Perhaps your b-school interview has already come and gone, but for many of you, interviews are just around the corner, so this post should be relevant and right on schedule. The tips found in this post can also be applied to job interviews, so don’t just follow this advice and be done with it—try and store it for future use as well.
Stage 1: Pre-Interview Guidelines
1. Know your experience. And know it cold. The admissions readers will probably have read your application and/or your resume, so are looking for you to elaborate and expand on your listed work and life experiences. Your goal should be to bring your written material to life by thinking about key moments and experiences in your life, and showing how they relate to your goals and the program you’re applying to. Be prepared to show the impact of these experiences both on you and the group or organizations you are a part of. Make sure you’re ready to use these experiences to answer specific questions.
2. Know your goals—and why you have them. This step is crucial for business school interviewees. Make sure that you’re not just able to reel off a list of your goals, but that you can explain how you arrived at your objectives. If you want to be a marketing manager, think specifically about which responsibilities you enjoy most at your current job and how your experience in college or in extracurricular activities have contributed to that desire.
3. Know your program. This is a basic requirement for any interview—if you don’t know what you are applying for, then you won’t know how to specify that you are the perfect match for it. Read up about your program of choice, speak with current students and alumni, pay a campus visit, and think about how you would contribute to this specific program.
4. Know yourself. Do you want to emphasize your leadership qualities in the interview? How about your problem-solving abilities? It’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses so you can steer the interview in a way that highlights your strengths. Think of stories and examples that show off your strengths, and be prepared to speak about ways in which you’ve worked towards improving your weak spots.
5. Use positive visualization or other techniques. Boost your confidence by practicing, as well as utilizing positive visualization, an excellent way to prepare for high-pressure situations.