Extremely important – at HBS and every other selective business school!
As many MBA programs, including Harvard, have reduced the number of essays and placed word-count limits on recommendations, the admissions interview has only grown in significance.
This in-person dialogue represents a business school’s best opportunity to get to know you and see how you communicate. The interview also provides the adcom with a final chance to probe any aspects of the candidacy that they believe are unclear, missing or questionable. And, given the ubiquitous “case study method” at HBS, this dialogue provides a window into how well a candidate responds to pressure while framing and conveying his or her thoughts.
Finally, compared to other schools, Harvard places even greater impact on your admissions outcome as evidenced by the “post-interview reflection” essay. This unique element of the application requires that, within the subsequent 24 hours, you advance the conversation in writing. The chance to have the “last word” represents a huge opportunity upon which astute candidates can and should capitalize.
Indicating how much weight HBS places on the interview, they’ve prepared an excellent 2-minute video and web page providing details for those who received a coveted invitation: http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/interviews/Pages/default.aspx
So, given the importance of the interview, thoughtful and thorough preparation is essential. At The MBA Exchange, we provide applicants with a 3-step process to ensure they are at their very best on interview day. Our approach features: 1) written strategies and tactics to identify their most compelling content, 2) self-practice using interactive video simulations of 25 different interviews, and 3) a real-time mock interview with actionable feedback from an experienced MBA graduate or former admissions officer.
However you choose to prepare, I urge you to put your heart and soul into it. Only by doing so will you have the competence and confidence to be at your best when you enter the interview room on your big day!