How to Prepare for IIMs GD/PI ?


Prepare for IIMs GD/PI – Every IIM or B-Schools in India conduct Group Discussions (GD)/Written Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interviews (PI) for selecting eligible candidates to grant admission. Almost all IIMs have replaced the GD with WAT now but still many are still on with this round. For participating in these, the candidates are shortlisted on the basis of their CAT percentiles, academic record, work experience and gender diversity etc. Though there is no pre-defined syllabus based on which you can prepare for IIMs GD/PI nor there any success mantra or drink that you can have. To crack IIM GD and PI, all you need is confidence, intellect and spontaneity. Obtaining high percentile in CAT or having a consistent academic record may be easy for some but they fear of GD and PI rounds of IIMs. This article lists some tricks to let you know how you can prepare for IIM GD/PI and how you can crack these successfully.

IIM Group Discussion and Personal Interview

What exactly is Group Discussion about?

The panel divides the participating candidates into various groups comprising of 10-15 candidates. They are then assigned with a topic on which they all are required to have a discussion for about 15 to 20 minutes. Within few minutes, one can feel the discussion turning into some fish market where you may not hear anything and making your point will seem like impossible. There is a myth that candidates shouting or making their point in a loud heavy voice may get shortlisted for next round. But the reality is that the candidates who talk sense and have sufficient content in what they say may get shortlisted.

The knowledge, awareness and understanding of the topic assigned and the approach is what you will be judged on in this round. The panel looks for an effective communicator having knowledge and skills. In a GD round, the panels judges your team skills too. Do you listen to others? How do you handle points of view different from yours? Are you able to get across your point of view without appearing to be trying too hard? Do you cross the line from being assertive to being aggressive? If you are a good team player, the other members of the group will tend to connect with you. People who dominate a discussion don’t score well in GDs.

Topics of IIM Group Discussion

The topics which are generally given in the IIMs GD rounds can relate to current affairs, Political events, opinions and situations, issues concerning advertising, technology, social issues, gender issues in society, emancipation of women, effects of globalization and trade on the world and in India and issues within the education system etc. Some of the topics which have already been given to candidates in GD round of IIMs to have discussion are as follow –

  1. Cold War
  2. Is terrorism the price we have to pay for democracy?
  3. Globalization and Privatization
  4. Is Mixed Economy preferred?
  5. MBA or PGDM?
  6. MBA in India is overrated
  7. Does India need a dictatorship?
  8. Where there’s a will, there’s a way
  9. 26 Alphabets
  10. Infinite Numbers
  11. Reservation should be removed
  12. Quota System should be abolished
  13. Politics in India
  14. Women – boon to the society or bane to the society
  15. Is Social Media an inevitable part of marketing? 
  16. Nuclear Family or Joint Family
  17. Is FDI in retail good or bad for India? 
  18. IT industry is going to create huge job opportunities in India this year

IIMs Group Discussion Preparation Tips

  • The only way to prepare for GD round of IIMs is to read and read more. Remember, there is no substitute for reading. Knowledge gives the ‘content’ in a discussion – without good content you cannot score well.
  • If you like staying connected with the world and things happening around you then you will be benefitted. If you are not one of this then start developing a keen interest in the current affairs.
  • Make groups comprising of other IIMs aspirants and seek opportunities to have discussions on various topics more often.
  • Be confident about whatever you are saying. Speak to the point and prefer being precise.
  • If the topic is known to you, it’s good do speak your points but politely. Also, adopt the strategy of listening and letting other’s speak too.
  • Don’t try to dominate the discussion. Your participation must be noticed but not aggressively.

IIMs Written Ability Test (WAT)

It is a pen and paper test conducted by IIMs where the candidate is asked to write a short essay. They are given 10 to 30 minutes (varies for each IIM) for writing this essay. The topics can be either a current affairs topic or on any other issue where people usually have diverse points of view.  Then the topic can be case study based or abstract phrases.

When it comes to WAT, just remember that it is “substance over style” and not the other way round. Unlike the perception, how well you write this essay has little to do with doing well in WAT. After all, IIMs are schools of management and not journalism. What matters more would be your ability to present your thoughts in a structured manner, your awareness of the topic and your ability to form original opinions & think of new ideas within the limited time given. The accuracy of spelling and grammar takes precedence over your ability to present the content in flowery language.

IIM WAT Preparation Tips

  • Develop a habit of writing – In today’s technically advanced world, it is easy to lose touch with classical pen-paper writing. So get hold of your favourite pen and notebook now.
  • Think and plan before you start writing – Jot down short points related to topic while you give a thought about it. Plan you flow of ideas and form an imaginary structure in your mind.
  • Structure you essay into an introduction, main part and conclusion – Write a short introduction of the topic and then show your stand on the topic with adequate arguments.
  • Use simple language and interesting story line-up – The examiner has to read a lot of these essays and hence boring colloquial language could make it tougher.
  • Proof-reading is must and so keep time for it – Mistakes are inevitable and hence it is recommended to at least keep a minute in end to proof read the essay. 

IIM Personal Interview (PI)

Lastly and the most important is the PI round. The face to face interaction with the interviewer is where you can either win or lose the battle. Though this round scares an intelligent candidate too but with appropriate preparation, one can crack this round. The panel can ask you anything but will relate to you, your academics, your place, your environment, your personal stuff or anything about your work experience/internship etc. Face the interviewer confidently and answer intellectually to have success in this round.

IIM Interview Preparation Tips

  • Dress smartly and tidily. Wear formal attire and a right attitude also.
  • Stay confident but not over confident.
  • Don’t lie or cook fake stories. If you don’t know any answer, accept that you don’t know.
  • Prepare a few most asked IIM Interview Questions.
  • Keep a check on your communication skills. Be soft and polite along with quick.


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