IMD assessment day interview experience in Switzerland

MBA after merchant navyAt IMD Switzerland, an MBA interview isn’t just a regular interview.

It’s a full-blown, highly intensive, day-long affair that only a select few applicants from around the world will get to experience first-hand.

You’ll be navigating a minefield of case interviews, personal interviews, presentations, group discussion, sample class, alumni lunch (where you are still being evaluated) to prove that you have the analytical and leadership potential that a top MBA program demands.

At MBA Crystal Ball, we think it’s one of the best designed and most rigorous MBA interview exercises in the world. Hats off to the IMD admissions team!

Rakesh wrote about how he got into IMD MBA Switzerland in this post – MBA after Merchant Navy. In this follow-up article, he shares some insights into the gruelling IMD Assessment Day.


IMD assessment day: My MBA interview experience in Switzerland

by Rakesh Renganathan

Having received the call for the assessment day at IMD, I had a golden opportunity to show why I’ll be a good fit to the program. I made the most of this opportunity. I’d like to share my experience here.

The day started off with a brief introduction of the schedule for the day from 8 AM to 5:30 PM. There were 5 candidates who attended the assessment including me. One candidate was absent.

The first and the most daunting task I’d been waiting for was the impromptu presentation.

I concentrated a lot on case studies (especially HBR) to survive this part. I went through the coveted “Case in Point” by Marc P. Consentino as advised by many for the case analysis. The book gives you an in-depth analysis of business cases in simple words.

I also used the book for the Market-sizing questions sometimes asked during the personal interviews. We were given 35 minutes to prepare (all at the same time). The papers, markers, calculator and a writing pen were ready on the table to prepare for the presentation.

My game plan was to spend 15 minutes on brainstorming, 12 to 15 minutes on preparation of slides (Basically on A4 size papers) and the remaining time to go through the presentation. I managed to do so on the D-day.

The case was not a complicated one. It was about a company going through a rough patch over the last 3 years. The competition is growing. The financials of the company are given. We had to study and analyze the case and get the company back to the profitable days.

Once we were ready, we submitted the presentation and everyone was to complete the personal interview session before the 5-minute presentation.

Personal interview session was for 40 to 45 minutes. The interviewer was straight to the point though made me feel comfortable during the interview.

It was a fiery 45 minutes full of cross questioning on my career till now, why MBA, how an MBA would help me in achieving my post MBA goals, why IMD etc., There was nothing out of the ordinary. I was fortunately prepared for all the cross-questioning.

Once we were all done with the personal interviews, we were back to the meeting room where we were to present our analysis of the business case.

I was the second one to present. At the end of 4 minutes, I got a signal and fortunately before the 5-minute mark, I managed to complete my presentation. When each one of us completed the 5-minute presentation, we were asked to present the same in a group.

We were given 20 minutes to prepare in a group now. We all exchanged our ideas and chose one person to do the presentation. At the end of the presentation, we had a few cross-questioning from the interviewers on the case. By the time we finished, it was time for lunch.

I was looking forward to the lunch session where I could get a lot of information from a current student. I was introduced to an Indian student who was into Pharmaceuticals. Being a vegetarian, I was glad to see a separate vegetarian section at the restaurant.

It was a very informative session though I knew that it is a part of the assessment day and I’m being evaluated. I managed to make use of the one hour completely to tick off all the questions I had. I could see how passionate the students were of the school.

Immediately after the lunch, we had the case discussion (GD session). We received the case 2 weeks prior the assessment day. The case was an interesting one and very thorough. I spent a lot of time in the past 14 days analyzing all possibilities.

The most interesting part of the GD was the fact that we were being evaluated directly by the MBA program director Mr. Ralf Boscheck himself. The session started off with a brief of the case by the director and then a few questions to start the topic. The GD session was made interesting with a small team exercise.

The GD was followed by a short Q&A with the director, the adcom and the head of Career management. It was a very informative session as we knew what we could look forward to after the MBA.

At the end of this fruitful session, we had to attend a class to see for ourselves what a lecture would be like at IMD. The lecture was given by Professor Carlos Braga who had been the Director of World Bank, Economic Policy and Debt division.

I have seen a few lectures on you tube of the lectures at IMD. Now, I couldn’t believe the fact that I was sitting right at the auditorium where 90 exceptional future business leaders are trained.

It was on the Political economy of Brazil and Argentina. It was an informative session and I was glad to have accepted the call to attend the assessment day at Switzerland. It made me realize that this is where I want to spend one really important year of my life.

It’s always a good idea to know why MBA, why IMD and how the college will eventually help you to achieve the eventual career path after MBA.

When the answers to the above questions are clear, the rest is manageable in a personal interview as long as you know exactly what you have written in the essays. This was true for me on the assessment day, during my personal interview.

It is a good idea to do the IMD assessment day at Switzerland as this gives you a real understanding of what you can expect during your year at the school.


MBA Crystal Ball can help you prepare for the toughest interview you’ll ever face. Drop us an email if you get an assessment day call from IMD or need help with the MBA application.


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MG (Manish Gupta) //
MG (Manish Gupta)
Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, ex-McKinsey, IIT & ISB topper. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Read more about this top MBA admissions consultant. Connect with MG on Linkedin, Facebook or Email: mcb [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

8 Comments

  1. Swapnil says:

    Hi Manish
    Appreciate your guidance and willing to take your counselling. Have 17yrs of exp and looking for an mba. Is doing Part Time mba from IIM good way or MIT Sloan ,ISB . Which are best. I have been in IT industry and more generally in technology leadership roles.I stay in Mumbai.
    Can you point me the difference between MIT SLoan and ISB ,Whartons. The average cost of the 1yr programs and further career prospects.

    Regards
    Swapnil S

  2. Ajay says:

    Hi Manish,

    I given my GMAT first time today and scored a 600 (Q46, V27) IR – 8.

    My X- 92%
    XII – 96%
    B.Tech – 86%.

    I am planning to Apply for
    1) University of Pittsburgh – Katz
    2)Manchester School of Business
    3)University of St.Gallen

    Could you please provide your input on this.. ? If possible any other good colleges i can apply for..

    Thanks in advance..

    Thanks,
    Ajay.

  3. Rithesh says:

    Dear Mr Manish,

    I would like to know how does one calculate one’s experience for merchant navy. I am in merchant navy as our work does not include working all round the year. To qualify for the programmes with two years experience after graduation.

  4. Rajat Patidar says:

    Good day sir,

    i am currently sailing as an second mate having an in total experience of about 5 years in navy. This year i planned for appearing IIFT entrance exam and currently working on same. Sir my query is about my background, as i do not have any business study related degree (bsc nautical science) so how in ur experience is IIFT going to judge me if i cleared written phase and is this choice a wise one. please reply sir it will be very helpful.
    Thanks in anticipation.

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