Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life ~ Confucius

MBA grads prepare themselves to ‘face Interviews’ through mock interviews and read the Q&A given in websites. Several good books too are available. They tell you how to dress for success,  how to sell yourself and how to answer all the tricky questions. It’s good to practice these and gain confidence.

However be cautious as your responses may become stereo-typed. It is your originality that is liked by the interviewer. When your responses are spontaneous your chances to be selected are brighter. So all you need to do is remain cool and maintain a smiling demeanor – it helps.

Remember the interview is not a test of factual information. The interviewer can infer your personality from the way you field a question – especially when you do not have the answer. He wants to know the real you – do you have the potential – are you trainable? A good interviewer looks ahead and is not biased by the present.

Remember also that the interviewer forms an impression in the first 20 seconds. Make a friendly polite entry. Just be yourself.

Let’s explore how an interviewer gauges our attributes

The attributes given below are interrelated and complementary.


Do you like traveling and visiting places – curiosity and interest, what success means to you – inspiration and values, name your social and professional networks for exchange of information and knowledge – sociability, which seminars did you attend – future trends – will you take-up assignments overseas? Diversity & global mindset


Indirect questions may be asked on your values and ethics and the way you put across your views will reveal your traits. I once asked an ex Satyam Computer manager on his views on Ramalinga Raju. In his response he did condemn Raju but also took pride in telling me about the superb organizational culture of Satyam under Raju’s and top management leadership.

The answers to other questions too would reveal signs on integrity and values.

Decision making and logic

(a) Will you submit to parents’ choice for a life-partner or decide on your own? Ability to balance respect for parents and independent decision-making

(b)   What will you do if not selected? Confidence level

(c)    To girls – views on the conflict between career and marriage/family? Maturity and reasoning


Money or donations do not mean much. Instances where you actually helped people in need must be given. The interviewer will surely probe more to confirm by correlating with other responses. So it is better to be frank.

Stress and energy level

Explain how do you cope with stress and give examples. What are your views on work-life balance? What sports or fitness regimen you follow? Your interest in outdoor sports – wellness programs will indicate your energy levels and validate or otherwise the answers to the earlier question on stress. Remember you bearing and posture is important.

The interviewer may put you under stress to probe deeper and assess your stress management strengths. At times an untrained or inexperienced interviewer’s behavior may irritate or he may do it on purpose. You must never lose your cool and come what may – remain calm.

The speed of questions is varied to test your alertness and ability to grasp. Always listen intently and maintain eye contact.

Team spirit

Do you play team games or only individual games? Liveliness and keenness shows you are a pleasant and likeable person shows you to be good team player.

Companies give great importance to leadership

Your general attitude and behavior during the interview and the reactions to the various situations gives a fair idea of your leadership potential. How quickly you settle down and tune-in to the interview shows you adapt easily to new situations. Some candidates continue to be nervous despite interviewer’s effort.

Ability to hold on to convincing arguments politely even when the interviewer pressurizes him to change his view point is a positive quality.  

Negatives signs are when the candidate tries to please the interviewer by praising him – or self glorification for small achievements – criticizing others – making excuses.


This confirmed when your answers are original – not stereotyped.  Do your ambitions match your character or you like to follow the general trend – what made you choose your MBA specialization?


Brilliant achievements with average intelligence reveal extra effort and determination.

The Don’ts

No criticism or negative comments about anyone or anything.

I don’t know anything about this company. You must study and know all the key aspects of the company before appearing for the interview.

At the end the interviewer may ask “do you have any question?” do ask – something about the company and if you really liked something about the interviewer. But not just for the sake of asking.

Very Important – Remember to say the bye with a lovely smile! And that “No one can defeat us unless we first defeat ourselves ~ Dwight Eisenhower

It will be nice if you share your own experience and views. Thanks,


About Dilip

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are music and growing culinary herbs. Love to play golf and do yoga regularly. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

19 responses

  1. girish says:

    Respected sir,

    Thanks for a wonderful article with indispensable traits and quote that no one can defeat us till we are defeated is awesome.


    Girish Kohli


  2. […] How do MBA grads ace the interview (written and sent in by reader dilipnaidu) […]


  3. […] How do MBA grads ace the interview (written and sent in by reader dilipnaidu) […]


  4. Vedant says:

    Dear Sir

    It is really an immense pleasure to contribute on such a vital topic. I want to share my experience when i appeared for interviews. I think this is the toughest job because within 5 min a person has to prove himself that i am the right candidate for the required position.

    While appearing in the interview, there are few things which we have to always keep in mind:
    1) A person has to be well dressed and well groomed and aware of all decorum of the interview.
    2) A person has to show the mannerism while in front of interviewer.
    3) A person has to be good body posture while sitting, listening and talking
    4) A person should always have good communication skills esp. in marketing stream
    5) Resume should be very simple and what ever you use words in it please know the meaning of it and use it while speaking.
    6) A person should sit in the position of calm and polite manner in front of interviewer.
    7) Never show rush up or eagerness while appearing an interview. HR never hire those people.
    8) Interviewer always ask questions only from your resume.
    9) Whatever a person write in his resume he should know that in perfect manner.
    10) At end of interview, Just say, Pleasure talk to you. (Civilised mannerism)

    For Example: If Interviewer ask you, what is 4Ps tell him 4P as well as 8Ps and their usage place and its significance. Then, he will get to know that you know the things in hardcore manner.

    Thanks for giving me an opportunity.

    Cheers!! 🙂



    • Dilip says:

      Dear Vedant,

      I always enjoy reading your comments as they are based on your own experience. Your points are valid. We as interviewers are expected to study the resume before the actual interview. A good interviewer will not distract the candidate by looking in the resume every now and then. As this distracts the candidate and his flow of thoughts gets affected.

      If the resume shows a gap in studies or in the professional career the candidate will be asked for the reason. Or if the candidate answers are inconsistant with information stated in the resume it will need a clarification.

      Thank you Vedant and cheers to you too! 🙂


  5. Pallavi says:

    Very useful write-up. I do feel that its the best to be yourself in an interview. Never try to portray what you are not, cause you never know what the interviewer is looking for. What you may be thinking as a bad quality of yours might be liked by the interviewer or else he/she might like your truthfulness. And most imporatnatly, an experienced iinterviewer will catch you. And even if you get recruited by telling lies(chances are dismal though), it will hurt you in the long run.

    It would be great if you could tell us what the interviewer exactly looks for when he/she asks the question-“Tell me something about yourself”. Should a mention of one’s family background be there? Should you tell about your strengths/weaknesses?

    Please do answer this question as I have never been able to figure out that what should one say when asked this question.

    Thank You.


    • Dilip says:

      Hi Pallavi,

      Quite right ‘be yourself’ is the right approach – yet many find it difficult because of the pressure.

      I am glad you are keen to know more on the Interviewers opening question. It is important as also emphasized by Prof. Alaka in her comments above. I think I should put up a separate short post on this question and share my experience.

      Thanks and regards.


  6. Dilip says:

    Hello Geetha,

    Excellent pointers for the prospective candidate. Good companies are according the highest priority for attitude – the skills and other development is taken care-off by training. Yes most B-schools are stressing on the development of soft-skills. In fact good trainers for soft-skills have their hands full.

    The quote is thought provoking – selection of a good candidate is just the first step and the organization must assume responsibility for development and motivation and retention.

    Thanks and regards!


  7. Geetha says:

    What we don’t always learn in B-Schools?

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for the very useful and comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts to ace a job interview which pertains to anybody facing the Interview Board.

    Yes, the key differentiator could well be ‘Attitude’ because ” People get hired for their skills and fired for their attitudes.”

    Candidates will have to be aware of the importance of soft skills too. In the human resources profession, the saying goes: “We hire people for their technical competence and fire them for their interpersonal incompetence.”

    And this one is for the employers:

    “You can buy a man’s time; you can buy his physical presence at a given place; you can even buy a measured number of his skilled muscular motions per hour. But you cannot buy enthusiasm. You cannot buy loyalty. You cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds or souls. You must earn these.” ~ Clarence Francis

    Thanks and regards,



  8. Sikander Azam says:

    Once again as usual you so simply teach us one of the most important traits of how to be successful in corporate world by highlighting how to prepare for an interview. I will definitely keep in mind whenever I will appear for an interview. Thanx

    Sikander (ASOM)


    • Dilip says:

      A salaam alikum dear Sikandar,

      How nice to hear from you after long. You were always a brilliant student and I am certain you will do very well in your career. I am sure even now you already are. I admired your interests in contributing to social causes and helping the needy.

      Wish you all the very best. Thanks.


  9. Prof.Naidu, thanks for the generous invite to contribute any guidance I may have for MBA students.

    A very important open-ended question that interviewers use: “So can you tell us something about yourself?” Prepare well for this one. It can make or break your chances with the company. Your answer will most probably drive the rest of the interview in the direction you have provided in response.



    • Dilip says:

      Hello Prof. Alaka, Your comments and views appearing in various forums are very insightful. Your blogs too are so creative and highly professional.

      It’s true this opening question can mislead a student in believing it is the easiest. A candidates must convert this into an opportunity for a power start. I remember In our training for conducting interviews we were explained about the various qualities of the candidate that can be assessed thru’ the response to this question.

      Thank you for sharing your views.

      Best regards!


  10. Lubna says:

    Dear Dilip Sir,
    It is very useful. However, I would just like to add one most aspect. Never ever lie during an interview. if you do not participate in sports don’t make up a story you do. I’ve come across people who said they played golf, but never knew what a handicap was. Or those who said they loved reading and they hadn’t read a single book in decades.


    • Dilip says:

      Hello Lubna,

      Thanks for highlighting this important flaw that some candidate may fall prey to. It must be remembered even an ‘artful dodger’ is exposed eventually.

      Thanks for this input!

      Best regards!


  11. chaitanya says:

    Sir, it is a comprehensive & insightful post on Interviews. Thank you very much for bringing this important topic for discussion. If I have a varied choice to select a top candidate among equals, then I will definitely probe into his/her failures in life. If one has not tested failure, then there is a chance that in-spite of talent, he/she may crumble under pressure. To me, our reaction to failures reveals many facets of our character. Positive approach to even smallest setbacks in life may change its course . If we investigate current corporate disasters, then we realize that these people have given negative reactions to their failures.


    • Dilip says:

      Hi Chaitanya,

      Thanks for your insights. I agree that probing into the stress dimensions of a candidate is vital. The higher the position the deeper the probe.

      One of the common factors of corporate failures can be attributed to greed and lack of integrity. As a qualified and experienced psychologist I wonder what approach would you recommend to an interviewer to identify this attribute?

      Thanks and regards!


  12. Rakesh says:

    Dear Sir,
    Very many thanks for the wonderful article on what the interviewers look for. I’m sure it will be of great help to most of us.
    I’d also like to add that we had a great time being taught by you for an entire year. We’ll miss you a great deal.
    But I guess we meet to make memories and we part to cherish them.


    Rakesh Kotti


    • Dilip says:

      Hi Rakesh,

      Yes we had a close association for all three semesters and your active class participation created a lot of interest. I will always remember your extra-ordinary talent for organizing most of the extra-curricular activities at Tasmac.

      Do keep in touch and of course “Keep the drums rolling” 🙂

      Thanks and regards.