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What is decision making?

Decision making is a process which involves analysing a problem, researching the options, weighing up the pros and cons, and reaching a logical conclusion. You may need to be creative in your approach, and it may be appropriate to take advice from others.

Application form and interview questions

Some examples of application form and interview questions which are designed to test decision making skills:

  • We all have to make unpopular decisions that may affect others. Describe a situation when you have had to make such a decision. What did you learn from this experience?
  • Tell us about a time when you took responsibility for making a key decision.
  • How would you describe your preferred decision making style?

If you are unsure how to structure an answer for either application or interview questions, visit the application and interviews section of our website and find out about the CAR (context, action, result) and STAR (situation, task, action, result) models. Our recommendations are based on feedback from employers.

Assessment centres

During an assessment centre exercise you may be asked to write up a set of proposals on a business problem. Your decision making skills will be crucial in identifying solutions that you can justify and provide a strong case for selection.

E -tray/in-tray exercises test your ability to make effective decisions on prioritising correspondence and actioning accordingly.

Activities where you could practise decision making

The following activities, both locally and on campus, may be a good ways to practise decision making:

  • Manchester Leadership Programme This academic module is open to most undergraduate students at Manchester.
  • Skills Training Sessions A variety of sessions are usually offered during the academic year, run by employers or careers consultants. Check CareerConnect for forthcoming events that include a scenario involving decision making.
  • Volunteering Gives you the chance to develop a range of skills while giving something back to the community.
  • Blackbullion Develop money management skills employers want.