You’ve reached the last, crucial step that will make or break your business school dream – the admissions interview. Congratulations on reaching this important milestone! But, only 40-60% of interviewees will be offered admission. This is your final opportunity to convince the admissions committee that your candidacy is authentic, competitive and valuable. What do you need to do?
- Be clear yet spontaneous (um…what?)
Interviewers usually allocate about 30 minutes for each admissions interview. So, every word counts. Clarity starts with structure – each answer should have a beginning, middle, and end. If that requires taking a few seconds to collect your thoughts before you start talking, that’s fine as it’s far better than rambling aimlessly. Also keep in mind that an interviewer’s role is to test, challenge and probe. So, don’t memorize answers to the questions you think they’re going to ask. Rather, build stories around your strengths that you can adapt to a wide range of questions. And practice using “talking points” rather than memorizing a script so your responses are thoughtful and natural.
- Be yourself (unless you’re a jerk…)
Your interviewer wants to get to know you, to assess how you will enrich the school’s community and fit into its culture. Arrogance, entitlement, and ego don’t work. Conversely, a bit of appropriate humor and self-deprecation convey the humility and confidence that business schools value. Avoid the temptation to be “perfect” because the adcom may interpret that as an attempt to hide character flaws or vulnerabilities. Instead, strive to present your best, most poised, authentic self – after all, that’s who they met and liked in your application.
- Be specific, be prepared (and always be on time!)
Interviewers want to know that you will accept their offer of admission if one is extended to you. Be sure to include school-specific references in your interview responses. For instance, when you’re describing your career goals or personal interests, mention which courses, clubs, events, etc., are most relevant and appealing to you. Consider how you’re going to align your candidacy with these offerings and show how their MBA program is the ideal fit for you. Then, work on your delivery to make sure that you come across as an eager, qualified, and informed candidate. Lastly, since interviews are not offered in-person these days, check your internet connection, computer camera, background, microphone, etc., at least a day before your scheduled interview. Ideally do a practice session with a trusted resource.
A professional admissions consultant at The MBA Exchange can provide you with additional interview strategies, tactics, tips and feedback. We’d be happy to speak with you about how we can help you ace your interview!