How to and how not to approach B-school’s PI.


‘It is easy to achieve success. It is difficult to maintain it’-I realized it real soon after my CAT result. I was fortunate enough to receive a 99+ percentile in my first attempt. This success took me to cloud nine and I came down from that cloud when I didn’t receive a call for an interview from IIM A, B or C. I was scared and between roads about whether I would receive any call or not.

Eventually, I did receive interview calls from multiple institutes like S P Jain, MDI, IIM Shillong, IIT Bombay and Delhi and even for CAP. I made a priority list in mind with SP Jain leading the priority list followed by MDI Gurgaon. I wanted to convert SP Jain for many factors from its location benefits to previous placements record. Hence, I wanted to give my best for it.

I am talking about my SP Jain’s interview because of following reasons:

  1. My first interview, hence I made the most mistakes in it and had time to work on them
  2. I was not able to convert it so, I realized what I did wrong
  3. Unique experience as only institute to conduct group interview for both rounds

My preparation for SP Jain and interview processes began with reading about current happenings in the country and working on forming answers for universal questions like Why MBA and Why particularly marketing (in SP Jain specialty is selected beforehand) and many more which were common across all B-schools. I asked my friends and seniors who were in other B-schools to help me in preparation by taking my mocks and giving me tips on weak areas as I wanted to go in all prepared without giving them even the slightest chance to reject me.

5th February 2020, the D-day on which my interview was conducted in Delhi. On arrival, we were made to sit in a room and formalities were conducted followed by document verification. Post this, a written test was conducted and this test had two parts- (1) Psychometric and cognitive ability test (2) Writing skills. This written round was followed by a group interview.

We were divided in groups of 6 with each one opting for different specialization. We were made to sit in a semi-circular arrangement with 2 panel members. They began with Why MBA and Why a particular specialization in a cyclic manner. I was the 5th person in the answering cycle and started speaking as soon as it was my turn and it went well. In the 2nd round of questioning, they asked me specific question regarding my undergrad and I was lost as I had not prepared for it because I thought even if they ask about civil engineering (my undergrad), they will ask from the surface.

This was my biggest learning as ‘Prepare for the worst, Hope for the best’. I realized it with my answer to the 2nd question that interviews require 360-degree preparation and this learning helped me convert my IIM Shillong interview and IIT Bombay interview as they were totally focused on civil engineering and work culture in the civil industry. In these interviews, I was asked very peculiar questions that were converted only by prepared students.

I was not shortlisted for the second round of group interview in SP Jain but I realized my weak areas and decided to polish them before following interviews to put my better foot forward. There were many topics in following interviews which drove my interview like in CAP my interview revolved around my undergrad university with questions like every year’s input of students, fest management team and sponsorship, faculties and sites around my campus. In short, I believe they wanted to know my observation skills and also wanted to know whether I was an aware student or just blabbering. In MDI, my interview covered the entire bandwidth of questions from civil engineering to corporate culture in my company to what were my expectations from an MBA. IIT Bombay was different altogether as it focused on civil, my job and basic mathematics. These mathematics questions were from multiple topics of class 11th and 12th. And this I believe was to check my pressure handling skills which I had mentioned as one of my strengths.

To sum up my experience, I believe interviews are highly personal experience as what might have worked for me won’t even be asked to you. Also, it is important to have a 360-degree preparation covering undergrad, work-ex (if any) and back up story for all your strengths and weaknesses. It is very important to be honest and be yourself as you might walk someone else’s walk until a question from your non-prepared area comes in. It is always fine to say ‘I don’t know’ rather than having loose talks on that question.

It all comes down to your attitude and confidence. So, make sure to wear them like crowns and jewels. All the best!!!