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MBA: Common Questions Asked in a Personal Interview

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The personal interview is the last door that you have to open to enter a Business School of your choice. Despite months of preparation, no one can predict the pattern and structure of a personal interview. There are a few commonly asked questions in the personal interview by top MBA colleges.

It’s not expected of you to know the answer to every question that you face in a personal interview., but you can prepare some of the commonly asked questions in an interview. The interview panel of the MBA College which you’ve applied for is aware of the fact that you are a student and are not expected to know everything. So, be honest when you’re in the interview room. The personal interview is conducted to assess your interpersonal & communication skills and to know your vision as an MBA aspirant. Find below some of the commonly asked questions in a personal interview for an MBA College.

Commonly Asked Questions in Personal Interview for MBA

Tell us something about yourself

This is perhaps the most commonly asked question and is the one question that you should always be prepared to answer well. While trying to answer this, be brief & clear and always try to include the following points in your answer:

a. Your educational and professional (if any) background
b. Your interests & hobbies
c. Your family background

Don’t give long-winded answers or keep repeating what is already mentioned in your application. The interview panel may have various reasons for asking this question. Sometimes, it is to test your communication skills, your body language, your confidence etc. If this is the first question thrown at you, then make sure you do a good job answering it.

Where do you see yourself 5/10 years from now?

This is another popular question that keeps recurring in the MBA personal interviews. Be honest while answering this one. Just don’t say “at your position”! Your answer should justify and substantiate the course that you are applying for.

For example: If you’ve applied for an MBA in HR, it would only make sense if you see yourself in a managerial position handling responsibilities in the human resource department of an organisation.

Also, note that you don’t have to be particular about your professional growth, personal achievements are never countless. Success in personal life also gives a glimpse of what you would be doing 5 to 10 years later. But be careful, to not get into too much depth of your personal details.

What are your strengths & weaknesses?

This can be a tricky question to answer, especially the “weakness” part. Prepare yourself well for this question. Make sure that your strengths and weaknesses don’t contradict each other.

For example: If you say that “giving attention to detail” is your strength but then go ahead to say that your weakness is that you can be “careless” at times, then your strength & your weakness are contradicting each other. Your interview panel will be quick to spot such errors.

Also, avoid the clichéd method of presenting a “strength” as your weakness.

For example: “My weakness is that I’m a workaholic“. Nobody is perfect and your interview panel knows that best. Try to come up with a genuine weakness and also state immediately how you plan to tackle it.

For example: “I can be disorganized at times and thus miss important events. I’ve started maintaining a planner & leave reminders on my phone to help me keep track of important deadlines, events etc”.

Why MBA?

Your answer to this question might vary depending on your background. If you are a fresher right out of college, you could say that an MBA would be the ideal launch-pad into the corporate world. Apart from the fat salary packages (don’t pretend that it’s not a reason!), an MBA would equip you with both the technical knowledge and soft skills to function well in your chosen industry.

If you are someone with prior work experience, you would have different reasons for pursuing an MBA. You could either be planning to switch industries or could be looking for more responsibilities in the same function. Talk about your career objectives and the value-addition that an MBA would provide you with. Be well-prepared with valid reasons for a question like this.

Why do you want to join this B-school?

The personal interview panel might ask you this question to check your level of interest in their B-School. This is your chance to impress them! You should know about the institute’s history, its flagship programs, ranking, placement records, faculty members etc. It would be good if you can get in touch with a few students of that institute before your PI. Apart from giving you an idea about the kind of panel you would have to face, they can give you valuable insight into the college’s academic and extra-curricular activities.

Your answer should reflect that you’ve done your homework well and that you’re keen to pursue your management degree from this particular B-School.

Questions about the Course you are pursuing/ pursued

If you’re pursuing Chemistry (Hons), it’s expected that you know the subject well. And, so it’s natural that you’ll be quizzed on it. Never go into an interview thinking “what are the chances of there being a Chemistry expert in the panel“. The chances, in fact, are pretty high. Brush up your basics and fundamentals before your Interview.

Even if you’ve graduated and have been working, expect questions about your subject. The chances of being quizzed about your graduation subject decrease with increased work experience. But don’t take a chance!

Questions related to your Profession

You should go prepared knowing all about your job profile, your KRAs (key result areas), your organization, its performance in the markets, your industry, your organizations’ competitors.

Questions about your Hobbies

If you’ve mentioned gardening as a hobby, you are expected to know which fertilizer works best for rose flowers! So make sure that you have in-depth information about your interest. If you have mentioned hobbies that are genuine, this should not be a problem. But if you’ve mentioned “reading” as a hobby, just to impress the interview panel, then you better do some research and be prepared to answer questions regarding the same.

Questions from your GD

It’s quite possible that your Personal Interview panel could be the same as your Group Discussion. In such a scenario, be prepared to expect questions around your GD topic. They could probe you further about it or ask about a certain point you’d made in the GD. You should know how to defend or justify your point of view.

These are just a few of the common questions asked in the Personal Interview round of most MBA colleges’ selection procedures. However, you should note that every personal interview is unique. You might or might not be asked one of these questions. At the end of the day, what matters is that you should be honest and confident while facing your interview panel. Any point you make should be backed up by reasons and justifications and you should be able to defend your point of view.

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