The interviewers twist the questions to confuse or test you ,you must learn to read between the lines and understand the crux of the question

Apoorv Bapat who is going to start his MBA journey from IIM-Ahmedabad very soon. He holds dual degree from BITS Pilani in Biological Sciences and Civil Engineering. He has worked for Mphasis as a Software Engineer for 2 years. He is an NTSE Scholarship Holder. He is proficient in French. He has bagged Gold Medal in Chess competition. He also loves Mountain Hiking and Photography.

Why and when did you start to look at an MBA as a career option ?

I was constantly confused about the way my career should proceed during and immediately after graduation. I even attempted the GRE exam (and scored well) but finally decided to do an MBA around August 2011.

How many previous attempts you had at CAT ?

I attempted CAT in 2011 without any preparation. Naturally I did not perform very well.

Which calls did you receive and converted ? (It might be the case that you got the call but you couldn’t convert it)

1. FMS – Reject
2. SPJAIN – Reject
3. NITIE– Did not attend the interview
4. All new IIMs – Converted Udaipur, Ranchi, Trichi
I didn’t apply to Symbiosis, NMIMS and MDI.

Which classes did you join ? Which advice one should follow while joining classes ? Does everybody should join classes or test series is enough ?

I had joined 2 classes as I was pretty free on weekdays during that time. Also, people who cannot get themselves to study regularly must join some classes,it helps when you have a peer group and are in regular practice of solving problems. If you are the sincere kind, you can just do well with the test series. However, classes or not, test series is the real key to success in CAT.

How did you manage time while working ?

Fortunately, I was pretty free on weekdays during the time of CAT. Also, I do well with pre-exam studies, and thus had planned a long leave just before CAT, that helped a lot as well.The most important point here is to recognize your own study style. What I did might not be your style and will not help you much. For example, I knew my concepts were good and I needed to improve my speed and accuracy in quant, so I focused more on that. Try to recall what your best performances were in and how did you go about achieving them.

Can you talk more about your work place achievements and how did it help you in your journey to IIM-A ?

Since, I was relatively free at work, I had joined French classes and used to work out as well. The french classes helped, particularly in New-IIM’s interview, where I spoke in French with an European interviewer. Working out helped me as I could complete a mountain biking expedition in the Himalayas and could talk about it in the interviews. So in short, if you utilize your time well in some constructive activity, it will help, regardless.

You have some interesting hobbies and skills ? Can you elaborate more on it ? What one should do to demonstrate his/her co-curricular and extra-curricular activities to get an edge in PI ? How did you demonstrate it ?

Same as above. Also, the interviews I gave were extremely random and thus an overall knowledge of different things helps. Exploiting your passion/interest  will certainly help but there is no fixed formula. Also, the key here is to always mention how a particular activity, sport, hobby has helped you. (A gold medal in chess is pointless if you cannot learn to be patient and thoughtful by playing chess)

Can you talk more about your next 5 year plan ?

I plan to start up in my next 5 years. I will be focusing on how to go about it during my stay at IIM A.

Any advice to tackle PI effectively ? What did you do for essay writing ?

Personal Interview

1. Conquer your fears: The most important point is to be confident. And confidence comes when you conquer your fears. Recognize your fears by being brutally honest with yourself about it, then work on it. For example, I was very scared about technical question in an interview. Thus I revised some of the important subjects from graduation. That helped me build up immense confidence

 2. Certain institutes have certain PI trends, you need to know them and then prepare likewise. for example, IIM-A is known to stress on Academics while SP-JAIN has a special focus on your Social profile. You need to be able to highlight your achievements in the same.
3. You must guide the PI, although cliched, you must prepare your answers  to basic questions that wont lead you into a difficult spot.Rather try to highlight something positive (which you are confident about talking in an interview), learn how to crack PI here
4. Be Smart and a level up:Many times, the interviewers twist the questions in a way as to confuse or test you. You must learn to read between the lines and understand the crux of the question and what exactly is the interviewer looking out for in you by asking that question. Although this sounds pretty obvious, it is important to keep your cool in the interview and keep thinking on your toes.

Essay Writing

It is just another name for critical reasoning / group discussion. All classes give you a set format to answer essays which is sufficient enough, you just have to fill in the blanks with VALID CRITICAL REASONING ARGUMENTS about the topic.

There are around 5 months to CAT,which advice would you like to give to the aspirants who are giving it for the first time ?

1. Start with the basics first. You must be quick at calculations, must know your tables. You can build a vocabulary (from Barons may be)  dare to leave certain topics for option. Be thorough.
2. Analyze your weakness and work on it. Since CAT has become pretty luck based, you can’t dare to leave out certain topics for option. Be thorough.
3. With sincere efforts your proficiency in answering Verbal Ability questions improved. Do that. (Start with GMAT/GRE books, they are good for improving RC skills)

If you have GD/WAT/PI calls from any institute, then I have created this FREE Report so you don’t make any mistakes in your preparation, after you download this report, you will also get to know advanced strategies for cracking Personal Interview just as a bonus for signing up for this Report. Go ahead and claim it now.

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Sukrut is a passionate geek, internet visionary and a full time blogger, he has been teaching MBA students from the past two years, he is a chemical engineer by qualification,. Read my full story here




  1. prabhat says

    I am a dual degree student from BITS-Pilani and am stuck while filling up the application form. Should I put the first 3 yrs’ CGPA in Bachelors and last 2 yrs in Masters or the overall CGPA in both. Also, do they even consider BITS dual degree as integrated masters?

  2. prabhat says

    I already called up college. They have no clue about this. Since the author himself has done the same dual degree course probably he could help.

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