WAT-GD-PI Preparation for MBA
There is a common belief among the candidates who appear for the MBA entrance exams like CAT, XAT, IIFT etc. that a good percentile guarantees a seat in one of the top B-schools of the country. I also had the same opinion when I was writing the CAT exam in Nov, 2019. But I was proven wrong within 2 months when I started appearing for Group Discussion (GD), Written Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interview (PI). I realized that writing the exam is one thing but clearing the second phase of the selection process (GD/PI) is a completely different ball game. Securing a good percentile in the exam increases the chances of selection by 60-70% but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee conversion.
MDI Gurgaon WAT-GD-PI Experience
When I started getting shortlists for the further process, MDI Gurgaon was among the top colleges in my priority list and I was eager to do well in the second round. The process involves WAT where you’re supposed to write your opinion (in the form of an essay) on a generic topic which would be provided then and there. The topic can be from any domain but it would be broad enough for everyone to comprehend and express views. Once you’re done with WAT, a Group Discussion round takes place immediately after that on the same topic that is provided for WAT. The process helps the students during GD in a way that the topic is already provided in WAT and you know what points you’d like to put forward once the GD begins. The discussion happens for a good 10-15 minutes. The final part of the process involves Personal Interview.
It is extremely important to keep the head straight after you secure a good percentile in the entrance exam and not to get complacent for the second phase. WAT//PI preparation has to be done religiously to get selected in one of the top B-schools. I’ll share my views on each one of them separately:
Written Ability Test (WAT)
- The evaluation of WAT is done on 2 parameters:
- Analysis & Conceptual Clarity
- Structure and Presentation of the essay
- The presentation and flow of the essay are as important as the content you’re writing. So, just remembering the facts and expressing that on paper without giving a proper structure to the essay would not fetch good marks.
- Having broad knowledge on common topics is very important. Mentioning specific facts and figures helps in attaining brownie points.
- News, latest trends and articles have to be read daily so that you are able to develop your opinion on a particular topic. The reading of the editorial section of the newspapers (preferably, The Hindu or The Economic Times) daily serves as a great asset in this round.
- Candidates generally feel that reading alone is enough for the WAT round and end up being helpless on the D-day. Practicing essay writing is extremely crucial so that you get used to pen down your thoughts in a flow. It feels like a tedious thing to do but it genuinely helps during the actual process. I practiced around 15 essays as part of my preparation and it helped me a lot and I found it easy to write the essay in a structured and elaborated way.
Group Discussion (GD)
- The preparation for GD is more or less similar to WAT. Reading newspapers and knowing current affairs is obviously important to clear this round successfully.
- This round is all about taking the discussion forward. In the heat of the moment, students end up considering it as a debate rather than a discussion. This is not a good practice and leaves a negative impression on the moderator.
- It is essential to make your presence felt with your assertiveness and clarity of thoughts. At the same time, listening to others while they are expressing themselves is also important to build up on the discussion further.
- Conclusion is must. More often than not, there is a difference of opinion among the candidates and it’d not seem possible to come to a consensus. In that situation, summarizing the points discussed in the GD along with your own views does help.
- 3-4 entries in a GD with relevant points is generally accepted as a good performance in this round, provided that the views are logical. It should not be visible that you’re speaking without taking the discussion in the right direction.
Personal Interview (PI)
- Prepare answers to some of the most commonly asked questions in the interview like ‘Tell me about yourself’, ‘Why do you want to go for MBA?’, ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’, ‘Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?’ etc.
- The key thing is to know your profile well before sitting for the interview. You should know each and everything that is mentioned in your profile. This involves your work experience, under-graduation subjects, additional projects and internships and of course the current happenings across the globe.
- Generally, interviewers ask questions from the answers you give yourself. So, you have to be careful while answering.
- Communication is the key in a personal interview. If you’re able to express what you’re thinking, it definitely increases your chances of selection.
- Analytical Ability is also paramount in evaluation. You might be asked problem solving questions and hypothetical situations where you’d be asked your course of action or decision. It is important to stay ethically correct and provide a feasible solution to the interviewer.
Do’s in WAT/GD/PI
- It is supremely important to dress formally during the GD/PI round. The interviewers have very less time to evaluate the candidates and hence, a chance to make a good first impression is something that you should not miss out on.
- Establish eye contact with the other participants in GD. Be polite and humble in your response to other candidates’ opinions even though your thoughts don’t match. This shows your collaborative attitude which is a key aspect of a leader.
- Use a strong voice, clear diction and correct grammar.
- Keep a check on time during group discussion. You should keep 60-90 seconds for conclusion towards the end. So, you need to start thinking in the last 2 minutes on how you’re going to conclude.
- Examples and facts add to the credibility of the answers that you give during interview as well as during group discussion.
- Knowledge about the B-school that you’re giving interview for, is a bonus.
- Try leading the panel into your comfort areas and try holding the panel there for a while. This demonstrates your initiative and leadership skills.
Don’ts in WAT/GD/PI
- Do not bush around the beat in either of the 3 stages of the process. Interviewers prefer candidates who are clear and logical in their response.
- There’s no point pretending to know something when you actually do not. The panelists are experienced enough to catch that. If you don’t know the answer to a particular question, it is completely fine to say “I don’t know”.
- Don’t be arrogant, overaggressive or vain. This may evince a negative attitude with poor interpersonal skills.
A sincere effort in preparation is required to crack the GD/PI round of the selection process. Right attitude on the D-day affects your selection the most. Since it’s the final lap of the long and tough journey of CAT preparation, it just can’t be neglected. You can’t leave even a single stone unturned especially at this stage. It is mandatory to stay confident and grab this wonderful opportunity to shape your career in the right direction.