MBA Interview: Do’s and Don’ts

15 Do's in an MBA Interview
Interview forms the final stage of MBA admission process. Given below are the crucial things to keep in mind while appearing for an interview:
  • Make sure your personal appearance is prim and proper, and you dress appropriately. Your dress will cast the first impression on the panel. A candidate formally dressed up for the occasion demonstrates commitment to task and adherence to situational requirements.
  • In case of a handshake with the panellists, make sure it is a firm one. Your hand has to be extended in a proper and confident manner. Giving your hand in a loose and languid manner is indicative of low confidence or indifference. On the other side, too much enthusiasm may lead to crushing the hand of the panellist. Try to strike a balance.
  • Establish eye contact with the interviewer but do not stare at him. Eye contact is reflective of acknowledgement. Ensure that you look at all present, but spread the eye contact judiciously to cater to the panellist who initiates a question.
  • Use a strong voice, clear diction and correct grammar.This creates a favourable impression on the panel and supports your ability to express yourself.
  • Do equip yourself with sufficient knowledge about the B-school you are seeking admission to. This is important for you to understand the environment you aspire to be a part of. Further, it helps in answering questions where you need to give specific references to the pedagogy and practices of the B-school.
  • Do take criticism gracefully and display a sense of wit as and when possible. This projects you as a person willing to learn from mistakes.
  • Do take sufficient time to think before answering tricky questions and do not be rushed into your answers. Rushing impulsively into the answering bit may lead to a random treatment of the answer, which indicates lack of prioritization and planning.
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  • Do state concrete goals in planning for your career. The panel appreciates a time bound plan with clear milestones in the professional advancement of your career path. Also try to establish a positive correlation between career goals and your MBA pursuit.
  • Do demonstrate sufficient grasp of the key graduation concepts. This convinces the panel of your learning abilities in a formal academic system, which is a highly desirable trait.
  • Do have sufficient knowledge of your key projects & papers. This illustrates your application orientation and empirical understanding of core concepts.
  • Do support your answers with examples, wherever possible. This reflects an ability to apply theory into practice and is demonstrative of your clarity of thought.
  • Do present yourself as a multi rounded personality with ability to learn from both academic and extracurricular activities. This puts you on a strong pedestal with respect to ability to learn from sources other than academics as well.
  • Have a back up for various claims made during the interaction. It is important to showcase an ability to take responsibility for your actions.
  • Try leading the panel into your comfort areas and try holding the panel there for a while. This demonstrates your initiative and leadership skills.
  • Thank the panel at the end and walk out with as much grace as you walked in! The closure is as important as the start. This is an effort to create a positive impact on the panel for one last time.
15 Don’ts in an MBA Interview
Generally, interview forms the last stage of MBA admission process. The interviewers tend to check your personality traits and suitability for the MBA programme in their institute. There are certain things you should avoid so as to make a good impression in your personal interview.
  • Don't be late; make sure you are on time for the interview. Punctuality is indicative of your time management skills- one of the core skills for professional managerial competence!
  • Don’t walk in with the file held in awkward ways. Treat the file like an inclined plane and avoid holding it parallel or perpendicular to the plane of the body. A parallel configuration indicates outright vulnerability and a perpendicular one comes across as being too defensive or possessive.
  • Don't be arrogant, overaggressive or vain. Arrogance is demonstrative of negative attitude; over-aggression is reflective of restlessness and anxiety, while being vain is indicative of lack of focus and clarity.
  • Don't show a lack of attention or energy. Energy is the capacity for work and you need to show high levels of energy and initiative.
  • Don't make excuses for adverse conditions in your record, such as below average marks. This shows that you are shirking responsibility and you don’t take responsibility for your actions.
  • Don't condemn past institutions of education; keep comments positive. Blaming the academic system or any organization is an ethical infringement.
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  • Don't be uncertain and indecisive in your thoughts. The panel tries to create situations to assess your decision making skills. You are required to demonstrate clarity of thought and sharp focus.
  • Don't glorify experiences dating back to formative years of schooling. This may seem redundant as the panel is more concerned about your recent most accomplishments and engagements, which are more probable to extrapolate your ability to contribute.
  • Don't contradict your own answers. This may indicate that you tend to buckle under stress.
  • Don’t show a visible irritation in case you don’t know the answer to a question. Please appreciate that not knowing the answer to a question is not criminal. Reeling under guilt will only dampen your performance with respect to subsequent questions.
  • Don’t hold the panel at points which require a quick exit. This will only drag you deeper into the mire. Plan an appropriate exit strategy based on area of comfort.
  • Don’t get into unnecessary arguments. Remember that you have limited time to market yourself. The time which you waste in inappropriate arguments will only add to the opportunity cost.
  • Don’t be judgemental about your own performance during the interview process. You need to interact with an open mind and being continuously investigative about your performance may adversely affect your efforts.
  • Don’t blame your parents for career choices made by you. This may be seen as a gross violation of basic ethics/values.
  • Don’t make comments which are politically and religiously sensitive. This may project you as a biased and classist person with dogmatic stands. Further, you don’t know the stand of the panellist on these issues. Hence it is advised to not get into these domains.