Now that the shortlists are being declared one-by-one, you should start your preparation from now to crack the interviews, and ultimately, secure a seat at your dream B-School. Based on my experience of appearing for my multiple B-School interviews last year, I have listed how on how you can prepare for your Personal Interview and Group Discussion rounds!
How to prepare for Personal Interviews?
When it comes to PI, aspirants often underestimate the importance of writing down answers to every question. Do write down, read through them every day but never ever memorize the answers. The purpose is to keep every incident at your fingertips, that’s it! I can’t emphasize on this enough and when I was preparing for my interview process, it took me 7 days to just think and write the answers in a Google sheet. I will strongly suggest you to sit silently, introspect and write truthful answers to all the following questions. Once written, show your answers to your teachers, coaching class mentors or friends who are already studying in a BSchool. I cannot thank my mentor, Mehul Popat, enough for having guided me throughout the process for every small thing I needed.
Also, when you prepare these answers, try to write them within 300 words because when you are in the interview room, it will tend to get short by itself. Don’t answer in a verbose manner and don’t write in just bullet points.
Questions to prepare –
- Tell us about yourself
Tip: Try to have unique things here. Mention things you would like your interviewer to focus on as this question becomes the driving force for the rest of your interview. Talk about your hobbies, strengths and any social work or internship or project that you have done or you are proud of.
- Tell us about your family
Tip: If your family has a business and you are talking about it, be thoroughly prepared with the numbers, about the business and questions like “Why not get into family business instead of an MBA?”
- What are your 3 strengths?
Tip: Whenever you describe your strengths, explain them with incidents which portray your qualities.
- What are your 3 weaknesses?
Tip: When you talk about your weaknesses, also explain how you are trying to overcome them.
- What are your hobbies?
- What has been your greatest achievement till date?
- Who is your role model and why?
- Why MBA?
- Why MBA from “X college”?
- Have you thought of any specialization yet? If yes, then why that particular one?
Tip: While answering this question, always link it with your past experience and how it has prompted you to explore the field more. And since you liked it, you want to build a career in that.
- Where do you plan to see yourself in 3-5 years and 10-15 years from now?
- Give an instance when you took charge and showed your leadership skills?
- Tell us about an instance where you worked under pressure?
- Prepare for your undergrad subjects as you can definitely expect questions from there like what’s your favourite subject?
- Read that day’s newspaper as that often gets picked by the interviewer.
- Do you have any questions for us?
Tip: This question gets asked quite often. I remember, like many others, I didn’t take this question seriously and answered a simple, “No sir” only to realize later during my MBA that this is the best place for you to create an impression. It shows your interest in the conversation, the process and the BSchool you are about to spend your 2 years. Do prepare a question pertaining to the BSchool interview you are appearing for!
I have sat for numerous interviews so far (first BSchool interviews and then job interviews) and the most important thing that any interviewer looks for is how genuine your answers are. Make it a discussion and don’t think of it as a question-answer round and you will see the difference! And above all, don’t forget to smile, no matter how much they try to throw you off-guard.
While writing answers of all these questions might look useless and time taking, trust me, you will reap the fruits later and for sure. You will not just be more confident but this will also go far when you prepare for your summer internship in BSchool. It helped me so much that I had to only refine my answers later and in a hectic environment that a BSchool has, every minute counts!
Here's Arundhati Mahapatro (PGPM 2019-21, MDI Gurgaon) sharing her interview experience and giving tips to aspirants!
Why a one-page resume is the first step towards your MBA?
The very first thing that you should do once CAT results are out is to make your one-page resume. No matter the college asks you for a resume or not during the interview process, you must have it with your documents. Also, keep it in the first page itself to ensure that they read it. Trust me, if questions are asked from your resume, half of your work is done because that’s all your life (well, okay! At least the professional side) in one page!
How you can prepare for GDs in general?
The best resource at your disposal is newspapers. Heard it many times, right? Frustrating? It will be if you have not been reading newspapers on a regular basis. It will most definitely get overwhelming because you have no background of the news that you will be reading in the recent newspapers.
My suggestion: Pick up a good newspaper like The Hindu. Start reading through. And for each news, first try to get a background of it through Youtube explanatory videos like Studyiq and not opinionated videos. After this, read newspapers regularly and form your own opinion. One app that helped me a lot to increase my knowledge was Knappily. You can also refer to websites like Jagranjosh for the latest happenings.
Tip: For every hot topic, try to have facts and figures with proper sources handy. This will definitely give you an edge over others during GDs. I used to make extensive notes of every current affair and revise them in 4-5 days because that increased my presence of mind in discussions to a great extent. I also joined a coaching institute and mock GDs helped a lot to understand how to conduct myself, how to enter in GDs, how others are putting forth their points etc.
Important: I was asked in many of my interviews about my opinions on the various current affairs in my personal interviews as well and so preparing for them extensively is not limited to GDs.
I hope this was helpful and for any further queries, you can comment below and I will get back to you!
About The Author
Pratibha Goenka, a current student at MDI, Gurgaon
CAT 2018 – 97.22 %ile
Calls – MDI Gurgaon, SP Jain, XLRI BM and HR, IIFT, IIM Shillong, All new IIMs, SIBM
Converts – MDI Gurgaon (PGPM), All new IIMs, SIBM Pune