Watch this video to understand the correct approach for answering a very popular question - "Tell Us About Yourself". The tips offered in this MBA Interview Preparation video will help you frame a well-structured response to this question and set the tone of your interviews.
How to Answer the Tell Me Something about Yourself Question in an MBA Interview.
"Tell Me Something about Yourself." is the most common opening question across all types of interviews, including MBA interviews. As such, it is a crucial question to understand, if you are to have a successful MBA interview. Your response to this question will set the tone for the entire interview and massively impact how you interact with the interviewer. In this article, we will cover the mistakes that most candidates commit, in answering this question, the correct approach, and the possible follow up questions that your response might generate.
The Mistakes Most Candidates Commit
The biggest mistake that you can commit, while answering this question, is to sound unprepared; this question is a core question that any MBA interviewee should expect to have to answer, sounding as if you have not readied yourself for it, beforehand, will convey to the interviewer that you are either careless or are not taking the interview seriously. Related to the previous mistake, there is also the issue of thinking while talking; having to collect your thoughts, as you speak, reflects a lack of introspection on your part. Furthermore, such an approach is very non-MBA like; MBA holders are supposed to be suave talkers; they must have excellent communication skills. Another big mistake that many candidates make is giving an answer that goes on for too long; they tend to narrate long stories that only cover one or two aspects rather than providing insight on their whole profile and personality. Going back and forth in time, while answering a question, also tends to drag the answer out; while telling the interviewer about yourself, you should move in either a chronological or reverse chronological order, this will help keep your answer clear and make sure that the interviewer can understand it.
If you can avoid these mistakes, you will be able to leave a strong initial impression on the interviewer and start the main portion of your MBA interview off on a very strong note.
The Correct Approach
The "Tell Me About Yourself" question and all of its variants are core, expected parts of the MBA interview, and it is a safe assumption that they will be asked. Thus, it is vital that you have an answer prepared beforehand. In order to convey to the interviewer that you have prepared well to answer this question, it is important that you not think while answering; in order to avoid doing so, take a two-second pause before you begin your answer to collect your thoughts. Your key goals while answering the "Tell Me About Yourself" question should be to provide takeaways about yourself to the interviewer; take the opportunity to make an impact and give interesting points that can drive the rest of the interview. Remember, an MBA interview takes the form of a conversation, and if you can give interesting points, it can sometimes be converted into an informal conversation, wherein, the topics will be in your comfort zone.
Above all, while answering the "Tell Me About Yourself Question", keep in mind the virtues that business schools look for and try to reflect them through concrete facts and examples. Please refer to the glossary below, for a comprehensive list of the virtues that business schools honor.
Professional Accomplishments | Academic Bent | Versatile Persona | Diverse Background | Leadership Potential | Global Perspective | Achievements Early for One's Age | Vision to Make an Impact | People Management Skills | Communication Skills | Subject Matter Expertise | Analytical and Quantitative Skills | Perseverance | Honesty, and Work Ethics | Initiative | Crisis Management Skills | Delegation | Training and Mentoring Skills | Strong Sense of Commitment | Ability to Overcome Adversity | Cross Functional Expertise | Project Management | Eye for Details | Coordinating and Liaoning | Multitasking and Time Management Skills | Training and Adaptability | ...
A Good Answer
Here is a macro-view of a good answer to this question; you can use this as a base to prepare your own answer.
There are four basic legs to a "Tell Me About Yourself" answer in an MBA interview, the personal side(your city/family/a value dear to you), academics, work experience, and co-curricular activities. Provide three sentences on each of the four legs and end on an interesting note that can decide the course of the interview. Remember, this is an answer that you should make very personal to yourself; it is broad enough for you to be able to provide a whole host of information about yourself. No matter how much you have to say, however, you must be able to limit your answer to two minutes; as mentioned earlier, long-winded answers are the most common mistake made in MBA interviews. Keep to the one to three sentence limits for each leg of the answer and only provide a broad overview; if the interviewer feels that something you have mentioned deserves greater elaboration; he/she will ask you to do so.
Variants of this Question
There are a few different variations of the "Tell Me Something About Yourself" question that your interviewer may employ; based on the variation, the exact requirements of the answer may be slightly different. If the interviewer phrases the question as "Introduce yourself.", nothing changes and you can utilize the same answer. However, if the question is framed along the lines of "Run me through your resume.", you must skip all of the purely personal aspects of your answer and if the interviewer says "Describe your professional experience.", you must also skip your academics and retain the work experience part of your answer. The most specific form if this question is "Describe your current professional involvement"; if this is how your interviewer frames the question, you must only focus on your responsibilities at your current job. In any case, a question on your current professional responsibilities is highly likely to be asked in your MBA interview; so, make sure to have such an answer ready.
Possible Follow Up Questions
There are a number of follow up questions that you can expect to the "Tell me something about yourself" question and its variants. The interviewer is likely to ask you a question on the last point in your self-description or on any particularly unique aspect that you bought up. Your interviewer may also ask for elaboration upon your current roles and responsibilities.
For a more complete understanding of MBA interview preparation, please read the other articles, prepared by Experts' Global.