News and Events

Advise to Interviewees

Posted 2015-02-26
Category News
1) When interviewing candidates for our MBA, the first thing we want to see is whether two years down the road you can make a good first impression on a recruiter for a top multinational bank, consulting firm, FMCG, or manufacturer. Good grooming counts a lot towards making that first impression. Look fresh, like you just had a shower. Dress as if you’re applying for an investment-banking job in New York or Singapore. But wear your necktie properly. Get a haircut. You don’t need a manicure but your nails should be clean. Socks should match your suit and your shoes. They should cover your legs when you sit, and not sag. Shoes should not be dusty, muddy, or scuffed. Ladies should go for the “executive” look. Skirt or pants, blazer over white blouse, always works.
2) Arriving late for an interview is definitely bad form. It says you can’t plan ahead. Besides, all that running and huffing and puffing will make you sweat buckets, especially in Mumbai heat. That will ruin your appearance (see Item 1 above). But arriving too early (poor planning again?) can also be inconvenient for your interviewer unless you can stay out of sight, and out of his/her way, especially if s/he is busy having breakfast/lunch, or still preparing for the interview session. 
3) Patience is a virtue. This holds true throughout the entire session, from the time the interviewer takes attendance to the conclusion of the session. There are ways to become unforgettable, but making a pest of yourself should not be one of them. It begins with the interviewer checking the names on his or her schedule to see if everyone has shown up. Wait for your name to be called. The interviewer will realize soon enough if anyone’s name is not on the list. Wait for the interviewer to indicate where you should sit for the FGD. There is logic to the FGD seating arrangement—it helps them remember who’s who after interviewing hundreds of candidates.
4) Relax. We are looking for self-confidence, and nervousness is its opposite. Don’t wait for formal introductions to get to know the others in your FGD. We want to see if you can be comfortable in a group of strangers.
5) When the FGD starts, it’s invariably a race to see who gets to speak first. This is when a candidate thinks he (he, because women rarely do this) is showing leadership by talking first, fastest, and loudest. While it may look like initiative and leadership, it may also look like bullying. Or arrogance. Or total disregard for courtesy and good manners. So while you might think you are looking like a take-charge person, actually it could be turning off the interviewer
6) The FGD is a process of discussing a topic in order to arrive at some kind of consensus about it. The FGD shows how well a candidate thinks and how well s/he conveys his/her thoughts. How much s/he knows is less significant, although every MBA aspirant should be familiar with current events, local and international. And if you’re given a topic you know nothing about, it doesn’t mean you can’t play a constructive role in the discussion. If you’re the kind of person we’re looking for, you’ll know what to do. But for heaven’s sake, if the topic is Greek to you, don’t BS either.
7) While leadership traits are important, the interviewer realizes that in the 15 minutes of the FGD, it’s hard to convince the interviewer that you have it. Leadership does not mean dominance. It does not mean hogging the limelight. Leadership means knowing how to involve the other members of the FGD. Again, patience, patience.
8) The interviewer wants to know if you can be a team player, which means you should be a good listener. If you haven’t been listening to the others, it will be patently obvious in what you say and how you say it.
9) Like the FGD, the interview is not for showing how much you know. Your GMAT or AIMAT results already tells us whether you can calculate the time it takes two trains, traveling at different speeds, from different directions, departing at different times, to converge at a given point. The interview is for showing how well you think, and speak, and listen.
10) It is a cliché, but we want to know how much you can think out of the box. We want to know if you can exercise judgment, if you have an opinion, or if you can only make decisions when the numbers add up. We want to know about your friends, and your relatives, what you do after work and why you enjoy what you do, how you would solve poverty, get an honest woman elected to public office, whether you’ve ever cheated in an exam, or your most embarrassing moment.
11) So if you don’t want to annoy your interviewer, don’t ask about placement. It’s a fair question (to ask about placement, not whether AIM guarantees placement) but you’re better off getting the answer from the AIM website. Your interviewer is there to ask questions, not answer them. And his or her time is limited, and there are many candidates to interview.
12) For the record, what AIM will promise you is an internationally accredited and recognized MBA degree, and the quality education that goes with it. And at half the cost of comparable degrees in North America, Australia, or Singapore. Just look at all the AIM graduates who have had successful careers all over the world.
13) And just as some questions from candidates are annoying, certain stock answers are sure to underwhelm your interviewer and undo whatever positive impressions s/he may have formed about you. Everyone wants to work a few years in a corporate and then put up their own business. Better think of a unique response to that question. Or they chose AIM because it’s a case method school. You can’t appreciate case method unless and until you’ve experienced case method for an entire course at least. So that’s not a good response either.
14) It doesn’t help that every candidate tweets the questions as soon as s/he finishes his or her interview. Or posts them on Pagalguy. Ditto for the FGD topics. Maybe you should enter the FGD and interview sessions with absolutely no preconception of what questions you will get. Then your responses won’t sound rehearsed, scripted, or borrowed. You might end up sounding more original, more honest, more your real self. And maybe, just maybe, that real self will make a much better impression, and convince us you have the potential that we like to work with.
Written by: Dean Horacio Borromeo
Illustrations by: Cheska Cabacang


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