Mar 6, 2007

MBA personal interview perspectives

It was almost exactly ten years ago that I faced three interviewers for my personal interview round before I got admitted to do my MBA.

So it was a different kind of deja vu when I crossed the line and became an interviewer for a B School as they had requested me (amongst others) as they considered me a "well wisher".

After a day of interviewing 12 MBA aspirants these are the thoughts I was left with:

  1. A majority of the people were engineers with 2-4 years of experience. Most of them were from the IT services industry and of them 3-4 people were people who did software testing and quality kind of roles.
  2. Interestingly a lot of these people talked about turning entrepreneur after 3-4 years of working.
  3. Most people wanted to specialise in Finance but when asked why, they could not articulate the reason, except for a couple of them. If you have zoned on one, the panel will ask why you want to pursue that and therefore you should be prepared
  4. The question "Why do you want to do an MBA" is a sure question, and yet very few people said anything that showed they were ready with a clear and crisp answer to that.
  5. For budding business managers, awareness of things like the recently released Union Budget and its impact on individuals and organizations should be clear to some extent. That was sorely lacking.
  6. It's great to have a big grand goal, but show that you can plan the intermediate steps to that goal as well. It doesn't have to be perfect or correct, but I would look for thoroughness in thought.
  7. On the other hand just thinking of the job you'd like to do a couple of years after graduating from an MBA and not having a larger vision for your career makes it seem that you are in it only for the money :-)

On the panel was a software product person who quizzed the engineers on the kind of work they that done and there was a professor from the business school who had an eagle eye on the academic record of the students.