A basic primer on the admission process followed by B-Schools in India
Written test is the first phase of selection process. It checks your aptitude in areas like - Data Interpretation, Quantitative Aptitude, English Usage, Reading Comprehension, and Logical Reasoning. However, there are some tests like XAT, MAT, and SNAP, which have a separate section on General Knowledge. Further, XAT and the IIFT Test have a Written Ability Test (WAT) or Essay Writing in the first stage itself. The written test is generally of 2 to 2.5 hours. There is also a minimum percentile requirement in each section for some top B-schools.
Based on your overall percentile score, you will be called to appear for GD & PI, which is held usually in the month of February or March. On the basis of your performance (in GD & PI, marks in the written test, academic performance, work experience and extra-curricular background) admission offers are extended in the months of March and April.
In group discussion, a topic/ case study/ situation is given to a group of 8-15 students and they are required to discuss it for 10-20 minutes. During GDs, the assessment criteria include content, communication skills, ability to work in a team, initiation, logical thinking, and attitude. Recently, some of the B-Schools like SIBM have started conducting group activity/ task in this round.
In most cases, (with a few exceptions) GD is not an elimination process and it is the overall performance in the GD, PI and other stages that determine acceptance/ rejection.
A personal interview is an interaction with a panel (of professors from the institute and/or industry professionals) in which you are quizzed on topics ranging from academics, current affairs to interests/hobbies. In an interview, clarity of goal, self awareness, good knowledge of academics and current awareness and an all-rounded personality can help you come out with flying colors. An interview may last from 10 to 30 minutes.
After clearing the above two stages the all-important Final Call letter of selection is sent to the selected candidates. Most of the institutes ask the candidates to pay the first installment of the course within 30 days of the date of the call.
If you get through the selection rounds of more than one institution and get a call of admission, you should always make a wise judgment as funds are never a constraint for the determined ones, since banks offer liberal educational loans.