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Group Discussion (GD) 4
A Few GD Topics in IIMs and B-School 7
Personal Interview (PI) 8
IIM Personal Interview- The Interesting Experiences 12
How to tackle basic
questions at B-School interview 15
Written Ability Test (WAT) 19



fter fetching high percentiles in Common Admission Test or other MBA
entrance exams, you are only half way towards your endeavor to get
admission in one of your dream B-schools. While you display your com-
puting, analytical and logical skills in the MBA entrance tests, your soft
skills are tested in the next rounds of the IIM s or B-schools selection process,
namely Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interview

B-schools conduct GD-PI-WAT process, to test the communication, writing and

personal skills of the shortlisted candidates. Hence, you need to prepare for all
the sections separately and soon after the results as the selection process will
start from the month of February.

This E-book by Careers360 is a complete guidance on how to crack the GD-

PI-WAT stage of the admission process, topics for GD and WAT, and tips from
experts and toppers to let you prepare in a way to take you closer towards suc-



s soon as you get your results which ena- What GD is meant for?
ble you to get shortlisted at your desired Group Discussion, according to Vinayak Kudva, evalu-
B-schools, you should shift your focus imme- ates personality traits such as clarity of thought, com-
diately on the preparation for WAT, GD and munication including listening skills, ability to critically
PI. Vinayak Kudva, Head, PG India & Mumbai Region, evaluate and ability to interact in a group. Stating the
IMS says, Immediately after the CAT, MBA aspirants objective of GD, Kudva says, The objective of a group
should start preparing for the second stage of selec- discussion is to appraise a candidates ability to criti-
tion. It is very important not to waste time and energy cally analyze a given piece of information and collec-
on thinking about your performance in the CAT and tively work in a group to arrive at a solution or develop
how you might have approached particular problems a perspective.
differently. That is a thing of the past and you cannot
change it. B-schools conduct GDs to find out whether candi-
dates possess the qualities that are critical to become
Careers360 brings you Group Discussion tips from an effective manager. The rationale behind this exer-
CAT toppers who qualified for admissions in top cise is that when a group of human beings are given
B-schools like IIMs and MDI. a task to accomplish within an unstructured situation,


they will try to accomplish it by establishing some Vipasha Bhardwaj from MDI Gurgaon also suggests
order or structure. In this process, they will reveal that candidates should build their own thoughts on
some of their personality characteristics, he adds. a given topic and bring fresh perspective to it. Do
not take any sides during the GD but present your
Some B-schools organize a case discussion instead thoughts and opinions in the discussion. Also try to
of a simple group discussion. A case-study simulates give the GD new directions by contributing fresh ideas
a real-life situation, and prompts candidates to apply related to the topic, he says.
their mind to get the best possible solution. There
may not be any wrong or perfect solutions to a case C. Make facts basis of your arguments: Experts
study, but there definitely is a best possible solution, suggest that you should bring facts into your argument
which the group is expected to collectively arrive at, to make it strong and credible. The factual informa-
Kudva says. tion during your arguments also helps you to frame
counter arguments. Harshad Eklahare, JBIMS alumni,
suggests that arguments must be avoided and the
What should be your GD strategy? direction of the GD should be followed. By reading
Enhance knowledge and current affairs: Phone: about current events and stating the same as exam-
You should be abreast of current happenings and ples, candidates can draw more attention and also
issues that have made news over the last one year. The help the group reach a consensus, he says, advising
GD topics can range from issues of social importance candidates to avoid fish market; in case it happens,
to issues based on current affairs. Toney Mathews, be the leader and give direction to the topic.
an IIFT Delhi Alumni, says, Before actually appearing
in the IIFT GD, I went for 2-3 mock GDs on the latest D. Enter the discussion at the opportune moment:
happenings. It is important to keep yourself abreast of In the Group Discussions, there are rare possibilities
news regularly, as GD can cover the latest news and that group members will allow you to speak unless you
related issues as there topic for discussions. really make efforts for it. You need to find gaps and
enter the discussion while picking a tread of the argu-
B. Build opinion on issues: Group Discussion is also ments. Sandeep Manudhane says that a candidate
a tool for B-schools to assess your thought process. must make it sure that he is able to speak. My bench-
Therefore, while gathering knowledge you should also mark is clear: in a 20 minute GD, if you can speak for
build opinion which you can justify and defend during 3 to 4 times making a lot of sense without repeating,
your arguments. It helps one win the trust of group and with examples and facts, and 30 to 50 seconds
members and take lead in the group. Vinayak Kudva, each times, youve made it, he says.
says, While reading up on news-making events,
candidates should consider various aspects and argu- Sombit Roy, IIT Delhi alumni, explains the process of
ments and use their own judgement to decide what participating in a GD and the right moment when to
their stand should be. step in and grasp the opportune moment. He says,
I first wrote down my points and then when the GD


began I started to make note of what others were F. Be a Team Player: During your Group discussion,
speaking, if anything relevant or useful. I tried to get you should always exhibit that you are a team player. In
into the GD but it was difficult as it was a complete fish some cases, your opinion and argument might be very
market. But I waited and finally made my point when I strong about the GD topic; still you should accommo-
got a chance to speak just after the fish market. After date thoughts of other members in the group. Even
the chaos there is generally few minutes of peace when you dont agree with a particular argument, you
and I took the opportunity to make my point at that should be respecting such voice and reflect the same
moment. while opposing the same. This brings out your ability
to work in a team, which is key to be a successful
E. Structure your argument: In a GD, you should manager.
follow a structured approach while presenting your
thoughts. Experts suggest that you should be able
to present your understanding of the topic and com-
municate your opinion on it. Thereafter, you should
be backing your opinion with arguments that are sup-
ported with facts and data.



hough the GD topics asked in the IIMs and than men in the same positions?- IIM Rohtak
Top B-Schools can vary across field but look 7. MOOC will soon replace the traditional method of
for controversial or debatable topics which classroom teaching system- IIM Rohtak
could go either way. You will probably be given 8. Eminent sportsperson will turn out to be good
a topic which are related to the latest happenings coaches as well- IIFT Delhi
around the world be it related to Economics, Technol- 9. Should referendum be used as a method to take
ogy, National News or other debatable issues. Based important strategic decisions- IIFT Delhi
on the CAT Toppers inputs below are a few Group 10. Is management education really necessary to
Discussion topics which were given to the students in succeed in business- IIM Indore
IIMs and other B-schools,
A few GD-PI Topics
1. Inflation or Corruption: which is more important?- Is debate on intolerance harming the secular fabric of
MDI Gurgaon India?
2. Smartphones- boon or bane- MDI Gurgaon Should India continue to talk peace with Pakistan despite
3. Are smaller states easier to govern terror attacks?
4. Juveniles who committed serious crimes should be Should government stop subsidizing oil and gas prod-
tried as adults or not- JBIMS Mumbai ucts?
5. How to market PCs to convince the consumer to Facebook Free Basic is good or bad?
buy them over laptops and tablets- IIT Delhi Should industry professionals take over sector-specific
6. Are women in positions of power more aggressive bureaucratic roles?



he IIMs and B-schools admit not only students process, Personal Interview has remained intact as the
with a high CAT percentile, but students who key component of the selection process during MBA
are a great presenter, have sharp communica- admissions.
tion techniques, who are the smartest of all.
Personal Interview is a crucial stage in the admission Experts suggest that before appearing for a PI, can-
process at every top b-school as this stage makes or didates must know how to tackle witty and twisted
breaks your chances of admissions. questions of the interview panel; and impress them by
his answers. So, what do interviewers look into while
During the personal interview with a candidate, the interviewing a candidate?
interview panel evaluates spontaneity in the character;
confidence level of a candidates and also his stress Vinayak Kudva, Head PG India & Mumbai Region,
management capabilities. IMS, says, A personal interview is the last step to get
to know the candidate well. Personality traits that can-
Personal Interview (PI) generally is the last among not be uncovered through Entrance tests, GD or WAT
key components of selection process at B-schools. are evaluated here. The selectors try to understand the
While many B-schools have either replaced Group candidates personality, his/her interests, motivation,
Discussion (GD) with Writing Ability Test (WAT) or aspirations etc.
added another component like Group Exercise or
Case Discussion in the final stages of their selection


How to get started with PI prep? The PI section of any IIM or B-school is structured in a
There is no particular methodology to prepare for PI way which can test the candidates on different param-
as the more spontaneous and clear you are, better eters like, Current affairs, Educational background and
would be your performance. Since PI rounds will also Personal Interests, or maybe a general discussion on
include questions on your graduation subjects, work the GD experience and your goals, shares Jyotsna
experience, current affairs etc., an overall preparation Chadha of IIM Rohtak.
would be necessary.
Have clarity on your MBA aspirations The inevi-
Kudva mentions, The selectors try to understand the table question in the PI round would be Why MBA.
kind of person the candidate is, what all are his/her Prepare the answer carefully so that it does not sound
interests, motivation, aspirations etc. like a mugged up answer. It must be an honest answer
to be given with conviction. As Gautam Puri, Career
Approach for PI: Launcher Expert, mentions, One needs to be honest
Get answers to the common questions - To start with oneself and one need to think objectively to the
with, list down the most common questions which are basic questions. There is no right or wrong answer
asked in the PI rounds. Introspection is very important in an interview; it depends on how the candidate
for the PI preparation. As Himaghna Banerjee from offers his responses. The interviewers expect honest
SP Jain says, The important part of preparation for answers without any bluffing.
PI involves structuring the answers to the common
personality related questions. Apart from the Why MBA question, also prepare for
other pertinent aspects like Where do you want to see
Sandeep Manudhane, Chairman, PT Education sug- yourself 5 or 10 years down the line?, Why do you
gests asking the following questions to yourself as part want to take admission in this B-School? etc. Also
of the introspection exercise. know a bit about what to expect in the B-school and
the different specializations offered by the B-school.
Who are you? B-schools desire mature students who are able to
What do you want from life? think independently and are tolerant of differing views
How far have you come so far? on an issue. You should be able to recognize the pros
What excites you really? and cons of any issue, says Kudva.
What depresses you to death?
What do you like about your country? What does the PI test?
What are your strengths and weaknesses? In the PI rounds, the interviewers get up close and
What would you really like to become one day? personal with you. You can be asked anything under
How much money do you want to make? the sun, but to streamline, you can refer to your CV
Did you really study? Prove it. which includes your education, work experience (if
Which movies do you like? Why? any) followed by your hobbies, likes, dislikes, opinion
Can you sing / dance? Do it.


on current affairs and last but not the least, your per- and hamper your chance in Personal Interview. Jay
formance in the GD and WAT rounds. The interviewers Mehta of JBIMS says, A candidates honest nature
can very well ask you to justify your views or actions and confidence is the key. There were some I dont
displayed in those rounds. knows during the interview, which the panel appreci-
ated as I was honest towards their questions.
Strategies to crack PI
Based on Experts analysis and toppers insights, C. Be Polite: Your politeness during the interview also
below are a few strategies to crack the PI rounds of a brings positive impression on your interviewers.
B-schools management admissions. In some cases, while you might be correct with your
answers, you must not out rightly reject interviews
A. Reflect confidence: During Personal Interview, views to your response. Instead, you should listen
you should reflect confidence while answering to to them carefully and put forward your response with
different questions. Interviewers often tend to cross- better argument. Experts suggest that sometimes,
question you even on your right answers just to check interviewers may also be wrong with some information,
your confidence on your own answers. Amir Khan but you should not directly point it out. Instead, you
from IIM Rohtak shares a question being asked in the should try to convince them politely about the correct
interview which was to check his positive approach information.
and confidence. There was a question on estimating
the number of 100 rupee notes in all the ATMs of the D.Drive the interview towards your strength: While
country. I found this question a bit tough since I was the questions asked in the interview may vary from
not aware of the method of answering such guessti- candidate to candidate, it is important for you to gradu-
mate questions at that time but it was fun analysing ally invite the questions from your areas of strength
the same. In the end I understood that it was not the as the interview progress. For PI its very important
answer that mattered but the approach I took to arrive to try and guide the personal interview towards your
to an answer, he said. strength. So its important to identify your strengths
i.e. topics which you are comfortable with and try and
B. Be honest to yourself and interviewers: During guide the discussion towards those topics, Soham
PI, you are also tested for integrity of your basic char- Barman, a B-school student, shares.
acteristics like honesty. Your honest approach during
your interview also makes your responses natural. E. Be thorough with what you write in your CV:
Experts suggest that you should be fully prepared with During the interview, interviewers also tend to pick
arguments to justify whatever you think is right. Top- questions based on the information that your CV car-
pers also suggest that it is better to skip the question ries. Interviewers expect you to be fully prepared with
which you are not sure about. An answer which you minute details on any information that you provide in
yourself are not convinced may invite unnecessary your CV. Prakriti says, I think it is extremely important
counter questions which may embarrass you further to be thorough with everything that is written on CV. It is


alright to not be able to answer some questions with regard to current affairs and
academics but the inability to answer questions about oneself is unpardonable.

I believe the most important thing is to be confident when you answer questions
during your PI. Prepare well for current affairs. Even if the first few PIs you appear
for do not go as well as planned, do not get disheartened, and do not let that affect
your performance anywhere else, suggests Nitish Bagai of MDI Gurgaon about
how to tackle and crack the PI rounds of B-school admissions. It is important to
be thorough, confident and honest for a positive selection.




spiring management students, who wish to the interview panel, at times, grills the candidate about
make their way to the coveted Indian Institute his academic background, professional qualifications,
of Management (IIM) have to undergo through and his general knowledge.
personal interviews after they overcome the
herculean task of clearing the Common Admission Vinayak Kudva, Head PG India & Mumbai Region,
Test (CAT). IMS, on why PI is important says, A personal inter-
view is the last step to get to know the candidate well.
Those who are able to get admission to the IIMs, Personality traits that cannot be uncovered through
recall their interview as a memorable one, while those Entrance tests, GD or WAT are evaluated here. The
who are grilled and fail to make it to an IIM prefer selectors try to understand the candidates personal-
to forget it. IIM Personal Interview Experiences by ity, his/her interests, motivation, aspirations etc.
Careers360 showcase the forgettable and unforget-
table experience of the students. If you are starting your preparation with the personal
interview (PI) the experiences shared by the success-
The personal interview round is the key stage of an ful students of the IIMs will prove to be a boon.
IIM admission process. It is during this final round that


The interesting PI rounds Forgettable PIs at IIMs:

Describing each IIM interview unique, Raghav Sehgal, Sometimes the interviews to IIMs are a cake walk,
on Quora, says that the interview process of each IIM while on other occasions, it proves to be a nightmar-
varies. He opines, Each one of my interviews was ish experience. Sanath Sunny, who despite being
unique and different. I was asked stuff ranging from selected in IIM Indore, was on tenterhooks till the final
railway engines, cold war, and geopolitical issues result was out as the interview panel grilled him.
resulting in WW3, cricket, cooking, my academics,
entrepreneurship, ethics and what not. They want to
know how genuine you are and whether you will be a
Me: Opened the door to enter.
better person with the education you get.
Interviewer: Just looked at me saying to come inside
in angry faces.Dont you have any manners to close
Sharing an interesting experience of impressing the
the door?
interviewer by unexpectedly responding to one of his
Me: Sorry sir. (went and closed the door)
questions, Anirban Mukherjee, IIM Calcutta says that
Me: Good evening all, (Time: 4:05pm)
at times what matters is just answering one of the
Interviewer: What are you talking? (Shouted again)
random questions posed by the panel. Recalling the
Dont you know even difference b/w afternoon and
question, which proved to be a turning point and got
him an admission in the IIM, Mukherjee says, Panel:
Me: Converted the call after an hour-long grilling!
Name the other Republican candidates. Me: Ted Cruz,
Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush. Panel: (delivers a killer burn)
Well you could have supported Bush because some- Syed Naser, 98 percentiler in CAT, states that inter-
times you beat around the bush. Interview over, and views are at times a roller coaster ride. But one must
IIM Calcutta seat booked. always stay confident before the interview panel.
In one of his interviews he was asked a number of
Another Quora user, Parth Shah, presently studying questions, to which he did not know the answers.
at IIM Ahmedabad, talks about the response which He shares, One of the interviews went off the course
turned the table in his favour. He shares, Interviewer: at the very beginning and that roller coaster was my
So you play chess. Answer these questions as fast as worst experience. I was asked how is the President
possible. He had a tablet in front of him. He asked me of India elected? What is the difference between a
15 questions on chess from it which included some republic, democratic and sovereign country,? Discus-
like, what is FIDE rating, how is it defined, Against sion revolved around Telangana. I was asked about
whom Anand lost recently, Anands rating, Carlsens similarities between Chattisgarh and Telangana. One
rating, my chosen first move, E4-C6 is called what, of the questions, which came out of the blue was the
Fools mate, Queens gambit... I answered all ques- National Anthem of Bangladesh(I was asked this ques-
tions correctly. tion as I had said that I love poetry)...I was completely
taken aback as I had no clue about the answer to
these questions.


Another candidate who shared his ordeal on Quora Amit Singh expresses his anguish on Quora on how
was Ankur Garg, who during an interview for IIM, the interview panel at IIM Lucknow gave him a tough
Lucknow was asked if he was from an Upadravi time about his hobby Ophiology. Despite answering
gotr(Upadravimeans an anarchist). The term was the questions to his satisfaction level and getting posi-
used by Kiran Bedi, when she was competing against tive acknowledgement from the panellists, Singh was
Arvind Kejriwal during the 2015 Delhi assembly elec- rejected.
Though it is a dream for every candidate to make it to
the prestigious institute, however, a rejection should
P1 (in Hindi): Upadravi gotr ke ho kya?
not affect his or her confidence. With the passage of
(Translation: Are you from Upadravi gotr?)
time, it is the experience that you acquire while work-
Me: Sorry sir, I didnt get that.
P2 (while going through my marksheets): Rehne
do, isko samajh nahi aayega, 10th mein Hindi
mein kam marks hain.
(Translation: He wont understand as he any-
ways has less marks in Hindi in Class 10th)
Me: Facepalm.

Read More:





hile B-School admission boards often grill So, what could be some of the basic questions that
candidates during interviews with follow- you need to be ready with before your admission
up questions on candidates interest areas interview; and experiences of selected MBA students
and academic background, their focus on how they answered such questions, after being
remains on assessing them on the basis of their shortlisted on the basis of CAT scores.
personality, attitude, passion and approach towards
tackling challenges. Basic questions asked by interview panel
Q. Tell us something about yourself?
Thus, your approach to deal with basic questions Q. What do you do in your free time?
in interviews is the final impression you leave on your Q. What are your hobbies?
interviewers. The basic objective is to assess whether Q. What is the reason for choosing a particular institute
the candidates possess the ability to logically answer to pursue your MBA?
basic questions. Q. Why did you choose a particular course for


Q. Tell us something about your city? Krishna Bharadwaj, IIM Ahmedabad student.
Q. Which is the most famous cuisine of your city? Why MBA?
Q. Which is your biggest weakness? Substantiate it How can MBA help you?
with examples? To be able to know how the MBA helps me, I
would first have to know what Ill be learning in
Experience of candidates who made it case I join.
to IIM Thats available in/at <publicly accessible data
Key tips while answering personal interview questions source>
for IIMs. Agreed, but I would like to get a more personal
opinion, preferably yours, since you teach there.
1. On why you want to do MBA? Well, youll learn X, Y and Z.
All of us possess certain inherent managerial skills. In Thank you. From what youve told me, I feel that
our day to day life, knowingly or unknowingly we are X will help me achieve A, Y will give me better
managing our life, from getting up in the morning to understanding of B and Z will be a good founda-
going to our workplace. However, in this era of cut tion for C. Together, they could very well com-
throat competition, we provide you certain tips, which prise the skill set I consider necessary to achieve
will help you to crack the personal interview for IIMs. my goals. And hence, MBA.
Fair enough. So do you have any questions for
With candidates from diverse backgrounds, such as us?
engineering, humanities and commerce stream and Well, how has your day been so far?
those with a certain degree of work experience also
applying for the MBA course, one of the common If we look at the above answer, we see that the can-
questions that is asked as to why you want to to pur- didate was able to convince the panel with his answer
sue an MBA. Candidates must answer the question as he clearly sited his objective for pursuing an MBA.
in a manner that the panel is led to ask him questions
from the information that he had given. Thus we can say that the panel is looking at clarity
of thought and purpose. Candidates must not try to
Krishna Bharadwaj, who made his way to Indian Insti- impress the panel by giving an out of the blue kind of
tute of Management, Ahmedabad shares on Quora his answer as it would only go against him or her, if he or
experience on how he tackled the question related to she is not able to back it up with concrete example in
his decision to pursue MBA. case of a follow up question.

Another candidate, Sharad Singh, who made his way

to Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad shared
his personal interview experience on Quora.


instead of saying that a person is fat, you can say that

Sharad Singh, IIMA he is horizontally challenged). Avoid using jargons or
More often than not the answer would be gener- adjectives while answering such questions. In case
ic. One doesnt need innovation everywhere. you decide to use adjectives, you should back them
However, I think its more about wrapping up up with solid examples. Ahead of the interview, try
your answer with credible/witty/honest conver- to make note of the things that define you and the
sation post the main answer. probable questions that might be asked related to
In my IIM Calcutta interview on why MBA, I said: those things. Self analysis is the best analysis. Any
I want to know what it takes to create and run a misinformation could backfire and you might end up
company so that I can start-up later. on the losing side.

Interviewer: Oh come on, you will forget every- Rajat Jain, wrote in Quora about his interview where he
thing of start-up once you get the fat salary offer. was asked to tell about himself

I smiled and said: What I said is my truth. Lets

P1: - So, Rajat tell me about yourself. (a classical
see how IIM moulds me!
interview question)
Me- I am Rajat Jain, pursuing Civil Engg., did my
Interviewers smiled and moved to the next ques-
schooling from Delhi. I like to read detective fic-
tion and solve sudokus in my free time.

Here, we see that the panelists seemed convinced

Normally, personal interviews are supposed to be with Rajats answer and were in no mood to probe him
a serious affair and one cannot afford to trivialise it. further. Though it is quite possible that he might have
Normally, the environment is tense and all said and been asked questions related to his liking towards
done the candidate is nervous. However, from the reading detective fiction as well as solving sudokus
above answer given by the candidate, we see that during the free time.
the candidate was able to maintain seriousness of the
interview and at the same time maintained his wittiness Always remember that while facing the interview board,
you need to be humble, calm and have a pleasant
smile on your face. Be your natural self, but dont Carry
2. How to tackle a question like a casual body language and at the same time adopt a
tell me about yourself? professional approach.
Though the question looks simple to answer, however,
you must remember that you cannot make it monoto- It is quite possible that the candidates interview was
nous by giving out the same information which is scheduled just before the lunch or towards the fag end
already before the interview panel in the form of your of the day, where the panellists were tired and were in
resume. It is about how well you play with words (e.g mood to grill the candidate. Sometimes, positive body


language and confidence while answering the ques- P: So... your hobby is cooking?
tion, goes in favour of the candidate A: Yes
P: What do you like to cook the most?
In both the above cases, the candidates calmly A: Bengali cuisine
answered the questions and did not show any kind of P: Cook something for us now.
anxiety. Remember that this question is normally asked A: I will make a Bengali style pomphret curry for you
by the interview panel to strike a chord with the person today.
as people on both sides of the table are strangers. I was marinating fish, frying them, making curry, garnish-
So, despite him having your resume, do not press the ing with coriander leaves and serving them to the panel.
panic button. Everything in the air of imagination. I was so flowing in
fish-curry emotions that I could actually see the curry
3. What are your hobbies? being made from scratch and smelling wonderful and
While mentioning your hobby, be very clear and pre- the Bengali judge loving it. I could feel him salivating
cise about what you say and be thoroughly prepared when I said The curry is done.
for it. Anything wayward will go against you and reiter- P: Did you forget something?
ate that once again do not say anything which will take A: Hmm...I dont think so.
you off guard. P: Think. What about salt? Did you add salt?
A: I added salt in the fish marinade. But not in the curry.
Here is an example where the candidate was able to Im sorry.
judge that one of the panellists was Bengali from his P: No salt in the curry. You curry will taste bland.
accent and accordingly she gave the answer. She had A: I agree. I should have been more careful.
mentioned that her hobby was cooking.

Aparajita Saha, who made her way to IIM Bangalore Such instances indicate that you have to be mentally alert.
in 2014, had mentioned cooking as her hobby. The Had she not been able to judge that one of the panelists
panellist who asked So... your hobby is cooking? was a Bengali, it was quite possible that she would have
pronounced her name as Oporajita. Immediately, told them something which was her favourite while cooking
Aparajita was able to gauge that the panellist was a or may be some south Indian dish. By being able to judge
Bengali. She took this as an opportunity to turn it in the regional background of the panelist, she was able to
her favour. keep the interest of the panelist while she was explaining to
them the process of cooking the Bengali cuisine.
Aparajita Saha speaks on Quora about her experi- Thorough and strategic planning is the key to success for
ence on answering the question on her hobby. personal interview, remember that you need not waste your
time in doing extensive research on any topic. The prepara-
tion has to be FOCUSSED. You are not expected to write
a thesis, hence at the heart of your preparation should be
reading the right kind of content rather than trying to read
each and every everything. Your brain has to be tuned in a
manner that it is able to filter the information which it has to
take and which it has to delete.
Read More:


he second stage of the admission criteria- Writ- was introduced in 2011.
ten Ability Test or WAT is not just a 100-150 words
write up, rather it is a test that measures your Mr. Ramnath Kanakadandi, CAT course Director for
critical thinking ability and how well you can com- T.I.M.E. explains a few possible reasons why WAT is being
municate your ideas on paper. No need to panic if you are preferred over GD, he says, First may be to give every par-
appearing for WAT soon, here are tips from toppers on How ticipant a fair chance to voice out their opinions, which is
they cracked WAT at IIMs or Top B-schools. not always possible in GDs with participants cutting out/
interrupting others, and second, to see how one builds up an
WAT or Essay Writing is a comparatively new phenom- argument.
enon for the MBA admission process. Over a past couple
of years, it has been observed that most of the B-schools As WAT measures your analytical and structural skills it
have scrapped group discussion (GD) from their admissions also evaluates your thought process introspecting the rea-
process and emphasized on WAT. The six new IIMs namely sons behind the given critique and argument in a write up.
IIM Rohtak, Raipur, Ranchi, Trichy, Udaipur and Kashipur It is must that before writing you first understand the topic,
introduced WAT in the Common Admission Process which collect information, analyze the issue and communicate the


same in the best possible structured way. out some insights. It is important to note that evalu-
ations essentially look for some nuanced points and
Detailing the role of WAT in the admission process at vari- thus the 10-20% thinking time is required, he says.
ous B-schools, Mr. Ravi Shankar, Programs Officer, IFMR Use of examples, from personal experiences or oth-
Chennai says, Writing Ability Test (WAT) helps us check erwise, relevant to the topic that can substantiate the
the ability of the applicant to articulate basic ideas in writing. WAT point, are simple way of preparing yourselves for
If a candidate does not have the required level of this ability, the WAT, he adds.
he/she will find it very difficult participate in case presenta-
tions, quizzes and exams. That is why we have been using Strategy for approaching WAT
WAT for the last three years. While you may be very much well prepared and well read, but
your performance on the D-Day will depend on the factors
What to focus on like topic of the WAT and duration assigned. Here are a few
Arks Srinivas, CEO- Vista Mind, Director- Vanguard Busi- tips and tricks to crack WAT.
ness School, explains the Evaluation parameters on which
WAT is analyses. Hepoints out the following parameters that 1 Understand Analyze and Approach: After you are
WAT is evaluated on: assigned with a topic, you need to first understand
what the topic is about and analyze different angles
Quality of content Facts around the topic. This helps you build your thought
Interpretation or Analysis process and bring quality to your WAT write-up.
Conclusion/Opinion/Solution Once you are done with this, approach the topic in
Quality of Logical arguments a very structured way. Jay Mehta, WAT Topper from
Support your Conclusion JBIMS says, I was very structured and focused in
Coherence my approach towards WAT. I put in a lot of facts and
Clarity of Language figures and included my opinions on the different top-
Basic Spelling and Grammar ics as well.

While the mentioned parameters are exhaustive, Akshat Modi also explains how his clear understand-
each B-School decides which of these parameters ing of the topic helped him analyze the same during his
they should give more weightage to. WAT paper. His WAT topic was: since there have been
talks on formation of Telangana, analyze on the socio-
Careers360 here brings you Tips and Guidance from economic impact on the newly formed states in India.
the toppers from IIM and B-Schools; and experts of
various coaching institutes. I broadly classified the three newly formed states of
Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand on their rel-
Udit Dhiman from MDI Gurgaon explains the basic of ative sizes and respective parent states. Since I hailed
preparing for WAT. The idea is not to make the topic from Ranchi, Jharkhand, I focused only on Jharkhand
colloquial and to not drag the same points and bring and its transformation vis--vis socio-economic


condition before and after its inception as a sepa- strategy which made her crack WAT and secures
rate state. I then explained the social and economic admission in one of the IIMs. My idea was to display
changes that I had witnessed in the area since last 15 my knowledge about the topic in an effective manner
years and how it has changed the lifestyle and behav- and support it with relevant examples. I presented
ior of people, and what is the hope it has given, he some radical views too, but backed them with strong
says, adding, I supported my arguments with specific arguments. I tried to assure that the essay displays
examples and finally concluded my viewpoint. a logical thought process and is well organized and
coherent. I would rate my essay as 7.5 out of a scale of
2. Take your stand: Based on your understanding and 10, as I exceeded the word limit, she explains.
analysis of the WAT topic, you should develop opinion
on whether you are for the topic or against it. In either 4. Watch your time: You should do a balancing
condition, you need to substantiate your opinion with act while dividing your time between building your
logical arguments and facts. Experts say your argu- thoughts and putting the same on the paper during
ments in the WAT reflect clarity of your thoughts. Top- your WAT. Given that the allotted time for WAT may
pers also advise that your write-up should carry facts vary at different B-Schools, you should also be ready
to support your claims. Shray from SP Jain explains with a strategy to complete both the component within
the importance of strategically dividing the topic and given timeframe. According to the toppers they divide
then follow an approach. I broke down the topic in 10-15 minutes on understanding and analyzing the
four questions Id ask from the author, and then I tried topic, and spend remaining time on writing the same.
to answer them with an equal importance. It helped
with planning time as well as I allocated an equal share Jayesh from IIM Kashipur says, Allotted time for WAT
to each question, he says. was 25 minutes. I spent around 13 minutes towards
thinking and structuring the points and utilized remain-
3. Follow a structure: Experts say that a candidate ing time in writing the essay. I was able to complete
must structure the WAT content before writing it on the my writing on the topic in around 20 minutes. I spent
piece of paper. They suggest that drawing a structure the remaining time in proofreading and corrections.
based on your understanding of topic is important as
it reflects how you process information into your com- Nitish Bagai from MDI Gurgaon explains his WAT
munication. Students need to learn how to analyze Time management strategy, As the topic for WAT
the topic, identify or build relevant arguments and was to summarize the GD, no preparation in terms of
finalize their position on the issue, says Kudva. He content was needed beforehand. I was prepared with
also adds, The next step should be deciding on the my strategy to keep jotting down all good points dur-
sequence in which it should be presented on paper. ing the GD itself, and then compile them during WAT.
The candidates need to decide what will be the intro-
duction, body and conclusion and finally, write the 5. Keep it Short and Simple: Your write-up should be
essay neatly and coherently. short and easy to understand. You should also avoid
using difficult words when it can be replaced with a
Jyotsna Chadda from IIM Rohtak explains her short and easy word.


Sandeep Manudhane says, As in life, so in WAT. Fol- on a daily basis and seek expert opinion on them, he
low the K-I-S-S-S principle. KEEP IT SHORT SWEET adds. He also suggests, WAT tests the candidates
STUPID. Dont use 11 words if 10 would do. You should knowledge on the given topic along with the writing
not twist the sentence if straight would do. Be active style. To build on these two, the student must read
not passive. Be direct not indirect. You should not use newspapers and magazines, and cover a wide variety
procrastinate if postpone would do. Put examples, of topics ranging across the domestic and the inter-
facts, and figures. Start well. End better. Be crisp. national circuit.

Experts believe that regular practice and evalua- A Few WAT Topics
tion is the key to crack WAT. Gautam Puri, Managing 1. Role of Regional Political Parties in Indian Politics
Director, Career Launcher, says that a regular practice 2. Global warming is a hyped up propaganda
may get candidates into the habit of building opinions 3. Need of vocational training in todays education system
rather than merely collecting facts. 4. Are women in positions of power more aggressive than
men in the same positions?
Practice is very important. The students must focus 5. Importance of RTE
on their language skills- good grammar, appropriate 6. sanitation in India
vocabulary, and correct punctuation etc during their 7. Briefly Describe the GDP
practice sessions. Also, the students must practice 8. Comment on the merits and demerits of online education
putting pen to paper and work on their handwriting. It versus classroom learning
is important that one writes at least one or two essays 9. Promoting Hockey in India
10. Which song defines you

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