Introduction to MBA Interviews

Interviews form an integral part of any selection process of an MBA college. They allow the panelists to assess a candidate - ascertaining his/her job fitment - so that they find the right and apt bunch of people in their MBA batch. This article will introduce you to a broad overview of interviews conducted by MBA colleges. 
Interview Format
An interview can have almost any format. You can either have a single interviewer, a panel of interviewers or have a candidate complete multiple rounds of interviews with different individuals. Each format has its pros and cons.
Individual Interview
The individual interview comprises of a candidate with one single interviewer.
An individual interview allows a more in-depth conversation with the candidate, allowing the interviewer to assess the candidate in a much better manner. The interviewer is able to have more prolonged and deeper conversation through such an interview; and thus gain more insights into the candidate's abilities and skills.
The negatives of an individual interview are that there is just one person evaluating a candidate. This person might not be the only person that the candidate might have to work with, and other members might not be able to know much about the candidate. Moreover, the interviewee is susceptible to personal biases of a single interviewer.
Group Interview
Group interviews consist of a panel of interviewers – more than one – interviewing the candidate. This format of interview is widely prevalent in b-school admission process, especially in IIMs.
Contrary to individual interviews, group interviews allow more than one interviewer to ask questions to the candidate. This allows questioning by multiple people from diverse fields, who can thus evaluate the candidate in a more holistic and unbiased manner and assess his/her fit in the respective MBA program.
On the flip-side, a group interview involves multiple multifaceted parties to a conversation and may end up in a confused assortment of ideas and opinions. Unlike an individual interview, it lacks in-depth one-to-one dialogue resulting in a divided and diluted analysis of a candidature.
Multiple Rounds Interview
In this format, you can have multiple rounds of one-to-one interviews.
The advantage of this approach is that you get to assess a candidate through multiple one-to-one rounds of interviews, with different panelists. This allows each panelist to thoroughly assess the candidate from different perspectives, such as technical soundness, intellectual creativity or social attitude, with in-depth conversations.
However, multiple rounds lead to slowing down the interview process, since the candidate has to go through multiple rounds of interviews with different sets of people.
What is a "Business School Interview"? Why at all Interview is conducted?
Scoring well in the entrance test is only winning half the battle and you now need to shift your attention to the next step of admission, which is GD /WAT and Personal Interviews, with the selection panels. This component of the admission procedure is aimed at personality evaluation with the objective of assessing the interviewee's suitability for admissions. A personal interview is the B-school’s attempt at knowing the candidate as a person and assessing the various traits of his personality. Most of the management institutes conduct an interview prior to accepting an applicant into an MBA program. 
Candidates are tested on parameters like initiative, team skills, task orientation, willingness to learn, leadership capabilities, goal clarity and stress management. An interview, though nerve wracking for many candidates, is also an opportunity for the candidate to express himself and prove that he is worthy of admission into the program. It is essentially conducted to determine whether the candidate is the right fit for the program.
What are the evaluators looking for in an MBA Interview? (A to Z of Interview Evaluation)
  • Attitude , Approach, Attention, Application of Theory to Practice
  • Body language, Behaviour
  • Confidence, Clarity of thoughts, Career plan, Curiosity, Consistency
  • Determination, Discipline and Dedication.
  • Enthusiasm, Eagerness, Energy, Ethics.
  • Focus, Family background.
  • Goal orientation, General awareness.
  • Humor, Humility, Hard work.
  • Interaction, Initiative.
  • Judging skills.
  • Knowledge, Killer instincts.
  • Listening skills.
  • Motivation.
  • Neatness, News
  • Openness to ideas, Opinions, Optimism.
  • Presence of mind, People skills, Planning and Preparation, Personality.
  • Quantitative skills.
  • Reasoning Ability.
  • Seriousness, Skills -communication, listening, team, quantitative, people.
  • Team skills, Time management.
  • Uniqueness.
  • Versatility, Value for values.
  • Weaknesses
  • Xcellence
  • Yearn for achievement(s).
  • Zest for excellence. 
    .........Believe in yourself!
How to prepare for an MBA interview?
MBA interviews include questions regarding the candidate's most recent academic profile, his work experience, general awareness, his career, extracurricular activities and achievements. They may also include questions related to the candidate's reason for doing MBA, about his dream MBA institute, his long term career goals etc. The panel does not expect you to know everything you are asked in an interview, so be honest. Treat the interview as a conversation rather than making it a question-answer affair. The interview is about how the candidate communicates and responds to pressure situations, so it is important to stay calm and composed.
As an interview is an opportunity to highlight yourself, so make sure you know your unique value proposition and are able to talk about it in the interview. Your performance in the interview determines your chances of selection to a large extent. So spend a lot of time and effort on your MBA interview preparation and do not make the mistake of considering it a formality in the selection process.
To know what exactly is a Group Discussion, Click here.
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