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MBA Interview Strategy & Tips

What is a winning strategy to market yourself in a Personal Interview? / What are the tips for succeeding in a Personal Interview?

Following is a list of parameters upon which you would be evaluated in a Personal Interview (these parameters are accompanied with a list of things you need to keep in mind for scoring well in these areas) :

Winning Tips/Strategy in MBA interviews
  • Introduction:

    This is that part of the interview where you set yourself up. This is where the panel gets a first look and evaluates your personality. The question type in itself is a vast one and you can cover a host of information in this area. You should make sure you mention your positive traits in this section and drop the right hints for the panel to connect with you later in the interview.

  • Education:
    This is the place where you portray your overall learning skills, and demonstrate that you have a well-rounded personality. Academic skills (exhibited by your performance) coupled with extra-curricular and academic activities provide the panel a fair idea about your skills. Academic learning is checked with the help of your subject knowledge, and panels frequently pose questions from your favorite subjects to check your sincerity. Technical training and projects also become a probable source for questions. Your knowledge is co-related with your performance, and this gives the panel a fair idea about your learning levels. Extra-curricular activities are evaluated on the basis of their nature, relevance and level of achievement. Performance in competitions is a further proof of your passion.
  • Current Affairs:
    Questions on current affairs can become an Achilles heel for many students. These questions act as check of your knowledge, awareness and ability to process current information and environments. To successfully operate in any condition you need to have knowhow of the changing business and political scenarios, and knowledge in areas such as political, economic, business and socio-cultural is required.

  • Career Planning:
    What the panel is evaluating here is your “time bound plan” and it is extremely vital that you provide a clear and logical guide for your future plans. The important consideration here is that you should not appear to be too over-ambitious in your plans and you should strike a balance between being practical and ambitious. You can always state that you wish to start a business but if you have no inkling of what you are going to do or you do not have any basic plan to back up your claims, this kind of a statement can be hard to justify in an interview. You can always say that you wish to be the CEO of a company but then you need to have a defined career path to justify the same. Making tall claims requires a lot of backing and you would do well to keep a humble profile that can be justified easily. The focus, while discussing your long term plans, should always be on the skills you wish to learn rather than the posts and positions that you want to occupy.
  • Personality Assessment Questions:
    Interviews often feature questions on areas such as strengths, weaknesses, role-models etc. These self-assessment questions are based on your “self-awareness levels” and the degree to which you know your own self. If you know yourself well enough and have enough time figuring out the intricacies of your personality, you would have no difficulty in providing examples for your strengths and detailing your weaknesses and how you could overcome them. Each of these questions requires self-evaluation, and you should make sure you undertake this at the right moment so that you can prepare adequately.

What are the popular “Do’s” in a Personal Interview?

Do's in an interview
  • Use a strong voice, clear diction and correct grammar.
  • Make sure your personal appearance is prim and proper, and you dress appropriately.
  • In case of a handshake with the panelists, make sure it is a firm one.
  • Establish eye contact with the interviewer but do not state at him.
  • Do equip yourself with sufficient knowledge about the B-school you are seeking admission to.
  • Do take criticism gracefully.
  • Do equip yourself with a strong knowledge of the company (in case of prior work experience).
  • Do display a sense of wit as and when possible.
  • Do exhibit a mixture of self-confidence, grace and poise.
  • Do take sufficient time to think before answering tricky questions and do not be rushed into your answers.
  • Do make concrete goals in planning for your career.
  • Do demonstrate sufficient grasp of the key graduation concepts.
  • Do have sufficient knowledge of your key projects & papers.
  • Do support your answers with examples, wherever possible.
  • Do present yourself as a multi rounded personality with ability to learn from both academic and extracurricular activities.

What are the popular “Don’ts” in a personal interview?

Don't's in an interview
  • Don't be arrogant, overaggressive or vain.
  • Don't show a lack of attention or energy.
  • Don't make excuses for adverse conditions in your record, such as below average marks.
  • Don't condemn past institutions of education; keep comments positive.
  • Don't display a noticeable aversion for schoolwork.
  • Don't be uncertain and indecisive in your thoughts.
  • Don't display prejudice or bias.
  • Don't be late and make sure you are on time for the interview.
  • Don't contradict your own answers.
  • Don't glorify experiences dating back to formative years of schooling.
  • Don't forget: You are the who provides content to the interview, and you have control over what you are sharing with the interviwer.
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