MBA Admission 2021: Online Personal Interview Round for IIMs MBA, PGDM – How to Prepare, Tips

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Updated on November 24, 2020
Personal Interview round 2021 by most of the MBA colleges for MBA admission after the 1st stage shortlisting on the basis of written exam scores and applicant’s profile, is proposed to be conducted online. IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore, SPJIMR Mumbai have clarified in their admission policy 2021 in this regard. Read this article to check the importance of PI round, key aspects of MBA online Interview and more
Online PI Round for MBA Admission 2021

The Personal Interview round is conducted by all the MBA colleges for MBA admission after the 1st stage shortlisting on the basis of written exam scores and applicant’s profile. All the top MBA colleges including 20 IIMS, XLRI, FMS, SPJIMR, MDI among others conduct Personal Interview (PI) round for final selection. However, for admission 2021, there will be online interviews for IIMs as well other top B-schools will also conduct MBA online interview as announced in their admission policy

Importance of Personal Interview Round for IIMs & Top B-schools
Whether it is physical PI round or virtual MBA interviews for MBA admission, all the MBA colleges award high weightage to it. Top IIMs including IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Kozhikode, Indore and other top B-schools like FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, SPJIMR Mumbai award high weightage to Personal Interview round in their final selection process before declaring the final merit list as per following details:

Weightage for PI-WAT Round
IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Bangalore
IIM Lucknow
FMS Delhi
IIM Kozhikode
IIM Indore
MDI Gurgaon

IIM Kozhikode has announced not to conduct WAT in its online MBA interview process and has instead added weightage to candidate’s Resume.

Online MBA Interviews for IIMs & Other Top B-schools for MBA Admissions
Given the COVID 19 restrictions, candidates may find it difficult to travel to attend face to face interviews. Understanding this concern, most leading MBA colleges have decided to conduct the Personal Assessment Round online. There will be online interview for IIMs and other B-schools depending upon the Covid-19 pandemic situation. While IIM online PI round may not consist of GD and WAT process, there will be online interviews for PGDM program at SPJIMR as clarified in its admission process. So, instead of face-to-face interviews, MBA Admissions 2021 will be done based on online Interviews.

online pi

Which B-schools are conducting Online Interviews for MBA Admissions 2021
IIM online PI round is expected to be conducted by almost all top IIMs including IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta, IIM Bangalore. Apart from the online interviews for IIMs, the online interviews for PGDM programmes will be conducted by SPJIMR Mumbai, XLRI Jamshedpur, MDI Gurgaon. IIFT, IIT B-schools are also expected to conduct MBA online interview for their MBA Admission 2021. Last year, many IIMs including IIM Lucknow, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Udaipur, MDI Gurgaon, FMS Delhi conducted their MBA online interviews. These top B-schools have already announced to conduct the online MBA interviews depending upon the Covid-19 pandemic situation

IIM Online PI Round

IIM Ahmedabad: Important Notice for the 2021-2023 Admission Process
Releasing its Admission Policy 2021-23, IIM Ahmedabad has clarified, “The 2021-2023 IIMA PGP Admission process is to be conducted taking into account the COVID-19 crisis. The information provided by the 2021-2023 Admission Policy is contingent upon the decisions and directions issued from time to time by the Central, State governments and IIMA.”

IIM Lucknow has advised the candidates to check its website regarding the changes in admission process. It may conduct WAT & PI round in person or may drop any component from final selection round for admission 2021 depending upon the Covid-19 situation at the material time.

IIM Indore has announced the possible Covid-19 disruptions in selection process and has shared, “The Admission process is to be conducted taking into account the COVID-19 crisis. The information provided by the 2021-2023 Admission Policy is contingent upon the decisions and directions issued from time to time by the Central, State governments and IIM Indore.”

Online Interviews for PGDM Program at SPJIMR 
Informing students about the online interviews for PGDM program at SPJIMR, the institute said, “On account of the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the safety of participants, interviews for PGDM 2021 -2023 may be conducted online on platforms of the institute’s choice.”

What are different Modes, Platforms for MBA Online Personal Interviews?
Commonly used platforms for Online MBA Admission Interviews are:

  • Zoom: This is the most common platform and perhaps the most easy to use. A lot of B-schools run classes and webinars on this platform, so they prefer Zoom platform.
  • Google Meet: Since everyone has a Gmail ID, this is another popular platform.
  • Microsoft Teams: Some B-schools use MS Teams to teach their classes and hence find it convenient.
  • Skype: It was a popular choice, but Zoom and Meet have stolen the march.

In addition to these popular modes, a few B-schools use customized technology platforms/softwares to conduct their MBA admission interviews online.  

In-Person Vs Virtual MBA Personal Interviews: Key changes
While the in-person or virtual MBA interview process command equal weightage, there are some difference that MBA aspirants must keep in mind.

  1. Ease with Technology: Candidate must be at ease using technology platforms. Any nervousness will show and impact performance negatively.
  2. Shorter Duration: Based on feedback shared by 20+ MBA aspirants who appeared for interviews last year (for Admission 2020), we can say that Online MBA Interviews generally tend to be shorter by 10-20%.

SPJIMR student Nihar Ranjan Panigrahi, who scored 99.63%ile in CAT 2019, recalls, “I appeared for two online interviews for IIM Lucknow and MDI Gurgaon. Duration for both these interviews was just 10 minutes.”

  1. Impersonal: A face to face personal interview gives candidates a lot of time to communicate verbally and non-verbally (body-language) with Interviewers. Online MBA interviews are a bit impersonal and lack emotions. IIM Udaipur student, Manya Gumashta, who scored 98.94 percentile in CAT 2019 is of the view that online interviews differ slightly.
  2. Tougher: Due to above reasons, Online interviews for MBA admission are a bit tougher than regular face to face interviews.

But don’t fret! will help you prepare for your online interview process with ease and comfort.

Most Popular Questions for Personal Interview for MBA Admissions
Based on survey of 50+ MBA aspirants who appeared for admission interviews last year, here is a list of most popular questions.

  1. Why MBA: This isthe most popular question that frequently appears in MBA interviews.
  2. Tell us about yourself: This is another very popular question that frequently appears in MBA interviews.
  3. COVID 19 related questions: Given the impact, this is naturally a popular question. Put don’t expect simple fact-based questions – one candidate was asked to share his “stance on the conspiracy theory of Covid’s origin.” Another candidate was asked to explain “Hidden Markov Model and R0 model for Covid-19” in an IIM B interview.
  4. Past Academic Questions: Your academic profile is an important source of questions in PI round. Nikhilesh N, who scored 98.44 percentile in CAT 2020, was asked questions like UG specialization, how the UG background is related to Business Analytics and the key areas of academic interest in IIM Bangalore PI round
  5. Previous Work Experience Questions: If you have short or long work experience, you are supposed to be ready with a volley of questions on the area in which you are working or have worked. Shuktisindhu Mondal who scored 93.26 percentile in CAT 2019 and is an IIM Ahmedabad student, has a work experience of 41 months. He faced many questions regarding the nature of his work and shares, “Questions that I faced were based on my work experience and current affairs”
  6. Your City/State related question: Interviewers want to know if you have empathy for your roots. So these questions are also frequently asked.
  7. Why this B-school:This is a must-prepare question…If you don’t give a crisp and clear answer, you will leave a bad impression.
  8. Which Specialization and Why? Some B-schools want their students to be clear about their career choice post MBA. They also want you to be clear about which specialization that you will select in 2nd year and why. This is a sure shot question if you are applying for an Specialized MBA program.
  9. Key Current Affair Events & your opinion on them: With lot of changes happening at the national and international level, your updated knowledge on current affairs and what do you think about them is the key area on which a few questions you are sure to face in PI round. Nikita Agarwal, who scored 99.22 percentile in CAT 2019 and is a student of MDI Gurgaon was asked questions like Chandrayan-2, Cryptocurrency, Bullet trains.
  10. Questions on Extra Curricular Activities: If you are a sports person, a model or an achiever in some other area, the PI questions will be focused on them too. Tanishq Diddee, a national medalist in swimming, a triathlon and marathon participant who scored 99.70 percentile in CAT 2019 and converted IIM Ahmedabad  was asked about how a business model can be made around swimming?, How will India capture the POK? Why Kenyan runners are good at marathon?

We will soon share resources on how to prepare for each of these top questions.

How to prepare for Online Personal Interview Round for MBA Admissions
Here are key MBA Interview tips by CAT Toppers & IIM Students who participated in Online Personal Assessment Rounds for IIMs and other top B-schools.

  1. Interview Questions & Content doesn’t Change Much: Preparation wise Online MBA Interviews remain the same as what it would have been in an in-person interview. So, prepare for regular MBA interview questions as highlighted above for virtual MBA interviews. Remember, you can’t fudge your way through…
  2. Be ready for Short Interviews: Sharing the key tips to appear for online PI for MBA, the CAT toppers advise that the major difference which you should be wary of in an online interview is its short duration and the uncertainity of how one’s soft skills may be assessed. One of the key MBA Interview tips is that the room for errors in an online mode is very less as the duration of the interview is very short.
  3. Positive Attitude is key: Candidates with positive attitude stand a better chance to get high performance rating in PI round. Sharing the MBA Interview tips for virtual interview, Faisal Abrar, who scored 97.31 percentile in CAT 2019 and student of IIM Udaipur said that he faced online interview at IIM Kozhikode and the positive attitude helps a lot in online assessment. According to Faisal,Don’t be nervous it is just like normal interview, Be confident and calm, these are keys to crack any interviews.
  4. Embrace technology, be ready for online platforms: The most important online MBA interview tips by CAT toppers are that you should be at ease using technology platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype among others. It will help you in improving your performance in online PI round
  5. Master Body Language: Your body language in online interview round is very important factor. Mohamed Thoufeek S, who scored 97 percentile in CAT 2019 and a student of IIM Udaipur had online interviews at IIM Kozhikode, IIM Indore and NITIE Mumbai. Sharing the tips to appear for online PI for MBA at IIMs or other top B-schools and the key technological requirement for video interviews, he said, “Always ensure screen presence. Always face the camera only, adjust the interviewer preview to match the same, make sure upper body is visible and use a plain virtual background if possible. Use a Bluetooth headphone with mic so that body actions can also be conveyed without any constraints. Don’t prepare anything 2 hour prior to the interview.”
  6. Mock Interviews is key: You should go through plenty of online mock interviews to understand the process. Suraj Deshmukh, who scored 98.3% in CAT 2019 and got interview call from SPJIMR, MDI, XLRI, NMIMS, IIFT, NITIE, SJMSOM, IIM Shillong, CAP IIMs, shares the MBA interview tips, For video interviews specifically, take plenty of mocks interviews to be well versed with the platform, failure to do so might add to the stress levels just before the interview.”Suraj is now studying at SPJIMR.

Do’s & Don’ts for Online Personal Interview Round for MBA Admissions
Here are some do’s & don’ts that you must remember…


  1. Be well groomed and well dressed in full formals. You may be asked to get up and perform a task. 
  2. Have a decent background and a well lit silent place
  3. Have at least two sources of Internet
  4. Have similar preparation as you would have had for a normal interview
  5. Be crisp with the answers you give. Don’t blabber and beat around the bush!
  6. Sleep well on the previous night
  7. Always, look at the camera (not on keyboard etc) while answering. Practice this, record and replay to see your online presence.


  1. Don’t panic in case the interview is stuck because of power outage. It’s normal and you will get another chance.
  2. Don’ttake it easy because it is just a short online interview…remember, an online interview rigor would be the same.
  3. Don’t try to cheat and look at the mobile or answer, your facial expressions will easily give away.
  4. Don’t restrict your body movements, be natural show facial expressions, smile at times.

With the above article, it is very much clear that the candidates who are likely to appear in online video interviews may not find the virtual PI round much different from physical PI process except that the online assessment requires you to gear up keeping in mind a few aspects as shared above. It is also possible that the online PI round may not have GD and WAT and the complete weightage is awarded to performance in online Personal Interview. We hope you found this article quite helpful. will share more updates shortly on other aspects including how to prepare for Online PI process.

Stay tuned to for more updates on Personal Interview Process

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