Acing Your Next Interview – Tips By An IIM Bangalore Student

My mentee just got done with her interview at IIM Bangalore and she told me that Marketing was her cup of tea. Since I had to write something trending for this post, I thought to myself, well IIM interviews are happening and some gyaan on Marketing would be worth taking a shot at. But, as I started researching I realised, that already has enough number of Marketing stories swarming around. With interviews, right around the corner what the readers need is a little bit of confidence boost. So, now note that I will be talking about interviews in general with some examples from my life.

Most interviews start with a ‘tell me about yourself’. While it might look like an innocent little way to break the ice but interestingly it is the most crucial question in an interview that can make you or break you!

You have just 45 seconds to catch the interviewer’s attention and what do you speak about? Every single thing that you have done in your entire life in a chronological order. Or in some cases just memorise and read out the resume from top to bottom. And yes, a countless number of people do just that!

Nobody wants to hear that! Tell the interviewer what he wants to hear. He is only interested in what brings him business. So, how are you going to stand out? How are you going to sell your story?

Well, the first cue is that you throw him a bait. Throw around the words that he wants to hear and also, of which you have good knowledge. In that way, you can drive the entire interview by just feeding him the questions.

Don’t shy away from giving counter opinions. Most people worry that the opportunity will be lost if they speak against the interviewers. But interviewers want people who can project their views, because otherwise by just nodding along you are killing creativity. Now at one instance, during my IIM interviews, I was asked about my thoughts on the minimum attendance policy. And my reply was that the institute should impose fine on the professors instead of the students. My idea was that if there’s low turnout, it only implies that the professor is not good enough. As crazy as it sounds the professor liked it and I actually converted the call.

Next, show him your thought process by speaking aloud as you attack a problem. Most times they want to know your approach and the scenarios you have ventured towards finding a solution. You may never get to the solution but your thought process might save the day. During my IIM Indore interview (converted), the interviewer asked me something, the answer to which I knew, but it wasn’t at the tip of my tongue. So, I asked him relevant questions to extract my answer out of him and lucky for me, he appreciated my bid.

The fundamental rule of an interview is that you swallow your nervousness. Think that you know more than the person on the other side of the table and with the kind of preparations you go through, I have no reason to believe that you would be knowing any less. Just have a conversation and don’t wreak havoc with your anxiety. Be calm to be able to think on your feet and try to speak the truth, otherwise, you might lose track when the questioning becomes intensive.

‘I had a satisfactory job but I craved for something more, something challenging and in that unlucky moment something struck me in bold “MBA from IIM”’. Well no, can’t say that! It is said that the answer to ‘Why MBA?’ should be guided by your passion. Only then can you make it run smoothly without requiring extra effort.

What do you do if your passion is becoming filthy rich and dating Miranda Kerr? Well, say it already! Let’s not take the ostrich approach and accept the truth. Yes, you want money, power, and position. But to reach there, you will grow the company along with your career. Make the company’s success your goal and strive to double the success. Although given a chance, most of us would like to live lethargically, getting money without having to work. But, considering your goal is to study at IIM, we can effectively throw that idea out of the window.

Be Smart, Be Structured, Be Cool and Just Enjoy!

Puja Bardhan

Member of the InsideIIM Student Team 3.0


One comment


Hi I am a CAT aspirant, can you give some tips on how to approach introduction question?