Posted on: July 2, 2015
“Yes, Soft Skills are tested during GD-PI, apart from general knowledge on current discussion topics,” says Dr.C.N Narayana, Director Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies (KIAMS). “Once you are in the GD-PI round in a top B-School, you are actually competing with equals; everyone has the merit, grade and extra-curriculum to prove their mettle. Therefore, differentiating you from the crowd with other soft skills, communication skills and confidence plays a vital role. There is an increasing stress on the right attitude in adjusting to challenging situations and an ability to question the status-quo.The stress on these aspects is only likely to increase in the future. There are no shortcuts; one has to relentlessly practice and get better in these aspects. The simple fact is that none of us are born with all these traits – we need to acquire them. KIAMS’ choice has always been students who are capable to accept their shortcomings and willing to change during the next two years to become industry-ready professionals.”
All of the top higher educational institutes – IITs, IIMs included – have their own startup incubation centres. Many like KIAMS encourage startups within their campus and as SIP projects, which allow students to understand the dynamics and economics of new ideas. While this is certainly influencing the intake process, aspirants will still need to have the basic abilities to crack the GD-PI. In short, complex thinking is welcome,but simplicity of expression cannot be compromised.
“Apart from SWOT, your UG subject, work experience and general knowledge, there is going to be an enhanced stress on the maturity of an aspirant. Do you have opinions on matters? How well you can defend them?” says Dr.C.N Narayana, Director Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies (KIAMS). Never state the facts without evidence, because, at this point, you can’t fool the interviewer. Communication is the foremost thing in PI. Use simple and clear language without hopping from point to point randomly, and please be a good listener before answering; if you don’t understand something, ask again, instead of rushing on with whatever you’ve understood.”
Of late, B-schools have been giving greater credence to individuals who clearly express their respective short and long term goals, based on their statement of purpose. You need to invariably connect your goals with an MBA by explaining how it can help you work toward achieving your goals. No longer are you expected to answer your interviewers in record time. Reacting calmly and clearly to a situation posed during the interview is of greater essence.
“Do not be surprised if you are offered a glass of water, or a cup of tea during the PI,” points out Dr.C.N.Narayana, Director KIAMS “It is to assess your level of nervousness, or to give you a break, or help you be more circumspect. You must gracefully accept with a smile.”
A number of Top B-schools have moved away from their bias toward Engineering. Some like the IIMs, XLRI and KIAMS go a long way to ensure class diversity on every possible parameter – Educational background, Work Ex (even domain & industry), Geography, Gender, etc. This too is a trend that is likely to grow more, since successful startups are not just emerging in new areas, but are creating new industries.
Once the right candidate is determined, B-schools are going to great lengths to pursue them. KIAMS, in its 25th year, recently announced the fully-funded K’bright scholarship for 2 of the brightest aspirants, along with a whole lot of options and also recently launched its Centre for Creativity and Innovation. Who knows? This might just be the beginning of talent acquisition and retention right at the B-school level.