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Learn the need to reflect and conceptualise

  Says, SURESH VENKATRAMAN, Chairperson Admissions IFMR. In an interview with Advanc'edge, he shows the way for management aspirants to cross the GD-WAT-PI hurdle.  

Q.  What are the qualities you look for in candidates when they apply to your institute?
While shortlisting, we look for evidence of energy, and the ability to work with people. This calls for achievements across diverse areas of endeavour. We appreciate those achievements that require significant time and effort; also those that may have been at the cost of academics.
We value success in team work in employment / sport / other areas. We conduct a WAT, and in that we look for the ability to articulate a position and the ability to disengage from that position. During our personal interview, we look for depth of knowledge in the applicants’ chosen subjects / topics, and oral communication skills.

Q. How does IFMR’s MBA course, prepare students to face the corporate challenges ahead?
Given the Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) nature of business, we build two competencies, intellectual strength to entertain multiple perspectives, and re-examine one’s mental map, and resilience to use every failure as a stepping stone to success.
We do this through our highly interactive pedagogy and continuous evaluation with multiple components – classroom games, group assignments, and live projects from industry, peer assessment, case studies and simulation workshops.
Students get to test their competencies through various clubs and committees – almost 2/3rd of the batch serves in these organisations. 

Q. Why do you think entrepreneurship is on the rise these days? How does IFMR’s MBA course, help students, who are keen to start their own venture, with opportunities for entrepreneurship?
I feel this generation was born into post liberalisation India and has seen the entry of Indian entrepreneurs in the global market. Naturally, students of this generation have lesser inhibitions and face lesser parental pressure than earlier generations. So it is not surprising that many of them are bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
We have a student led organisation TEC or The Entrepreneurship Committee, supported by a team of faculty. TEC regularly arranges visits by young entrepreneurs, both nascent and established ones, to engage with and inspire potential entrepreneurs at IFMR. We have also had visits from Angel Investors who have articulated their expectations to our aspiring entrepreneurs. Currently, we have over 6 students who will be venturing on their own after their MBA course.

Q. What do you think are the best ways to prepare for the GD-WAT-PI rounds?
Experiment, experience, reflect, conceptualise – repeat this cycle to keep improving – it will be very useful to have someone assist you to record your experience, give you feedback on your performance, and sustain your motivation. Ideally that someone should have gone through GD-WAT-PI and crossed the hurdle of B-school admission.