This interview season is about to start and while most of you will still be preparing for some of the entrance exams that are left (mostly XAT), be ready to face the interview processes just post that. Through this article, I would like to touch upon how to go about your interview preparation in a smart way and balance it with your work and other entrance preparation.
First of all, don’t be bothered about the results because they can be very unpredictable. Always proceed from the mindset that whatever calls you might get; you have to convert them. Even if you may not be serious for any particular b-school, it can really add up to your experience and come the months of May/June, when all the final results start flowing, it will be really good to have options in your hand.
To start off from the very basics, prepare a checklist of the things that you need to do on a regular basis and topics that you need to cover. For example, it can be as simple as a list like this which is somewhat similar to what I followed.
Topics to study and prepare for
News-paper(mostly editorials), a list of all the major events in the past two years (at least), answers related to your projects in undergrad, academic topics, work experience (if any), internships etc. Include anything whatsoever that you have done related to your interest or academics or any volunteering work, list that down and prepare a properly structured script around it. While some might be good at articulation, I’d still say that you should prepare what and how are you going to speak around these topics.
Things to practice
Before personal interview, things like essays and GDs are quite important in terms of preparation. This is because the current affairs and various topics that you prepare for might not be limited to the GD or essay writing, it will also largely help in your PIs. Try to write essays regularly. I will not give you a definite number so as to constrict you, as you need to be your own judge when it comes to how confident you feel about writing. Still, writing 4-5 essays a week should be a bare minimum. It's needless to say that concentrate on the structure and flow while writing and evaluating.
How to balance?
Some aspects of preparation for B-school interview process need not be exclusive and over and above your XAT preparation. While I largely agree that the preparation is very different, the reading part that you are required to go through will add to your verbal ability. so don't think that you are wasting time in the middle of your preparation. You need to develop your opinion or read about enough examples to substantiate your stance in a GD or an essay.
Three major hacks that might help you to prepare efficiently and manage your time are –
· Make short notes –
Have an app, like Google Keep or Evernote ready with you whenever you read anything that might be of importance. Doing this for all articles that you read isn’t possible, so at least for editorials, keep such notes wherein you just copy-paste important points from the article. Since many times, there are a number of write-ups that are related to one broader idea like India’s foreign policy or trade wars etc, you may keep on adding information to the same note. This will help you retain what you are reading to a considerable extent and consolidate ideas
· Utilize your travel time –
This is mainly for the people who are working. Think of any topic in your mind and start speaking about it to yourself (in your head of course). Concentrate on the structure that you are following, pre-decide on how would you proceed on any topic if it is abstract versus if it is fact-based because the approaches will be different. Try to practice that structure in your head for multiple topics. This will greatly help you to prepare for extempore and in general on how you go about answering questions in your PI
· Speak in front of the mirror whenever possible –
This will greatly help you in monitoring basic hygiene factors like eye contact and body language. This will also boost your confidence in speaking on any topic in front of the panel or in a GD
While interview preparation may not seem to be so extensive to some, it actually requires equal preparation if not more, as your entrance exams. Be regular in your reading habits and have a list of items that you need to be ready with before going for the process and you’ll be more that better placed for your interviews.
All the best!