The interview is one of the most important parts of your MBA application because it’s another chance you have to communicate why you’re the best candidate for the program. As with the essays, it takes preparation and much self-reflection. Below are some tips on how to excel in the interview process.
MBA programs are looking for an individual who fits into to their program and their culture. As such, attempting to be the perfect candidate for a program or saying what you think the interviewer is trying to hear will not help you much. Instead, relax and let your best self shine through.
If you’re going to be yourself, you need to know yourself. Do you know why you want to go to business school? Do you know your short and long term goals? Even if they’re not 100 percent fixed. What traits about you would help you fit most into a school? How do the school’s values and programs of study fit what you need and what you’d like to after you have finished the program? The interviewer will most likely ask you some, if not all, of these questions or related questions because all of it feeds into how you’re a fit for a program.
Know your resume
Work experience is an important part of what you can contribute to your MBA program both inside and outside of the classroom. When you’re reviewing your resume and practicing your story, focus on the accomplishments you’ve had at the positions you held. The interviewer doesn’t want to know what your responsibilities were, s/he wants to know what you did, how much value you added to your company. Reflect on any challenges you faced and how you overcame those challenges as these experiences show how you’ve learned and grown.
Get a friend, buy him/her a coffee, some ice cream and ask them to help you practice for these interviews. The more you practice, the more comfortable you become with the process and the better you’ll perform on game day. You should not take notes in with you, so this is a great way to get your story down cold and ace your interview.
You can’t possibly know everything about a school or a program, so have some questions prepared for your interviewer. It can’t be items you can easily read on the website because that shows a lack of research and preparation. Ask about what sets the school apart, more questions about the student body, the surrounding neighborhood or more about specific concentrations or experiences. These questions show that you’re really interested in the program and that you’ve done your research
For more tips, look at the Forbes article on “Acing the MBA Interview” and MBA prep guides like Veritas Prep, mba.com and Manhattan GMAT. These sources have great tips on preparing for the interview and questions to ask your interviewer. Individual programs also have tips on preparing for their interview day.
Don’t forget to send a thank you note! Emails are great, but nothing makes you standout like a nice handwritten note.
For those who have gone through the process, anything to add?
Forté Fellow and MBA Candidate 2015
University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler Business School)