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Getting Ready for Interviews- The Bocconi Way

-Milan Choudhury

The one thing every MBA student needs to be adept at is tackling interviews. It is primarily the final interview which acts as the ‘make or break’ for a student who prospects for a job or an internship with a prestigious company. But, the interview is not something that can be prepared for in the way you prepare for your exams. There’s no fixed syllabus.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t get ready for an interview. There are various areas that you can work on, strengths that you should build up and areas of weakness that you must address. Getting ready for an interview is like getting ready for a date, mainly because of two reasons. The first being, you need to scrutinize yourself, identify what you can leverage on, work on what needs to be fixed and finally, leave the best possible impression behind. The second reason is that you need to have a fairly good idea about the person you are going to meet and their expectations from you. In the case of the job interview, this includes the organization and the alignment of its Job Description with your profile. While preparing for your date may be a solo job, in case of interview preparation, you can certainly be helped.

At SDA Bocconi Asia Center, there’s both, expertise and experience to help you deliver the best, as you appear for an interview. Here’s a look at the extensive efforts that are put into getting students ready for interviews, not just on campus but also for life.

Grooming session by Jasmine Khanna, Learning & Development Lead, Career Development Services

  1. Grooming and Mannerisms: As we all know, humans form an impression about a stranger within the first few seconds of their meet. The interviewer is, after all, a human being and is subject to all prejudices and biases that humans suffer from. Therefore, it is imperative that you go to an interview dressed impeccably and be as polished as possible in action and behavior. These two factors, although most important from an interviewer’s point of view, are generally ignored by students. They end up messing their interview solely due to the fact that the interviewer formed an initial negative impression about them. At Bocconi, this initial stage is taken care of thoroughly by the Career Development Services. Grooming sessions are conducted separately for boys and girls to address all that needs to be kept in mind while dressing up for corporate meets and the interview. In addition, the right etiquette is demonstrated and practiced to ensure that you form a favorable first impression.
  2. Content and Delivery: What you talk is what you are judged upon. Apart from knowing your subject area thoroughly, you also need to take care of other aspects such as grammar, brevity and most importantly, delivery. Prof. Seema Khanvilkar’s Advanced Business Communication address both the content as well as the delivery side of speaking. Each student is prepped and evaluated taking into consideration their personal strengths and flaws and corrections are suggested for improvement.
  3. Group Discussions: Often an integral part of the selection process during final placements and internships, a group discussion is something you need to be thoroughly comfortable with. The Career Development Services conducts rounds of GDs to ensure that all students get the hang of the process and are able to deliver at the time of the actual selection process. Additionally, the mock GDs are conducted taking into account each student’s area of specialization. For example, marketing aspirants have GDs conducted in their specific focus groups with relatable topics in marketing, branding, or general awareness. This ensures a thorough simulation that ultimately helps students ace their final GDs.
  4. The CDS Bootcamp: The Career Development Services also pays special attention to ensure that all students, irrespective of their backgrounds are on the same level. Bootcamps are conducted which cover the basic aspects of quants and accounting for students from different backgrounds. In addition, essential skills such as advanced Excel are groomed and perfected. The CDS also conducts a Thomas Profiling for students to effectively identify the students’ specific areas of strengths and weaknesses to ensure a perfect job role fit in the future.
  5. Alumni Feedback: Your subject knowledge matters a lot when you sit for the final interviews. This is efficiently tested by mock interviews conducted by Bocconi alumni who themselves are in the industry, with the know-how of what is required from a prospective new-hire. Alumni interviews play a very critical role in preparing the students in advance for the final interview day. The likely questions that may be asked and the correct way to address those are addressed by the alumni.

All these resources are more than sufficient to ensure that a student is thoroughly prepped for the final interviews. In addition, peer-to-peer interviews are also conducted to have accountability for the progress made by each individual.

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