The significance of an MBA interview has never been greater. As the business schools focusing more on the interpersonal skills, there is an increased emphasis on interviewing. Interviews play a very critical role in the MBA Admission Process; they can make or break a school’s decision to admit a prospective candidate. Interviews are basically to test the candidates that look good on paper (via their MBA exams and application forms) - are they as good as they claim to be? Did they write their SOP? Can they communicate and connect? The burden of proof is on the candidate.
So, it is very crucial for an applicant to know what types of interviews he/she can face in the interview room. There are some basic types of interview styles one may encounter:
Structured Interviews are mostly formal and organized. These kinds of interviews will usually begin with an “icebreaker” question. The main purpose of an icebreaker is to relax you before the more serious questions are asked. Most frequently asked Icebreaker question is “Tell me something about yourself.”
Next, the interviewer may want to know why you want to pursue an MBA, which may be followed by a series of questions regarding your past education, co-curricular, and work experiences. In conclusion, the interviewer may ask if you have questions for him or her. You should always have one or two questions prepared.
Behavioural interviewing is a widely used method. The hypothesis behind this methodology is that past performance is the best predictor of future behaviour. Therefore, behavioural interview questions are designed to probe your experiences from the past in order to determine how you might behave in similar situations in the future. Behavioural interview questions generally start with any one of the following phrases:
- Tell me about a time when you...
- Tell me how you handled a situation where...
These types of questions require you to recount stories from your past. These accounts will be evaluated for evidence of your intellectual competence, motivation, technical abilities and skills like leadership, teamwork, communication and administrative.
To prepare for a behavioural interview, you must first identify your strengths and weaknesses. Next, reflect on your past experiences to identify situations in which you demonstrated the identified strengths. During the interview, you must be able to recount these circumstances articulately and, in a manner, which displays your strengths. A thorough answer should depict the Situation, the Tasks with which you were charged, the Action you took, and the Result of your action. This tactic of responding to behavioural interview questions is called the STAR method.
Problem Solving or Case Interview:
Interviewers utilize this style to test a candidate's analytical abilities and communication skills. Amid the interview, you will be given a real or simulated problem to contemplate and crack. You are not necessarily expected to arrive at the "right answer" as the interviewer is more focused on your thought process, so be sure to "think out loud" when responding to this type of question. An effective answer is one which showcases your ability to break a problem down into manageable pieces and to think clearly under pressure.
In many interviews, you are going to face; there will be around 3 to 4 members in the panel who will interview you. The primary purpose behind this is that they want to know the views of several members of their committee before final selection. In a panel interview, while answering, focus on the one who asked you the question, but make appropriate eye contact with others too. Panel interviews can differ in style and tone, but generally, they will be more formal and include behavioural based questions.
This style is in vogue and used by many interviewers during the selection process. Mostly the questions asked in a stress interview are the same which might ask during a structured interview. However, there may be a difference in the behaviour or demeanour of the interviewer. The interviewer during the interview may appear distracted, contrary, or indifferent to you. The primary purpose of stress interviews is to assess the reaction of the candidate towards the pressure of indifference, rejection, and overall stress. To sail through the interview, it is highly recommended that you concentrate on the question and not the manner in which it is asked.
Strange Question is a hallmark of a stress interview. The interviewer can ask you any strange and off the topic question. Remember to stay calm throughout the interview, because that is what the interviewer is looking for – a candidate who can remain cool, calm and collected.
Candidates are supposed to form groups, and one group together will be interviewed at one time. It is a sort of group discussion. The person’s ability to lead, their presence of mind and communication can be evaluated under this technique. This is premeditated to see how the candidates react to and against each other. All the candidates are brought together and then interviewed. The candidates may, alternatively, be given a topic for discussion and be observed as to who will lead the discussion, how they will present their views and react to each other’s views and presentation. So, remember to put your opinions (with facts if needed) in a very lucid and poised manner.
Majorly, I tried to cover all types of interviews that one can face in the final selection process, whatsoever the college is. In many of the cases, interviewers may choose to utilize a combination of different styles, but as long as you have prepared well for the interview, you will be able to adapt to the situation they present. Just be confident and honest while answering the questions. That’s all that matters!