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'I nailed my IIM group discussion & interview!'
Bharat Jhurani
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January 24, 2008

The CAT results have been declared and IIM hopefuls are now focussed on acing the secong leg of the admissions process -- the group discussions (GD) and the personal interview (PI).

To help students prepare themselves for all the possible twists and turns a personal interview can take, we publish first-hand experiences of students who managed to breeze through their PI and others who crashed and burned.

Here, Bharat Jhurani, a first-year student at IIM Lucknow, shares his interview experience as a part of the CAT selection process.

I am an electronics and communications engineer from the GITAM college of engineering (Non-NIT, IIT!), Visakhapatnam [Images] and I graduated in 2007(yup, a fresher!).


My lone IIM call -- after all those arduous AIM CATS -- topping them, working hard and even managing a 99.36 percentile in CAT -- was from IIM Lucknow. One single IIM call! The reason? My slightly low score in the Verbal Ability section.

Anyway, no use crying over spilt milk. I decided to give this my best shot.


My group discussion and interview were scheduled on February 17 at 2 pm, the venue being Hotel Monarch, Bangalore. I was made part of Panel II and my number was 9 (why is it always Number 9?). I was called in for the GD and the essay at about 3 pm. There were two panel members presiding and 12 of us within the group. IIM-L is known for assigning abstract topics and it maintained its reputation upon this particular occasion. The topic? 'The most effective way to eradicate poverty is through effective governance'.


As soon as it was dictated, we were asked to write a small essay in about 150 words within 5 minutes. After the stipulated time, the papers were taken away, leaving us to discuss the topic. With such an open-ended topic thrown in, it was literally a fish fight in the beginning -- everyone was hurling in whatever facts they had at hand and I was no exception! I piped up quite a number of times during the process. Overall it was a pretty good GD, but it could have been better.

Then came the time for personal interviews -- they were pretty short and I presented myself before the panel at 4:30 pm. It comprised of the same individuals who presided over the GD. My interview lasted for all of six minutes.

As I entered I was asked if I would like to enroll in the Agro-Business Management (ABM) course offered by the institute. I initially relented, but then informed them that I would prefer to leave it as a second option. So much for preparation!

Following this, I was asked the cliched question -- 'Tell us about yourself' -- which I answered reasonably well, highlighting my background, my hobbies (blogging, basketball) and my accomplishments (class representative etc).

Then followed a few questions on statistics, probability and simple mathematics. I answered all well, save two -- one probability query, in which I mixed up the basic concept and a definition of disjoint events, for which I incorrectly rattled off all about independent events. I got so confused that they had to explain the concept to me and not becasue I didn't know the answer, but because I was just too stressed. The lack of comfort showed so much on my face that one of the panel members actually said, "Don't feel tensed! Be cool. It is not a stress interview."

When asked what I do in my free time, I mentioned my hobbies once more. The younger of the two panelists seemed very interested in blogging -- he questioned me on the contents of my blog and even noted down my blogsite! I started to feel a little better about myself and hoped that he would visit it before deciding my fate!

They then asked if I had any questions for them, to which I replied in the negative. I thanked them and smiled, leaving the room confidently. That was the end of my interview.

Two months later, I found that I have made it -- I got a convert and am presently the first student out here at the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.


Gathering from my experience, I would say that the interviewers look for passion, ability and enthusiasm in a candidate, coupled with decent knowledge of current events and decent English language skills.


Get in there confidently and you'll emerge victorious!

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