Once you submit your application to business school, the admissions committee will conduct a preliminary screening based upon your undergraduate GPA and CAT/ MAT/ XAT/ IIFT/ SNAP scores. If you meet a pre-determined "academic cutoff," you will likely be invited for a personal interview to further probe your suitability for that particular business school.
The personal interview is a critical step in the admissions process and should not be taken lightly; most MBA programs will not accept a candidate without meeting him/her in person. A personal interview is aimed at knowing a candidate more intimately - assessing the clarity of thinking process, future goals and the 'fit' with the B-school. It provides the admission committee of a b-school to evaluate your interpersonal and soft skills.
Personal Interview can also turn out to be an Opportunity to 'sell' yourself. While intimidating for some MBA-hopefuls, the personal interview represents a prime opportunity. Interview allows you the chance not only to put a face and personality to the name and credentials on your application file, but also to express your academic, personal, and professional accomplishments, experiences, and intentions.
The focus of a B-school interview can range from specific questions about your job to broad discussions on life. Approach the interview as a conversation to be enjoyed, not as a question-and-answer ordeal. It may be about your hobbies - your recent cross-country trip. This doesn't mean that the interviewers are not serious. It just means that you're being sized up as a person and a future professional in all your dimensions.
On the other hand, the PI is an opportunity for the b-school to question you about your application, your autobiographical sketch or any issues on your transcripts or entrance test scores. Your interviewer wants to learn what you are like as a person and how well you respond and communicate. We want to understand your values, how you think and how well you handle yourself under pressure.
One and all b-school is committed to admit students who are able to handle the rigors of business school on an academic, personal, physical and psychological basis. Your interview is your opportunity to convince the admission committee that you are up to the challenge you are expected to face in future.
Interview - an integral part of the B-School admissions process.
The admissions process of some business schools requires that the MBA applicant attends a mandatory interview. These mandatory interviews are usually conducted as in person ones. If you are an international applicant and the business school has not been able to either send its representative or identify any alumni in your country to conduct the interview in person, the interview is conducted over the phone or through web conference. Again, an in-person interview is generally recommended as you can build rapport and use it to get feedback to determine your fit for the particular program.
What does the PI tries to test?
The personal interview process aim to test the 'views' expressed by a candidate during submission of the application or through a free-wheeling discussion around one's bio-data given in the application form."
A few 'knowledge-dipstick' questions on one's basic academic background might also be fielded to assess the depth and accuracy of existing knowledge. A few basic General Knowledge questions may also be asked. B-Schools also give importance to consistent academic performance as it is indicative of academic discipline and ethos one is required to have to survive in the rigorous competition.
According to experts, Personal Interview stresses on the following areas:
- Goal Clarity
- Domain Knowledge
- Communication Skills
- Personality traits
Interview DOs and DON'Ts
- √ Dress appropriately for the institute; err on the side of being conservative to show you take the interview seriously. Your personal grooming and cleanliness should be impeccable.
- √ Know the exact time and location of your interview; know how long it takes to get there, park, find a rest room to freshen up, etc.
- √ Arrive early; 10 minutes prior to the interview start time.
- √ Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinions of you might be solicited during admission decisions.
- √ Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer.
- √ Listen to be sure you understand your interviewer's name and the correct pronunciation.
- √ Even when your interviewer gives you a first and last name, address your interviewer by title Sir or Madam, until invited to do otherwise.
- √ Maintain good eye contact during the interview.
- √ Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching.
- √ Respond to questions and back up your statements about yourself with specific examples whenever possible.
- √ Ask for clarification if you don't understand a question.
- √ Be thorough in your responses, while being concise in your wording.
- √ Be honest and be yourself - your best professional self. Dishonesty gets discovered and is grounds for withdrawing admission offers and for rejection. You want a good match between yourself and your future college. If you get admitted by acting like someone other than yourself, you and your institute will both be unhappy.
- √ Treat the interview seriously and as though you are truly interested in the institute and the opportunity presented.
- √ Exhibit a positive attitude. The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential corporate employee or future manager.
- √ Have intelligent questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Having done your research about the institute in advance, ask questions which you did not find answered in your research.
- √ Evaluate the interviewer and the institute s/he represents. An interview is a two-way street. Conduct yourself cordially and respectfully, while thinking critically about the way you are treated and the values and priorities of the institute.
- √ Do expect to be treated appropriately. If you believe you were treated inappropriately or asked questions that were inappropriate or made you uncomfortable, discuss this the panel if you are given time to clear your mind by asking them questions else reach the admission co-coordinator of the institute or the director.
- √ Make sure you understand the institute's next step in the admission process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next. Know what action you are expected to take next, if any.
- √ When the interviewer concludes the interview, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact. Depart gracefully.
- √ After the interview, make notes right away so you don't forget critical details.
- × Don't make excuses. Take responsibility for your decisions and your actions.
- × Don't make negative comments about previous professors or institute (or others).
- × Don't falsify application materials or answers to interview questions.
- × Don't treat the interview casually, as if you are just shopping around or doing the interview for practice. This is an insult to the interviewer and to the institute.
- × Don't give the impression that you are only interested in the institute because of its geographic location.
- × Don't give the impression you are only interested in salary you will get after the completion of the course.
- × Don't act as though you would take admission in any institute or are desperate for admission.
- × Don't be unprepared for typical interview questions. You may not be asked all of them in every interview, but being unprepared looks foolish.
- × Admission in a good institute can be hard work and involve frustrations; don't exhibit frustrations or a negative attitude in an interview.
- × Don't go to extremes with your posture; don't slouch, and don't sit rigidly on the edge of your chair.
- × Don't assume that a female interviewer is "Mrs." or "Miss." Address her as "Madam" unless told otherwise.
- × Don't chew gum or smell like smoke.
- × Don't allow your cell phone to sound during the interview. (If it does, apologize quickly and ignore it.) Don't take a cell phone call. Don't look at a text message.
- × Don't take your parents, your pet (an assistance animal is not a pet in this circumstance), spouse, fiancé, friends or enemies to an interview. If you are not grown up and independent enough to attend an interview alone, you're insufficiently grown up and independent for a job.