Interrogate Your Persona – Part 1

It’s a lovely winter morning and the admissions committee of one of the top MBA schools in the country is abuzz with activity. Three weeks back they had declared the results of the written examination for their Post Graduate in Business Administration course. Since then the admissions committee have been conducting Group Discussions and now its time for the final leg of the selection process – Personal Interview.

Let me take you through an interview scene at this college. Before the interview starts, the two interviewers share the following conversation:

Interviewer 1: I have with me a very interesting resume at the moment. And this student is first on the list for the interview today. It is not his academics that interest me so much, but what he has written about his hobbies makes me curious. I am really looking forward to meeting this candidate.

Interviewer 2: Yes, I agree with you. I really hope he is as interesting as his CV is 🙂 Well it’s about time. Let’s call him in.

The interviewee walks in.

Student (Varun): Good morning Ma’m, Good Morning Sir, May I have a seat?

Interviewer 1: Good Morning Varun. Yes, please have a seat.

Varun: Thanks.

Interviewer 1: So Varun, Describe yourself.

Varun: My name is Varun Singhania. I am a third year Commerce student and I have done my graduation from _________ (rattles on and on and goes on for more than 4 minutes vomiting facts about himself).

Interviewer 1 listens and thinks to himself: Hang on! I have all this information! What’s he rattling about! Why don’t these students listen to the question carefully enough? My question is “Describe yourself” – tell me your strengths, your hobbies, what activities etc. do you do. Alas, he is not what I thought I was going to be meeting!

Interviewer 2 listens and thinks to herself: Oh not again! I was so impressed with his CV. His CV says that he has worked in many cultural events in his college. I wish he had mentioned something about his event-management skills in his introduction. It would have been wonderful to have culturally active students on our campus. However, he does not seem to be talking about his qualities, skills etc. He is not the candidate we are looking for.

Interviewer 2: Well Thanks Varun! We don’t have any further questions for you. Hope you have a good day!

Varun (confused about the duration of the interview): Thank you Ma’m, Thank you Sir and wish you a good day too!

The scene above is a story of student who completely ruined his chances to convert good score into a final call because of his bad preparation for the interview or for that matter, no preparation at all! For the interviewers it is highly disappointing to meet students who take events like their career interviews in a callous manner and cannot answer something as basic as “Describe yourself”.

A describe yourself question is not about your name, your contact details or your family history – it is about “you”– it is the shape of your thoughts today contributed by the good and bad of your life in the past – your strengths, your ideologies, your beliefs, your ambitions and your passions. This question gives you a chance to express the best of who you are.

The answer should ideally last only for 2 minutes and the number of sentences can go up to 5-6. And that’s where the challenge is: to give out the story that sets you apart from all the 10-15 students interviewed in that day. You could give a lovely story out even at the risk of sounding philosophical. This is one answer that gives shape to your interview and excites the interviewer about your candidacy and is therefore very critical for your final selection.

More soon.

An MBA from the prestigious NMIMS, Mumbai, the writer of this blog piece is an English and GD-PI mentor for CAT and GMAT at MBAGuru.

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YLP ISB Hyderabad

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