How to meet GDPI pressures – take mocks, read the Economist and PaGaLGuY, so say aspirants

While B schools across the country are conducting GDPI sessions, PaGaLGuY got in touch with a few students who’ve appeared for two or more interviews so far to know about their preparation strategies. Read on to know what they have to say.

MBA aspirant, Sidharth Bali has appeared for GDPI sessions at Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development (SCMHRD), and Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) so far. For each of these interviews Bali had a systematic plan of approach chalked out. Once he was shortlisted by both SIBM and SCMHRD for their GDPI and Written Ability Test (WAT) rounds, the institutes sent study materials containing current affairs of the previous six months for WAT preparation and PDF files of past interview experiences, which, he says, were perfect resource materials to start with the whole preparation process. “These two colleges are extremely student driven. They have generated a program called as Mentor Buddy, that assigns a Symbiosis student as a mentor to each of the shortlisted candidates.  According to the program, they are expected to guide the shortlisted candidates through the entire preparation process for GDPI,” he said.

Additionally, he regularly brushed up his knowledge related to India’s socio-economic and political problems. For the extempore section in Symbiosis’ interview rounds, Bali referred to PaGaLGuY for frequently asked extempore topics every year, particularly in colleges like Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) , Delhi that has a similar round. He also regularly practiced his communication skills by giving himself a few topics to prepare on. ” The topics asked in the extempore round are very unusual and while one can’t always predict them, he/she can always practice how to structure his/her thoughts well, besides improving his/ her communication skills,” he said.

For IIFT, Bali was up-to-date with foreign policies of different countries, particularly with respect to India, trade related issues and the likes. As luck had it, he was asked questions on Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), South China Sea conflict, India’s foreign policy with respect to Pakistan and about the String of Pearl theory.
He now has new Indian Institute of Management’s (IIM) Common Admission Process (CAP) and Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) lined up. “All B schools, particularly IIMs test you on how to structure abstract topics. Thus, I’m practising that for WAT. As far as IIT Madras is concerned, I’m practicing my team building skills for the Group task by meeting up with friends, with whom I don’t share similar political ideologies. A few days ago, we reached a consensus and designed a political logo. That was quite a challenging task,” he said, adding that such exercises are helping him build a team spirit.

Twenty four year old, Ayush Khazanchi, has appeared for SIBM, SCMHRD, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies(NMIMS) and IIFT so far. While he read up extensively on economic and trade related issues, and role of bodies like the World Trade Organisation (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) etc, for IIFT, he also glanced through the websites of each of the colleges to be able to answer the typical ‘Why this course or institute?’ kind of questions. He also read newspapers, and national and international news magazines extensively.

Another aspirant who doesn’t wish to be named has all the top IIMs like IIM Ahmedabad, Calcutta , Kanpur and Lucknow lined up in the days and weeks to follow. He has enrolled himself for mock interviews as he believes they can help one refine the answers related to personal questions. ” I learnt how to introduce myself–by not merely stating my name, but by briefly talking about my hobbies, area of specialisation etc only because of mock tests. These questions are usually taken for granted but there’s a lot of weightage on them. If you give a mundane reply, chances are that the panellist will lose interest there and then,” he said. When asked if he is petrified of a possibility of stress interviews he replied, “This may come as a surprise, but that’s the one thing I’m not bothered about. Being a banker by profession, I have been subjected to all kinds of customers, to know exactly how to cope with it,” he said with a laugh. For current affairs, he has been reading newspapers regularly apart from reading copious amounts of material on the internet.

Palak Chhabra, who has appeared for interviews at SIBM, SCMHRD, IIM Ahmedabad, thanks PaGaLGuY for its major contribution in her preparation strategy. “The portal clarified a lot of my doubts, gave me direction to begin my preparation. Information on how to tackle stress interviews, inputs given by previous year’s toppers, GDPI tips, case discussions , past year interview experiences etc, are all available on PaGaLGuY, ” she said. Apart from this, she read the newspaper regularly for current affairs and researched on a few important topics, which she felt were likely to be asked for GD and WAT.