MBA Interview Must-Know #1: Your Interview Goal

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Show how your background & needs fit with the school’s strengths & opportunities.

“MBA Interview Must-Know #1: Your Interview Goal” is excerpted from the special report, How to Ace Your MBA Interviews. To download the entire free special report, click here

Your Interview Goal. It’s three-fold:

Show fit. In the words of the Wharton Adcom Blog, “The interviewer is assessing your fit for the Wharton MBA program.” Think of your professional and educational background and needs and the school’s methodology, strengths, and career opportunities. Realize, however, that the interview is not just about you as a professional: it is also about you as an individual and human being.

Inform the school about recent accomplishments and achievements. Did you retake the GMAT? Earn an A in calculus? Get a promotion? Take on a leadership role in a new project? Try to inform your interviewer of any new attainments. Doing so will strengthen your profile overall and portray you as a growing, dynamic individual.

Demonstrate your communications and interpersonal skills. The latter is important for all, but critical if English is your second language and/or your transcript and test scores lead one to question your communications skills.

MBA Interview Tip #1: Enter the interview with SID:

Show you are a match with the program.
Inform the interviewer of recent accomplishments.
Demonstrate your interpersonal skills.

Tips to help you ace those MBA interviews! Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

Leadership in Admissions
• Preparing for Behavioral and General Interview Questions, a short video
• MBA Admissions According to an Expert

What Are My Chances? Indian Architect with Designs on a Real Estate Career

This blog post is part of a series of MBA profile evaluations called “What are My Chances?”  by Michelle Stockman. Michelle, who started consulting for Accepted in 2007 and worked previously in the Columbia Business School admissions office, will provide selected applicants with school recommendation as well as an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.

If you would like Michelle to evaluate your profile at no charge and as part of this series, please provide the information requested at

PROFILE #7: Lakshya, the Indian architect with designs on a real estate (or energy) career

Click here for to check out the rest of the profiles in the What Are My Chances series!

Think of your app as you would a building you’re designing. Build it for its intended use, and users.

Note: This profile request arrived with very little information. In my evaluation, I’m going to mention “ideal” details that would make him stand out.

-BACKGROUND: 24-year-old Indian male who graduated in 2013 from Dehradun Institute of Technology in India. Six months full-time training at renowned architecture firm. Two years of work experience as a chief designer and team leader for various projects.

Lakshya, you’re on the younger side of the MBA applicant pool. I’m not sure how you could have 24 months of full-time work experience having graduated in 2013. Perhaps you wrapped your class schedule around your job or you’re counting months to matriculation? You need to clarify this.

My advice? Wait.

Unless you have some significant leadership or design accomplishments–you need another year or two of work experience to accrue noteworthy leadership stories for your application. This would also give you time to research and network your target schools.

What leadership stories might stand out? First, be careful about how you word your experience. You must come across as talented, yet humble. A “renowned” architecture firm won’t mean much to an ad comm member. They are going to be impressed by YOUR extraordinary accomplishments in an ordinary job.

So give some context. Seeking an MBA with an architecture background is distinctive. You’re going to be one of the few, if admitted, in a global MBA program. You must be exceptional.

Are you a wunderkind in India’s “green design” field?  Did you introduce a socially conscious kind of design to a building project at your company that saves resources or energy in a country where conservation is a necessity? What was your impact on the job? Or have you come up with an ingenious method using cheap materials at hand to help the disadvantaged build cheap, sturdy shelters as a humanitarian project? Have you shared your experience at architecture conferences around the country?

If not, start now.

-GOALS: Work in the real estate and energy sector.

You obviously know the guts of building. I assume now you want to understand the business side of decision-making–that impacts your design. You must communicate three things with your goals.

1. Make them ambitious: Show the admissions committee that it’s not just about making money, but responsibly developing an overcrowded nation. Inspire them with your ideas for India’s future development.

2. Focus: Real estate and energy are two vast markets. Choose one. Then choose a specific part you want to be involved with. Make it relate to your past.

3. Experience: You must show the admissions committee that you do have some experience working on business deals. This piqued your interest and now you need an MBA to fill in the gaps in your knowledge to achieve your goals.

-GMAT: 720

No breakdown was given, but this is a decent score. You don’t necessarily need to retake the test, especially if you can match yourself well to a program.

-GPA: 3.5

Your GPA comes a bit out of left field because you graduated from an Indian university. Do not feel that you need to translate your percentage score to the 4.0 scale. US and UK MBA programs understand the Indian system well enough to understand your GPA.

Overall it’s a solid GPA.

-EXTRACURRICULAR: Arranging cancer check up camps in my city and giving presentations on cancer awareness.

This is great. I want to know more. Did you come up with this idea? Why? How did you identify the need? How involved were you? For how long? What kind of difference has it made in your community?

Perhaps, you came up with this idea after you or someone close to you was stricken by cancer. You decided to create an awareness campaign that you funded through donations and fundraisers. You are involved in the administration of this program on a weekly basis. You used technology as much as possible to advertise and streamline administration of the program. For example, you convinced a mobile phone service provider to run free text msg. based ads to remind people to get their cancer screenings.

Thanks to this program, “x” number of people have been evaluated, and “x” number of cases were caught in preliminary stages. You’ve shared your plan with, perhaps, a regional hospital system, and they intend to copy the program in several villages.

If you haven’t, begin to think on this scale!


Stretch matches: Berkeley, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Wharton, UCLA

On-par matches: University of Texas – Austin, UNC, USC, Ross, Amity University — RICS School of Built Environment

Safety matches: Warwick, Rice – Jones, Aberdeen Business School, University of Calgary (Haskayne School of Business)

Overall, I write this with the caveat that ALL THESE SCHOOLS ARE STRETCH MATCHES unless you start networking now to get to know alumni, students and the admissions committee. You also need to tailor your application specifically to your target schools. Think of your application as you would any building you are designing. Build it for its intended use, and users.

MBA admissions tips for Indian applicants! Download Free. s
Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.


Related Resources:

What are My Chances?: Rahul, the Indian Male IT Guy 
Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One 

Leadership in Admissions 

What Should You Wear to Your Med School Interview?

Click here to download your complete copy of The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success!

What should I wear?

“What Should You Wear?” is excerpted from the special report, The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success. To download the entire free special report, click here.

Now you know what to say. But what should you wear?

For the men, suits are most common. You want to dress neatly and professionally. Applicants should have their hair groomed and it is best to wear business style walking shoes.

Women, on the other hand, do not need to wear a suit but often do choose to. Some color is fine but make sure it’s in good taste – not overdone. Applicants should not wear a lot of make-up or jewelry and they should definitely wear shoes that are comfortable.

The key is to wear something you feel comfortable in and even more importantly, something you feel confident wearing. Be professional. Remember you have been selected based on your credentials on paper. The interview is your chance to present yourself personally. You want to look and act like a physician, someone that will be treating future patients.

Click here to download your complete copy of The Ultimate Guide to Medical School Interview Success! Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Interviewing with Impact: How to Make an Impression in Your Med School Interviews
• Common Myths about Medical School Interviews
• Introducing the MMI (Multiple Mini Interview)

Last Call for Columbia Business School Admissions Webinar!

Tomorrow is the day you’ve been waiting for! The day when application-changing tips on how to apply successfully to Columbia Business School will be generously doled out by our very own CEO and founder, Linda Abraham!

Register for our live webinar: Get Accepted to Columbia Business School! Do you have questions on optimizing your CBS application for admission?

Do you need concrete tips on how to answer the essay questions?

Do you need help evaluating your profile to determine if CBS is the school for you?

Time’s running out. Reserve your spot for Get Accepted to Columbia Business School before it’s too late. The webinar will air live TOMORROW, on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST.

Save Your Spot at Get Accepted to Columbia Business School Helping You Write Your Best

Magoosh’s New eBook: Lightening the SAT Math Load

Magoosh_SAT MathFor some high school students, SAT math is the bane of their existence. You need to learn all these foreign strings of numbers and letters, and then magically recall them once you’re sitting in a hot room for hours with your entire future weighing down on your tired shoulders. Yeah – SAT math…not the funnest thing in the world.

Our friends at Magoosh SAT have released a new ebook, Magoosh’s SAT Formula eBook, loaded with all you need to know to lighten the load and ace the math section on the SATs. The book is free with interactive elements, and comes complete with all the math formulas, study strategies, time-saving tips, and practice problems you’ll need for the SAT.

Here’s an excerpt from the intro of the book:

While formulas can be really helpful on the SAT, there are very, very few that you absolutely need to have memorized to score well. That might come as a surprise, but it’s true, and it leads us to an important thought: understanding how and why a formula works is as useful as rote memorization. In fact, it’s much better. You’ll have a better sense of when to use a formula and be more accurate in executing it if you understand the math behind it. Let’s look at a concrete case to illustrate. The distance formula is a prime example. It’s ugly…


…but it actually represents a pretty simple idea. If you have any two points on a graph (on the coordinate plane), you can make a right triangle that connects those two points as the ends of the hypotenuse. That is, you draw a diagonal line between the two points, then a straight horizontal line and a straight vertical line going through each point to make the legs of the triangle.


Then, since you’re trying to find the length of the hypotenuse, you just use the Pythagorean theorem:


(Notice that a couple very basic formulas like this one do need to be memorized.) The lengths of those legs are a and b, and the length of the hypotenuse is c.

So let’s find the length of c:


And if you’re trying to find the length of the legs (the shorter sides), you just need to know the horizontal distance between the two points, [more math], and the vertical distance between the two points, [more math]. If you replace a and b with those values, voilà: you have the distance formula.

Check out the Book! Helping You Write Your Best