Interview Experience and a word of advice which almost never fails by Pulkit Singhal – MDI Gurgaon student (98.7%iler)

Interview Tips by Pulkit Singhal, MDI Alumnus

I wanted to share my interview experience with future aspirants and I hope it will help you in converting your B-school calls. I am writing this specifically for freshers with a non-engineering background. I am going to tell you about my interview experience at MDI and my CAP interview as it also covers most of the questions asked in my other interviews as well.  

I’ll start by giving a little bit of background about myself. I am currently pursuing my MBA in Human Resources at MDI. I have done my under graduation in business economics from Delhi University. I had 98.7 percentile in CAT 2020 and had calls from MDI, CAP, IIM Rohtak, IMT among other B-Schools. I didn’t get calls from old IIMs because of my low grades in high school. I converted almost every college and joined MDI at last.  

So, my first interview was for the B-schools covered under CAP. It was a rather interesting experience for me. It was a panel of two. I knew from my mock interviews that how you start is very important in these interviews because you can have a chance to guide your interview from there. And telling about yourself would be a good way to do that, right? And two participants before me told me that they are starting with the introduction only so I was a bit relaxed as I had a crisp answer prepared for that. 

The first line to come out of one of the panelist’s mouth was, that since you are from an economics background, tell me what the Chicago school of thought is? I got surprised by that question and couldn’t answer. I politely said that I cannot recall at this moment. In hindsight, I should have asked for some time to collect my thoughts at that time since I knew the answer but the suddenness of that question took me by surprise. You all could imagine what would have gone in my mind at that moment. But the important thing at that time was to maintain your composure, and luckily, I did that. I was able to answer questions on other stuff like inflation and some other basic concepts of economics after that first blip. Then, they asked me about my hobbies and asked me some questions on cricket and football. It went nice up till that point and then they asked me the dreaded question of WHY MBA. I always knew this was going to come up at some point but since it was my first big interview, I still got cold feet and started mumbling as I could not remember the answer I had practiced so many times. I said what I could and after that, they just asked me to just tell them that why should they pick me over others and I guess I was able to give a convincing answer on that as I converted almost every B-school covered under CAP. I linked that answer to my background in economics, my weight loss journey (which showed my perseverance), and my future ambitions. It was a short 45-50 seconds answer which I had made up at that point only since I wasn’t particularly expecting that question. The key takeaway I want you to take from this for your CAP interview especially is that it was overall a very well-rounded interview where various things about me were covered like my academic background, my personal interests, my family background, my interest in MBA, etc. and be calm and keep your composure even during some questions which are tough for you. Remember to politely say you don’t remember and always practice your answers well.

Now, if I come to my MDI interview, it was somewhat different than other interviews. It had a panel of two as well and one of them was an Economics professor I was told by some students at the time of the interview process. So, I was a bit nervous at that time, and to top it off, I was last in my panel to give the interview and had to wait almost four hours after the GD. The GD didn’t go well for my group and I was surprised that the whole batch wasn’t thrown out. Anyway, coming to my Interview, the interviewers were very friendly and made me feel at home by asking me what I was doing all those 3-4 hours before my interview. I just told them that I was stress eating and they started laughing, but in a very friendly way and asked me what I was eating, so it was all in good spirit. 

After that, my interview started and the first 10 minutes of my interview were all about my family. What my parents do, what my siblings do and some follow-up questions on that, and luckily, I was able to answer those, and I can tell you some of those were not straightforward. One of my sisters is an MBA from FMS and my other sister was a GST inspector at that time and they asked me about some pitfalls about GST among other questions related to my sisters. They also asked me about my father’s business and asked how could I scale it up. I was able to answer most of the questions about my family and then they asked me what subject I like so they could ask me questions from that subject. I said economics and they asked me microeconomics or macroeconomics and I stupidly said both. They asked me to define economics and that is where I guess I impressed them by not giving them a textbook answer but by relating economics with tea and biscuits that were on the table in front of me, sounds crazy right. They started smiling and asked me a funny question about if I can relate economics with morning walks. And somehow, I did and they started laughing. I gained a bit of confidence at that point and answered questions on multiplier and economies of scale. It ended with a discussion on inflation or rather a debate on it but I stood my point of view even though I was partially wrong and they asked me to leave.

Key takeaways you could take from this is you should know in detail about your father’s job or business and your other family members. The most important thing I realised was in every interview, there were questions about my under-graduation stream which was economics. Every fresher should brush up the basics about at least two subjects like accountancy (especially if you are a B. Com) or Economics or even some basic management theories as I got to know from my friends that they ask that as well sometimes. (It is maybe the most important thing for freshers as answering questions on that front will give you immense confidence as the interviewer expects you to answer the questions on the subject you chose).  And a bit of humor in the interview wouldn’t hurt you as long as you don’t become brash and cocky.  

Just to reiterate what I just said, you should prepare a good but short introduction, talk passionately about your interests if asked, keep a smiling face (the toughest thing to do in an interview), and know about your family in detail especially if you are a fresher as interviewers don’t have a lot to ask from apart from your academic background for which you should prepare one or two subjects thoroughly.

I hope this will help you in your interview preparation. 

Lots of luck

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