How to Answer Personal Interview Questions for MBA?

  • By Christy J. Varghese
  • 9 January 2020
How to Answer Personal Interview Questions for MBA?

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Wondering what common MBA personal interview questions, you can be asked during the PI round of your dream B school? The PI round is the last rung of the long and challenging admission process to any top management institute. The MBA personal interview questions are set to test the various abilities of the candidate. Even though the PI round does not hold a veto on getting you into the B school, but it sure does have the power to get you rejected. Therefore, it is important that you plan and strategise for the upcoming interview and rehearse the answers. 

Before jumping to the commonly asked MBA Personal Interview questions, we must think about ‘why is the interviewer asking that question?’. The secret to cracking a GD/PI is to think about what purpose is the interviewer solving by asking that particular question may change our approach of answering that particular question. The Personal Interview questions are designed in such a way as to test the presentation skills and confidence of the candidate. You must make sure that you are clear about what kind of personality you want to showcase to the interviewing panel. 

What is an MBA personal Interview?

A personal interview, commonly known as a PI round is a face-to-face interpersonal round in which either a single person, the interviewer, or a group of people, a panel conducts the interview.

The selection procedure at B-Schools includes the personal interview round to check the candidate’s verbal ability, interpersonal skills as well as the presence of mind. However, management entrance exams and group discussion rounds do not divulge the personality traits of any candidate.

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Top MBA Personal Interview Questions

Before any personal interview of a B school, you must have submitted the complete information concerning your background This information would include your academic and profession background, entrance exam scores, MBA essay questions and recommendation letters. It is vital that you revise your profile before going for the MBA personal interview. 

1. Tell me About Yourself?

This is one of the first and most common personal interview questions. Many students are taken aback by this question and start thinking ‘what does the interview want to hear?’, ‘what can I answer that could increase my chances of getting selected?’, ‘Why is he/she asking me that, isn’t all this information already mentioned in my profile?’. Many believe that interviewers put forth this question to throw the candidate off, and to observe how the candidate reacts to an unexpected question. I believe why interviewers ask this question is to see what is important to you in your background, what learnings and experiences you hold in value. 

Go over your background briefly, but state only those instances where you can also specify what you learnt from them. We will give you a formula that will help you answer any ‘tell me about yourself’ question. The formula is: -

  1. Summary of experience + adjectives used to describe yourself
  2. List of accomplishments + proof of performance
  3. How you are fit for an MBA/PGDM or the B school. 

For e.g. “Hi I am Akash, a hard-working computer science engineer, who is good at math.  I have done my schooling and graduation from Bangalore. Belonging to a middle-class family, both my parents were working, and so I got a lot of unrestricted time with the computer. This is perhaps where my love for Computer sciences grew and my mother being a mathematics teacher is where my interest in maths grew. Even though I love working with technology I always wanted to have my own venture in IT, and that is why I am looking at a management degree”.

2. Why is there a gap year?

If you have a gap year, it is highly probable that the interviewer may ask you a question based on the gap. The interviewer wants to know how you spent that time, and how you made most of an experience that was clearly not as per your wishes. All the interviewer wants to know is how you made most of the gap. You can list the new things you learnt, it could be extracurricular, or maybe some volunteering work that you may have done. Don’t be scared of this question, there is only one golden rule - “Learn from Leisure”. If you gathered work experience during that time, specify that in your answer. 

Also read: 10 Frequently asked MBA interview questions

3. Why have you not taken part in extracurricular activities?

The youngsters of our country often encounter such instances and elders who are constantly telling us “ do not waste time playing, go finish your homework”, or  “you should use your time wisely, read a book or go study”. This has resulted in a lot of youngsters with a great ability to rote learn and regurgitate the same information on a piece of paper. The children were rarely pushed towards learning a new sport or activity. As a result, many students face the dilemma of answering the MBA personal interview question of “why have you not been part of any co-curricular activities”?. To answer this just state what you do in your free time like maybe you are a more indoor person and prefer reading a book rather than going out. 

4. Why do you want to pursue an MBA?

To answer this particular MBA interview question, you must do a little research about the course and tap into the reasons of why you want to do an MBA. Do not state monetary reasons like high chances of a good pay package. Instead, try to answer this question you may follow any of the two techniques: 

  1. Growth approach - here you can answer in terms of how the program will help you grow into a better professional. State that a person who is better qualified for the role will be more effective for any organisation. 

2. The Human factor Approach: If you choose to take this approach, your underlying main point will be that ‘ Technology alone cannot run a business’. State that the human factor and the interference of humans is necessary for the organisation and it cannot run on the strength of the product alone. 

Mention that you want to learn the skills one needs to manage, control, sell and deliver any business to its highest point.

5. Why do you want to join this particular college?

This MBA personal Interview question is designed to test your knowledge about the B school or university. The interviewer is trying to gauge what motivates you through your answer. Therefore, have an honest answer ready, clearly stating your reasons for applying to this particular B school in the first place. 

Advanced Tips & Tricks for an MBA Personal Interview

  1. Be brief: while stating something about yourself, avoid going on and on about yourself. Try to not exceed any answer beyond 3-4 minutes. But be careful to not give the interviewer the impression that you are rushing through your answer. 
  2. Rehearse your answer in front of a mirror or ask friends/family to take your mock interview. 
  3. Never lie about your background or any information you have put in your personal information. 
  4. Take time to think about the answer and don’t get thrown off by the question, use humour.  
  5. Dress appropriately, have a positive attitude and a smiling face. 
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About Sunstone 

Sunstone is a leading higher education service provider that works with academic institutions in up-skilling students to boost their employability. With an aim to contribute to a future-ready workforce across diverse domains who possess practical skills, Sunstone gives students an immersive opportunity to work with industry leaders on live projects and internships.

Sunstone is committed to democratising opportunities and helping higher education aspirants achieve the future they envision by connecting learning and career growth with better opportunities through a fluid skill-development experience. Sunstone’s training programs are designed for hybrid delivery with an unparalleled focus on soft skills and personality development. 

Currently, Sunstone offers career-oriented training interventions for undergraduate and postgraduate students at 30+ institutions across 25 cities.

Related posts:
  1. MBA interview tips: Do’s & Don’ts for MBA personal interview
  2. 10 management skills to boost employability
  3. How to choose the right MBA specialisation
  4. A guide to choosing the right B school
  5. Frequently asked MBA interview questions

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