Test, GD and PI. That is the rigour nowadays for any entry particularly for MBA admissions..

Of course these are necessary filter points to ensure the appropriate induction, selecting the better candidates separating from the rest. So how do you get over these barriers. So many candidates I talked to had strange notions about the difficulty levels of these three barriers. The general consensus appears to be that the Test part and the PI are the more difficult ones and the GD is the easiest one to get through. The argument goes like this: GD is like a village football game. There are so many players none of whom has any clue about what to do and they just go about lobbing the ball around – only in this case their words. So one can easily get into the act and give a few lobs from his side too. A strong voice is an advantage and vigorous gestures bonus points.

I’m sorry. I’d rather feel that it is quite the other way about. Look at it this way. In the case of the Entrance Test your test answers are evaluated on their own merit. If you have prepared really well and if you answer well you are through. So it is YOU who is the deciding factor in this case. Similarly at the PI stage it is YOU who is on scrutiny by the panel. YOUR capabilities, answering skills, personal attributes and experiences are on trial. Even if you goof up once or twice that may not be fatal. You would get ample time to make up for the lapses. So again it is YOUR own skills alone that matter.

Group discussion on the other hand is an entirely different ball game. For one thing you are not alone there, almost a dozen other competitors are also in the field and all are on trial at the same time. So your getting through it would depend not just upon how you perform but also on what all others do. And unlike the PI time where you get scope for putting your views on individual basis here you do not have that luxury. Rather you would have to be on the alert from the word ‘go’ and be always on the look out to put in your views and do that effectively to be observed and get shortlisted. Opportunities, ideas, openings, arguments do not always come your way. You have to after them in what otherwise often resembles a fish market. Which means, for all purposes Group Discussions are more difficult than what you imagined them to be and your fate is not decided by your actions alone but also by what others do, and you have no idea as to what the other are going to do.

It is not just that. There are a couple of more complications you have to come across. Let us face it. None of the GDs that I have witnessed have been a tame, organized affair. With so much cacophony all around with everybody trying to have a piece of their priceless opinions heard it is not just humanly possible for the evaluator to have her eyes and ears turned to everybody at the same time and remember all that everyone spoke. A person tends to get only a general impression of what the participants say and do and only the most significant statements and visible actions tend to get noticed.. Frankly, with due respects to the judges, the final selection sometimes turns out to be sub-optimal without full regard to the true potential of every candidate present.

Tests are aimed at filtering at the bulk level – reducing the huge mass of candidates to a manageable level through some widely accepted route -Tests. PI is an effort to actually assess the intrinsic capability of the candidate through individual probing from various standpoints. Hence PI is more attuned towards SELECTING, ACCEPTING and APPROVING the shortlisted candidates according to the individual merit through thorough grilling. GD on the other hand has a different objective. The purpose here is to eliminate – to remove from the manageable bunch those who obviously are not deserved to be taken to the selection round. In this process a number of brilliant but quiet or reserved candidate get turned away. If you happen to be one of those types you may have to double your efforts to get noticed.

Now that I have scared you enough let us proceed to see what you can do to see that you manage to get through this particular barrier effectively in the subsequent blog.

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