Before learning to introduce yourself, let’s look at various tips to help you understand yourself better and be more productive and effective.
Tips for understanding yourself
An MBA entrance interview lays a lot of emphasis on your career plans, your interests & hobbies, your strengths/weaknesses, hobbies & interests etc. Knowing yourself will help you to get clear insights with respect to these various dimensions. Further, a management program prepares you for a career where you are required to manage resources efficiently. Knowing yourself will give you valuable insights into your aptitude for managing others. It will allow you to understand how you’re perceived by others, why they respond in that way and how to get the best from them!
Awareness about self is not a sudden one-time enlightenment; it will develop over a period of time with a conscious concentrated effort. It is suggested that you reflect on situations in your personal/professional lives and the outcomes of these events. Keep a journal where you can document critical aspects of your experiences. Analyse your progress towards your goals; compare actual results with your expectations.
It is not enough to be just aware of your strengths & weaknesses. You need to know when to reinforce strengths and avoid situations which bring forth your weaknesses. Situation based conditioning will enhance self-management and bring out the best in you!
Using emotional intelligence (EI)
EI is the ability to monitor and work with your and others’ emotions. It is measured in EQ which is the emotional equivalent of IQ. EI has two aspects: inward facing and outward facing. Inward facing deals with your emotional self-awareness and your ability to manage your own emotions. Outward facing deals with your degree of empathy, or awareness of others’ emotions. Successful application of EI implies that:-
- You are open to the ideas of others and can build and mend relationships with others.
- You are aware of your feelings and act accordingly, articulating ideas so that others can understand them.
Asserting yourself as and when the situation demands, is a huge positive and a desirable trait. The following can serve as building blocks to help you evolve as a more assertive person:
- Make the decision to positively assert yourself.
- Aim for open and honest communication.
- Listen actively.
- Agree to disagree.
- Avoid guilt trips.
- Stay calm.
- Take a problem-solving approach to conflict.
- Practise assertiveness.
- Listen attentively and make notes of the information provided.
- Divide the task into bundle of activities so that the whole team can work together (plan a work breakdown structure).
- Stay focused on the goal and remember team working skills are being tested.
- Try to create an environment where communicating with team mates, taking reasonable risks and actions is possible.
Why does the panel typically ask you to introduce yourself? Why is this question asked and how should I answer it?
The most common way to begin an interview revolves around one simple question: Tell us something about yourself. This question, though seemingly simple, is the one that sets-up the whole interview. An imprecise response here can do irreversible damage, as this question is the window through which you let the panelist into your life and thought processes.
Common mistakes made while answering this question type:
- Majority students are not sure about this question and can never really nail down the details that they would like to share here.
- Majority of the students suffer from the common problem of being too wordy with this answer.
- Students either provide irrelevant details or they provide opinions that are not justified.
How to approach this question type?
In this question, you should ideally form a road map with your background information acting as a guide. Make sure the answer is clear, crisp and concise. In this question, you provide a brief introduction about yourself and your achievements, and you should not list every certificate you have won, every competition you have taken part in, your detailed academic performance and so on. All you need to provide is succinct information about your background, academic performances, and strengths and any important activity that you might be doing at the time. You can also provide a passing reference to your hobbies and activities.
The candidates must answer such a question in a way that it brands them and drops innocuous teasers for the panel to ask subsequent questions. This is the opportunity to lead the interviewer into your comfort zone.