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Interview - Sample Questions & Suggested Answers

Justify your decision to pursue the MBA program?

Don't tell the panel that you are looking for a "challenging job in a good firm with lots of money, status and glamour". Instead, you must convey to the interview panel that you have made a rational and informed decision about your career choice and your intended course of higher study. There are broadly four areas which your answer could touch upon:

i. Career Objectives:You could talk about your career objectives and how the two year MBA program will help you achieve them.

ii. Value Addition:Value addition will essentially be in two forms knowledge and skills.

iii. Background: This is where you connect your past to your future. If you are an engineer, try and say that the MBA course and your engineering degree will help you do your job better in the company that you will join. You should be able to convincingly justify how your engineering qualification will help.

iv. Opportunities and Rewards:You could also at this stage mention the opportunities that are opening up in organizations for management graduates. At this stage mentioning superior monetary rewards for management graduates may not be a bad idea Don't tell the panel that you are looking for a "challenging job in a good firm with lots of money, status and glamour". Instead, you must convey to the interview panel that you have made a rational and informed decision about your career choice and your intended course of higher study. There are broadly four areas which your answer could touch upon:

i. Career Objectives:You could talk about your career objectives and how the two year MBA program will help you achieve them.

ii. Value Addition:Value addition will essentially be in two forms knowledge and skills.

iii. Background: This is where you connect your past to your future. If you are an engineer, try and say that the MBA course and your engineering degree will help you do your job better in the company that you will join. You should be able to convincingly justify how your engineering qualification will help.

iv. Opportunities and Rewards: You could also at this stage mention the opportunities that are opening up in organizations for management graduates. At this stage mentioning superior monetary rewards for management graduates may not be a bad idea.

Why do you think you would enjoy your chosen area of study (Eg: Marketing)?

Marketing is key to the success of any organization and the function has always appealed to me, because it requires a combination of creativity, strategic and analytic ability - all qualities that I feel I possess. Through discussions with some of my seniors, I have a pretty good idea of what it's like to work toward taking up a marketing job, and I know I will enjoy the work.

How do you spend your spare time?

I have a good collection of books of different genre and enjoy reading. In addition, I love driving during late evenings or on rainy weekend afternoons. Also, for the last two years I've been volunteering at the local children's hospital on Saturday mornings.

What are your strengths and your weaknesses?

First of all, take time to write down 3 of your strengths and 3 weaknesses. These are examples from personal life; you can quote your relevant real professional life examples. "Since my childhood, I have a habit, if I want to go to a movie and my parents wanted me to finish my maths homework first, then I used to solve the Math's problems first and also I used to make sure that I do it correctly. I would not care how much effort was involved, how much convincing was required, so my first strength is that I am a determined person.

Secondly, I have a habit, when I take up some work; I make sure that I do it very well. It was my dad's 25th birthday. All my family members had completed the decoration, but I started when everybody finished, because I was not satisfied with the way it was done. I worked alone for four hours and at the end of it, everyone appreciated it. Moreover, my father, for whom it was a surprise, was delighted. My second strength is that I love perfection and I achieve it most of the times.

Now as I have told you about my strengths I would like to share with you something. One of my strength of being a determined person is also my weakness. When I take up some commitment, I invest so much energy, hard work and efforts in it that I sometimes neglect my personal life, social life, health and family life. I still remember I have not visited my very close friend since last 2 years. My strength of being a determined person is also my weakness.

My mother tells me that I spend a lot of money. I think she is right and but from other perspective, I think what I am doing is also right. Whenever I buy something - clothes, watches, shoes, I buy best quality products, and good products or services are always expensive. My second weakness is that I spend a lot of money on quality products."

The first thing you need to do prior to interviewing is assess yourself. This includes listing your strengths and weaknesses, your accomplishments and achievements, reviewing your strong and your weak subjects, and recording some of the key decisions you have made in your life. You should then review your interests, the disappointments you've encountered, your work environment likes/dislikes, your business and personal values, your goals, needs, restrictions, and life style preferences.

Prepare structured answers for the following potential questions.

1. Why should we admit you into our MBA program?

2. What are your strongest abilities?

3. What skills would you be bringing to the classroom?(relevant if you have job experience)

4. What are you looking for in this program?

5. Where do you want to be in 5 years?

6. Why do you want to study in this institute?

7. What does "success" mean to you?

8. What does "failure" mean to you?

9. What are your three major accomplishments?

10. What have you disliked in your past jobs? (If you have worked in more than one organization)

11. What kinds of people do you enjoy working with? (If you possess work experience)

12. What kinds of people frustrate you?

13. How long before you can make a contribution (Not monetary) to the institute?

14. In the past year, what have you been dissatisfied about in your performance?

15. What according to you is your ideal job and how will this program help you realize the same?

16. What can you tell me about your past bosses? (If you have work experience)

17. Which is more important to you: money or the type of job?

18. What have you learned from your activities in college?

19. Were your extracurricular activities worth the time you put into them?

21. What qualities should a successful manager possess?

22. What two attributes are most important in your job?

23. What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it?

24. What have you done that you consider creative?

25. Who do you admire? Why?

26. What do you get passionate about?

27. What courses are you taking?

Conclusions: Our Best Tips for Interview Success

· Prepare for the interview extensively: review your application, learn about the school, and prepare answers for the typical questions

· Practice answering questions aloud before the interview until you can handle all types of questions confidently

· Walk into the interview with an air of confidence and professionalism. Offer a firm handshake and a professional demeanor

· Listen carefully to the interviewer's questions and answer accordingly. Don't babble incessantly about a related topic or answer the question you wish he had asked

· Be yourself. If your answers are ambiguous or inconsistent, the interviewer will likely consider you a poor candidate. Don't send out any unnecessary warning signs.

Your success will ultimately depend on your ability to sell yourself to the interviewer. (S)he is seeking the following traits:

  • Maturity
  • Communication Skills
  • Honesty
  • Motivation
  • High Energy Level
  • Confidence
  • Pride
  • Initiative
  • Listening
  • Skills
  • Sense of Humor
  • Analytical Skills
  • Leadership Potential

If you have them, flaunt them! They will open the door to a wonderfully challenging, yet satisfying academic experience.

1. Tell us about yourself

a. This question should not be answered by telling your bio-data .It is already available in the form you filled up. Repeating the same will be a waste of time creating a bad impression.

b. Do not speak something stereotyped or something which appears having been practiced before the mirror number of times.

c. You could narrate some incident highlighting your personality but be brief.

d. You could also answer like - Apart from the details in the form submitted, I am a quick learner and learn from mistakes. I believe in human values, a sharp and clear vision of life. I am confident enough that the various levels of learning that I have had till now and will have in this Institute will help me to bring out the finest of me which will enhance my competence, aptitude and skills.

2. Why do you like your city?

a. Give the positive points of your city – as – it is large or small; it has so and so monuments; good picnic places; people are peaceful and loving; lesser crime; you were born there; famous products; Socio-economic activities – traditional and modern; cost of living; think of some memorable events etc.

b. How to present the negative points – like frequent power shutdowns, bad or congested roads, uncivilised behaviour of some of the people even if there should be placed in such a manner that the future appears good enough and past has been worth appreciating except the time in between which may be termed as a transition phase.

c. Suppose you hail from Agra – Historical and Famous city, TajMahal on the bank of Yamuna river, Fatehpur Sikri, and other monuments are situated. Attracts tourists, Tourism as an industry there, good earning to government as well as to the people. Handicraft goods, Petha, Dalmoth, shoes are famous. Good education centre, regular development to decongest the roads, People are loving and living in harmony, Cost of living is less than in Metros, Quality of food available at a reasonable price, Less criminal city than other ones. Great personalities like Ghalib, Babu Gulab Rai, etc. Lived there. Also tell something which you think the interview board members may not be aware of – like- The first President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad studied at Agra, Since Agra has been declared Taj Trapezium zone – uninterrupted power supply has been ordered by Hon’ble Supreme Court; More greenery is being ensured surrounding the city, the city is well connected by rail, road and quite close to the capital of India. A lower middle class family can happily live there.

Need of the city – An International airport is required, why? Tourists coming from all over the world have to come to Delhi and reach Agra either by road or by Train. Lot of time wasted. Airport will help to give a boost to tourism industry . Present inflow of tourists (National and international) appx. 30 to 40 lacs per year. Peak season is from October to March.

d. Please ensure you must know each and everything you speak about your city as it might generate more questions out of the answer presented by you.

3. Are you feeling nervous?

a. Depends upon you. If you are perspiring and nervousness is getting reflected on your face how can you deny? If you are facing the interview for the first time – you can submit-‘ Yes sir, since it is the first time I was getting a little apprehensive. But entering the room I am feeling better and am al right now.’ If you feel the environment extra warm you can convey ‘ I am sweating as it is rather warm over here.’

b. If you are confident enough-still – be submissive to the question- No sir, I look forward to a good session of learning.

4. Tell us about some great personality of your city (Live or dead).

a. When you come before the interview board, it is expected that you must have prepared well about your surroundings. Every city, town, village has some story to tell. They are not only great people in your city but the products, places of interest etc. Anything related to your city must be known to you.

b. If the city is historical one – you may contact Archeological Survey of India office-they can provide you lot of information on it. Buy a detailed map of your city and state, go through the important details of it. It will be helpful to answer the questions like this as it is not necessary that the question is on great personality it may be on anything related to it.

c. Please ensure that you are able to answer the contribution made by such personalities to the society, city, state, nation.

d. If you do not know much about such personalities or any particular person, please do not try to bluff the interviewers. Instead say politely that you do not know much about him/them except... ( say whatever you know) If you know nothing please admit that too. Be straight

5.Who decides your dress code? How did you decide on today’s dress?

a. If you decide your dresses on all the events and occasions, say so. You may expect more questions on it –How and why. So be clear about it – You liked it on your own, your parents or friends suggested it etc. The dresses for interview etc. are formal one and according to the season- you might be wearing a suit, shirt-pants with tie or so. All the details on colour choice etc.should be clearly presented.

b. If someone else decides your dresses and that day’s dress is also decided by that person- be clear with logic- why the particular dress was selected.

6. What are the other examinations you have appeared in/ qualified?

a. If you appeared in other examination tell the interviewers. If you have qualified anyone/more than one, there is no harm telling them. You should however, be ready to face one or two more questions on it like – why did you appear in other examination, were you not confident enough to clear it etc. - So it is always good to have more choices, although you would prefer the particular Institute.

b. If you appeared this examination only – you may again expect more questions like-why didn’t you appear in more examinations. The question of a. might be the answer of this question – As I was confident enough to qualify this examination, I didn’t appear in other one.

7.Why do you want to pursue MBA after graduation in Engg/ Medical/paramedical/ arts & literature/ commerce etc.

a. Since your decision to join MBA has been taken after lot of discussion and information shared among you, your family and friends- you can be categorical in stating that the decision is taken after a careful thought. You would be able to do job better with enhanced knowledge and skills. Managerial role requires other skills apart from your technical knowledge so it will be the right decision.

b. Beware of being a tall talk, asking for trouble, on the question.

8. What are your hobbies and interests?

a. The hobbies that you filled up in the form should be clarified. If your hobby is music- you must know number of things about it – like events, instruments, personalities, various parts anything. You could be asked – Pt. Ravishanker has recently gone for his heavenly abode – Awards won, the instrument he played, where was he born, where did he die, his family members, achievements etc. You must also be aware about the instrument you play and the environmental details of the same .

b. If you are in the job-you may be asked the question –how do you get time to practice, what inspires you, how did you get to this hobby. You may present the things straight. If there is anything you don’t want to tell, you may hide it but don’t bluff to hide something.

c. Even if other hobbies and interests, apart from one, are there like – reading books, trekking, travelling, playing with toys etc. Anything can be your hobby but you must know as many things as possible related to it.

9. How did you prepare for the entrance examination? Was it a self preparation or you joined some Coaching Institute ? Which one and why? What would you recommend for future aspirants?

a. If you prepared on your own without the help and guidance of any mentor or any coaching – tell the board.

b. In case you prepared with the guidance of some reputed coaching Institute e.g. MBAUniverse.com, answer could be like – Sir, I made all out efforts to prepare on my own but since I am an Engineering graduate, Verbal Ability was my weak link and most of the fundamentals of quant. were difficult to remember, I found it appropriate and quite cost effective to go for comprehensive online classes offered by MBAUniverse.com along with other study material provided by them. It has been quite helpful for me.

c. You could without hesitation recommend your preferred coaching institute – like – Sir, time is precious. Since understanding the concept and clues is difficult and more time consuming, spending lot of money is also an issue, I would recommend the flexible and all time available cost effective Online CAT/XAT coaching imparted by MBAUniverse.com. The aspirant has more time to solve the practice questions.

10. Which B-school do you want to join as you have received the call from other ones also?

a. Apart from this one you have received the call from other institutes also and you have filled this information in the form as well. You can be straight on this point. It is always good to have choice. You , if asked, may convey the given option where would you like to go.

b. If you think that it will be difficult for you to enter the other Institute, tell the interviewers that you would prefer the present one. However, have some positive points on the same else it will appear misleading. Besides you can clarify that you would have joined the other institute but given the high percentile requirement or so, you would prefer joining the present one. Better to let the board know what you think.

11.Tell us about your dream Institute.

a. You might have IIM(A), IIM(B), IIM(C), IIM(L), XLRI (Any of them) as your dream institute. If you find you have got that much of percentile, WAT/GD equally good you may submit – Sir, given the opportunity I would like to study at IIM(A) or whatever is your dream Institute. This will call for more questions like – why? – you must be aware of the dream Institute – campus study environment, you know the seniors who have appreciated it, More renowned, Older one, better opportunities etc.

b. If you find you can’t make to your dream Institute tell them about it adding that you prepared hard and would like to study harder in the present institute instead of preparing again for the dream institute.