GD and Personal Interview Experiences


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!


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

Life in 2 Years!!!

2-years at IBS“The 10 years of school are the ones that a person can never forget in his life”..

..“the graduation years give the best experience”…

these statements don’t seem true when you get to experience the life during MBA, especially if it is IBS Hyderabad. The vast campus and the infrastructure is the first thing which attracts students.

The second thing is the 100% case study methodology. The institute has a research center that develops its own case studies which are used as a source of reading material in various other colleges. The pedagogy involves case studies from Harvard as well.

Coming to the student’s point of view and the advantages they get out of this, this method of teaching may be challenging for few students. But the benefits weigh more. Cases, first of all, provide that practical knowledge which cannot be found in textbooks.

Apart from that, the challenge which is posed at the students helps them learn more than just finance or marketing. It is the time management that the student learns.

We keep hearing that management is not about hard work, it’s about smart work. This is what we learn here. Cases teach us to differentiate between relevant and irrelevant data. A student on an average studies around 500-600 cases, which analyzing companies from 500 to 600 different perspectives. Imagine the bulk of knowledge you gain every day.

But there’s much more apart from cases to look out for in the 2 years.

Every student holds a talent and IBS Hyderabad has got the means to showcase it through its clubs. There are clubs for every purpose, be it finance, marketing, arts, sports, movies or social service.

This is the part where students learn to develop their personalities, interact with others, work in a team and take decisions.

At IBS Hyderabad, it’s a complete package. There is so much to do that a mere 24 hr day seems so short. It’s a lifetime in just 2 years.

Contributed By : Harleen Kaur Sethi, Class of 2013, IBS Hyderabad

Thinking Beyond Money During Campus Placements

Campus placements at IBSFriends the economic slump has offer organization a chance to work more effectively on rewarding talented candidates by emphasizing nonfinancial motivators rather than to offer hefty packages. This is an opportunity for young MBA graduates to slip into these organizations and achieve success.

Companies around the world are cutting back their remuneration programs, and have used other ways (non-financial) of inspiring and hiring talent. Numerous studies have concluded that for employee with unsatisfactory salaries, some nonfinancial motivators are more effective, in building long-term employee engagement.

For a fresher this couldn’t be a better time to be motivated, in this time of cost-effective approach. I know money’s traditional role as the dominant motivator is under pressure from declining corporate revenues due to which many companies have cut remuneration costs by many percent or more, but the good news is; we can exploit this condition. Candidates should weigh the organization efforts under three noncash motivators—a) praise from immediate managers, b) leadership attention, and c) a chance to lead projects or task forces. I’ll try to give you an insight on these points-

  1. Praise From Immediate Manager – This is a slanted part where most of you will not know before joining in about how the leadership will treat you, but inquiring through friends, word of mouth , finding common connection through LinkedIn etc., can help the candidate to judge better. The candidate should weigh the organization on the following parameters–
    • Importance: Giving people a sense of importance about who they are and about their role in the organization;
    • Touch: Feeling that the leader genuinely cares about them, feeling a connection with the leader;
    • Gratitude: Being appreciated for their contributions and sacrifices; receiving genuine gratitude;
    • Fairness: Knowing that leaders ensure equal and fair distribution of rewards.

Recognition and praise are indeed high octane fuel for the soul. When we receive a genuine compliment, we experience an inner glow – it’s a warm, magical feeling that makes us break into a smile. It makes us want to go the extra mile for the person who bestowed the sincere compliment. If this were not important to us, we would not be treasuring all of the mementos of awards, plaques, appreciative notes and emails, and other tokens of appreciation that we receive over the years.

  1. Leadership attention – One-on-one meetings between employee and leaders are hugely motivational; they make them feel valued during these difficult times. You have to check, how much the organization’s leadership is involved with their team members. By contrast, largescale communications events, such as the town hall meetings common during the economic crisis, is one of the least effective nonfinancial motivators. Basically all modern theory of motivation aside, the key to energize the resource is purpose i.e. put purpose in employee’s work. If every single employee can understand the value they bring in the mission and vision of the organization, much of the leadership task falls in places. Today leaders in most organization don’t have time even for their direct reports, imagine a leaders investing his valuable time to train and mentor you is nothing less than gold.

Leadership is like a love affair, every fool can start but to end it tidily requires considerable skills, the candidate should understand the importance of great leadership. Organization these days faces leadership crunch and the candidate should value the time and effort his leaders are investing upon them to improve his/her skill set.

Campus Placements

  1. Chance to lead projects or task forces – I’ve seen many candidates feel reluctant to face the chin music but trust me nothing is more important than by taking the bull by the horns. Taking a lead on big projects will make you an indispensable resource to the organization. When I joined as a fresher I was given a task to maintain the monthly tracker but I stood up and asked for more strategic work. Seeing my enthusiasm my leader gave a big sensitive project which I ran commendably. From thereafter I never look back, but what worked for me was the amount of risk the organization/leader took to assign that project to me. It’s a great example of leader risking him and you rising to the occasion. The candidate should definitely join organization that has higher risk taking appetite. Money will follow, but nothing is more expensive than a miss opportunity to make it big. In the tiring time of job crunch and cramped campus placement, candidate should shift their focus on companies which aren’t risk averse and employees enjoy free hand to work. How many times it’s seen how that ‘small’ project turned into such a big one costing double and taking three times the length an organization estimate, eventually making an employee life.

Some far-thinking companies are working hard to understand what motivates employees. One global pharmaceutical company conducted a survey that showed that in some countries employees emphasized the role of senior leadership in social responsibility. One automotive company has reframed the incentives issue by putting the focus on “recognition” instead of “reward” in order to inspire a more thoughtful discussion about what motivates people.

The top three nonfinancial motivators cited offer guidance on where candidates should focus. I was having an interaction with one of the HR directors and he emphasized leadership attention as a way to signal the importance of retaining top talent. Many CEO’s while crafting corporate strategy, convened several focus groups of talented managers to generate ideas about how to create more value for the business.

With profitability returning to some geographies and sectors, we see signs that huge packages will be making a comeback: A talent strategy that emphasizes the frequent use of the right nonfinancial motivators would benefit most companies in bleak times and fair. By acting now, organization could exit the downturn stronger than they entered it and candidates should capitalize this opportunity by slipping in quickly to an effective role.

Thinking beyond money is tough for young MBA graduates since the amount of money invested in the MBA program is huge. But being motivated during strenuous time will take your carrier to an unimaginable extent. Be knowledgeable and skillful, money follows the wise.

All the Best!

Contributed by Vaibhav Chandra (Class of 2009, IBS HYDERABAD)

Interesting Statistics about MBA Degree Programs

mba degreeIt’s great!!  You’ve finally decided to go for the MBA degree program of your choice and you’re raring to go, that’s a really game changer step for your life!!

Today, we will put you across some of the unknown and very interesting facts about MBA Program!

So let’s get started:

Around 2 year back in Jan 2013…an article appeared on, written by Jay Bhatti, an MBA graduate from Wharton, stating that if a candidate cannot get into a “top five” school, then an MBA is not worth having.

It seems to have caused a bit of a stir

So it is worth taking a closer look to see if claims stack up.

There is a definite doubt, as mentioned in The Economist, that the value proposition of an MBA has changed markedly over the past decade or so. Tuition fees have, in many cases, more than doubled over that time, while the salaries of graduates are virtually unchanged (meaning that, if one bears in mind the rising cost of living, they have actually fallen in real terms). But that is something very different to saying that there is no return on investment.

But do the numbers stack up? The average salary increase an MBA graduate can expect from the “top five” schools—comparing their basic salaries immediately before matriculation and after graduation—is exactly 50%.

In the world of MBAs this is nothing remarkable. The average increase among all of the 120 schools surveyed by The Economist in 2012 is 74%. The basic salary a grad from a “top five” school can expect ranges from $112,000 at Kellogg to $127,000 at Stanford. Impressive, certainly!

But these are not the highest to be found. At IMD in Switzerland, for example, the average basic salary of an MBA who graduated last year is $145,000. At some schools in Australia, a country which has plenty of money sloshing about thanks to its booming mining and energy sectors, salaries can be even higher.

Let’s have some more facts:

One is that the percentage of students from the elite schools with a job lined up when they graduate is low and has been falling for years. Mr Bhatti extrapolates that the situation must be worse at less prestigious institutions. He writes, for example, that 75% of Stanford MBAs graduated with a job last year. This, he says is 19 percentage points down on four years ago.

The Economist found that 95% of Stanford MBAs had a job within three months of graduation. The discrepancy may lie in whether those students who are not actively seeking work are included. Stanford’s 95% figure is down by two points compared with 2008; hardly a collapse.

What Salary Can An MBA Graduate Expect?

In a recent survey, 60% of the students who were questioned about their MBA degree experience reported it as outstanding or excellent. Those who attended a full-time MBA degree program expected their salary to increase by 54%, while those attending a part-time MBA degree program expected a 43% salary increase.

Those who attended an executive MBA degree program reported an expected 33% increase after graduation. Many students, before applying for an MBA degree, spend some time attempting to figure out their return on investment for the time and cost involved.

They almost always find that the benefits, computed over a lifetime of earnings, far outweigh the cost and effort involved and therefore gladly enroll in the program of their choice.

The Economist said that although the average salary for the average MBA degree graduate did decrease during the recent recession, their salaries were still high.

The average 2010 graduate from the top MBA degree programs still pulled in more than $100,000 a year. Though these are figures from the top schools, you can expect to receive a relatively high salary once you have done your MBA degree program pretty much from any school.

And, when this salary difference is calculated over the entirety of your professional life, you will realize millions more dollars.

For many, making more cash is the only motivation they need to do an MBA degree.

Expectations about MBA Degree Programs:

People go to business school with expectations, high expectations. They enroll in MBA degree programs because they want to build fine lives full of gold-leafed happiness.

Much of this is tied to how much students think they will earn once they have done their MBA degrees.

The Graduate Management Admissions Council’s (GMAC) “Global MBA Survey 2002” talked to MBA degree students and learned that on average an MBA degree student expected to earn 56% more after they have earned their MBA degree than they did before.

To most of us, 56% of our salary is a good chunk of change that is definitely worth a few years’ worth of MBA degree studies.

Other expectations that students have are increased prestige and respect; the ability to work overseas and, perhaps the most important, the ability to give their family a better life.

Gender Equality Is Becoming A Reality:

The demographics of MBA degree programs are changing for the better. The Graduate Management Admissions Council reports that 105,900 females took the GMAT (the Graduate Management Admissions Test, the generally accepted standard for MBA degree prospects) last year.

That’s the highest number ever. Of these, the United States had the largest number of exams taken by female citizens, with US women representing nearly 33% of global MBA degree candidates.

Interestingly, the largest representative percentages of female citizens taking the GMAT were from East Asia (54.6%). This suggests that East Asia’s growing corporate gender equality is fast making them a model for the rest of the global community to follow.

MBA Degree Graduate Job Prospects:

According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, more than 86% of last year’s MBA degree graduates had a job at the time they completed their program. Further, nearly 91% of those in part time MBA degree programs had a job at graduation. Most promising, 96% of executive MBA  graduates had jobs at graduation (most of whom already had these jobs during school). These promising statistics are undoubtedly the reason behind the annual increase in MBA degree program enrollments.

Remember one point throughout your life, whether you are a graduate from top-5, top10 or top-50 College…What make the college and program different, are students…i.e. “You”

You have to be completely involved in Cultural diversity, experience levels, industry verticals and global experience…These traits make the program ‘richer’ in experiencing the MBA education.

Hence, MBAs have to be pursued with a goal to make yourself an all rounder at the global platform thru the local way…it’s not necessary that you will go thru the world’s top-5 B-Schools, but you have to choose a B-schools which can be a gate way to the global stage, and all your experience, during the B-school study can help you walk thru the stage proudly…And at IBS, you are already one level above than the rest…

Go, conquer the World!!

Contributed by Himanshu Chaudhary ( Class of 2005, IBS HYDERABAD )

Mba Post Work Experience

It was a tough decision to do an MBA after having over 2 years of work experience. Two things came into my mind, will I be able to study after such a long time and secondly I have to again be dependent on my parents (financially). But being a graduate doesn’t help you to grow especially in such a competitive environment. But I knew that once my MBA gets completed I will grow at a faster pace compared to being a graduate. After a huge round of thoughts and talks, I finally decided to do an MBA.

After clearing the IBSAT exam, I made a decision to get into IBS Bangalore. Lectures started and knowledge was flowing from all the directions (thanks to such a wonderful faculty and colleagues). To my surprise, by using only my work experience and knowledge gained from lecturers I was able to score 8/10 GPA in my first semester. Second Semester looks to have also gone the same way (expecting better results than the earlier). I would like to suggest all those people having work experience not to hesitate in joining a business school. You will definitely get better grades and would also add as an advantage during placements. Moreover, it also gives you a platform to develop yourself (this is the place where mistakes are accepted) and re-enter into the corporate world with a better understanding and attitude. Good luck!!!!!!!

Contributed by Ashish Kabra ( Class of 2013, IBS Bangalore)