IIM aspirants have to gear up for the personal interview, essay writing and group discussion

With the results of the Common Admission Test (CAT), which is the gateway for admissions into the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and 160 management institutes across India, being announced last week, it is time for aspirants to pull up their socks and start preparing for the next few rounds to secure their prized seat in one of the IIMs.

S.S.S. Kumar, CAT 2012 Convenor, said that each of the IIMs will shortlist candidates based on its own requirements. “From now on, each IIM will operate by its own line and will begin their process by February,” he said.

While some of the IIMs have already started making calls to their shortlisted candidates, the names of all the shortlisted candidates are expected to be ready latest by the end of next week.

The Hindu EducationPlus spoke to some experts and academicians to find out how students can prepare for the upcoming rounds – the personal interview, essay writing or the group discussion.

Ramnath Kanakadandi, CAT course director at Triumphant Institute of Management Education (T.I.M.E), said, “Each of the IIMs has its own criteria for the selection of candidates. All of them have a personal interview round clubbed with the group discussion or essay writing round.”

He suggested that as the candidates have a short time period they could regularly read the newspapers and practise essays.

Arks Srinivas, CEO, Vista Mind Education, said that students would need to focus on the next few steps as they would have to compete with the some of the “smartest” candidates.

Focus area

He also added, “Students have cracked the basic aptitude test and they need to focus on the interview as the weightage for the interview is very high.”

He said most of the questions that will be asked in the interview would be relevant to their personal, professional or academic life. He also said that surprise questions are not common during the interviews. “Only one in 15 people has a stress interview. A student can prepare for the interview in multiple areas and chalk out some of the questions that are likely to be asked.”

Offering a quick tip to the candidates, he said, “The interviewers are seasoned people with good experience. Do not lie as you will get caught easily.” He also added that the students should be natural and avoid stereotyped answers.

Byju Raveendran, founder of Byju's Classes, said candidates should choose their preparation strategy for the next few rounds, depending on whether they are students or working professionals. “Interviewers mostly ask students questions about their specialisation and extra-curricular activities. Working professionals, on the other hand, are expected to have domain knowledge.”

Ideal way out

He also said that candidates could brush up their current affairs, focusing on social, economic and political aspects. And candidates are expected to understand their ambitions too.

“I would advise students to create a mind map of themselves by identifying what they have done in academics and extra-curricular activities. It would be ideal if they prepare by taking up mock interviews and taking part in a group discussion or at least watch videos,” he added.

A professor from one of the IIMs said that there are no premeditated questions, and candidates would be tested on their individual capabilities. “Students will be tested on communication, ability for expression and general knowledge.”

He also pointed out that there would be multiple levels of enquiry as multiple abilities of the candidates would have to be checked.

Students who cleared the aptitude test are busying preparing for the upcoming rounds as they have very little time left.

Have an opinion

Amitanshu Mishra, a working professional who scored 99.54 percentile, said, “My seniors have advised me to be up-to-date with current affairs and have an opinion abut current issues. As I have a computer science background, I have to brush up my fundamentals.”

Harikrishna B.R., working professional who scored 99.32 percentile, said that he would revise his academics and read up on current affairs and pay more attention to the editorials of the newspapers. Apart from that, he would talk to experts to prepare rigorously for these rounds.