[if you look closely, you can almost see where I work on the photo on the left.]
It’s that time of the year again. Leaves are falling, I’ve scrambled to find my gloves and buy a cool new hat for the winter season and the MBA application season has started in earnest. This Friday the interview invites for LBS R1 candidates will be sent out, and I feel a duty to make some (hopefully useful) remarks on the whole interview-thing, in a paying-it-forward kinda way. So I started writing until I remembered that I have already doled out more than enough advice in the past, and looking back on it, there’s really nothing to add. So I’m going to be shameless and copy my previous advice below (original post here). Anyone who’s got anything to add: please be my guest and add a comment.
On b-school interviews
Be early, no need to stress out about being late if you can help it.
If you’re unsure of the dresscode, ask (there’s nothing worse
than being over or underdressed to help increase nerves for no good
Think ahead and plan some answers to common questions (why the
MBA? Why this school? Why now? What do you want to do post MBA? Why
you? Examples of teamwork, leadership etc), but don’t rehearse them to
the point where you become a robot reciting pre-rehearsed answers.
something interesting to say (ideally, you are an interesting person
so that shouldn’t be too hard).
Prepare some questions for the
interviewer and try to make them interesting (what did you like best of
your experience? What electives did you particularly like? What is the
one activity that I should not miss?). Remember this is as much an opportunity for you to find out more about a school as it is for them to find out more about you.
Do not drink during the
interview (as in: drink alcohol. Any other beverages I have no particular view on).
Know your application inside out and
expect detailed questions.
Don’t be rude or disparaging.
Be honest. Be
nice and gracious.
Don’t slag off anyone (former bosses, other schools). See also the previous points on not being rude and being gracious.
See also this about my own LBS interview and trawl the other blogs to see what their experiences were.
Be yourself. Oh, that’s a tricky one. You’re nervous, want to make a good impression, and in my case I had no real idea what the perfect business-school student was like, but I was quite sure they probably didn’t resemble me. I had the best interviewer though, he made me forget all about it, and was interested in me as a person. And I decided that since I had no idea what a typical MBA was like, I might as well be myself. As you can tell, it must have worked, reader, I got admitted.
[edited: ok, so I did have more to say than in the original. I could’ve known. Once I get myself talking, it’s hard to stop. So I added the bit about being yourself and enjoying it. It seemed like those were sensible things to add.]