How to prepare for interviews for B Schools?
Firstly, congratulations on clearing the first stage of this nerve-wracking MBA college admission season. You can pat your back and be happy about it. But, remember it is just half job done, there’s a long and even more gruelling road ahead which you need to conquer. Now that you have cleared the first stage of your Business School admission process i.e. entrance exams, now is the right time to gear up and do well for the second stage i.e. Personal interviews and Group discussions/ Case discussions/ Group Exercise/ Written Ability Test, etc.
Almost all the MBA colleges in India, have the following process for admissions:
- Entrance examinations
- Group discussions/ Case discussions/ Group Exercise
- Written Ability Test
- Personal Interviews
Let’s talk about personal interviews which have the maximum weightage among all the above parameters and it is something which is very comprehensive and requires thorough preparation.
Before starting any preparation I would suggest to do a self-introspection about what you have done so far in life and why do you really want to do an MBA.
Following are some of the questions that you must prepare before any MBA interviews:
- Tell me something about yourself
This is the make or break question as it will decide your whole course of the interview. If you answer it well, you will be the king/ queen of your interview and will be able to drive your complete interview. This question gives you an opportunity to tell the panellist that you know what you have done and also you know why this particular school would benefit you in shaping your career.
Some pointers to be kept in mind for tell me something about yourself:
– Keep it short and simple, preferably close to 1.5 minutes.
– Try to make it more personalized by citing your examples.
For instance, instead of mentioning that I belong to Surat, I always used to mention, that I am a native of the diamond capital of India i.e. Surat in Gujarat because I wanted to drive my interview in that direction.
– Talk about your under graduation degree, why you chose that degree, what did you learn from it and maybe you can also talk about the challenges faced by it.
– Post that you can talk about any work experience that you had or if you are a fresher you can talk about any live project/ internships etc and mention what was your role in the project with citing some personalized examples and more importantly what skills you developed and learned on the job with some challenges that you would have faced.
– Now, you can talk about any achievements that you would have had
For example, you can talk about any scholarships, academic and corporate competitions that you would have won, exams like National Science/ Maths/ English/ Cyber Olympiads, NTSE, etc
Any extracurriculars that you have done in your life, for instance, Sports, music, dance, martial arts, debate competitions, etc
Here, you can talk about any academic projects, research papers, any position of responsibilities, internships, etc which would have done along with your academics
- At the end, you can talk about your passion, hobbies and what motivates and keeps you occupied in your free time.
- WHY MBA?
- In some way or the another, not always directly, you will surely encounter this question in your MBA interviews.
- This is asked to check for your motivation to join a Business school and why you feel that this is the right time and why pursuing an MBA is a very critical step to enhance your careers and your overall learnings.
- Try to tailor your answer with your long term and short term goals and how an MBA is a right bridge between your goals and your aspirations
- Why are you interested in our business school?
- This is the perfect time to show your research and to sell the institute to the panellist of the institute. Make sure you align your answers according to your need and how only this institute can fulfil your needs and what make this institute unique in doing that.
- Focus a lot on the unique selling propositions of that particular institute.
- Talk about faculties, course outlines, student activities, batch size, networking opportunities, alum base, etc
- Never talk about placements as placements are just the by-product, business school is much more than just placements. The learning is something that matters and which will transform you as an individual.
- Current Affairs
- Certainly, an important parameter to judge the candidate, current affairs are something that will help you sell even better to the interviewer that this person is updated with the latest happenings and news of the country and the world.
- You must start reading newspapers daily, try to go through different articles and more importantly start developing opinions about the key issues going around you at least in the past 2 months.
- For me, in some of my interviews, I was asked current affairs and in some, I wasn’t. For instance, for MICA, they did check my knowledge about campaigns, brands and my opinions on certain advertisements. Similarly, for my new IIMs, IIM Shillong, NMIMS Mumbai and IMT Ghaziabad interviews, I wasn’t asked current affairs but I was asked questions like to tell us the business model of X company, what can be changed in the model and why?
- Hygiene HR questions
- Basic HR questions will surely be asked in almost all the MBA entrance interviews.
- Prepare at least the following questions before the interview:
- Long term and short term goals
- Strengths and weaknesses
- A time when you showed a leadership quality
- A time when you failed, what did you do and how did it help
- How will you contribute to the institute?
- Why should we select you?
At the end, it is all about how clear you are and how you sell yourself. At the end the panellists are not looking for people who are excellent at each and everything, rather they are looking for people who have the willingness to learn and for whom the institute will be the right fit so that the person can make the most out of it.
Be YOU! Be HUMBLE!
Thank you for reading!!