IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade) is one such MBA institute that is quite famous, not only for its MBA programs but also for its MBA in International Business. Now that the CAT 2018 Results are out, aspirants who’ve got in at different institutes are busy preparing for the other rounds. Followed by the written exam, the institute conducts the following rounds for the shortlisted candidates: a Group Discussion, an Essay Writing round, and a Personal Interview.

We know how you must be having thousands of questions like ‘What are the elements of Personal Interview (PI)?’ How can one crack the Essay round? What kind of questions are asked in a Group Discussion? Fret not! You will find all the relevant information given below for your perusal. Let’s look at the various Essay and Group Discussion topics as well as the recurring questions that have been asked in Personal Interviews as part of  IIFT Admissions over the last few years.

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IIFT Group Discussion Topics


A GD or Group Discussion is a communicative situation that helps any company or organization to understand how the participants think and interact with other participants.  It is basically used to gauge whether an aspirant has the desired characteristics such as good communication skills, leadership quality, teamwork spirit, etc.

At IIFT, Group Discussions form the second round of the admission process. While the duration for a GD varies depending upon the company, at IIFT, the average duration for that is 15 minutes, with the group having close to 12 participants. The team of judges gives the participants a topic. The aspirants are then given the very short duration of 2 minutes to think about the topic. After that, the GD commences.

The topics asked in this second round at IIFT can be everyday things such as, “Social Media: Impact on human behavior and society” to topics related to current affairs such as, “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”. To prepare for the GD, reading newspapers should be a crucial part of one’s daily routine.

Following is a list of possible GD topics that could be asked  in the Group Discussion round of IIFT:

  • End of Globalization/ De-Globalization/ Nationalization
  • Bitcoin and The Virtual Currency
  • Climate Change/Pollution
  • Alcohol and Youth
  • Impact of technology on Jobs
  • #Metoo campaign
  • Banking Scams
  • Is Mars Mission justified for India?
  • Negative tendencies in children a cause of the decline in open spaces and playgrounds
  • Is India ready for a cashless Economy?
  • Changing role of women actors in Bollywood
  • Your mother knows you less than Google.

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IIFT Essay Writing Topics

The next stage of the admission process is the Essay Writing round. In this round, aspirants are required to write an essay on a given topic in 300 words in a duration of 20 minutes. This stage has been included along with GD and PI rounds since it is important that global professionals be good at written communication. And what better way to test a candidate’s writing skills than an essay?

An Essay is a reflection of one’s personality. It helps estimate various aspects of a candidate such as the written communication skills, level of subjective knowledge and the ability to think logically. The Essay is also meant to test the candidate on their clarity of thought and time management skills. A good Essay is characterized not only by good content but also how it is organized, structured and presented.

Few topics that have often made their way to the IIFT Essay Writing round are:

  • Promoting tourism in India.
  • Developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in India.
  • Ensuring gender diversity in Indian work force.
  • Making Indian Banking system more inclusive.
  • Concept of smart city
  • Sustainable Development in India

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IIFT Personal Interview Questions

PI is the final stage of the Admission Process at IIFT. A Personal Interview is something that is widely feared by all the candidates, but it should be looked at as an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and strengths. A face to face PI is the best chance for a candidate to showcase how they are the best fit for that particular institute or role. As for the judges on the panel, it gives them a chance to gauge the personality, confidence and determination of the candidate.

There are usually 3 panellists in the PI interview at IIFT. Out of these 3 panellists, two are faculty members, whereas the other one is an alumnus of IIFT. There is no standard kind of questions or the number of questions that remain same for all the candidates; it can vary from person to person. But a Personal Interview is basically designed to know more about the candidate. Hence, the interview questions can be personality-based questions which focus on the strengths, weaknesses, achievements, failures and goals of an individual, or they can be questions regarding academics that focus on an individual’s academic and extracurricular performance. The panellists may also ask current affairs or career planning-based questions. The questions in the Personal Interview round can also revolve around the candidate’s Statement of Purpose, performance in the GD and Essay Writing rounds, hobbies, and work experience, if applicable.

Prepare the answers to the basic questions like ‘Introduce yourself’, ‘Why MBA?’, ‘Why IIFT?’ well in advance. While the PI can be difficult for some, it is important to know that the main purpose here is to see how one handles stress. While preparing for the Personal Interview round, focusing on communication skills is a must for the candidates. A PI usually goes on for around 25-30 minutes, though it may vary for different individuals.

Based on the excerpts of the interviews given by our candidates, following are few interview experiences:

Excerpts from Interview 1: Introduce yourself, Question about work experience, one good and one bad thing about working in the said company, What is Digital India? Do you think the Digital India programme is working effectively?

Excerpts from Interview 2: Why did you choose this particular field of study?, Why MBA?, Since both of your parents are in banking, have you ever considered joining it, What is RBI?, What does it do?, How does it control inflation? What is repo rate and CRR? State some of the problems facing the banking system in India? What are your hobbies?

Excerpts from Interview 3: What are your strengths and weaknesses?, How did you spend your time after passing out from college? How will this management degree help you in your career goals? Do you know about the Tata-Mistry and Infosys fiasco?, What is BSE?

As you can see from these examples, the panellists will mix generic questions with current affairs as well as questions from your own life. So, you need to be smart and communicate effectively!

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