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The MBA admission criterion is a carefully curated process. B-schools spend a considerable amount of time and energy devising the selection procedure, which helps them choose the best. Commonly, the elements of MBA selection criteria are – 

  • National, State or College Level Management Entrance Exam Score(s)
  • Past Academic record – Class X, XII and Graduation
  • Work Experience (optional)
  • Written Test 
  • Group Discussion or Case Study Discussion
  • Personal Interview

A college / university may keep all or a combination of these components assigning individual weightages to each. In the majority of the cases, the weightage of the personal interview or face to face evaluation round is 20 to 30 percent. It is the fulcrum of the entire selection process. Experts say it can make or break the deal. 


Here are four reasons why PI is the flash point for MBA admissions:

  1. Reflects a Candidate’s True Self

The personal interview helps the interviewer(s) judge a candidate’s true self. It is when they evaluate that what is written on ‘paper’ is valid and authentic. The candidates are often asked about their post MBA goals and other aspirations. Some of the common questions asked are – why do you want to pursue an MBA, why do you want to pursue MBA at this juncture, how have you exhibited leadership qualities so far in your academic or professional career, etc. 


  1. Tests Communication Skills

MBA is mainly about having good command over the language, decent comprehension skills, and the ability to communicate and interact with a wide variety of people. Many colleges do not conduct a GD or written test. The personal interview is then the only means to test a candidate’s communication and inter-personal skills. 

  1. Analyse the Candidate’s Behaviour

Colleges have unique ways of conducting the face to face interviews. They could be closed room discussions, skype interviews, or conversation over tea or coffee (not common in India). The interview panel is a mix of professors, college management, alumni, or industry experts. The candidates are asked behavioural questions that help the panel judge how they would react in tough, demanding, and tricky situations. 


  1. Final Screening Step:

Typically, the face to face evaluation is the last step in any admission process. By this time, the interview panel is thoroughly aware of an applicant’s candidature. They have the exam scores, statement of purpose, CV, and other related documents. But there can be times when the interviewer(s) may go ‘blind’ and only keep a CV for reference. In a nutshell, the PI can make that yes a no, or vice versa.


The 5Cs to keep in mind while cracking an MBA admission interview are:

  1. Carefully designed CV
  2. Clarity about goals
  3. Course and college awareness
  4. Confident attitude
  5. Communicate clearly