How to ace an online GD and PI

Cleared CAT with flying colours? Well, congratulations on that (*Congratulations by Post Malone plays in the background*). However, I am sorry to break it to you that only half a battle has been won, and that too I’m being pretty generous when I say that. You’d often see aspirants with great CAT scores falling at the final hurdle and then questioning the selection process. But the question here is, is the process faulty or does one need to have some basic understanding of the GD-PI to get through? I’d say it’s the latter. If you can put yourself through at least 6 months of gruelling brain exercise for CAT, then why would you not want to do all that you can to clear the GD-PI? We know that as things stand, everything points towards only one thing, online GDs followed by online personal interviews. I’ll give you a list of things that you must do to clear this step and finally achieve what you thoroughly deserve after months of hard work. I’ll divide the article into two parts, one for the GD and the other for the interview process.

For the GD:

  • Join on time with everything in working order.
    Yes, as trivial as that sounds, being punctual is a major plus point. Also, what’s the harm in settling in early and getting yourself comfortable? Make sure your microphone is working properly, if not I’d suggest you go out today and buy a good one for yourself, I mean what’s the point in making a valid entry into the discussion if no one can hear you clearly, right? Also make sure that your webcam functions properly, and yes, be seated bang in the middle of the camera’s vision, don’t lean towards it, don’t lean against a wall, sit straight, ace your posture.
  • Keep your microphone muted when not speaking.
    Please don’t disturb others while they are speaking, it is both careless as well as rude.
  • Make eye contact with the webcam.
    You don’t need to look at your screen when you have the chance to speak, look right at your webcam, establish the much-needed eye contact with the people who are listening to you, it can very well establish a sense of superiority in the group and people might take you to be the thought leader for that group, it just simply exudes a lot of confidence.
  • Be considerate and yet ruthless.
    Yes, there are high chances that when you are speaking someone else also tries to make an entry into the discussion, but would you simply let them roll over you? No. Make all your entries count, complete all your points. But what you must also do is, once you are done speaking, ask that person “Mr. XYZ, you were saying?”. This can go a long way in helping you clear the GD. It shows that not only are you firm when it comes to making your presence felt but you are also a good leader, you like to bring people into the conversation and yes it also shows who’s driving the conversation, all of which are essential characteristics of a good leader.
  • Knowledge at times can be faked
    It can very well be the case that the topic of your GD is not something that you prepared for. What do you do in such cases? Well, for starters please don’t even try to open another tab to read about it, especially if you are someone who wears glasses. In such cases the best way forward is to recycle points from your fellow members in the group and add some value using frameworks like PESTEL (read more about it on—pestel-analysis) or just maintain basic hygiene in the conversation, what do I mean by that? Say things like, “yes Mr. XYZ, I partially agree to your point, however…” and then continue by adding your opinion. As long as you make sense and know how to maintain the etiquettes required for a group conversation, you will always stand a chance at clearing the GD.
    (pro tip: Please read about everything that’s happening in the world, you really shouldn’t need to recycle others’ points)

For the Personal Interviews:

A reminder that the first 3 points from the GD section still apply here.

  • The importance of being good at communicating your point.
    Yes, you might be fluent in the English language but does that mean you are also very easy to understand? Are your points crystal clear? Try structuring your points logically and coherently, if event A happens before B, then in no way can you reverse the order and expect the interviewer to understand you. Chances are that the interviewer must’ve taken at least 20 interviews before you and by that time he/ she has simply had their attention span reduced. Make your points clear and ensure that whatever you say makes sense.
  • The “Tell me about yourself”.
    If you ask a fortune teller that what is it that’s going to follow you throughout your life, it’s this one question. It seems like an easy one, everyone has prepared a script for it beforehand anyway, but is your script even correct? When someone asks you about yourself, a) they don’t want to listen to something which just drags on for over 5 minutes and b) they don’t want to know about which competitions you participated in class 6th. It has to be a crisp 1 to 2-minute monologue about you, apart from the name, your background, where you hail from, please tell them how you’d describe yourself as a person. Tell them about stuff that has shaped you as the person that you are today. Of course, you’ll talk about ‘that’ one internship you did in college or about the years you spent ‘leading a team of 5 people’ at the office, but it’s a much better approach to tell them about your learnings and how that has helped you reach where you are today. Rather than trying to come out as a ‘team player’ or ‘leadership material’ (*insert all other clichéd phrases*), try to come out as a person who knows how to weave a story with every important learning in their life chronologically.
  • Pre-empt the conversation
    Take it from me, if you are a fresher, most of the conversation is going to revolve around the things that you learned during your graduation. And if you are someone with work experience, get ready to tell the panel about how you contributed to the organization you were a part of. Apart from that, it’s majorly going to be all the hygiene questions like:” Why MBA?”, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and other similar stuff. And yes, knowing what’s happening around the world is always a bonus.

I’ll just end this article with something that is massively underrated. Confidence. Both when you know something and also when you don’t. Be confident not because you have the wish to do well in the interview, be confident knowing that statistically most people screw up their interviews, and you are better than them.