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# Just Had My Interview....Is This a Ding?

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Intern
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24 Feb 2010, 16:52
So I just had my bschool interview, and at the end of the interview session, the interviewer was commenting how business school was a lot of fun. So, in a half joking manner, I said "yeah, my friend who goes to school here says that he drinks like 4 times per week." To this he responded, "well, yeah, i mean obviously your business school experience can be whatever you want to make of it..."

Probably shouldn't have said it...i got comfortable and kind of let my guard down a bit. His deadpan response to my comment has me worried. Do you think I should worry about this. Is this an automatic ding? Or am I being overly paranoid?
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24 Feb 2010, 17:15
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Ding. And that guy probably sent a mass-email to every school in the top 50 with your name, picture, and the anecdote.

Seriously, I wouldn't even say this is a negative, much less a ding. You weren't talking about yourself.

With the exception of a racist, overly political, or absurdly inappropriate comment, I don't think anything in an interview is an "automatic ding". It is just one part of the total package.
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24 Feb 2010, 21:07
merkin wrote:
Ding. And that guy probably sent a mass-email to every school in the top 50 with your name, picture, and the anecdote.

Seriously, I wouldn't even say this is a negative, much less a ding. You weren't talking about yourself.

With the exception of a racist, overly political, or absurdly inappropriate comment, I don't think anything in an interview is an "automatic ding". It is just one part of the total package.

I would say this is a little too casual a remark for an interview and may or may not result in a ding. It was definitely inappropriate and did not add value to your profile.
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24 Feb 2010, 21:22
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xerox wrote:
I would say this is a little too casual a remark for an interview and may or may not result in a ding. It was definitely inappropriate and did not add value to your profile.

I don't think either of us have enough information as it really is dependent on the tone and persona of the interviewer. I would feel comfortable making that remark in front of my interviewer and any one of the student guides I have met along the way...but that was just because things were rather casual in my experience. It is not "definitely inappropriate". Definitely inappropriate would be saying you yourself plan on drinking 4 nights a week. Anecdotal mentions of another student's experience is not 100% inappropriate, (unless it was of a sexual nature). If someone dings you for that I am glad they are not in my MBA program. It's not a convent.
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24 Feb 2010, 21:57
Definitely should not have said it and would not like to hear that type of comment (in response to mine about how fun b-school is) if I was giving an interview.

It isn't going to result in an automatic ding, but it definitely didn't help your cause out finishing the interview like that.

xerox wrote:
merkin wrote:
Ding. And that guy probably sent a mass-email to every school in the top 50 with your name, picture, and the anecdote.

Seriously, I wouldn't even say this is a negative, much less a ding. You weren't talking about yourself.

With the exception of a racist, overly political, or absurdly inappropriate comment, I don't think anything in an interview is an "automatic ding". It is just one part of the total package.

I would say this is a little too casual a remark for an interview and may or may not result in a ding. It was definitely inappropriate and did not add value to your profile.

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24 Feb 2010, 22:09
merkin wrote:
xerox wrote:
I would say this is a little too casual a remark for an interview and may or may not result in a ding. It was definitely inappropriate and did not add value to your profile.

I don't think either of us have enough information as it really is dependent on the tone and persona of the interviewer. I would feel comfortable making that remark in front of my interviewer and any one of the student guides I have met along the way...but that was just because things were rather casual in my experience. It is not "definitely inappropriate". Definitely inappropriate would be saying you yourself plan on drinking 4 nights a week. Anecdotal mentions of another student's experience is not 100% inappropriate, (unless it was of a sexual nature). If someone dings you for that I am glad they are not in my MBA program. It's not a convent.

Truth is some interviewers get down to such details as the appropriateness of color of shirt the candidate was wearing for the suit they chose for the interview. I am not sure how much weight any particular adcom attaches to this bragging, but I would not say it is a good thing to have on the application.

A comment like this will most probably make its way into the report if the interviewer thought that it was a sign that the person cannot always communicate adequately in high-stakes situations.
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25 Feb 2010, 03:04
It was not a smart thing to say in a professional situation. The question is not whether or not it's OK to go drinking 4 times per week, it's whether or not it's OK to mention it in an interview. And it's not! Someone who'd say this to an interviewer might also say it to a recruiter, or a boss, or a client. And that's not cool!

I don't think it will be enough to ding an otherwise impressive candidate though. As said above, I don't want anyone who thinks that in my MBA class. Same goes for people who decide I'm not worth admitting because I wore the wrong colour shirt, or because my shoes did not have laces or because my handshake was too firm/not firm enough. But you did not do yourself any favours.

My new mantra in preparation for Stern i/v next week: Do not talk about booze, do not talk about booze, do not talk booze...
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25 Feb 2010, 04:21
It's pretty difficult to judge.

I've seen both kinds of people - people who pay close attention to trivial things and hold them against you & people who do not care. I had a boss who belonged to the first category and it was very difficult to work with him.

But it was not prudent of you to bring this up in an interview because you didn't know what kind of a person you were dealing with

All you can do is hope for the best. No point in sweating it.
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25 Feb 2010, 08:19
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You guys are ridiculous if you actually think this will in any way augment his/her admission decision. I have been involved in the recruiting process at the IB and PE firms I've worked at and we won't hire anybody unless they have a strong social acumen (i.e. alcoholism). the same goes for business school. 80% of the experience is drinking and networking. If you are introverted you will not get anything out of your business school experience. With that said, the interview is designed for you to display your "marketability." And I think the original poster made it clear that he/she is a hardworking person (hence the interview) that likes to enjoy life outside of the workplace/classroom. Please post an update once you are admitted.
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25 Feb 2010, 08:25
i think it wouldve been safe to just describe how much fun they had with classes, professors, interactions rather than booze which may or may not be negative. Sure the former might sound a bit "textbooky" but it is certainly a safe answer. Same goes for interviews for jobs - you never want to put yourself in a position where your answer might be interpreted negatively.
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25 Feb 2010, 08:47
My ND interviewer joked with me in a similar way, but I sort of chuckled and moved on. I'm generally like OP in that I tend to let me guard down with a more casual interview, but I don't think I would say something like that. If anything it's offensive (potentially) to the school. No school wants to be known as a party palace.
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26 Feb 2010, 16:00
Thanks for the responses guys. I guess I'll just have to wait and see. In my opinion, if the guy liked me and is a rational person, then a comment like this will not get me dinged. If he didn't like me, then I wasn't going to get in anyways regardless of this comment. So, I'm just not going to sweat it and hope for the best.
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26 Feb 2010, 16:54
Marcus7 wrote:
I have been involved in the recruiting process at the IB and PE firms I've worked at and we won't hire anybody unless they have a strong social acumen (i.e. alcoholism). the same goes for business school. 80% of the experience is drinking and networking. If you are introverted you will not get anything out of your business school experience.

I actually have genuine concerns about this notion of "drinking=networking=strong social acumen=alcoholism" and "that's all b-school or business is all about". There are plenty of successful business leaders out there who fall out of the "frat boy" category. In fact, one thing I learned from the book "Built to Last" is that some of the most successful companies were built by not the most characteristic leaders but introverted individuals who don't care about the spotlight on themselves. So just like there is no RIGHT personality of a leader, I would like to believe there is no RIGHT personality of a b-school student. (but there is a stereotype...)

And then there is a difference between being social and being able to do keg-stands every weekend. What about folks who do not drink for whatever personal reasons or those who do not to choose to party 4 days a week? Life-style choice does not necessary equal to strong/weak social acumen. It's disconcerting to see some of the firms recruiting criteria, but for what is worth, it's also a self-selection process I guess.
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27 Feb 2010, 09:37
Marcus7 wrote:
You guys are ridiculous if you actually think this will in any way augment his/her admission decision. I have been involved in the recruiting process at the IB and PE firms I've worked at and we won't hire anybody unless they have a strong social acumen (i.e. alcoholism). the same goes for business school. 80% of the experience is drinking and networking. If you are introverted you will not get anything out of your business school experience. With that said, the interview is designed for you to display your "marketability." And I think the original poster made it clear that he/she is a hardworking person (hence the interview) that likes to enjoy life outside of the workplace/classroom. Please post an update once you are admitted.

I think we can all agree that while it's difficult to judge how the comment would be interpreted without having actually been at the interview, it would have been safer to skip such a statement.

I've also been involved in interviewing/recruiting at IB/PE shops, and I agree that we certainly want people who can hold their own when we go out. That said, there's a difference between explicitly talking about boozing and being able to implicitly show you're a social person. Right or wrong, banking candidates get judged on everything from the shirts they wear to the font they use on the resume. Making an unsolicited comment about alcohol is not the best move. We want people with whom to commiserate over drinks after an all-nighter, not someone who's seen Wall Street one too many times and thinks banking is all about models and bottles.

Hopefully the interviewer just dismissed the comment and everything works out for the poster. There's no point worrying about it now, and he'll be more cautious next time.
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27 Feb 2010, 10:02
Quote:
Right or wrong, banking candidates get judged on everything from the shirts they wear to the font they use on the resume.

Not to hijack the threat, but: Wow, really?

I've seen several statements like this on this and various other fora, and it's just fascinating to me. (I'm dying to know what kinds of shirts would get me an interview... low-cut?)

I was part of a group interviewing process where two applicants were up against each other and one of them didn't even wear a suit and I was like, Man, I like him better but he is doomed, and the other one was all fancied up and had a three-freaking-page resume and everything, and so my colleagues went for the latter fancypants and before he had even started working he started acting erratically and ultimately got fired before his first day, which led to an unsolicited visit to our offices with a red face and loud expostulations and various other alarming behaviors. Mr. No Suit subsequently got hired and he was awesome.
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27 Feb 2010, 10:24
Aenigma wrote:
Quote:
Right or wrong, banking candidates get judged on everything from the shirts they wear to the font they use on the resume.

Not to hijack the threat, but: Wow, really?

A guy I know was given feedback after not getting invited to the next round of interviews that he "sat too close to the table." True story. Recruiting is even more seemingly random than bschool admissions.

As for the OP, there's really two issues here: 1) to what extent is heavy drinking expected/accepted at bschool, and 2) is it appropriate to talk about in an interview. As for the first, certainly there is a sizable majority of people who go out drinking a lot during business school, and in many ways that scene can resemble a frat party. So if that's the social scene you're looking for at school, you won't have any problem finding it. That said, it's not expected that you will be a heavy drinker. There are plenty of people who don't hit up the bars that often, if at all, and they still have plenty of fun and have good relationships with their classmates. We're all adults here, and nobody judges you based on the social choices you make. As for it being necessary for recruiting, certainly a lot of networking receptions with recruiters take place at bars or cocktail hour type events. That said, there have been times where I drank at those, and times where I ordered soda because I didn't feel like drinking that night. None of the recruiters made any comment about it nor did it have any effect whatsoever on my internship applications.

As for whether it's appropriate to talk about during an interview, the answer is probably not. Again, we all know that there's a lot of drinking and partying at bschool, but during the application process the adcom is looking for people who can balance both the serious side of bschool (academics, recruiting) and the social side. No school - either the administration or the students - wants to have a reputation as a party school. Now I don't think the comment you made is an automatic ding, but it's also not the best final impression to leave the interviewer with.
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27 Feb 2010, 16:36
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Jerz wrote:
A guy I know was given feedback after not getting invited to the next round of interviews that he "sat too close to the table." .

Think that might have been humor on the banks end. Nicer than saying, we think you're too weird/awkward/dumb/arrogant/douchey. A friend of mine does BB IB interviews and sends me crazy email forwards from candidates all the time. Assuming almost all candidates can hack the technical side of interviews (who doesnt own the vault guide?), banking interviews are ultimately 99% fit.
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27 Feb 2010, 17:49
The most shocking part of this thread for me has been the wide range of opinions on proper etiquette during interviews. Some people believe displaying a desire to indulge in social trappings absolutely necessary while some believe doing so is a death wish for your candidacy. The implications for interviewees is clear: your chances of landing your desired position are at least in small part out of your control. Even if we haven't already, eventually we will all be conducting these MBA/job application interviews and our individual likes/dislikes will arbitrarily color how we perceive otherwise-excellent candidates. Some deserving candidates will lose spots because we just don't get along with them.

This made me remember an article I read from the Heath brothers, authors of Made to Stick, in Fast Company last year regarding the uselessness of interviews. They cite at least one large study showing that performance during the interview had absolutely no correlation to performance in the position and question the point of conducting interviews for fit. I think they would support conducting interviews to weed out obvious psychopathy -- but chances are you're not going to see that in people after just 30-60 minutes.

Here's the article on Fast Company's website:

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/136 ... rview.html

Think about it the next time you're conducting an interview.
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27 Feb 2010, 19:58
Suggesting that you will be involved in the Social side of business school is critical. Associating it with drinking is not, and particularly not in that scenario. It really depends on the interviewer as to how they consider it - it could be brushed off as easily as it could become a ding. In a lot of cases, the interviewer wants to side with the candidate for business school - it is a weird side of things to recruit in the way schools do, and they are looking for reasons to give you the gig, rather than the other way around (though obviously they kick the tires).

As for banking interviews, they are some way beyond the vault guide for MBAs best I understand. Fit is obviously important, which is why they have a shitload of events to make sure they know who they want before they even do interviews.
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27 Feb 2010, 20:29
coakleym wrote:

This made me remember an article I read from the Heath brothers, authors of Made to Stick, in Fast Company last year regarding the uselessness of interviews. They cite at least one large study showing that performance during the interview had absolutely no correlation to performance in the position and question the point of conducting interviews for fit. I think they would support conducting interviews to weed out obvious psychopathy -- but chances are you're not going to see that in people after just 30-60 minutes.

Who is under the illusion that interview success correlates to career performance? I wouldn't suspect that is an idea worth studying. The point of fit is not to determine who will do the job the best...banking isn't brain surgery..it's to determine with whom you (or your team) want to spend 90+ hours a week. Tons of candidates would do an excellent "job" but if they are a bad fit for the already-established group, they aren't the right hire.

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Re: Just Had My Interview....Is This a Ding?   [#permalink] 27 Feb 2010, 20:29

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