An MBA admissions interview is a great opportunity for you to personally highlight your candidacy. Most interviewers will be evaluating a number of elements such as your interpersonal and communication skills, motivation, career goals, and interest in and fit with that program.
Taking the time to prepare for your MBA interview will allow you to enter the situation confidently, deal effectively with any surprises that may arise and turn this test into an opportunity to enhance your application.
Before you can begin properly preparing for your MBA interview, you will need to do some research. Business schools train their interviewers differently, so know that the type of interview will vary from program to program. The important thing to remember is to know yourself, and the particular program, well. It also helps to research your interviewer’s backgrounds if you find out the name of that person in advance. Searching for information via Google or LinkedIn may yield information that can help you navigate the conversation more effectively. Finally, you should prepare a list of intelligent questions about areas of that program in which you are seeking additional information or perspective. You cannot completely eliminate the element of surprise from an interview, but you will behave more confidently and exercise greater control of the conversation if you know what to expect.
Framing the Conversation
Once you have an idea of what to expect from the interview itself, it will be helpful to develop a framework for talking about how the school fits into your career trajectory. At this point in the application process, you may have already done a good deal of reflection and introspection for your application essays or simply as part of the decision making process. However, you will want to have these thoughts fresh in your mind for the interview so that you can speak about them in a confident and relaxed manner while expressing continued commitment to your career plans.
As you review potential MBA interview questions, brainstorm a list of stories that you will use to illustrate your points. Remember to think both in terms of what you would like to gain from your business school and what you can in turn give back to it. In order to demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in the specific business school you are applying to, you should also begin thinking of your own questions for the interviewer. Once you feel comfortable with your framework for the conversation, you can begin practicing your interview skills.
Preparing for the Interview
Work through your list of interview questions several times, and rehearse your answers and stories carefully. Find a partner to practice interviewing with and hand the questions over to them. Use the answers and stories you have prepared whenever you can insert them into the conversation naturally without sounding like you are reading from a script.
You should also encourage your interview partner to ask their own questions and to draw on their knowledge of your professional life. Also, keep in mind that your interviewers may have read your application and that possibility reinforces the fact that you should be able to thoroughly discuss any area of your application. As you rehearse for the interview, you should become more comfortable with the answers you have prepared as well as with surprise questions.
The Interview Day
Conclude your advance preparations about 24 hours before the MBA admission interview. If possible, set aside other important business so that you can focus clearly on the day of the interview. Dress professionally, groom carefully and bring at least three copies of your resume. Get a good night’s sleep. Clear enough time on your schedule to get the last minute details right and arrive at the interview 15 minutes early.
You have prepared as well as possible for the interview, so you should feel well equipped to take advantage of the opportunity it affords you to enhance your application.