrich your vocabulary.

4.High School Grammar and Composition( by Wren and Martin)
It is a very good book for people who want to improve their grammar skills. It helps to understand and conceptualise different aspects of grammar and it is a must have book for anyone with poor grasp on verbal ability or who wants to make up with the basics of english.

Read books from different genres
The ultimate key to improve your verbal ability is to read extensively and to read books from different genres. This ensures that when the time for reading comprehension comes you are well acquainted with different writing styles and topics. Reading extensively also improves your reading speeding over a period of time. There are no shortcuts here.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Books For CAT:

1.A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning( by R.S. Agarwal)
This CAT book by R.S. Agarwal is to start with the most basic reasoning problem as it is quite simple to understand. It is segregated into different sections such as logic, statements, inferences and arguments, assumptions, conclusions, course of actions, logical puzzles, etc.

2.How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT book (by Arun Sharma)
This book by Tata McGraw Hill contains all topics to be considered under Logical Reasoning for CAT as well as other entrance exams. Each topic is explained with solved examples followed by a series of problems with varied difficulty levels to solve which gives an individual enough practice for this section.

3.How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT book (by Arun Sharma)
This book focuses on all areas of Data Interpretation and Data Sufficiency. It provides and emphasizes on developing our calculations to get an edge with DI. This book also provides you with previous years questions, Model and Sample test papers.

4.Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT (by Nishit Sinha)
This book covers fundamental and advanced topics under the aforementioned section which are explained with the help of solved examples, case lets and exercises to do. It is useful for various other exams as well.

5.Data Interpretation (by Nishit Sinha)
Practice Book for CAT and Other MBA Entrance Examinations( by Nishit Sinha):
This book provides adequate practice and to sharpen the skills for Data Interpretation. It is also quite useful for other competitive exams like NMAT, GMAT, SNAP, XAT, CMAT, etc.

Another CAT Preparation material or book to be considered is Previous Years Solved CAT Paper:
This ensures that you are familiar with the kind of questions that are asked in CAT providing you an edge. They can be taken as mocks and the analysis of the same can provide you with great insights for your preparation.

It is always better to read newspaper for CURRENT G.K. than trying to grasp all info at once. Some of the newspaper sources which you can use to prepare this section are The Hindu, Financial Express, and The Economist.

In case, you dont like reading newspaper daily, you can go with Manorama Yearbook or Current Affairs Yearly by Arihant for General Knowledge which is published every year.

In order to prepare for STATIC G.K. section, you need to broaden your overall scope in following sections: Sports, Politics, Entertainment, Biographies, etc. So, for this, you can use Static General Knowledge by A.P. Bhardwaj and S. Chands Advanced Objective General Knowledge.
19 Views

I am a newly qualified chartered accountant presently started working. My aim is to study mba in iim. Please tell me the procedure which I have to follow to make my journey for cat 2020 successful.

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 14th Oct, 2019

Dear Sai, IIMs look for Diversity factor in Academics. They have a special rating scale for Professional courses like MBBS,BDS, CA, etc. We shall help you with the admission process of IIM Ahmedabad just as an example to show how does the selection process work. There are 3 sections in CAT: QA, DILR, VRC. IIM A has released its 2019 cut off percentiles. Only those Candidates who have scored this percentiles will be shortlisted for further rounds. The cut offs are as follows:

VRC          DILR       QA       Overall

General                   70            70          70            80

OBC-Transgender 65            65          65            75

SC                           60             60           60           70

ST                           50             50           50          60

PWD                      60             60           60          70

PWD-ST                50             50            50          60

On an average IIMs need a cut off 90 percentile and more for admission to their colleges. You can check the complete selection process of IIM A at: https://www.iima.ac.in/web/pgp/apply/domestic/admission/selection-process

Now based on these cut offs top 5 percentile from each Category will be short listed for WAT and PI. So inorder to be able to score these cut offs, you need to know the exam pattern and marking scheme.  CAT exam paper can be Categorised into 3 parts:

Quantitative Ability

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

The Verbal Ability section and Reading Comprehension has 34 Questions, Data interpretation-Logical Reasoning section has 32 MCQ questions and Quantitative Ability has 34 MCQ questions totalling up to 100 questions. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark.

NCERT books will sharpen your basics and you need strong basics for preparing for any entrance examination. Once your basics are in place, because the time period for preparation is quite less, your preparation should be extensive and thorough.

Quantitative Aptitude covers almost 30% of the CAT question paper. QA can be categorised into Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Advanced Mathematics. Practise chapter by chapter and develop mental calculations. Like practise more of basic summation, subtraction, fractions and tables. Numbers, Percentage, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Ratio, Proportionality, Time-Distance, Time-Work, Mixtures, Averages, Partnership, Permutation and Combinations, Probability, Set Theory, Progression and Series, Line, Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Polygon, Circles, Ares, Volume, Height and Distance, Coordinate Geometry, Basic Trigonometry are few important topics.

Preparation tips:

Because this section involves mathematics and takes most of your time, your focus should be on solving the problems efficiently in the beginning. Even if it takes time, practise upto perfection. Practise as many questions as you can in the conventional way. As and when you get a grip on the subject, you can go for short cuts. Memorise tables, square roots, cube roots, conversion from percent to fraction, etc. Solve sample papers on Mathematics. In the beginning, do not worry about the time it takes. As you practise, you will get the hang of the subject and it will be easier for you.

In Verbal Ability session, command on your English, Grammar, Vocabulary, Understanding of the given paragraph are of more importance. Reading English NewsPaper will also help you in your preparation.

Preparation tips:

Read articles from time to time. Follow newspapers, magazines, and watch the news channels and browse the internet to keep yourself updated. You will need a lot of reading to help you in the comprehension section. You will need speed to help you in this section and you can achieve that only by thorough practise and reading. Take time to understand the question because most answers are interlinked.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning needs to be practised as much as possible. Comparison of data, Data Analysis, taking clues, interpreting missing data, coming to conclusions and making future projections will be covered under this Category. The questions here are interlinked and so if you get one formula correct, cracking the next few questions will be easy. So it's important to memorise and practise formulae. You should cover topics like Data tables, Data Charts, Bar Diagrams, Pie Charts, Graphs, Data Comparison and Analysis.

Preparation tips:

As this is the most tricky section, this needs a lot of practise. Solve as many sample papers as possible to get the hang of the section. Make notes when required. Regular practise can help you understand and solve the questions easily as time goes on.

Overall,once you know the syllabus, it's easier from there on.Go through the previous papers to analyse and prepare a comprehensive plan and set priorities according to the importance of different topics across sections. Customise your own study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Gauge your preparation from time to time by taking mock tests. Solve questions to check your levels of preparation but not to set any targets. Remember, its ok to have cheat days and relax. But make sure you have a plan and stick to it for the next few months

We can recommend a few books for you:

NCERT books to cover the basics from 6th to 10th Class

Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Saxena

Quantitative Aptitude Quantum for CAT by Sarvesh Sharma

How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma

Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exams by Abhijit Guha



You can also download free downloadable e books at:

https://bschool.careers360.com/download/cat-ebooks

31 Views

can someone apply for NIFT without appearing CAT and GAT?

Sonali Sahu Student Expert 13th Oct, 2019

hello,

NIFT has nothing to do with CAT or GAT. Those are the exams for MBA. NIFT is for admission in fashion courses.

The eligibilitiy is just marks of your 10th and intermediate. The main point is the candidate must have qualified both from a recognised board and must be having PCM as the compulsory subject.

The exam has an age limit to be 23 and there is 5 years relaxation for category reserved candidates.

For more information please check the article:- https://design.careers360.com/articles/nift-eligibility-criteria

Hope it helps!

24 Views

Where i get CAT study material?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 13th Oct, 2019
CAT Books For Quantitative Ability:
1.NCERT mathematics books (from 6th to 10th class) ::
These books are a good way to start if one needs to clear their basics and concepts. NCERT books are best to start your CAT Preparation with only if you have a lot of time before your exam date and need to brush up on concepts before solving advanced problems.

2.How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT (by Arun Sharma)
(publisher: Tata McGraw Hill)
This is a very popular book among CAT aspirants and really easy and simple to understand. This book also focuses on the basics first and has different levels of difficulties step by step.

3.Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations (by Abhijit Guha)
This book is quite comprehensive for various competitive exams, for both MBA aspirants and for those seeking jobs who need to prepare for the aptitude tests.
4.Quantitative Aptitude Quantum CAT by Sarvesh Verma
It is an extensive book for students aspiring to go to IIMs. It has a very simple, lucid and tailor made content revolving around CAT.

5.Quantitative Aptitude for CAT (by Nishit Sinha)
This book by Pearson focuses on in depth understanding of core topics for basic and advanced applications.


Verbal Ability Books For CAT:

1.How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT( by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay)
This book is good to brush up your verbal and reading comprehension skills. It covers three important topics: reading comprehension, verbal ability and verbal reasoning. It provides sufficient practice and mock papers for self-assessment.

2.Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension For The CAT( by Nishit Sinha)
This book by Pearson provides not only an exhaustive resource for verbal ability. It also includes numerous tests as well as integral problem solving techniques and approaches.

3.Word Power Made Easy (by Norman Lewis)
This is the go-to book to improve your vocabulary. It is not a book to be read but a book to work with daily to enrich your vocabulary.

4.High School Grammar and Composition( by Wren and Martin)
It is a very good book for people who want to improve their grammar skills. It helps to understand and conceptualise different aspects of grammar and it is a must have book for anyone with poor grasp on verbal ability or who wants to make up with the basics of english.

Read books from different genres
The ultimate key to improve your verbal ability is to read extensively and to read books from different genres. This ensures that when the time for reading comprehension comes you are well acquainted with different writing styles and topics. Reading extensively also improves your reading speeding over a period of time. There are no shortcuts here.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Books For CAT:

1.A Modern Approach to Logical Reasoning( by R.S. Agarwal)
This CAT book by R.S. Agarwal is to start with the most basic reasoning problem as it is quite simple to understand. It is segregated into different sections such as logic, statements, inferences and arguments, assumptions, conclusions, course of actions, logical puzzles, etc.

2.How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT book (by Arun Sharma)
This book by Tata McGraw Hill contains all topics to be considered under Logical Reasoning for CAT as well as other entrance exams. Each topic is explained with solved examples followed by a series of problems with varied difficulty levels to solve which gives an individual enough practice for this section.

3.How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT book (by Arun Sharma)
This book focuses on all areas of Data Interpretation and Data Sufficiency. It provides and emphasizes on developing our calculations to get an edge with DI. This book also provides you with previous years questions, Model and Sample test papers.

4.Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for the CAT (by Nishit Sinha)
This book covers fundamental and advanced topics under the aforementioned section which are explained with the help of solved examples, case lets and exercises to do. It is useful for various other exams as well.

5.Data Interpretation (by Nishit Sinha)
Practice Book for CAT and Other MBA Entrance Examinations( by Nishit Sinha):
This book provides adequate practice and to sharpen the skills for Data Interpretation. It is also quite useful for other competitive exams like NMAT, GMAT, SNAP, XAT, CMAT, etc.

Another CAT Preparation material or book to be considered is Previous Years Solved CAT Paper:
This ensures that you are familiar with the kind of questions that are asked in CAT providing you an edge. They can be taken as mocks and the analysis of the same can provide you with great insights for your preparation.

It is always better to read newspaper for CURRENT G.K. than trying to grasp all info at once. Some of the newspaper sources which you can use to prepare this section are The Hindu, Financial Express, and The Economist.

In case, you dont like reading newspaper daily, you can go with Manorama Yearbook or Current Affairs Yearly by Arihant for General Knowledge which is published every year.

In order to prepare for STATIC G.K. section, you need to broaden your overall scope in following sections: Sports, Politics, Entertainment, Biographies, etc. So, for this, you can use Static General Knowledge by A.P. Bhardwaj and S. Chands Advanced Objective General Knowledge. These books are okay to start with if you are not someone with a newspaper reading habit from the past.

There are plenty of other books for these topics in the market, but these are by far the most popular as well as helpful books for anyone preparing for entrance exams.
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