How to Prep for Your MBA Interviews

If you have an MBA interview coming up, check out Linda’s video, MBA Interviews – Preparing for Behavioral and General Questions:

If you have any questions, just leave us a question in the comment box below.

Go ahead and rock those interviews!

Thou Shalt Not Forget Thursday’s Webinar!

Spaces for Thurday’s webinar, The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews, are filling up!

Join us for The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews webinar!

The webinar will take place Thursday (Feb. 20th) at 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET. Learn how to ace your MBA interview – sign up for The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews now!

Click To Reserve Your Spot

MBA Admissions According to an Expert

Click here to listen to the show!Who better to offer MBA admissions advice than an actual former MBA admissions director?

Natalie Grinblatt Epstein has held positions of Director of MBA Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Michigan Ross and Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Johnson School of Cornell University. She is currently a highly sought after admissions consultant at Accepted.

Listen to the recording of our highly informative conversation with Natalie and benefit from her years of experience and great insight into the MBA admissions process. While she covered a lot of different topics, MBA interviews dominated.

00:04:10 – How a research paper converted a brand manager to an admissions officer.

00:07:25 – Three things applicants really need to know but they often just don’t get. (Take if from a former adcom member!)

00:12:17 – MBA essay word limits are shrinking: Don’t cram! Be strategic.

00:18:37 – Tips for preparing for your blind MBA interview.

00:21:28 – Non-blind interview tips. Tune in HBS & MIT applicants!

00:23:35 – The Team Based Discussion.

00:29:18 – ‘Go for it!’ and other advice for late round applicants.

00:34:17 – Addressing weaknesses in your application profile and what do if you don’t have any volunteering in your background.

00:37:25 – Applying for an MBA? Get to know yourself ASAP.

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss any segments! Stay in the admissions know.

*Theme music is courtesy of

Relevant Links:

•  MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips
•  Upcoming Webinar: The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews
•  Natalie’s Bio Page
Natalie’s client feedback page
•  MBA Admissions 101

Related Shows:

•  How to Edit Your Application Essays
•  MBA Video Essays: A Conversation with Rotman’s Niki da Silva
•  Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute
•  Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC
Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute 

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes!     Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!

Take Command of Your MBA Interviews!

Join us on Feb 20, 2014!

Acing an MBA interview is no easy feat! You need to simultaneously:

• exude confidence without boasting;
• find the balance between being too terse and talking your interviewer’s ear off;
• stay positive even when a curveball is thrown at you; and
• be honest and quick thinking at ALL times.

Worried you may not be able to keep it together on the big day?

Stop worrying (because that really won’t help) and instead take a step in the direction of interview success by signing up for our upcoming webinar, The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews.

The webinar will be presented by Natalie Grinblatt Epstein, former admissions director and current consultant, who will walk you through 10 interview musts!

The webinar will take place next Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 5:00 PM PT / 8:00 PM ET.

Save My Spot!

Make sure to be present at the revelation of  

The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews!

Gaining Poise and Confidence for Group Interviews

Before your critical Wharton interview, practice with the pros and get feedback on your participation so you can improve before the real deal.

Show the adcom that you belong at Wharton.

Acing a team based discussion/interview isn’t easy, but with the right prep, you’ll be able to clearly show the adcom that you are an intelligent candidate who knows how to contribute to group discussions with confidence and poise. Use the free resources listed below to help you prepare for your upcoming group interview:

• Handling Wharton’s Team-Based Discussion

• Tips For Tackling Team Interviews

• Four Tips for the Wharton Interview

For guided interview prep with an experienced admissions consultant, please consider using our Mock Wharton Team-Based Discussion service. The interview package includes one-on-one interview coaching, as well as an interview simulation with two Accepted facilitators and 3-7 other Wharton applicants. You will receive written feedback on your performance, as well as a consultation to discuss feedback on your team and individual interview.

Learn more about our Mock TBD package!

6 Steps to Follow After You Receive Your MBA Interview Invite

Check our our B-School Interviews 101  page!

“What would not have happened, had I not been a member of (fill in the blank) organization?”

Congratulations! You have made it through one colossal hurdle. Follow these 6 steps to best prepare for the next stage in the MBA admissions process:

1. Relax! Take a deep breath. Regardless of which category you fall into, you need to relax. Anxiety will not help you in the interview or for your next step in the process: interview preparation.

2. Review your application and resume. Get to know your application inside and out. Review each detail and ask yourself the question, “What would not have happened, had I not been a member of (fill in the blank) organization?” Ask it again and again and quantify your results. Did you increase revenue? Decrease costs? Be ready to address key decision points in your life and add context to facts provided in the application.

3. Read up on interview advice. Review the website for MBA interview tips and read our special report,  MBA Interview Prep: How to Ace Your Interviews. Check Beat the GMAT and GMAT Club for school-specific feedback from those who interviewed R1.

4. Research the school. Read the school’s website and speak with students, alumni, and faculty. Think about your desire to attend that school and why you would be a proud alumna of that program. Be prepared to show how you meet the school’s criteria for admission (most schools provide them on their websites).

5. Seek personal assistance. If you need personal assistance, Accepted is always available to help. Check out our interview services, including mock interviews.

6. Schedule your interview. The admissions committee will never get to know how truly wonderful you are unless you schedule that interview! Get it on your calendar and their calendar. If you fly or have to drive a long distance, plan to arrive the day before. Leave time for commuting, getting lost, and parking. Be early.

Congrats again, and good luck at your interview!

Tips to help you ace those MBA interviews!

Interview Tip: Prepare Questions

Learn how to use sample essays to create exemplary essays of your own!

An interview is a two-way street.

Usually when applicants prepare for their admissions interviews, they spend their time trying to figure out what questions will be asked and how they can best answer them. This is important and a good idea. But it’s not the only step to prepping for an admissions interview.

An interview is a two-way street.

Your interviewer will ask you questions and listen your answers, and then will turn the asking over to you. When your interviewer says, “Do you have any questions?” you don’t want to shut the interview down by saying, “Nope, I’m set” but want to keep the flow of the conversation going by taking the reins of the interview into your hands and asking some questions of your own.

There are two things you can do before your interview to help you come up with intelligent questions:

1) Familiarize yourself with the program’s website and other literature. Never ask a question that can be answered easily online.

2) Review your application. Your questions should be specific to your unique situation – your skills, interests, and goals. Questions about the faculty or clubs, for example, should relate to your own education, career, and goals.

Since your goal should be to come up with questions that are specific to your situation, I can’t give you a list of must-ask questions without knowing who YOU are. But here are a few sample questions that you can review and tweak so that the questions are more appropriate for YOU:

• How difficult is it to enroll in a popular class like XYZ? (Insert a class that appeals to you. Not a required course.)

• Do recruiters from XYZ (a company or a particular field that interests you) visit the school? How do students get interviews with recruiters?

• Are business plan competitions (or something else that’s relevant to you) open to all students, or are there certain requirements to qualify?

If you are interviewing with school alum or a second-year student, then you should ask questions about their experiences, for example:

• Who were some of your favorite professors? Favorite classes?

• What is/was a typical day like for you?

• Are there clubs or activities that you would recommend for someone interested in XYZ? What clubs are you involved in? How important do you think it is to be involved in extracurricular activities?

• If you could change anything about your experience at this program, what would it be?

You get the idea. You want to come up with questions that personalize you and that show you have an interest in your interviewer’s experience (if relevant). Be specific, show that you’ve done your research, and most importantly, relax!

Good luck and let us know how we can further help you prepare for your interviews!

Click here to download our free report!

MBA Programs Host Coffee Dates Worldwide

Want to get accepted to Chicago Booth? Join our free webinar!

Don’t go overboard trying to make a good impression.

Wherever you are in the world, chances are that a current MBA student from a top school is waiting to have coffee with you. In London, Delhi, Tel Aviv, Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Rio de Janiero, Zurich, Houston, and a host of other international cities, schools are dispatching current students to chat you up and get to know you better as acceptance decisions are made. Programs offering these informal meetings include Berkeley-Haas, Chicago Booth, Darden, Michigan Ross, and Dartmouth Tuck.

This is a great opportunity to show a school representative how invested you are in going to that program. While these are obviously very informal events, you can still burnish the profile you have already established in your MBA application by showing up with intelligent questions and observations about the program and the school community. While at a general school reception or fair you could get away with asking more general questions (though even at those events your questions should demonstrate basic knowledge of the program beyond what is easily seen on the school’s web site) at a coffee date like this, well into the application season, you’ll want to go a little deeper in showing your awareness of and fit for the program.

Don’t go overboard trying to make a good impression. Be yourself, listen to others, but take the opportunity to ask questions and offer observations that show how dialed in you are to the happenings at the school. These questions and observations can be about any of the following:

1) A recent or anticipated change in the curriculum or with a specialty track that you hope to join.

2) Live chats you recently participated in, and what new insights you gleaned from it.

3) Recent communication you have had with a current student or staff member. This isn’t to name-drop, but to show your ongoing investment in knowing what is happening at the school.

4) Student-led symposiums or other initiatives – show that you know what’s happening with the Berkeley Nanotechnology club, Dartmouth’s Summit on Health Care Delivery, or other clubs in which you have an interest.

5) Ideas you have for a case competition or club. Or perhaps thoughts on narrowing down choices among elective classes.

6) Plans your spouse or partner has to relocate and find new work near the school.

So pull up a chair, warm your hands around a hot cup of coffee, and show your school of choice that you already feel part of the team.

Download your free report: TOP MBA PROGRAM ESSAY QUESTIONS: HOW TO ANSWER THEM RIGHT! Detailed question analyses and valuable advice on how to answer the questions so your candidacy shines.

Judy Gruen By , MBA admissions consultant since 1996 and author (with Linda Abraham) of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

10 Commandments Webinar Recording Available

The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews webinar recently aired live – were you lucky enough to catch it? If you missed it, then you certainly missed a good one; but no worries – the webinar is available on our site for instant viewing or download (for a limited time only).


Learn 10 indispensable tips that will help you ace your interviews when you view The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews for FREE today!

Watch the webinar!

MBA Interview Tips Post 5: Video Essays

[NOTE: This post is the fifth in a series; if interested please see the introduction and tip 1, tip 2, tip 3, and tip 4.]

Click here for 6 more tips for answering video MBA essay questions.

Video Essay: Natural Experience or Performance?

Wait, why is a video essay featured in a series on MBA interviews?

Because it works like an interview in its visual presentation of you and it functions like a conversation.

Kellogg, Yale, and Rotman have included required video essays (or “screen tests” as Poets & Quants dubs this element) in their applications.  It’s been an option, rather infrequently used, at NYU Stern for years.

Why adcoms use this method:   

• It allows the adcom to see the applicants respond in almost-real-time to questions.

• It allows the adcom to test applicants’ ability to organize their thoughts and present a response both meaningful and succinct.

• Applicants “shine” in different ways, and an applicant who shines in interpersonal communication and charisma may not make it through to a competitive interview with written essays; now the adcom can spot these applicants.

• Similarly, someone may shine in the conventional written essays, but be inappropriate or unprofessional in presentation, and the adcom can now spot and weed out these applicants early, without expending additional resources on interviews.

Process:  Basically, you click on a link in the application, and you are given a question to answer.  You are being timed, so you can’t halt the process, go away for an hour and plan a careful response. Rather, the application gives you a minute or so to compose your thoughts.  Then you have a short window, usually one to two minutes, to video-record your answer.  You can view your response, but you can’t change it.  Sometimes the application give you a few “tries,” but you can’t re-record an answer if you don’t like what you did the first time.  You can only move on to the next question.  The reason is that the adcoms are trying to avoid a rehearsed, nonspontaneous reply.  The last question is literally your last chance in the video essay – you can’t go back and redo earlier attempts.

Benefits and pitfalls for applicants:

• Benefit: if you present yourself comfortably and are photogenic, the medium plays to these strengths.

• Benefit: the process may take less time than a written essay.

• Benefit: for non-native English speakers, you can demonstrate solid English speaking skills—especially beneficial if you have a low verbal GMAT score and/or borderline TOEFL.

• Benefit: The skills and attributes it highlights differ from and complement those highlighted by written essays, improving the chances for different kinds of applicants to shine in the initial application.

• Pitfall: you have a limited time and can’t second guess your answer; once it’s done it’s done (whereas with a written essay you can revise it up until submission if you have further thoughts for improving it).

• Pitfall: although the adcoms call it a conversation, it actually isn’t very natural or comfortable to talk into a camera with no human response; some people need a lot of practice to overcome a strange sensation with this medium.

• Pitfall: for people who are methodical, the short prep and answer time works against your natural inclination and doesn’t play to your strength.

• Pitfall: you’re at the mercy of well-functioning technology and Internet connections.

While not exactly a pitfall, there’s also the reality that even though adcoms strive for objectivity in evaluating applicants, the video essay creates the potential for them to be subjectively influenced (pro or con) by an applicant’s physical appearance early in the “weeding” process.

How to make this type of interview work for you (this is in addition to all the common sense advice for good MBA interviews):

• Review’s tips for this interview format.

• Practice with a video camera, YouTube, or other formats, speaking to a camera without a person involved.

• Practice coming up with short answers to a range of questions – limit your prep time so it’s similar to the video essay’s, and find a technique that works for you for gathering your thoughts quickly and identifying a key point or message.

• Consider the whole visual picture: not just having hair combed and appropriate attire, but also the background and lighting – all should enhance the presentation.

• The adcoms say they want a spontaneous, natural experience of the applicant, but it may not be natural for you to look at and speak to a non-responsive camera.  It’s the illusion of naturalism; it’s acting, it’s performance, essentially.  To create your best impression, understand and analyze your gestures, cadence, tone – what makes your presentation reflect “you” effectively?  A good actor is deliberately and thoughtfully natural, not mindlessly natural.  You’re actually performing your best self.

MBA Video Essays: A Conversation with Rotman’s Niki da Silva

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