B-Schools- A Credibility Check

24-feb4Ways and Means to Undergo the Credibility Check

Demand for quality and employable MBA pass-outs are increasing every year and this has given rise to considerable number of institutions offering MBAs with different value-propositions (dual degree programme, student exchange programme, etc) titled differently (MBA, PGDM, PGDBM, etc). Hence prospective students and professionals aspiring to take up MBA have a variety of options to choose from and they search for benchmarks and guidance across the web and offline to make their investment and time of study worthy enough. One of such valuable aid is the B-school rankings that are published every year by different credible media institutions as a research result of great minds. Even though such B-school rankings published aid the prospects a lot in deciding, the two things most of the prospects misses out while going through the rankings are,

a) Not knowing the factors and their corresponding weights for the selection and ranking of a particular B-school and

b) The distance between the two consecutive ranks eg: The scores earned by 7th ranking B-school and 8th ranking B-school may be 400/500 and 220/500 which actually makes a huge difference. We may think that won’t the institutions undertaking ranking process would have been wise enough to do it in the best possible way, but each and every research has its own drawback and as ranking system is easily understood by mass audience they are also left with no choice. Hence we as prospects also has the responsibility to go to the bottom of it and select the apt B-school to make our time and investment worthy.

              The two points mentioned above may look trivial for a prospect who seeks only for a good placement after MBA but it makes a lot difference for the prospects who dream to build something of their own or for those who are very much passionate about bringing a difference as a professional in their future job. Hence considering the media rankings alone is not the right way for selecting a B-school in addition to that we need a little tapping work to do.  But please note here we does not ask you to make a research but just recommend you to travel some extra mile by putting simplest and smallest efforts that can obtain quality and credible information which are easily available with a tap of your finger for…. somewhat a planned destiny!

All that you need to have to travel this extra mile are,

i)  A Smart Phone or a Computer connected with internet, your Linked In and Facebook IDs

ii)  Interested specializations (keep it as less as 3) in MBA (eg. Finance, Tourism, Human Resources, etc) even though you will specialize in 1 or 2 it is too early to say which are those before you take up the course, so have few specializations in your mind

iii) Have a list of B-schools that you wish to join

Once you have these then we are Good- To- Go! the down listed are the few credible ways that helps you in finding necessary information to zero-in an apt B-school.

Online- Socialize:

i) LinkedIn:

Connect to the Linked in page of B-schools you have shortlisted, it will offer you credible alumni connections who are professionals at different geographies and lines of business. Their details can be obtained by viewing their profiles in the view profile page.

ii) Facebook:

As every other place Facebook can help you wonderfully. Find the alumni page of the institutes you have shortlisted

           Once you do (i) and (ii), select few of the members in the page and send them a message about your willingness to join the B-school from where they passed-out and request them for some help in this regard. Many would surely reply and thereby you can ask them the below questions pertaining to,

  • Job opportunities
  • Career growth
  • Learning culture
  • Faculty standard
  • Business incubation/ Entrepreneurship cells, etc.

            These are the right people to consult about the afterlife of MBA and opinions about their B-Schools because they would be mature and neutral enough to comment/ guide as they have already crossed the path you dream to travel.

            With the above information we have the details about their post MBA status and their opinions about the B-school but the opinions are the result of the experience they had then, which may be not true now, so to understand the present scenario we go further.

iii) Find the B-school Facebook pages of the present batch and post your questions pertaining to,

  • On-campus placements
  • Learning culture
  • Faculty standard
  • Career opportunities & Average package or your field of your interest, etc

            One other advantage of querying the present batch is that you can get information relating to accommodation, food, etc that are in existence and ultimately there are high chances of you having couple of friends in the institution which you may finalize to join

iv) Join the official B-School Facebook page to get updated with the guest lectures, workshops, seminars, conferences, events, etc. and if a B-school regularly organizes such events then it’s a very happening place and it means that it provides you a quality platform to express, learn, perform and nurture different skills necessary

Website:

             Checking the websites of B-schools cannot be termed as the best way to know about the present as only few update it regularly but it is a good means to know the details of the recent past. Here the information like,

  1. Batch composition of students from different academic & professional backgrounds
  2. Faculty profiles (their Alma mater, academic, professional and research experiences) & information about their work type like Full Time/ Part Time/ Guest Lecture/ Visiting Professor
  3. Past and present researches undertaken, MOUs or Tie-ups with renowned research and educational institutions and its benefits for the students
  4. Library infrastructure comprising online and offline resources for study and other essential infrastructure
  5. Annual business conclaves, cultural events, seminars, etc. are invaluable and credible to consider

Offline- Communication Centers:

            Most B- Schools have their Marketing/ Sales/ Admission Offices across different cities, so your  nearest office address can be obtained from their websites, and you should visit them to know in detail about their offerings but never buy the generalized statements from them outright like, 100% placements, abroad opportunities, educational loan assistance, etc try asking them the details because there is no point in you getting placed in odd jobs just because the proper job roles were not offered for you in a B-school, so by offering some job to the students still a B-school can proclaim the statement ‘100% placement guaranteed’ hence beware.

              Kindly note that any information obtained from the above sources can be verified with the help of the B-school’s present batch Facebook page.

So my dear friends try to undergo the credibility check by,

  • Connecting to Linked In and Querying the Facebook Alumni page
  • Joining and Querying the Facebook page of B-schools’ present batch
  • Surf through the B-schools websites
  • Collect the details from the communication centers of the B-schools nearby
  • Any details obtained can be cross verified through the members of the B-schools’ present batch Facebook page

            Once again the above recommended ways and means does not generalizes or advocates that this is the right way of undergoing the credibility check, all it suggests is that this is one of the ways of undertaking it and it is sure to increase the accuracy of your decision making process. Hence travel this extra mile now so that there is no need for you to travel long miles for your apt career post-MBA.


Contributed By : L.Gowtham, Class of 2013, IBS Hyderabad

Club Culture at B Schools

Management EducationManagement Education is a western world concept and Indians borrowed it about three decades ago. It started with mere management of a company’s board and has developed into a science of numbers, people and psychology put together. Gradually, this knowledge trickled down from a company’s board to college classrooms.

This knowledge is imparted right from colleges to the post graduation level in some form or the other. Business schools have pioneered in promoting this education and Clubs have acted as a catalyst adding fuel to the learning with an element of fun.  Choosing a Business School is an important decision of one’s career that can be equated to choosing a life partner – the right ones creating heaven and other ensuring a hell. There is hardly anyone who thinks of clubs as an important parameter when choosing a B School. Aspiring students check out rankings in magazines or newspapers and get confused with the same.

 Secondly they would look at the highest placement packages and ponder over other less relevant information while choosing a B-school such as the ratio of students to professors. They tend to overlook important things like the network of Alumnus or Professors’ expertise on subjects. Clubs also form an important parameter which one should look for. Although enough information is unavailable on official websites, one could get more details through online public forums.

So what really are ‘Clubs’? A club is a group of students, sharing a common interest or passion, coming together to further hone their interests, learn something from one another and create something meaningful.  College’s faculty members act as guides and consultants, though the clubs are completely managed by the students. It encourages them to enjoy similar passions while setting conducive environment in forming strong bonds with their peers.

Clubs help in carving the niche interests in students. World’s best business schools encourage club culture. Some common clubs running across global campuses include those of Marketing, advertising, finance, entrepreneurship, alumni, sports and so on.

Kellogg School of Management which is considered as one of the top B schools is known for its student-led culture. It offers a variety of clubs for students to participate in, right from professional clubs where students build relationships with world-leading external companies with the likes of consulting or investment banking, media and entertainment, and marketing.  It has carved a niche for its own in the same.

Another talked-about business school for its clubs is Harvard Business School. This reputed University became the birth place of Facebook when a young boy decided to create a portal for students and clubs from the important business schools across America and connect them to create one of the most powerful club communities. Today Facebook is public and amongst the most renowned social networking sites. The school likes to add three to four clubs every year in its kitty and is believed to have more than 70 clubs running across the university. Some clubs are niche and very few B-schools offer clubs like “Bit Coin Club” that deals in digital currency, which many economists says will take over the plastic and paper currencies in near future. Another unique club is “Wine & Cuisine” Club to promote a sense of good living through the enjoyment of fine wine and cuisine for future managers.

Indian business schools are steadily catching up the westerners. Although general club formations are a normal practice, hardly any innovation comes out of the same. Unfortunately, clubs are considered just as the part of students’ extra-curriculum which diminishes its importance. Alumnus networking is absent except a few who make an effort to connect with their Alma mater. Additionally, clubs are strictly monitored with rigid rules which kill creativity and freedom of expression. It even puts a roadblock on any kind of innovation.

Management EducationEminent Indian B-Schools like IIMs has been successful in developing a sustainable and favourable environment for ideas to develop in any domain. They are encouraged and even funded to help them grow. Alumni play a big role in the development of these clubs. Some even go a step further to take sustainable ideas and provide a suitable business platform for them. IIM Ahmadabad has one of the best incubation for entrepreneurial ideas and has been in creating many success stories. IIM Calcutta has one of the powerful Finance clubs called “Fin Club” that creates a mark in its domain.

Most B-Schools are quite aloof with their engineering or commerce modules. The reasons range from low strength of the club or the lack of any noticeable impact. Western B Schools have common clubs across the University addressing all curriculum and education fields including the technical ones. Once these clubs gain traction, more students would sharing similar interests would want to join the club. Eventually such clubs become sustainable and provide invaluable lessons to its members.

Another B-School that has placed great emphasis on its club culture is IBS Hyderabad. The campus has more than 20+ innovative clubs each creating a niche of its own. They are managed and run entirely by senior students who then pass on the torch to their juniors once they graduate. Every weekend 3-4 clubs indulge themselves in creating activities for other students to participate in which would entertain them while imparting some learning at the same time. Apart from mainstream clubs like marketing, advertising, finance or economic clubs, an online Club called “Stu-Z” is a unique online portal that connects the students and brings campus news, entertainment quotients as well as educational information. Another unique club is the photography club which was started a few years ago by a single student who was passionate enough to make its presence felt all around the campus.

These clubs work as a small ecosystem of corporate where a definite hierarchy, whether flat or vertical, prevails. Every person has a role to play and run the show, creating events and marketing them so that sizable audience participate in it and make it a success. Being in these clubs teaches numerous lessons such as handling peer pressure, working in teams, respecting each other agreements and disagreements, putting forward ideas, handling criticism to implementing them and working passionately to make it a success.

Sooner or later all B schools will focus and encourage club-culture more and won’t regard them as mere extracurricular activities. Until then, every aspiring student should consider the club culture while applying to different universities.


Contributed By : Apurva Singhi, Class of 2009-11, IBS Hyderabad

Learning with Fun

MBA Graduates#Suggest what is trending. I have selected the title #FunWithLearning not because it is trending but I want it to trend. The only reason I want to make you aware about it is, you should know how important learning is and what difference it can make in your life. Few youngsters don’t bother to learn much, as they think life is for fun and we need to live life only with it. For them fun means partying all night, hang around with friend and lot more. Actually I am not against this thought process but along with fun, learning is also important.

Learning is the act of acquiring to know, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve gathering different types of information. Learning is not compulsory but it is contextual. It does not happen at once but, it builds upon and is shaped by previous knowledge.

There is a myth that we can only learn through books or school, actually there are many other mode by which we can learn.

Modes of learning –                  

Nature– We can learn many things from nature.

Discipline– We can learn discipline from SUN. Sun always rises and always set on time. The way SUN works on daily basis we can learn the timeliness and commitment from it.

“Let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see.”

Helpful– Tree stands tall and bears all the heat and gives shadow to those whoever come beneath it. We can learn this quality in our personal life. The quality of being helpful to other will help us in future to build a good relation with people.

“I took a walk in trees and came out taller than them.”

Sports– We watch many sports and we are personally and emotionally attached with it. We can also learn few things from it.

“Winning isn’t everything- But want to win is.”

Team work– We can learn team work from almost all the sports, be it cricket, football, basketball. When players are in the field they leave their individuality behind and work as a team. They get together and play for their team.

Dedication – How all the players are dedicated towards their sports and give their best out in the field. We can learn the same in our studies and in our work. We also can dedicate our self to whatever activity we are doing.

Self-Motivated- Players don’t get motivated all the time. They are self-motivated as they know what they are doing? Why they are doing? And for whom they are doing? Similarly we also need to be self-motivated and know the above questions to succeed in life.

Attitude– Most of the players has one thing in common that is Attitude. Their attitude towards their play is very positive and they are also more confident when they are on field. Similarly we need to have positive attitude towards our Job. We should also learn confidence from them. We need to be very confident on ourselves. If we are confident we will be able to do our best.

Importance of learning:-

Learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skill through education and experience. Our ability to learn and our intellectual capacity are intangibles. However, these intangibles are your greatest assets because everything you do to reinvent and update your knowledge allows you to grow from where you are today to where you want to go. Learning is prerequisite to growth.

We live and work in a changing world. New laws are introduced that lead to the introduction of new policies. New ideas and approaches emerge. New problems arise and new solutions are sought. The world of work is therefore a constantly moving and evolving one. What this means, then, is that, if we are not constantly learning as we go about our day-to-day business, then each day we are getting further and further out of touch with the demands of the modern working world.

Learning is not just important to ensure that we keep up-to-date with developments in our particular field. It is also an important source of motivation, stimulation and job satisfaction. For example, somebody who works in a particular place for three years and during that time continues to learn, grow and develop is likely to experience far greater job satisfaction than someone who stays in the same post for three years, simply repeating the basic tasks in the same way without any growth or development over that time. Learning should therefore be seen as something positive and worthwhile in its own right, not just something that we have to do to meet other people’s expectations of us.

mba program“Ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have”

Learning is Self-Empowerment:

Receiving a good education helps empower you, thus making you strong enough to look after yourself in any given situation. It keeps you aware of your given surrounding as well as the rules and regulations of the society you’re living in. Education helps you understand yourself better; it helps you realize your potential and qualities as a human being. It helps you to tap into latent talent, so that you may be able to sharpen your skills.

Financial Stability and Dignity of Life:

Another importance of education is that it helps you gain sufficient academic qualification so that you are able to get suitable employment at a later stage. A decent employment would be combined with hard-earned remuneration or salary through which you can look after your personal expenses. While you earn for yourself, you gradually begin to realize the true worth of money and how hard it is to earn it. You realize the significance of saving for a rainy day and for unforeseeable contingencies. You feel empowered because there is a new sense of worth that develops within you, and you feel the need to be independent and free from any further financial support.

Growth in Personal Aspiration:

There also comes a phase when the amount you are earning presently will seem inadequate because your aspirations and expectations from yourself would have grown considerably. After this, you will want to change jobs so as to have a higher profile. However, here is when you need to be prepared. A promotion of this figure can occur in two given situations, which are, that either you have the necessary higher academic qualification or a college degree which allows you a safe passage, or that you have amassed enough practical experience which allows you to be a suitable candidate for the employment you seek.

An idle mind is devil workshop:

Education and studying regularly, gives people of all age groups something substantial and challenging to do. It helps them think and use their idle hours, doing something productive and worthwhile. Education need not be purely academic and may include reading for leisure or as a passion for literature, philosophy, art, politics, economics, or even scientific research. There is no limit, to all that you can teach yourself, only if you take the interest to learn and grow as an individual. However, those who treat knowledge as trash, eventually find themselves getting absorbed with thoughts of violence, and jealously against those who are better off than themselves. It is people such as these who turn towards drug addiction, unnecessary rebellion, crime, and plain inactivity. Such people lack the self-esteem, which a good education often provides to its followers.

From the above importance we understand how important learning is but it is more important to enjoy learning and this eventually comes through fun. If we enjoy and we learn then we will be able to implement what we have learn and use that learning into our day to day life.

“If you are not willing, to learn no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”


Contributed By : Kandarp Gandhi, Class of 2014, IBS Mumbai

Life At IBS PUNE

2-marMy association with IBS started a year ago with a call from the IBS enquiring about my choice for doing MBA. Having worked with a manufacturing industry for past four year, I had observed changes that happened in corporate world where young MBA graduates had started occupying seats in management decision-making. I realized that in order to make it into the echelons of top management it is would be necessary to acquire impeccable managerial skills.

Soon I became part of the ever growing IBS family in June last year. Life at IBS is really fabulous enriching you with good blend of academics and co-curricular activities. Every day and every minute is full of joy and happiness. IBS is one among the earlier pioneer in the country who started practicing the case methodology of teaching. Case based learning and usage of ibooks helped a lot in understanding and experimenting with the concepts. Case methodology also paved the way for peer learning and encouraged us to think out of box.

Our life here has been scheduled perfectly with a fine mix of academics and co-curricular activities. We had guest lecture every week where eminent personalities from industry addressed students on current / topical issues faced by their companies besides sharing valuable insights and solutions that were adopted. This introduced us to the expectations that the corporate world holds from new management graduates. At the campus student activities were a plenty. Students organized number of games and events. These gatherings created healthy relations and provided a platform for the students to interact, discuss and debate various ideas.

All the faculty members also participated in the discussion forums and shed light over happenings and trends in their respective areas of expertise. I would conclude by stating the famous statement made by Ray Le Blond “YOU LEARN SOMETHING EVERY DAY IF YOU PAY ATTENTION” and here at IBS attention of the students were drawn with the use of I-books for learning and quicforce forums which have been designed to resemble facebook which students have adopted with addiction-like enthusiasm.

Contributed By : Ramabalaji, Batch 2014, IBS Pune

GD and Personal Interview Experiences

FACTORS THAT HELPED ME CRACK MY GD :

GD at IBSI remember the day when I had received my confirmation call for GD in one of the topmost management schools in India. I was glad to be one step closer to one of the best institutes in India but at the same time I was aware that from this point onwards smart planning and preparation would be the key to ensure my selection there.

I realized that management institutes use group discussions as a tool to evaluate many candidates in one go. They gauge and select students with personality traits and skills in communications that are desirable in specific areas of management.

With less than a month to go I had to prepare for GD and PI. I arrived at separate strategies to tackle my GD and PI. For my GD, below are the top three areas that I worked upon daily until my GD day.

  1. General Awareness:

I used to read newspapers daily but for a GD just being aware was not enough. What mattered the most was how I structured my ideas and how well I present it for a discussion. I made it a habit to note down key points on important topics. If the topic was of controversial nature I always tried to note down two points in favor of the topic and two points against it.

  1. English Language:

I decided to speak only in English for some days. Initially it felt a bit awkward but after a couple of days, I found myself to be much more fluent and confident than how I had started. Watching English news and movies also kept the momentum strong.

  1. Body Language:

Well, this was the most important area. I knew that I will be watched and then evaluated on how I walk into the room, how I take my seat, how I greet others, how I look at others, what I speak and more importantly how I speak.

How was I supposed to find out how I look while I do all these things?

So I practiced in front of the mirror till I was comfortable. Later on, I came to know that even great public speakers have used the mirror to get better with their skill!

My GD Experience: The topic: ‘Pink’

We were called in groups of ten. There were two panelists inside the room. I looked at all the panelists and wished them as I entered.  We were made to sit in a semi circular arrangement. We were being observed all the time.

We were given two minutes to think before the discussion was initiated. The first candidate set the tone by throwing a question: “Pink is for girls what blue is for boys. So can pink as a color be generalized for feminism?”

Because the group was strong I was not getting an opportunity to pitch in. So while a candidate was making her point and was taking a pause, I pitched in. I started by agreeing to the point made by my previous candidate and then added by providing two current examples in marketing where the color was being used to target a specific audience in the market. Then the discussion went on to touch multiple topics like commercialization, gentleness, female consumers, ‘Pink Floyd’ and so on.  The panelists then asked one of the candidates to conclude the discussion.

Overall the quality of discussion was very good. Six candidates from our group including me were shortlisted for the interview. My strategy for GD worked for me! And contrary to the popular thinking, a good group discussion need not be aggressive always!

THE FINAL STAGE: PERSONAL INTERVIEW :

personal interview at IBSI had cracked my GD and was sitting outside the interview room waiting for my turn to come. I was overwhelmed, with feelings ranging from anticipation, nervousness, confusion and confidence. I controlled my feelings and took a deep breath as I entered the room. There were two people in the panel; an elderly lady and middle aged professor. We greeted each other and with permission I took my seat.

Then came the first (and the most anticipated) question: Tell me something about yourself.

I took a pause and then told about my background (details about my educational background, my favorite engineering subject, work experience and hobbies). I made sure that I took some time to explain my job role in details. I knew that I had to engage the interviewers in the area of my interest (work experience) so that they start asking me questions around it. Storytelling helped.

In the next few minutes the interviewers asked me different questions around my work experience- business processes in my work area, latest company news and the things which I liked the most in my work. I was prepared for such questions and I made sure that I answered them in a structured manner and backed it with real time data.

Since, I had only a year of work experience, one tricky question which the panel asked me was “ Will your employer not be upset if you leave your job for pursuing higher studies only after a year of work?”

This question took me off-guard, but I slowly collected my thoughts and replied, “Our Company, as a policy, encourages its employees to pursue higher studies. Hence, the question of my boss or supervisor getting upset over my resignation will not arise. On the contrary, I am very sure that my manager will be very supportive of my decision. Also, as alumni, I will always have the option of re-applying for any open positions in our company in the future. After my higher studies, if there are any job roles that fit my qualifications and aspiration, then I will certainly remain open to exploring that option”. My answer went down well with the interviewers and they did not probe into that area further.

The panel took notice of the fact, that I was a Mechanical Engineer and they asked me some basic fundamental questions from Thermodynamics. I was able to answer most of them. For the ones that I could not answer, I preferred not to guess and to be honest with them. I told them, that I could not recollect the answers at the moment. Here, I would like to mention that while answering the introductory question (“Tell me something about yourself?”), I made sure that I mentioned about my favorite subject as I was prepared for it. So being specific helps the Interviewers to understand your areas of interest.

Another question, which I recollect, was “ Why would you want to do your MBA from our college?” I was prepared for this one and I replied: ”This college is known for the quality of its faculty, students, alumni, infrastructure, research, extra curricular activities and placement. As student in this college I will get access to some of the best minds in the country, research facilities, a great professional network, brilliant placement opportunities with top companies in the country and above all a life changing experience.” Since I researched the college website and additional news related to the college, I was able to throw in some data when I answered this question. I remember taking the names of some alumni of the college who was in news during that time, the names of the annual events conducted by the college and some of the internship facilities provided in the Campus. The panel was impressed with the data and they asked no further questions in that areas. College research does help.

Then there was a very simple and common question, which they asked me-“ Tell me about your weaknesses”. I replied- “ I consider them as the areas of self development for me. My primary area of self- development is to improve my public communications. Though, I am a good in public speaking, I would want to take my presentations to the professional level. For this, I am already working with my mentor in my office and I have also joined the Toastmasters International Club. I have realized that working on my action plan has helped me a lot. I plan to continue improving my communications”. The interviewers nodded and I knew that they appreciated my answer because I did not try to ‘cover up’ my weaknesses by projecting them as strengths. I was honest and I had a plan to work on my weakness.

Overall the interview was very satisfying. I prepared for it and was glad that I also contributed in steering the interview in the desired directions. The results were out in the evening and I was very glad to see my name on the selection list.

I hope my experience is helpful to the candidates who are to face their interviews soon.


Contributed By : Sanjit Das, Class of 2005, IBS Hyderabad

Group Discussion

Group DiscusssionGroup Discussion and Personal Interview is one of the litmus test to get through a premier B-school. I still remember how I had to dress myself for success. I still remember how introvert I had been and how difficult it gets to crack a GD-PI. I knew after clearing entrance exam, GD-PI is like a do-or-die situation for me: it is either you are in or you are completely out for another whole year. I knew if GD-PI is not cracked this time then the whole 1 year of hard work is going to go complete futile. So you can see the amount of pressure mounting on me at each ticking of time. Well, the first thing I did was to get rid of this pressure which I was building on to myself. I first made myself understand that it was a “DO” situation and there is no question of “DIE” situation. Now, how exactly did I “dress myself for success”?

Reading Magazines, Newspapers and Books: Yes, the first and foremost thing I started doing was keeping my self abreast with current affairs. This was done by reading newspapers like Economic Times, Business Standard and any other journal I could thing would be relevant, I would grab it. Then I would get few business magazines from friends and buy it from stores. Having completed reading magazines I would ensure I spent time enhancing and brushing-up my general knowledge. For me this was very important as I could relate many crucial events with my GD Topics. This would help me in putting across relevant points on the table. In short, keeping updated of current affairs gave me a shot of adrenaline – an air of confidence! This was mainly as I could see my points at the discussion were not only relevant but also short, precise and multiple unique points.

Reading books mainly some of the best sellers was another boost to my confidence. Books like Alchemist, The monk who sold his Ferrari, Rich Dad Poor Dad etc has shaped my continuity in talk, coherence in thought, and concentration in listening. It made me believe that there is another point of view, there is another outlook and approach to the topic. This helped me think out of the box, this taught me that imagination has no limit and I would come with new points. Reading such books is a boost for topics which are complete abstract: “Roses are red, violets are blue”, “Come to a full circle” or “Orange”. Yes these were some of the exact topics I had got during several of my GD discussions for various B-schools.

During my Group Discussions in which I got Selected:

 A group of 10 individuals in which 8 were boys and 2 were girls. The moderator had given a topic (The Chinese goods are disrupting the Indian markets) and then had asked to start. The very moment 3 candidates started and they kept on talking irrespective of whether the other one is listening. I knew if I speak it would not make any sense to anyone. I had expected the rowdy person will be eliminated. After a 1 minute of their talk, I suggested the girls too be given a chance to put across their viewpoint. This provided enough to stop them and after the girl spoke I pitched my point which I had thought during the time when other 3 contestants were talking. I spoke 3 valid points and passed in to the person who did not get the chance to speak. Then as the discussion time was about to end, I pulled myself up again and summarised the discussion with points suggested by all the individuals.

In this discussion I learned we need time to think and then structure the ideas. In fact I had created a flowchart and I ensured to use one analogy, one uncommon point apart from few relevant points. Further if someone has already started the discussion, avoid jumping on the running train. Secondly, we need to carefully listen to other speakers and bullet their points in a paper. Thirdly, we have to avoid interrupting when the other speaker has just begun speaking or has not completed his view or sentence. Fourthly, avoid being rowdy or disrespectful and instead you can offer chance to speak to your fellow contestants when the others are not letting you speak and then after a while you can extend the discussion. Last but not the least, you cannot dominate or speak throughout the discussion and should lead the group as a ‘team’.

MBA Graduates

Starting the discussion:

If you have already mapped the topic and you are confident about it then you can start the discussion. It is a myth that one who starts the discussion has a more probability of getting through the selection. In fact one who has put across valid points and had maintained a positive attitude and has shown team culture are more likely to be selected.

Heated discussion:

If the discussion has become rowdy, you can turn the table round by not being rowdy and showing your effort through gestures that yes you have a point to put forward. You may try entering the discussion whenever there is an opportunity. Chances are more that the moderator may ask each one to put forward their point of view.

How many times to speak?

There is no thumb rule as to how many times you have to speak. What most moderators notice is how much proactive you have been, and how smartly have you put across your views. You should speak to the point, crisp and ensure some innovative points to be added. You should not speak for the sake of speaking.

How to enter into the discussion?

 You can enter the discussion by using sentences like “I completely agree with my friend and I would like to add that….” or “I think the other point of view to this topic is that…” If the discussion is going off the topic then one can take charge of it and can express that “I think we are getting deviated from the main topic and my opinion is…”

How to summarise the discussion?

If you have not spoken then this is a very important and the last attempt to redeem yourself. For this one has to be actively listening and writing the important points. One has to smartly correlate the important points and quickly summaries within a minute. One has to ensure that no new point should be added here as the discussion is over and only the main points have to be summarised. You can probably use sentences like “we had a meaningful discussion and we came to the consensus that….” or “Though we had a meaningful discussion yet we could not come to a consensus. Some of the points discussed were…”

These points had been extremely helpful in several of my group discussions but one cannot deny that group discussions are unpredictable. Each discussion takes its own shape and has a different way forward. One has to be confident and has to be smart to deal with surprises as there are no prescribed formulas to “dress for success”.


Contributed By : Mitesh Agarwal, Class of 2011, IBS Hyderabad

How can introverts face a GD/PI with ease?

Group Discussion and Personal Interview

The expression of introversion varies from one person to another in intensity as well as type. Some basic traits of an introvert person are –hesitation to speak in front of people especially strangers, hesitation in making eye contact when listening to someone, using a soft (and sometimes inaudible) tone while talking, taking too long to search for the right words and feeling uncomfortable in group situations. Introverts often think a lot before actually saying anything and thus they are unable to speak at the right moment. If you are an introvert, you might have faced a number of such problems not only in your social life but in your professional life as well.

The business world is really competitive and things may become harder for you in case you are an introvert. Introverts often tend to avoid situations where they are required to speak up in front of a group or where they feel the focus is on them. Thus, group discussion as well as personal interview is beyond the comfort zone for an introvert.

Now before you go for a group discussion and personal interview, you need to know that most candidates out there are nervous too. You are definitely not the only one. The selection procedure can be really nerve-wrecking even for the best candidates. Here are some tips that will help you face the group discussion and personal interview with ease.

  1. Believe in Yourself

Being confident and self-assured may not seem to be easy. However, the first step towards preparing yourself to face your upcoming GD/PI is to believe in yourself and your abilities. Now, being an introvert does not mean that you are any less capable than other candidates. Surely, communication skills are a plus but you do not have to be disheartened if you are not good at it. All you have to do is work a little harder. If you plan and prepare well, you have a good chance of making it through the selection procedure of the college you have applied to.

  1. Plan and Prepare

Start your preparation well in advance. List down all the topics you think you may possibly be given for the group discussion and then research about them. During a group discussion, each candidate gets only a limited time to speak. Hence, it is not about how much you speak, it is about the how logical and sensible your points are. The more you know, the more confident you will feel!

  1. Practice

Mock interviews may really help you build up your confidence before the big day. Practice speaking while standing in front of a mirror. Observe your body language and your tone. You may even ask for some help from your friends. Conduct mock group discussions and interviews with them. Ask them to point out your mistakes and weaknesses and try to overcome them. Practice will really help you to overcome your nervousness.

Now that you know what you need to work on before your GD/PI, here are a few things you need to keep in mind on the big day.

  1. Dress well

Presentation matters!  Make sure you follow the dress code and dress up smartly on the final day. Don’t start hunting for your formal dress few hours before your GD/PI. All this should be done the previous night. Dressing up smartly will also help you feel more confident about yourself.

Dressing up casually or shabbily for interviews shows lack of interest and seriousness. Remember, the interviewers will be judging you on various factors. It is important to look impressive when you go for the group discussion and personal interview.

  1. Stop over-thinking and be calm

The more you think, the more nervous you will be. Also, thinking too much before presenting your views in the group discussion may affect your performance as you may not be able to speak up on time.

Do not think of the personal interview as an interrogation. Think of it as a conversation. Be quick and subtle with your responses. Over-thinking may result in long unnecessary pauses and this may break the flow of the conversation during the interview. Performance anxiety can be reduced if you keep reminding yourself that you are just having a conversation.

Calm yourself before you go for your group discussion and personal interview.

  1. Use your Listening Skills

Introverts are often considered to be good listeners and if you are one, you may use this skill for your benefit at the GD/PI. Carefully listen to the views and opinions presented by other candidates at the group discussion. This will help you in forming your own opinions. Also, this way you may avoid being repetitive and stating the points which have already been mentioned by someone else.

Strong listening skills will help you process the information well and plan out your answers accordingly. Well thought answers will certainly give you an upper hand over other candidates. However, don’t get too caught up in just listening and not responding in time.

Group discussions and personal interviews can be really nerve-wrecking if you are an introvert. Unfortunately, they cannot be avoided. Whether you are applying for admission in a reputed business school or you are trying for a job at some company, you will have to face personal interview.

GD/PI may seem to be a little less difficult for extroverts owing to their strong communication skills and their ease of interacting with others. However, this does not mean that you do not stand a chance.  Planning, preparation, and practice make the perfect combination of what you need in order to give your best in the group discussion and personal interview. Focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. A little hard work is all you require to make it through your upcoming GD/PI. Many introverts have carved out a successful professional career for themselves. There is no reason why you can’t!


Contributed By : Qais Mujeeb, Class of 2001, IBS Hyderabad

My Escapade with IBS Interview

pranshu awasthiIn this write-up, I’ve literally time-traveled down the memory lane to make you aware and understand the nitty gritties of the selection process at the intimidatingly sprawling ICFAI Hyderabad campus at Banjara Hills. I got a call letter from ICFAI after cracking IBSAT (ICFAI’s independently conducted entrance exam for aspiring MBAs), which is held every year around mid-December.

In the call-letter, I was given a range of dates to choose from for the D-Day. It also mentioned a list of around 15-20 assorted topics on which I was supposed to give a timed presentation. I decided on a date and my chosen topic was “Latest Technologies in Banking Industry”. I zeroed in on this topic as I had prior work experience in the Banking Sector and keen personal interest in Information Technology.

Though I had prepared well for the presentation, I had no idea what was in store for me as this was the very first presentation and interview of my life. I didn’t even know that I was supposed to be scared or at least a bit nervous. My state of mind just before taking the train to Hyderabad was virtually unoccupied and relaxed. Perhaps, ignorance of what laid ahead was a good thing.

Next day, I reached the selection venue 15 minutes before the scheduled time i.e. 7 AM.

Tip No.1: Make it a point to reach the venue before time for all your future interviews. This will avoid unnecessary hassles and will keep you calm and composed. A few hundred well-dressed interviewees were already present. By the time I got myself registered, the enormous lush-green campus lawn was already overflowing with apparently agitated students.

I felt like an ordinary rat competing in a yet another ruthless rat-race. Suddenly, I started feeling anxious and exhausted. I went for a quick bite at the canteen and had a sumptuous South-Indian breakfast coupled with hot coffee. The snack took the edge off my anxiety.

Tip No.2: Stay hydrated on the day of your Interview/Exam and have a carbohydrates-rich meal before leaving. Its all the more heart-braking to have all the potential yet not able to get through the three-step selection process because of something as trivial as ‘low on energy’. Trust me, there are loads of people like that.

I pulled myself together and waited outside the presentation chambers. After a restive wait, my name was finally called at around 12:30 PM. I entered the room. Mine was a group of 10. Each candidate had to deliver a perfectly timed presentation for precisely 10 minutes. Subsequently, a flurry of devious questions ensued. Besides one more participant, I tackled the questions well. My presentation was not perfect but it was compensated by my confident answers.

Tip No 3: Besides confidence, your ‘Domain Knowledge’ plays an extremely crucial role to get through even the trickiest of interviews/post-presentation questions. So ,walk the extra mile and be prepared and well-read about your area of core competence. It’ll certainly take you places. Present yourself elegantly and don’t loose your calm even when you don’t know the answer. Be honest and upright and politely ask the audience to forgive your ignorance. Remember, no one knows everything (even James Bond & Sherlock Holmes are works of fiction). Honesty is a precious commodity and the examiner knows that. You can’t fool him.

All the 10 candidates in my group gave their respective presentations. It took a little less than 3 hours for the entire activity to get over. I was starving so I had lunch at the canteen. Then, I went to to the building where the interviews were being held. My batch number implied that the estimated time of my interview was 4:30 PM. I spent the remaining time revising my self-introduction speech.

Tip No.4: It is advisable to prepare a customized, ingenious and non-cliched self-intro speech to make the maximum impact and a cracking first impression.

You may have been advised before that the 1st few minutes are imperative to your final selection. On the contrary, in my case it was the exact opposite. When I was asked to introduce myself, I was somewhat shaky at the beginning mainly because of lack of a formal recitation. It was only when an interviewer sensed my discomfort, he asked me about my job experience. The ball was in my court so I had to play ball to stay in the game. I still think I was lucky to be given a chance on a platter. A more elegant speech would most definitely have bettered my prospects.

Tip No.5: Obviously, dependence on sheer luck is outright stupidity. During my MBA’s placements session, a soft-skills professor once told me that there is only one foolproof rule to crack an Interview/GD. He termed it ‘PPP’. It meant Practice, Practice and more Practice. Sounds silly at first but trust me it is the only surefire way. Every other short-cut is just an illusion. So gear up and get going. Its high time!

Tip No.6: Another simple yet brilliant concept that will help you sail through the interview is another silly-sounding principle called the ‘House-Cow’ Rule. A school boy was once asked to deliver an extempore on the topic: ‘House’. The boy, knowing nothing about the house started with the sentence: ‘My House has a Cow’ and then went on and talked only about the Cow during the entire presentation. Its a witty analogy whose implied meaning is to cleverly draw the interviewer’s attention to the subject of your choice where your strength lies. Mastering this cunning art of manipulation can be achieved with rigorous practice. Remember the ‘PPP’ rule?

Coming back to my personal interview, it was undoubtedly the longest and the most gruelling interview of my life. They grilled me for 20-25 minutes. When I came out totally burned out, I knew I was in a soup. I called my Dad right away and told him the same. He, however being a veteran banker and an old-hand interviewer himself begged to differ. He explained that even in my inhibition, perhaps they saw some potential. That’s why they gave me more time to prove my mettle and to see whether I crack under pressure or not. He told me that the interviewers probably ‘liked’ me. His assurance was music to my ears.

Later, at around 7:00 PM, I stood in an endless queue where envelopes sealed with fates of aspiring MBAs were being distributed. I opened mine to find ‘Gurgaon’ campus written inside it in bold letters. I was slightly disappointed at first as I wanted Hyderabad campus. But simultaneously relieved that I’ll be closer to my home-town and also because the day’s roller-coaster ride had eventually come to an end.


Contributed By : Pranshu Awasthi, Class of 2007, IBS Gurgaon

My experience at IBS selection process.

maneesh srivastavaThe selection process at IBS reminds me of my days when I was preparing for cracking one of the good mba colleges. I have cleared the IBSAT exam and received the call for GD and Personal interview at Banzara Hills Hyderabad. I started preparing seriously for the interview as I wanted to crack one of the good colleges  of IBSAT.

In order to crack the interview I started reading the business newspaper and hearing the  business news and brushing  my financial and overall knowledge. The college has also organized the briefing session at different cities, I have also attended one, they have cleared our doubts as well as they shown PPT of their campuses and also explained everything regarding the route map , the hotels , the travelling plans, the fee structure , the placement, faculty and USP of the college.
On the date of selection we have to reach the selection venue at 7.30 am and there being first the college head dean speech.

The students were grouped in batches of 10 and there was a two step process first GD round and then personal interview round.
My batch no was 13 so I got a chance to ask and get a feeler about the topics that are going on.
In my batch there are 4 engineer, one chartered accountant and 5 commerce graduates, we started talking among each other and unanimously decided that we will not fight among each other like people fight in market place and will maintain a good decorum.

Our group no for GD being called and we all entered the room and taken the seat, In the panel there were three people as our judge one is the observer who is noting our behavior, leadership qualities and soft skills, and two faculties who are hearing our GD and deciding the quality points the person making etc.

The topic which we got was in the GD is “India in 2020” I started the topic and taken the lead, I have covered points like India has a great demand pull because of its young population, India can be a good manufacturing hub as our labour are cheap, starting a business in Indian regime is easy compared to other countries, Indian has diverse culture and string tourism potential.

Other people in the group has added points and I always try to add value to the discussion by adding or elaborating the points of others so in a 15 min Discussion I make an entry 3 to 4 times and I kept my pitch at a moderate level and tried to act as a leader in rotating the discussion as there are two people who have not spoken anything so I asked please add your valuable point to the discussion.

The  next round was personal interview – I entered the room and greeted the teachers they ask me to take a seat , I presented my resume in a most polite way as I am sharing the most important document of my life.

The interview began with personal questions like tell us about your family, about your city etc after the easy round and making me comfortable one judge asked why I wanted to do an MBA, though the question simple but answer need to be witty I explained that MBA is not about getting a degree but it creates a new perspective in life, it helps in developing the skill set as well as it trains to cope real life challenges and I wanted to become an entrepreneur so it will be helping me a lot, then the question being asked how you are different from others, in this I explained the key USP I have like good interpersonal skill, good understanding of things, doing things in crisp deadlines, I also explained the things with examples, then they have asked questions from finance like is the cost of equity is higher or cost of debts , difference between IRR and NPV, what is beta value etc.

After my interview I gone to meet the bank stalls which were there in the campus to understand what is the interest rate they are charging for education loan and what is the moratorium period.

At around 4.30 pm we gathered in a tent where the result are announced, I have filled IBS Gurgaon as the first preference as I belong to Allahabad so Gurgaon is a better option for me as travel is easy between Gurgaon and Allahabad and Gurgaon past year placement record was good.

When my number was announced I being allotted Gurgaon my preferred choice, I thank God for giving me my choice center.


Contributed By : Maneesh Srivastava, Class of 2008, IBS Gurgaon

How to prepare for GD/PIs?

gd and piI hope your written exam scores must have surprised most of you by now. In case, you are pleasantly surprised only then you can expect to get a call for the next rounds of evaluations i.e. GD-PIs. The step that you have just cleared (the written exam) is the easiest one as you had the liberty of guessing and solving by eliminative approach as the exams were of MCQ type. But it is in the GD-PI round, you will see that things have become more interesting, more challenging and needless to say have gone to the next level, where the focus will solely be on you. Ever conscious or unconscious action of yours will be judged in order to make or break your career by assuring a seat in top b-schools.

The sole purpose of a group discussion is to evaluate your capability to discuss and work in a team as a team player and your listening capabilities. There is a myth that the person, who speaks in the loudest voice and consumes maximum air time during discussion, gets selected. Please understand that nobody ‘likes’ an aggressive and obnoxious person who enforces his views on others in a team set-up. And in GD, the whole onus of you getting selected lies on your ‘likeability’ quotient in the eyes of the panel. Be sure that your presence is felt throughout the GD by the group members and you contribute positively in the discussion. By positively one should understand that, as a team member you are expected to bring out different and relevant angles to the discussion and yet help the group’s cause in arriving at a consensus by giving a properly spaced out appearance in the course of the discussion.

As mentioned above, unconsciously many candidates tend to do a one on one discussion in a GD and lose eye-contact with other members of the group. This can be detrimental towards your progress because a member of a group you are expected to address each and every member of the group when you are putting forward your point. You have to make your chances to get into a GD because nobody is so generous but do make sure to wait for the pauses at the end when a member is putting forward its point. Don’t interrupt in between. Be assertive in your arguments and back them up with numbers if you have. As a group, ‘We could have done it this way’ leaves more impact than ‘We should do it this way’. Another myth is that the one who starts the GD scores the brownie points is partially true. Partially because, if you are starting a GD you are expected to set the tone of the whole discussion but if candidate fumbles there, it goes against him as being irresponsible and superficial. Morale of the story is ‘Don’t be a pillion rider by supporting other members of the group or acknowledging them, but drive the discussion’.

mba graduatesAfter the fish market of GD, you are in for the most herculean and most important task, the Personal Interview. Be prepared with questions as simple as Why MBA, to the most difficult ones as What if we don’t select you. Having a thorough idea of the industry in which you are working or you intend to work will be very handy and most importantly you must be ‘able to connect the dots’ between the above answers. Most interviewers decide in the first two minutes if they are going to give a nod for the candidate or not. So, it is very important to strike a chord with the interviewer in the first 60-120 seconds. The interviewer/panel will give you a chance to do it by asking the most open ended question, ‘Tell me something about yourself’ and you should understand that why it is being asked. Your profile is already in front of the panel, so give them talking points about what is not mentioned in your CV or to your area of strength, your hobbies may be.

Don’t get intimidated if the panel tries to exert pressure on you during the interview. They are simply checking your mental strength and composure. Just maintaining a smile and being positive in your talks can do wonders for you. An interview is a conversation, so be polite and look interested all the time. Show the panel that you are not very judgmental, idealistic and a nervous fish outside your comfort zone. Show them that you are rational, positive and composed. I know a candidate who converted IIM-B by just accepting the offer of cookies by the panel for the simple reason that he waited 8 hours for his interview and when panel offered him some cookies, he accepted it because he was hungry (rational).

Do thorough research on the b-school’s history and the various activities which happen there throughout the year and talk about them during interview. It is better to formulate your GD-PIs in a way that there is no scope of contradiction in your arguments because most of the times, your GD and interview panel is going to be same and you can be questioned on your arguments in GD during the interview. Some b-schools ask candidate to give an essay/write-up before appearing for the GD-PIs. Follow basics such as using simple English, small sentences, small paragraphs, giving examples and maintaining a flow. Be sure of what you write, because again it can come back to haunt you in the PI.

Thus, GD-PIs are the tools to test how you are going to behave in the classroom initially and later in corporate as a professional. In an MBA, classroom discussions will imbibe more learning in you than mere walking you through the PPTs which is called ‘death by power-point’. An MBA is not more about how much you know, but more about how you articulate your thoughts in a lucid and presentable manner. Polish these aspects your personality and ah you en-route a journey towards an exciting career.


Contributed By : Sthita Sahu