Tips to Prepare for Personal Round of Interviews (PI)

After group discussion (GD), the very phase of the selection process is the Personal Round of Interview. Some of the GD attributes we have spoken about remain as important in a PI – knowledge, analytical skills, communication skills.

However, the PI is a little more predictable as there is a set of questions that is likely to be asked to a majority of the candidates. It makes sense to know what these questions are and to be prepared with the answers. Let’s look at some of these questions:

The most frequently asked first question is – Can you tell us something about yourself? It makes ample sense to prepare a comprehensive answer to this – the trick again being able to structure it effectively.

A necessary condition is to understand your own self – your strengths, weaknesses and nature – before attempting an answer. Other common questions relate to your reasons for doing an MBA, your career goals, reasons for switching streams or giving up a job etc. Students often ask me for help in answering these types of questions

Please remember that these are questions about you and only you can give honest answers to them. A counsellor can at best help you structure the reply.

The candidate should be prepared to face questions on his areas of interest in academics and his area of work. He has to demonstrate the capability to think and present his thoughts cogently. Highlight your areas of strength – try to direct the interview towards your area of comfort.

A panelist looks at a candidate with two things in his mind – would I like to have him on campus for the next two years, and, will I be able to place him with a good organisation two years from now. The interviewee should thus come across as an honest, capable and sincere person.

Speak the truth while answering personal questions – nothing works quite as well as truth. Diligence, genuineness, maturity and an awareness of the environment around you are positive traits.

Cynicism, arrogance and indifference are negative traits. A seemingly innocuous question on who your role model is and why he is your role model can yield lots of information about you across these dimensions.

Highlight your learning from your academics and your job. Emphasize your interest in pursuing an MBA, and that too from that B-school. Avoid running down your college, your current area of study, your current job etc, to justify your decision to pursue an MBA. Learn to say ‘I don’t know’ instead of making wild guesses!

There is no substitute to preparation. Listen attentively to each question asked and keep your answers brief and to the point. Hope you enjoy the PI process and get the desired job.

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