Poets and Quants published a revealing interview with Michigan Ross’s “gatekeeper,” Admissions Director Soojin Kwon Koh last week. Ms. Koh revealed in that interview a key piece of information for all Ross applicants especially but also for all MBA applicants in general: We’re “weighting the interviews …more heavily.” Ms. Koh asserts that “the interview will be a more helpful indicator [than the written application] of what will be useful for a business school experience.”
Take this as a warning, applicants. It isn’t good enough to submit strong essays revealing a pattern of success in your career and community. These will earn you an interview, but the interview is not just a conversation to weed out non-fluent, shy, or aggressive applicants: it is one of the most heavily weighted elements of the application.
Many applicants think that they interview well and do not believe that they need to conduct much interview preparation. Think again…
Just check out the statistics: BusinessWeek reports that 50% of Ross applicants were interviewed last year, but only 32% were accepted. Crunching the numbers using the total 2929 applications that Ross received shows that a full 36% of those interviewed were rejected.
And how do these numbers compare to other top programs? At MIT, 38% of those interviewed were rejected. McCombs dinged a full 51% of those interviewed. Duke decided against a whopping 53% of those it interviewed. And Carnegie Mellon rejected 62% of the students it interviewed!
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you interview well: job interviews and admissions interviews are separate species. Take these numbers seriously and conduct a mock interview with an experienced admissions consultant who can guide you in demonstrating the interpersonal qualities that Ms. Koh and her fellow gatekeepers seek in their students.
Jennifer Bloom has been conducting mock interviews with applicants since 1998 to help them prepare for this overlooked but essential element of every application.