Group discussion (GD) and personal interview (PI) are integral parts of the MBA admissions. Here are some tips and tricks to crack GD/PI. Let us first discuss GD. Group discussion is conducted to test communication, content and clarity, confidence, leadership skills, problem-solving and decision making skills. This time due to Corona pandemic, many top B-schools are conducting online GD-PI rounds. Here are some tips to crack GD.
- Practice for these rounds at home with family or friends by planning mock GD & PI before actually appearing in these rounds.
- A proper internet connectivity and good internet speed is a must during online GD-PIs.
- Online GD-PIs require the candidates to look presentable and be formally dressed like professionals. Background noises should be avoided.
- You are advised not to keep the camera off unless until asked by the interviewer to do so.
- Try to have three-four entries of around 20 seconds. Avoid placing your all points in one go.
- Try to get an entry within the first 2 minutes. Try to enter the GD when others are taking a small pause. Be loud and assertive on points.
- Support your point with data. Read newspapers regularly so that you don’t fall short on content. Some of the latest topics are crude oil crisis, the economic slowdown in India, the automobile industry slowdown, groundwater crisis, new traffic rules, and fines, and odd-even rule.
- Don’t get personal. Do not try to prove others wrong in a GD. Don’t point fingers on any group member.
- Mind your body posture, gestures, hands placement, and movements. Avoid giving any sign of having anxiety or lack of confidence.
- It is good if you take lead, open the discussion, ask other group members to place their points and propel the GD forward, conclude and close the GD. Remember that it is not necessary to arrive at a consensus during a GD.
Now coming to the personal interview, the classic opening question in a PI – ‘Tell me something about yourself.” You have to be very clear and specific while answering this question as it can make or break the interview. You can steer the interview in the direction you want by answering this question wisely. Typically, you should talk very briefly about your family, education, career goals, strengths, weaknesses, curricular and extracurricular achievements, projects/work experience and hobbies. By answering this question, you are not only letting the interviewer know you better but also you are giving enough feed to the interviewer to put the next question that you would be comfortable with.
The next important thing to remember is that you should not be in a hurry to answer when you are not sure about it. It is always better to take a minute from the panel, think over and then answer the question wisely.
Also, it is okay to say ‘I don’t know’ in an interview’ Instead of guessing or giving a wrong answer. Be humble and state that you are not aware of the facts. You are not supposed to know the answers to all the questions. In fact, there are certain questions that don’t have a specific answer. Such questions are asked by the interview panel to check the thought process of the candidate. So try to answer logically.
You must realize the importance body language and gestures during group discussions and personal interviews whether offline or online. The way you sit, hand movements, maintain a proper eye contact etc. plays a critical role in performing well in these rounds. So you must ensure that your body language and gestures should give positive signals to other candidates as well as the interviewer during both group discussion and personal interview both in online and offline format. Body movements and gesture matters a lot even in the case of online GD-PI as it shows the level of dedication a candidate has.
In a nutshell, you should try to be logical while portraying your skillset during GDPI.