Why MBA? – An XLer’s Perspective
Why MBA? The most dreaded question in any MBA college interview. Different coaching institutes will offer you different advice. Some say be yourself and speak the truth, some will draft an answer for you and even how to present it. After hearing all these pieces of advice and giving a lot (LOT!!!) of interviews, I can give you a perspective, or at least a few pointers on how to approach this question.
Don’t prepare a single standard answer
A mistake most of the MBA aspirants do is they prepare an answer to all the behavioural questions beforehand and just repeat the same answer in all the interviews. This makes your answer seems rehearsed after a few interviews and the interviewer can easily tell it’s your standard response.
Don’t do that. You need to not just do internal, but also external analysis, to find the answer. Go through the college website, read articles about the college online to understand what that college is actually about, what is its culture. Prepare an answer accordingly. It not only increases your knowledge about the college which helps you in other areas, but it also shows the interviewer that you are interested in the college.
Not everyone wants to do networking
Most people think that they need to speak about certain key points in their answer, like networking, for them to show their commitment. This is not always the case. Your answer doesn’t have to include any of such phrases if you don’t feel like it.
You can actually say that ‘I have stagnated in my current job and MBA is a good opportunity to grow’, or ‘I believe MBA will complement my current abilities’, or just ‘I am interested in HR, so I am applying for XLRI’.
You should believe in the reason enough to present it and talk about it. The interviewers are more interested in a deeper understanding than just the words.
However, don’t say I am doing MBA to get a high paying job. You need to stand out.
Why Networking is a standard response
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn
The main advantage of MBA is networking. It is a sure shot way to get the most out of your MBA. You will learn more in MBA outside of the classroom than you will do inside the classroom. MBA offers you immense opportunities to interact with like-minded people and learn from them. There is a reason most colleges focus on group assignments. Almost all the case competitions also require you to work in groups. It’s not just about learning to work in teams (which you will have to in your job), but also about giving you the opportunity to connect with your group and learn from them.
If you are including this aspect in your answer, be sure to also include how do you plan to network and how do you plan to use it. Just saying that you are doing MBA for networking opportunities is not going to cut it.
Don’t use the example of someone
MBA is a highly individualistic journey, where you do work in groups though. Don’t quote instances of other people who became successful after they did MBA. Everyone has a different learning from MBA and how they apply them. It’s not for certain that you too will have the same learnings.
You can use those instances to understand their learnings and see if you connect with it. If you think that applies to you and have a reason for it, put that in your answer. You don’t have to quote the instance now.
Clearing MBA interview is not an easy job. It takes a lot of time and effort to be comfortable with a process and then clear it. However, if you can do that, it shows your commitment to the cause.