Preparing To Convert Your IIM Call Into a Final Admit

So you have got that coveted call and now you have started fretting about the second stage! You have probably started prepping but are buzzing with questions and a still do not have a structure to the your prep. This post is geared towards giving you the right perspective to organise your prep and some prep goodies as well.

What is the probability converting a first call into a final admit?
Well if we keep all other things out (your academic record, CAT Score, work experience and the weightage each college gives to each of these components) the probability of converting any one of the old IIMs will be around 20-25%. Usually around 4 to 5 people are called per seat for the second stage for the old IIMs. So honestly, it is not that easy.

What should you NOT spend your time doing?
Do not spend time trying to calculate how much you need to score in your WAT-GD-PI round to get a final admit — it not worth the effort. You goal is simple, trying to score the maximum you can in the second round and leave the math to the college. You should spend your time preparing for the second round and not doing the math.

What is the common thread tying WAT, GD & PI?
On the face of it it might seem like WAT, GD and PI are different beasts altogether and besting each one of them requires different skill-sets. Well at some level they can be equated to the different formats in cricket — Test Cricket, ODIs and T20s (not in any order) — while the format is different and there are specialists in each format, the core skill tested are cricketing skills. Over the years the core skill tested in each of GD, WAT  and PI is your awareness of GK and Current Affairs.

That GDs and WATs test GK and Current Affairs is something that need not be stated. But even in PIs interviewers want to test how aware you are of the world around you. For example, they might ask you to

  • name all the districts in your home state as you travel from North to South
  • the names of CEOs of leading companies in your sector
  • your view on recent political events in you state or sector
  • your view on events of national importance or policy
  • your knowledge of people and important trivia about what you call your hobbies (it is trivia because it is just a statistic but it is important because you have mentioned something as your hobby)

So what you need to first understand is that at some level the second stage is closer to preparing for the Civil Services, albeit at a level that is much less demanding in terms of depth and width of knowledge tested

You Need More Than The Manorama Year Book
Most aspirants shortlisted for the second stage of the IIMs and other schools start with the Manorama Year Book. But that is just what it is — a start. While you might be asked facts in an interview and need facts in a GD and WAT, what is more important is the quality of the arguments you put forth. When we evaluate essays written by aspirants we find that are desperately trying to fit in into the essay all the facts that they have crammed. To really make an impact one needs to go beyond facts and have an opinion.

The only way to do this is to read in-depth articles on various topics that can be a part of this year’s GDs.

Issues Most Likely To Be Part Of This Year’s GD/WAT/PI Topics
Every year has it’s share of hot topics going into the GD-PI season. If we look at the big topics over the last few years they fall into two categories:

Event/Phenomenon-Based: Delhi Rape Case, AAP, Social Media, Terror Attacks etc.

Policy-Based: FDI, Nuclear Energy, Direct Cash Transfers etc.

While topics based on events/phenomenons are unlikely to get repeated, policy-based topics usually get repeated since policies usually have a longer shelf life. For example, while direct cash transfers was finally implemented as the Jan Dhan Scheme only recently, it has been in the news for more than a few years. Similar FDI in different sectors becomes an issue at different points in time.

So what are the event/issues/policies that can be a part of the second stage this year?

  • The Charlie Hebdo Attack and Freedom of Speech
  • The Rise Of The BJP and Narendra Modi ( alrrady asked in the s.P.Jain WAT)
  • Religious Reconversion in India – Secularism & India
  • Direct Cash Transfer Pros and Cons
  • Faster Environmental Clearances –  Economy  Vs Environment
  • Society in the Age of Social Media

Each of the things listed above can lead to more than one topic so you should read as many articles as possible on these to get the whole 360 degrees.

Research Previous Years Institute-Wise GD/WAT Topics
Most of the premier institutes have a very specific style when it comes to the kind of topics they give as part of the WAT/GD. IIM-L for example, tends to favour the abstract over the topical. IIM-A tends to give short subjective topics as opposed to information heavy topics, whereas IIFT does the exact opposite. So you will do well to thoroughly research the format and topics from the previous years.

The PI Checklist
Preparing for the PI starts with the five basic questions that can also become your IIM-B SOP:

  • Tell Me Something About Yourself
  • Describe Your Work Experience
  • Why MBA?
  • Short-Term & Long-Term Career Goals
  • Strengths & Weaknesses

We have suggested a lot of research and reading so we thought we should give you a goodie bag that will make your job easier with a GD-PI Toolkit which contains a compilation of

  • Institute-wise WAT-GD Topics and PI questions from last year
  • Articles across various sectors like economy, education, politics etc that can be useful for WAT-GDs this year

Most of these articles are not simple bulleted-lists but in-depth data-filled analyses. We are sure you will be better off reading one of these detailed articles than waiting for a certain new anchor to let the panelists speak!

Apart from this we have also put together a long-list of all the possible questions that can get asked in PIs and some stuff related to the whole second stage.

To access all of this, all you need to go is to and start downloading.

Till the next post, which will be soon, start reading, researching and rehearsing!

All the best,


6 thoughts on “Preparing To Convert Your IIM Call Into a Final Admit

  1. Sir
    In the “College Specific Topics and Process” folder…in the GD-PI toolkit….why is there no file for XLRI (BM/HRM/GLOBAL-MBA) 😦

    cou;ld you please atleast advice/brief so as to give a direction about the same.
    Id really appreciate it!!!!
    (especially considering i had a terrible cat…but a decent enough xat to fetch me some calls…and them being my only calls…im sort of desperate..have to get done with em)

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