My GD-PI Round Experience

Once we crack the CAT exam and get calls from our preferred institutes, the thing that matters the most is cracking GD-PI round. With practice, this round can easily be cracked plus it’s fun. As future managers, we should have good soft skills and that is what is tested in this round. In my first attempt of CAT, I got calls from some of the top institutes but was not able to convert this round. In some rounds, I did not perform well in GD while in some, I could not do well in PI. Preparation wise, both GD and PI are different as in GD, you have to fight for a chance to speak while in PI, you have ample time to speak but presence of mind is important. There were lots of learnings for me and working on them helped me in cracking this round in the second attempt.

Every institute has a different style of conducting the interview. The questions can be about literally anything in this world but what the interviewer is looking for is your soft skills, analytics skills, presence of mind, confidence. It’s not important to answer all the questions, in fact you can be wrong in answering the questions, but the way you answer is of the utmost importance. Also, we need to understand that MBA has business in it so we need to relate answers in terms of business. The interviewer is testing if you have the blood to do business.

In this article, I will cover my preparation strategy for CAT, the type of questions asked in the interview and mistakes that I made during my first attempt. Lastly, I will share certain do’s and don’ts before and during the interview.

Preparation Strategy for GD-PI Round

In this round, the interviewer is free to ask anything and it’s impossible to read everything. However, there is a flow in most of the interviews and we have to go along with the flow. The interview where random things are being asked one after the other is called a stress interview where we have to remain calm to answer most questions. Also, I used to maintain a small diary with relevant points in it so that I can go through it while travelling.

For preparation of GD, there are certain frameworks like SPELT approach, key word approach, stakeholder approach which can help in forming a structure. Also, I used to read newspapers everyday to be updated with different things. Lastly, there is a fight for every second to speak and hence, it requires lots of practice for which I joined TIME institute during my first attempt. I was never good at GD plus I didn’t enjoy GD as well. Hence, it was always difficult for me to make an entry into GD. With practice I worked on that. However, I used to ensure that during my entry I am sharing effective points. The number of entries should be around 2-3 for a 15-20 min GD. It’s important to be polite while in a GD and be attentive because there is just a gap of a second when you have to grab the opportunity to speak.

Now, there are slightly different preparations for a fresher and for a person with work experience (at least 24 months). Freshers usually have to focus more on academics especially have to be versed with at least 3 subjects. While a person upto 24 months of experience has to prepare both for academics and work experience. Beyond 24 months, one can focus mostly on the work experience.

I used to give lots of mock interviews which helped me in building confidence during an interview. I usually get nervous before an interview for which I practiced slow and steady breathing technique. Also, I read the newspaper everyday so I was updated with the latest happenings around the world. Usually interviewers ask questions as per the candidate’s background and hobbies but that is not always the case. Hence, it’s important to be confident while in an interview and keep on showing that business blood.

Type of Questions asked in Interview

Honestly, there is no type as the interviewer can literally ask anything. However, every interviewer is looking for that business blood in you. For example, in one of my interviews, the interviewer asked me about the economy and stock markets, top 3 exports and exports of India, political structure of India etc. One interview was entirely on my work experience while in some interviews, no question was asked about my work experience. So, it depends on the interviewer. They can ask abstract questions also for which they are testing your presence of mind. Since the budget comes in February so interviewers can ask about that as well. In one interview, they asked me about the challenges in Kumbh Mela and how as an engineer I can solve that. They can ask about the projects done in college or about an relevant internship.

Luckily, I didn’t have to face any stress interviews but it’s important to practice for at least 2-3 such interviews. Questions are thrown randomly on you without any relation with one another. The important thing is to be confident while answering. Apart from that, there is no limit but ensure that you are well read about the current happenings, major events of the last 2 years, academics, work experience.

Mistakes I made in the GD-PI Round

Sometimes it is a matter of luck to get a good panel but you have no control over it. There were certain interviews where I didn’t do well because I was not prepared for the current happenings. In some rounds, I didn’t do well in GD because I couldn’t get a chance to make enough entries. Another mistake that I used to make was entering the interview room with an uneasy mind. One mistake was studying just before the interview. There is no limit to study but it’s important to be at ease and patient. Only that will help in building the confidence. Rest leave everything to go by the flow. It’s important to enjoy the process and try to learn from that which I was not doing initially. Other than that, analyze what you did wrong and work on that. Keeping these small things in mind will surely help in cracking this round.

Do’s for GD-PI Round

  • Be attentive in a GD as you have to identify a second gap when there might be a pause to make entry.
  • Ensure quality over quantity in a GD.
  • Be polite in a GD. Agree or disagree with others respectfully.
  • Be updated with major current affairs of at least till two years.
  • Be calm, polite, confident and patient.

Don’ts for GD-PI Round

  • Don’t cut anyone or target anyone in a GD.
  • Don’t speak for too long both in GD and PI.
  • Don’t try to be oversmart by not letting others speak. It will never work for you no matter how strong the content is.
  • Don’t unnecessarily give answers to questions for which you have no clue. Politely say “I am currently not aware about this”.