How many of you are waiting for the B-school shortlists to start preparing for group discussions and interviews?
And, more importantly, how many of you think GK and current affairs can be built within a week or two?
If you believe that CAT exam preparation is a very difficult thing, then this is the first myth you have to clear from your mind. The journey, after the results of these exams are declared, will be the most difficult and crucial one. Even if you have scored great enough to get calls from Tier 1 & Tier 2 B-schools, still you can’t ensure your conversion of those calls as a lot depends on your performance in the GD-PI-WAT which is the final stage.
Despite great percentiles, why don’t some students get admission in top MBA colleges?
Many of my friends who had a great percentile in CAT were not able to convert their calls. The common reason being, most of the aspirants prepare for the first stage only and take GD-PI-WAT very casually. They usually wake up to the need of preparing for GDs and interviews only after the shortlists are out. This is the time they try to find purpose to their lives and answers to all types of personality questions. They try to cram up facts about world affairs, state of economy, political agenda and movements, social issues and what not, all in a few weeks’ time. Eventually they end up with a mental pressure to perform which results in stress, anxiety and lack of confidence.
GDs and interviews are tools through which interviewers try to judge your personality. Personality is defined as a combination of a person’s behaviour, attitude, emotions and cognitive (i.e. thinking) abilities. It is difficult to change your personality within just one or two months. When interviewers ask you questions, they want to know your opinions from where they understand your personality traits. A person develops opinions only if he/she has gained knowledge by reading and observing.
What does it take to crack GDs and Interviews?
After the result declaration you will have a little time to prepare for the next stage, so try to prepare and keep track of current affairs along with your CAT preparation. Fortunately, I realized this while I was preparing for CAT. So, I started working on the current affairs in depth and tried to relate it with general topics being discussed in the GDs. I began my GK preparation a lot before the CAT exam even took place.
Practice GD sessions and mock-interviews can help you in learning the right way to speak and how to control certain behaviours. You can also attend GK classes and read material on latest current happenings but you may still miss on the large picture of things. And so, you may not be able to develop opinions effectively. In GDs both content and delivery are important and if you can build the content it will help you increase your confidence.
" Big Bull Tip:
Good GK = Good Content = Good Confidence = Good Interview"
How to build good GK?
“Read Read Read.”
I cannot stress this enough. Even though most of the B-schools are done with the GD process and have instead started taking WAT, you still need a good command over content for WAT and that will only come from daily reading different articles and newspapers. For interviews as well, diverse reading will help you in giving well-rounded answers considering multiple points of view. This will not only help you in GD-WAT-PI but also help in the VARC section.
Having spoon-fed information or one-sided opinions will not help you, as interviewers look for a sound judgement about a topic. Interviewers can ask you about your opinion in the form of extempore. So to build your opinion, try to read about the same topics from as many different newspapers as possible. I will prefer you to read from the Economic Times and The Hindu. This helped me a lot with my interviews and GD/WAT process.
Apart from the above, for freshers, it is advisable to revise at least 1 of their academics subjects too. Also, having some basic knowledge of concepts in Marketing, Finance, Operations and Human Resource Management will help you give an edge over others.
I know it is very difficult to prepare these things along with the cat preparation and college or job but I guarantee you that it will be worth it.