November 19, 2010

Personal Interview: How to Answer the Questions

Question: Why do you want to study at a business school?
This question is related to both your personal and professional goals. Answers in terms how a B-school in general can help you to achieve both of your goals. Its important for you to articulate very clearly, what an MBA can do for you, combined with your background. Believe it or not, in my opinion not many people can answer this question convincingly.

Question: Why did you decide to apply to our business school?    
Answer this question in a similar fashion, why a business school, but be sure that it matches something specific in your personal and professional goals to something the school has. This is the most compelling reason you can provide a school to accept you and other than your academic qualifications. The more unique and thought out your answer is, the better your application appears to an admission committee. This question is also not answered well by many students because they don’t always give the impression that they have done their homework on the school they are interviewing with. Not being prepared on this question makes your interest in the programme pretty shallow.

Question: What makes you stand out among other candidates?
Reveal the interviewer something unique about yourself which can be a combination of experiences you have had (Academic and professional) that would make you successful at their programme. Your unique experiences are of great experiences to school because they define what you are as a person, how you may contribute in the classroom, how employable you are, and how well you may perform academically.

Question: What can you contribute to our programme?
Answer this question by relating to your strengths and experiences. If you have something very unique in your work experience be sure to mention it and how the school can value it. Also, don’t be shy about how your experience can be of value to the classroom or to team members.

Question: What are your expectations of this programme?
This is a question that should clearly demonstrate, you have done your homework about the school and how its strength will help you to achieve your career expectations. If you want to go in to real estate, for example, be sure to answer in terms of how the programmer’s real estate courses will help you to achieve your goals. Make sure that you research the fact behind your answer you may come across as not having done your homework.

Question: How do you plan to use your degree?
This is similar to “WHY BUSINESS SCHOOL?” You need to demonstrate how the degree can improve your chances in a career interest. Make sure your career interests were not researched the morning of the interview. You had better articulate a clear road map to getting where you want to go.

Question: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
This is a hard question and in these times, no one can really say where they will be in 10 years. However with a well thought out career plan, make sure you demonstrate your answer is right for you with well researched facts for back up.

Question: Can you walk us through your resume?
This is a question for you to impress the interviewer by going beyond what you did and discuss what you learned and how you view in that position. Modesty and humility are welcome. False modesty is transparent.

Question: Can you give me an example of a time that you demonstrated leadership?
Give an example ho you lead people to overcome barriers in succeeding. Never miss the opportunity to sincerely describe what you learned and how you even failed. Failure teaches many lessons from which you can learn.

Question: What is your definition of team work?
I would recommend framing this in terms of a personal experience and not what you think will happen at the business school.

Question: What would you say is your biggest weakness?
Be honest here and do not present a weakness that masquerades as a strength, like : “I work too hard and intimidate others.” “ I am a perfectionist.” These don’t work. A better weakness, example might be: “I need to improve my communication skills.” Or “I am not always sensitive to the opinions of others.” Be sure to back them op with examples or you may appear gratuitous. It is perfectly fine if your weakness are mentioned in your recommendations, thus all the more important for you to address them in the interview. At least you will demonstrate acknowledging your weaknesses.

Question: How would your colleagues describe you?
Imagine working for yourself and think about all the times you were right and wrong.



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