Personal Interview is the pivotal stage in your journey from being an MBA aspirant to a management graduate. The written examination of CAT or other management entrance tests focuses mainly on Quantitative, verbal and reasoning skills; whereas, personal interview emphasizes on knowing a candidate and their goals. And this process helps to assess candidates’ thinking process & ability to check their suitability to get into the top B-schools.
Personal Interview presents a platform for candidates to showcase their talent and skill sets acquired by their personal-academic-professional accomplishments and experiences.
Personal Interviewer not only poses questions based on the bio-data of the candidate but also ask questions based on opinions or views expressed during Group discussion (GD) and/or Written Ability Test (WAT) along with questions on General Awareness, General knowledge, and Current affairs.
General Questions and Important PI Tips:
Lucidity of your goal
The most commonly asked questions about your goal clarity include
1) Why do you want to do an MBA?
2) How does it fit in your career goals?
3) What do you wish to do after MBA?
This is the most complicated part as there is no right or wrong answer to these questions. It is to check a candidate’s ‘Intrinsic motivation’.
The only way to honestly answer the above questions is to know what motivates you. Introspect to find the suitable answer to these critical questions.
B-schools would assess a candidate based on their ability to learn at given opportunities. It is their way to know whether a candidate is capable of coping with their demanding academics and extracurricular activities. Only knowledge isn’t important, but also answering it in the right way is important.
Be confident with your replies and never go overboard with it. At times, candidates tend to speak more in excitement or with the intention of impressing the panel which may lead the interview on a different path.
For instance, if you say you have an avid interest in Cricket then, be ready to face questions like-
1) What is a beamer?
2) Who is Dougie Marillier and what is a Marillier shot?
3) Who have the highest consecutive defeats?
For candidates who are fresh out of college- Always brush up on the subjects of specialization & projects undertaken during graduation.
For candidates who are working professionals – Know well about your company, analyze your contributions to the company and also list the activities or projects that you have initiated or participated.
Communication Skills and Non-verbal communication
Communication isn’t only about good speaking but it is about better listening. When a question is asked, a candidate’s agenda is to:
1. Listen to question keenly.
2. Understand what has been asked.
3. Give a crisp reply.
If an answer is not known, do not ‘hem and haw’. The experts are too experienced to notice this ‘stratagem’ which is unappealing. Personal Interview is not time bound, take time to gather your thoughts before answering.
Many candidates may be good with Communication skills and are knowledgeable too, but they lack proper body language. Body language is the first thing that an interviewer notices. The basic thing a candidate has to do is:
1) Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
2) Few postures like leaning back, crossing your arms/legs are considered as a sign of disinterest. So always, keep your back straight to maintain a correct posture, but sit forward slightly to indicate interest.
3) Never touch your face or tuck your hair in an interview. This reflects dishonesty.
4) Nod your head when an interviewer is saying something, as it shows you are considering the information that is been presented.
5) After completion of the interview, thank the panel for taking the time to talk and shake hands firmly.
Apart from these, one has to be well-dressed. Be comfortable with what you wear.
There is no interview ‘strategy’ as one can never predict what can be asked during ‘Personal Interview’. Nevertheless, a few weeks prior the interview- Start tuning your mind by reading newspapers and update yourself with all the major happenings. Also, revisit and update your knowledge base which helps to improve your reasoning abilities and thinking process.
Stay tuned to Byju’s for latest CAT exam notifications and syllabus, at Byju’s several study materials and interactive videos on CAT exam is also given to help the aspirants prepare more effectively. Check the video given below to understand some of the important tips on PI.