A to Z Guide to MBA Interview Preparation

Here is a complete MBA interview prep guide, where we have covered various aspects of B-school interviews and the areas you should know about before appearing for your interviews.
Need of MBA Interview Preparation
Interview forms a crucial part of the selection process of B-schools. Personal interviews are conducted to assess the various traits of a candidate's personality and evaluate their suitability for various MBA programs. Generally, the interview is the last of the screening rounds for MBA/PGDM admissions. So, before you kick-start your MBA interview preparation, you must research and probe the core areas of your personality, academics, experiences, and skills.
Scope of an MBA Interview
Before starting your interview preparation, learn and find out about the following:
  • Why is PI conducted? (purpose of interview)
  • What is the required skill set? What skills you should have?
  • What are evaluators looking for in a candidate? (Commitment/hardwork/passion/knowledge/personal skills)
  • Scope of preparation: Which areas should you prepare?
IMPORTANT AREAS OF MBA INTERVIEWS
To begin with, you must learn about the particular B-school and its MBA/PGDM programmes you aim to go for. This will help you answer questions about your preference for the same. Thereafter, explore the following aspects for an effective MBA interview preparation:
1. Self-Introduction
After learning about the requisite skills and traits, the next step is to prepare for the essentially asked questions. The first and foremost is your introduction. Interviewers often ask questions like ‘Tell me about yourself’ or ‘State your biggest strength and weakness&rsquo.
Ideally, you should identify 3-5 things from any information zone (Personal Information/ Academic/ Behavioural, Hobbies/ extracurricular etc.) where you possess sufficient knowledge, or you are comfortable talking about and would like to highlight.
You should develop an introduction where you can directly/ indirectly pitch them along with some basic personal information.
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2. Personal/ Factual Data
Along with your introduction, you are likely to be enquired about the factual details of your profile. These are generally:
Name Meaning, Surname, City, Parents, Siblings, Something unique in Family, Parents Profession/Family Business, School, College UG/PG if any, Professional Course/CA etc., your current city, native place, State, Any factual personal information mentioned in MBA Application form/essay submitted.
3. Persona-Related /Behavioral Aspects
Once the interview panel has known your factual information, it moves to the behavioural aspect of your personality. The panel tries to gauge your personality traits through certain direct questions. These are based on:
  • Your Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Your goals/dreams - Past, Present & Future
    (Goals can be Short Term/ Long Term, Professional/Personal)
  • Questions like: Why MBA? What does success mean to you? Why not become an entrepreneur?
    If not MBA, then what? (Other alternate careers)
  • Situation-based questions (to check your skills - Leadership/Team Skills/Conflict handling) - your behavioral stand
  • Your Role Model/Inspiration/Dream Job/Company
  • Event/Situation that changed your perspective of life
4. Academic Knowledge
The next set of questions revolves around your academics, as your particular graduate stream. There can be different types of academic questions based on - Pure Academics/ Theory, Practical Aspects of your Course/ Stream/ Specialization (inference zone with commonly available Information), Futuristic/ Industry/ Research/ Business Perspective of your course/ stream/ specialization, etc. Additionally, you may be asked questions related to:
  • Your 3 - 4 favourite subjects (in which you have interest as well as good knowledge)
  • Subjects in which you have scored well
  • Questions to Solve/ Puzzles
  • Your Academic Performance Graph and its variations
  • Projects/Internship/Training
5. Work Experience
In the case of candidates with work experience, questions are asked regarding their job profile at that particular company/organization. These questions are related to the following:
  • Your job profile, projects/ assignments handled, major learning, job changes (if any), things you like/dislike about your work, typical workday, knowledge about your clients/companies, etc.
  • Information about your company, company’s vision, top clients, verticals, sister concerns, products/services offered, turnover, employee strengths, future focus area, etc.
  • Information about your industry, future trends, innovations, basic information about industry market, etc.
6. Choice of MBA Course
You need to be aware of the MBA courses offered by the particular B-school. Questions are often asked regarding your choice or preference for MBA specializations. It is good to acquire some basic knowledge about the institute, its MBA courses, specializations, and placement packages/ campus companies of that particular institute.
You may also be asked questions like how will you add value/contribute to us?
7. Extra-Curricular (Hobbies/ Interests)
After the round of academic questions, you may be asked questions regarding your extra-curricular activities. You may be asked questions like: Why you indulge/engage in particular activity? How it has shaped you? Why not career in it? What is your learning from it?
Further, the panel may want to know your level of engagement in it - amateur/ professional and other relevant peripheral knowledge. If you mention any specific sport, social media, reading, TV, movies, etc., be prepared for questions on its knowledge.
8. Current Events
The interview panel also seeks to check your awareness of current happenings (national and international). You are expected to have a basic knowledge about the Economy (as a subject/ Indian Economy), Socio-Political Economic Issues (Corruption, Poverty, Population, Education, Terrorism, Fundamentalism, etc.), current Issues related to Governmental Policies and other latest Judicial, Environmental, Technological, Religious topics, etc.
Ypu must acquire a broad understanding of India&rsquo's relations with neighbouring countries and crucial international Issues (Environmental, Major issues/conflicts).
9. Thematic/Action-Reaction Situations
Apart from knowledge-based questions, the panel may ask your views on some abstract or controversial topics. Also, you may have to encounter some questions based on your own conflicting answers. Given below is an overview of such themes that interview questions and situations may involve:
  • Views on Ethics/Morality/Values/Principles
  • Cross-questions regarding your conflicting statements/wrong facts
  • Cross-questions on your Bombastic Words/ Technical Jargons/ Knowledge
  • Abstract Topics
  • Conflict among Interviewers
10. Communication Skills
You need to maintain a set of interview etiquette for effective communication in an interview. Given below are the essential aspects of communication skills to keep in mind:
  • Gesticulation (gestures like hand movements)
  • Sitting Style/Posture
  • Pace of Speech
  • Voice Modulation
  • Eye Contact
  • Command over language
FACING SELF-CONFLICT DURING MBA INTERVIEWS
While giving an interview, you often face different kinds of situations regarding your level of knowledge and communication skills. Sometimes, candidates face stressful interviews in top B-schools. A stress interview generally involves unpredictable/pressure/rapid fire round of questions.
It is always good to be prepared for such situations beforehand. Here is an overview of certain situational aspects of an interview.
Question-Answer situations:
  • When you know the answer thoroughly and would like to answer it (organize the ideas well, be prepared for further questions on it)
  • When you know the answer yet you should try to avoid it (unaware of detailed aspects)
  • When you know a little bit and would like to answer (intelligent guess/brief answers)
  • When you know a little bit and would not like to answer (depends on the question)/ask for time if you want to answer
  • When you don’t know anything (admit it humbly)
  • How to start answering and purposely divert from the topic (to get questions from your knowledge area)
  • How to anticipate questions/create situations for expected questions?
  • How to defend your answers? (justify by facts, logic and examples)
  • When to question back for clarification (question not clearly understood)
  • When it is getting confusing, how to get out?
  • How to create a conversation in your favour?
  • When to stop conversing on a specific issue/topic?
  • How to structure your answer using different techniques?
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Additionally, some of these situations test the following parts of your emotional intelligence:
  • Personal Disposition- Honest/Impressive, Humor/Wit
  • Can you create curiosity/emotions (empathy)
  • Your ego state (defending by telling lies)
  • Handling negative comments
  • Accepting Feedback
OTHER FACTORS FOR MBA INTERVIEW PREP
Finally, you must learn about the non-verbal aspects of the interview to give a good first impression to the panel. Know about the following things well before appearing for your interview:
  • Dressing and Appearance
  • Entry/Exit
  • Body Language
  • File/Document to carry
  • Duration of Interview
  • Timing of Interview
FAQs on MBA Interview Preparation
1. How do I clear my MBA interview?
To clear the MBA interview, you need to work on your academics, communication skills, general awareness, and vision.
2. Is interview necessary for MBA?
Yes, the interview stage is a part of MBA admissions of almost all B-schools. It is essential for B-schools to judge a candidate's personality before granting admission. So, you must have a proper MBA interview preparation plan.
3. How much do MBA interviews matter?
Interview performance carries a significant weightage in MBA admissions. While different B-schools allot different weightages to the PI round, most of these assign around 30-60% of the total score to the candidate's interview marks. So, it does impact your chances of getting into the final merit list.
4. How do I know if my MBA interview went well?
If you are called for the interview stage, there is at least a 50% chance of being selected for admission. And the rest 50% is determined by how confidently, honestly, and clearly you answered the interview questions. The panel is more interested in your interpersonal and management skills, rather than mere knowledge.
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