Personal Interview round at IIMs or any other top B-school may have a duration of 8 to 30 minutes depending upon how interesting you are during the process. PI is awarded highest weightage in final selection round. The PI round tests you on your one to one communication skill along with your attitude, interest in surrounding events and way of presentation. Any bluff during PI round can throw you out of the fray.
Usually there are 2 to 3 panelists in the PI round who ask questions on variety of topics ranging from your personal profile, family, native place, courses you have studied, environment around, current topics. Anything under the Sun could be the topic in the interview session.
The questions can be both generic or specific. Questions are more or less simple and broad, how you answer them is very important. Here are a few of the past questions asked in PI round and answered in different ways at IIMs, FMS, MDI, IMI, IMT, SPJIMR. The suggested answers to the questions represent the various ways with which they can be answered.
Q. Tell us about yourself
A. This question should not be answered by telling your bio-data. It is already available in the form you filled up. Repeating the same will be a waste of time creating a bad impression.
B. Do not speak something stereotyped or something which appears having been practiced before the mirror number of times.
C. You could narrate some incident highlighting your personality but be brief.
D. You could also answer like - Apart from the details in the form submitted, I am a quick learner and learn from mistakes. I believe in human values, a sharp and clear vision of life. I am confident enough that the various levels of learning that I have had till now and will have in this Institute will help me to bring out the finest of me which will enhance my competence, aptitude and skills.
Q. What are the other examinations you have appeared in/ qualified?
A. If you appeared in other examination tell the interviewers. If you have qualified anyone/more than one, there is no harm telling them. You should however, be ready to face one or two more questions on it like – why did you appear in other examination, were you not confident enough to clear it etc. - So it is always good to have more choices, although you would prefer the particular Institute.
B. If you appeared this examination only – you may again expect more questions like-why didn’t you appear in more examinations. The question of a. might be the answer of this question – As I was confident enough to qualify this examination, I didn’t appear in other one.
Q. Why do you want to pursue MBA after graduation in Engg/ Medical/ paramedical/ arts & literature/ commerce etc.
A. Since your decision to join MBA has been taken after lot of discussion and information shared among -you, your family and friends- you can be categorical in stating that the decision is taken after a careful thought. You would be able to do job better with enhanced knowledge and skills. Managerial role requires other skills apart from your technical knowledge so it will be the right decision.
B. Beware of being a tall talk, asking for trouble, on the question.
Q. What are your hobbies and interests?
A. The hobbies that you filled up in the form should be clarified. If your hobby is music- you must know number of things about it – like events, instruments, personalities, various parts anything. You could be asked – Pt. Ravishanker has recently gone for his heavenly abode – Awards won, the instrument he played, where was he born, where did he die, his family members, achievements etc. You must also be aware about the instrument you play and the environmental details of the same.
B. If you are in the job-you may be asked the question –how do you get time to practice, what inspires you, how did you get to this hobby. You may present the things straight. If there is anything you don’t want to tell, you may hide it but don’t bluff to hide something.
C. Even if other hobbies and interests, apart from one, are there like – reading books, trekking, travelling, playing with toys etc. Anything can be your hobby but you must know as many things as possible related to it.
Q. Why do you like your city?
A. Give the positive points of your city – as – it is large or small; it has so and so monuments; good picnic places; people are peaceful and loving; lesser crime; you were born there; famous products; Socio-economic activities – traditional and modern; cost of living; think of some memorable events etc.
B. How to present the negative points – like frequent power shutdowns, bad or congested roads, uncivilised behaviour of some of the people even if there should be placed in such a manner that the future appears good enough and past has been worth appreciating except the time in between which may be termed as a transition phase.
C. Also tell something which you think the interview board members may not be aware of. In case the interaction remains interesting share the needs of the city also.
D. Please ensure you must know each and everything you speak about your city as it might generate more questions out of the answer presented by you.
Q. How did you prepare for the examination? Was it a self preparation or you joined some Coaching Institute ? Which one and why? What would you recommend for future aspirants?
A. If you prepared on your own without the help and guidance of any mentor or any coaching –tell the board.
B. In case you prepared with the guidance of some reputed coaching Institute - answer could be like – Sir, I made all out efforts to prepare on my own but since I am an Engineering graduate, Verbal Ability was my weak link and most of the fundamentals of Quant were difficult to remember, I found it appropriate and time saving to go for comprehensive classes offered by TIME/CL/ MBAUniverse.com along with other study material provided by them. It has been quite helpful for me.
C. You could without hesitation recommend your preferred coaching institute.
Q. Which B-school do you want to join as you have received the call from other ones also?
A. Apart from this one you may have received the call from other institutes also and you have filled this information in the form as well, so you can be straight on this point. It is always good to have choice. You, if asked, may convey the given option where would you like to go.
B. If you think that it will be difficult for you to enter the other Institute, tell the interviewers that you would prefer the present one. However, have some positive points on the same else it will appear misleading. Besides you can clarify that you would have joined the other institute but given the high percentile requirement or so, you would prefer joining the present one. Better to let the board know what you think.
Q. Tell us about your dream Institute.
A. You might have IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, XLRI or FMS Delhi as your dream institute in your mind. If you find you have got that much of percentile, you may submit – Sir, given the opportunity I would like to study at IIM Ahmedabad (or whatever is your dream Institute). This will call for more questions like – why? – you must be aware of the dream Institute – campus study environment, you know the seniors who have appreciated it, More renowned, Older one, better opportunities etc.
B. If you find you can’t make to your dream Institute tell them about it adding that you prepared hard and would like to study harder in the present institute instead of preparing again for the dream institute.