Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Group Interview Experience- Divya Chawla

Name: Divya Chawla
Programme and Batch: PGDM Finance 2014-16
Graduation: B.E. Civil from Panjab University, Chandigarh
Work experience: 0 months
For WAT:
1.       How was your performance in the MBA entrance exam? Also share your overall WAT experience?
  This being my first attempt at CAT, I performed decently well. The overall WAT experience was good as I believe this is one front where you get a chance to structure your thoughts before you can put them across another person.

2.       What was your topic for WAT and what was your Time limit?
My topic for WAT was “How the role of women has changed in the contemporary world”. We had a psychometric test and essay writing for which we were given 30 minutes in total.

3.       What was your approach towards WAT and how would you rate your writing?
Before attempting the WAT, it is very important to understand the topic and gauge what is expected from us. I followed a typical approach that I have been doing since school. I made a rough draft and jotted down all my thoughts and ideas. Then, I made it a point to organize my thoughts to maintain a proper flow. Finally, I made a clear distinction between the introduction, body and conclusion of the essay. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my writing as 8, where 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest.
For the psychometric test, the best approach is to select the answer which comes to your mind first, without giving a second thought.

4.       How did you prepare for WAT, your Time Management strategy?
I made it a point to be updated on all the current issues and happenings. I also practiced a few essays before I attempted my final WAT. Time management is a key factor which affects your WAT. I managed my time by assuring that I spend at least 20% of the allocated time to develop a structure for my essay and 10% to review the final write-up.

5.       How did you Structure your essay writing along with the time constraint?
First, I jotted down all my thoughts on the topic in a rough column. I spent around five minutes quickly noting down all that I thought fit to write on the topic. Then, I started with a concise introduction, ending with my view on the topic. In subsequent paragraphs, I mentioned the pros and cons to the topic, and my views on the same. Then, I concluded, substantiating my opinion with adequate examples.

6.       Was the topic tough for you to write? Please share the difficulty while outlining the structure for the essay and how you tackled the problem?
The topic given to my group wasn’t tough. In fact, it was a generic one. The topic was one of the evergreens, yet trending issues on which most people can express themselves comfortably.
The main difficulty in case of a generic topic is that since most people can write a lot on the issue, the essay tends to lose structure if we write it as it comes to our mind. So, to avoid it, I wrote all the points I could in rough first, decided on where to actually write what, and then began writing the final thing. Another major difficulty in topics like these is to make sure you put across all the important points within the word limit.

7.       Is there any advice for the aspirants who’d be appearing in the WAT test soon?
My advice would simple be to keep yourself up to date with the current affairs and trending topics. Read the newspaper every day. Try to discuss hot topics friends or in groups, and aspirants should try to have a rational opinion on the same. And structure is often the deciding factor; so, take a few minutes to figure out what all you’ll write, before you start the final essay. Apart from this, for abstract topics, PESTLE framework can be very helpful in writing an essay as it will give a holistic view of the topic.

For PI:
1.       How many members were there in your interview board?
There were 2 members, one male and one female in the Group interview 1 and 3 male members in the second group interview.

2.       How was your interview structured?
My Group interview 1 started with the most customary question “Tell me something about yourself”. This is the make or break question where you need to make sure that you are able to convey the best message you have in the limited time that the panel allow you to speak for. Then the interview moved towards a very unexpected topic where the group was asked to comment on the fact that most of the educated mothers of the candidates were serving as house wives. After this, the interview revolved around the then current happenings and some economic phenomenon like inflation. Finally, some questions related to my academics were asked.

The group interview 2 again started with the “Tell me about yourself” question, but this time the panel clearly specified that we should answer the question only if we have some “INTERESTING” about ourselves to tell. The panel asked us to use not more than 5 sentences for the same. Then, a lot of current topics like AAP and cricket series were discussed. After this, each candidate was given an instance and was asked how they would have responded or reacted to it. This is one tricky situation where you need to make sure you give an honest reply and not the response which you think is supposedly correct. At last, we were again given a chance to tell one interesting thing about ourselves.

3.       Was there any tough question for you to answer?
My interview went really smoothly and I did not come across any tough question. There was one instance where I was asked if I was working for a company and later came to know that a particular product it manufactures is harmful for some people. Would I still work for it? And what would I do in such a situation. This is one moment where I was perplexed as to give a socially acceptable answer or give an honestly. I took the path of honesty and I am glad I did that.

4.       What were the key factors which you think influenced your selection at PI stage?
My body language, confidence, communication skills and a relaxed smiling face is what I believe helped me. Being calm and composed throughout the process is another vital factor. Of course, being myself was the key to success.

5.       How did you prepare for your PI?
I had prepared answers to the most frequently asked questions like tell me about yourself, your strengths weakness, etc. Apart from this, I made sure I read the newspaper every day without fail. Being a fresher, it was also important for me to be thorough with my graduation subjects, so I made sure I prepare well for them.

6.       Did you appear for any other PI exercise at other top B-schools? Please share a few experiences (where you went wrong).
I appeared for the GD-PI process of XLRI. The GD for XLRI was slightly different from the normal GD processes. This was basically a group task where we had to finally rank the options for the solution to the given problem. The key was to make sure that the group agrees to your preferences.

The PI experience was good. My PI started with some basic discussion about my school life. Then it revolved around my graduation subjects. I was also asked about some current happenings related to field of graduation. My interview went well.  

7.       Any interesting moment from your PI which you would like to share with MBA aspirants.
Not actually interesting, but there was a moment where I told the interviewer that I love mathematics. I was instantly back fired with a question related to modulus, which I later found out that I answered wrongly. So, in an interview, what matters is not to give the correct answer always, but the approach you follow to reach the answer

8.      What is your advice to aspirants for Personal Interview?
My advice would just be to stay calm and be confident. Most importantly, you should be yourself. Since it is a group interview, relative performance plays a major part. Set yourself apart. You should say whatever you with utmost conviction. If you’re well prepared, and if you deserve it, you’ll get through!

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