Quick Tips for PI After CAT 2014 Result
Urvashi Dalal, 18 Dec 2014, #CAT
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Now with the CAT 2014 Exam over, it’s time to gear up with the preparations for the next level to get admission to a Top B-Schools accepting CAT Scores. While you have prepared to display your leadership skills in the GD, it is also important to focus on the Personal Interview(PI) where your communication skills along with intellectual qualities are tested.

You cannot just go and impress the interview panel of a top IIM or B-School, rather you must know how to tackle their witty and twisted questions to impress them. This article will help you gather information on the key factors to tackle the PI rounds of B-schools by experts and toppers of various IIM’s and b-school.

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How to get started with PI prep?

Personal Interview (PI) is a vital component of selection process at B-schools. Besides the other steps of the selection procedure like GD and WAT, PI or Personal Interview remains intact as the key component of the selection process during MBA admissions. Kudva mentions, “The selectors try to understand the kind of person the candidate is, what all are his/her interests, motivation, aspirations etc.”

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.


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 from SP Jain says, “The important part of 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 experince and your goals ”, shares Jyotsna Chadha of IIM Rohtak.


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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 mentions, “One needs to be honest with oneself and one needs 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.


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What does the PI test?

In the PI rounds, the interviews 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.

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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 candidates 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 outrightly reject interviews’ views to your response. Instead, you should listen to them carefully and put forward your response with 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 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 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:

CAT 2014 Result

CAT 2014 Cutoff

CAT 2014 College Predictor

Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:

Life @ B-School Campus

Changes in CAT 2014

CAT Topper Interviews

MBA Internship Series

B-School Placements


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hi i am nc-obc female candidate .my 10 percentage is 96 and 12th percentage is 92 graduation 7.42 and cat percentile in range 80 to 83 .which iim call can i expect

KUNAL LANJEWAR 6th Dec, 2019

Hello Pooja,

Your academic career seems very good.  You have done good in CAT. 80 - 83 Percentile range shows that you can definitely expect IIM.

Talking about IIMs, as you might have researched about the last few years' cutoff, the cutoff for OBC of all IIMs range from 80 Percentile and above.

As per the rankings of IIMs, the top five IIMs are-

1. IIM Bangalore

2. IIM Ahmedabad

3. IIM Lucknow

4. IIM Calcutta

5. IIM Tiruchirappalli

You should definitely give priority for the above five IIMs and try to get admission there. Considering last few years' cutoff, you should definitely get admission in any of the IIMs.

Best wishes.


I want to know Ill appear for b design so I have to appear for both GAT and CAT or only CAT

Sharon Rose Student Expert 6th Dec, 2019

There are 2 sections in NIFT entrance 2020

  1. Creative Ability Test (CAT)
  2. General Ability Test (GAT)

Candidates who wish to get admission in B.Des must appear for both GAT and CAT. Candidates who seek admission in B.F.Tech you need to only appear for GAT. Those qualify the tests have to appear for situation test. So yes, if you want to get admission in B.Des then you need to appear for GAT and CAT. For information about syllabus, exam pattern etc you can refer our article by using the link below

I have got 84 marks in CAT 2019. Which are the best colleges i can apply for?

Yashu Shrivastava 6th Dec, 2019

Hello Rohit

There are many colleges where you can get admission if you got 80-85 percentile in CAT.

I am mentioning some best college where you can go with this score-

  • SP Jain Institute Of Research And Management,Mumbai
  • Xavier Institute Of Management And Entrepreneurship,Bangalore
  • Institute Of Financial And International Management,Bangalore
  • Institute Of Management Studies,Banaras Hindu University,Varanasi
  • Institute Of Financial Management And Research,Changambakkam

Here's the top 5 college where you can get admission if you varies between 80-85 percentile,also you can check more information about some other colleges here https://bschool.careers360.com/articles/what-if-my-cat-percentile-between-80-and-90-do-i-have-any-chance-at-top-b-schools

Hope This Helps

Good Luck For Your Future!

1 View

I just appeared for the CAT 2020 and my projected percentile is around 88. I have CGPA 8.4 for 10th grade, 76.8 for 12th, and 6.78 CGPA for Graduation. I have 1 year of Work Experience as well. I would like to know if it is worth it to apply for XIMB. Usually the cutoff is around 90 percentile?

rishabh5978@gmail.com 5th Dec, 2019

Hello there. Hope you are doing good. The cutoff for XIMB goes around 90 percentile every year. It could be high or low depending on the cutoff scores that varies every year. Since your score is near to 90 percentile and if you have a work experience that is worth considering for admission into MBA program. Then you can at least give it a try. You never know what will be the exact situation in the upcoming admission processes.

So, my suggest for you is to definitely give it a try.

I hope you found this answer helpful. Good luck for your future.

1 View

What is the cutoff for OBC in CAT & XAT for IRMA ? What is the good percentile to get converted in IRMA for OBC NCL?

rishabh5978@gmail.com 5th Dec, 2019

Hello there. Hope you are doing good. I would like to tell you that the cutoff varies every year. There are several factors determining the cutoff such as:-

  • Number of candidates appearing in IRMASAT 2020 exam.
  • Level of difficulty of  IRMASAT exam.
  • Number of candidates passing IRMASAT 2020

However, based on previous years cutoffs, it is expected that the Cat and XAT cutoff for OBC NCL candidates will be somewhere around 70 percentile. For your reference, I am sharing a link with you which consists of all the necessary information of the exam along with the expected cutoff.


I hope you found this answer helpful. God luck for your future.

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