Why conventional interview strategies are not working anymore ?

Are you being taught same conventional old fashioned strategies to crack Personal Interview ?

  1. Act confident during the Interview (no matter what happens)
  2. Fake it till you make it (rehashed version of act confident but little more classy, you finally want to muster the courage to fake confidence)
  3. Take more and more mock interviews (This is becoming more and more popular)
  4. Try breathing exercises (New age approach)
Ref : Atomicobject.com

Now, right before you think I am against all of these. Stop. I never said I am against any of these. Each of them have a place in cracking Personal interview, handling tough interview questions, communicating effectively.

If you learn to breathe correctly, you can really control your anxiety, fear, panic attacks effectively.

If you practice more Mock interviews, it will help you to effectively deliver your message without any problems. It will also make you more confident facing interviewers. You will also get feedback on correcting your body language.

If you imagine yourself as more confident before the interview, you will feel more confident during the Interview.

But if you don’t learn or if nobody taught you effective ways to handle the interview questions. If nobody taught you the skill to frame answers, if nobody taught you the skill to reframe the negative things, if nobody taught you when to say something under certain circumstance but say totally different thing under different circumstance, even if the question is same, then all these fake till you make it, breathing exercises, taking more mock interviews is not going to help you much but it will work against you.

Interviewer : Why do you have Poor Graduation score ?

Me : Because our college was Autonomous. Our papers were tougher than other colleges (YAWN) I scored well in some subjects, on the other hand, the subjects which required me to remember and mug up more information, I performed poorly. (Trying to act confident)

Interviewer : But a lot of subjects in MBA curriculum require you to remember and mug up more and more information, how can you handle that ?

Me : (Deep Breathing but don’t know what to say) No sir, I can manage. I will work harder then.

Interviewer : So why didn’t you work hard when you were completing your graduation ?

Me : Because I really didn’t like Engineering (Not knowing when to say what)

Interviewer : What if you don’t like MBA ?

Me : (Thinking really hard) No sir, I would definitely like it. That’s why I scored 98.5%ile in CAT because I really want to do MBA.

Interviewer : I don’t think so. (Looks at other interviewer and asks do you want to ask him any question)

Interviewer 2 : No. Thank you.

You leave the room completely knowing that you completely screwed up your interview and your chances of selection are close to zero. In case, if you get selected, it would be based on your Percentile and Academics if at all you get selected.

All of your breathing exercises, trying to act confident and taking more interviews sabotaged you because simply you didn’t know what to say, when to say it.

Now, enter the same situation when you are fully prepared.

You are expecting the question on Poor Graduation Score so you answer it before they consciously express their concern. (This may not be necessary in all the cases)

Interviewer : Tell me something about yourself

Me : (Intro) and (then I directly jumped on to explaining my low graduation score, summer internship, job offer and other job offers) Despite I had low graduation score, I never allowed it to hold me back from what I wanted. I was offered job opportunity in Bayer Crop Science during my summer internship project and it also helped me to get job offer from a Manufacturing Company where I worked for one year.

After I left my job, I also happened to apply for P & G Supply Chain Role, except one of my classmates, nobody else received Interview call from them despite me having less work experience, low graduation score compared to all of them. (I didn’t say these exact things but I made sure my answer included all of these elements)

So Interviewer didn’t get chance to corner me into some uncomfortable situation. You job is exactly this. Under no circumstance, give your power to the Interviewer.

In order to do that, you need to learn some unconventional approaches.

What are some conventional strategies and myths holding you back and how to break free from all of them ?

When everyone else zigs, you should zag.

  1. Being generic.

If your answer or SOP sounds like everyone else, that means it’s first nail in your coffin. You have already stated digging your own grave.

Generic =  Death

Unique = Resurrection from Dead

How do you know if something is generic? Easy.

If what you say could be said by the next person coming after you, it’s generic. If what you say could only have been written by you, it’s specific and unique.

That’s why I emphasize so much on spending more time on self discovery and introspection given inside GD WAT PI Revolution.

Here is generic (one of the worst answers) answer for Why MBA

I wish to go for MBA because I want to become Entrepreneur and serve the country and create job opportunities.

I want to learn from the eminent faculty members and students from diverse backgrounds. I think X school is perfect for me.

Here is answer prepared after hours of research which allowed someone to get into SP-Jain with 86%ile with no work experience (then modelled by several students to get into Top B-schools) (Here is how to approach Why MBA question)

“Sales and marketing is something that has always interested me which is why I decided to pursue my specializations and all internships relating to it (Past)

An MBA will provide me with 3 critical pillars which will help me achieve my short and long term goals.

Firstly it will provide me with a much deeper and formal insight on subjects relating to marketing and sales management (Future)

An MBA from SP-Jain in Marketing will not only enhance my learning through its top notch faculty but will also provide me with a lot of exposure through its global fast track in Darden school of business,University of Virginia and docc programs. (Why the particular B-school)

Secondly it will help network with best brains of the country from diverse backgrounds and interact with top notch faculty who are experts in the field of marketing. (Future)

Moreover my background in BBA-Marketing/Sales will go a long a way in adding value to the PGDM batch particularly in Marketing and Sales. (Present)

Thirdly it will help me in career progression and provide me with an industrial connect and a chance to work with companies like HUL and P & G as branch or area sales manager. (Future)

Moreover working in these companies will give me valuable skills in sales and distribution which will provide me corporate exposure before I go back to my our own business” (Future)

2. Creating a chronological list of your achievements/education/awards/work experience

Here is generic answer for Introduce yourself which is very generic

My name is Kiran. My father is a Civil Servant, my mother is Housewife.

I completed my schooling from Darjeeling then I chose go for Science. Then I took admission in NIT Rourkela for Computer Engineering.

After 4 years of graduation, I worked for 2 years in TCS as Support Engineer.

My hobbies are watching movies, listening to jazz music and trekking.

The interviewer doesn’t care about your chronological history. Everyone says that. They are bored listening to same things over and over again. If you have uploaded your scores, your work experience certificate, then there are high chances that they already know most of the information. Why you want to waste their time by regurgitating the same thing again.

If you answer like this, you have already put the interviewers to sleep. They have already become numb, tired, mentally exhausted after listening to these things every few minutes for 6-8 hours a day for last 2 weeks. They don’t want to listen to it anymore.

Tell me something, if you came across a salesman who is pushy, nosey and constantly trying to sell you his vacuum cleaner. It doesn’t matter if you want it or not, he somehow wants to sell it to you. He doesn’t care what you want, he doesn’t care if you really need it or not. He is just interested in selling it to you by hook or crook.

Can you stand the sight of such a salesperson ?

Now imagine a scenario, you are searching for vacuum cleaner to clean your home. You go to a electronics shop, you are just looking at different varieties of vacuum cleaners. You are confused which one to look for.

A salesperson standing there senses that you might need help. He approaches you, instead of asking you which machine you are looking for. He asks you “Sir, may I help you ?” You say “Yes”

Then he goes on asking “ What are you looking for ?” You go on describing your situation. He understands your requirement then he asks “Can I suggest you something which would fit into your requirement ?” You can’t say “NO” to him. You say “YES” to him.

He suggests you one which is appropriate according to your requirement, the one which fits your budget, your requirement etc etc.

Your job is exactly like this. You are a Salesman here. Instead of understanding concerns of other person, if you try to push your agenda on him/her, you are going to get more resistance.

Here is answer to Introduce yourself using Irresistible Intrigue Formula and using Hooks to grab their attention (name and other details changed)

My name is Nisha. I am born and brought up in a middle class joint family so education and values were more important to me than material pursuits.Right through my formative years, I have believed in the motto ‘hard work and self-discipline is the key to success’. This has formed the basis of my performance throughout my academic tenure wherein I was the school topper for seven consecutive years. My self-belief was further reinforced when I cleared the competitive selection process for the Bachelor of Business Studies course.

Despite maintaining my primary focus on academics, active participation in extracurricular activities has helped in shaping my overall personality. I have been involved in several activities like leading student council to organize events as well as volunteering at an NGO where I taught a group of thirty underprivileged children.

Going beyond classes, I have taken part in business events and simulation games at University and national level which has helped me to gauge my true potential when pitted against the brightest of minds.

I have also sought corporate exposure to gain a real world perspective of classroom learning. As a knowledge intern at The Boston Consulting Group, I developed an aptitude for organization flexibility, problem solving and analytical skills. My performance was appreciated and in recognition of my efficacy, my two-month internship tenure at BCG was extended to three months.

I have also sought corporate exposure to gain a real world perspective of classroom learning. Pursuing three internships while simultaneously working on a year-long research project, funded by the University of Delhi, I have constantly pushed myself to perform under high pressure and strict schedules. It was during these three months that I first got a glimpse into the world of management consulting.

See how simple and interesting it’s to read and listen to this. It doesn’t sound like I am listening or reading a chronological list of things. The person who said something similar along these lines almost always got questions on BCG (one of her hooks) How to use hooks ? Learn more

Except IIM-Ahmedabad, in all other IIMs, FMS she got questions on her BCG internship, even she used it during her summer internship and pre-placement interviews to get questions on this, she finally got job offer from Bain and Company (because of her overall achievements, academics, summer internship, interview performance, not necessarily just because of that)

Don’t make the interviewer work harder than he has to. Remember, your job is to pick, describe and analyse the most important things about you: you must work hard so that the interviewer does not have to.

A lot of students create a laundry list of their qualifications, work experience, achievements. Interviewers are not necessarily looking for someone to vomit their entire resume on them. They are looking to know more about you in way that is the most engaging without too much technical jargon.

3. No specificity

A lot of students boast about their achievements but when they write their answer, there is no mention of any figures, numbers, trends to give it more credibility and let other person know

Here is one example with no specificity

I started my online business 3 years ago. I started getting more and more traffic from Youtube, I was able to monetize it. Then I shifted my focus to Quora, Instagram, Search Engines.

It multiplied my website traffic by many folds. I was able to charge higher because I started getting better results.

Here is example with specific numbers

I started my online business 3 years ago. Initially, I used to get 100 visitors to my website and finally I was able to monetize the traffic. Then I shifted my focus on creating more organic channels like Quora, Instagram and Search Engines. My traffic multiplied by 3 times without spending any money on Paid Advertising.

I also reinvested money into training so I was able to create 25 testimonials instead of just 2 and over 100s of people started seeing results and started contacting me. So I was able to develop better product and charge 3-5 times higher while delivering results in much more elegant way. My revenue increased 10 times in last 12 months.

4. Not learning how to effectively tackle different types of questions

This is the most important but it’s not paid much attention.

I get asked many a times, why don’t you provide many mock interviews. I think mock interview is a great tool to sharpen your axe when you are already done with writing good answers. Good mock interview with feedback will help you with how to correct your body language, how to correct your speech, how to communicate effectively. Not necessarily, what you need to say.

If you don’t believe me, try this in your next interview. If you have poor grad score or gap, instead of learning how to reframe it, try doing more practice. Keep giving more mock interviews, try acting more confident. Tell me what happens then.

Ref : Njlifehacks.com

In most cases, it won’t really work and when you think it works, it’s because you were never cross questioned on it. No matter what happens to you, it has not worked unless your interviewer has bought into your B.S.

The next problem is students usually want to take short cut, start writing SOP and Interview answers without any research. Because who has time for research.

Writing answers quickly is easy. It doesn’t require a lot of time.

I borrowed the techniques like A.R.M.S.(which involves reframing from Ramit Sethi) Irresistible Intrigue Formula (which involves Hooks and Storytelling from Oren Klaff) from different experts because I realized everyone was using dated techniques to crack the interview

Earlier, the more confident you are, better CAT/XAT score you have, the more work experience you have, the more achievements you have, You had better chance of getting selected.

I wanted to create level playing field for everybody, even if the person doesn’t have great CAT score or more work experience, but he/she has learned to use her strengths in such a way that he/she has an edge over you.

It does matter to have an edge over the other aspirants when you can’t match up with their CAT/XAT scores, Work experience.

When everyone is trying to please the interviewer by supplicating to them, ensuring not to ruffle feathers, praising the institute, you don’t necessarily indulge into all of these activities.

The next problem is students usually want to take short cut, start writing SOP and Interview answers without any research. Because who has time for that

5. Focusing on unimportant things

Another thing, many students focus too much on GK, Current Affairs and don’t provide enough attention to their profile.

Because it’s a norm that, at X institute, they ask only GK questions.

Usually, you get GK and random questions because you failed to grab their attention right from the start, if you have grabbed attention with something worth attention grabbing, they won’t usually ask these types of questions.

This may not work under all the situations but if you learn the art of storytelling and hooks, they will start hanging on every damn word you say, you don’t have to play any games.

Even if you get GK questions, you can use right moment to divert it to your areas of interest. It may not happen always but you have better odds of cracking the interview.

6. Complicating simple things

Some students think if they complicate or over complicate their minor achievements, it would sound great. So they write long winded answer where they go round and round in circles without getting to the point.

They write statements so big, words so esoteric, that by the time you reach the end of the statement, you have already forgotten what the statement was trying to say.

In such cases, interviewer won’t bother to read it 4-5 times in order to get the meaning. He would start throwing random questions based on his limited understanding of what he read from your profile.

Ref : tmforum.org

Another important mistake is using the words you don’t usually use during the interviews in order to impress the interviewer.

Why would someone use certain words they don’t normally use while communicating ?

They think if they use such pompous words, they would sound and look intelligent.

Here is one example (This person converted IIM-Bangalore call)

The most exciting phase was the final year project where the realization of failure to materialize the initial concept idea midway during the course;building a new idea while leading a team of four towards successfully implementing an award-winning project,boosted my confidence.

The research experience under a God-like professor resulted in sleepless nights, introspection about life and an IEEE paper publication, and also attached was a determined decision to let go of the coveted IIT-Madras internship offer.

Here is example of simplifying the same thing (which one would you prefer ?)

The most exciting phase was during final year project, where we had to drop the initial concept midway during the semester, due to technical limitations.

Research experience under an eminent professor resulted in sleepless nights, introspection about life, an IEEE paper publication, and also a determined decision to let go of the coveted IIT-Madras internship offer

7. Explaining too much

Your words either orally or in written form, should explain things in succinct manner. If you have to explain too much about what you have already written, then you have already lost the game before it has begun.

Stop saying “this shows how I am (insert the quality), this shows I am (insert the quality) It should be evident from the example, if you have to over explain something, you have already lost.

8. Getting into unknown territories like Religion, Politics, Social or Ideological opinions to show how smart you are

Some students think just because they are into regular habit of reading, they have become so smart, now they want to prove it to everyone else.

So they start passing their opinions on topics such as religion, politics etc etc.

What they don’t understand is

“Not only could this be an automatic red light if they get the wrong interviewer, but all the time they spend on this they are not talking anything about why they are special, different and therefore valuable to the school.

Your goal is to get in, not to convince anyone of anything. The only relevant topic is you. The Interviewer won’t care what your precious position is, and they won’t be entertaining you long enough to figure it out either way.

9. Refusing to take responsibility of failure, blame others.

If they are confronted with the questions like challenging situation faced, problem you overcame, Poor Graduation score etc etc, instead of taking responsibility, they end up blaming the luck, colleagues, parents, superior, friends etc etc.

When you point fingers towards others, you are automatically showing them that you don’t take responsibility of your life and what happens to you.

The point is not whose mistake it’s, the point is how you can solve the problem or handle situation effectively.

10. Lying in the Interview

This is quite common during the interviews. The problem happens when you get caught. But you can get away with small lies without anyone being suspicious (Not that I am telling you to lie) when you say big fat lie or if you lie and forget what your lie was and then unconsciously you will say something that would make them suspicious. I know of one student who was caught lying in XLRI interview, he confessed that he was lying all along about his gap years in other interviews. In XLRI, he was caught red handed.

Earlier, I talked about fake it till you make it. Faking doesn’t mean lying.

Ref : Workopolis.com

When you get caught, it’s game over for you.

Two years ago, I was approached by Mr.X who received call from NM. His score was on borderline. He had gap year after 12th. He was trying to cook up a fake reason to justify the gap. When I further inquired, I realized that he had a great story behind it and it was so good, that  it needed to be told.

My job was just to give him courage to get the story out. I told him not to hide anything and share the story. He had all his doubts that why it won’t work. But eventually, he decided to share it. He talked about odds he faced in the gap year, how he overcame that.

If he would have done absolutely nothing to repair the situation, then that probably wouldn’t have been such a great story but that wasn’t the case. But he had done something significant to overcome the odds. That’s why it was such a great story.

When he shared his story, there was silence in the room and interviewer applauded and congratulated him for the same. He converted NMIMS call.

Don’t mess with the truth. Don’t stretch, twist or otherwise mess with the facts. Don’t make claims that sound dodgy, even if true, unless you have thorough corroborating detail. Not only must what you say be true, it must be easily perceived to be true

Be humbly confident, neither arrogant nor too modest. Don’t hype yourself or any of your experiences.

How to direct the flow of your Interview ?

A lot of students have challenges answering basic questions like “Tell me something about yourself” “Why MBA” let alone direct the flow of the Interview.

If you have challenges answering even the basic questions like this, first refer to “How to read Interviewer’s Mind ?” and once you become familiar with the process of answering basic behavioral questions, if you want to answer difficult questions like Poor Graduation Score, Career Gap etc etc, refer how to use A.R.M.S. Strategy to handle those type of questions very effectively.

But now comes the tricky part, how to engage your interviewer right from the start and keep him engaged throughout the interview.

One of the methods to engage your Interviewer is to understand the psychology of the interviewer using Empathy Mapping and how his brain functions and respond accordingly.

This is where Irresistible Intrigue Formula comes into play.

Irresistible Intrigue Formula starts with Irresistible Hook and then opens an Intrigue Story Loop. The basic purpose of it is “Get Interviewer’s undivided Attention with an absolutely Irresistible Hook” and then “Open Intrigue Story Loop” to further engage them.

What’s the Hook anyways?

Hook is something uniquely amazing strength angle
How to find Hooks ? It all boils down to introspection about yourself, your skills, your experience, your talents, your strengths etc etc.

What creates this open loop?Unfinished stories open loops.
How to employ hooks in your answers ? Make sure your answers are filled with

  1. Novelty vs Boring & Dull
  2. Specificity instead of Vague
  3. Visual Pictures vs just plain wordplay
  4. Simple and easy to understand language vs Complicated & Technical language
  5. Unique Selling Proposition/Positioning vs No uniqueness

If you use all these elements in your answers, your answers will be more engaging, powerful and interviewer will have no choice but to ask you questions on the same.

However, this method may not work in all the situations but it works pretty good in most of the situations.

But let’s understand why it works so well in the first place ?

We have 3 parts in the brain. Croc brain, Mid brain and Neocortex. Any information first goes through the Croc brain, it’s filtered and finally the filtered information goes to the Neocortex.

Image Courtesy : Pitch Anything

How Crocodile brain works ?

  1. If the info isn’t a threat (boring), it can be ignored.
  2. If it’s not an immediate threat to survival, it can be ignored.
  3. If it is dangerous: fight/flight
  4. If it’s too complex, it will be summarized quickly and moved on.

But if the information has 5 components I talked about Novelty, Specificity, Visual Pictures, Simplicity, Uniqueness , then it’s received and well processed by our croc brain and then there will be less filtering of information so that finally information is sent to Neocortex (which deals with Higher Reasoning)

That’s how frames come into play. What’s a frame ?
A frame is the instrument you use to package your power, authority, strength, information, and status. Oren Klaff

  1. Frames collide and seek dominance. The stronger absorbs the weaker.
  2. Everyone uses a frame. They may/may not know it.
  3. Every social interaction brings them together.
  4. Frames don’t coexist together for long. They crash and one gains control.
  5. The winning frame gains control of the social interaction.

If you have to explain your authority, power, position, leverage, advantage, etc. You do not hold the stronger frame.

There are 3 different types of frames which can be deployed against you

  1. Power Frame
  2. Analyst Frame
  3. Moral Frame

Your job is to overcome these frames.

Let’s take an example of Analyst frame.

How to identify Analyst frame ?

It relies on facts, figures, and logic. Interviewer is trying to dig down deep into minute details. Problem solving, calculations, statistics, etc

Seeks to filter your accomplishment like this:

1.     Focuses only on hard facts

2.     Says that aesthetic or creative work has no value

3.     Requires everything be supported by a number or statistic

4.     Hold that ideas and relationships have no real value

How to overcome the frame ?

There are certain approaches that you can employ

  1. Story Telling
  2. Push-Pull Method

Let’s talk about Story-telling first.

Why Story-telling works ?
Great stories help you break through their Logical Programming. It will nudge them out of analytical thinking and gives them more details which help them to “solve the puzzle”. When the puzzle is solved, then the croc brain disengages.

There are certain elements of the story you should definitely include in the answer
1. You need to have strong Backstory
2. You need to be the Center of the Story
3. It must be brief and subject matter related to the question being asked
4. There should be risk, danger, uncertainty, conflict
5. There should be consequences if the timely action is not taken
6. You should win at the end

If you use these elements in your answer right from the start, there are chances that you will not get these questions in the first place.

In case, if you get them. There is one more method you can employ which is called “Push-Pull” Now this involves some risk on your part but if you deploy it successfully, the results will be far better.

Here is how to use it ?

If the Interviewer panel presses you more for numbers/statistics than your story itself & interrupts you in between

Push: There is more to my story than just the numbers/statistics. I can talk about numbers/statistics all the time you want but that won’t give you glimpse into what I have accomplished so far. So if you want just numbers/statistics, I can definitely share that  (pause)  

Pull: But obviously I thought you are more concerned about my accomplishments first and numbers/statistics later        

Image Courtesy : My Door Signs

You just say this and see what happens. If they are really interested in your story, they will allow you to continue and then if required you can share the numbers and details at the end. If you don’t want to and if they don’t remind you, then feel free not to discuss those details if you think those details are not that relevant to your interview.

If you want to learn how to disrupt Power Frame, how to use Intrigue frame, how to use different Push-Pull techniques, check out GD WAT PI Revolution

Concept of Frames taken from the book “Pitch Anything

Featured Image Courtesy : Tools Hero

How to Structure SOP for Maximum Impact ?

There are 2 good styles you can use. There is nothing right or wrong. Use whatever is suitable for you.

If you don’t know how to write SOP, read this blog post

1st style

  1. Start with a quote. (Make sure it’s not a esoteric quote or too cheesy one) (Not necessary, but if you chose the right quote, it will maximize impact of overall SOP)
  2. Next para should start with why you mentioned that quote and how it’s relevant to your life (Give at least 2 examples)
  3. Talk about your formative years.
    Where did you live ? Did you change places ? Did you live in Hostel ?
    Talk about your academics. Were you amongst top performers ? Talk about your favorite subjects.
    Did you take part in co-curricular or extracurricular activities ? Did you take any initiative on your own ? Talk about qualities you have learned
  4. Talk about your graduation days
    Why did you choose what you chose ? Talk about your academics. Talk about extracurricular and co-curricular activities. Talk about the special projects/assignments you undertook.
    Talk about electives, extra classes you have taken. Did you take any initiative ? Which skills you learned ? Talk about qualities you have learned
  5. Talk about your work experience
    Talk why did you choose to work for a particular company. Talk about your work responsibilities in non-technical language. Tell about your workplace achievements including accolades, appreciation and awards you have won. Did you get promoted ?
    Talk about your new initiatives you have undertaken. Talk about certifications, courses you have taken. Talk about skills you have learned. Talk about qualities you have learned
  6. Transition to what is/was missing. Why you felt the need to do MBA ? Limited work scope, lack of formal knowledge of management practices, networking, shorten career path etc, what were your reasons ? (Refer to Why MBA in Interviewer Seduction Formula)
  7. What’s your short term goal and what’s your long term goal. Can you be little more specific if possible. Can you think of specialization ? (Do it only when you are quite sure, otherwise it might trigger unnecessary questions) (Use Deep Research, read Interviewer Seduction Formula and Check Short Term and Long term Goals under Misc Tab)
  8. How your certifications, knowledge, skills, work experience will play a role to achieve short term and long term goal and how B-school or (particular course) will come into play. How that is necessary step to achieve your short term and long term goal (Use Hooks, Strengths, Unique Capabilities)
  9. Why that particular course (or B-school) ? Edify the B-school.(preferably why you resonate with the course or B-school) (Use Deep Research Lesson)


2nd style

  1. Start with a quote. (Make sure it’s not a esoteric quote or too cheesy one) (Not necessary, but if you chose the right quote, it will maximize impact of overall SOP)
  2. Next para should start with why you mentioned that quote and how it’s relevant to your work experience (Give at least 2 examples)
  3. Talk about your work experience
    Talk why did you choose to work for a particular company. Talk about your work responsibilities in non-technical language. Tell about your workplace achievements including accolades, appreciation and awards you have won. Did you get promoted ?
    Talk about your new initiatives you have undertaken. Talk about certifications, courses you have taken. Talk about skills you have learned. Talk about qualities you have learned
  4. Talk about your formative years.
    Where did you live ? Did you change places ? Did you live in Hostel ?
    Talk about your academics. Were you amongst top performers ? Talk about your favorite subjects.
    Did you take part in co-curricular or extracurricular activities ? Did you take any initiative on your own ? Talk about qualities you have learned
  5. Talk about your graduation days
    Why did you choose what you chose ? Talk about your academics. Talk about extracurricular and co-curricular activities. Talk about the special projects/assignments you undertook. Talk about electives, extra classes you have taken. Did you take any initiative ? Which skills you learned ? Talk about qualities you have learned
  6. Transition to what is/was missing. Why you felt the need to do MBA ? Limited work scope, lack of formal knowledge of management practices, networking, shorten career path etc, what were your reasons ? (Refer to Why MBA in Interviewer Seduction Formula)
  7. What’s your short term goal and what’s your long term goal. Can you be little more specific if possible. Can you think of specialization ? (Do it only when you are quite sure, otherwise it might trigger unnecessary questions) (Use Deep Research, read Interviewer Seduction Formula and Check Short Term and Long term Goals under Misc Tab)
  8. How your certifications, knowledge, skills, work experience will play a role to achieve short term and long term goal and how B-school or (particular course) will come into play. How that is necessary step to achieve your short term and long term goal (Use Hooks, Strengths, Unique Capabilities)
  9. Why that particular course (or B-school) ? Edify the B-school.(preferably why you resonate with the course or B-school) (Use Deep Research Lesson)

I have just scratched the surface. I have developed such a systematic approach in GD WAT PI Revolution to help students write SOP from scratch, how to identify their hooks, strengths, capabilities systematically, how to do deep research about Institute/Course and then translate that into flawless SOP.

Featured Image Courtesy : Therapeutic Drumming

How to use Vulnerability in a correct way to deeply impact the Interviewer Panel ?

There are 2 mistakes almost everyone does when it comes to sharing their weakness, failure, adversity. These mistakes can even cost them an entire call or an entire year.

So what are these mistakes and what most students do ?

Not being Vulnerable Enough :  This trait is usually observed in Males. That doesn’t mean Females don’t exhibit it. Males usually are afraid to be vulnerable because they are biologically wired in a different way. They are told not to express emotions easily. They are told to toughen up. They are also told not to share their weaker side.

Boys don’t cry.

There is other side to it.

Being too much Vulnerable : Usually, it’s observed in Females. This also has roots in how Women are biologically wired. If someone exhibits this trait, he/she thinks it’s OK to share all the failures/mistakes in the hope to get approval/validation from the other person.

But that doesn’t usually happen during the interview. In fact, if you do it, it will backfire on you.

Today, I am going to share how I used Vulnerability correctly and I am also going to give you few examples to prove my point, so you know how to use it correctly to your advantage without falling into any of those deadly traps.

Watch this video by Brene Brown on Power of Vulnerability to know how to use it correctly.

Take a look at this matrix

Ref : Please Stop writing about how Vulnerable you are

There are 4 Quadrants.

  1. Loser : Low Status and Vulnerable
  2. Delusional Wannabe : Low Status and Not Vulnerable
  3. Accomplished & Aloof : High Status and Not Vulnerable
  4. Accomplished Leader : High Status and Vulnerable.

When you are talking about your weakness, failures, adversities, the panel members are least interested in your mistake. They are testing your maturity and ability to learn from it.

They want to know that can you face your own flaws and discuss them openly, working on improving it without trying to hide behind them or be in denial. If you do it correctly, it shows your leadership quality.


No one really wants to talk about their weaknesses and failures but everyone has failed at some point in their life.

The greatest managers and leaders have all made significant mistakes in business and their lives. The point is not to prove that you don’t fail, or won’t fail. You have to prove that you can bounce back from failure, learn required lessons and know how to face the failure if it occurs again.

Show them how you managed to get over failure, your learnings, what you learned about yourself (your faults/shortcomings as well as your biggest strengths) They want to see that if you can locate your underlying weakness and can you address it.

A failure must be the result of a weakness.

Ethical or Moral failure is a big NO NO

You are not out there to get sympathy. Don’t share anything with Interviewer that you wont share with your trusted advisor.

Share your real weakness, don’t pretend. Don’t care about looking good or bad. If you do it appropriately and Interviewer still judges you, it’s not your problem, it’s their problem.

For God’s sake, don’t state strength disguised as weakness.

I made some of these mistakes and now I can share them freely with you without any hesitation.

First, becoming too much vulnerable with low Status. When you do that, it feels like emotional manipulation. When students try to play victim card, he is seen as someone who manipulates others to get what he wants.

As we know, when we share our failures, vulnerability, adversity, challenges, we get maximum comments, likes and shares.

Remember Me Too, Depression is Real.

Many of these posts are downright negative, gloomy and the author hasn’t made any kind of attempt to come out of it. They are just being complainers.

There are very few who actually face the problem, do the work and come out of it and share their stories. They are considered as High Status & Vulnerable.

Many of other stories are out there just to garner sympathy.

I made this mistake in my SCMHRD Interview, when I was asked about my low graduation score, I blamed it on one of my family member’s critical illness. Instead of taking responsibility of my failure and facing it like a man, I tried to hide behind. I acted like a LOSER.

Results : It was backfired and my interview went into a totally different direction where interviewer thought I am using it to justify my failure. It worked against me. I was rejected. Despite scoring high in written exam, I totally f**ked  up by saying this. I was rejected.

One example of how Vulnerability can help you.

Last year, I was approached by Mr.X who received call from NM. His score was on borderline. He had gap year after 12th. He was trying to cook up a fake reason to justify the gap. When I further inquired, I realized that he had a great story behind it and it was so good, that  it needed to be told.

My job was just to give him courage to get the story out. I told him not to hide anything and share the story. He had all his doubts that why it won’t work. But eventually, he decided to share it. He talked about odds he faced in the gap year, how he overcame that.

If he would have done absolutely nothing to repair the situation, then that probably wouldn’t have been such a great story but that wasn’t the case. But he had done something significant to overcome the odds. That’s why it was such a great story.

When he shared his story, there was silence in the room and interviewer applauded and congratulated him for the same. He converted NMIMS call.

Let’s take my another example. I shared my CAT failure story. Read it here

I did that when I scored 98.5%ile, I didn’t share it when I scored 83.5%ile. I didn’t do it when I scored 91%ile. I waited. It’s sometimes better to just work and improve, instead of being vulnerable. If you don’t. You will be considered as a Loser.

I also shared about my rejects/accepts at different B-schools. I am quite candid about it. I also do share that I am not an MBA. I don’t’ feel inferior or I don’t feel shame about it. It helps me better connect with my audience.

I also did share how I overcame these failures. I only started talking about when I started having some/more wins in my hand. That situation is much better than complaining/blaming. Now, I use it to polarize the audience.

A lot of answers I get from students are not like these. If you haven’t overcome it or haven’t done something significant to mitigate the bad effects. You come across like a loser.

There is another example I particularly remember. How to answer questions without making other person feeling victimized.

There was a student who had face deformities and others used to make fun of his appearance. He was operated several times but instead of becoming negative, he started challenging himself to get out of comfort zone. He started participating in various competitions, public speaking, different events, started taking different courses.

When I read his answer I was so impressed.Not even a tinge of complaining attitude. He shared it when he overcame the issues and emerged successful. He didn’t make me feel victimized.

Then there is another quadrant. Accomplished and Aloof. If you are accomplished and if you feel like you shouldn’t be Vulnerable because why do you even want to share about your failures.

My advice to them “Dude, you should definitely talk about it. Not hold yourself back. It’s the biggest leverage point if you do it correctly without nonsense of complain, playing victim card. It’s a challenge, failure you have overcome.”

If you do that, you will win the hearts of panel.

I had a conversation with someone from XLRI few weeks back, she had 4 years gap for UPSC prep. When she was interviewed for Summers at Management Consulting firm. She was asked this question

So what is the real reason you want to work here ?

She gave her answer.

Don’t lie. We know you want to work here for money. Just say it.

Sir, if I wanted to work for money , why I would have invested 4 years on UPSC jeopardizing my job , not making money. If money was the motivator, I would have taken the job 4 years back.

The interviewer was so impressed, he made her meet everyone in the office and shred her story. Of course, she was selected.

If you have these stories inside you, work hard to find and use these stories on strategic occasions.You won’t make much progress by playing safe all the time.Learn to connect with your panel. You will have a long road ahead.

That’s what I teach , how too use approach of story telling to rise head and shoulders above the competition. How to share your adversities, failures, challenges without jeopardizing your chances of converting the call, instead use them as your highest leverage points.

If you want to learn this approach, check out GD WAT PI Revolution


How to Convert More Calls by Studying Less but Smarter ?

When it comes to GD WAT PI preparation, most students get it totally wrong. They spend majority of their time working on wrong things. They focus on being efficient rather than being effective.

That’s why they don’t achieve their full potential and often fall short and engage in cycle of giving CAT & other entrance exams over and over and settle for inferior college when they definitely would have gotten into better college the same year.

In order to work smarter and reap disproportionate results you need to do exactly opposite of what you have thought to be true.

For that you need to understand this Eisenhower Matrix

Before I explain you how to use this matrix to derive maximum out of your preparation and focus on being effective than being efficient, I would like to tell you a story.

In The 80/20 Manager, Richard Koch tells the story of a Prussian army commander and his unique method for utilizing his officers, according to their intelligence and their work ethic

  1. Officers who are both lazy and stupid – leave them alone, they do no harm
  2. Officers who are both hardworking and stupid – fire them at once, they create trivial work for everyone else. (Many students come into this category)
  3. Officers who are both hardworking and intelligent – useful for administration and executing plans. (These are the students who usually get calls from top colleges, they have good academics, they are very sincere etc etc)
  4. Officers who are both lazy and intelligent – promote them to the highest ranks. They will have the best ideas and will see how to implement them without creating trivial work for everyone else. Great advice for managing your staff. But also great advice for managing your own brains. (Very few students actually belong to this category)

Ref : https://www.perrymarshall.com/32984/which-brain-are-you-using-today/

If you want to be no 4, you need to act like them. Because it’s counter-intuitive approach, most students would not do it because it flies in the face of whatever they have learned over the last few years. Work hard, pay your dues and all that nonsense.

Now, I am not saying that Hard Work is not important. What I am saying is you are not being a Lazy Sloth by following this instead you are working hard on aspects which help you to be more effective rather than being efficient.

Look at this matrix I=Important U=Urgent NU= Not Urgent NI= Not Important

Where you should spend most of your time ?

Important but Not Urgent

1. Identifying & perfecting hooks because if you don’t have anything interesting to talk about during interview or in your SOP, you are going to get irrelevant questions or Current Affairs questions.You need sufficient hooks to divert your interview to your strength points.

You should not give them chance to talk about Current affairs or some irrelevant questions.

2. Focus on questions like Intro, Why MBA, Gap, Grad Score, left the job.These are the highest leverage questions usually students tend to avoid forever or they work on it but in haphazardly fashion. If you work on answering these questions whenever they are relevant.You are working on the most important thing.

Work on them first before moving on to questions which are not that important…because they can’t make or break your interview.

If you want to identify your hooks,  learn Irresistible Intrigue Formula here

Along with that I talk about several introspection exercises which will help you develop your hooks inside GD WAT PI Revolution.

If you want help with Why MBA, read this blog post

If you want to Learn how to answer these difficult questions including Why Gap, Why Poor Grad Score, Why did you leave the JOB, I teach a new methodology called A.R.M.S. read about it here

Face the fear. Work on it. Take help. Work on fixing your weakest links first which can be exposed during the GD WAT or PI .instead of working on strengthening insignificant links

3. Another method I teach in GD WAT PI Revolution is Scenario planning where you write answer to a question and create branches on which questions you can possibly get by saying this. Then you create questions on sub-questions. You think of hooks you can use to divert them towards your areas of strengths and interests at all the time.

But you can only do it when you work on identifying and perfecting your hooks.

4. Working on your head-trash

This is very important topic which deserves attention.

I know students scoring meager 94%ile and convert IIM calls (Open Category) and students who score 99.8 %ile and struggle to convert any old IIM calls.

I have worked with several students & I have realized that

Your ability to succeed or fail has far more to do with how clear your mind and emotions and beliefs are, than it has to do with your academics, intelligence.

If you don’t believe you deserve success…no matter of what happens…somehow you will find a way to sabotage your success.

How to uncover lies you believe to be true ?

How to know whatever you believe is a LIE or not ?

If you believe that you are fundamentally wrong , then that’s a LIE you have believed.

Statement 1 : I can’t get into IIM-B because I scored 98%ile and I don’t’ have any experience and I don’t have confidence to communicate my true value.

Statement 2 : I can’t get into IIM-B because i don’t think I can succeed there. There will be probably students from top colleges, I won’t really get good placement and I have to settle for mediocre job so It’s good idea to settle for X college.

In first, you can work on improving your confidence, improving your skills.

In second, you somehow believe that you are worthless. That’s the worst feeling in the world. You can’t probably do anything to fix it.

If you feel you lack skills, you can do something about it..when you feel useless, you will sit and do nothing and accept the results.

5. Essay Practice

If you have to write Essay and become good at it, you have to focus on identifying your weak spots. Whether it’s content, whether it’s finishing it in time constraint, whether it’s developing the content etc etc.

That will help you to correct your approach. Instead of writing random essays on random topics, this approach will help you much better.

6. Practicing/Rehearsing Answers. This is something very important. If you rehearse the answers, record yourself and watch it, see it yourself or show it to your friends who can give you candid feedback, you can experience a lot of improvement in your performance.

Instead of just writing answers and assuming everything will be fine, you are making yourself vulnerable in front of your friends so that you can improve. You will also know which pointers you need to remember whenever you are preparing for Interview instead of just cramming the answers.

7. Researching using Linkedin, talking to current/past students and asking them insightful questions to help you answer questions like Why MBA, Specialization, Why that B-school, and learning about what future holds. This is utmost important because most students live in the world of I think, I feel, I suppose instead of doing the hard work on what’s the reality, what’s realistically possible.

8. How to make sure, you get the results you want by using Six Sources of Influence,

Harness all these 6 factors to make the desired change. I have a whole lesson dedicated on how to use this for your GD WAT PI prep inside GD WAT PI Revolution

Here is how to use this


9. Investing into right resources.

Some students have this habit of saving money, going for classes which attract bottom feeders who thrive on free information and don’t want to pay for any stuff
If you do that, you will waste ton of your time. Instead spend good deal amount of time on finding right people, right resources which will speed up your progress. I include Refresher which covers more than 250 topics which will help you with current affairs so you don’t have to google for 100 articles unless you want to go in depth.

In Interviewer Seduction Formula, I provide sample answers for each question which helps you give a perspective on how others think thus reducing the time required for you to come up with answers.

I have also included SOPs you can model which will help students model the SOPs (not copy them)

I have also included Case Studies of Past students who have gone through different challenges and emerged out successful.

Money buys speed, if you don’t invest in yourself, your progress will be much slower.

If you want to choose right course/coaching class for your needs, read this blog post

Urgent and Important

  1. Submission of SOP/Form. This can become urgent only if you don’t write or fill up your form on time dragging it to a deadline.
  2. Applying to certain college. This is sometimes necessary something urgent but if you know it in advance which colleges you are applying tothen you don’t have to do it at the last moment.
  3. Reading Pagalguy and referring relevant experiences of students from where you had received calls. It can be necessary sometimes however most students tend to waste a lot of their time here.

Urgent but Not Important

Busywork : The work makes you feel busy but it doesn’t give you the results you intend to get. Here are few examples

1. Watching random news. This is never useful strategy if you want to prepare for Current Affairs especially if you are doing it without any purpose, you might spend a lot of time there and still get nothing useful.

2. Emails/Calls : Most of the calls/emails are never important. If you are using Gmail, there are certain filters which will help you sort out important mails from mails which are not at all valuable

Most calls are never urgent, if you ever realize that, you will spend your time in working on right things instead of getting interrupted by these calls.

3. Meetings/Interruptions : Office meetings which tend to take a lot of your time, Interruptions like whatsapp, social media, are hardly important.

Not urgent/Not important

  1. Web browsing
  2. Social media
  3. Pagalguy : Reading SOPs, reading nonsense and wasting time.

Almost all SOPs on pagalguy are waste of time, those who really write great SOPs will never ever post their SOP on pagalguy because they know that everyone is going to copy that so those who post are by definition mediocre ones.

Takeaway :

1. Focus on doing right thing instead of doing things right.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

When you are working on right things…Non urgent but important things…You are being Lazy but Intelligent…You are being effective…You will likely to perform much better in GD WAT and PI, even compared to those who are Hard Worker and Intelligent…Despite working less because they are efficient…you are effective…

2. Domino Effect : What one/two/three things I can do today that will topple the domino ?
You do this once you wake up in the Morning. It sets the tone of the day. Instead of checking whatsapp, Facebook, Emails to start your day, start with the activity/activities that will topple one domino after the other.

It can be writing your journal, it can be exercise, it can be a walk, it can be anything which sets the tone of the day.

If you start your day with news, social media, email, you will be completely frazzled even to start any meaningful activity.

It’s called Keystone Habit

This way you will maximize your chances of converting your best calls…You won’t have to work so hard just to get by…instead every area of your life will be improved…you will be in B-school of your dreams…instead of wishing and hoping….

Choose wisely, convert the best.

If you want to kick-start your GD WAT PI Preparation, check GD WAT PI Revolution

Featured Image Courtesy : Ukandoo.com

Interview is NOT a selection process

Interview is not a qualification process..it’s more of a disqualification process. Read that line again and see if that makes any sense.

Most of students believe that Interview is a selection or qualification process and not a disqualification process.But I strongly believe that Interview is a Disqualification process.

It’s just like Sales & Marketing.

I would like to quote a story I learned from my mentor Perry Marshall

In a noisy club in Las Vegas, a professional gambler pulled a sawed-off shotgun out of his jacket, racked it, and looked around to see who recognized the ratcheting sound and turned their heads.

He said to his protege, “, the people who turned their heads are not marks. Do not play poker with them. Gamble with everybody else.

Source : 80/20 Curve

In Sales and Marketing, Marketing is a process of Racking the Shotgun. You rack the shotgun so that right people would respond to your ads and buy your product/service.

When it comes to selecting a right candidate for a particular B-school “racking the shotgun” happens at every stage.

(Source : Luckygunner.com)

  1. When you apply for CAT, XAT, NMAT, SNAP, IIFT, they rack the shotgun.
  2. When they give calls to candidates based on their score, academics, work experience, they rack the shotgun.
  3. When you submit SOP/Application form, they rack the shotgun again, when they Interview you, they again rack the shotgun
  4. When they declare first shortlist, they once again rack the shotgun.

Imagine what would have happened if they would have called everyone for the Interview.

Imagine if there is no CAT, XAT, IIFT, SNAP, NMAT.
Imagine if they don’t consider your Work experience, Academics.

That would have created a lot of headache for those institutes including  added monetary expenses, wasted time and wastage of lot of other valuable resources.

That’s why they rack shotgun so that they can only deal with few people who they think are more qualified to get into that Institute and save themselves from a lot of hassle of dealing with wrong candidates.

On this occasion, I would like to share my experience with racking the shotgun and how this process has served me and how it can serve you in the long term if you choose to follow it.

When I started GD WAT PI Revolution, for first 2 years, I always used to get these questions.

  1. Are you an MBA ? (Are you really qualified to help me ?)
  2. Why your course is so expensive ? I think I should go join that X class, they are giving me 90% discount. (I don’t really find your course any valuable than other course in the Market, why should I pay you so much ?)

    I don’t get the first question nowadays and if I get the second question then I tell that person to join the other course but I still find many of them come back and join my course. Strange, isn’t it ? (The process I teach when it comes to answering any question is “Identifying the Question behind the question“)

I really didn’t have good answers to these questions back then. I really tried hard to convince them on why my course is great but all of my persuasive arguments fell on Deaf Ears.

I was asked to make discounts on their terms or else they would go and join other famous and well known class.

Have you ever got this question, why should I select you ?
If you really feel the need to justify it very hard
despite they reading your form, SOP,  it’s early sign that you have lost half the battle right from the start. I am being dead serious here.

When you really don’t have much to talk about you.You have to work really hard to convince the other person why they should select you. If your SOP/Form or Intro gives them the glimpse of the kind of person you are…You don’t really need to justify yourself.

I get a lot many students asking me this question “I really haven’t done much to talk about/write about in form/SOP, what should I do ?

In a few cases, the student is being very modest about his accomplishments but in many cases, the student hasn’t done anything worthwhile to talk about. Not just in Academics, but in all the other areas. It becomes really difficult to help them in that situation.

The only remedy for this is “Actually become better, do something worthwhile to talk about yourself” A good book you can read is

There is no shortcut for this. I had to learn this hard way. If you are looking for any shortcut, there ain’t any.

If who you are is really more valuable than your accomplishments…if you can convey that in the interview then you don’t have to convince them very hard….

If they still don’t get convinced, it’s not your fault or problem. It’s their problem. If they can’t recognize your talent, they don’t value your talent, why would you even want to get into that B-school. I know it’s hard for you to digest this especially when you don’t have much choice.

If they can’t see your value…it’s their loss, not yours. Instead of feeling rejected, think that Thank God, I am rejected. So now I can get into B-school where my talents are valued..It doesn’t matter if it’s IIM or XL or whatever Top B-school….

2 years ago, a girl approached me for help. She had calls from almost all the institutes except IIMs. Let me share her background with you. She was gold medalist during her Engineering but she had taken a break for UPSC preparation for 4 years.

Despite scoring very high percentile, she was wait-listed for NMIMS, Symbiosis.

Similar example. Another girl with very good academics, very high percentile and close to 4 years of experience. She was also rejected in NMIMS, Symbiosis.

Both of them believed it was because of 4 years of Gap or 4 years of Work Experience.

I don’t know have enough information to reach any kind of conclusion here but what I found out is both of them got into college which was right for them.

UPSC girl got into XLRI and 4 year work experienced girl got into IIM-Bangalore.

What happens when you select wrong people ?

I want to share my first hand experience dealing with wrong people (who are not ideal fit for your product/service) who buy your course and what happens afterwards ? But let’s start with quote.

Smart people and stupid people get equal airtime.
And since stupid people tend to shout longer and louder than people who have acquired wisdom and judgment, ignorance generally prevails.
Perry Marshall

3 years back, someone happened to buy my course from a link in facebook group. Let’s call him Mr. R. He had calls from IIMs, FMS etc etc. 3 years back…I didn’t have sophisticated members area, case studies, whatsapp group and everything else I have right now.

It was specifically mentioned that you will get access to the entire material through emails and if someone wanted material immediately, he/she just had to email me

But Mr. R (being very smart) didn’t possibly read this and started creating ruckus in a group.He even warned other people not to buy my course & threatened to file complaint in cyber law and write a bad review in PG and worst of all, he threatened me to sell my course for 100 bucks on Internet. I had a strong thought of refunding this person and in fact I did send him message for the same but he never responded back.

However, I was not sure if that would have helped. Because it was my first year of launching the course, I was terrified of bad review right from the start. I didn’t want to give impression in the group that I had to give refund & my course is bad because usually people act on the perception.

However, I regret not issuing refund to this person because this person really acted like an a**hole and was pain in b**t. If he would have been more civilized while asking for refund , I would have gladly given it to him but instead he chose to abuse me.

In fact, I had to ask one of my students to comment on thread and share his experience to mitigate the bad effects and next year, it happened again…but I became wiser that year.

There was someone had IIM-Bangalore call. Before buying the course, he called me up and asked me if I offered the refund on the course or not. I said YES and I also added that if you are buying a course while keeping refund in mind..then don’t buy it anyways but this person still bought my course

And then he started complaining.

I can’t access members area…it’s very difficult…I can’t find lessons, I can’t log in.

And he had 3 years of work experience in IT, scored close 97-98%ile and he couldn’t navigate successfully through members area. When no one else had any issues, he started having all these issues.

Then when it was time to submit the SOP, he refused to go through any lesson, then sent me SOP for review, when I sent him the corrected version, he refused to make those changes and instead sought help elsewhere…then just few hours before submission, he started calling me, messaging me, emailing me for feedback. I usually don’t like to help people when they are in this kind of situation.

But I still picked up his call and helped him with SOP but then afterwards he started telling me that he didn’t benefit at all from my help because he knew all the things right from the start.

This time, I realized that if I keep entertaining his behavior, he will probably end up being like the same person I encountered last year. I immediately decided to refund him. It felt like someone took major load off my shoulder.

When I spot these kind traits in a student during initial interaction, it’s big NO NO for me. I don’t want these types of students buy my course.

I actively dissuade these people from buying my course.

Another example of how to attract wrong kind of people.

  1. Give them Huge Discount
  2. Give them unrealistic expectations
  3. Don’t tell them what is not covered

There are lot many courses/coaching classes when it comes to preparing for GD WAT PI. Some of them are really really good but many of them are not.

How do you tell the difference ?

  1. Are they offering huge discount based on your percentile or any weird reason ?
  2. Are they catering to your wild fantasies or giving you unrealistic expectations ? (100% Converts in last 3 years, 1945 selected in IIMs this year)
  3. Do they tell you what they don’t/won’t/can’t cover ?

If you don’t get satisfactory answers to these questions, run from that coaching class/course.

How I disqualify students ?

  1. I don’t offer any discount on any basis even if you have scored 100%ile. When I do offer it rarely, I do it on my own terms, not on student’s terms. I don’t want students who are Price Sensitive who will do anything to get something at the lowest price. I care about Quality, not the Price.
    If someone starts bargaining with me or threatens me to go for another course/class, I gladly tell them to join that course/class. I don’t debate with them or try to convince them.
  2. I tell students what it really takes to convert the B-school call, even if they feel bad, offended and even if they don’t buy my course.
  3. I tell/expect every student who buy my course to read FAQ completely and know what I cover and what I don’t cover.

Another example

2-3 years back,  a lot many students used to send me SOP and Interview questions to review, even those who hadn’t bought my course.I did that for a while without asking them for money. I thought that they would follow my advice. To my dismay, I realized that they were hardly implementing any of my suggestions.

Whenever, I used to follow up with them, they would say something like this “I actually took suggestions from my class teacher or my college senior from that Institute” I always used feel betrayed…Why these students are not following my advice ?

Then I would look at the students who bought my course, percentage of students applying my advice was way too high compared to the other group.

I suddenly realized why it was happening in the first place.

The answer was “They were not paying the price

One might argue that : Information should be free. Why don’t you just share your knowledge for free ?

if information is defined as that which most people don’t know or can’t know, then free information isn’t really information at all, is it?

So next year onward, I started refusing to check any SOP, Interview Answers of students who didn’t buy my course.

Some of these students got very furious, they started blaming me
You are just here for money. You have become a business. You have become money minded. You can’t you just spend 10 minutes on our SOP. How selfish you can become.”

Some even unfriended me and unsubscribed from my email updates….

One might argue : Good riddance.

It might sound rude but I know how true that is….
When you pay for the advice…your chances of implementing it can go through the roof

When I traveled to Las Vegas for Business Conference. I did learn a lot but I also realized that I was not applying many things which I knew then. I realized that I need to apply them in my business.

I started applying them when I traveled to US and saw many others applying it and getting results.

(Me with my Mentor Ryan Levesque)

If you are preparing for GD WAT PI and want to improve your odds of selection, check out GD WAT PI Revolution and remember “Don’t buy for wrong reasons and with wild expectations” Do it for right reason and with reasonable expectations.

Carpe Diem

Adopted from Perry Marshall’s blog posts



Featured Image Courtesy :  Edu-Leaders.com

What Jack Bauer can teach you about handling Ethical Dilemmas ?

If you are fan of 24 just like me, you have probably seen Jack Bauer successfully navigating through ethical dilemmas.

First is that Jack accepts responsibility for the terrible things he does at times.  These are ethical dilemmas so by their nature, none of his options is good, but sometimes it is the only necessary option.

Inaction is not an option because if he doesn’t act, something bad is going to happen, events are unfolding, and a choice has to be made.  A choice can’t be avoided.  He can’t opt out.  But he neither apologizes for making hard decisions nor avoids the consequences of acting.  And that’s part of the terrible choice involved in dilemmas.

Second is that Jack is a professional making deliberate choices. He’s often thought reckless.

Jack does terrible things in the face of terrible sin.  But they are directed at the proper targets.  I think it’s wrong to accuse him of behaving recklessly.

Jack is a professional, a skilled field agent and extremely specialized one.

Despite the reputation as a reckless, he’s actually quite specific in the application of extreme measures in the face of extreme circumstances. It’s a terrible professional obligation in the face of evil.

Jack also seems to recognize that in the personal price the character has paid over the course of the show like losing his wife, losing almost all of his lovers, his father & brother.

He recognizes that if his actions are necessary at times, they are not easy ones or free of consequence.

Jack Bauer killing Ryan Chappelle

Jack Bauer killing Curtis Manning

Jack Bauer Threatening Saunders & sending his daughter into Virus infected Plaza

Jack Bauer holding Charles Logan Hostage aiming Sniper on his head

There are so many moments in 24 that poses a question. What would you do if you were in that situation ?
I don’t know if Jack follows some kind of methodology to arrive at any decision, I think he does it mostly based on his gut instinct.

As you know, to develop gut instinct, it takes years. You don’t have that much of time, so in order to solve Ethical Dilemmas, here is framework you should follow

Checkpoints for Ethical Decision-Making

A. Recognize that there is a moral issue.-identify issues needing
attention; sift moral questions from manners and social conventions

B. Determine the actor-If this is a moral issue, whose is it? Am I morally obligated and empowered to do anything in the face of the moral issues raised? Stakeholder thinking limits options.

C. Gather the relevant facts– part of the fact-gathering process involves peering as far as possible into the future.

D. Test for right-versus-wrong issues-legal test

E. Test for right-versus-right paradigms-what kind of dilemma is this?Truth versus loyalty, self versus community, short-term versus long term, and justice versus mercy (Choose Truth over Loyalty, Community over Self, Long term over short term,Mercy over justice)

F. Investigate the “trilemma” options-Is there a third way through the dilemma? Unforeseen and highly creative course of action.

G. Make the decision-requires moral courage, attribute essential to leadership; distinguishes humanity from the animal world.

H. Revisit and reflect on the decision-go back over the process and seek its lessons(Ref :How Good People Make Tough Choices )

If you want to know how to use this framework in Case Discussions/Group Discussions, check out GD WAT PI Revolution

Featured Image : Wisbar.org

How he converted all the calls except one by doing this ?

I had conversations with students of GD WAT PI Revolution who got into IIMs, XLRI, IIFT, TISS, MDI etc etc.

Every one of them had a unique story to share.  Here is the most unique story.

Here is the story of one of them : Suraj Shanbag

He had received calls from IIM-B, L, I, K and 4 IITs. He had 3 years of work experience with no prior Interview experience. He gave CAT for the first time after 3 years of work experience. He had taken a break to focus on CAT preparation.

He was not in touch with his Academics for long time. He knew that if he gets questions on Academics, he would get screwed so he devised a master plan to direct all the questions towards his work experience or Current affairs but particularly towards Work Experience. I will soon explain exactly how he did it.

He used this strategy in all the Interviews except IIM-Lucknow Interview because he was not very sure whether it would work or not.

Result : He converted all the calls except IIM-Lucknow.

What exactly he did ?

He used variation of Irresistible Intrigue Formula, In fact, he practiced using Irresistible Intrigue Formula so much that it became his second nature. He attributed majority of his success to correctly using it. Timing is the essence.

He did 2 weeks of Introspection and invested 25-30 hours in finding important aspects of his life. This is the most important step because a lot many students spend way too much time on current affairs and whatever time they spend on SOP, Interview, they work backwards. They spend absolutely zero time in introspection and instead they directly jump on to writing SOP and Interview questions.

Instead, Suraj did exactly opposite. He wrote down 8-10 very important hooks in his story. Whenever he would notice the interview is going in unwanted direction, he would use the appropriate hook strategically to direct it towards his strength points.

As a result, he hardly got any questions on Academics & Current affairs/GK in his IIM-Indore Interview where most students complain of having totally random interview or interview focused on GK/Current Affairs.

The couple of questions he got from GK/Current Affairs, he diverted them to his strength areas using one of the hooks. All the other Interviewee were asked questions on GK/Current Affairs and Academics and they couldn’t divert it to their strength areas.

In fact, he got this question in Indore Interview.

“Which B-school you would go for Indore or Bangalore ?”

How most students would have answered it.

Either Diplomatic way “I think both of them have their own merits. I would go for Indore/ I would take the decision when all the results are out.

Or Straightforward way ” Of course, I am going for IIM-Bangalore

He didn’t say any of that. He said something which caused 2 of the panel members to strongly convince him why he should go for IIM-Indore instead of IIM-Banglore.

If you say, it was just a fluke, not so fast.

In IIM-Kozhikode interview, he was the last to be interviewed. 3 of the panel members were very tired.

(Source : Giphy.com)

One of the old professors was almost sleeping. From his (professor’s) looks, he gauged that the professor possibly belonged to the same territory he belonged to. He took the chance and in his Intro answer, he strategically inserted the words which caused the sleeping professor to wake up.

After that point, the same professor (who was earlier sleeping) started having a discussion with him about general things about the territory both of them belonged to, instead of the other panel members grilling him about Academics.

Another principle he used often was creating or painting vivid pictures in Interviewer’s mind. We often forget what we hear but we don’t usually forget what we see especially when someone creates those detailed vivid pictures in our mind.

(Source : jcisnowjs.com)

Remember Drishyam ?
Where the Father narrates the story in such a way that he is successfully able to create a vivid movie in other’s mind that’s why almost everyone remembers what he & his family had done on that particular day.

He did the exact same thing. But to actually execute this flawlessly in Interview, he did a lot of practice with Hooks.

There is a lot more to it and a lot more such stories I have included  in detail inside GD WAT PI Revolution.

(Featured Image Courtesy : justcause3mods.com)

How to handle questions on Poor Academics, Career Gap or Left the JOB ?

Don’t know how to handle these questions well

Are you using BS tactics to answer these questions ?

I know you might be using it because I used to do it all the time and I see students do it all the time.

When I first learned the approach to answer these questions, it took me a lot of time and introspection but eventually I did it. I didn’t have to fear those questions again.

If you choose to use it , you will never have to worry about these questions ever again.

These approaches are called
1. Pre-framing (works in certain cases)
2. Re-framing (A.R.M.S.) Works in almost all the cases

A.R.M.S. is an acronym. I learned it from Ramit Sethi.

A = Agree (or Acknowledge)
R = Re-frame
M = Make the Case
S = Shut Up & Listen

Want to know how I used this approach in my NM and IIMs interview ?
Watch the video below.

I also talk about various types of re-frames which you can do.

At the end of the video, I talk about a case study of a student who scored more than 99.5%ile (received calls from IIM-A, B and C) I help her to justify the career gap.

You can learn this approach very well from this video, in case if you want me to help you re-framing your own answers (It can be tricky sometimes and if you also want to learn from 3 more such different cases) check out GD WAT PI Revolution Comprehensive

Featured Image Courtesy : Linkedin

How to read Interviewer’s Mind ?

Some threads on Pagalguy are Worst.Please don’t laugh.

I was reading few of them couple of years back.

A girl said “I was not offered a toffee, I guess I won’t be getting into IIM-A for sure.”
And it followed by no of comments from other call-getters.
I think, if you were offered a toffee, that’s sign of your Interview went well” someone said.
My interview didn’t go that well but at the end, panel offered me Coffee” One said.
IIM Interviews are never predictable. You never know what will happen.” Other person yelled.

Did you see what’s going on here ?

Most of these people are equating getting offered a toffee/tea/coffee has something to do with their Interview Performance.

Everyone discussed about Triviality. Nobody actually talked about what one could have done to actually improve their performance in next interview or the same interview.

Instead they started discussing about Toffee and Coffee.

But have you really given a serious thought about what interviewer really wants to hear/know ?

In fact, nobody bothered to do that. They found peace in whining, bitching, complaining and discussing minutia.

The problem is very common. When I had bad experiences in the past, I always blamed it on my Interviewer (it can be true in some cases but not all)
But I didn’t really take time to identify what they want to hear/know.
My focus was solely on me. Why I am the best.
I call it I I I syndrome.

Usually, when students prepare for the Interview/SOP they always use words like I think, I feel, I want.

Why it’s detrimental ?
Because nobody gives a damn about what you think and what you feel.
Everyone is selfish. If you don’t appeal to their self-interests, they could care less about what you think/feel.

If you just focus on YOU, you will not be remembered.

Focus on other person. Focus on what they want to hear. Focus on what other person is thinking. If you can use this empathy mapping, you will literally read your interviewer’s mind.

I developed a simple approach to answer any question using Empathy Mapping.

Here is what it’s not. This is not a gimmick or technique or some kind of loophole or hack or trick.

That’s why most of those who will read it won’t bother to apply it. Because then they have to work hard for it.

But for those who want to reap disproportionate rewards, this approach is very useful. Only thing is you have to implement this approach.

Here is Empathy Mapping model (See Diagram) There are total 6 parts in the diagram. (It’s widely used in getting Market Insights, I use this all the time)

1. What does he see?
a. What types of candidates are exposed to him daily?
b. What he sees in their SOPs/Application forms? Vague things, Stilted Language

2. What does he hear?
a. What other candidates say?—prepared answers, trite responses,
unclear goals, rambling, too vague
b. What really influences him and how? Specific examples, stories
& other interesting things, confidence, communication skills

3. What does he really think and feel?
a. Bored out of his skull
b. What is important to him? Placements, internships, quality of
students, selecting right candidate
c. What are his expectations? Clarity of goals, research about
d. What are his emotions?

4. What does he say and do?
a. Surface level questions i.e. what’s your biggest weakness?
b. Question behind question (Question he is really asking)—what
he is not saying but wants to know
c. Why does he act irritated/pissed off at times?—tired/bored
because of the long & arduous process, students with vague answers

a. What if I select wrong candidate?
b. Wasting valuable time—in reviewing nonsense SOPs, listening
to pathetic responses

a. Chance to interview right candidate which is a good fit
b. Get entertained while having pleasant conversation with the
right candidate

If you use this approach in each and every interview you face and SOP you write you will see tremendous difference in the way communicate, the way you answer different questions.

And most importantly, instead of worrying about trivial things like “Toffee/Coffee” or “Whether I should wear a tie ?” You will worry about most important thing which is “Getting into Interviewer’s head and communicating what they want to hear”

(This girl is worrying more about wearing matching clothes, strange. Isn’t it ?)

If you want to learn 3 step formula to answer any Interview Question, learn it here

If you want to convert the Top B-schools without worrying about triviality, check out GD WAT PI Revolution