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CAT 2018: Interview tips and tricks to get into best B-schools

CAT 2018: Interview tips and tricks to get into best B-schools. Image source:

As the results of the Common Admission Test (CAT 2018) examination has been declared, it is time to prepare for perhaps the most important component of MBA admissions processes, the interviews. Candidates largely underestimate the amount of impact that an interview or a written ability test can have on the prospects of their getting selected into reputed B-schools. The entrances are just the first step to getting into a good college, and while it is essential to perform at that stage, doing well there does not come close to guaranteeing admission at any reputed MBA institute.

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Let's look at the various aspects students need to brush up on and nail the interviews:

Firstly, managers are expected to be worldly wise and aware of their surroundings, this develops them holistically and helps them to assess the impact various events might have on their businesses or jobs. Thus, questions related to general knowledge are a routine in all selection processes, and it is essential to brush up especially on current events. Reading the newspaper regularly as well as sites which accumulate current events from different months would help in this regard. This will even help you in framing extempore or articles for written ability tests (WAT).

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Next, brush up on what you've studied in your graduation degree and your internship project, since there will surely be questions from them, especially if you are a fresher. Be sure to study a few of your favourite subjects thoroughly because interviewers tend to focus on those and expect you to be well versed with them. Basic knowledge of business-related terms and economics should also be looked into and you should have a general idea as to what the course structure is.

In order to show that you are serious about joining up and committed to pursue the course, you should be ready with an impactful answer to the most frequently asked question, Why MBA? For this, you must think long and hard and decide your reasons both for choosing the course that you wish to join, as well as the college you are applying to. Always be prepared with pointers to introduce yourself, on your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis and, the experiences which show your qualities.

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There are a few times, when you might be caught off-guard in a stressful interview. Subhrajit Saha, a student of IIM Rohtak, an electrical engineer with the work experience of 3.5 years, relates a similar incident during his CAP interview. He states that the first question he was asked to him even before he settled down was, 'What is SF6(Sulphur Hexafluoride)?' What followed was a series of 20, in-depth questions from the area of his graduation. "I was able to answer only 7 of them. This discouraged me a bit and I thought my IIM dream might not come true" he says. He still persisted and was given a chance to salvage his interview with an extempore for two minutes and questions on his work experience which he had prepared for, well in advance.

The last step before realising the dream of studying at a B-school might seem like a difficult task. Taking the challenge in your stride and looking at the interview as a way to showcase your best self will convert this task to an opportunity to learn and grow.

With inputs from IIM Rohtak