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ISB: How to crack the PGP admission interview

S4G is a service to help you succeed on the GMAT. A standardized test designed to assess your quant, verbal and reasoning skills, the GMAT has proved to be a nightmare for candidates across the globe.

Clearing the interview round is the last step in your journey towards getting an admit from Indian School of Business (ISB). How does one approach interviews? What kind of preparation is required for ISB interviews? What are the questions usually asked? This blog attempts to address all such queries that often plague the mind of applicants who get invites for the interview round.

An interview round should always be considered as a round of acceptance, not a round of rejection. The purpose of an interview round is for the panel to judge the authenticity of your application, asses how presentable your personality is and evaluate your communication skills. Contrary to popular belief, interview usually do not go beyond a pre-determined scope. Your profile, your ambitions and relevant world affairs will constitute a major part of your interview. In the given time constraint, there are only a limited number of questions that a panel will ask you on these grounds.

Going ahead, this blog will be structured into 5 themes around which most of the interview questions revolve.

Theme #1 – Tell me something about yourself
Consider this as an opportunity to tell the interviewers something about yourself that the they don’t already know from your application. Remember, the interview panel will have access to a snapshot of your profile for their perusal. Do not waste this opportunity by simply reiterating facts about yourself that they would already be aware of. An introduction should ideally include your full name, a brief background about your family, your educational & professional profile, and your hobbies. This will be a starting point for the interview, with the initial few questions being sourced from your response.

Theme #2 – Why do you want to do an MBA from ISB?
An interview panel seeks a compelling reason for your decision to pursue an MBA. The offerings of an MBA program from ISB should align with your career requirements. Preparing a response to this question will require you to sit back and think about the possible reasons behind your decision to apply to ISB. One effective tip is to research about the various learning resources available at ISB. The sources of inspiration for this question can easily be traced back to your Essay questions. You should make a conscious effort to draw a link between what you prepare as a response to this question and what you have mentioned in your Essay answer. An inconsistency between what the interviewers hear and read will certainly make them question the authenticity of your responses.

Theme #3 – Be thorough with your CV
ISB lays significant emphasis on an applicant’s profile. This includes your academic history, your professional work experiences and your extra-curricular activities. Being thorough with every line in your CV, being able to defend any quantitative impact of your decision and being able to walk the interviewers through your job responsibilities is important to establish credibility of what you have mentioned in your CV. For e.g. if you mention Football as being your hobby, you will be expected to know some well-known players, football teams, recent tournaments and their results etc. Kindly note that faltering on this segment can prove to be a deal breaker as the interviewer will have every reason to doubt whatever you have mentioned in your Essays or CV if you cannot back it up.
 
Theme #4 – Career Objectives
An interview panel will always be interested in knowing your ambitions. They would expect you to communicate your medium-term and long-term career goals in a succinct manner. The career progression envisaged by you should experience a natural and reasonable flow with an MBA acting as a necessary tool to help you tread that career journey. Try and be specific with the industries or job roles that interest you. It is imperative to conduct prior research about the firms visiting campus, the kind of job roles offered during placements etc. Mentioning these roles, and highlighting your strategy at ISB to secure a shortlist from such companies will bode well with the interview panel

Theme #5 – Have an Opinion
Business world today is more interlinked than it ever has. Trump’s policy decisions on immigration or recent geo-political developments between N. Korea and S. Korea have repercussions on businesses across the world. Therefore, it is important for a management student to be aware of such developments, and have a point of view on these matters. You will not be judged on the merit of your argument or the nature of your stance, unless it is ridiculously unreasonable, but having an opinion is always better than not having one. Therefore, stay abreast with recent economic and business developments. There is a high chance one of those developments will feature during your interview.

Overall, just be yourself and do not try to fake it. Its ok if you don’t know something and accepting it would fetch you more points for attitude / honesty than for a fake answer. Good luck!