Plan the route for your interview! How to prepare for a good interview
Plan the route for your interview!
The secret of acing an interview is to stop believing in Luck and start believing in Yourself
Often when students are preparing for their exam, they tend to take a long break after the exam is over, but the real preparation begins post the exam. Yes, you read it right. After the exam is done, the next step is to do an analysis of the exam. If it is tough for you, it is tough for everyone (provided you were well prepared for the cat to bell). Well the work is done on your part by giving the examination. But the next step to follow from the preparation guide is to prepare for GDPI rounds as it is this round that will really determine your selection to your desired B-school.
In case of GD, you cannot be sure of the topic; it could be from anywhere. There are various disciplines the topic can be chosen from- social sciences, environmental issues, gender issues, economic decision- making, etc. This is unlike in PI, where there is some element of predictability in the type of questions asked.
In this article I propose to share the common entrance interview questions that you need to be prepared for. I would suggest keep answers to these questions ready but make sure the answers don’t sound too rehearsed to the interviewers. Try to remain calm, confident and natural. The personal interview may not be so intimidating after all. Here’s how you can triumph!
What does the panel expect from you?
You are definitely not expected to know all the answers to their questions (definitely not the one where they ask you to tell their birthday for sure) but what is expected from you is whether you possess clarity in your words and your thoughts on all your accomplishments till date. There needs to be a blend of both logic and the zeal to get into the B-school.
Do your homework now
Introduce yourself can have questions like: Tell me something about yourself. Tell me something about yourself which is not there in the CV. What is the meaning of your name? Does it suit you?
Yes the meaning of your name is asked in the interview at times, especially if you have a unique name.
Family Background is asked with questions like: Mention some role models in your family. Also, what role did your family members play in your academic career? How do your friends perceive you?
Questions relating to your native place:
In case you have a migration history, questions pertaining could be like: what is your native place? Compare your native place with the present place you are staying? What is your native place famous for? (Eg: if you are from Ahmedabad, what is it famous for? – IIM A of course, but it is famous for cotton textiles too) Mention some place of tourist attraction around your native place (e.g. if you are from Mumbai, it has attractions like: Siddhivinayak temple, Gateway of India, etc.)
In a nutshell, make sure you are well versed with the various aspects of your native place, be it historical, political, industrial, geographical or any other aspect.
Questions relating to your academic background:
For a fresher, this section of the interview process is marked with with questions like: What do you think is the most significant learning from your school/college? If there is a drop in the percentage, reasons for the same can raise questions; favourite subject and the reason for the same can be asked; an unforgettable incident from school/college, etc. can be asked.
‘Why MBA?’ is a question that you need to be prepared for.
With a question like ‘why MBA?’, the next move is towards career and goals:
Why this institute (You need to know what that institute is known for) What are your career goals; where do you see yourself five years from now; how will an MBA help you achieve your career goal.
Why did you select finance/marketing/operations/human resource as a career (make sure you are well aware why specifically you choose one option over other.) Additionally, make sure you know the reason for why you are suited for a career in a given profile. For example, one can expect a question asking a candidate to demonstrate how he/ she would sell something (in case he/she wants to build a career in marketing).
Having understood career goals, the next question that can probably be raised is based on skills and suitability. Probable questions that one needs to be prepared for could be:
What do you think are the skills/qualities required for an MBA? Which of those qualities/skills you have? What is your dream job/organization? Mention some significant learning from your work life so far (in case you hold work experience).
Questions on achievements and failures:
Mention one incident that has radically changed your approach to life (positive/negative).
Describe your achievements/ disappointments.
Describe your success /stepping stones.
Strengths and weaknesses
Whether it is any B-school or campus placement, knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses is a must and answers for the same should be ready. For example: how do you deal with your weaknesses; tell an instance where you have exhibited your strengths; mention the strengths which are relevant for your MBA; give an example where your weakness came in the way of your achieving the desired results.
The next segment, where the questions can can come from relate to one’s hobbies and interests:
Participation in extra-curricular activities and hobbies show that you know how to strike a balance between work and fun and recognize the fact that learning can come from means other than textbooks.
Additionally, one also needs to brush up one’s knowledge of the hobby itself. The reason why I say so is because knowledge about the technicalities of the field shows a strong passion for the field.
For e.g. when I was asked about my interests in one of my placement interviews, I made sure that I convinced the panellist that I don’t just watch random videos on YouTube, but quality content related to politics and economy. Questions on the same were asked further and I made sure I was well versed with the current political arena globally to justify my hobby. Surprisingly the interview lasted longer than expected with affirmations on my selection for the desired profile. In addition, in one of my other interviews, I was asked about my opinion on Ram Mandir (until then, the verdict was not out) and my response did justify my knowledge of the issue. The same should be in your case too. You should be able to justify your selection in your desired B-schools and also placements for your desired organization in future.
Additionally, be prepared to talk about any achievements in your hobby like awards won or participation in competitions.
Questions based on assumptions:
Assume there is one seat left and there are 15 candidates, why should you be chosen over other 14 candidates?
If you are not selected, what will you do?
If you are applying for operations stream, how will you improve the supply chain management?
Additionally, one of the candidates was asked to speak on Kingfisher. (Back then, Kingfisher Airlines was in news.) Rather than speaking on it, the candidate chose to speak on the bird that worked wonderfully for her.
In the next blog, we would discuss some additional tips to keep in mind before walking to the interview room.