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My story of how mock interviews helped me prepare for my MBA interview

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Affiliations: MBA Sage
Joined: 18 Sep 2018
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My story of how mock interviews helped me prepare for my MBA interview  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2018, 11:20
In 2012 I had applied to INSEAD for a one year MBA program. I submitted my application and got selected for an interview! Reading the interview invite email was thrilling but it also made me super nervous. INSEAD was my dream school and I had spent countless hours preparing for my application. I had come this far and now I was just one step away from an admission to INSEAD.

Success was my only option and naturally, I decided to go all in with the interview preparation.
• I started reading every bit of information available on the internet about INSEAD interviews – their format, structure, expected questions and much more.
• INSEAD admission interviews are taken by INSEAD students and alumni and hence I started reaching out to INSEADers in my network to seek their help.
• To leave no stone unturned, I also engaged with an expensive and very popular (name hidden) MBA admissions consulting service to prepare for my interviews.

This is a story of what worked and what didn’t work for me during my interview preparation. Hopefully, you can learn from my insights and replicate the same for your MBA interview.

Reading articles on the internet provided me with a ton of information about the interview, too much for me to process and utilize. Also, the opinions shared on different blogs were often too contradictory or too similar to be of use. While this helped me understand the interviews a lot better, it was nowhere equal to a complete preparation as it lacked the element of practice to it.

My experience with my consultant was fairly standard. I followed a structure that every other applicant had followed with them. I was provided some ‘material’ for preparation and then I got 2 mock interview sessions of 30 minutes each. While the feedback and insights shared by my consultant were helpful, I found them to be too generic and not specific enough to my profile. It was clear that if I followed through, I wouldn’t be able to separate myself from the many other applicants preparing with consultants.

What really worked for me was connecting to the students and alumni of INSEAD and practicing mock interviews with them! At first, I only shared my profile and asked for interview tips. However, I soon took my first mock and this hugely boosted my confidence and highlighted my weak areas for me. In the last 2 – 3 days before the interview, I went for mock after mock and found it to be the most helpful method because of these reasons:

1. First and most importantly, mock interviews added perspective to my preparation. Every time I went for a mock with a student or an alumnus, I faced questions that I hadn’t even thought of before. I found a list of loops and problem areas in my profile and essays that were sure to raise eyebrows in the final interviews. And yes, some of these did come up in the final interviews as well.

2. Apart from improving my MBA story, practicing mocks also greatly improved my soft skills. I had collected tips and feedback that have helped me throughout my career and are useful even today. It made me a better speaker as I started structuring and wording my answers much better with practice.

3. Interview questions are mainly in three areas:
• Questions focusing on why I wanted to do an MBA and how it fits my overall career plan
• Questions focusing on my personal profile and career and the work I had done so far
• Questions focusing on the values that INSEAD (or any other school) looks for in its candidates.

I realized that a student or an alumnus of INSEAD (my target school) and from oil and gas industry (my industry), would be capable of asking questions in all these three directions. I practiced a few mocks with senior alumni who focused mainly on how an MBA fits into my career and I also practiced a few mocks with current students who focused on the other two types of interview questions. As INSEADers themselves, and being from my industry they were qualified to take my interview the same way the final interview was supposed to happen. Not only that, throughout my self-preparation phase, I had collected a list of doubts and questions that I got credible answers to, from these students and alumni as well. This way, I had a well-rounded preparation from all different directions.

I had personally developed a list of 50+ INSEAD interview questions that were compiled from different interview experiences throughout the web. I also categorized them based on the intent behind asking these questions and prepared my answers and stories for each of the questions. The aim was to practice as many questions as possible so that there are no unexpected questions in the final interview.

However, that’s next to impossible. And that’s why, the most important skill to develop, for an MBA interview, is the habit of facing unexpected questions and giving impromptu answers that are structured and compelling. And this habit comes with practicing mock interviews.

This is why I believe that mock interviews with the students and alumni of the target school, and from a similar industry background, is the best way to prepare for an MBA interview. It worked for me and I cracked INSEAD and it sure will work for all other applicants as well.

If you’re interested in practicing mocks without going through the hassle of wasting time in messaging countless MBA graduates on LinkedIn then you should check out MBA Sage

Our platform connects students and alumni of MBA schools with applicants like you, applying to these MBA schools. Applicants can practice mock interviews and get feedback on their MBA story and interview answers at a cost much more economic that expensive consultants.

You can use the platform to browse through the profiles of different students and alumni. You can filter them across their industries and year of graduation and see their LinkedIn profiles. Once you find someone that suits your profile, you can request a mock interview by choosing a date and time as per your convenience.
Interviews are conducted in a structured and professional manner so that an applicant faces challenging questions and gets personalized and targeted feedback on their answers.

Plus, after every interview, applicants give a rating to their interviewers and the average of these ratings is visible for every student and alumnus on the platform so that applicants can make an informed decision of who they want to practice an interview with.

I hope this platform helps you crack your INSEAD interviews.

- P Kumar (INSEAD 13J)
mbaInCage - Connecting prospective MBA applicants with current students and alumni of their target B schools.

INSEAD Interviews:
Prep material - 50+ INSEAD interview questions, compiled and categorized

ISB Interviews:
Prep material - Common ISB interview questions, compiled and categorized from 50+ interview experiences
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My story of how mock interviews helped me prepare for my MBA interview   [#permalink] 19 Nov 2018, 11:20

My story of how mock interviews helped me prepare for my MBA interview

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