How to crack the IPMAT personal interview?
25,000 students applied. 850 students cleared the cutoff. Only 150 students cracked the IPMAT personal interview and were offered admission. A mere 0.6% of the students made it to the coveted IPM program at IIM Indore last year. Even clearing the already stringent cutoff wasn’t enough. More than three-quarters of those who cleared the cutoffs couldn’t crack the IPMAT personal interview round. This is further exemplified by looking at the weightage the admissions panel gives interviews.
35% of the composite score at IIM Indore stems from the interview, while for IIM Ranchi and IIM Rohtak, the weightage is 30% and 20%, respectively. Clearly, your IPMAT personal interview is as, if not more, important than the IPMAT exam itself. And it is no secret that these interviews can be gruelling, especially if you’re not equipped with the right tips and strategies to face the panel.
This brings us to the quintessential question – How to crack the IPMAT personal interview?
Is confidence and charm enough? Or is it a combination of academic knowledge and wit? Or do the panellists get swayed by dazzling extra-curricular activities?
We’ll cover all that and more in this blog – along with an exhaustive cheat-sheet of IPMAT personal interview questions that you should prepare for beforehand.
How to crack the IPMAT personal interview – tips, tricks, and strategies
While IIM Bodhgaya and IIM Jammu don’t hold any interviews for the IPM aspirants, the other three IIMs in the fray – IIM Indore, IIM Ranchi, and IIM Rohtak – give significant weight to your interview performance. The interview usually lasts for around 20 minutes. Although the interviews can be unpredictable, with no set pattern of questioning, our mentors have managed to boil it down to four critical aspects.
It begins with simple questions about yourself and your family followed by a minute-long extempore on a topic given to you on the spot. You’ll also be quizzed on some academic concepts pulled from your 10+2 subjects. Many candidates have also faced questions about current affairs, general knowledge (static as well as dynamic), and their hobbies. As long as you have these areas covered, you should be able to face the interviewers with confidence.
Here are 7 tips on how you can crack the IPMAT personal interview:
Prep for the extempore part of the interview
The extempore is usually conducted during the first half of your IPMAT personal interview. You’ll be given a topic on the spot, 30 seconds to prep for it, and a minute to speak about it. While the topic will stem from the material you’ll have read about during your IPMAT prep, it can still stymie many students and leave them wanting.
During your preparation for the PI round, make it a point to practice speaking on current affairs-related topics for a minute with minimal preparation. Speak in front of the mirror or even record yourself. The best way to formulate your argument about the topic given to you is to break it down into three parts – The definition of the concept, the status quo, and the changes that can be made.
For instance, if your topic is ‘Poverty in India’, begin by explaining how poverty is defined according to the UN and the Central Government. Move on to talking about the facts and figures associated with poverty in India followed by the Government’s initiatives. End with a couple of pointers on what should be done to alleviate the issue.
Refrain from rambling endlessly on the topic. Keep your sentences concise and precise. Stick to your points, and you’ll easily speak for a minute.
2. Don’t be casual with your dressing
While dressing up well won’t land you a seat in IIM Indore or IIM Rohtak, not dressing well will surely rob you of the chance to do so. The IPMAT personal interview is a formal event wherein your appearance will be crucial. Your clothes will help you create a solid first impression and maintain the sanctity of the interview. Wear a crisp suit, matching tie, and formal shoes. Groom yourself well and present the best version of yourself to the panel.
3. Draw the line between overconfidence and confidence
While being confident is essential, remaining humble is even more so. The panel interviewing you consists of some of the most distinguished faculty members and renowned alumni. Trying to brag about your hold over a particular subject will only land you in trouble.
Another important point is never to fib. There will be questions to which you won’t know the answers – parts of the interview that will stump you. Don’t lose your bearings when this happens. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so. The panel will respect you more if you’re open to accepting your lack of knowledge as opposed to fabricated answers that make little sense.
4. Be mentally prepared to be grilled
IPMAT personal interviews aren’t meant to be easy. Less than 20% of the shortlisted candidates are able to crack the interview. The panel’s interrogation pattern is unpredictable; sometimes, they’re easygoing, and at other times, they will grill the candidate. Be prepared to face gruelling questions that stretch your wit to its limits. But also keep this in mind – the more gruelling the interview, the better you’re performing. The panellists only tend to grill people who have been able to answer correctly. They want to test the limits of your knowledge. This is how our mentors put it – the most gruelling interviews are reserved for the best candidates.
5. Brush up on your academic subjects
While chasing current affairs and political, philosophical, and sociological topics during their IPMAT personal interview preparation, many students forget to keep in touch with their academic 10+2 subjects. The subjects you studied in 11th and 12th standards are as important as any other topic, and you need to solidify your grasp of them. Not being able to answer questions you studied for your boards will leave a bad impression and most likely affect your chances of getting admission to the IPM program.
6. Avoid talking about stuff that is already on your application form and resume
Most IPMAT personal interviews begin with this first question: tell me about yourself. As simple as the question is, it is a crucial couple of minutes where the interviewer can see the side of you not shown in your resume and application form. Instead of repeating information such as your name, parents, and academic details, talk about your ambitions, achievements, and story.
7. Be cautious when you bring up your extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities can add a lot of heft to your candidature for the IPM program, even more so if you’ve managed to keep your academic scores up while making spectacular progress in your chosen activity. However, extracurricular activities improve your chances of getting admitted to the program if your achievements are on a state, national, or international scale. Not having great extracurriculars won’t bog down your application; having good academics and general awareness is more than enough.
IPMAT personal interview questions list
- Introduce yourself.
- Tell us something about the place you belong to.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why have you chosen this career path for yourself?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why do you want to join IIM Indore?
- From which other institutes have you got calls?
- What was your favourite subject in class XIIth?
- What are your hobbies?
- If you say you like to travel, which is your favourite location? Details about the history of that location
- Where do you want to see yourself after 5 years?
- Which is the last book you read?
- What is PM Jan Dhan Yojna?
- What are payment banks?
- Name three business leaders and three national leaders who visited India recently.
- How is a bill passed?
- Why do you prefer IPM over other courses?
- Have you read the latest budget? What are the key highlights of the budget?
- Why has the Indian IT Industry grown significantly in the past decade? What factors have contributed to it?
- What is the difference between Economics and Finance?
- What are your long-term and short-term goals?
- Can you differentiate between a manager and a leader?
- What are the key skills a candidate requires to excel in the field of management?
- Tell us the main responsibilities of a management professional.
- How would you describe your management style?
- Explain the importance of an organisation.
- What are the qualities of a good manager?
- Describe an incident where you handled a project under pressure in school.
- Are you a team player?
- Tell me about your dream job/company.
- Have you displayed your leadership in school?
- What do you expect to gain from the course?
- Can you work under pressure or deadlines?
Your IPMAT personal interview gives you a chance not just to impress the panel with the right attitude but also to build a rapport with your future professors, assess their expectations from students, and leave a lasting first impression. To crack the IPMAT personal interview, you must project yourself as sincere, humble, disciplined, intelligent, and academically inclined. Instead of trying to impress them with certificates and awards, remain grounded in your authentic self. After all, assuming they won’t see right through the illusion you might be trying to build is foolish. It can be a delicate task to balance so many expectations simultaneously, so expert guidance is a necessary recommendation.
The IMS GDPI Online 2024 program gives you 2 mock interviews with detailed feedback, 30+ live online sessions on how to crack the IPMAT personal interview, and 10+ pre-recorded sessions to brush up on your basics. You’ll have access to some of the most experienced mentors training students to crack IIM interviews for decades.