Convert Your Interview Invitation Into An Admissions Offer
Jan 1, 0001
Congratulations! After careful review of your application, Top Ten Business School is pleased to invite you for an interview with their admissions staff. In most cases, this means your chances of admission have increased from around 10-20 percent to 50-60 percent. Fortunately, the interview is a great opportunity to showcase the unique talents and experiences you will bring to your MBA class. Unfortunately, most veterans will come into their MBA interviews having little or no experience interviewing and knowing how to “sell” themselves. To help ensure you are prepared for game day and able to convince the admissions committee you are an excellent candidate, I offer the following:
- Know your story cold. Perhaps this advice cliché, but few things could be more disastrous than stating in your interview that you want to pursue a career in investment banking when you clearly stated in your application essay that you wanted to enter the startup industry in Silicon Valley. Your application and interview story need to remain consistent. In the weeks prior to your interview, read and reread your business school application. I found it helpful to carry a PDF of my application on my smartphone and reference it whenever I had some time to kill.
- Practice early and often. For most veterans, interviewing is an unnatural skill. As with any other skill, however, practice pays huge dividends. Start early (i.e. the day you receive your interview invitation!) and set aside a couple hours a day devoted to practicing for your interviews. I recommend writing out answers to every single commonly asked interview question and then practicing answers to these questions in a mirror and/or recording device. Most interview questions for the top schools can be found on blogs such as ClearAdmit.
- Receive and apply feedback. In addition to practicing alone, start conducting mock interviews with people you feel comfortable with and then expand outside your comfort zone. You’ll be glad you did. For example, I did not realize that my naturally monotonous voice was having a negative impact on my interviewer – or that my head would tilt strangely during uncomfortable questions – until I solicited others’ feedback. Your target schools’ veterans’ networks are a great resource to set up a mock interview. Avoid being bashful – we’ve all been in your shoes and are more than willing to help you prepare.
Waiting for interview day is unavoidably nerve-racking. With prudent preparation, however, you can both ease your nerves and increase your odds of landing an admissions offer!