Whenever it comes about preparing for CAT and B-School interviews, there are myriad things to worry about, isn’t it? One of the biggest things is how to compensate for poor academics! And if you have good academics, then how to stand apart to make sure that you convert your best call! While work experience also plays a big role, having a good profile in other ways gives you a great edge over other candidates, especially if you are a fresher.
Here, in this article, I give you tried and tested methods and a list of resources of how to build a strong profile to impress the interviewers and stand apart, not just in your B-School admission interviews but also in your job interviews going forward.
Online courses – The talk of the town!
Everybody will tell you to do online courses – not because it is a trend, but because it really helps. If you have time, you must utilise it for good. Otherwise, later, you will only see it as a missed opportunity.
I will list down here a few online courses that which I have either done or have collated with the help of my B-School friends -
- Inbound Marketing – Hubspot
- SEO from scratch by Moz
- SEO for Wordpress websites
- Google Adwords and Google Analytics Course
- Learn Excel from beginner to advanced -
- Master Tableau from scratch -
- Design Thinking for Innovation -
Blogging and writing for publications
If you like to write, having a blog can go a long way. The reason why this works in interviews is it helps you to portray not just your writing skills but also the fact that you have an opinion about something which you can confidently share with the world. You will find many people who have the knowledge but a good manager is someone who knows how to communicate his knowledge with the world in the most convincing way!
For my case, it so happened that when I mentioned about my blog, some interviewers even opened the website then and there to check my articles. I also used to tell them about the various SEO tactics that I used to promote my blog.
Join Toastmasters to Improve Public Speaking
Toastmasters is the best platform if you want to improve not just your public speaking skills but also your leadership skills. And what better can interviewers find in you than leadership and communication skills? Toastmasters, personally, helped me a lot to improve my communication skills, added to my profile and helped me build skills. I was the VP-Public Relations and Treasurer in the club and I talked at length about the work I did there during both my BSchool interviews.
Volunteer or work for an NGO
If you volunteer for an NGO, it not only helps the society but it also helps you to stand apart in interviews. I don’t mean here that to stand apart, you should volunteer but it is one of the many things which help you build interaction. And most importantly, it shows the interviewer your knack towards the social cause which can go a long way in terms of your contribution to the company’s CSR activities too!
As for me, I volunteered with AIESEC in Egypt where I worked on promoting the tourism of Egypt. And it helped me in a lot of interviews as it was a unique point to add.
Go for a management internship or live project
No matter you are an engineering graduate or not, if you have a management internship in your profile, it beautifully highlights your inclination towards management. Your work and learning speak volumes about your hard-working nature. Always remember, your strengths are not reflected by saying, “I am hardworking” but through examples which by themselves prove you are hard working.
I interned in a marketing management role under Prof Sameer Mathur of IIM Lucknow and you can do the same. This helped me to establish in interviews how I got inclined towards marketing and why I believe an MBA is a right step forward.
Have a side hustle and freelance
If you are good at something, it is great to capitalise on it. And if you can monetise on it, it is even better. Building a side hustle from the very beginning can help you go a long way as it keeps getting added up. And if you are a fresher, this is one of the best things to do to impress the interviewers. It can be anything – graphic designing, social media marketing, digital marketing, web development, app development, content writing, YouTuber, teaching online etc. As I was good at writing and digital marketing, I used to freelance for start-ups and earn.
Indulge in your hobbies or cultivate one
Having a hobby is one of the most important things to connect to interviewers. If the interviewer also holds the same interest, then half your job might get done! Hobbies are always a light-hearted discussion and form a crucial element in interviews, even if they are as short as 15 minutes. Hobbies show that you are a passionate person who can bring the same passion in their job also as future managers.
Read books, articles and newspaper to have constructive opinions
The more you will read, the more refined you will sound in any conversation, not just interviews. And trust me, sounding refined is a skill in itself. You will be respected for your views and who can disagree; intellect is the most effective way to impress anyone. Interviewers ask this not just to test your knowledge but also to learn something new. Think about it! Does it not get too monotonous for them also to interview candidates one after another? And this is exactly what helps them to add newness and understand what today’s youth thinks!
Also, here is a list of the most popular management blogs!
In all my BSchool interviews, I was asked my opinion on on-going topics and was judged on that. Also, I talked about a few books that I had read on management like Buyology, Jugaad, Hooked, Thinking Fast and Slow, The Lean Startup in my BSchool interviews.
Pro Tip: Become financially literate – Here’s how!
While this will not help you directly in your interviews, this will help you in the long term. You might be already earning or you will be someone who will earn a handsome salary after your BSchool degree. How much do you know about managing your finances? If you think BSchool will teach you everything about this, you might be wrong. So, here are a few things that I did to become more aware of managing my finances.
- Followed every video of some Youtubers – Asset Yogi, CA Rachana Ranade, and Pranjal Kamra
- Learnt about alternatives methods of personal financing
- Learnt about investing in stock markets – either directly or through mutual funds
If you want to do courses, here are my top recommendations -
Hope this was helpful in giving you some ideas on how you can build your profile to be future-ready, be it for a BSchool interview!