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Tips for MBA Admission Interviews

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Tips for MBA Admission Interviews [#permalink] New post 12 May 2013, 01:44
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Following the initial screening of applicants, most leading business schools invite candidates to the "second stage" of the admissions process - the admission interview. Approximately 30%-50% of applicants are usually invited to interviews. However, some schools, such as Kellogg, interview all applicants prior to submitting applications, as an integral part of the admissions process.

Usually, candidates can choose between on-campus or off-campus interviews. If the interview is conducted on campus, the interviewer may be a member of the admissions committee or a student. Off-campus interviews are usually conducted by alumni.

Dress Code
For on-campus interviews, business attire is recommended and often required. Business attire includes a suit, tie and black dress shoes (thin-soled, with black socks).
Business casual dress usually includes khaki pants, a button-down shirt and black shoes. In the winter, a sweater may be worn over the shirt. Some candidates prefer adding a tie and/or jacket.

Preparation
Good preparation is the key to success at admissions interviews. Discussion groups, students, alumni, books and admissions counselors can all be helpful in learning as much as possible about the school's methods and approach towards interviews.
Aringo offers a professional interview preparation service, based on systematic collection of questions used in prior interviews, and on interview simulation practice.

The admissions committee allows interviewers significant leeway with regard to the style of interview and questions asked. Therefore, learning as much as possible about your interviewer in advance is recommended: what is his/her style? What is his/her background? Which questions has s/he asked in the past? Students, alumni, forums and admissions counselors can provide this information.

We strongly recommend preparing extensively for your interview. In our experience, those candidates who devote tens of hours to preparation are those who do the best on interviews. Preparation should focus on selecting and phrasing your key messages and expressing them orally, under pressure. Conduct as many mock (simulation) interviews as possible: with alumni who have experience interviewing, with friends and family, with professional advisors and with other candidates. Mock interviews will not only provide quality feedback and ideas for improvement, they will also help you feel comfortable and confident in an interview setting and practice your English in case it's not your native language.
You can read some common interview questions here.

The interview - 8 Basic Tips
1. Obvious but important - be on time! If you are late, apologize.
2. Turn off your cell phone and any other mobile device before the interview.
3. A common mistake is giving long-winded answers to questions. Speak briefly and to the point.
4. Be positive. Try to avoid words such as "no", "impossible", "isn't" etc. Almost any message can also be phrased in a positive manner.
5. Truth wins. The more honest you are, the stronger impression you will make - not only in what you say but in giving an impression of confidence and calm.
6. Strengthen your answers by offering specific examples.
7. Be prepared to answer the three basic questions: Why MBA? Why at our school? Why now?
8. On-campus interviews are sometimes preferable - it depends on your abilities and which school you applied to. Carefully consider the choice of on-campus vs. off-campus interview according to your situation.

After the interview
Send a brief email to your interviewer thanking him/her for devoting the time to your interview.

Your admissions interview will likely be just the first of a long series of interviews that you will have in your years at business school. Regardless of the result of your application, it is recommended to ask your interviewer for feedback after you receive a response from the school regarding your candidacy. Use this feedback to improve your performance on future interviews.

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Re: Tips for MBA Admission Interviews [#permalink] New post 12 May 2013, 01:59
Wonderful post Aringo! :)

Just had a few questions! The interview questions mentioned by you under the link : http://www.aringo.com/ClientInfo/InterviewCommonQuestions.htm are generic questions related to the individual mostly asked to verify the information already presented via the application form (as mentioned in the categorizations). Does the interviewer at any point of time judge the technical readiness of the candidate. For example, if I am a finance major, would my interview at any point involve detailed questions about finance or in-depth questions regarding the business know-how?

Also, the choice of on-campus or off-campus interviews, is presented to the candidate right? I mean, do any colleges make it mandatory for candidates to visit the campus for the interview? Could you tell us more about the off-campus interviews as well and the do-s and not-to-dos for them as well!

Regards,
Arpan

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Re: Tips for MBA Admission Interviews [#permalink] New post 13 May 2013, 07:42
arpanpatnaik wrote:
Wonderful post Aringo! :)

Just had a few questions! The interview questions mentioned by you under the link : http://www.aringo.com/ClientInfo/InterviewCommonQuestions.htm are generic questions related to the individual mostly asked to verify the information already presented via the application form (as mentioned in the categorizations). Does the interviewer at any point of time judge the technical readiness of the candidate. For example, if I am a finance major, would my interview at any point involve detailed questions about finance or in-depth questions regarding the business know-how?

Also, the choice of on-campus or off-campus interviews, is presented to the candidate right? I mean, do any colleges make it mandatory for candidates to visit the campus for the interview? Could you tell us more about the off-campus interviews as well and the do-s and not-to-dos for them as well!

Regards,
Arpan


Thanks Arpan!
You're right, these interview questions are generic questions for MBA interviews. The interviewer may also ask some specific questions regarding your specific background or field of expertise, but it is more likely to happen if it is connected to your career goals, and if the interviewer himself has similar background.

As for the choice between on-campus and off-campus interviews, some MBA programs require on-campus interviews, but most of them provide candidates with other options as well, such as off-campus interview with an alumnus, phone/Skype interviews etc. Obviously, if you are having a phone interview, any tips regarding your appearance are less relevant and you should focus on the content.
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Re: Tips for MBA Admission Interviews [#permalink] New post 13 May 2013, 08:32
Aringo wrote:
Thanks Arpan!
You're right, these interview questions are generic questions for MBA interviews. The interviewer may also ask some specific questions regarding your specific background or field of expertise, but it is more likely to happen if it is connected to your career goals, and if the interviewer himself has similar background.

As for the choice between on-campus and off-campus interviews, some MBA programs require on-campus interviews, but most of them provide candidates with other options as well, such as off-campus interview with an alumnus, phone/Skype interviews etc. Obviously, if you are having a phone interview, any tips regarding your appearance are less relevant and you should focus on the content.


Thanks for the info Aringo!

What really puzzles me, is that fact that the questions involve a lot of generic data mostly dealing with the personal life of the candidate. The questions since belong to the personal and professional life of the candidate, can be rehearsed and imitated. I was always under the impression that the personal aspect of the interview would be minimal and the objective part i.e. probably a brief idea about the business knowledge of things, would actually be tested.

Its almost as if the results are decided, and the interview would just append or reinforce the Board's choice. Is my assumption true? Does the Profile and essays constitute the majority of the admission process then? Score in them and you coast in your interviews?! :)

Please let me know your thoughts on this! Also, if you find time, I was wondering you could please go through one of my other posts regarding recommendation letters! The post is : Recommendation Letters from Peers. Would certainly love to hear your opinion over this!

Regards,
Arpan

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Re: Tips for MBA Admission Interviews [#permalink] New post 15 May 2013, 23:44
arpanpatnaik wrote:
Aringo wrote:
Thanks Arpan!
You're right, these interview questions are generic questions for MBA interviews. The interviewer may also ask some specific questions regarding your specific background or field of expertise, but it is more likely to happen if it is connected to your career goals, and if the interviewer himself has similar background.

As for the choice between on-campus and off-campus interviews, some MBA programs require on-campus interviews, but most of them provide candidates with other options as well, such as off-campus interview with an alumnus, phone/Skype interviews etc. Obviously, if you are having a phone interview, any tips regarding your appearance are less relevant and you should focus on the content.


Thanks for the info Aringo!

What really puzzles me, is that fact that the questions involve a lot of generic data mostly dealing with the personal life of the candidate. The questions since belong to the personal and professional life of the candidate, can be rehearsed and imitated. I was always under the impression that the personal aspect of the interview would be minimal and the objective part i.e. probably a brief idea about the business knowledge of things, would actually be tested.

Its almost as if the results are decided, and the interview would just append or reinforce the Board's choice. Is my assumption true? Does the Profile and essays constitute the majority of the admission process then? Score in them and you coast in your interviews?! :)

Please let me know your thoughts on this! Also, if you find time, I was wondering you could please go through one of my other posts regarding recommendation letters! The post is : Recommendation Letters from Peers. Would certainly love to hear your opinion over this!

Regards,
Arpan



Hi, Arpan
The interview process does vary from school to school and interviewer to interviewer. I think the process is used for several reasons. It confirms that the person on paper indeed matches the person in real life; as well, if there are several candidates with similar profiles, this can help them to decide which one to accept over the others.

Regarding your question about recommendations, you first ask if someone can be accepted without recommendations. I have never heard of such a case, nor worked with any client who did not deliver the requested number of recommendations. If anything, we recommend that candidates submit extra recommendations, when they are allowed, to provide as many varied perspectives on the person's career and abilities as possible. In terms of whom to choose, this must be reviewed case by case. While higher levels of management are impressive, they are usually only preferred over the direct manager if the person can be specific and detailed about the candidate, and be super enthusiastic. The recommender should know you and your work deeply, so someone high up who doesn't really know you may not work in your favor. So in your case, especially since the senior managers are not enthusiastic about providing such recommendations, I would go with your direct manager, if he/she will be supportive and enthusiastic about the process.

Good luck!

Joy



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Re: Tips for MBA Admission Interviews [#permalink] New post 16 May 2013, 01:50
Aringo wrote:

Hi, Arpan
The interview process does vary from school to school and interviewer to interviewer. I think the process is used for several reasons. It confirms that the person on paper indeed matches the person in real life; as well, if there are several candidates with similar profiles, this can help them to decide which one to accept over the others.

Regarding your question about recommendations, you first ask if someone can be accepted without recommendations. I have never heard of such a case, nor worked with any client who did not deliver the requested number of recommendations. If anything, we recommend that candidates submit extra recommendations, when they are allowed, to provide as many varied perspectives on the person's career and abilities as possible. In terms of whom to choose, this must be reviewed case by case. While higher levels of management are impressive, they are usually only preferred over the direct manager if the person can be specific and detailed about the candidate, and be super enthusiastic. The recommender should know you and your work deeply, so someone high up who doesn't really know you may not work in your favor. So in your case, especially since the senior managers are not enthusiastic about providing such recommendations, I would go with your direct manager, if he/she will be supportive and enthusiastic about the process.

Good luck!

Joy



Free, detailed MBA chances calculator
Admission tips and scholarship info per school
Plan your application content (free online tool)
Get an initial assessment

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Thank you for the post Joy! The above confirms a majority of my assumptions.

For applicants like me, who have no necessary experience in the application process, such tedious applications present a difficult task. A lot of the app procedures have been made clear, but yet I feel I lack the strategy of effectively presenting my profile. I was hoping if you could help me in this regard, so that I can make my application competitive in compariosion to my counterparts. Even though the odds are steep, the journey needs to be continued. I do plan to conquer all odds and score a good school this year. I would be extremely greatful if you could help me out in building my profile for the top-15 schools and possibly help me land one :)

Regards,
Arpan

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Re: Tips for MBA Admission Interviews [#permalink] New post 16 May 2013, 21:28
Expert's post
Some really cool stuffs Aringo...Thank you!
+1 from me.

P.S: really great discussions going on to this thread.

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Re: Tips for MBA Admission Interviews   [#permalink] 16 May 2013, 21:28
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