9 Questions Asked in the Personal Interview (MBA): How to Answer Them

9 Questions Asked in the Personal Interview (MBA): How to Answer Them

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To make your interview process easier, we have prepared a list of commonly asked questions in the Personal Interview for MBA admissions:

The personal interview is the last door that you have to open to enter the B-school of your choice. Despite months of preparation, no one can predict the questions you’ll have to face in your personal interview. But there are a few questions that are most commonly asked in the personal interviews by most B-schools.

You are not expected to know the answer to every question you will be asked in the personal interview. The interview panel of the MBA college knows that you are a student & are not expected to know everything. So, be honest when you’re in the interview room. The personal interview takes place to check your inter-personal & communicative skills & know your vision as an MBA aspirant. So here are some popular personal interview questions discusses in detail for you.

(Also read: Personal Interview Etiquette: How to Conduct Yourself in a PI )

To make your interview process easier, we have prepared a list of commonly asked questions in the Personal Interview for MBA admissions:

1. Tell us something about yourself.

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

a. Your educational & 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.


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

Another popular question that keeps recurring in the MBA personal interviews. Be honest while answering this one. Just don’t say “In your seat”! Your answer should justify & substantiate the course that you’re 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 need not necessarily say where you’d be professionally. If you have a vision about your personal life, even that is okay, as that would give a glimpse of what you would be doing 5 – 10 years later. But be careful, to not give details on very personal stuff.


3. 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 & 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 & your interview panel knows that best. Try to come up with a genuine weakness & also state immediately how you’ve planned to tackle it. For example: “I can be disorganised at times & 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.”


4. Why MBA?

Your answer 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 & 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 & the value-addition that an MBA would provide you with. Be well-prepared with valid reasons for a question like this.


5. Why do you want to join this B-school?

The personal interview panel might be asking 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 flag-ship programmes, 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 & extra-curricular activities.

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

 

6. 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 & fundamentals before your PI.

Even if you've graduated & have been working, expect questions about your subject. The chances of being quizzed about your graduation subject decreases with increasing work experience. But don't take a chance!

 

7. Questions related to your Profession

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

 

8. Questions about your Hobbies

If you've mentioned gardening as a hobby, you are expected to know which fertiliser 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 R&D!

 

9. 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 routine questions that are 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 & confident while facing your interview panel.

 

Related Articles:

Personal Interview Etiquette
Why is a GD Important: What skills are Tested?

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