What I Learnt when I didn’t crack IIFT!

Not cracking IIFT

by Pranay Mehta

Congratulations to those who have cleared the first hurdle to get into the prestigious Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT). You have done really well so far. I am reliving my experiences of the second stage of the IIFT admission process – Essay Writing, Group discussion and Interview process. This is to just to give you a glimpse of what to expect and help you plan better for the last battle.

My process was held in Hyderabad. It started with a twenty minutes written ability test. It was an essay on “Sustainable Development”.

The second round was a forty minutes group discussion (GD).  Initially, we were given two minutes each to speak on the topic and then the floor was thrown open for discussion. The topic was “Should juveniles be treated as adults?”.

The final stage was an interview. As I settled down on my seat, the questions were fired one after another. I was asked to quote some instances where I had displayed leadership skills. I spoke about my experiences at work. “This doesn’t seem to have been done by you. What was the senior management in your company doing? Don’t they look into all this?” the lady professor said. I tried to defend my stance but they didn’t look convinced enough. I realised that it was a stress interview.

They swiftly moved onto the next question “Tell us something that you do in your free time?” Oh, an easy question I thought to myself. I blurted out “reading”. The look on the lady professor’s face changed. She had a smile on her face. “What do you read?”. I responded that I read both fiction and nonfiction books. “Oh ok! What’s happening to the interest rates in Japan and USA”. I had been struck by lightning. Since I had read about the recent US Federal decision, I started to speak on that. “No, first tell me about Japan and then the US,” the professor demanded. With not enough knowledge on this, I had been struck one more time. The interview lasted only ten minutes.

Although, I was disappointed at my performance, I was glad that all this happened right at the beginning of the interview season. It gave me some time to reflect and prepare for the other calls I had.

I have mentioned a few things which helped me a lot in cracking the interview stage and hope that they help you too:

#1 – Keep a copy of the form that an institute asks you to fill before the interview there are very high chances of questions being asked from that. Make sure you know it well.            

#2 – For almost all M.B.A. colleges there are groups on Facebook, PaGaLGuY. Read the interview experiences of other people. You could plan your strategy accordingly.

#3 – Try to do as much research about the college as possible. Interviewers like to know if you have taken interest in their college.

#4 – One of the best ways to predict questions in the interview is to prepare a Mind Map of yourself. This is a very easy thing to do and would also boost your confidence.

#5 – Improving your general awareness is a continuous process but at least go through the last three months’ newspapers. Focus on the major debates and also the schemes introduced by the government.

#6 – Try to attend as many mock GD sessions as possible.

Lastly, remember that IIFT has one of the highest call to final convert ratio. Things might get tough but remember don’t give up. It’s the final lap.

Pranay Mehta, IIM Ranchi


Pranay Mehta is a student at Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi (IIMR).

To speak to Pranay or another MBA Mentor for advice/mock GD/ mock interview, click here.

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