Amitabh Bachchan could go from being a window washer to the chairman of a boardroom without being introspective, but MBA’s have to be. Before we jump in with questions and self-assessments, let’s get one thing upfront and on the table.
Interviewers develop an impression of you in the first few minutes of the meeting, and spend the rest of the interview confirming their initial impression. Therefore, practice, practice and practice some more… This page has all the possible tips on attending interviews for the purpose of joining an MBA program (in top B schools).
What to Expect in an IIM Personal Interview?
The focus of a B-school interview can range from specific questions about your job to broad discussions on life. Approach the interview as a conversation to be enjoyed, not as a question-and-answer ordeal. It may be about your hobbies - your recent cross-country trip. This doesn’t mean that the interviewers are not serious. It just means that you’re being sized up as a person and a future professional in all your dimensions.
Try to be your witty, charming, natural self. Do not try to put on. The interviewers will be able to see your masks through. Students, faculty, admissions personnel and alumni conduct interviews. Don’t dismiss students as the lightweights.
It is important to have a good idea of “What you consider to be your greatest strength, why and what are some examples that show this”, before you go into an interview. Although the interviewer will most likely ask some pointed questions, you may also encounter something as broad as “So, tell me about yourself.” These open ended questions are usually the ones that help you lead the interview.
Either way, you should have in mind what you want to convey about who you are before you go into any interview. Lack of preparation is a common complaint among interviewers, and if you are prepared, you will stand out among your competitors.
First steps on how to approach an interview?
Do your homework!!
Have well thought out answers for questions such as “What are your strengths? Why are you right for that particular business school? Why is that particular program right for you?”
It shows organization and forethought if you know some specifics about the program to which you are applying and can explain why those features fit well with your career goals. For example, if you are applying to the Xavier Labour Relation Institute (XLRI), through some simple research you will discover that they are strong in Human Resource Development. Perhaps, you have worked with a recruitment company or have been a trainer in an institute. Relate these in the interview.
Don’t Waste Time!!
Don’t waste time discussing things that are already indicated on your application. You can elaborate if the topic illustrates something about your character and preparedness for the b-school experience, but do not be redundant.
Remember that the first impression you create is very important. When asked to say “something about yourself”, most candidates just blurt out their schooling, college, marks and qualifications. All this is already there in the application. Why tell the interviewer something he/she already knows. Ideally, you would want to use this opportunity to show how you are different from the thousands of other applicants, not to blend in to the crowd.
A final word on approaching this question. After you have said what you have to say - don’t venture any further. Don’t drone. You just might say something foolish. Sometimes interviewers don’t interrupt in order to give the candidate the impression that he has not spoken enough. This is just a stress/error inducing tactic. Don’t fall for it. If the pause gets too awkward for your liking, just add something like, “Is there something specific that you would like to know about me”