GD/PI Prep – Interview with Ashutosh Pathak

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The GD/PI is just a few days away, and we’re trying to get you all the help we can so you are well prepared on the D-Day.

Our correspondent chased a few CCAPians from Batch VI, and asked them the questions that have been running through your minds. Here’s one of those interviews for you. Watch this space for more!

GD/PI Prep – Interview with Ashutosh Pathak

ashutosh pathak

– Ashutosh Pathak, CRISIL – GR & A
Location: Chennai

Q – Tell me something about yourself.

A – Prior to joining CCAP, I’d worked with TCS for 1 year and 8 months. This was the company recruiting in the first slot in our college, where I graduated in the Computer Science and Engineering stream. I came to know about CCAP through PAGALGUY.


Q – Was this the first time you appeared for an interview/GD?

A  – This wasn’t the first time I appeared for a GD/PI. The first challenging GD I appeared for was one conducted by Intel during the fifth semester of engineering. This was for a program that involved attending regular college over the week, and working on weekends, after which the successful participants would be absorbed in Intel. 20 out of 500 people cleared the Aptitude test, and only 4 cracked the GD to move on to the PI.

I was shocked that I couldn’t clear the GD round, and I took it as a challenge to improve myself to the extent that I would never be eliminated in any GD. Towards that end, I joined a GD/PI coaching class and made it a practice to interact with lot of experienced people. I quickly learnt to think from multiple points of view.

My key takeaways from this experience were – anticipating other’s thought process, never missing an opportunity to make an impact, giving chance to uninitiated members to participate and building on their ideas while making a point.

Some important GD/PIs that I aced were the ones conducted by TCS & WIPRO during campus recruitment. A feather in my cap was a client interview while working for TCS. My own college topper and 2 other TCSers were pitted against me, but my people skills and GD tackling abilities ensured that I had an edge over the other candidates.


Q – So, was your interview a stress interview or a calm one?

A – My interview initially started on a very calm note. My interviewer patiently heard me out, which was very comforting. Being from a non-finance background, it helped me a lot when he allowed me to voice my thoughts on finance questions. I wasn’t abruptly asked to stop if I was unable to answer to a specific point.

However, somewhere in the middle, I was asked questions on permutations, combinations and probability. The interviewer assumed that I would be good with that, since I’m an engineer. The interview started to seem a bit like a grilling this point on. Also, I answered one of a probability questions incorrectly at first attempt. Thankfully, I could salvage the situation after he hinted that I was going wrong.

For me, the fact that I could make corrections, and think on my feet under stress was a positive reassurance that I have become reasonably good with my GD/PI handling abilities. At least good enough to be sharing my experience with you guys today.

Few GD tips:

  • Don’t be obsessed with starting the discussion to prove your leadership abilities. It is not the first person to speak who takes command of the discussion, but the one who makes a meaningful contribution/impact.
  • Be confident and assertive, but never cross the line to become aggressive. If you know that someone is making an invalid point, don’t correct him immediately. The moderators are there to do their job. It would help you more if you allowed the person making absurd points to dig a bit deeper, instead of getting into an argument with him and trying to prove him wrong.
  • Give those who have not participated in the GD earlier a chance and also learn how you can use points made by them to your advantage by building upon them. A few candidates tend to take a lot of time to make their point. If you have already anticipated their thoughts, instead of interrupting them or passively listening to them, use the valuable time to think of what you can say at the next opportunity.
  • Finally, be the best listener you can. No skill will help you more in your GD than listening actively. This will allow you to contribute meaningfully in GD. Even if you aren’t listening, let your body language suggest you in fact are!

These are some of the strategies I’ve built with my experience and these have always helped me in any GD.


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