If you are looking for admission to MBA/PGDM courses in colleges and universities in India, you must know that nowadays, there are so many management entrance exams that are conducted for such admissions. Lakhs of students prepare for them and hope to get an admission in a reputed business school of their choice every year. You can definitely get a good percentile after intense preparation for the entrance exam from good coaching institutes and experts,
However, the real test is when you have to face the interview panel for Group Discussion & Personal Interview. Here is where your talent is judged.
It has been seen that students who have been an outgoing person in school and college and actively taken part in extracurricular activities like debate, extempore, theater, dramatics, dance etc., enjoy better verbal communication skills than the rest.
Still, that alone, would not be enough to crack the GD/PI.
Group Discussion (GD)
It is important that you first understand the objective of a group discussion. Broadly, it can be said that GD appraises a candidate’s ability to critically analyze a given piece of information and collectively work in a group to arrive at a solution or develop a perspective. In this process, the students are expected to reveal some of their personality characteristics, which is what the panel wants to check.
How to prepare for a GD?
Ideally, preparation for GD should start the day you start preparing for your entrance exams.
Here, it is essential that you READ NEWSPAPERS daily, especially the business sector. Some of the suggested newspapers for daily reading are Economics Times, Mint or Business Standards, and the likes. While doing this, remember not to forget the editorial sections of newspapers, as this will be helpful for ALL THE ROUNDS!!
Continuously strive to improve your conversational skills by speaking in English.
For this, Mock GDs are probably the best way to prepare.
Also remember that evaluation is done on the following criteria; so make sure you exhibit most of these:
- Group Dynamics
- Ability to analyze situations
- Thought process
- Presentation style
- Personality: Decision making and leadership skills
Institutes commonly give a general topic to the students but there are a few institutes that prefer to check the current affairs knowledge of the candidates in the GD round itself by assigning them a topic based on recent news.
So, be up-to-date with recent events around the globe. Reading of good books and articles will always come handy as they would provide you with ideas/content to speak/write in a GD.
Every top B-school follows a pattern when it comes to their selection process, hence it is always advisable to follow online forums to gauge the particular institute’s specific pattern for the selection process and then prepare accordingly.
Topics can be Actual or Factual:
Abstract: In case you are given an abstract topic, just think in a creative way, and then come up with as many interpretations as possible. Many examiners like to hear different perspectives and innovative ways of thinking from the aspiring students.
Factual: Remember, “Knowledge is the Key”. So, always give a structure to the GD, be sensible, think about the pros and cons, apply PESTLE framework, and be crisp and smart in your presentation.
Personal Interview (PI)
Personal Interview with a candidate also has an objective, which is to evaluate if s/he has the capability and skills required to successfully pursue and develop a career in management.
Everyone will have grades to show-off and certificates in extra-curricular would be plenty for display. But, eventually it will come down to the below mentioned aspects in you that will separate you from the others. Broadly, a candidate will be tested on the following parameters:
- Personal Introduction
- Verbal communication
- Eye contact
- Body language
Remember also that there are no shortcuts. It is only through relentless practice that one can get better at all these aspects. On the face of it, Personal Interviews are a highly subjective assessment and so there is no concrete way to ace them as such. Besides, there a few hygiene questions that one MUST also prepare for:
- a) “Tell me about yourself”: Here you should briefly refer to your past education, life journey and future plans. It is all about a STORY that you have.
- b) “Why MBA/PGDM”? Answer such questions keeping in mind the holistic development you will get while doing your MBA/PGDM.
- c) “Where do you see yourself five years from now”: Here, focus on skills development and your increased responsibility while highlighting on your goals as achievement.
- d) Apart from the above, you should prepare for the following as well:
- Personal information: yourself, family, city, etc.
- Education: scores, favourite subjects, selection of specialization
- Extracurricular, Academic Achievements, Co-Curricular Activities
- Work experience & internships: learnings, job role, challenges faced,
- Hobbies, Interest
- Future plans (Why MBA/PGDM, Specialization)
- Current affairs & your opinion about them
- Always introduce yourself in a very brief and formal manner
- Limit introduction to entirely yourself. DO NOT speak about parents, siblings & family, unless asked for by the interviewer
- Give simple & straight answers to the questions asked by the interviewer
- Answer in small, crisp sentences.
- Be to the point; precise answers are far better than beating around the bush
- Don’t try be aggressive or overconfident. And definitely, DO NOT try to impress the panel by using some cheap learned-up lines. It won’t work for certain.
- Dress formally