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What after CAT: Giving your best in PI

  A thorough reading of the current economic and corporate scenario along with strong analytical skills can help candidates create the required great first - impression to the interviewers during the Personal Interview round.  

The Advanc’edge Team

Is the saying goes: “You get a chance to make a first-impression only once”, and that should not be missed. The Personal Interview is a remarkable platform to create that sought-after ‘first impression’.
To achieve this, you can’t just wish it happens that way. You have to work for it. This is certainly possible if you systematically work towards making an immaculate first impression. And the only what you can do it is to prepare proactively ahead of the personal interview.

Introduction phase

A typical business school interview starts with a question, which can be something like…‘tell us about yourself’. The panel expects a crisp ‘elevator pitch’ type of answer for 60 seconds, briefly touching upon your academic achievements, any personal achievements and areas of interest.
Such a question is a great opportunity for the candidate, as it serves as a tool to steer the interview panel towards an area in which you’ve prepared well. Remember, the key words you use or the things you mention during the introduction will have a major impact on how the interview shapes up over the next 15 minutes or so.

Steering towards a comfortable domain

While responding to such a question, after providing some brief personal details (which anyway is available as a part of your CV with the panel), make a statement like “I regularly keep track of some of my favourite companies and the strategies they pursue.” This could be an open ended statement and in effect the candidate is steering the interviewer towards an area on which the candidate has clearly done a detailed work and is well-prepared and rehearsed.
When you make relevant statements like these, it is highly probable that the members of the panel will dwell deeper into such statements. And hence, the next question will go something like this: “Alright, tell us something about one of your favourite companies and what strategies you figured out that they have been following?”
So, if you have proactively prepared some detailed analysis on a company like say, ITC or Infosys, you are much better off for constructively holding on to at least 20 to 25% of the interview time by laying down a clear analysis with suitable examples. Of course there could be some dynamism and everything is not likely to go exactly the way you planned, but, you are likely to be in control of a large part of the conversation that is likely to follow.

Brushing up your business GK

There is no better way than preparing on certain companies and industries that are your favourites. Pick a few industries (telecom, FMCG, ITES, etc) and choose at least one company in each of these industries. Read thoroughly about them, understand them, look up for the current major issues in these industries, how these companies are performing and how their competitors are reacting. Such preparation will place you well for the discussions you need to hold on to in the personal interview. Reading the Corporate World sections in Advanc’edge MBA will help you as a starting point, which you can develop further through regular reading of a business daily, tracking such companies and industries until the date of the personal interview.
Being familiar with emerging industries like e-commerce and internet based aggregators (Ola, Uber, etc) will be useful. You will appear to be someone who keeps track of the latest developments in emerging industries.

Demonstrating analytical capability

Demonstrating analytical capability in the personal interview is another area that is extremely important. For instance, five areas where you can focus are detailed below. These can be used somewhere with many of the questions that come along in the personal interview:
Familiarising with India’s population is important. India’s overall population is 1.3 crore. Then make a note of the number of people who are above the poverty line. Find out about the literacy level of the nation along with the economic status and per capita income. It is also essential to know the household income and spending patterns of Indian citizens.
Reports of the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) are very useful and will help you in this front. Additionally, familiarise yourself with areas of retail market in India: its size, players, growth potential, etc, telecom/ broadband/ mobile/ Internet penetration and India market capitalisation, top 30 Indian companies and many other such topics. These will help you in anchoring your conversation on solid analytical logic.
But most of all, stay on your toes, be ready for quick changes of topics in conversation, and keep calm.

All the very best!