5 MBA Interview Tips:
The first hurdle business school applicants have to cross is getting an interview. And at some schools that is nearly impossible.
At Harvard Business School, for example, roughly 20% of applicants get to meet with an admissions committee member directly to plead their case. But if you are one of the lucky few who do get invited to tell your story, the odds change dramatically with somewhere around half of all interviewed applicants gaining admission.
So with that in mind, we have put together some interview tips, with an eye toward helping you tell a story that gets the admissions committee excited about you as a future student in their program.
To keep an uplifting attitude, here are some of the do’s:
1. Walk in with a smile.
An interview is a great opportunity to tell your story in a personal way to an audience that actually cares. Be happy about this since you have been invited to interview, it is clear that they already like you. Now show them why they should love you. This is a good thing, so smile.
2. Dress to Impress.
Follow instructions. If they don’t tell you, go with a suit. If they instruct you to wear a bathing suit, bust out your most business-like trunks. For all intents and purposes, you are meeting the client for the first time, dress accordingly.
3. Know your resume.
You will almost certainly be asked to “tell your story.” Frequently this means, “take me through your resume.” So you better know it, and not just the big stuff, like where you worked, but the little stuff. Check out that last line of your resume, are you really prepared to explain what your interest in “fitness” means? Or what you actually did when you wrote you “volunteered?”
4. Know what type of interview it is.
Sometimes your interviewer will be an alumnus, sometimes a student, and sometimes a member of the admissions staff. Sometimes the interviewer has seen your whole application, and sometimes the only thing they see beforehand is your resume. The person interviewing you and the information they have in advance will directly affect the tone and tenor of the interview. If you are meeting an alumnus armed with your resume for coffee, well, the interview is probably focused on fit – can the interviewer see you at their school — and is likely to be low-key. If are interviewing with a member of the admissions staff who has read your entire application, well, you may have a tougher conversation ahead. No matter what, know what you are in for and prepare accordingly.
And of course, a Skype interview is a whole different interview entirely, check out our article on Skype interviews to help you prepare.
5. Talk about the school.
Just like people, schools want to be loved. Be prepared to tell your interviewer why you love the program, why it is the perfect place for you, and how you are the perfect fit for them. Share the research you did (Hint – do your research NOW if you haven’t already!) and show you understand how this business school is like no other. And make sure that you know how to pronounce the name of the school and have its ‘lingo’ down.