How to Prepare for MBA GD/PI: Topics, Tips, Question and Answers 2021

The ground discussion (GD) and personal interview (PI) are two of the most important steps in the MBA admission process. The top colleges offering MBA courses give more weightage on the GD and PI rounds than the entrance exam score.

There are various management entrance exams for admission to the best MBA colleges and universities like CAT, XAT, CMAT, MAT, NMAT, SNAP, MAH CET, etc. Depending on the scores obtained in MBA entrance exams, colleges invite candidates to appear for the Group Discussion (GD) and/or Personal Interview (PI) round. 

Know More: MBA Entrance Exams

The Prestigious IIMs have done away with the group discussion and have included a written aptitude test (WAT). The WAT  and the PI are given a weightage of 10 and 30 respectively.

Still GDs are an integral part of the admission process of top MBA colleges such as IIFT, IMT Lucknow. IMI Delhi, etc.

Candidates need to be updated on the popular GD topics, so that they are able to handle surprise questions during the GD and PI round. This article provides the candidates with various tips that can help them to crack the GD/PI round of the best MBA Colleges

Check out How to handle surprise questions in GD/PI

MBA Group Discussion (GD)

The objective of a group discussion is to appraise a candidate’s ability to critically analyze a given piece of information and collectively work in a group to arrive at a solution or to develop a perspective.

Evaluation of the candidates is done on the following criteria during the GD:

  • Group Dynamics
  • Ability to analyze situations
  • Thought process
  • Presentation style
  • Personality: Decision making and leadership skills

GD Preparation Tips

You should read newspapers daily, especially the business section to be well updated. Keep reading Economics Times, Mint, or Business Standards daily, do not forget the editorial sections of newspapers as it will be helpful for all the rounds.

  1. Improve your conversational skills by speaking in English.
  2. Do the necessary research and gather information on current affairs as, in many GDs, the topics are usually related to the current affairs.
  3. Watch informative documentaries and profiles.
  4. Mock GDs are the best way to prepare for GD rounds.
  5. The candidate should be up-to-date with recent events around the globe, reading good books/articles always come in handy as they provide ideas/content to speak/write in a GD.
  6. Every B-school in India follows a pattern when it comes to its selection process, hence all the aspirants should follow online forums to gauge the institutes' specific pattern for the selection process in MBA courses and prepare accordingly.
  7. In case you are given an abstract topic, think creatively, and come up with as many interpretations as possible because many examiners like to hear different perspectives and innovative ways of thinking.
  8. In case you are given a factual topic, provide a structure to the GD, be sensible, think of pros and cons, apply the PESTLE framework, and be crisp and smart.
  9. Try to give new original points in GD.
  10. You must speak loud and clear to make your point. So practice speaking out clearly.
  11. It is always advisable to not start the GD if one is not sure about the topic and wait for someone to start so as to get more meaning of the topic and put across your points better.
  12. It is always important to listen well in a GD and also do not interrupt.
  13. Try not to go into an argument in a GD.
  14. If you have to conclude the topic then you should note all the points discussed in the discussion and summarise the same along with a final common goal.

Some GD Topics For MBA

The topics for GDs broadly fall into three categories:

  • Policy-based: Topics such as Sabarimala Verdict, Uniform Civil Code, Privacy and Adhar etc.

  • Issue-based: Topics such as #MeToo Movement in India, Intolerance in India — Rising or Magnified?, RBI versus GoI — who holds the reins to manage the economy?, Can India overtake China in terms of  GDP? etc.

  • Lateral-Abstract: Topics such as “It is better to trust a woman’s instinct than a man’s reason”, “A true traveller is never bothered about the destination and is not intent on arriving”, Space etc..

Know More: MBA GD Topics

Expert tip on GD

Vinayak Kudva, Chief Mentor, IMS, on how to crack GD, says, “Immediately after the CAT entrance exam gets over, MBA candidates should start preparing for the second stage of selection i.e., GD stage. It is very important not to waste time and energy on thinking about your performance in the CAT and how you might have approached particular problems differently. That is a thing of the past and you cannot change it.”

Stating the objective of group discussion, Vinayak Kudva says that, “The objective of a group discussion is to appraise an aspirant's ability to critically analyze a given piece of information and collectively work in a group to arrive at a solution or to develop a perspective. B-schools conduct group discussion rounds to find out whether candidates possess the qualities that are critical to becoming an effective manager. The rationale behind this exercise is that when a group of students is given a task to accomplish within an unstructured situation, they will try to accomplish it by establishing some order or structure. In this process, they will reveal some of their personality characteristics."

MBA Personal Interview (PI)

Personal Interview is a very important round of your final selection process for MBA programs. This round is conducted to test verbal communication skills, the presence of mind and how do you present your views and knowledge skilfully to convince others.

A candidate will be tested on the basis following during the PI:

  1. Personal Introduction
  2. Verbal communication
  3. Eye contact
  4. Body language
  5. Interruptions
  6. Content

PI Preparation Tips

  • The objective of the personal interview with a candidate is to evaluate if he/she has the capability and skills required to successfully pursue and develop a career in management.
  • Every candidate will have grades to show-off and certificates in extra-curricular would be dime a dozen, it will eventually come down to these below-mentioned aspects in you that will separate you from others.
  • There are no shortcuts for these; only through relentless practice can one get better at all these aspects.
  • Like GD, even for PI, you need to read newspapers, watch TV news, read magazines, etc. If the interviewer asks you regarding current affairs.
  • Be thorough with your academics especially the things in your specialization domain.
  • Frame opinions of most important events which had happened in the past or happening in the present around the world.
  • Get in touch with the seniors or alumni of the institute regarding the nature of questions and what is expected from the candidate.

MBA PI Questions

  • Tell me about yourself which should briefly refer to past education, life journey, and plans. 
  • Why do you want to pursue an MBA?
  • Why this college? Why this specialization?
  • Why should we select you?
  • What if we do not select you?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • After years from now, where do you want to see yourself? (Try to focus on skills development, increased responsibility while highlighting your goals as an achievement).
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? Explain them with an example for each. (Prepare 3 weaknesses and strengths)
  • Your favorite subject in college and questions on them.
  • How can you use the skills learned in graduation and post-graduation to help society?
  • How will you use the skills you learned as an undergraduate in MBA?
  • Your short-term and long-term goals. (short term- can be rephrased as where do you see yourself in 5 years or near future and long term- can be rephrased as where do you see yourself in 10 years or distant future).
  • Some topics on current affairs.
  • How society perceives you- friends, family, etc.
  • Skills required for MBA and what skills you have.
  • Some case study-based questions e.g. if you are placed in a relationship manager’s post after MBA, you being an engineer how will you adjust to the challenge.

Expert tips on PI

Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman, Career Launcher suggests that “The most important thing is to be confident when you answer the questions during your PI round. Prepare well for current affairs and even if the first few personal interviews you appear for do not go as well as planned, do not get disheartened, and do not let that affect your performance anywhere else. It is very important to be thorough, confident, and honest for a positive selection.”

MBA GD/PI Preparation: FAQs

Ques: What is the ranking of Symbiosis for MBA?

Ans: Symbiosis International University has more than 14 colleges for MBA. While SCMHRD & SIBM always make it to the top 20 some of the other colleges are known for their special streams courses like SITM for telecom, SIOM for operations, SIIB for international business, and SCIT for tech MBA.

Ques: How do I prepare for GD/PI?

Ans: To get admission to your dream business school, a Personal Interview is the last process of hurdle for your admission. A candidate must be prepared for their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing yourself completely is one tip to ace your interview. One should be confident and thorough with the questions discussed above in the article.

Ques: Which college is better for pursuing an MBA - IBS Hyderabad, ISB Hyderabad, or Symbiosis?

Ans: All three colleges are good. If you have prior work experience of 5 years then ISB Hyderabad is a very good option, as you will get excellent placements with high packages. IBS Hyderabad is a great option for people who do not have work experience.
The placements are great in terms of volume. The average package is about INR 7.5 Lakhs which is decent for a fresher considering the job market since 2008.
Symbiosis has a great brand name when it comes to MBA HR. So it is beneficial for an MBA in HR and it is also great for getting recruited by top MNCs in HR roles.

Ques: Is IBSAT worth applying for an MBA?

Ans: IBS Aptitude Test (IBSAT) is an important online computer-based MBA entrance test to be conducted across India by ICFAI Foundation. IBSAT is worth it for those candidates who are seeking admission to IBS. IBSAT is only accepted by ICFAI University and the other nine branches as well.  

Ques: How do I crack the GD and PI of Welingkar for an MBA?

Ans: To crack the GDPI of Welingkar, you have to start preparations from the very beginning, like from the day when you start applying for the entrance exams.

Ques: If I start now, is there enough time for preparations for the MBA entrance exams?

Ans: This will depend on if you have chosen to write Indian exams like CAT XAT etc or you are writing GMAT. If you are attempting both then it is better to take GMAT before August since you will have 3 months to prepare for CAT. The syllabus for GMAT in terms of the quantitative section overlaps for both the exams. CAT is of a higher level and would cover more topics but for the Verbal section, GMAT has a higher level of difficulty.

Ques: How should I prepare for the GK section for MBA entrance exams?

Ans: Do not invest a lot of time in GK, because it will give you very little output. Study the most important topics like sports - Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Sports awards, National sports awards, International Sports Awards, Banking terms and their changes and banking news, Noble, Oscar, National Awards, and Gallantry Awards, etc. business news, mergers and acquisitions, and new products, civics.

Ques: What is the procedure for admission to MBA colleges?

Ans: MBA Admissions in India are mainly conducted through top entrance exams like CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT, and NMAT. Some colleges and universities also consider the score of state-level exams and private exams conducted by universities.                        

Ques: What is the eligibility criteria for MBA admission?

Ans: The basic criteria for MBA admission is that the candidates should score 50% in Bachelor's Degree. They also have to sit for certain entrance exams and GD and PI rounds.

Ques: How can I get admission to IIM?

Ans: It is important to know that the admission criteria of each IIM are independent to mandate their own eligibility criteria including CAT score, academic cut-offs, past academic performance, relevant work experience, etc.

Ques: I want to pursue an MBA but I have a financial crisis. How can I do an MBA using a loan?

Ans: You can get a loan for more than Rs 2 Lakhs as well. Only you should offer adequate collateral security to avail education loans exceeding Rs 2 Lakhs. Also, there will be margin money of 10% of the total cost to be borne by you, if you are going to study in India, and 15% margin money, if you are going to study abroad, in respect of education loans exceeding Rs 2 Lakhs. There is no margin money, and the entire cost of education will be funded by the bank, if the loan required is Rs 2 Lakhs or less