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How IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Works

Candidates are generally shortlisted and called for an interview with 4 to 6 days prior notice. Questions asked in the interview can vary from personal experiences, professional achievements, short-term and long-term goals, and industry and general awareness (in rare cases, impromptu). All interview candidates are evaluated on four parameters – Clarity towards post-MBA goals, career progression, leadership qualities and experiences, and personality/communication skills.

The IIM Ahmedabad PGPX Interview is quite rigorous in the sense that you should be prepared to be asked a wide range of questions right from your daily work to current affairs and even questions on your area of study which in case of many applicants would be more than 10 years old. IIMA says that the interview is a key mechanism used not just to validate the applicants’ essays, but also to determine leadership potential, key strengths, and overall fit with the program. With a selection ratio of 1:3 after the IIM Ahmedabad PGPX Interview, the interview process is guaranteed to be rigorous, probing, and selective.

Who will interview you, and how long will the interview last?

Like most Indian B-schools, the IIM A PGPX interview is taken by a Panel. The Panel usually consists of 2-3 professors. The interview typically lasts for 25-30 minutes or may extend to 35-40 minutes in some instances.

Will the interviewer have read my application?

The Panel members have access to your complete application. In most instances, they would have read it completely.

How can you prepare for your interview?

Like most MBA Interviews, your interview will mainly revolve around a pretty similar set of MBA interview questions. You can never predict what questions will be asked, but with enough research, you can predict what are the most commonly asked questions in these interviews. We have created a short FAQ list below to get you a jump start, and we also have a free guide linked below to help you prepare for these commonly asked interview questions.

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Professional experience-related questions

  1. Tell me something about yourself, or Walk me through your resume.
  2. What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  3. Why MBA? or Why now? or Why an MBA at this stage of your career?
  4. Why ISB?
  5. What is your Plan B? in case your primary goal does not happen?

Personal qualities-related questions

  1. What are your key strengths? Can you give some examples, please?
  2. What are your key weaknesses? Can you give some examples, please?
  3. How can you add value to the Class? or Why should we take you?
  4. Any reasons why we should not select you?
  5. Interests and Hobbies related questions – why do you do it, what have you achieved/Leanred?

Frequently Asked Situational & Behavioral Questions

  1. What is your leadership style? Can you give an example of a project you led?
  2. What would you describe are your greatest achievement to date?
  3. Give me an example of a time you failed.
  4. Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict. How did you handle that?
  5. Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectations. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?

The last one – Do you have any Questions for us?

  1. Can you please tell me how international exchange students and schools are assigned?
  2. How club leadership is selected?
  3. Any other question you may have in regards to the progarm.

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Questions – 1

IIM Ahmedabad , PGPX

Off Campus with Alumni Interviewed on: Dec 15 2018 Final Decision: Admitted

“My IIM A PGPX interview was scheduled on 15 Dec 2018 at Bangalore. My panel had 2 alums who were quite friendly and calm. When I entered the room I was asked to pick a chit and speak on the topic. The topic I got was – “Has increased digitization led to unsocial behavior?”. The entire interview was on this topic. Next, the panel moved on to some questions about my hobbies. The interview lasted for 15-20 minutes max. Surprisingly, no questions were asked on my essays or profile! In sum, stay calm and be aware of all that is going on around – as in the GK part. Read editorials of The Hindu- trust me it helps! Final result- Selected!”

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Questions – 2

On Campus Interviewed on: Oct 13 2018 Final Decision: Admitted

“I had my IIMA interview on campus. The official reporting time was 8:45 am and I reached around 8:30. Initially I thought that all the candidates are called at the same time but when I reached there I realized these slots have limited candidates so do reach on time, if called for an interview.

Had interaction with current students and that helped in calming down the nerves. I already had an admit from other B school so in hindsight, the pressure was comparatively less.

At 9:10 I was called into the interview room. There were two profs (PGPX chairman and one another). I was asked to pick the topic for extempore and the topic was “Should politics be left to politicians”.

The extempore topics are actually selected for its controversial nature and there is no right or wrong side to these. I spoke for couple of minutes and then there were barrage of questions from the panels. I had to justify my stand with example, counter their point and help them understand my thought process.

Then we moved to the normal question answers. PGPX chairman comes from an analytics background and I come from a data background, so we had a lot in common. While this commanlity sounds great on hearing, this also meant I had to be very clear about “Why MBA?”. PGPX chairman has some close to three decade in analytics and our discussion was more like a teacher-student discussion, where the teacher disagreed with the student on everything. ?

In the middle of the interview, PGPX chairman decided to cut the interview short and told me that he had nothing more to ask. Perplexed, I answered all the questions the other professor asked. I was able to make solid points on certain things. I think the one thing that helped me secure my admit was the point I made about their electives. This left both the professors defending the program and they eventually agreed my point was valid. The suggestion I made about elective now actually reflects in the current curriculum, hence I believe I made a solid point.

To future applicant, be original in your answers and do some research about the program. The adcom do like people who know the program beforehand. It will also help you understand if this is the right program for you and save the confusion when you have the confusion on multiple admits.”

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Questions – 3

My IIMA PGPX Interview panel had two professors ; P1- around 55-60 years old, calm and poise; P2- around 35-40 years, engaging and active.

P2: Why PGPX?

Me: Answered with the limitations of my career and learning curve onboard.

P2: Quoted a friend of his who is into some business after sailing as Master mariner onboard and doing great. Why not this route? Ultimately its happiness that matters, isn’t it?

Me: To each his own sir. I would though for sure want to connect with your friend and learn.

P2: Why not Ops in a shipping company after taking command?

Me: Answered

P2: Why IIMA? We are sure you would be in by now at IIM B?

Me: Yes. I am. Quality of peer group and wish to move out of comfort zone sooner.

P2: So you need IIM A for a job?

Me: Yes, check any website you wish to. All good jobs require tier-1 MBA and with IIM A brand, getting a job is easier.

P2: Pick a chit and speak on the topic for a while and some discussion on the same topic and relating topics like Sardar Sarovar dam, etc.

P1: Strengths and weakness. Which companies are you looking at and why would they hire you?

P2: What do you do in your free time?

Me: I watch cricket

P2: What player inspires you?

Me: Virat Kohli

P2: Best recent performance

Me: Rangana Herath vs Pak

Conversation now moved in Hindi and a huge discussion/ debate on the topic for next 4-5minutes.

P2: You are too headstrong a person, do you think you will work in a team?

Me: Yes if I decide to work for a cause.

P1: What happens if I dont pick you this time around.

This interview lasted for around 15-20 minutes and I didn’t knew what to make of it. But yes, this interview did test my patience and composure to core. The content of speech is prime important. I by the end of interview started thinking before I uttered any word. The professors use their full patience to listen to you and test your understanding of any topic that may arise in discussion.

Final result :Offered admission

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Questions – 4

Interviews started at 9:00 am, almost at time. There were 3 panels, and there were approximately 90 candidates lined up for the day. My interview started at around 9:30 with a panel consisting of 2 Professors – Rekha Jain and Pingali Vishwanath.

The interview started with a brief chit chat about my travel from Pune to Ahmedabad and where I am staying etc, and then the profs asked me to pick up a chit from a bowl on the table and asked me to present my thoughts on the topic.

The topic I got was – Industrialisation at the cost of human rights.

I took a couple of minutes to gather my thought, noted both positive and negative side of the process of industrialisation, and spoke my thoughts. In between, Mr. Rekha Jain disagreed on a couple of point, gave her views, but asked me to proceed. I spoke for some more time. Then Profs asked to quote a very specific example of an instance in which I think industrialisation is violating human rights, as I spoke that it does violate human right. I took a pause, probably 30 seconds, and gave them an example of Badarpur power plan running in Delhi and how its adverse impacts. The profs then asked me about my job, what I do and how I add value to the business. I answered these questions. But from their reaction I felt that they weren’t getting my description (not sure whether I was articulate enough). Then Mr Pingali said since I am a CFA level 3 passed, so how would I determine financial viability of a project that Elon musk might do to take people from earth to another planet.  He then asked what Is HSBC share in commercial lending market, what is customer acquisition cost. To such Questions, I didn’t have an answer. But I could have handled the responses better. I gave answer related to NPV, but I believe that I jumped onto conclusion very early without explaining the complete process of NPV etc.

Then Ms. Rekha asked me – what I read in my free time. To that I replied that I don’t read rather I use other mediums of learning such as video etc. I gave some examples of youtube channels etc that I watch to educate myself. She then asked me to take a stand and justify why books would be better source of learning than video. I had to take a pause – 15-20 seconds and replied that may be books are more authentic. With this my IIMA PGPX interview ended.

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Questions – 5

Here are the questions:

  1. I work in Pune but I chose Delhi for my IIMA PGPX interview, so they asked me why so?
  2. There were some slips kept in a bowl and I had to pick one and speak on the topic written on it. My topic was ‘Are Good days on their way?’

There were some cross questions.

  1. Some questions related to the company I work at.
  2. Question on my essay in which I mentioned about my biggest failure.
  3. Why IIMA PGPX?
  4. How was your international experience, apart from work?
  5. A question on my hobby.

Final result :Offered admission

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Questions – 6

Had a panel of 2 professors, Prof Sachin Jayaswal & Prof Sidharth Sinha (found these names by doing some background check after interview).

Extempore Topic: Reservations in private sector: A mere social engineering.

I started off by saying that YES, private sector reservation will be mere social engineering and would not fetch any results. I was cross-questioned on my position, which I felt I defended reasonably. My line of reasoning was that private organizations heavily depend on performance & profits. Reservations in such organizations will not sustain if profits are affected. I clearly said that reservation should be limited to training/educational institutes. I felt both the Profs were ok with my argument.

Then Prof Sachin had thoroughly studied my profile and asked questions regarding my work as a technical consultant. I was asked to describe some cases and my contribution in solving them. This part was bit easy as I was well prepared for such questions. As I have done my MTech in a Structural Engineering, Prof. Sachin asked whether PhD was a natural progression for me rather than an MBA. I said that I don’t intend to be a subject specialist and would like to understand different facets of business. Then followed the question of WHY MBA & WHY IIM A. Again I was well prepared for these answers.

At the end Prof Sinha asked me what else do you read apart from your technical stuff. I replied that I read articles/papers published by top consulting firms. These articles provide the firm’s insights & futuristic predictions based on its experience. I was asked to elaborate one such article which I liked. I also said that I read general management books and again was asked to name a few and my learnings/inference from these books.

(IIM A loves people who read different books/articles. I had this input by attending an info session of IIM A PGPX. So please prepare well for this answer “What do you READ?” and also attend info sessions of programs you intend to apply)

Overall the interview experience was nice & calm. At no point was I put into a corner or stressed.

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Questions – 7

For class entering in 2017

Profile: Engineering from IIT, Indian Male with 7+ years of Intellectual Property Experience

There were two professors in the interview panel. The interview started with the extempore. The topic for my extempore was “Progress in Information and Communication Technology has failed to bridge the real digital divide”. I was given two minutes to think over the topic and present my views. The interviewers listened to the points I put across and put in their points as well. Post the extempore, I was asked the basic MBA questions:

  1. What is my work profile and what kind of clients I handle?
  2. Where are your most of the US client based? East coast or west coast? (Since I mentioned that I mostly deal with US clients)
  3. Why did I choose to work in this field after my graduation?
  4. What are my post MBA goals and how does PGPX fit into the whole picture?

At this point, one of the interviewers asked me about my hobbies. He seemed to have a common interest in reading Classic literature (one of the hobby I mentioned) and next 15 minutes focused on what are my favorite books and what books have I read recently. I had recently finished Crime and Punishment and the interviewer was interested in my take on the main character of the novel. Finally, the interview ended and they offered me sweets/candy. Overall, I have a positive feeling about the interview and am looking forward to the results.

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Questions – 8

For class entering in 2017

Panel: 3 People

  1. What do you do Mr ABC.
  2. Why are you looking to do an MBA.

Then they went on to the extempore topic.

Extempore topic : Any idea is cranky before it finds success.

He gave me a minute to think.

I spoke how many ideas are mocked initially but later find when they find success people eventually praise them. Gave historical evidences on how people would thing the world was flat but when someone pointed out that the world isnt flat the church thorougly opposed it. Gave other examples.

Then they asked me counter questions such as:

  1. So you seem to believe in this theory.
  2. There are some ideas which you can verify such as the world is flat. But how do you verify conceptual ideas and say that it will be success such as say nationalism, capitalism etc.
  3. Do you think guys like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos or Steve Job were cranky.
  4. Is every new idea worth giving a shot. What if someone has a really crazy or stupid idea.
  5. Suppose you are the CEO of an organization and someone comes up with a new idea and you have absolutely no idea about it. What will your reaction to it.
  6. Marissa Mayor the CEO of yahoo only took 2 weeks of maternity leave. Now someone can point out if she can manage with only 2 weeks why is it required to give 6 months to female employees as part of maternity leave, what do you have to say to that.
  7. Say you have to implement the maternity leave policy of your organization how will you go about it.

So they asked me a lot of other questions in between based on the responses i gave them. The discussion literally went on for 20-25 minutes. It was a bit grilling. In hindsight i feel i could have given better argument.

In the they asked me.

  1. You have applied twice earlier. Why arent you looking at other options. Why only IIMA.

I said i already have an admit but IIMA is my 1st choice and I gave them my reasons for choosing IIMA.

  1. Are you sure you want to do an MBA from the other school in case we dont select you this time around.

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Questions – 9

For class entering in 2015

Profile: Indian, IT, Male

My interview was mainly profile based. They explored more on the work I had done, the responsibilities I handled, initiatives taken, few things on my current company and why MBA.

It started off with asking me with what my current responsibilities were and then they started dwelling on the people management aspects of my role. They asked if I had contacted IIM B Alumni. Further they probed onto why I had continued in the current job for so long and what I enjoyed about it. Few things again on how the people management aspects had changed at Infosys over the last decade.

Then they moved on the why MBA part and why now and finally ended up enquiring on my personal life(family etc). Ended with a question from my side which they tried their best to answer.

Final Result : Admitted

IIM Ahmedabad PGPX MBA Interview Questions – 10

Profile: MS from US, 10+ years of experience in Sales, Marketing, BD etc

My PGPX interview process was in my opinion far superior than EPGP interview process. The two man PGPX panel focused on a friendly, polite, conversational style of interview. I was given a topic and asked to speak about it. When I made my first mistake the interviewer stopped and corrected me and used it as a take-off point for the conversation. He even helpfully drew my attention to a particular aspect he wanted me to focus on. Topics discussed during the interview ranged from the Chinese president to my thoughts on a good development model for India. Throughout the process I got the feeling that the moment I strayed away from the topic the interviewers drew me further away and it was up to me to bring it back on topic.

Final Result : Admitted

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