February 24, 2011

Some FAQs about GD, PI and Essay Writting

With the GD, PI, Essay Writing shortlists having being declared of most of the IIMs, all eyes are now focused on preparing for these crucial make-or-break rounds.
In these you will be able to find the answer to your question.

We start this series with the following Q&As:

Q. How to go about a GD topic which is controversial?
A. The best approach for a controversial topic is to think with a broad mind, look in context of long terms perspective, and short term implications. It is best for the group to discuss both pros and cons of a controversial issue and then try to form a consensus. For example: Should India declare war on Pakistan? It should be dealt carefully and both pros and cons (short & long term) of any action should be discussed.
Q. Does the summarizer have an edge over the others in a GD?
A. The answer is definitely yes. Starting a GD or summarizing a GD fetches you brownie points. However, the focus should not be on summary, but a meaningful summary, which includes the major points discussed and the general opinion formed. However, it is not a must. If you feel uncomfortable in summarizing, then it is better you earn your GD points by putting forward valuable inputs.
Q. How to tackle a loud GD?
A. Most of the GDs would be loud and you should be prepared for that. It is best not to add to the loudness. Rather, when the intensity level drops a little, raise your point. Make sure that you raise a new point so that everyone listens.
Q. How to avoid a fish market situation in GDs?
A. Sometimes a fish market situation is unavoidable if others keep on shouting. The best strategy is not to contribute to the fish market. You should wait for the opportune moment, and as soon as the decibel level lowers, you should address the group and tell them that the discussion is heading nowhere. Having said that, impetus is on you to take the discussion forward. Immediately, come up with a new / earlier unnoticed point and encourage the group to discuss on that.
Q. What should be the ideal answer for ‘Why MBA’ during the interview?
A. There is no ideal answer to ‘Why MBA?’. The answer depends on your profile and your objectives. The answer should convince that MBA is the right option for you, as it will help you reach your goals. The answer should also convince the interviewer that this is the right time for you to do an MBA.
Q. Will mentioning anything about money/high salary/good placement, leave a negative impact?
A. I would recommend you to avoid saying high salaries and good placements. Professors (interviews) want you to learn the managerial concepts and apply them in your organizations. You can always say that you wish to reach an executive position where you can apply your decision making skills. And an MBA will help you hone your decision making skills.
Q. If the interviewer asks me why I want to pursue MBA from that particular B-School, what shall I reply?
A. It is best to say a few good and unique things about the institute. You can easily find the answer by browsing the institute's website or other related forums. You can talk about industry interaction, faculty and their research work, infrastructure, brand value, student exchange, history, alums and lot more. Avoid saying about placements (personal view).
Q. What should be the flow of essay writing?
A. Typically essays should start with an introductory paragraph about the topic. It should follow up with the main points where you put forward your case. It is best to illustrate your points with facts and examples. After the main body, the last paragraph should be able to summarize your thoughts and your opinion about the topic should be reflected by the concluding paragraph.
Q. What should I do to speed up my thinking while writing essay?
A. Avoid thinking about new points while writing. In fact, write about what you have already thought. Best approach is to jot down the key points, and draw a concept map on rough paper. Try to think of as many points in first 5 minutes. After that, focus on the flow of your essay so that it covers each and every point.


Q: What shall be the pattern of essay writing?
A: It can be a 10 minute writing assignment or a 15 minute or a 30 minute. So ensure that you have a perspective on current affairs and you are able to express thoughts cogently.
Q: What will be the word limit for the essay writing part in the personal assessment round?
A: There is no word limit as such but the IIMs have prescribed a time limit. If on D-day there is indeed a word limit, you ensure that you abide by it.

Group Discussion
Q: If I speak for too long in the GD will it be disadvantageous?
A: Yes, because the essence of a GD is interaction within a team and not a monologue. So, ensure that your input is crisp and relevant and not long winded.
Q: Could you tell me which magazines I can refer to apart from the dailies for GD preparation?
A: Apart from the general and business dailies, you can read India Today and Business World. These are good magazines.
Q: I feel nervous when I face the GD. What should I do?
A: Tell yourself that the rest are participants like you and make a beginning. Once you start, the nervousness will evaporate.
Q: My voice is very soft so it is difficult to get heard in a GD. If I try to be loud, my body language appears to be aggressive. What do I do about it?
A: In a GD, being assertive is the key. So, practice on your voice pitch in such a way that you are heard easily but are not perceived as a threatening person. You can record your input and play it back or practice with friends.
Q: What do I do if I keep on speaking and nobody takes over?
A: You cannot actively ask someone to speak. However, look at someone who appears receptive to your ideas so that it can be taken forward or at best give the topic an interesting turn.
Q: How to supercede others in a loud GD?
A: One, say something interesting, true but unusual so that you get the attention. Two, wait for a point where there is silence after all the raucous exchange and then state your point.
Q: Is there any particular body language to be maintained during GD?
A: You should not slouch or keep fidgeting. Sit straight (comfortably) with your hands in control to avoid over gesticulation. Maintain reasonable eye contact and avoid overreaction.
Q: I have heard so many times that content is the king of GD. How should I work on it for a successful GD?
A: Regular reading helps. Let the range be wide- economics, politics, social/psychology etc. Listen to news modules and interviews.
Q: When we practice for Mock GDs, most of the times it becomes a fish market. What is better: keep silent or be a part of that?
A: You may be part of that. Yet, eventually, stand out with tips pointed out earlier in this chat. You may remain silent for a while if there is utter irrelevance.
If you could not participate in Saturday’s chat, there is another chance for you. Do register and login for the next Live Expert Chat on Wednesday, March 17, 2010, 5 pm onwards with Mr. Sai Kumar Swamy, Course Director, T.I.M.E.

Q: If I don’t know a particular answer in PI, will it be a good idea to say that?
A: Yes but there is a way of saying it, a polite way. One cannot know everything!
Q: If I don’t know the answer in the PI round? Will it be good to ask the answer to the interviewer in a polite manner?
A: No. Experimentation like this is like going to Mount Everest without oxygen mask.
Q: Please tell me how to manage a stress interview?
A: Keep your cool and answer politely. The only motive of the panel is to test your managerial aptitude of responding to unpleasant situations. Do not answer back or become exceedingly nervous.
Q: What are the most common questions which I can expect during PI?
A: The range is academics (your core area of specialization), general awareness, work related (if you have work experience), why MBA as a career option and career goals (specific) and some unexpected queries.



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