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Interview tips - from one novice to another

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Director
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Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2009, 18:01
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As the subject states, I probably don't know any more about interviewing than the rest of you, but now that I'm almost through my app season and just completed a couple of interviews, I thought I'd give my tips. Maybe I should have waited to see if I get accepted anywhere, but I wanted to write while things were fresh in my head. :-D I don't hope to be as helpful as the illustrious rhyme, but maybe people can add their tips here and then we can merge them in with that thread later.

1) Some people are going to disagree with me, but if you have a chance to interview with an adcom, take it. These are trained professionals that generally have years of experience interviewing people. They will put you at ease - they're likely to smile and agree even if you talk about how you ran over your neighbor's dog. This will make you more confident, which is a huge part of the interview. You have no idea what you're going to get with a student or alum.
2) Have a few different leadership and teamwork stories available that show different qualities. You don't want to be thinking, crap, I've used up my leadership story on this question and I know there's another leadership question lurking behind it.
3) Practice out loud. I found that I say obviously a lot, even when I'm explaining things that the interviewer can't possibly know about. For some reason, I don't say it in my head.
4) If you can't answer a question, make sure you can answer it for the next one, chances are you'll get a similar one.
5) If you have the opportunity to interview at one of your lesser choices first, try. It will be a chance to get the nerves out and know which things you need to improve upon.
6) One thing that I did that I found helpful was to take what I considered the five main themes - walk me through your resume, why mba/goals, why this school, leadership, and teamwork and just jot down scratch notes/bullet points of things to mention. Then I would read through it, but answer in my head. This way I memorized the main points, but wasn't trying to memorize a script. For Kellogg, I did also tape record a sample interview that I could listen to on the day of while driving there. Then I also had some spare time before my interview, so I wrote down all the points that I planned to make from memory so that I could make sure I knew them all.

That is all I can think of now, I will update if I remember more.
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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2009, 19:15
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Good stuff highhopes!

From my experience... I have two pieces to share:

1) Be prepared with some failure stories. This is a common question. Have both an individual and a team failure story in mind to share.

2) It always helps to be specific when they ask you "Why our school". Instead of saying "I'm looking for a strong Finance program or a program that develops soft skills"... make sure that you can go a few steps further and say "The Center for Investment Management is unique because of x, y, z ad I look forward to studying under star finance professors like a, b, and c. They will help me accomplish my goals because of blah blah". Be as specific as possible when you describe why you want to go to their school. Do not say the same thing that everyone else will say.
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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2009, 19:54
nice post!

one thing that I always wanted to ask: How long do you guys think is suitable for the answer to "walk me through your resume"? I went over it for the first time just now, and it took me 30 mins :roll:
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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2009, 21:05
dynabook wrote:
nice post!

one thing that I always wanted to ask: How long do you guys think is suitable for the answer to "walk me through your resume"? I went over it for the first time just now, and it took me 30 mins :roll:


It is very easy to ramble when asked this question. Make sure you practice it and have a succinct and clear presentation -- you will almost always be asked this question. I would say 5 minutes max.
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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2009, 21:18
kudos for starting this thread.

I just had my ISB interview yesterday. Though results are not yet out, but surely I can also add my bit on this thread.

1. Be prepared for the question Why MBA? Why Now? If not MBA then what'll you do?

2. Try to relate real life examples with almost whatever you say in the interview. E.g. If they ask what are your strong/weak points? Be honest, give them couple of examples from your professional or personal life. For weak points tell them how you overcome that in day to day life.

3. Be honest. Don't say what you think AdCom would like to hear rather say what is true about yourself.

4. Remember, its only you who is going to drive the direction of interview. Its not AdCom. So while giving examples, try to highlight things which you want AdCom to ask you :)
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Self evaluation for Why MBA?

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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2009, 21:24
eminent wrote:
dynabook wrote:
nice post!

one thing that I always wanted to ask: How long do you guys think is suitable for the answer to "walk me through your resume"? I went over it for the first time just now, and it took me 30 mins :roll:


It is very easy to ramble when asked this question. Make sure you practice it and have a succinct and clear presentation -- you will almost always be asked this question. I would say 5 minutes max.


I would say you think from AdCom perspective. If you are listening to someone for 30 mins continuously, I'm sure you'll get bored.

The key is to make it short and sweet, so that the listener does not loose interest. All the while keep the spark alive. Highlight things you wanna AdCom ask you.
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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2009, 04:13
Thanks for starting this, highhopes !

Going back to the 'walk me through your resume' question: do you address why you attending your undergraduate school, why you picked your major, and substantial accomplishments from college? Or, do you leave that for separate questions ?

I ask because if I leave those details in there, I feel like I'm rambling on. Thoughts ?
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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2009, 04:47
TheDream wrote:
Thanks for starting this, highhopes !

Going back to the 'walk me through your resume' question: do you address why you attending your undergraduate school, why you picked your major, and substantial accomplishments from college? Or, do you leave that for separate questions ?

I ask because if I leave those details in there, I feel like I'm rambling on. Thoughts ?


I'd agree with the person above that said a max of 5 minutes for this question (if you look at clearadmit or places like that, a lot of people are covering around 10 questions in 30 minutes, so you can't take too much time).

Here was my style for walk me through your resume:
1) Why I picked my college major
2) Why I picked my undergrad school
3) Why I picked my job
4) A brief summary of my career thus far, hitting on the highlights and things I've enjoyed that directly translated/led into my Why MBA.
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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2009, 04:51
bigoyal wrote:
kudos for starting this thread.

I just had my ISB interview yesterday. Though results are not yet out, but surely I can also add my bit on this thread.

1. Be prepared for the question Why MBA? Why Now? If not MBA then what'll you do?

2. Try to relate real life examples with almost whatever you say in the interview. E.g. If they ask what are your strong/weak points? Be honest, give them couple of examples from your professional or personal life. For weak points tell them how you overcome that in day to day life.

3. Be honest. Don't say what you think AdCom would like to hear rather say what is true about yourself.

4. Remember, its only you who is going to drive the direction of interview. Its not AdCom. So while giving examples, try to highlight things which you want AdCom to ask you :)


Good point with #2, one I forgot. If you say something, you better have an example for it. For example, if you say I'm really good at motivating people, you better have a story to show how you've done it. Every time that you list a quality about yourself, think about what the interviewer will ask you as a follow up question. In that way, it's not much different than preparing for a presentation - you need to anticipate.
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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2009, 17:23
nice thread~thank you,guys!

I am now preparing my interviews :-D
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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 04 Nov 2009, 18:35
30 minutes, yikes! :P I think you might fail the "elevator pitch"...j/k!

For me, it was not enough just to do a standard walk-through of the resume (ie. chronological). As with all aspects of your application, you need to pull out the important parts and string together a coherent message/theme. I went to this school, majored in *this* so that I could get a job doing *that* which I have done successfully for the past X years. While at *job* I had these experiences which in turn lead me to an MBA --> your school, etc. Interviews are about hitting key points and leaving lasting impressions. You don't want to lose the interviewer with too many details.

I agree with interviewing with AdComs, but I have also found that the student interviews can be very enjoyable as they can definitely relate and you can spend the time to ask them personal questions about the school and their experiences. Funny story...my best friend was interviewed by his future gf at University of Chicago! Haha...I guess they hit if off very well and she later admitted she gave him the best possible scores! LOL. (He got in, but chose Kellogg).
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Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2013, 23:03
Hello from the GMAT Club MBAbot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.
Re: Interview tips - from one novice to another   [#permalink] 14 Oct 2013, 23:03
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