Now you are ready and eager to join a B-School this year. At the same time, the only thing making it overwhelming is the coming interviews and most of all the MBA Admission interview questions. And they ought to make you feel that way too.
In recent years, core marketing courses have gained popularity among aspirants due to the vast job opportunities they offer, at prestigious companies. But here’s the thing- The IIMs and the Indian B-schools have a really strict acceptance percentage.
That means only 1 out of every 400 people who apply to IIM Ahmedabad get selected there. And most Indian B-schools have an acceptance rate of just 1% or below.
It’s crazy if you begin to think of it.
Download: [E-Book] Marketing Basic Concepts
For most of you this would be the culmination of a year-long hard work. For some it would’ve been more than a year that you would have been trying to crack CAT. You are determined to make it through to your dream B-school this time.
Prestigious MBA colleges have adapted and just a great score cannot ensure you a smooth sail across the interview process anymore. Then here’s an interesting question – What exactly makes you get selected in an MBA interview? What kind of a candidate becomes a Golden Fleece for the panel?
When you are considering earning an MBA, you should evaluate the benefits of choosing specific course topics.
Who gets selected in an MBA Interview?
Every student wonders that what does it take to get selected at a B-school. What sort of personalities make it through?
Some people lose hope just because they feel that they aren't the MBA-type. At one point of time, even I went through that phase, had all those questions in my head too.
I had 14 interview calls from the best of the IIMs, XLRI, IIFT, MDI and a few others. And I failed at quite a few of them.
Do you know where did I falter? What was is it that I didn't do that the other person did?
And the answer to that is simple.
The key to that door is “MBA interview questions”. These questions seem to be simple and personal, but they are a pivot tool to pick the most prepared candidates among the rest.
The candidates who have a clear idea about their aspirations and expectations, prepare well for these questions. Hence, prepare not just about the MBA admission interview questions but so many other things.
The cut-throat competition is a reality and that is why you need to prepare for the MBA admission interview questions. And it completely makes sense to take all the mock interviews that MBA coaching institutes always insist on.
Preparation is the key.
And you won’t believe the kind of crazy things that people do to prepare themselves for these interviews!
One of my friends, crazy about Marketing, purchased Philip Kotler’s Marketing Management book much before her interviews. That’s the book they teach you Marketing with and will be your Marketing Bible.
She read 70% of it before her interview. And she exuberated a different level of confidence when she told the panel that she wants to pursue Marketing.
Another friend of her purchased an entire course of another ace marketer Seth Godin on the Basics of Modern Marketing (I will probably require a different blog post to tell you about Seth and his greatness).
That friend preferred to watch videos rather than reading. To each is his own.
But, the point is that he finished the entire course before his B-school interviews and spoke like the great Godin he saw in those videos. And that does happen, you tend to imitate expertise when there's so much in front of you constantly.
All of this just to position themselves as the true crazy marketing enthusiasts that they are!
The questions is - Can you do something as crazy to ace your so important interviews? And do those crazy-steps actually work?
Trust me, when I look back, I wish I did that too. Preparation made all the difference between my B-school and theirs.
There are different things that you need to prepare on.
But this article is especially for all the Marketing enthusiasts out there who plan to become a successful Marketer after MBA.
And if that’s your goal, you must spend a good amount of your time preparing adequately on how to approach the different MBA marketing interview questions.
Why Prepare MBA Admission Interview Questions on Marketing?
I’ll tell you about a crazy true story here.
You love Marketing and want to pursue it during your MBA. But what would you answer if you were asked ‘What is Marketing?’, “Why Marketing?”? This might be the question; whose answer makes or breaks your chance to crack the MBA Admission Interview.
The saddest part is aspirants eager to pursue marketing can’t even define it.
I have seen so many aspirants say “Marketing is like Advertising”. Is it?
Heck. I have seen people say “Marketing is about going to the market to shop”. Is it? Some say it’s same as Sales. Huh?
You say that in an interview or something to that effect and you know your chapter is closed before it even really started.
That’s why when you turn up for your interview suggesting to them that you wish to pursue MBA in Marketing you really need to be prepared with the MBA admission interview questions on Marketing and build a logical flow as to why it might suit you.
Moreover, as I mentioned, my aim in this article is not just to help you answer the marketing question. But, my aim is to prepare you for how to market your marketing dream to the panel.
And this, exactly this is the time that you need to decide whether you want to be like that crazy friend of mine who did the entire Modern Marketing course or the one who went through the entire Kotler book before the exams?
Do you want to be like these crazy people out there who think Marketing is about going to the market to shop?
Or actually smart-work your way into the success’ path?
So, how to answer Common Interview Questions on Marketing?
From here on, I have broken up the article into two parts
It is not that the panel does any such classification at their level before they interview you. But yes, the line of questioning or I should say the interaction, tend to become different.
You are a fresher if you are coming straight from your graduation and have no work experience.
In the set of candidates who have work experience, there is quite a variety in terms of the previous jobs. While most of you tend to be coming from an IT background as Software Engineers, there are many other professionals that come in.
During my MBA, I had Doctors, Dentists, Chartered Accountants, Hotel Management graduates and a really diverse set of people.
But then, if you aspire to pursue an MBA in Marketing, there would be certain similar set of questions that you can be asked apart from the different questions about your respective lives.
MBA Interview Questions for the Freshers
If you are a fresher, the panel will revolve around your personality, a bit of your previous academics, your goals and the relationship of your goals with Marketing.
This is important. You have to tie all these to a story that helps you market your inclination for marketing and answer “why marketing?”.
In my experience, freshers tend to find it difficult in developing realistic career goals. Naturally, they lack in understanding how an MBA in Marketing can help them achieve those goals. And how can that be a good answer when the goals weren't realistic in the first place aren’t very precise.
The panel too understands that as a fresher you won’t be having a scalable idea of a management degree. So, they rather expect you to know about the B-school, the place where you want to be for the next two years. The panel expects you to have some knowledge about the program. Some additional info like placement trend should be researched about too.
Finally, what will make all the difference is when you will know about some basics of marketing.
If you are going in for an MBA and plan to pursue Marketing after that, having basic knowledge of Marketing will be a bare minimum. Panelists expect it.
For example, the friend who did that course which covered the basic Marketing concepts was able to woo over the panel with his knowledge.
What will it tell the panel if you did that?
It would tell them about your confidence in approaching the questions and most importantly your passion for joining the marketing world.
So, you do not really need to worry since I will outline for you the MBA admission interview questions and some answers to help you prepare better.
Here we go. Marketing interview questions for MBA freshers
1. Why do you want to pursue MBA?
When asked this question, the interviewer is indirectly expecting to hear about the current situation in your life or motivating factor that has contributed to the interest in doing MBA and marketing major.
Mention your future goals and how they are related to MBA, how MBA is the best route to achieving your future goals.
Here is the chance to mention your wish to pursue MBA in Marketing, and justify it a bit too.
Mention it all here. Remember, most interviewers use this question frequently among other MBA Admission Interview Questions.
Also Read: But really, what does marketing mean
"Since I want to become an entrepreneur in future, I realized that I require marketing knowledge to help me unveil my true passion. I wish to grow my knowledge on marketing strategies that would lead me to my career goal one day in future.
Following are the reasons why I feel so strongly about pursuing Marketing
So I think being offered this chance at MDI Gurgaon would be a great move to achieving my goals."
Chronologically tell your story.
2. Do you know the 4Ps of Marketing?
Here, the interviewer wants to see if you really understand marketing and if you researched about Marketing in your free time since you claim to have a passion for it.
This is an expected marketing question for MBA freshers, actually for anyone who claims to have an interest for marketing
Trust me; this question has been among the top MBA admission interview questions asked. Therefore, you should read widely about the 4Ps Marketing Mix.
Once you know the answer to it, you can confidently begin answering the question. And this is one of those questions where you either know the answer or don't know the answer.
"Yes, I clearly understand the 4Ps of marketing. They are Product, Price, Place and Promotion. They...."
Here's a tip for you - The best way to answer any Marketing question is with examples. You could take the example mention in Kotler’s book. That would be quite impressive.
Explain the whole concept of 4Ps Marketing mix and make sure you have satisfied all it entails.
3. Why are you interested in this program/school?
The interviewer will be keen to ask this question, among many other common MBA admission interview questions. This is to be sure that you really know about the school.
Conduct prior research about the school's culture, courses especially about the Marketing faculty, B-school’s vision and mission, industry connection and the placements.
Research about an alumni of the college and mention them in your answer, if feasible.
One of the biggest mistakes that students could make here is- “lack of research”. And I have seen freshers make this mistake too many times.
For example, when asked which company would they like to be placed they mention a company which doesn’t even hire from the B-school for which they are interviewing.
This is the silliest thing you can do. Also, because this is the most basic visualization you must have of your life at and after the B-school.
"I applied at IMT Ghaziabad because it is among the best institutions that offer an MBA program with a specialization in Marketing. I am certain that the credibility of this program in the industry will help me achieve my goal of being a marketer…
Talk about the alumni...
The job roles you are seeking...”
Focus on the key features of the institution that undoubtedly make the institution best for you.
Now how you prove your “why MBA in marketing” interview answer? Usually panel asks for the following example.
4. Sell me this Notebook
This is one is a question that catches a lot of candidates completely off-guard. I have seen this question being asked in MBA college interviews and the placements interviews as well.
If you are going to a B-school that does have a specialization in Marketing this question can be expected.
You have to portray your full potential here with a lot of confidence. The interviewer will not necessarily use a notebook; they will randomly choose a product for you.
You have to swiftly accept the challenge and begin to market the product to the panel.
Also Read: How to Price your Product - The Fundamentals
You have to give an alluring description and make a solid pitch.
My tip to handle this question is simple. Talk less about the product features and more about the benefits that the product will give for the customer.
"Yes, am selling this Platinum notebook for 699 INR. This notebook will help you capture your ideas on the go, organize it into various headers so that you can work upon them and build your dreams. This notebook will be your companion in creativity and ideation”
My tip to handle this question is simple. Talk less about the product features and more about product benefits. Make it customer-centric, rather than product-centric.
Make it attractive for the panel.
5. Which is your favorite advertisement and why?
This is one question that is so open ended and so easy that you can make or break it here.
We have been watching ads since forever, since we were kids. We would have seen thousands if not millions of ads till today.
So why does it become tough to pick an ad and then to critically analyze one.
Therefore, to be prepared for this question is it advisable that you do check out a few of the latest ads.
My pro tip here is that ads with a social message are easy to explain an easy to analyse because it is obvious why you like them.
Hindustan Unilever's latest water conservation ad is one such ad.
Interview Questions for the Experienced
For experienced aspirants, the questions asked in an MBA interview are more from the candidates’ professional experience.
Sometime, experience candidates tend to struggle in explaining their decision of pursuing MBA, instead of sticking to their jobs and growing in their organizations.
A good way to handle these questions is by letting them about your future goals and the job role you are targeting. If this target job role is in the field of Marketing, then be ready for answering some questions on it.
Some of the questions you should be preparing for are as follows.
1. What is the relationship between your current job and MBA?
The interviewer wants to know the reasons you thought of taking an MBA program to supplement your career and is looking forward if you can answer why marketing.
Here, you have to be cautious not to drift from the topic. Brevity and conciseness are appreciated from you in this question. It shows the clarity of thought.
And generally, as well, people with work experience are expected to be to the point with their answers.
"After working for 3 years with Infosys, I have come to realize that to run a successful multi-billion-dollar IT company is not only about making the software. I need business education to make develop smarter business, relationship and product.
Therefore, I saw it best to apply for an MBA program with your institution. I feel it is the best choice for me right now for my future."
You will obviously need to find an answer that fits your situation and your actual calling.
2. What are the qualities of a successful manager?
When asked this common MBA interview question, the panel will want to hear how ready are you to become a good manager, and more importantly a leader, after completing your MBA.
It is a behavioral question, so you must be positive and you could give an example from your workplace.
"I strongly believe that a successful manager should have a clear vision and mission for the organization. The manager should involve the staff/team in building methods and strategies to achieve the goal of the organization.
The manager must possess skills such as communication, leadership and should be very innovative. He should motivate his team from time to time to grow them emotionally and mentally.
My current manager is what I admire to be after my MBA program in Marketing; he lets us own every project in the organization and motivates us to do the best. He firmly believes in all of us and a brilliant team leader."
Bear in mind that it is a test of how well you can model your leadership skills after the MBA program. Moreover, it is a question to check whether are you aware about what leadership truly is.
3. Have you held any Marketing Role in your current workplace?
The interviewer will ask this question among the other MBA Admission Interview Questions to be sure that you have a clue about marketing initiatives at your work place. Mention even the simplest tasks that you undertook that were related to marketing.
If there aren't any such tasks that you did, you can mention the marketing initiatives at your place.
"Yes, I have been regularly involved in the Marketing team that creates marketing strategies for our fashion apparel company. Although I have been working in the product team, several times I have escorted the marketing team to meet new customers.
This has grown my interest in marketing and sales, thus I am applying for an MBA program to enable me to be more productive when it comes to marketing knowledge and skills."
Tell them about your will to gain MBA knowledge so that you can get into marketing roles in the future.
Show them that you really have a passion for marketing.
4. Why MBA in Marketing?
Now this question may not always be asked in exactly this way. But what I want to do is give you a heads-up about how to handle such a question which gives you this kind of freedom to share your knowledge.
The interviewer is giving you the freedom to sell yourself as a professional, who is sure about his decision of moving further ahead in Marketing.
More importantly, it will show you as someone who is already striving to acquiring the crucial marketing skills either through online courses or through books.
This question is unbelievably crucial.
Mention some marketing knowledge or skills that you have.
Among the questions asked in an MBA interview, this is among the most important; you can score well if you answer as a professional.
"Even though I never held any marketing role at Hero Motocorp, I have attended several conferences that have given me some knowledge on marketing plans and Return On Investment (ROI)...."
Share with the panel broadly about the subject of Marketing plan and ROI and how to calculate it.
In conclusion, MBA interviews are an experience that you ought to be extremely prepared to come out victorious among the rest; whether you are a fresher or an experienced candidate.
As already mention, only less than 1% candidates make it through to their dream B-school.
MBA Marketing interview questions can be challenging.
Since the MBA interview panel is usually very keen on the fine details, with above insights on how to approach these MBA admission interview questions, you can be sure you will have a better chance to be selected than the other aspirants.
Proper preparation is vital; read widely and do relevant research. This will help you tackle the MBA Admission Interview Questions with ease and confidence.
As always, I am open for any of your questions.
Use some of my resources on Marketing basics to get you ready.