GD PI WAT Rounds are conducted for MBA Admissions to IIMs and other leading B-schools after the announcement of MBA entrance exam results. B-schools shortlist applicants based on their admission criteria and conduct the Personal Assessment Round which consists of Personal Interview, Group Discussion and Written Abilities Test. Infact it will be fair to say that CAT/XAT scores are only used for shortlisting students, while the real selection happens through the GD PI WAT round. Typically 10 candidates are invited by MBA Colleges for every admission seat. So expect a tough competition!

After interviewing more than 50 IIM Students and IIM Admission Chairpersons, has prepared this exclusive article to help you prepare for GD PI WAT. So continue reading to ace your personal assessment round.

Table of Contents

  1. Personal Interview (PI)

1.0 Personal Interview (PI)

1.1 What Is Personal Interview
Personal Interview (PI) is conducted before offering you admission in a course or any job. The Personal Interview (PI) round is the test of your verbal communication skill, presence of mind and how do you present your views and knowledge skilfully to convince the experts who are interviewing you. Personal Interview (PI) is the most important part of final selection process for MBA Admissions to IIMs and all other B-schools. It carries high weightage in final selection process in a range from 30 to 50 percent. Personal Interview Round is conducted by all the MBA colleges for MBA admission after the 1st stage shortlisting on the basis of written exam score. All the top MBA colleges including 20 IIMS, XLRI, FMS, SPJIMR, MDI among others conduct Personal Interview (PI) round for final selection

1.2 How To Prepare for Personal Interviews
Every B-school conducts the Personal Interview (PI) round to get the best talent in its class rooms. To be successful in this round, no doubt, you have to be well prepared for the volley of oncoming questions. These are not the questions that are tough or out of this world, but your approach to answer them in a witty, positive and subtle manner gives you an edge over your peers. One of the key tips to crack the PI round is that the further questions arise out of the answers given by you.

Personal Interview for IIM and MBA Admission can revolve around your academics, work experience, extra-curricular activities, your surroundings or current events. There can be a few questions on your future plans as well. IIMs also grill candidates on recent industry and corporate happenings. Here are top tips to prepare for Personal Interview

  1. Be Careful While Writing Statement of Purpose: Your statement of purpose is also a good source of questions for panellists in PI round. So apart from doing lot of other activities to prepare for PI round, you should focus on your SoP and keep ready your answers on the points that you have filled up in SoP.
  2. Keep Yourself Updated: Regularly read the newspapers, watch TV news, diarise whatever you find important. You are supposed to know each and every thing. The only strategy is to gather maximum that you can.
  3. Brush Up On Your Academics: Go through your academics well and revise especially the things in your specialization domain.
  4. Know all About Your Native Place: Read, know and feel your native place well. You must be aware about the history, Geography and all the important things like famous places, personalities, specialities about your city.
  5. Delve Deep About your Work Experience: If you have a work experience, you must be well aware about your role and the entire chain of system wherein you contribute with your team.
  6. Know yourself: Analyse and rehearse upon your strengths and weaknesses. You must be able to highlight your strengths effectively and for it must prepare well. The weaknesses should not reflect your inability to do the work, or to improve.
  7. Awareness Your Interests & Hobbies: You will be asked about your interests and hobbies, so make sure that you know all about them. One of the candidates interviewed at IIM Calcutta claimed that he had interest in playing Badminton. All the past, present, shuttle cock weight, court-size, service gallery size and other things were asked, although he answered each of them satisfactorily.
  8. Brush Up your GK: Past and present events must be well known to you. Reading is not enough, you must have an opinion framed on it. To be successful in PI round, no doubt, you have to be well prepared not only with the Current GK for interview but also with the Business GK and the social GK surrounding your local area issues for interview. These GK questions come up during the discussion spontaneously out of your profile, statement of purpose, the interests and hobbies that you fill up in the interview form. The GK questions in Personal Interview are not tough or out of this world but your approach to answer them correctly in a witty, positive and subtle manner gives you an edge.
  9. Remain Positive: Even if you have all the negative thoughts about some action, policy matters – present them in a balanced manner with a positive thinking for future. Do not criticize too much the policies of the Government, B-schools, Corporate bodies etc. If you have some suggestion for their betterment, you can put them forth in brief, if required.

1.3 Top Personal Interview Questions

Preparing for top PI questions in advance is a good way to ensure your success. Here are a few of the past MBA Personal Interview Questions asked in IIM MBA Personal Interview rounds.

  1. Why MBA: This is one of the top MBA Personal Interview Questions for Admission that frequently appears in MBA interviews
  2. Tell us about yourself: This is another very popular question that frequently appears in MBA Personal Interview Questions
  3. Past Academic Questions: Your academic profile is an important source of top Questions asked in Personal Interview round of MBA admissions. Nikhilesh N, who scored 98.44 percentile in CAT 2020, was asked questions like UG specialization, how the UG background is related to Business Analytics and the key areas of academic interest in IIM Bangalore Personal Interview round
  4. Previous Work Experience Questions: If you have short or long work experience, it will be the most important area constituting top MBA Personal Interview Questions for Admission. Shuktisindhu Mondal who scored 93.26 percentile in CAT 2019 and is an IIM Ahmedabad student, has a work experience of 41 months. He faced many questions regarding the nature of his work and shares, “Questions that I faced were based on my work experience and current affairs.” Accordingly, You are should also be ready with some of the such top Questions to prepare for Personal Interview.
  5. Your City/State related question: Interviewers want to know if you have empathy for your roots. So there are also some of the important MBA Personal Interview Questions based on your native place
  6. Why this B-school: This is one of the top MBA Personal Interview Questions for Admission. If you are appearing in IIM Personal Interview round, it is one of the top Questions to prepare for Personal Interview. If you don’t give a crisp and clear answer, you will leave a bad impression.
  7. Which Specialization and Why? Some B-schools want their students to be clear about their career choice post MBA. They also want you to be clear about which specialization that you will select in 2nd year and why. This is a sure shot question in IIM Personal Interview round, if you are applying for an Specialized MBA program.
  8. Current Affair Events & your opinion on them: With lot of changes happening at the national and international level, your updated knowledge on current affairs and what do you think about them is the key area on which a few questions you are sure to face in IIM Personal Interview  round. Nikita Agarwal, who scored 99.22 percentile in CAT 2019 and is a student of MDI Gurgaon was asked questions like Chandrayan-2, Cryptocurrency, Bullet trains.
  9. Questions on Extra Curricular Activities: If you are a sports person, a model or an achiever in some other area, the IIM MBA Interview Questions will be focused on them too. Tanishq Diddee, a national medalist in swimming, a triathlon and marathon participant who scored 99.70 percentile in CAT 2019 and converted IIM Ahmedabad  was asked about how a business model can be made around swimming?, How will India capture the POK? Why Kenyan runners are good at marathon?

2. Group Discussions 

2.1 What is A Group Discussion
GD round is a favourite component of final selection round not only in top MBA colleges but also in various recruitment process like class 1 and 2 services, SSB, bank officers’ recruitment services among others. It carries a substantial weightage also in final admission/selection process. Group Discussion rules allow you to speak effectively and listen to others also. The major Group Discussion tips to win the GD round are to follow the Group Discussion skills. One of the key winning Group Discussion skills is to remain well learned, listen others carefully and not to miss the opportunity to make an effective speech.

2.2 How is Group Discussion Evaluated

The basic reason behind conducting Group Discussion (GD) round in the final admission process for MBA/PGDM programmes in B-schools is a very important aspect of group communication reflecting the leadership skills and thought process of the participants.

2.3 Type of GD Topics

  1. GD Topics on Business & Economy: It includes current trends in business and economy, major policy initiatives, latest business trends, and their impact globally and nationally.
  2. GD Topics on Current Affairs: The GD topics on Current affairs are based on national or international political development, Policies and issues which are highly debated in media.
  3. GD topics on Social Issues: Top MBA Colleges are focusing on developing socially responsible MBAs. Hence, there is a greater emphasis on issues like gender and environment sensitivity, ethics etc.
  4. GD Topics on Abstract Topics: You may be thinking what are abstract GD topics? These are the topics which have multiple interpretations and candidates can show their creativity and smart thinking.

2.4 How to Prepare For a GD

Group Discussion preparation has three aspects. These three Group Discussion preparation tips are:

GD Preparation should begin along with your CAT/XAT preparation. Immediately after the written exam is over, you should focus on preparing for Group Discussion round which commands high weightage in final selection round.

  1. To prepare for a group discussion, keep track of happenings around the world.
  2. Being aware of current affairs and issues and happenings, which affect our lives, however remotely, shows a well-rounded personality.
  3. As a team player, your ability to lead and play in team is measured in the GD. Make a habit of reading English newspapers and magazines, watch interesting documentaries and profiles on television to get a wider perspective on issues.
  4. Group Discussion topics can be from a wide range of issues. It could be a topic on current events, business news, sports or anything very general. The wider your reading interests, the better prepared you will be to face the group discussion.
  5. You should prepare on variety of topics as rich and right subject knowledge will be required during GD round. You should have subject knowledge and be well aware of the latest happenings around you, not just in India but around the world as well. To be in a better position, make sure that you have in-depth knowledge on the subject. Subject knowledge is a pre-requisite while you are preparing for a group discussion because you will then have the power to steer the conversation to whichever direction you want to. If you can memorize some relevant data, it will be an added advantage.
  6. If you are a good reader and read on variety of topics, it will help you in group discussion round. There is no need for last minute preparation. You should read over a period of time. Reading not only adds to your knowledge database, but enhances your vocabulary skills as well.
  7. Always choose the magazines that are content rich and not just full of advertisements. Often magazines have columns which are promoting a particular institute etc. Avoid such magazines, do some research and buy the best that will be beneficial for you.
  8. Prepare the topics that are Repeated. There are topics which re-appear with minute changes and minor variations. Be aware of such topics well in advance so that you have ample time to prepare for the same. For example the issues of terrorism, gender inequality, poverty, liberalization and privatization, reservations in educational institutions etc often appear as GD topics. Make sure you know these topics well and can come up with some unique, insightful points along with some data.
  9. Improve your Communication Skills. You should be well versed in your communication skills. You should have a good vocabulary and a decent command over English. Much before your actual group discussion, rehearse well. You can sit with a group of friends and choose a topic and indulge in a friendly GD. Not only will this increase your knowledge, you will be a better speaker by the time it is time for your GD.
  10. Learn to communicate with body gestures. The panelists observe the way you sit and react in the course of the discussion. . Body gestures are very important, because your body language says a lot about you. In a GD, sit straight, avoid leaning back on to the chair or knocking the table with pen or your fingers. Also, do not get distracted easily.
  11. Learn to be a good listener. Listening Skills are Essential for GD round, so carefully listen to what others have to say. Just speaking throughout the discussion doesn’t make you better. You should learn to give others a chance to speak. Try and listen to others. If the speaker is making an eye-contact with you remember to acknowledge him by nodding your head, so that the speaker is aware that his listeners are listening to him and paying full attention. This will also show that you are vigilant and are an active participant in the discussion.

2.5 Top Group Discussions Topics

Year 2021 was an eventful year, to say the least! And with dawn of year 2022, third wave of Covid-19 has struck. Latest Group Discussion Topics for MBA admission 2022 include: 

  1. Global Climate Crisis: India Leadership
  2. Gati Shakti Master Plan​
  3. Covid-19 Third Wave
  4. Economic Survey 2022
  5. Coal Crisis in India
  6. Privatization of Public Sector in India
  7. Air India Disinvestment by BJP Government & Acquisition by TATAs: Selling Family Silver or Saving Taxpayer’s Money
  8. Budget 2022: Will it Propel Economic Growth
  9. Repealing of Farm Bills
  10. Are Stock Market & Economy Not Co-related?
  11. India’s Semiconductor Mission – Key Facts
  12. Farmers’ Protest and MSP
  13. Facebook Rebrands to Meta: What is Metaverse & Augmented Reality     Cryptocurrencies and NFTs: Real Revolution or just a Bubble?
  14. National Startup Day & Startup Boom in India: Are Unicorns Real or just Paper Tigers?   Make in India: The idea will make India a manufacturing hub

3.0 WAT

Written Ability Test (WAT) is an important part of final selection to MBA programme in IIMs and other top MBA colleges. Read below about the important details about how IIMs conduct WAT round, What are the key topics to prepare, How to score high in WAT and more

3.1 What is WAT?

WAT is a paper-pen based writing test of 15 to 30 minutes duration conducted by IIMs and other top B-schools to test your writing skills after you are shortlisted for final admission round. This test is conducted just before your personal Interview session. In fact most of the IIMs have replaced Group Discussion (GD) round by WAT in the final selection round. In WAT round a candidate can freely put down his views and thoughts on paper coherently without fear of getting disrupted.

How Is Written Abilities Test (WAT) Evaluated
To be updated soon

How To Prepare For Written Abilities Test (WAT)
To be updated soon

Top Written Abilities Test (WAT) Topics
Writing Ability Test (WAT) topic in an IIM or other B-school can be based on Current affairs, Business, Economics, Finance, Social or Political issues, Sports related news or could be based on abstract topics.

Topics for WAT are carefully selected to enable the candidates to express their coherent views and opinion, place the relevant data and other facts to add value to their writing. Since there are many changes in the economy, tax structure, number of things are happening around, the scope of WAT topics 2021 has also increased on such changes touching the common life. For example, Farm Bills 2020 and Farmers’ Protests, Covid-19 impact & Vaccination, Budget 2021, National Education Policy (NEP), Recently held US Elections, Gig Economy, Demonetization, GST, Make in India, Bank Recapitalization, among others are the latest WAT topics 2021 and the candidates may be asked to write on them. 

Having read these introductions to GD PI WAT, now comes the best part! Read short interviews with CAT Toppers & IIM Students by as they reveal their GD PI WAT Preparation.  

Q: Please share your GD PI WAT preparation strategy

A: My GD PI WAT preparation strategy was very simple. I kept myself updated with Current Affairs and made a list of expected questions in an MBA interview which I practiced in mock set ups with friends and my mentors from IMS coaching.

All my interviews took place during Feb 2020. Key topics discussed were:

Q: Please share your GD PI WAT Preparation Plan for IIM Calcutta?
 My admission process was mainly focussed on Personal Interview except for Bangalore where WAT was part of the process and AWT for Ahmedabad.

My experience with the Interview process taught me that you need to know yourself very well your answers should be framed well and you should have hands-on current affairs with opinions on them.

A good GD PI WAT Preparation process can happen within a span of 2-3 months and requires good mentors. I found one in the form of Arvind Shankar sir, was enrolled with him for the GDPI course with him and he helped me a lot during the preparation. Along with this, I was also part of a group where some seniors from IIM C and IIM B were helping us with interview prep.

Q: In this pandemic situation, was your PI-WAT conducted in person or was conducted Online?
 My all PIs were online except for Ahmedabad where it was online but in a proctored environment. My experience with all PIs was good. In the process, I have learned a lot and enjoyed it. I managed to have some good conversations in my PIs that I believe helped me to convert my all calls.

One thing that I really liked about the PI process was very good nature of some Profs during the interview where they try to bring us in comfort zones before asking us the main questions.

How Yashvi Bansal cracked GD PI WAT to get into IIM Udaipur

Q: Please share your GD PI WAT preparation approach for IIM Udaipur?
A: My GD PI WAT preparation approach for IIM Udaipur was something like this.

I used the question bank floated by IIM Udaipur for PI Preparation itself. I read and watched news every day. I worked on the common questions and since I was a fresher, I revised my concepts to make sure I was able to answer all the acad-related questions.

Q: In this pandemic situation, was you PI-WAT conducted in person or was conducted Online? How was your PI-WAT experience?
 My PI was conducted online, it was a very good experience because as there was time consumed in travelling, I gave more time to the actual PI preparation.

GD PI WAT Preparation strategy followed by Pranita Maheshwari, CAT 98.81%ile and IIM Udaipur student

Q: How did you prepare for IIM Udaipur GD/PI/WAT? Please share some of your WAT topics & PI questions?
 My GD PI WAT preparation started in January. I was keeping myself updated on the recent happenings related to various fields. Already, COVID had come up with many implications in all the domains, so a thorough knowledge was necessary. A PI is mostly a friendly and formal conversation with the panel, so one needs to be well acquainted with the topics they mention in their CVs.

Some PI questions were:

Q: In this pandemic situation, was you PI-WAT conducted in person or was conducted Online? How was your PI-WAT experience?
 The panel tests your knowledge and confidence. As my PI was conducted online, there was no role of the body language because only the upper part is visible to the interviewer. But the panel is way too smart to judge you on all the parameters

IIM Calcutta Student Nandan Goel shares his GD PI WAT Preparation Strategy

Q: Lets us about your GD PI WAT Preparation for IIM Calcutta and other B-schools?
A: Sure. My GD PI WAT Preparation for IIM Calcutta and other B-schools was something like this.

  1. I made a list of all the current affair topics which I could think of and started making one-page briefs about them.
  2. I revised 4-5 of my UG subjects which I thought would be relevant in the interview.
  3. I also made an excel sheet about all potential HR type questions (strengths, weakness, etc.) and framed their answers individually.
  4. After framing an interesting introduction of myself, I pondered upon everything which I mentioned in that intro. For eg, if I said that I was from Delhi, I made a brief of common questions surrounding Delhi like number of districts, CM, monuments, favourite places, etc. I even had to research about Shaheed Sukhdev because my college name was Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies.

So that is the kind of deep knowledge required for an interview.

Q: Great! Lets us about PI Questions.
A: Some of the PI questions I was asked were:

  1. What all authors have you studied as a part of your UG?
  2. Does tropic of cancer pass through India?
  3. What are the assumptions of a regression process (I mentioned that I studied regression in UG)
  4. Give a stock recommendation (I mentioned about my interest in stock markets). Follow-up questions like why is Airtel priced above Voda despite both of them being subject to AGR? What is AGR? What all IPOs are out? Why is market going up during COVID?
  5. Who came first and why, in a competition? (In which I mentioned my achievement as Runners-Up)
  6. Why is Aam Aadmi Party so popular?
  7. Who were the allies in World War 2?

Q: In this pandemic situation, was your PI-WAT conducted in person or was conducted Online? How was your PI-WAT experience?
A: My PI-WAT was conducted online. It becomes more difficult in an online setting because you can express less from your body language. So, I had to work on my voice modulations to sound energetic and excited. The PI went smooth. I drove most of the conversation and was able to predict the incoming questions because of my preparation.

GD PI WAT Preparation Coaching Institutes

IMS Learning
IMS Learning, a Leading CAT Coaching Institute offers a IMS offers one of the best GD PI WAT preparation modules with its ‘GDPI Comprehensive 2022’ program. This course offers:

3 e-books include:

Cost of IMS GD PI WAT program is Rs. 5,890 + GST: 18%. Scholarships and Upto 40% Off/Waivers are also available.

TIME GD PI WAT Preparation
TIME, another Leading CAT Coaching Institute, also offers comprehensive GD PI WAT preparation courses. It has two programs: GWPI Live and GDPI Online. If you are IIM Call getter, then you can join these programs for only Rs 500! Here are key details:

Enrollment for TIME GWPI Live and Online variants

IIM Call gettersRs. 500 (Including GST)Rs. 500 (Including GST)
Non-IIM Call getters (from FMS, XLRI, SP Jain, IIFT)Rs. 3950 (Including GST)Rs. 3450 (Including GST)
Non-IIM Call getters – Other institutesRs 5950 (Including GST)Rs 5450 (Including GST)

TIME ‘GWPI LIVE’ GD PI WAT Coaching Program Highlights 

TIME ‘GWPI Online’ GD PI WAT Coaching Program Highlights  GWPI Online

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