So, have you aced the test that your dream MBA program needs as a pre-req? Be it GMAT, GRE, CAT or any other entrance exam, universities use it as a means to filter out the masses. However, the test score isn’t all they look at, it’s usually only the first round. And there are several things that come afterwards like application essays, recommendation letters, SOPs and finally, an interview. While all the other components act as stepping stones, the interview is the final deal because it is what seals your admission. So, how to ace the MBA interview? And, what are the questions asked in an MBA interview? This 5-minute read might be what makes or breaks your dream business school interview, so stay focused.
With this devastating pandemic affecting the entire world, interviews in the country have moved online and well, if you’re applying to a B-school abroad, your only way is through a screen anyway. So, here are 4+4 tips to breeze your way through the MBA interview, and leave a lasting impression on the interviewer.
- Personal Questions
- Explain your resume or can you walk me through your resume?
- What are your hobbies?
- Tell me a bit about your strengths/weaknesses
- What is your biggest achievement or biggest failure?
- Who is your role model and why?
- Professional Questions
- Why should we choose you?
- Why do you want to do an MBA?
- Why do you want to do it at our university?
- Where do you see yourself in 3 years/5 years/ 10 years?
- Tell a Story
Most interviews start with personal questions, like the infamous ‘Tell me about yourself’. Have an answer ready, because this is how the interviewer is going to remember you. Be genuine, professional and add some cool vocabulary, but make sure you’re using them right. Other personal questions include:
The answers to these questions are simply found with a little bit of introspection, just practice answering them in an interesting way in front of the mirror.
These are the real deal, while the personal questions give an insight into your past and present, these questions talk about the future. Again, practice answering in front of the mirror. Create a mental checklist of things to talk about when asked a particular question. Say the question is ‘what skills can you bring to the class?’ The points in your mind could be; photography club head, top 10% academic record, leadership, team builder, risk taker, competition winner. Try to build on these points as you answer and follow the order so you avoid repeating your words. These are some professional questions you can expect:
Interviewers love stories, we all do. They are engaging and easy to remember. You’re more likely to be remembered as the guy/girl that wrote a blog post on rare sharks that brought 10,000 views to an ocean rescue website, than a typical 9 GPA student whose hobby is writing. Just don’t overdo it by saying something unreasonable though.
A pro tip is to video record your answers and analyze them. See what you are doing wrong. Try to adjust camera angles and place a soft light that puts your head and shoulders in good focus. Is your posture slouchy? Do you look mean? Smile a little, it makes you look friendly and enthusiastic. Make a note of how you’re answering too, are you repeating your points? Do you sound flat? Do you have a tendency to fidget or move your hands while talking? Show your recording to someone close and let them give you feedback. And don’t forget to fix issues as soon as you find them.
- Be ready:
- Don’t Panic:
Choose a formal setting that makes you look good. A plain background works in your favor as the interviewer is not distracted by various objects around you. You need to look presentable and professional. Choose a well-lit space and place your laptop on a flat surface. Light source should be behind the camera and your head and shoulders should be visible clearly. If you are wearing white or other lighter tones, make sure that your shirt doesn’t blind the camera and make your face appear darker. If you wear spectacles, position the light source so that your lens do not flash and your eyes are visible in the camera.
Before the interview, take a light nutritious meal and have some warm water so that you don’t have to clear your throat which is a sign of nervousness. Do an equipment test run before the interview to avoid any embarrassing glitches. The interviewer’s time is valuable and wasting it will make you seem unorganized and unprofessional.
Make sure you won’t be disturbed. You don’t want to pause your interview with the admissions team halfway across the world to pick up an amazon delivery, do you? Keep your phone in silent mode and lock your door if you have to.
Begin your interview with a greeting and a confident yet polite smile. Let the interviewer take the lead as they introduce themselves and ask questions. Listen to the question, nod and answer accordingly. It is not necessary to look into the camera at all times. You can look away for a while as you consider your answer. Do not speak too fast or too slow. Use a medium pitch while speaking. Keep an open interested expression on your face, avoid negative body language like frowning, sighing, hiding the lower half of your face behind your hand or drumming your fingers. You’re talking to a person and it is best if you appear keen to connect with them. Your interviewer may have an accent that sounds unfamiliar to you. If you miss a few words, it is okay to tell them and ask them to repeat what they’ve just said. Remember, the goal of the interview is to know more about you and see how well you fit in the cohort.
Interviews make many people nervous, it’s like a default mental setting. You can only ace your business school interview if you are calm and composed. Panicking will throw your well-organized thoughts all over the place, confusing both you and the interviewer.
Remember that you’ve practiced enough. In fact, you’ve even practiced how to smile, so don’t worry. And if you’re still a little unsure, ask us. We’ll give you college-specific interview tips, personalized college interview questions and professional feedback so that you ace your MBA admissions interview with ease and get into your dream B-school.
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