Surviving the MBA Admissions Interview
While not every b-school requires an interview, for many it is an important requirement for MBA admissions. Some schools use MBA admissions interviews to evaluate borderline cases. Whatever the reason for the interview, it’s important that you schedule with the admissions officer early.
In a recent story in Bloomberg Businessweek, Amy Choi goes ‘undercover’ as a b-school applicant to find out what it’s like to go through the interview process. She fumbles a couple of answers and makes a slightly risky wardrobe choice, but gets an overall thumbs up from her Stern School of Business interviewer. Her takeaways?
- “Be professional, but show your personality.”
- “Practice, but not so much that you become an automaton.”
- “Show up with detailed knowledge of the school—and of your résumé.”
- “Mostly: Take confidence from having been invited. A decent interview is usually good enough.”
This is helpful guidance from someone who has been through the interview process that a top school usually reserves for their most promising candidates. Here are some more tips to help you prepare for your b-school interviews.
Top 5 MBA Admissions Interview Tips
- Review your application. In some cases, the interviewer is likely to ask specific questions about it. Be ready to relate several stories on how you took initiative or participated in a leadership role.
- Ask good questions and make sure the answer is not on the school’s web site or application.
- Be prepared to give a convincing answer to the inevitable questions: “Why business school?”, “Why our school?”, and “Why now?”
- Follow proper business decorum. Watch your non-verbal clues, such as eye contact, posture, and fidgeting. And, be courteous to the administrative staff. How you treat them can have an impact (positive or negative).
- Write a thank-you note.