Monday, May 31, 2010

Cracking MBA interviews

“Why do you want to do an MBA?”

“Tell us something about yourself”

“What are your views about the current Indian cricket team”

“How did Punjab get its name?”

These were some of the opening questions I was asked during my interviews for admission into various top b-schools of the country. As you can see, some are clichéd questions whereas some are a bit off the course and there is no way you can be sure of what you are going to be asked. The best you can do is to be well prepared.

You may come across a lot of experts who tell you different things about how to crack an interview. A lot of the things might be true, but always take them with a pinch of salt. A lot of times their judgement is based on the past experiences of themselves or of others. The experience of others can surely give you a good idea of what can happen but it won’t be what will happen. Once I met a so called expert who told me, “ I will give you the answers to the questions like Why MBA and you just have to put them in your own words and present them.” Frankly this seemed totally absurd to me. In the end it is you who is going to be interviewed and it is you who knows about yourself, about Why you want to do an MBA! Being yourself is of utmost importance in any interview. If you don’t believe in what you are saying, how can you convince someone else about the same?

Confidence is the key when it comes to cracking an interview. Remember that most of the questions that you will be asked in the interview are going to be very basic and generic in nature. So, what the panel looks for is whether you can answer those questions with confidence and conviction. If an interviewee says that he wants to be entrepreneur, the panel invariably asks whether he has any business idea in mind. This counter question is just to check whether you are bluffing or are you actually serious about it. They also know that you won’t be having a fool proof business plan because otherwise what would you be doing there!

The question that gave me sleepless nights was whether or not I will be asked questions regarding my academics. I didn’t have a very good academic background which means less marks in graduation which made me doubt my own capabilities in answering those questions. This has been a query pointed at me by a number of aspirants as well. Again, like I said right at the start, you can never tell what you will be asked. For a fresher, you can generally expect at least a couple of academic questions as lack of work experience takes away one dimension of questions that can be directed at you so the odds increase. But this is not something that should worry you much as the panel more often than not will try to bring the best out of you and if you don’t seem to comfortable with your academics they will shift to other questions and you should try to answer them well.

Generally there is a lot of buzz about stress interviews. This is the case when the interviewer is trying to judge how bad your worst is. In such interviews, always remember, a smile never harmed anyone.

Sometimes the panel can also ask you current affairs or general knowledge questions. These questions are never the make or break questions. Whereas knowing the answers can give you some brownie points for sure, not knowing them will not end it for you. The bulk of your interview will be on the basis of the form that you will be asked to fill. Do take that form seriously as the form in itself won’t matter in your selection but the form is what can drive your interview in a certain direction. Try not to express extreme views as that shows you as being stubborn and less room is there for you to change your answer in the interview if you feel necessary.

A lot of times you can end up being your own interviewer. The questions you will be asked can be the loose ends in your previous answers. This can be to your advantage and also to your disadvantage. So, try not to leave loose ends and if you want it to play to your advantage, be extra careful as it can backfire as well.

All said and done, don’t forget that it is just an interview- One among many you will appear in this “MBA-season” or for that matter in your life. It will be good if you make it but won’t be the end of the world if you don’t. It may just be a blessing in disguise as who knows, You may get much better opportunities in the future.

1 comment:

Dolly said...

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