The Group Discussion – Personal Interview (GD-PI) round is the most crucial step in securing your admission. Most Business schools in the country use it as the platform to enlist the deserving candidates. CAT/MAT/CMAT/GMAT/XAT scores, work experience, and academic background together form the backbone for the consideration of interview call, which in turn, rests massively on GD-PI performance.
Despite perfect scores in CAT or other management entrance exams and brilliant academic profile, most students tend to get nervous during the GD-PI session. While there could be other factors responsible for this, varying from person to person, the lack of proper direction or understanding of the GD-PI panel leads to a swing and a miss even for the brightest of the brightest.
In this article, we will go through a few tips and guidelines to cracking GD-PI rounds in your business school admission process.
Tips to cracking the PGDM Group Discussions
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 develop a perspective. Business schools conduct GDs to find out whether candidates possess the qualities that are critical to becoming an effective manager.
The GD round for MBA admissions at top Business schools usually lasts for 20-35 minutes. The candidates are divided into groups of eight to 15 members each. First, a moderator briefs the group about the generic rules of GD and then assigns the group with a topic and generally intervenes only after the specified duration of GD is over. In most cases, the moderator allows one to two minutes to the group for summarising the discussion of the group.
Let us take a look at few tips and guidelines that you can follow to crack the GD rounds in PGDM or MBA Admission process:
Brush up your General Knowledge
Keep your general knowledge preparation level high. Candidates, during Group Discussions, are expected to be updated about Current affairs and latest happenings. The questions asked usually revolve around topics like social issues, national politics, economic trends, population trends, country growth/decline, international issues, and other related issues.
Build and have an opinion on issues
Group Discussion is also a tool for Business schools to assess your thought process. Therefore, while gathering knowledge, you should also build your opinion on different things that you can justify and defend during your arguments. It helps one win the trust of group members and take lead in the group. While reading up on new and current events, candidates should consider various aspects and arguments and use their own judgment to decide what their stand should be.
State Facts and Statistics
In a Groud Discussion, you should try to state facts and statistics wherever you can to earn some extra brownie points. Quoting statistics and facts will help better your chances in the GD process. Stating facts and stats makes you stand out of the crowd and shows the moderators that you have genuinely prepared and worked hard for the exam.
Structure your Argument
In a Group Discussion, you should follow a structured approach while presenting your thoughts. Experts suggest that you should be able to present your understanding of the topic and communicate your opinion on it. Thereafter, you should be backing your opinion with arguments that are supported by facts and data.
Be Crisp and Precise
Students often make the mistake of talking continuously in a GD, not realizing that moderators judge them on the number of valid points they make in the process. You get extra points if whatever you say, is agreed by the team members at a majority level. So, to be clear in your mind, write down your notes in the starting two minutes before the GD begins.
Stay Confident, but not over-confident
Being confident in the way you speak since the way you deliver makes a huge impact on setting a good impression on the listener. Sometimes we experience a slip of tongue or forget the facts, and when this happens, confidence comes in and saves the day. Every word that rolls off of your tongue must be armored with confidence to show that you are a deserving candidate and that you are here to fight for your seat.
Tips for acing the PGDM Personal Interview
Even if you’re confident about your interview skills, you have a short window in an interview to impress. So, you need to focus on the essentials, get to the point quickly, and prepare to adapt to various PGDM interview styles. Schools will be looking for your leadership and communications skills, your ability to articulate your career ambitions within the context of the PGDM or the MBA, and whether you’re a good fit for the school. Here are a few tips that can help you ace your next business school admission interview:
Assign time each day to Practice and Prepare
You will want to be proactive and practice is the best way to build your confidence and train yourself to give informative, natural and confident answers. You will need to speak without hesitation about why you are pursuing a PGDM or an MBA, what your career goals are, and why you are interested in this particular college/institute/university. Be ready to offer how you will contribute to the community, with examples of your leadership and teamwork.
You should have crisp and precise a two-minute response to queries like “walk me through your resume” or “tell me about yourself.” Beyond the standard questions, you’ll want to prepare to be calm and poised in the face of tricky or unexpected questions. Find someone willing to put you through your paces in a mock interview, as well as offer candid feedback on your performance. Practicing aloud will help reduce your chances of rambling since you want to focus your response on the question being asked and stay on topic.
Identify your key selling points and supporting stories
The content you prepare should include at least five key selling points to offer during the interview. Each selling point should have a couple of short stories to illustrate your point. Your selling points and stories should relate to your strengths, your personality or soft skills, and your career goals. Keep the program’s core values in mind, and identify stories that include behavioral examples that support your points with specifics. And while the importance of practice cannot be overemphasized, you need to be savvy about not sounding overly rehearsed, or crossing the line to pushing your agenda and trying to take control of the interview.
Know how to approach tough questions
Despite your preparation, you’re likely to get a question that you didn’t anticipate. Whether you’re asked about an area of weakness, an example of a failure, or why you left a certain position or industry, the key is to respond with honesty and humility. Present yourself in a positive light by focusing on your personal growth, lessons learned and ability to be introspective. Showing how you’ve stretched yourself in the past can be a compelling success story.
Try to approach the interview as a conversation. The Admissions Team of the Business school wants to know what makes you unique, what you care about, and what fuels your career aspirations. This means sharing your story with enthusiasm and personality while keeping the general tone calm. You will want to come across as a sincere, grounded and thoughtful candidate. Whether it’s your only PGDM interview or one of several, you will want the interviewer to feel their school is your first choice.
The GD-PI round is the most crucial step in confirming your admission. Most Business schools in the country use it as the platform to enlist the deserving candidates. CAT/MAT/CMAT/XAT percentile, work experience, and academic background together form the benchmark for the consideration of interview call, which in turn, depends largely on GD-PI performance for the final admission call. So, as a candidate, one must not leave any stone unturned in preparing for the GD-PI rounds of the Admission process of Business schools.
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