Have you received an interview invite from the management institute of your choice? Congratulations!
Many aspirants are confident about their interview skills, and hopefully so are you. Even if you are not, utilize this time to sharpen your skills. Given the intense competition in MBA admissions, the interview process is often fierce and definitely the most critical part of the selection. The overall weightage given to a personal interview is usually 10% or more, which provides you with a fighting chance to outsmart other applicants. Your interview is a small window of opportunity to impress.
Let’s focus on the essentials to put your best self forward within a short time. Here are five tips to help you through a personal interview –
Get acquainted with the mode of interview
The new normal is here to stay. Post the advent of COVID19 virtual interviews have become a norm. Install the platform on which the discussion will be held and familiarize yourself with the platform. Getting used to the forum will allow you to wade through the platform and know its do’s and don’ts.
On-campus interviews demand you to have geographic knowledge of the campus and the interview formats held on the campus. In addition, connecting with the alumni would give you an insider’s perspective on the interview techniques used on the campus.
Practise and preparation demand time
You would have to be proactive (rather than reactive). Practicing is the best way to acquire confidence and train yourself to respond in an informed, natural, and confident manner. Most probably you’ll have to describe why you’re getting an MBA, your career aspirations, and why you’re interested in this specific university. Make sure you have prepared the answers and present them to the panel with confidence and without any hesitation.
Next, prepare an explanation of how you will assist the community, including examples of your leadership and teamwork. This entails answering questions like “take me through your résumé” or “tell me about yourself” in under two minutes. Not only for the standard queries, but you’ll also want to remain calm and steady when faced with difficult or unexpected questions.
Write down some ideas, then practice with a video, answering one question at a time. Finally, find someone ready to grill you in a mock interview and give you honest feedback. Practicing aloud will help you remain on track and avoid rambling; you must always keep your response focused on the question being asked.
Know your USPs
Include at least five key selling points in the content you prepare for the interview. A handful of brief stories when included with each selling point enhances your idea. Your selling points and anecdotes should be based on your strengths, personality or soft skills, leadership potential, teamwork abilities, school contribution, and professional objectives. Keep in mind the MBA program’s key ideas, and look for stories that include behavioral examples to back up your points. And, while practicing is essential, you must be careful not to appear overly rehearsed or go over the line into pushing your agenda and attempting to take control of the interview.
What if you hit a wall?
Irrespective of the kind of preparation you will most probably be asked a question you haven’t prepared for. For example, you can be questioned about a flaw, a failure, or why you left a particular job or industry. The goal is to respond honestly and humbly. Focus on your progress, lessons learned, and your ability to reflect to present yourself positively. For example, a captivating story can be one that demonstrates how you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone.
What if you gave a poor response? Don’t lose faith in yourself. Instead, take a breath, keep on. You can ask for clarifications to the previous question and your answer at the end of the interview. Most interviewers will allow you to do this since it demonstrates self-awareness and confidence.
Keep it conversational
Approach the interview as a conversation. The interview panel wants to know what sets you apart and how befitting is the institution to support your career ambitions. Exhibit your personality and interest by narrating your story in a structured manner. Maintain a balanced composure and be sincere throughout. [ MBA interview or otherwise, make sure you convey that the institution they represent is your first choice. ]
Your interview is an opportunity for the panel to assess if you are an ideal fit for the program, and for you to know more and have an overview of the program and the institute. So go ahead and grab the panel’s interest.