Business school applicants usually get tense thinking about being unable to answer every possible question in their MBA admissions interviews. However, you need not worry about this situation because your interviewer is always going to ask questions about a topic that you know well: You! Your interviewer will not throw questions that require research or applied knowledge. So, in an MBA admissions interview, you will not need to know how to express your opinion about the interest rate policy of the U.S. or calculate a discounted cash flow. Instead, you will have to be able to reflect on and converse about your life experiences, why you need an MBA, why you want to attend the particular school at which you are interviewing what value you can add to your target program, and so on.
As you prepare for an MBA admissions interview, you must review your application, paying specific attention to the stories that you presented in the essays. Moreover, reexamine your motives for targeting the particular schools you have selected and get comfortable discussing about your long-and short-term objectives and ambitions. Further, take a while to think about the modulation points in your life and why and how you made the specific choices at these essential times.
MBA admissions interviews usually fall into two types: comprehensive and blind. Though their styles differ dramatically, the essential thing that you need to keep in your mind is you already know the answers because the questions are going to be all about you.
The interviewer doesn’t read files in blind interviews. He/she attends the meeting with very little knowledge about you beyond what’s highlighted in the resume. So, you can assume to be asked open-ended questions like “Tell me about yourself,” “Why you think you want to go to business school?” and “Why did you choose this particular school?” Your interviewer may also ask you about your team and leadership experiences and will likely finish with questions that relate to your community activities and personal interests. Tuck, Duke, Cornell and Kellogg conduct a blind interview.
In a comprehensive MBA admissions interview, the interviewer reads the application file and when he/she meets you in the interview room, the person already have questions in mind. The questions usually focus on how you respond to a few situations. For instance, a question for someone who got an early promotion may be asked, “What do you think was the reason for promoting you ahead of others?” Don’t ever think that in a comprehensive interview, which is conducted at NYU, Harvard and London Business School, the interviewer is trying to find holes in your stories. Instead, he is just trying to better understand your personality, motivations and choices, the interviewer probes into your proficiencies.
Regardless of the approach of the interviewer, many business school applicants worry that at the time of the interview they may be asked a challenging question, which will leave them silent and this moment will be the end to their candidacy at that school. Though experiencing this kind of situation is certainly uncomfortable, we suggest that you do your best for preparing your interview. However, we assure you that this sort of predicament is not going to cancel all your positive elements. Still, should one take place, we offer a few tips on mitigating the uncomfortable situation:
- Maintain your self-dignity; don’t apologize or grovel when you don’t know the answer
- Resist your urge to start speaking hoping you’ll find the right story
- Take a sip of water as that’s going to give you a chance to pause naturally
- Forget that you were unable to answer any question and move on
Apart from responding properly to the interview questions, it’s important how you present yourself as well. Here are our answers to a few questions, which bedevil applicants with regards to interview etiquette.
What should I wear?
Always follow the guidelines, which the school provides on interview dress. If you are asked to wear business casual, wear it; if business attire is specified, wear business attire. Unclean, ripped shirts and jeans are never the right dress. If the school doesn’t specify any dress code, always wear a business attire.
Who should pay when I am meeting my interviewer at a coffee shop?
Arrive at a coffee shop a few minutes before the scheduled time and buy your own beverage. When your interviewer arrives, politely offer to pay for his/her selections. If the person declines, don’t insist.
Should I send a thank you note?
You should send a thank you note to your interviewer as soon as possible. The same day would be better, if not, the next day. Make sure to mention specifics from your discussion. Emailing the thank you note is fine.
I don’t know how I did. I ask the interviewer for feedback?
While it’s natural for you to wonder how you did, doing this will prove that you do not have confidence in yourself. Be patient and wait for the business school admission committee to make their decision.
Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Adriana Sopi, who is attached to GSA University and offers training to businesses and business school applicants. She has written a number of articles on 8a certification and GSA Schedule Contract. Here she offers guidance to business school interviewees on how to prepare for MBA admission interviews.