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Score at your B-school Personal Interview
Career Launcher Research Team
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December 11, 2008

Your academic skills were checked in the entrance test, your people's skills were checked at the group discussion, now comes the time of gauging your personality. B-schools want to know how aware you are of yourself and how much you relate your goals to your personal self. Students spend most of the time in going through course books whereas 90 per cent of the interview questions are based on you.

What could be better than answering questions on yourself? But answering questions on yourself can catch you in a tight spot. There can be some rules set when it comes to the GD because there is certain expected etiquette, but there can be no rules set for the interview because everyone has a unique personality.

The best way to tackle the interview is to sit down and know yourself inside and out. Think of why you want to pursue an MBA degree. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Not only will it help you analyse your personality, it will also help you prepare for many other questions in the interview. The most commonly asked questions are:

Who wins?
Those with:

Self awareness
You should be able to speak on each and every aspect of your personality, family background, the city you come from and the institutes you have studied in. If you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses you will be able to justify them, for example the panelists may ask you about your poor academic record. As long as you know why you under-perform you can explain yourself.

Goal clarity
You should know where the MBA programme fits in with and how it will help you achieve your long-term goals. There might be different reasons for doing an MBA for different people and even for one person there can be more than one objective to do MBA, but you should analyse it beforehand rather than doing it in front of the panel.

Ability to maintain calm
The real you comes up when you are under a pressure situation. The panelists will try to grill you on your weaknesses or on the answers you are giving. They want to put you under pressure and see whether you lose your calm. Students in this situation tend to become nervous and it starts showing on their faces.

Who loses?
Those who:

Give tutored answers
You have your own strengths and weaknesses. But while attending the mock interviews you were told how some students gave impressive answers and got selected. If you try to give the same answers, you might be caught.

Lie to the panelists
They are very experienced people and can catch you if you try to bluff them on your academic record or on a fact-based question or when you try to answer the question even if you don't know the answer.

Think that battle is over
The interview is not over till the last question is asked. The moment a candidate says, "I am sorry Sir, I don't know the answer," he starts coming under the pressure. There is no harm in accepting that you do not know what the population of China is. They might try to put you under pressure by asking you the population of Africa, once again you say sorry and the pressure starts mounting. The next question is of your interest, which book did you read last? You know the answer but since you have already come under pressure you might not be able to answer this question properly because you are nervous. A chain of events that might ultimately lead to getting rejected.

Part I: Win at your Group Discussion

Career Launcher is an institute that prepares candidates for competitive exams like the CAT, SNAP etc.

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