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MBA admission special - The Interview

If you’re invited to an interview at a business school, you need to prepare this as well as possible. Like the essay the interview can really make a difference. On one hand it can make you stand out from the crowd, on the other hand it can also ruin your application if you don’t take it seriously. A good idea is to talk to current students or alumni of the business school to see how interviews are conducted and to get a feeling for the questions that might be asked.

In general: make sure that you arrive on time and that you know where to go. Dress for the occasion – rather too conservatively than too casually. The same goes with your behaviour. Turn your mobile phone off, shake hands firmly, wait until you’re offered a chair, know last names and titles, greet politely, be friendly and smile, thank admission officers for their time and consideration, express your interest in the school (ask some intelligent questions) and talk about yourself in a positive but not exaggerated way. Stick to the truth at all times.

When answering questions, try to convey what your assumptions were at every stage. Ex-plain your thought process and keep it logical (remember the three bullet points). Answer questions, but don’t elaborate too much without getting to the real point. Dwelling too long on specific points might bore people. Instead try telling a story in your answers while keeping it rational and honest. As in the essay: Be careful with humour and strong opinions. And don’t forget to follow up with a thank you note via email or mail after the interview.

Some interview questions that you might prepare for are:

• Can you walk me through your resume? Or: Forget that I read your application and tell me about yourself.
• Why business school? Why do you need an MBA to achieve your goals?
• Why this particular business school?
• What makes you stand out among other candidates?
• What can you contribute to our programme?
• What do you expect from our programme?
• How do you plan to use your degree?
• Where do you see yourself in ten years?
• Can you give me an example of a time that you demonstrated leadership?
• What is your definition of teamwork?
• What would you say is your biggest weakness?
• What are your greatest strengths?
• How would your colleagues describe you?
• What are your hobbies?
• What company in an industry outside of your own do you find successful?
• How did you decide to attend your undergraduate college?
• How would your friends (or boss, or network, etc.) describe you, in three words?
• What’s the last book you’ve read?

Sources and further reading:
About.com I
About.com II
US News

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