The Step After The CAT Exam

India’s management fraternity and the MBA education community are in favour of giving more weightage to group discussion (GD) and personal interview (PI), compared to test scores, for selecting future managers. At present, a majority of the leading B-Schools give 70 per cent weightage to the entrance exam scores and only 30 per cent weightage to group discussion and personal interview. Although the critical importance of group discussion and personal interview for selecting future managers continues to remain a topic of debate, for about 4,000 to 5,000 shortlisted candidates of the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2010 – the results of which were declared last year – it’s going to be the next big hurdle. As they await the second phase of the admission procedure – GD and PI – their dream of getting into one of the eight Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), among other top B-Schools, inches closer and closer. tutor

But before you let these flights of fancy take control of you, let’s not underestimate the importance of group discussion and personal interview. So you have a group discussion/ personal interview call from a top ten institute. Your heart is almost dancing on the lawns of IIM Ahmedabad or boating in the Joka ‘Jetty’ on the IIM Calcutta campus. But remember, there is one more step to clear – GD and PI. This is where multiple call-getters fall by the wayside year after year.

A lot has been written about the online tests and online exam that one needs to prepare and practice a lot to reach the top B-Schools of India. However, that is but the first step towards your dream. If you make the cut and are among the fortunate few to be invited for an interview, you need to be prepared. The coveted call letter means that you’ve won your battle against the dreaded online test, but it also means that it is time to pull up your socks, pull out all stops and redouble your efforts.

Group discussions are a tool by the means of which institutes can assess how good a candidate is at influencing people. Although it is said that what is tested in a group discussions is your communication skills and interpersonal skills. Once you have left the room what sort of a tangible feeling have you left in the panelists’ minds? This boils down to how much influence you had in the group in the few minutes you were together. Specific instances or specific points are rarely remembered by the panelists. If any attention is paid to specifics it is only towards the negatives. For instance, indulging in loud and abrasive behavior is a sure- shot ticket to go out of the room.

Most feel that a group discussion is like a debate, but what you discuss in a corporate situation or college canteen can also be a group discussion. But of course, in a group discussion, you have to discuss a given topic in a more decent manner and within the set limits. You have to listen to others’ points too. You can’t be shouting or showing aggressive behavior all the time. But then again, if the situation demands, you may have to do it to control the chaos.