5 Tips on MBA Admissions: Interviews and Essays

You have an excellent score in the MBA entrance exam, have already zeroed in the college where you want to steady or might already be on the shortlist called for an interview. Great news! While this surely calls for a round of celebration, MBA aspirants will know that it only represents one hand on the trophy called ‘successful admission’.

As we approach the months where students get busy with their preparations for the final hurdle, the race to land a spot in a top management college such as IILM really begins to heat up. As is the norm in the aforementioned college and many of the best MBA colleges in India, candidates have to go through a long, often arduous admission process. This is divided into the critical interview and the essay. And this is where the difference between getting admission and being rejected lies on one’s level of preparation.

So, how do you ace your interview and the essay? Here are five excellent tips vouched by management experts and MBA guruswhich you must keep in mind during the selection process:

  1. Rehearse your interview – till it doesn’t feel rehearsed

Having confidence is a great thing, but never walk into the interview room without preparation. List down all the important questions that might be asked, right from the most standard ones about your life, experience and education to ones that require problem solving. Be up to date with global and domestic affairs – business is all about globalization and international competency, and you don’t want to come across as someone uninterested in the world. Most importantly, rehearse and practice your interview with your friends, family or yourself countless times till you have meaningful answers for everything.

  1. Give tough competition to the B-school brochure – know everything about the college

Interviewers love candidates who know everything about the college – right from what course they are planning to join to why they think it will benefit them. This shows your enthusiasm and genuine interest in the institution. A B-school would love have those individuals on board which degree a self-starter spirit.

  1. Quit second-guessing – have a clear goal and vision

Clarity of thought and vision are critical. Don’t be just another person looking to complete MBA just for the sake of it. Have an agenda for the interview, and lead the interviewers to your vision and your ultimate goal – be it a business plan, the perfect company or job role, an idea, or an entrepreneurial dream. Also, have passion in your words. All this shows that you are a leader. One of the most common questions asked to gauge your leadership skills is how you tackled a particular situation at your previous college or at a job. Take the STAR approach (situation, task, act, result) to clearly underline how you accomplished the task at hand.

  1. It’s not an interrogation – remember to make a conversation

Walk into the interview with the idea that it will be a dialogue, and half the battle will be already one. One of the qualities of a leader is to grow into a conversation rather than simply following a lead. To sell yourself, you need to not only answer questions but ask intelligent ones yourself. Get the upper hand on your interviewers and talk to them about what they think about the college, the future of management, or any interesting topic. Everyone loves to share his or her opinion, and when you convince your interviewers into sharing theirs, they will feel great about you!

  1. Sell yourself in the essay – but with a real story

Ditch the standard write-ups that get submitted by applicants every year. Start with a clear objective in mind. Remember, an essay is an extension of your resume and the interviewers are interested in knowing more about you through it. Avoid generalizations and stick to real-life examples that bring out your strengths to the fore. Staying honest, staying humble, and mentioning the life lessons you’ve learnt and the vision you have will allow you to impress the reader immensely.

Following these five precious tips will significantly increase your chances of cracking that dream PGDM admission. To conclude, remember that confidence is the key to winning your interviewer’s approval – and great confidence comes from practice and preparation.