The most basic and common question in MBA Interviews is: Introduce yourself.
With this question, the following thoughts should come to your mind.
How does one introduce himself or herself?
What are the key criteria for this introduction?
What are the steps to preparing an awesome introduction?
How should you practice your introduction?
Let’s look at these questions one at a time.
Why should you prepare an introduction?
In majority of the interviews, the interviewer will begin with a question like:
- Introduce yourself.
- Tell me something about yourself.
- Who is ‘your name’?
The above are examples of all the same question: your introduction.
In short, your introduction is the key to setting up your interview and making sure you lead the interview in the direction you wish it to go.
By crafting the right introduction and letting the interviewer know about the most significant aspects of your personality, you can make sure you introduce enough talking points for the interview.
What should be included in your introduction?
Your introduction you include the following:
- Your basic details (Name and current occupation/status as a student, your family background if you want).
- Your major objective and learning-related goal in life.
- Your major strengths and qualities that define you as a person.
- Your major achievements, which add weight to your personality.
What should not be included in your introduction?
This is even more important that the above. Make sure you avoid the following:
- Unnecessary details about your city.
- Unnecessary details about schooling and graduation (marks, names of schools, etc.).
- Do not talk in detail about your family (parents and siblings). This is your introduction, not your family introduction.
- Your introduction is not your resume; avoid trivial details and achievements.
- Avoid childish hobbies like surfing the internet and trivial skills like being able to work with Microsoft word and excel. This is the expected of you.
What are the steps to prepare an ideal introduction?
The first step is to introspect and make sure you know yourself. The key is to have absolute clarity about yourself. Only when you have this clarity can you represent yourself with clarity. The key things you should clearly know about yourself:
- Your career objective
- Your strengths
- Examples to back up your strengths
Once you have this information, you can weave an introduction around these elements. The last element (examples to back up your strengths) will not be a part of the introduction; it is just to make sure you can back up everything you share in the interview.
Step-2: Converting your basic details into something impressive
We often the make the mistake of underselling ourselves and do not present ourselves in the best way to possible. For example, let’s look at the following introductions:
Good Morning Sir. I am Prashant Chadha, a resident of Chandigarh, the city beautiful. I am a Civil Engineer from Punjab Engineering College, and I passed out in 2007. My father is a businessman, and my mother is a housewife. My elder sister is an MBA too, and my younger sister is a post-graduate in commerce. I have been working as a Verbal Ability trainer for the last nine years, and I run the website, wordpandit.com.
Good Morning Sir. I am Prashant, a graduate engineer and founder of an Ed-tech start-up, Wordpandit.com. Having being born and brought up in a business family, I had an early introduction to the world of business and entrepreneurship. With my keen interest in academics, technology and having a strong urge to make a difference to the lives of others, I have forged a career in training and online education.
In the two introductions given above, I am talking about the same person (Yes, this is my introduction). You should be able to spot the marked difference between the two introductions. Let’s dissect and identify some key learnings from the above:
- Talk in terms of skills and strengths.
- Facts make the introduction boring and dreary.
- Describe your qualities rather than what you have done; this creates an element of intrigue.
- A positive view of oneself ensures that you can describe yourself a lot better.
- Talk about yourself and yourself alone; not your family (even though they are important to you).
Step-3: Convert every piece of factual information into something qualitative
It is critical that you talk in terms of qualities while you introduce yourself. You might be a little confused here. Let me take some examples and help you understand this process.
Let’s talk about family background first. I am just quoting different family backgrounds and how can you relate them to some qualities:
- Army background: experienced diversity and varied cultures; a sense of integrity and dedication to your job.
- Business family: early exposure to trade and business; created interest in entrepreneurship.
- Parents working with government: the importance of doing your job well and how systems/processes work; how to deal with people from different walks of life and how to excel in any situation.
You can see from the above that each situation has been converted into a generalisation and instead of simple facts, you can quote such statements in your introduction.
Step-4: Work some magic with your strengths
The next important step is to make sure you are clear with your strengths. In your introduction, you can always quote qualities in the following manner:
- Positive attitude: I am a positive person with a proactive approach towards solving problems.
- Innovative: I am a strong believer in creative thinking and using innovation to solve problems.
- Honesty: I strongly believe in maintaining my work ethic and like to make sure I complete my tasks with utmost sincerity.
You can see from the above that simple qualities have been converted into something impressive and these will surely leave a mark on the interviewer. One key thing here is that you should have relevant facts and examples to back up your strengths. Do not simple quote nice words and phrases; these need to be a part of your personality.
Step-5: Clarity with objectives
An important part of the introduction is to be clear with your career objectives. For example, my career objective is to have an impact on the education landscape and making a difference with respect to learning practices of students. This might seem far-fetched to you but it aligns perfectly with what I do. In the same vein, you need to discover what you wish to achieve (these might be skills for all you know) and then present them in the best possible manner.
One approach possible here is that you can weave your objective around the following MBA streams:
Finance: I have always been intrigued with the financial world and wish to achieve more in the field.
Sales and Marketing: I have always been excited by how the sales and marketing division of companies drive businesses. I strongly wish to learn the best practices in the field and understand psychological as well as managerial aspects related to this domain.
Operations: I wish to take my knowledge to the next level with respect to organisational tasks and operations. Operations form the backbone of businesses, and I believe that having the right toolset I believe I can grow in this field.
HR: Being a strong people person, I believe that HRs have a strong role to play in the development of the organisation. I wish to expand my horizons in this field.
In case you do not wish to take the above approach, you can then co-relate your career objectives with specific skills and industries. In case you have relevant work experience, you can tie your objectives to a relevant field as well.
Step-6: Ready the final draft
Once you are done with the above soul-searching and have prepared the rough draft in terms of qualities, you can work on the final draft. In terms of structure, you can adopt the following flow:
- Your basic details (quoted in the manner given above).
- A couple of strengths that define you as a person.
- Your career objective and how it relates to what you have done or are doing.
- Any special extra-curricular activity or hobby that reflects positively on your personality. You can also quote some quality or hobby of yours in a light manner and showcase a jovial side to your personality. The panel always appreciates a well-rounded personality.
To sum it up:
Well, this completes this exhaustive guide on how to build your perfect introduction. In short, keep the following in the mind:
- Avoid verbiage and unnecessary details.
- Focus on yourself and your qualities.
- Avoid plain and vanilla facts; use generalisations to define yourself.
- Most importantly: believe in yourself and who you are.
Your introduction is about you, and it is vital you believe in yourself.
Note: You can paste your introductions in the comments section, and I can quickly review them for you here.