Telling the truth remains the best alternative
Put across your point in a pleasing manner during an interview, avoiding confrontation
Interviews are the trickiest part of an MBA admission process. Literally anything under the sun could be asked. What they attempt to gauge in a interview is whether you fit the bill for an ideal student they are seeking. Are you humble, can you withstand pressure, do you take stress well, can you be polite yet disagree, do you know when not to pick a battle, these are some of the traits they seek to assess. And they do it through asking you a range of questions. Here we present a set of ten, which most interviewers tend to ask.
1. Introduce yourself
This is the best question you can get. Do not repeat your name, place, degree etc. Explain briefly the kind of individual that you are. Lead the interviewers to your strengths, domains which interest you, any unique feature in your life that you want them to notice, etc. Prepare it in three parts, which are self-contained so that you can stop when you notice slight discontent. Under any circumstance do not answer beyond three minutes for any question.
2. Why MBA?
This is a googly. Be honest. Do not say you want to serve the society. Also don’t just say I want to make tonnes of money. Tell them about how an MBA would help you achieve what you want out of life. Service and money must be part of your answer. Rehearse this well and ideally link it in some way to what you have in your CV currently.
3. Sell me this pen/eraser (it could be anything that catches the fancy of the interviewer)
It’s just like that famous example of selling comb to a bald person. The focus is not on the material or your pitch. It is about how you handle the situation. Are you stressed? Do you take it as a challenge? Try and do a good job. Try to be humorous, only if you can carry it. Do not get unduly worried if your joke falls flat. And take only a few minutes to sell.
4. What are your hobbies?
It is a soft question. Handle it well. Do not give monosyllable answers. If reading books is your hobby, explain it. Tell about a recent book you have read. Be prepared to mention a few authors you like. If you have read a classic, do mention it and highlight its significance.
5. What is the worst book you ever read?
Here be careful. Do not hate a book because of any politically incorrect reason like caste, religion, disability etc. Speak about language, plot, presentation, theme etc. And if an interviewer has a contrary opinion, do not engage in an argument. Politely concede that he or she might have a point. You aren’t there to win a debate but to get admitted.
6. What are your strengths?
Prepare well for this question. If “hard work’ is your strength, be prepared to site examples of such hard work. State the past achievements because of your diligence and also mention others who identify such a trait in you. This could be your previous boss or your teacher/mentor. If some person in authority has mentioned about an event that brings out the trait, do cite that incident. Do not ever mention strength as a weakness. When you say, “Perfection is my weakness,” it sounds really hackneyed and rehearsed. Avoid such a scenario.
7. Walk me through your rÃ©sumÃ© in less than 30 seconds.
Just highlight your most important achievement. Elaborate just this. Do not attempt to do a story, which is not needed here. The interviewer will definitely stop you if you give a long-winded answer. Here you must finish your answer in two sentences maximum and wait for the interviewer to take the conversation further.
8. If your parents were talking about you right now, what do you think they would say is your most annoying trait?
Again be parsimonious about truth. Your weakness must be endearing, but non-threatening in a professional way. Identify a trait like fawning over kids, pampering children overtly, fussing over elders, which do not have an impact on your professional life.
9. Why should I take you?
Never say, because I am the best. Do enumerate a range of qualities and string of achievements. Do say you will add value to your peers and to your school. If the school has a known faculty, do say that it is your dream to be taught by him or her. But do ensure that the teacher is in a domain where you have established interest previously in the interview.
10. What is Pareto hypothesis (or any such subject question)?
Answer only if you know. Do not guess or beat around the bush. The interview is not a means to test your knowledge. So if you don’t know, say it straight. It’s the best option. There are students who have been admitted even after saying ‘Sorry, I don’t know’, fives times straight in interviews.