Interviews

Interviews

Congratulations?on being selected for an interview.? It is an honor to be selected and it is a signal that the school views your application favorably.? Not all schools permit every applicant to interview therefore your selection puts you in excellent standing.? However, the work is only 50% complete and there is still a great deal to accomplish.

The interview will last approximately 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the school. The interviewer will ask you various questions about yourself and your knowledge about the school and program.? It may be shorter; some on-campus interviews last only 30 minutes. After the interviewer is finished with his/her questions then it will be your opportunity to ask questions.

Logistics

As is true in business deals, in business school admissions, people make all the difference. Here is our ranking of whom you should be interviewing with:

Interview with an AdCom Member on-/off-campus or via phone

AdCom members, defined here as a full-time employee who works at the school, are really important. If this person takes a liking to you, they will champion your application and ensure you get in. They typically interview on campus, and also go around the world to several key locations and meet candidates. Interviewing with an adcom member on campus will give you a chance to visit campus, and get really prepped before you walk in the door for the interview. They will also care that you came all the way.

Interview with an alum in person or via phone

Alumni interviews don?t carry as much weight as other interviews. After all, everyone knows someone who went to a top school. But interviewing with an alum is a good idea when the adcom is down to the wire. If the option is to interview with an alum or not at all ? definitely interview. These meetings can be a great source of information about the school and how the program has impacted the alum?s career.

Make it as easy as possible for the interviewer. Be flexible around their schedule. Rather than providing yours, it may be best to ask them for several dates and times, and fitting yourself into their calendars. When you appear difficult to get hold of, they will start to doubt your interest in the school. Arrive at the interview 10 ? 15 minutes ahead of time to get yourself situated. If interviewing on campus, don?t spend too much time in the Admissions Committee?s lobby. Spend time on campus and then arrive at the office 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

A phone interview:
Many schools offer a phone interview, if they are unable to schedule a meeting in person. I discourage phone interviews unless there is no choice as it is more difficult to develop rapport with the other person and it is impossible to read body language. And, since phone interviews take place between two people with different accents, it can become problematic for the untrained ear on either side to understand what is being said. Indians are generally fast talkers, and we are used to speaking long sentences. Both these styles can put us at a disadvantage in phone interviews. However, if it is your only option, take it.

Here are a few tips:

Test your diction while you are standing up and sitting down. Some people are clearer when they are standing. Time the number of words you speak by reading a paragraph aloud in a conversational tone. You should be about [120] words a minute.

?The Starbucks Interview?

Once in a while, you will interview in a casual setting, and get invited to meet up at Starbucks. Although the meeting will be casual, the topic of the meeting is not, and you should go in a suit unless you were specifically told to dress casually. You should also plan to go 15-20 minutes early so you can stake out the best place in the Starbucks to talk. Don’t buy a drink for yourself until the interviewer shows up.

Dressing for Interview Success

Men: Unless clearly stated, always go in a suit.? Black shoes should be combined with black socks.? Match your belt to your shoes and leave the sneakers at home.? Cut out the flamboyant, and go with the charcoal grey or dark blue suits ? with little or no designs. No handkerchiefs, red ties, braces (suspenders) or monogrammed/cuff-link shirts.? Keep it simple and conservative. This is not a time for your most fashion forward gear. Business casual means that you a black belt, black socks and shoes, combined with a shirt, blazer/sports jacket and slacks or khakis.

Women:?Women should dress in western suits to interviews.? Even if you are interviewing in India, stick with Western wear.? A few tips: skirts should not be too long or too short, be careful with colorful suits, short-sleeved suits are not a good idea, tuck in blouses, hair should be well maintained and accessories not overdone.

Follow up

Make sure you get the contact details, and send the interviewer a thank you note after you get back. Be specific and mention some things that were discussed in the interview. A thank-you note may be handwritten or emailed. Since feedback on the interview is usually prepared on the same day, it is beneficial to send an email. A handwritten note is more thoughtful, and rarer, but I would encourage you to use this only for informational sessions, where you are establishing a longer term rapport with the people you have met.

Preparing for the Interview

Preparation is key to a successful interview and your answers need to be concise, clear and convincing.? If you are not a good interviewer I would suggest you practice at least 15 hours going over you answers and the delivery of your questions.? Practice out loud and with others. Ask a friend who will be brutally honest to work with you.

This is your chance to make an impression and you only have one chance ? so, let?s make it count.

Review your application and focus on your message, key achievements and why you want to go to business school in general and this school, in particular. The message you present to your interviewer should match that of your application.

Ten Critical Questions

Interviews can go in many different directions and each interviewer has his or her own style. However, there are some questions that you absolutely need to be prepared to answer. Please find below the 15 questions you are sure to encounter. As you practice, remember that your answers should not be longer than two minutes each.

  1. Walk me through your resume/Tell me about yourself.
  2. Discuss your career progression to date and why is this the right time for you to pursue an MBA?
  3. Give examples of how you have demonstrated leadership inside and outside of work?
  4. What do you want to do (in regard to business function, industry, location) in the short and long term?
  5. Why do you need an MBA?
  6. Why does this school and program appeal to you?
  7. What are your three major accomplishments?
  8. What are your key strengths?
  9. What is your biggest weakness?
  10. How does the [name of school] MBA fit into your overall plan and why not another school?

?Do you have any questions for me??

Be prepared with at least three (3) questions for your interviewer. The questions you ask are just as important as the answers you provide.? Good questions usually revolve around specifics about the school as well as some unique aspects about the program. Make sure you have more questions than there is time, and let your passion come across in the interview.? While I would urge you to think about questions that relate to your own background, here are some sample questions to ask the interviewer.

Questions for Alum Interviewers

  1. How was your own experience at the school and what did you enjoy most?
  2. How closely are you in touch with the school and its alumni?
  3. How have you seen a benefit in your own career?
  4. What would you do differently about business school if you had the chance to do it again?
  5. Ask the individual about specific professors, courses or programs in light of your own goals. This will demonstrate a clear curiosity as well as knowledge about the school.

Questions for the Admissions Office

  1. Do you remember anyone in the current or previous years with my background? If so, do you know where they ended up after graduation?
  2. [Read up on current news on the school and then ask this question]. I was really excited to hear about the [name of the project] in the news. When is this going to be completed?
  3. Ask specific questions about the school and program.

Questions for the Admissions Office

  1. Do you remember anyone in the current or previous years with my background? If so, do you know where they ended up after graduation?
  2. [Read up on current news on the school and then ask this question]. I was really excited to hear about the [name of the project] in the news. When is this going to be completed?
  3. Ask specific questions about the school and program.

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Related posts:

  1. Application Overview
  2. Tests

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