Now that the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2013 just got over, the 1.9 lakh aspirants while awaiting their test scores would have begun preparing for the crucial Group Discussion and Personal Interview (GD/PI) round. Since CAT is extremely competitive, preparing for the GD/PI round is critical; getting a good written score is just half the job done.Let us look at some important pointers to keep in mind while preparing for GD/PI –
Understanding GD/PI round -A GD typically assesses your leadership, decision making, communication and group dynamic skills. It will be your ability to drive in a mutual consensus among a diverse, varied and competitive group within a fixed time which would help you score brownie points. You can build that confidence only through awareness and practice which is why the preparation for GD/PI must begin right when you begin preparing for the entrance test, if not before.
Pointers for preparing -To begin with, one must understand one’s weakness and strengths with respect to the skills essential to crack GD/PI namely – interpersonal and debating skills. Just joining a leading coaching class / mock GD/PI program will not ensure you a seat in IIM. Look for guidance from people who have already cracked CAT and enroll in smaller batches which could help you gain confidence. Since knowledge will be your best ammunition, read voraciously and extensively – at the minimum, read at least one leading daily and a financial paper. Turn to friends / faculty who have passed out from IIM for guidance. Practice! Form a support group and conduct mock GD/PI sessions.
Mind it! -Preparing without keeping a time limit will impede your outcome. You need to learn how to articulate your thoughts and convey it in the shortest time while keeping it relevant. It is wrong to assume that if you speak the most you will be considered a leader. Work on your vocabulary and diction by watching the news and by reciting news articles or novels loudly. Maintain an erect posture and eye contact with all participants. There is a subtle difference in being assertive and aggressive.
Cracking PI -Prepare well in advance for questions that will most likely be asked (Tell me about yourself). The interviewer will probe to assess your reasons for taking the test and opting for the course. As important it is to be enthusiastic, don’t strive to do over-the-top antics. Use open ended questions and steer the conversation to the ones you would want to and this takes practice. Don’t waste your time repeating the same points mentioned in the form. Use any and all opportunities presented to convey your thoughts/beliefs and project any defining moments in your career/academic arena. Remember, at IIM, the faculty, admission personnel, students and even alumni take interviews so do not underestimate anyone.
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