Personal Interview (PI) is one of the predominant and strenuous MBA admission round. The business schools take into consideration a lot of components before shortlisting and inviting the candidates to participate in the MBA personal interview round. The management aspirants are shortlisted on the basis of their score/percentile of MBA entrance test, academic record, work experience (if any), gender diversity and other attributes, which vary for the management colleges. The personal interview is generally the last and deciding stage of the admission process. When MBA personal interviews play such an important role, How to prepare for an MBA PI?
To ace the MBA personal interview round, the candidates should prepare well. Though it is very difficult to draw an idea about the questions which the interviewer may ask in the MBA PI, however, there are some common questions which the candidates can prepare. Along with it, there are some do’s and don’ts for a personal interview that can be adhered to by the candidates.
We are listing some of the most beneficial MBA personal interview preparation tips here. The candidates preparing for the personal interviews of the business schools can follow these tips to succeed in this management course admission round.
What happens in a Personal Interview?
Three-four panelists question you on your academics, work experience, current affairs, social issues etc. They also ask about your personality, your native place along with some out of the box questions.
The personal interview lasts for around 10 to 20 minutes.
Apart from the one to one session, the PI round may also include some other activities like group exercises, Writing tests, Extempore speech and psychometric test
Tips & Tricks for MBA Personal Interview
Prepare some Common MBA PI Questions
Every MBA Personal Interview includes some basic and compulsory questions. So, it is advised that you must prepare such questions beforehand. Given below are some of the frequently asked MBA PI questions for you to prepare answers for:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why do you want to pursue an MBA degree?
- Why are you interested in this school/program?
Brush Up On Your Academics
Many times, the MBA interview panelists ask to solve an equation, draw a graph or state a formula. You, as a candidate, must revisit some important concepts from your academic background. Special attention must be given to the topics that are linked with your desired MBA specialization.
Revisit your Work Experience
If you have prior work experience, then expect some MBA PI questions directed towards it. Be well aware of your role, the corporate jargons used in your domain and the entire chain of systems. Since you already have some work experience, the panelists of MBA PI would expect some quality answers from you.
Undergo SWOT Analysis
Often during the MBA personal Interview, the panelists inquire about your strengths and weaknesses. Hence, you should go for a SWOT analysis and rehearse an answer for it. You must be able to highlight your strengths without sounding over-confident. Similarly, you just have to state your weakness and turn the conversation towards a positive note.
Make sure you dress appropriately and smartly for the MBA Personal Interview round. Remember, the first impression is the most crucial. Given below are pointers for the dress code you should follow:
The usual dress code is formal shirts, trousers, and shoes. A formal tie is also the general norm in the interviews and should be worn for the occasion.
For ladies, the usual dress code is a salwar suit or a sari with suitable formal footwear. A formal skirt or a business suit may also be worn.
Know Your Interests & Hobbies
During the Personal Interview round for MBA admission, panelists often inquire about your interests and hobbies. Make sure you give genuine answers since there is a chance that you would be counter-questioned on it.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
During the interview, the panelists tend to check your aptitude and awareness. So, you must keep yourself updated with the recent events from all domains. Watch the news, especially business-related, read the newspaper, blogs etc. to gather as much information as you can.
Have a Positive Outlook
It is crucial for you to have a positive outlook throughout the MBA Personal Interview. While mentioning any negative points like your weaknesses, issues/challenges faced by you, make sure you turn the conversation towards the positive side.
Do’s & Don’ts for Personal Interview
Go through all the Do’s and Don’ts for the interview and make sure you adhere to it during the MBA personal interview process. These are key factors that hold the power to make or break your interview round.
It is common for an MBA interview candidate to feel nervous and under pressure. Many times, this gets reflected on the answers as well. Hence, it is advised to think for a minute before answering any question. You would not want to ramble any answer or stick in between while answering.
Talk to people to gain more insights
The best way to ace an MBA PI is to learn from those who have the experience of it. Interacting with people who have already cleared MBA interviews would help you prepare for it better. Some of the questions that you can ask from them to develop a vague picture of the interview are given below:
- Questions and the answers that were asked
- What the interviewer expected
- The candidate’s behavior
- The atmosphere of the interview
Be Careful of your Body Language
Body language is as important as verbal communication. During the MBA interview round, you are constantly watched. So, it is advised that you remember the following points:
- Remain upright when you sit, walk or stand
- Keep a neutral expression
- Don’t clench your fist or teeth
- When speaking, lean slightly forward to say you are involved in the conversation
- Do not rest your hands on the table
Ask Rational Questions
During the end of the personal interview round of MBA admission, the panelists ask if the candidate has certain questions for them. Make sure you ask intelligent questions. They must be inclined with your goals and related to MBA in general. Do not ask questions whose answers are easily available in their prospectus or the web.
Don’t Bluff or Lie
During an MBA interview round, the panelists prefer those candidates who keep their answers short, simple and straight. They do not like candidates who either lie or beat around the bush. Lying during the interview will trap you in your own web and you will lose the credit you earned through the interview process.
It is crucial for a candidate to not act like someone else during the interview. You must believe that you are unique and special. Just be yourself. The panelists can easily see through your imitation and would reject you instantly.
Importance of MBA Personal Interview
The Personal Interview is the most important part of the selection process. It carries high weightage in a range of 30-50%. Immediately after completion of your written exam, it is important to practice your interview skills.
Remember, If you don't get the minimum score in the personal interview round, you will not be considered for selection even if you have a very high score on the written test.
Sunstone is a leading higher education service provider that works with academic institutions in up-skilling students for employability. Sunstone offers career oriented training interventions for undergraduate and postgraduate students at 30+ institutions across 25 cities.
Sunstone’s training programs are industry endorsed to enhance employability. These programs are designed for hybrid delivery with unparalleled focus on soft skills and personality development. Sunstone’s focus is to provide students with holistic educational experience.