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All I Wanted to Say about GD/PI

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Before joining IIM Indore in July 2004 I have attended 9 real GD/PIs. I am able to convert 3 of them. There were lots of key takeaways from all these experiences. This post aims to throw some light in what works best in a GD/PI and what can make one a failure in GD/PI.


– Reading: many people say that for a good GD performance reading a lot is sine-qua-non. Well, I would say more than reading you need to have an opinion on diverse topics. This need not always come from reading. You can gain a POV on hazaar things by watching TV, chatting with friends (basically arguing), surfing, and more importantly using your gray cells. So even if you are not a very avid reader there is no point worrying about it now. In whatever little time you have try to gain an opinion on most of issues in most of the areas.

– Structuring your thoughts: many of us would feel often “shucks, I forgot to say about this point in the GD”. Well, my dear friend you are not alone. I felt the same way after at least 7 of those 9 GDs. The key to beat this is to structure our thoughts. Through out our schooling/college teachers constantly bombarded us about reading and doing. But no one told us how to think. I guess this is the reason why some of us fail to objectively analyze the issue before us in GDs. There are some very good websites where you can get some basic guidelines on how to structure your thoughts.

– Going to new places: What do we think an evaluator does in the GD? By no means he/she can remember the whole 20 mins of discussion happening in the room. Also many a times memorizing the entire 20 mins discussion wouldn’t help him/her in judging the people. One of the things they look in a GD is “who is going to new places?” by new places I mean taking the risk of thinking in new directions and channeling the discussion in those directions. It is not always easy to think in new directions. Especially when you lack in point no 2. One best way to do this could be negation. Whatever the speaker is saying you can think of the opposite and sometimes it yields good results. Also sometimes the discussion moves towards a cul-de-sac and group loiters there without any purpose. At this time if you can take the role of moving the group from there you get the brownie points.

– Listening: I cannot tell you how much this is important for you in a GD.

– Gaining groups support and airtime: there are at least 1001 ways of gaining support/airtime by being rude or noisy. But most of them suck. Some of you might be feeling that no matter what you do in the GD you don’t get a chance to speak. Try this next time. Get an eye contact with the person who is speaking. Smile gently at the person. Nod your head and pay attention to him. At one point or other he also smiles back. Snatch the opportunity and speak. You can find such body language tips in your GD material or websites.

– Optimism: All said and done, if you don’t have belief in yourself no tip, no amount of training can help you in cracking a GD. It takes a lot of guts to come out in public and speak and make sense. So don’t feel belittled if you are not very good at that right now. Rather persist and you will have your day soon.


– Know thyself: If there is anything that the interviewer doesn’t know very well and you know way too much, it is YOU. So the best way to start preparation is to start knowing yourself. Prepare a killer CV. Know more about your family, hometown, college, hobbies, friends, job, education etc. gather some interesting trivia about the above listed items and if the chance comes tell them to the interviewer. He/she will definitely be impressed.

– Acads/Job: You know what to do.

– Admit your mistakes: many people feel that if they admit a mistake their interview is screwed. In MBA jargon we call in escalation of commitment. Believe me there is nothing like admitting your mistakes and going back to comfort zones.

Some of the key mistakes you can avoid in GD/PIs

– Dumbness: no matter what happens in a GD try speaking. Don’t complaint about the GD becoming a fish market. If it is a fish market you be a part of it or better still try making it more sensible than staying silent. I did this mistake in my IIM B Interview and lost it.

– Ignorance: prepare well for the interview. Don’t take it too casually. Staying cool interview doesn’t mean staying uniformed about the key areas. For example I was grilled on probability/statistics/queuing in IIT SOM interview. I dint prepare much in that area despite it being a course I did in graduation and highly relevant to my field (comp sci). I failed to convert the interview

– Lack of Passion: Sometime if everything is worse in you and if you still have the kick ass passion to make it to the school then you might get selected. All you need to do is display your passion and why you want to join the school through out the interview. But passion isolated to PI is not going to work. You need to display in the SOP, GD and other stages as well.

– Running away from reality: B schools also like people with high levels of creativity. But that doesn’t mean that you should move away from reality. Suppose if the interviewer asks where do you want to be 10 years after MBA and if you say something like I want to be a project manager or CEO of an MNC it doesn’t work. Try to be more sensible and realistic in your answers.

Well, that is all I can think of now.

All the Very Best for GD/PI 2005.


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My name is Chandoo. Thanks for dropping by. My mission is to make you awesome in Excel & your work. I live in Wellington, New Zealand. When I am not F9ing my formulas, I cycle, cook or play lego with my kids. Know more about me.

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2 Responses to “All I Wanted to Say about GD/PI”

  1. sanchit says:

    thanks sir

    i agree with u

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