MBA Interview Formats: Morphing and Multiplying

Check out our MBA Interview 101 page for more tips.

Tech developments give adcoms literally a new lens on applicants.

Welcome to the brave new world of MBA interviews!  What just a few years ago was a straightforward one-on-one, in-person talk now has morphed into a kaleidoscope of forms and mediums.

I’m writing a series of blog posts to look at each interview format and give tips for making each one work for you – they’ll start appearing in a few days so keep watch!

Still, why this development?  And why now?

The reasons are numerous – and they are important to understand, because they give you context for making your own MBA interviews hit the bulls-eye.

1. Globalization.  (a) The more adcoms can “see you in action,” the better they can see your ability to interact across cultures.  (b) They also can assess your English language skills more effectively by visual evaluation.

2. Shorter and fewer essays.  As you’ve surely noticed, MBA essays are becoming microscopic – and decreasing in number as well.  Thus, more weight goes to other segments of the application, including job descriptions, recommendations, and interviews.  And the interview in turn evolves to carry that weight.

3. Authenticity.  Adcoms are on an eternal search for authenticity in candidates, and have grown jaded about how much value they receive from essays that can be, in their view, gamed.  So they are testing out new forms of interviews to target the real (spontaneous) you as effectively as possible.

4. Control.  Adding the visual dimension when interviewing remotely (not uncommon) removes the opportunity for props, notes, etc.

5. Dynamic view.  What better way to see how you’ll contribute in a group than to put you in a group?

6. Technology.  Maybe this should be first!   Technology invites innovation in the interview process. At often little extra cost, tech developments give adcoms literally a new lens on applicants.  Moreover, with things like global telecoms now the norm for many applicants at work, MBA adcoms can’t appear to lag in this domain!

However one point is a constant, whether we’re talking about a blind or informed interview, an in-person or remote interview, a group or individual interview: Your interviewers are seeking to meet YOU and assess your communications skills and fit with their program.

Here are the types of interviews I’ll address in subsequent posts:

In-person interview with adcom member (on campus or elsewhere if they are traveling), usually not blind.

Interview with alumnus or student (alum usually off campus, student usually on), usually blind.

Phone or Skype interviews with adcom member, student, or alum.

Group or team interview.

Video essay (they call it an essay, but it’s visual so I’m including it) for the adcom.

Tips to help you ace those MBA interviews!

Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The Consultants’s Guide to MBA Admission, and author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with