IIM Ahmedabad - Interview Experiences

When it comes to IIM-A admissions, nailing the CAT exam is only half the battle won! Once you are shortlisted by the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, you have crossed the first of many challenges. The next step is to clear the subsequent screening rounds and compete against the most potential managers, picked by the institutes from across the vast pool of CAT-takers.
The purpose of these admission stages is to determine the candidate’s suitability for the business school and course curriculum. During the selection process, the panellists get to see the clarity of mind, goals, and aspirations of the candidates.
About IIM Ahmedabad
Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, is the topmost B-school in India, for the full-time MBA programme. In 2017, the Ministry of Human Resources, GoI, designated the status of ‘Institute of National Importance’ upon IIM-A. Apart from regular MBA and MBA in agribusiness, the institute offers a range of executive training programmes. Some of the notable alumni of IIM-A are: Raghuram Rajan, Ashish Nanda, Mallika Sarabhai, and Arvind Subramanian.
IIM Ahmedabad - Selection Process
In the first stage of IIM-A admissions, candidates are judged as per their overall and sectional CAT percentile, past academic records, and work experience. Each factor carries a different weightage, and makes up for the composite score.
The second stage consists of an Analytical Writing Test (AWT) and a Personal Interview (PI). After considering the candidates’ performance in AWT and PI, the institute prepares the final list of selected candidates as per the rated scores.
For more information on IIM-A’s selection procedure, refer to its detailed admission criteria.
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What is IIM Ahmedabad Looking for?
If IIM-A has already shortlisted you for the AWT-PI process, you must understand that the next steps would be less a test of knowledge and more of your management skills. Simply saying, after you clear the test, you should prepare to be judged as per your personality and attitude. What separates interviews at IIMs from that of other B-schools is a set of questions, that go beyond ‘Why MBA’, ‘Why IIM’, etc.
While there are several questions on current events and your academics, the interviewers mainly seek to know your decision-making abilities, problem-solving skills, stress-handling capability, and related tact. An assertive, honest and alert personality puts a good impression on the panel. Further, the ultimate aim of the selection process is to check if the goals of the candidate align with that of the institute.
Topics Given in IIM-A’s AWT
Analytical Writing Test (AWT) mainly presents a problem or scenario and the candidates have to write about their perspectives, arguments, and opinions regarding it. Typically, there is a paragraph followed by a list of guidelines. The candidate has a total of twenty minutes to write about the topic, in almost 250-300 words. Here are the actual AWT themes that have been given in the past few years, during PGP admissions:
  • My father retired from a company after 35 years of service. This demonstrates the employee's devotion and loyalty to his employer. Job burnout, on the other hand, is common nowadays. Employees should be committed to their employers and value their current positions.
  • State the assumptions that the author makes in presenting his case.
    Explain any additional evidence that would bolster his case.
    State the factors that can undermine the author's case.
  • Social media has contributed to a more democratic world. It aids politicians in reaching out to the public. Even those seeking political traction can share their opinions and gain popularity, allowing them to enter the political arena. Social media also aids in reaching out to people in order to raise funds. Forums such as Facebook and WhatsApp enable people to communicate with one another. As a result, social media can only lead to a peaceful future.
  • State the assertions made here.
    Explain the logic presented here.
    Is the reasoning sound or flawed? Give your reasoning.
  • Union minister claimed that India is not ready for them because millions of jobs will be lost. The Indian market is not currently suitable for this technology. We may very well be forced to choose it in the future, but for the time being, we say "no" to such technology.
  • Do you disagree?
  • Food delivery partners are subjected to unfair treatment, including low salaries and other disadvantages. The customer claims that they can't do anything about it and that the company is accountable for it.
  • Locate the fallacies in the reasoning, either in favour of or in opposition to the statement.
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Questions Asked in IIM-A Interviews
A panel of 2-3 members questions the candidates on their career goals, academics, work experiences, and hobbies. Each candidate's interview lasts for 20-40 minutes on average. In general, the panellists go into great detail about every topic. Here are some of the interview questions asked of candidates at IIM-A:
Academics & Work Experience
  • You have a creative job. Briefly describe your role.
  • Is there a link between the product's price and demand? Can you illustrate it with a graph? Why is the line in the graph curved towards the end? Could you provide an example?
Personality Traits & Goals
  • When did you arrive in Ahmedabad? You've studied in several states. Describe your experience and the major challenges you encountered in these states.
  • Why did you leave engineering?
  • What is the significance of the name Nashik? What are the names of three manufacturing companies in Nashik?
  • Why is FABM used? What do you see yourself doing in 2027? What do you want to be when you grow up? How will you handle the demanding curriculum?
  • Why is PGP used? And why not PGPx?
Hobbies & Extra-Curriculars
  • What are your interests? But what distinguishes painting from your other work? Name a few painters you are familiar with. What is the name of Salvador Dali's movement? What distinguishes it from Picasso's?
  • Do you enjoy reading? What distinguishes people who enjoy reading from those who enjoy watching TV shows?
Current Events & General Awareness
  • What are your thoughts on Paytm, Nykaa, and Zomato's initial public offerings?
  • How do you feel about farm loans as an economist?
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