Personal Interview (PI) is conducted before offering you admission in a course or any job. The Personal interview shape, duration and type of questions may be different in accordance with the nature of the PI round. 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 skillfully to convince the experts who are interviewing you.

Importance of Personal Interview
Personal Interview (PI) is the most important part of your final selection process. It carries high weightage in final selection process in a range from 30 to 50 percent. Immediately after completion of your written exam, it is necessary to improve your personal interview skills and do away with any type of hesitation that you may face during personal interview round.  

If you do not get a required minimum score in personal interview, you will not be considered for final selection even if you have scored very high score in your written test.

Personal Interview for MBA Admission

The 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

GD PI WAT Preparation: Tips from Experts and Toppers

The personal interview is tried to be kept healthy, positive and less stressful to make you free, feel friendly and natural before the experts. You are encouraged to remain what you are and it is tried that during the course of discussion, you should not feel nervous. 

Personal Interview for MBA

Personal Interview format could be different for different types of personal interviews at different places. However, the personal interview format at IIMs and at other top B-schools means that there are 3-4 panelists who are experts and ask penetrating questions to you on your academics, work experience, current affairs, social issues, about your personality, your native place, on technical issues related to your academics and work place.

MBA Colleges Using Personal Interview
A few of the top MBA colleges using PI round before preparing the final merit list of the candidates are:

IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta & Other Old IIMs
IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Shillong.

New IIMs Conduct Common Admission Process (CAP) with PI round
9 to 11 new IIMs now conduct Common Admission Process (CAP) in the month of February which include the personal interview (PI) for MBA admission. One of the IIMs coordinates the PI round which is common to all these participating IIMs

The participating IIMs are – IIM Kashipur, IIM Raipur, IIM Ranchi, IIM Rohtak, IIM Tiruchirappalli, IIM Udaipur, IIM Amritsar, IIM Bodhgaya, IIM Sambalpur, IIM Jammu, IIM Bodhgaya, IIM Sirmaur

Other Top MBA colleges Using PI round for MBA admission
Other top MBA colleges like FMS Delhi, SPJIMR Mumbai, XLRI Jamshedpur, MDI Gurgaon, IIFT, IMI New Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad, NITIE Mumbai, SIBM Pune, GIM Goa, IRMA, MICA conduct their PI round separately post declaration of CAT, IIFT, XAT, SNAP exam result.

Important Guidelines for Personal Interview for MBA Admission
Every B-school conducts the Personal Interview (PI) round to get the best talent in its class rooms. One of the key tips to crack the PI round is that the further questions arise out of the answers given by you. So it is advisable to be careful while responding to questions and avoid any sort of bluffing.

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.

So, let your Personal Interview in IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Kozhikode, FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, SPJIMR Mumbai, XLRI Jamshepur, IIFT among others become a discussion giving you an opportunity to enjoy the same instead of feeling a pressure of torturous question answer session.

Getting Ready for Interview session

A few things an IIM, FMS, XLRI, MDI, or other top B-school aspirant should remember before proceeding for interview session are:

Facing the panelists
Enter the Personal Interview room by taking permission of the panelists and greet them when you reach near the table behind which they are sitting. You must have been preparing for the PI round for last few months and by now should be well prepared and must have also gone for versatile reading and mock personal interviews. Please do not forget to go through the morning news paper especially of the day when your personal interview is scheduled.

Avoid Irritation during PI Round 
Don’t get at all irritated, come what may. Your interviewers have the capability of assessing you with your gestures, postures and the response you come with, to their very first question. The saying ‘First impression is the last impression’ is true to a large extent when you face the interview. After The first few minutes the interview board is simply confirming itself of the first impression it formed of you.

Be Yourself Through out
Be natural and don’t go for copying someone. If you do, it will be like a mask through which your interviewers can very well judge you. Please do remember You are you, you cannot be he. So please don’t try to change your DNA. 

Personal Interview Preparation

Immediately after the declaration of entrance test result like CAT/XAT, the short lists for Personal Interview round is announced. Call for the Personal Interview shows that the selection journey is half achieved. PI round is the key to success in securing final admission to the desired institute as the maximum weightage is awarded to this round.

10 Tips to Prepare for Personal Interview 

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.

Keep Yourself Updated
Regularly read the news papers, 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.

Brush Up On Your Academics
Go through your academics well and revise especially the things in your specialization domain.

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.

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.

Know your Personality
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.

Awareness About 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.

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.

Join PI Preparatory Sessions

It is a good idea to attend good preparatory sessions for PI round and also attend mock PI sessions to prepare for Personal Interview round.

Getting in touch with the seniors, alumni of the B-school in regard to the nature of questions and what is expected from the candidate is also a good idea. They know how to prepare as each B-school has its own preferences. You can also get good guidance from them.

Be Positive Through Out
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.

Do’s & Don’ts for Personal Interview
You must have been preparing for the PI round for last few months and by now should be well prepared and must have also gone for versatile reading and mock personal interviews. Adhering to following Do’s & Don’ts during your Personal Interview will help you score well in the PI round:

Speak carefully
Do not go on speaking simply because you find a long pause after you have finished answering a question. It might give an opportunity to the interviewers to grill you on something you have inadvertently spoken. Remember Brevity is the soul of wit. So be brief and to the point. – Use simple and communicative language in an effective manner. Any wrong use of figurative and idiomatic language in conversation might get you deviated and put you in trouble.

Take the Panelists to your Domain
Try to take the interview board to your domain of knowledge and skills. When you answer a question, you may use such sentences and words on which the interview board gets curious but you are comfortable with the same. It depends on your skills how to mould the interview to your desired direction. The opportunity is to be created by you while presenting the answers to their questions.

Impress with Your Body Language
Body language is equally important as verbal communication; perhaps more. Note that you are constantly watched. So, remain upright when you sit, walk or stand. Keep a neutral expression. Don’t clench your fist or teeth. When speaking, lean slightly forward to say you are involved in the conversation, but do not rest your hands on the table.

Don’t Bluff
Please do not beat about the bush. Never try to mislead the interviewers by guessing and concocting an answer. You will be caught in your own web and will lose whatever credit you earned earlier. If you do not know the answer, politely say that you do not know. If still your opinion or guess is sought, present your thought with a rider that it is what you think.

Don’t Copy Anyone: Be your Natural Self
Be natural and don’t go for copying someone. If you do, it will be like a mask through which your interviewers can very well judge you. Please do remember You are you, you cannot be he. So please don’t try to change your DNA.

The substance is that you must know how to succeed. The success will come once you know how to market yourself before the interview board. This is your approach to present yourself in the interview and the way you answer the questions, will secure your seat in your course or job. 

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