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As a trainer for CAT\MAT and other competitive exams over the last ten years, I find lot of intelligent students not being able to crack the Group Discussion and Interview. The fear of the unknown is so high, that these set of students, see themselves as failures.

In our country, English is the second language. Apart from metropolitan cities, which have a number of convent schools, all other students stand at a huge disadvantage, since they are not exposed to the English Language. In all these states, even though the English Language is part of the curriculum, the English Language is taught in their mother tongue. The teachers themselves are not trained properly and they do not have the ability to make the English Language interesting. Moreover the interaction between students also happens in their mother tongue, with the net result being a rude shock, when they get exposed to the outside world.

When I interacted with this category of students at length their concerns were:

If we try to converse in English with our teachers, they reply in our mother tongue

English is not required for me because I am joining the family business

Our friends make fun of us or treat us as social outcasts, if we try to converse in English

Our parents are not educated and our siblings are also sailing in the same boat

Our teachers discourage the use of English

We know only a few words

We do not know how to construct a sentence and pronounce the word, so we will end up making fools of ourselves

Emotionally sensitive

Inability to speak in front of a small group or public speaking

Thinking in one’s mother tongue and translating into English

After listening to their concerns, I just asked them one question, How did you pick up your mother tongue? The answer was prompt. We learnt to speak our mother tongue by listening to our parents speak.

My next question was, Did your parents teach you grammar? The answer was No

I then went on to tell them, the English Language also needs to be learnt, the same way.

I worked out a plan of action which I am listing below:

Be passionate about the English Language

Make it a point to watch News Channels, Animal Planet or National Geographic. Close your eyes and focus on the words. Likewise, if you share a passion for a particular game, as in, cricket or football, listen to the commentary

In the initial phase do not bother about your grammatical accuracy, fluency or vocabulary. Your focus should be to reach a level, where you can boldly communicate in the English Language, with whatever vocabulary you have

Identify one person in your locality who speaks the English Language fluently. Have a serious discussion with this person, and tell him that you want to improve your language, and you are prepared to stretch the limit. Ask him to correct your mistakes. Fix up a time convenient to him and interact with him for anywhere between 10 – 15 minutes daily. This conversation can be in person or on phone. Ask him to correct your mistakes and make it a point, not to repeat the same mistake again.

Avail of every opportunity that you get to speak. Never bother about the reaction of the audience. There are bound to be people in the audience who will smile sarcastically or may laugh at you, while you are delivering your speech. Let me tell you that these people are failures. They have not achieved anything in their life, and are filled with envy. Make yourself mentally so tough, that nothing should pull you down, and destroy your confidence

Do not compare yourself with anyone. You are unique

Read any magazine which is related to your area of interest. If you want to go in for fiction, there is nothing to beat, James Hadley Chase. You will not put the book down, till you have finished, reading the book fully. The language used is also simple.

Always think in English. If you think in your mother tongue, and translate into English, the structure will go horribly wrong. Let us take a sentence; Rita is beautiful, which is the right structure. Assuming that your mother tongue is Hindi, the translation will be, Rita khoobsurat hai, which when translated to English becomes, Rita beautiful is. Always remember the basic structure of the English Language, which is, Subject + Verb + Object

Practice Auto Suggestion. Human beings are blessed with two minds, conscious mind and the subconscious mind. When we go to sleep in the night, the subconscious mind comes on top and the conscious mind goes down. Auto suggestion means feeding your subconscious mind with positive thoughts. In this case, let us assume that you have to deliver a speech after one week. Everyday before going to sleep, imagine that you are one of the best speakers in the world. People admire you and they have come in huge numbers to listen to you. See yourself talking confidently, and the audience listening to you, with full attention. After your speech gets over, the entire crowds’ gets up from their seats and give you a standing applause. Do this everyday without fail, and more importantly, believe in the power of the subconscious mind. Visualize this whole scene again and again. The great tennis player, Andre Agassi, is a master of the subconscious mind. When you get up in the morning, the conscious mind comes on top, and the subconscious mind goes down. The job of the conscious mind, is purely to implement the commands, given to it, by the subconscious mind. You can rewrite your whole destiny, if you tap the power of your subconscious mind

Before I wind up, I would like to quote Martin Luther King, who said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenges and controversies"



My IIM B interview experience

Contributed By CB
Reached B'lore in the morning of March 6. The push for a better infrastructure in the city seems to have made a leeeetle impact. Roads seemed to have become a bit better than the last time I was in B'lore.

Anyways, let me come to the point.

My interview was at 2.30. GD started with a case study. I was 5th in the group of 8 (1 guy did not turn up).

GD was a very simple topic. I started to speak and on the whole I think I did quite well. Easily among the top three performers and arguably the top performer. But I guess GD does not matter much.

Then the PI starts

2 profs took the interview. One person a very cordial smiling face. Let me call him P1. Second prof a bit of a serious type and "Cut the bullshit" look. Let me call him P2.


Aspiring MBA? Tips to ace your Group Discussion

Contributed By: Sidharth Balakrishna
The Group Discussion (GD) round is an important part of the selection process for MBA institutes. Different institutes assign varying weightage for GDs and interviews, but almost all institutes use this process to assess the suitability of the candidate for the course they offer.

Unfortunately, many students leave their preparation for GDs and interviews till too late. This is due to over-confidence at times, or lack of awareness on how to prepare for these rounds. In this article, we shed some light on the latter aspect so that prospective candidates can start working towards the fulfillment of their dreams.

Preparation strategy

If you wish to speak well and make a good impression in a GD, you need to have a fair degree of comfort with the topic that is given to you. Without this, you will struggle to say much; or even if you do have a few points, others may state them before you get a chance.

Keep in mind that for GDs, you could be given any topic: it may pertain to politics, economics and business, sports, social issues. Also, topics are not limited to national or local issues, but could cover broader global themes.


TISS GD/PI Experience

Contributed By Ashish Kolvalker

This was probably my best - but didnt get me da result expected :(.

Date and time: April 16th - 9:30 am

Place: Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai

Reached at around 2 pm on Sunday the 15th and spent that evening at TISS - met many new PG friends - Vachan, Rajiv and of course later Saki and Ram (whom I already knew)... the stay overnite was nice - doesnt feel as if u are in Mumbai when inside the campus at TISS :) - small in size but really nice to have a walk in da evenings etc - and extremely conducive atmosphere and surroundings for study - and well - the latest news is that TISS has become wi-fi :) - all da info was poured in from Babu who met us on Sun evening and answered a lot of questions from our side...

Woke up early in da morning - got ready and went to the main lounge where there was a smal crowd - not as much as expected - we had a small presentation on the know-how of TISS by a second-year'ite of the HRM/LR program... later we came up and were grouped into different batches (as put on da notice board) - and were led to da different classes for the GD/PI - Mine was in class XI - 8 of us (2 absent) - 4 boys 4 gals... so even ratio :)


SIBM GD/PI Experience

Contributed By
Ashish Kolvalker

Posting this one a bit late - though had kind of decided that I would post all my GD/PI experiences at one shot - after having got through a particular b-school - and here I am now - a proud to-be-MDI-alumnus penning down the experiences of this year..

Jan 30th 8 AM- Pune ( first batch in the entire GD/PI process spanning 4 days)

Institute: Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM)

Batch - 1XF ( had a SNAP 100 scorer in this batch too )
Composition: 10 boys, 1 gal... but well - the gal wasnt present in the GD's and GT's with us...

The sight of SIBM wasnt really a pleasing one for me, as I had seen it the previous day - as it was nothing more than a building - frankly speaking even smaller than my school. Though I was here, and I had to attend the GD/PI now. The previous evening had been spent meeting friends, and also meeting my buddy Chinmay at SIBM (a buddy was supposed to guide he/her through the entire GD/PI process)

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