Guest post by Igor Khayet, President and Founder of My Resume Shop.
You've already submitted your b-school apps. Finally, you get the call or the email. Nope, you're not in -- yet. Button your blazer; it's interview time.
Just like rounding the bend on a racetrack, catching a glimpse of that finish line can push you to step up your game or lead you to stumble. Lucky for you, there are 5 surefire ways to ensure that you turn those fifty minutes of interview face time into an MBA admit:
1. Research the school.
Ever go on a blind date without a quick Google search first? Exactly. Research your school. You already wowed them with your essay; now make sure you're ready with an arsenal of quick facts about why their school is the perfect place for you. This will also keep you from making embarrassing mistakes, like expressing interest in a student club they don’t have. And it’s not just the online due diligence that counts. Professors and current students in your field of interest are excellent sources of advice and will provide you with the nuance you need to seem “in the know.” Details are key -- a simple "I just like you" might convince someone on a first date, but not in an interview.
2. Think about the “Why’s”.
In most cases, there are only a few key questions that are going to make or break your interview, and they are likely very similar to those you addressed in your essays. Let's start with the basic three: 1) Why do you want to get an MBA? 2) Why now? 3) What are your short and long term goals? It’s absolutely necessary that you have prepared thoughtful answers for these questions. You spent the money to apply, so there must be some compelling reason you want to go. Make sure you can convey that well on interview day.
3. Turn on the charm.
Don’t go overboard -- this isn't The Bachelor -- but do make sure that you use your personality to make a meaningful connection with the person across the table. Think beyond flattery; instead, focus on developing a certain rapport based on a shared interest in business school and any other topics you discuss. Be sensitive to the feedback you are receiving and try to adjust your conversation accordingly. When it seems like you’ve touched on something of mutual interest, make an effort to engage in a more in-depth discussion. A meaningful connection will make a much greater impression than a game of 20 questions.
4. Tell a story.
Have a hard time reading Kant, yet find the moral reasoning of Aesop’s Fable’s surprisingly clear? Well, that’s because framing information in a narrative provides the necessary logical links your brain needs to be able to absorb and retain information easily. Make things easy on both you and your interviewer. Rather than just shouting out facts and numbers, have one or two stories from your experience ready to address a broad range of potential topics. The best kinds of stories will highlight a variety of positive qualities or skills. A single story, for example, might describe not only your leadership potential, but your analytic skills and knack for problem solving as well.
5. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
This is your last chance to show your dream school just how right an MBA is for you and your goals -- and not just any MBA, their MBA. These interviewers have been sitting in their seats all day for days. Excitement is contagious and will leave them with a good impression about your candidacy. This doesn’t mean that you should bring out the confetti and party hat (too much eagerness can be unsettling) -- but hold on to those. You’ll be needing them for when you get that acceptance call.
Igor Khayet is the President and Founder of My Resume Shop (http://www.myresumeshop.com). He is a former Admissions Interviewer for the Yale School of Management and a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.