You need to devise ways of expressing your ideas differently for the GD and interview to make it to a good B-School.

After clearing the written test, your adrenaline levels are usually high as you want to clear the next two hurdles and land a seat in a reputed b school. Now as you set your eyes on the group discussion and personal interview, you don’t want to leave any stone unturned. Moving in this order, let’s see how to sail through the two in order to secure a place in a b school, you aspire to be in.

Here are a few tips.

Group Discussion

A group discussion (GD) may have as many as 8-12 candidates. They are given a topic (from current affairs or much-debated developments) to debate upon and are expected to move towards a logical consensus. Here are some golden rules to abide by-

•There is no biblical rule that the one who starts the competition will be the winner, but there definitely are advantages. Firstly, you don’t run the risk of repeating an idea or running short of them as all of them have been aired in the past. But in a hurry to be first don’t get the proposition wrong; your understanding of the topic should be clear.

•Your expressions should be crisp, with a clear conviction. You should give valid points to support your stand.

•Assertiveness and amicability can go together. If cross-questioned by another teammate, be firm but polite in your answers.

•At times you may feel you didn’t get a chance to speak; this may be a sort of “hara-kiri”. You have to make way for yourself and see that you make a positive contribution to the discussion no matter what.

•Be a good listener. Make a note of points that have been mentioned so that you don’t end up repeating them or you can build on them. In case of opposed views this will give you time to structure your response accordingly.

•Being aware of what’s happening around you, having views on the it helps you to structure your thoughts thus making meaningful contributions, rather than rummaging your head to fish out points.

•If you chance to speak towards the end you need to be little smarter to make fresh additions or take an altogether different approach to the theme. Even wrapping up the discussion with a fair analysis is as important as initiating it. Trying to reach a consensus shows you are willing to take others along and that you are a good team player.

If everyone has already stated the general, oft-stated points, try bringing in a new perspective. This will draw you positive attention.

• Be comfortable and conventionally dressed. Your body language should exude confidence. Don’t shake your legs, bite your nails or twiddle your thumb. It all reflects poor confidence level.

Attend as many GDs as you can before you go for this one.

Once you have sailed through the group discussion, it’s time for the personal interview

Personal Interview

Be relaxed, confident and comfortable with yourself.

Give a thorough look to the resume you have shared with the panellists. Be prepared to answer questions that the information you have provided about yourself may trigger. It can be something about your previous work experience or hobbies or anything on your CV that sounds interesting. Many a time, the candidates are asked to talk about themselves in brief. All this can be practised during mock interviews with your friends.

Interviewers are friendly and in most of the cases they try to put the candidate at ease. Be sure your comfort level doesn’t get over you. Project a self-image that makes you suited for the part you are aiming at, but be natural. Don’t go on and on. Be short and sweet. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Wear a smile and make eye contact with the person talking to you.

To some extent you can take the interview in a desired direction as most of the questions come from what you say and are open ended. Bluffing and sounding pompous is to be avoided at all costs. Your achievements, if the conversation demands, can be talked about very subtly yet clearly. Remember that it already finds a mention in your documents.

Familarise yourself with the USPs of the particular institute and the programme/specialisation you have opted for; also why and how you think you are best suited for the same. Your strengths should be known to you and you should work on other areas that need improvement. Remember that in an interview they are gauging you as a person more than a professional. Exude a positive image that goes well with the role you want to play and cherish.

Contributed by Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool