HomeWord’s Worth

Preparing for an MBA not just for a CAT – part 2

Clearing the b-school cut off and getting a call is a job half done. Now for every college PI round is a variable constant. It does not change. But many colleges have changed the GD round to the WAT round. In the Group Discussion round, a certain bunch of call getters are grouped together and are given a situation and a few minutes to analyse it and solve it. Group discussion was the third most important part of the selection criteria after CAT and Personal Interview (PI) round. In GD, the students with loud baritones could always be heard and candidates who are not extroverts by nature or are overpowered by some very good speakers and this put such students at a disadvantage. To tackle this problem Writing Ability Test (WAT) was introduced. In the WAT round a topic is allotted to students and based on their knowledge and understanding they have to write an essay on the topic in a particular number of minutes. 


Mostly all the major colleges have switched to WAT but there are still a few colleges that adhere to GD. Preparing for WAT or GD and PI can be extremely hard if you’re not someone who reads newspapers or is in touch with current affairs. Generally, the topics are current affairs trending or have trended in the near past. 


PI can be divided into two parts. The first part is you should know about yourself and make a strong case as a prospective b-school candidate. One must be dressed formally and the students must follow the business etiquette. I wrote a statement of purpose (SOP) for the b-schools I wanted as they asked me to. But I would suggest that everyone should write an SOP regardless of whether the b-school has asked for it because it helps in organizing your thoughts, the reasoning and puts a structure while presenting your thoughts. The second part of PI is where the interviewers test the knowledge aspect of the candidate, how prepared they are, agile thinking, the flexibility of thoughts, how the candidate handles the pressure, etc. To get familiar with this part of the interview a candidate can only be prepared enough. I personally went through a lot of mock interviews so that I can find chicks in my armour and fill those with the solid metal of knowledge. 


My personal interview was pretty great. The interviewers grilled me but the mock interview experience saved me and helped me maintain my calm demeanour. The panellists asked me about why I wanted to do an MBA when I was working as a content consultant, the content industry market cap, major players, players with market share, latest mergers and what they meant. They also asked me questions on subjects from my graduation but I couldn’t answer them all. I honestly let them know that despite my decent grades I did not pay heed to theory, it was my mistake and theory is equally important. It teaches you how to handle the situation practically and if I get into the b-school I do not intend to make the same mistake twice. They liked the answer and wished me luck. Right now I await final calls from colleges while I have blocked seats in a few b-schools.