In 2018, after my MBA interview, I had been rejected by NITIE, XLRI, MDI, and IIT KGP. From that experience, I have quite a few learnings to share.
- Talk only those points about which you know in detail: In my MDI interview, I mentioned about the industrial revolution in one of my answers. I knew about it on the surface level but didn’t know about the topic at length, and so couldn’t answer the cross-questions put forward by the panel. So, if you are talking about something, make sure that you have substantial knowledge about it.
- Don’t completely ignore the graduation subjects: In my NITIE interview, they asked me many questions related to my graduation stream, but I could not answer, because, at that time I had been working for two years, and so, I was completely out of touch with graduation subjects. So, it is better to know at least one subject from your graduation. Interviewers generally do not ask questions related to the graduation subjects if a candidate has 2+ years of work experience. However, you should not leave any stone unturned. Of all the interviews that I gave, only NITIE interviewers asked me questions from my graduation subjects. One important point: IIM Indore is an exception. No matter who you are, it generally asks questions from your graduation subjects.
- In a stress interview, don’t freak out: I remember in the XLRI HR interview, they asked me only one question – “what is the one thing you like about your company?” I answered, “Sharing leave policy.” That’s it! My whole interview went only around this question for close to 30 minutes. They bombarded cross-questions one after the other leaving me thinking about what I was doing there. I felt like – please let me go, I don’t want admission in XLRI. They hit me left, right, and centre with their stressful cross-questions. Each situation that they gave me left me completely perplexed. I felt I lost my cool. Even today, I don’t know how I could have handled that interview differently. I just feel that, anyhow, I should not have lost my cool there. Patience, confidence, and positive body-language matter more than your knowledge in an interview.
- Sometimes, it’s not you, but the misfit that becomes a reason for rejection: My IIT KGP interview went real smooth. I could answer all their questions related to work-experience and current affairs to their satisfaction. They seemed impressed. I was confident after the interview about making it to IIT KGP. And then the result came. To my surprise, IIT KGP waitlisted me. So, sometimes, it’s not your fault, but probably your personality just doesn’t fit the bill.
- Knowledge of current affairs is a must: Though this had never been a reason for my rejection, I have learned it from quite a few people that in an IIM interview, awareness of things happening around us is indispensable. This is quite logical as well. Managers of tomorrow must be abreast of their micro and macro environment to carry out their responsibilities effectively. Having said this, thoroughly prepare current affairs before the interview season begins.
So, these were my learnings from the MBA interview season. This list of learnings is not exhaustive. It is as per my experience. I applied these learnings from my MBA interview experience during my campus placement at IIM Trichy, and there I realized many other reasons for the failure. It was altogether a different experience when I came through multiple rejections only to have the last laugh. Yes, life keeps teaching us the lessons throughout our life. As a warrior, we need to strive to keep learning and growing. That’s what life is all about.