Gearing up – The GD PI Experience

Taking the exams is only one part of the ball game, thereafter the preparation for GDs, essay writing and PIs take place. Each playing a pivotal role in the selection of a candidate. So even prior the results were out we were being trained for the same. Results were getting declared one after another and the wait for calls began. The everyday constant checks of e-mails and frequent calls to the institutes was a common trend between us. Then one evening, yes I think it was 13 Feb I was cleaning my inbox and junk folders and happened to stumble upon the words “Congratulations Call letter” yes sitting pretty in my junk folder was the call letter to SIMS, Pune. It was one of the last few colleges I had applied to via the SNAP form and I still don’t know why I was ruling it out after all its open only to Defence dependents and personnel. My GE/PI was scheduled within the next 15 days at the campus itself. My first thought-what on Earth is GE? I had come across GDs for Group Discussions, WAT for Writing Ability Tests, ET , PIs etc. but what’s a GE? When google’s here why fear-I checked and figured it could either be a Group Essay (which seemed unlikely) or a Group exercise-very likely.

Post the happy moments at home and the congratulatory messages it was time to change gears for the “GE” preparation. A few hits on various B-school preparatory sites and I gathered that GE usually comprises of some activity, a task or sometimes even a roleplay to showcase the team working skills and abilities. My immediate reaction-phew! This is all on the spot, nothing to prepare for, after all you’d never know what activity would be awaiting. For the PI of course the sky was the limit-from Engineering basics to the project, internships to extra-curricular, hobbies to achievements, current affairs to data GK: the list was really endless. In the interim college had to keep a number of companies coming in for placement, really now I was certain to give it a miss-but a Plan B was always necessary so I just went with the perspective that these GDs and PIs would help me for my interview within 2 weeks time.

It so happened that the timing of the interview was such that my mother was going to be out of station for a wedding: so there she began with all the instructions, the dos and don’ts, food to eat, health to look into etc etc. Daddy doubled up as mommy and even began cooking. My sister was to book tickets and look for accommodation. I was left with the onus of just cracking it.

The online platform that all call-getters had was of much solace. From petty things like whether to wear a blazer to important documents to be carried, everything was discussed. The placement scenario, the alumni, the clubs and committees and of course on how to convert the call- you name it and the information was right at the click of a button waiting for you to read at your perusal. While this was on, the coaching institute too had organised sessions for us call-getters. We were asked to report to Sion (yes another crazy travel experience!) at 7am on Sunday in complete formals. Queued up and to fill in the details in a form inclusive of the number of calls and a detailed account of the educational details and qualifications. A questionnaire on cliché questions like “Describe yourself”, “Why an MBA?” etc. The first session for the day was a GD, then followed by a knowledge session on the Telagana issues + the North Eastern states and finally a PI. A mock is always taken lightly and since I had gone unprepared it was naturally not my best shot. Over the weekends the performance improved and finally D-day arrived.

With a bag packed with all my certificates and supporting documents, I had my sister and father to escort me to Pune. The train journey seemed more like a local journey with hawkers selling everyday stationery. An hour into the journey and my sis was imparting all the little knowledge she had on the banking industry. Equipped with all her last minute tips I was sure this would be easy and was looking forward to the “GE”( a personal opinion: it’d be fun!) We reached Pune only to discover that the hotel we had booked in was now sending us elsewhere. Furious, as we didn’t know where and how to go from the station. A couple of phone calls and finally we decided to make a move, after all I had a long day ahead. It’s a funny system in Pune-prepaid cabs and rick services. People hardly go by the meter and I really respect the transport system at Mumbai. Even before we checked in we had an extremely enthusiastic Labrador greet us-Simba. The hotel pet and the infectious energy just made us forget the confusion we were in half an hour back. Post a light dinner and a stroll around, I was busy surfing the news channels for some last minute information after which I retired for the night.

The next morning, post a quick breakfast we set out for college. Within 15mins we reached the destination and I was busy reading the notice boards and familiarising myself with the surroundings-typical military look and feel  Once the documentation and formalities were carried out we were split into groups of 10-12 each and given Chest numbers and an I-card for the day. An immediate senior was appointed as a team leader for each group and was to take us through the entire process. First up was an essay writing test, rather 2. We were given 15mins each and had to reason on the cases with appropriate justification and reference to context. That done, next in line was the GE. This was a GD cum role-play scenario and we were happy with our performances. Next in store was another GE wherein we had to narrate a story on the basis of different pictures provided to us. Finally followed the PI and it was a rather interesting conversation. Reeling from the meaning of my name to my college’s vada pav we discussed it all. A feedback form post the entire process, a walk within the campus and we were good to go. The night was rather long! Our train scheduled for 8:50pm was nowhere to be seen till even post 12am! Constant checks at the information desk were fruitless and then it dawned upon us that it was a passenger train! Running late as ever. Finally once it did arrive all that we did was sleep. My sis had office and I had college the next morning and we rushed home only to leave straight after. In retrospect quite a making of an MBA, add a dash of melodrama and it’d run well at the box-office! Jokes apart, I had other things to cater to now: primarily the other calls and convert them or just not sit for them altogether, placements and the like.

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