Preparing hard for your MBA entrance exam, cracking the exam, conquering the pre interview sessions (GD, Essays etc.) may still don’t make you feel nervous or anxious. If you take one step at a time you can get through these stages without much pressure. Not to deny, it needs preparation, which you do even reasonably well if not great, will make you cross the river.
But personal interview stage is the showstopper to get into a B-school. It is the ultimate ‘moment of truth’. If we have to pick one component of the admission process, a PI is ‘The’ decision maker of the selection process. Here are 5 things you must definitely practice to crack this all important and final roadblock for that glorified seat in your dream B-school.
1. Structure your Interview – The Gateway Technique!
Most successful interviews are well structured. Structuring your interview is like envisioning it in advance and reiterating it in your mind, improving your answers with each iteration. Obviously you have to be prepared for all the standard questions like – Tell me something about yourself. Why MBA? Why Now? Why our B-school? And many such cliché questions.
But here we talking about 5 good and rehearsed stories about yourself that you have to deliver in the interview for sure. You have to envision the interview in your mind and practice to find that gateway during the conversation from where you can sneak in these rehearsed stories – We call it “The Gateway Technique”. The aim of reiterating this interview process in your mind is to practice finding that gateway.
2. Be prepared with you story – The Storytelling Technique!
B-schools always look for certain qualities in their candidates. Ultimately the key result area for a B-school is placements. So they select students whom they can place easily. Apart from this they focus on selecting a balanced mix of batch – Work Experience vs. Fresh students, a balance of students excellent in varied extra-curricular activities, etc. So your stories should be focused on these selections aspects.
Your stories should be about your career plan, your team work and leadership initiatives in the past, your extracurricular interests. The rationale of preparing stories and rehearsing it well is simple – you have got limited time to prove your candidature. You would want to make the most of it. Instead of thinking what to say you may definitely miss out on some points which you would realize after the interview.
Preparing stories in advance would take care of the thinking part. Then it is just about finding a chance to deliver it at one go. And that one-chance (if rehearsed) will be your best shot and would have a significant impact on the interviewer.
3. Control the Interview – Obstruction Technique!
The interviewers know that any candidate cannot be perfect. They don’t expect you to know everything. But, they want to make sure that whatever you know, it is in-depth, backed by examples or facts and you are able to communicate it confidently and clearly. You have to maximize the time spent in the interview around topics you are well aware of. Suppose if the interviewer asks you about the latest initiatives of Narendra Modi and you are not into politics, tell them politely that you do not follow politics. Show them a dead end – We call it “The Obstruction Technique”. This will make sure that the precious time of the interview is not wasted in discussing areas you are not familiar and confident with. Obviously you can do it only once or twice. So use this obstruction technique wisely.
4. Get your Basics Right – The Basics Technique!
Focus on your sitting posture. It should be straight, shoulders upright, legs on the ground and hands resting around your thighs.
Your tone should be just right. It should neither be too low if the interview is stressing you, nor too casual if the interview is taking the conversation towards a lighter note. Your tone should be crisp, confident, easily audible, not too loud and consistent.
Listen properly. Do not succumb to a fascinating story that you are about to tell and waiting for the interviewer to stop without actually listening. Chances are the interviewer has completely changed the conversation and your story might sound completely inappropriate. It is not wrong if you take a 3-4 second pause before you start responding. Use this time to think about that fascinating story you are eager to tell.
5. Ultimate Decider – The Practice Technique!
Let’s face it! We don’t give interviews every day. And few can actually conquer a premium B-school’s interview without thoroughly practicing it in advance. No matter how much you prepare and structure your interview, you have to be expect the unexpected. Ask your friends, colleagues, coaches to be your interviewer. The more people you face as an interviewer the more versatile your preparation would be. Do not forget to reflect back on how you did in the interview by taking their feedback. Record the conversation and notice if you were able to implement these techniques in your interview.
All the Best!
Jitu is Co-Founder of Mantras2Success. He has Engineering & MBA degrees to his name, along with 10+ years of corporate work experience in fortune 500 companies. Jitu is passionate about improving the careers of the modern day professional. He would be reading books or watching documentaries if not fulfilling his dreams at Mantras2Success.