The MBA interview can be a nerve-wracking step of the b-school admissions process, and the best way to work out those jitters is preparation. Now’s the time to reach out to your network of any current or former students at the school you will be interviewing for to seek some guidance on what to expect. Hearing their first-hand accounts, plus reviewing the tips below, should help ground you and allow you to enjoy this step just a little bit.
Tip 1—Show that you know your stuff. Convey your enthusiasm for and in-depth knowledge of the MBA program, and make sure you know your application inside and out. Do as many mock interviews as you need with friends or family until you can talk about your career goals clearly, and with confidence.
Tip 2 —Find your inner storyteller. One of the most important tips to remember is to sound natural—not scripted—during the exchange. Have a list of three or four stories you can adapt to various questions that demonstrate your leadership skills and teamwork experience. Consider using the “CAR” approach—context, action, result –to frame your responses.
Tip 3—It’s an interview, not a monologue. If it feels more like a conversation, you’ll keep the interviewer interested and engaged in the most important topic of all: YOU. Be sensitive to any non-verbal cues that would let you know if your interviewer feels you’re droning on about a topic and is ready to shift gears.
Tip 4—Let your personality shine. Interviewers will usually ask questions about your hobbies, recent experiences, books of interest, and even current events. Ditch any formulaic answers and show you’re passionate about life as well as those post-MBA goals.
Schools are trying to create a well-rounded class of individuals. They want to know that you’re bringing personal interests to their campus that you’ll share with other classmates. So you should tell them about your recent scuba diving trip in Belize, your role as the food and wine connoisseur among friends, your love for historical fiction, your favorite college class in evolutionary biology, and your opinions on globalization.
Then, let them know how you intend to share these interests with your new friends at school. Interviewers should be able to imagine you as the classmate who will organize trips, plan dinners, start a book club, etc. Remember, fun is an important part of an MBA program, and interviewers want to know what you have to contribute to this aspect of life at school.
If you can get from point A to point B in a clear, logical way; maintain an open, friendly, and professional demeanor; dress appropriately; and have an inquisitive attitude about the school and all it has to offer students, you stand a very good chance of coming out of the interview with flying colors.
You may also be interested in:
The “Curse” of Being the Last to Interview
How to Master MBA Interviews