Travel Ban & the MBA Interview: 7 Strategies to Shine on Skype
As business schools scramble to interview MBA applicants via video, here are 7 strategies to shine on Skype.
With growing fears about the spread of the coronavirus, business schools are anxiously assessing their global travel plans to meet applicants. Against a backdrop of quarantines, the cancellation of Asian recruitment activities, and the closure of GMAT test centers in China for at least two months, many international events and info sessions are likely to be disrupted.
One immediate impact is on the busy month of interviews with Round 2 applicants. MBA admissions offices are scrambling to choose a restricted number of regional locations that candidates can reach, or offer video interviews as an alternative to face-to face meetings.
If you are already daunted by the prospect of traveling halfway across Asia for an HBS interview in Tokyo, imagine how you will perform via Skype or WeChat in Wharton’s dynamic Team Based Discussion (TBD). This year more than ever, my Fortuna Admissions colleague Judith Silverman Hodara, former head of Wharton admissions, is fielding calls from anxious candidates – particularly in Asia – who are preparing to conduct their MBA interview on video.
With so much at stake, what can you do to ensure the best possible conditions for a great video interview? And how can ace your Wharton TBD and participate fully in the unfolding group dynamic from a screen?
7 MBA VIDEO INTERVIEW ESSENTIALS
In running clients through the paces for the Wharton TBD, Judith has developed seven top tips for acing your MBA video interview:
1. Make sure the space behind your camera is clear and uncluttered.
2. Make sure your face is well-lit.
3. Ensure excellent sound quality.
4. Test your Internet connection beforehand.
5. Don’t be tempted to read from hidden notes.
6. Maintain eye contact.
7. Seek opportunities to fuel the conversation.
It may seem that interviewing on video is a disadvantage, but it has its upsides (beyond saving time and money on travel). Remember, you are Skyping in from your own space, allowing you to create the conditions to feel more relaxed. (No one will be the wiser if you’re enveloped in soothing essential oils or the aroma of fresh baked cookies.) Know that, this year in particular, many students are experiencing the same thing – so by no means will the schools penalize your application for participating in the interview remotely.
That said, do conduct the standard pre-interview rituals – identify your key selling points to deliver clear and concise answers, practice responding on camera to be as natural and confident as possible, and stay grounded to let your personality shine through. And do wear business dress or business casual – at least from the waist up.
For more strategies and advice on how to prepare, view my related article in Forbes, 10 Tips for Acing the MBA Interview.
Interested in a candid assessment of your changes for business school? Sign up for a free consultation.