In this article we shall look at a four pronged strategy to appear for the MBA entrance interview. These levels have been created to impart some direction and method to your interview preparation. Each level highlights a different challenge, which needs to be managed strategically. The four level approach also helps you to create a ‘to-do’ list while preparing for this critical round of selection!
Understand your profile, as nobody knows you better than you yourself! Knowing yourself is the starting point. Carefully research the various elements of your profile, covering areas like family background, education, interests & hobbies, career plan, strengths & weaknesses etc.
Based on this profile assessment, design the introduction part in a strategic and sequential manner. Try to prioritize your comfort areas, which may serve as probable points of connect with the panel. Be prepared for an action-reaction mechanism, as whatever you claim is bound to invite a reaction from the panel in the form of discrete questions.
Demonstrate learning ability through concepts & achievements in academic areas. This is highly recommended as the panel is tasked with the responsibility to identify and attract candidates who have a willingness and ability to learn. Your performance in a formal academic set-up strongly validates this particular ability. Understand your academic graph and be prepared to justify any erratic changes in the graph. For example, if you scored very well in class 10th and 12th, but your performance dipped in college, you need to prepare a befitting justification for this. It is also advised that you be ready to answer questions on a particular subject in your graduation, popularly tagged as the ‘favourite subject’. This is important, not just because the panel may ask you to identify one such subject and assess you on it, but also because it may help you to hold the fort in case of an inability to respond to various other questions and gives you an opportunity to direct the panel towards your desirable set of questions. Preparing your projects/papers is also recommended as questions on this part enable the panel to assess your application orientation. Questions on projects typically concern your learning and contribution, in addition to being aware of the profile of the organization/industry where you carried out the project.
Apart from the academic area, be prepared to showcase learning from non-academic and extra-curricular activities, with specific emphasis on accomplishments/versatility.This corroborates your ability to multi-task and connect well with the surrounding environment.
In case of a prior work experience, the following need to be prepared:
- Key learnings
- Specific contributions
- Challenges faced
- Organization/Industry profile with specific reference to market share, market size, competitive scenario, vision/mission/quality policy etc.
Understand the challenges in the ‘Why MBA’ question. This is a tough question as most of the candidates fail to create a differentiator here. Developinga correlation between past, present and future with respect to management pursuit, will help you to prepare a convincing answer. Understanding your short and long term career goals and establishing a strategic fit between goals and management education, will also streamline your answer.
You are also advised to explore the MBA program offerings in a meticulous detail, with specific thrust on the case study methodology, peer group learning, industry interface and integrated approach to different management functions.
Show an overall environmental sensitivity, with particular emphasis on social responsibility of business. Understand the challenges around emotional intelligence as demonstrated through self- awareness, self-regulation, internal motivation, empathy and social skills.
Handle stress interviews and bouncer questions through regular practice and simulations.