How to Crack Personal Interviews (PI)

Nishatha Abraham Bijeesh updated on : 24 Oct 2016

After the Group Discussion/ Essay, the next stage in the selection process adopted by most Management institutes is the Personal Interview (PI). How should you prepare for this? Sidharth Balakrishna, an IIM Calcutta alumnus gives some valuable tips:

Firstly, remember that most MBA interviews cover the following:

The manner in which most interviews commence is you being asked to introduce yourself. So you would do well to think about what you wish to speak about in your introduction. I suggest that you try and ensure that you go beyond just repeating some mundane details about yourself. Very often, Management Institutes ask you to fill in a form before the Interview and such details are already covered in the form. Try and make your introduction interesting by highlighting your unique qualities, interests, aims etc.

  • It is also a good strategy to highlight your achievements in your introduction: this could impress the evaluators and go a long way in ensuring your success.


  • The first few minutes of the interview also provide an opportunity for the candidate to ‘lead’ the interview (to direct or ‘steer’ the subsequent discussion) to areas where he is comfortable. You can only do a good job of this if you are ready for subsequent questions. So carefully think about what you wish to say in the beginning and the possible follow-up questions you could be asked. For example, if you mention that you are from a particular city, you could be asked as to what that city is known for.


  • Most interviewers do ask at least a few questions on academics, especially to ‘freshers’ who are currently in their final year or who have just recently completed their graduation. Candidates with substantial work experience can expect to be probed about their work, the company which they work for, latest developments in their industry etc.
  • So candidates should revise the fundamentals/ basics of the subjects they have studied during their graduation. The focus is more on application-based questions, rather than just theory. For example, if you have an Economics background, you may be asked for your opinion on inflation and what could be done to control it etc


  • Candidates are also expected to have a working knowledge of current affairs and basic business awareness and be ready to answer related questions. I advise that prospective candidates read the newspaper daily and keep themselves abreast of the important issues of the day. The candidate should be aware of and be able to speak on broader issues of national or international importance


  • Candidates could also expect some general questions such as:
  •           Why they wish to do an MBA, their future career plans etc
  •           Their Hobbies & Interests
  •           Their Strengths and Weaknesses

For such questions, I suggest you do some introspection. It is important to be honest and not make up something! Be ready for follow-up questions-for example, if you say that you have a particular strength, you may be asked to justify it by providing an example of when you actually demonstrated that quality.

It is always a good idea to undergo a couple of mock interviews before your actual one and incorporate any feedback that you may receive. Such mock interviews help you to prepare for questions that you may not have thought of or brush up areas of weaknesses.

About the Author


The author is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta, a well-known author, and an MBA preparation expert. He has been part of the Interview Panel to select students for MBA institutes in New Delhi and has written the best-selling 'An Introduction to CAT-Tips from an IIM Alumnus' published by Pearson Education as well as several articles for reputed publications. He has also held seminars across the country and can be contacted at: Sidharth’s forthcoming books are ‘Reading Comprehension for the CAT-Tips from an IIM Alumnus’ and ‘Marketing Case Studies’, both to be published by Pearson.

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