How to Prepare for MBA GD/PI

The MBA ground discussion (GD) and personal interview (PI) are two of the most important steps in the MBA admission process. The top colleges offering MBA courses give more weightage on the GD and PI rounds than the entrance exam score. Group Discussions help the college to judge the overall ability of the students starting from communication skills to overall knowledge about the things around him or her. A personal interview is a chance to know them up close and personal.

There are various management entrance exams for admission to the best MBA colleges and universities like CAT, XAT, CMAT, MAT, NMAT, SNAP, MAH CET, etc. Depending on the scores obtained in MBA entrance exams, colleges invite candidates to appear for the Group Discussion (GD) and/or Personal Interview (PI) round.

The Prestigious IIMs have done away with the group discussion and have included a written aptitude test (WAT). The WAT and the PI are given a weightage of 10 and 30 respectively.

Still, GDs are an integral part of the admission process of top MBA colleges such as IIFT, IMT Lucknow. IMI Delhi, etc.

Candidates need to be updated on the popular GD topics, so that they are able to handle surprise questions during the GD and PI round. This article provides the candidates with various tips that can help them to crack the GD/PI round of the best MBA Colleges.

MBA Group Discussion (GD)
The objective of a group discussion is to appraise a candidate’s ability to critically analyze a given piece of information and collectively work in a group to arrive at a solution or to develop a perspective.

Evaluation of the candidates is done on the following criteria during the GD:
• Group Dynamics
• Ability to analyze situations
• Thought process
• Presentation style
• Personality: Decision making and leadership skills

GD Preparation Tips
You should read newspapers daily, especially the business section to be well updated. Keep reading Economics Times, Mint, or Business Standards daily, do not forget the editorial sections of newspapers as it will be helpful for all the rounds.

1. Improve your conversational skills by speaking in English.
2. Do the necessary research and gather information on current affairs as, in many GDs, the topics are usually related to the current affairs.
3. Watch informative documentaries and profiles.
4. Mock GDs are the best way to prepare for GD rounds.
5. The candidate should be up-to-date with recent events around the globe, reading good books/articles always come in handy as they provide ideas/content to speak/write in a GD.
6. Every B-school in India follows a pattern when it comes to its selection process, hence all the aspirants should follow online forums to gauge the institutes' specific pattern for the selection process in MBA courses and prepare accordingly.
7. In case you are given an abstract topic, think creatively, and come up with as many interpretations as possible because many examiners like to hear different perspectives and innovative ways of thinking.
8. In case you are given a factual topic, provide a structure to the GD, be sensible, think of pros and cons, apply the PESTLE framework, and be crisp and smart.
9. Try to give new original points in GD.
10. You must speak loud and clear to make your point. So practice speaking out clearly.
11. It is always advisable to not start the GD if one is not sure about the topic and wait for someone to start so as to get more meaning of the topic and put across your points better.
12. It is always important to listen well in a GD and also do not interrupt.
13. Try not to go into an argument in a GD.
14. If you have to conclude the topic then you should note all the points discussed in the discussion and summarise the same along with a final common goal.

Some GD Topics For MBA
The topics for GDs broadly fall into three categories:

Policy-based: Topics such as Sabarimala Verdict, Uniform Civil Code, Privacy and Adhar etc.
Issue-based: Topics such as #MeToo Movement in India, Intolerance in India — Rising or Magnified?, RBI versus GoI — who holds the reins to manage the economy?, Can India overtake China in terms of GDP? etc.
Lateral-Abstract: Topics such as “It is better to trust a woman’s instinct than a man’s reason”, “A true traveller is never bothered about the destination and is not intent on arriving”, Space etc.

MBA Personal Interview (PI)
Personal Interview is a very important round of your final selection process for MBA programs. This round is conducted to test verbal communication skills, the presence of mind and how do you present your views and knowledge skilfully to convince others.

A candidate will be tested on the basis following during the PI:
1. Personal Introduction
2. Verbal communication
3. Eye contact
4. Body language
5. Interruptions
6. Content

PI Preparation Tips
• The objective of the personal interview with a candidate is to evaluate if he/she has the capability and skills required to successfully pursue and develop a career in management.
• Every candidate will have grades to show-off and certificates in extra-curricular would be dime a dozen, it will eventually come down to these below-mentioned aspects in you that will separate you from others.
• There are no shortcuts for these; only through relentless practice can one get better at all these aspects.
• Like GD, even for PI, you need to read newspapers, watch TV news, read magazines, etc. If the interviewer asks you regarding current affairs.
• Be thorough with your academics especially the things in your specialization domain.
• Frame opinions of most important events which had happened in the past or happening in the present around the world.
• Get in touch with the seniors or alumni of the institute regarding the nature of questions and what is expected from the candidate.

MBA PI Questions
• Tell me about yourself which should briefly refer to past education, life journey, and plans.
• Why do you want to pursue an MBA?
• Why this college? Why this specialization?
• Why should we select you?
• What if we do not select you?
• What are your hobbies?
• After years from now, where do you want to see yourself? (Try to focus on skills development, increased responsibility while highlighting your goals as an achievement).
• What are your strengths and weaknesses? Explain them with an example for each. (Prepare 3 weaknesses and strengths)
• Your favorite subject in college and questions on them.
• How can you use the skills learned in graduation and post-graduation to help society?
• How will you use the skills you learned as an undergraduate in MBA?
• Your short-term and long-term goals. (short term- can be rephrased as where do you see yourself in 5 years or near future and long term- can be rephrased as where do you see yourself in 10 years or distant future).
• Some topics on current affairs.
• How society perceives you- friends, family, etc.
• Skills required for MBA and what skills you have.
• Some case study-based questions e.g. if you are placed in a relationship manager’s post after MBA, you being an engineer how will you adjust to the challenge.





- Hetaal Palan