We don’t recommend “winging it” when it comes to interviewing at your top-choice MBA program. Even if you have strong interview experience and are confident that you can switch on the charm and come up with brilliant answers on the fly, we still suggest that you spend some time preparing. The following MBA interview tips are applicable during the pre-interview stage, to keep in mind while preparing at home, before actual I-Day. (P.S. these tips can be applied to job interviews as well, so try and store them in your memory for future use.)
- Review your experience. Make sure you know your experience cold. Your interviewer will likely have read your application and your resume, so will be looking for you to expand on the work and life experiences that you listed there. Think of it as infusing life into your written materials – be prepared to tell the stories behind the words by focusing on key moments in your life and describing how those moments contributed to your goals and your decision to apply to (and attend if accepted) the program.
- Consider your goals. Your interviewer doesn’t want to hear you reel off a list of your short- and long-term goals, but rather, wants to gain an understanding of how your goals developed – which experiences led to the creation of your goals – and how you specifically plan on transforming your dreams into realities. If you want go into investment banking, for example, then you should be prepared to explain which specific responsibilities at your current job you enjoy most and how those responsibilities, along with your college or extracurricular activities, have contributed to your goal.
- Research your program. You won’t be able to express your unique and perfect fit with your target b-school if you don’t know enough about the program’s curriculum, faculty, student life, extracurricular activities, teaching methods, international opportunities, etc. This is a basic interview requirement – review your program’s website, speak to alumni and current students, visit the campus, and think about how you’ll contribute to this specific program.
- Know who YOU are. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will enable you to steer the interview in a way that highlights your strengths and avoids your weaknesses. If you’ve got killer leadership skills, make sure you’re prepared with stories that accentuate your capacity to lead. Don’t have the best attention to detail? Be prepared to discuss ways in which you’ve worked to improve in the area.
- Prep with positive visualization techniques. Boost your interviewing confidence by practicing with positive visualization. This is an excellent technique that will help keep you calm during an interview (as well as other high-pressure situations).