Accepted.com interviewed ZoomInterviews’ founders Alon Karmiel and Misha Medvedev. ZoomInterviews provides interview preparation videos to help you prepare for your MBA interview.
Accepted.com: How did you come to start ZoomInterviews?
Alon: The inspiration for ZoomInterviews.com came primarily from my personal experience during the admissions process. While other parts of the application were quite clear, what to expect in the admissions interview remained a mystery. My first interview with Wharton wasn’t very successful. So following this experience and knowing what to then expect during the interview, I invested a significant amount of time preparing for my new upcoming interviews. All of the remaining interviews went very well and I was accepted to a number of top business schools including Chicago Booth, from which I graduated. It was during the preparation process when I realized how crucial it was for applicants to know what to expect and how to perform well during their admissions interview.
Accepted.com: What do you see as the primary benefit of watching the ZoomInterviews videos?
Alon: Delivery means a lot in the admissions process and in the business world in general. Through the interview business schools will derive conclusions about an applicant’s ability to manage business related conversations and present him/herself in a positive, structured and succinct way. It is also very important to establish a good fit with the school. ZoomInterviews provides applicants with an insider’s view to the interview room. Through watching our videos applicants will be able to see how admissions interviews are conducted and how establishing a fit with an institution is important for making a strong positive impression. Our mock interviews are researched in-depth and simulate what could happen in the real interview. This translates into an opportunity for applicants to learn from top MBA students and alumni with significant interviewing experience.
Misha: There are hundreds of various online resources and tools dedicated to MBA admissions interviews and interview preparation in general. After doing some research and browsing through dozens of those websites, MBA applicants might get a pretty good idea of what they have to say. But it’s only through watching other successful MBA students and alumni that applicants can actually see how they should craft their message in the most effective way. Watching videos provides applicants with an exceptional opportunity to compare different behavioral models, analyze the performance of different candidates and develop their own strategy, one that reflects their unique personality. Looking through a continuous stream of our clients’ feedback, we also realized that what applicants value the most is the ability to compare their personal interviewing skills with others. This either gives them extra confidence about their readiness for interview day or serves as a signal to polish certain areas that need to be improved. So it’s a win-win situation really and many applicants realize that.
Accepted.com: How do you recommend that applicants prepare for their MBA interviews – in addition to watching ZoomInterviews?
Alon: It is very important to be prepared for the interview and there are several key elements in the preparation process:
– Research what the most frequently asked interview questions are for a given school. Almost all schools will ask you to talk about your background, why an MBA, why in this specific school and why now. They also will ask you to talk about your leadership and team work experience to be sure that you have leadership potential and can be a good team member during your MBA program and beyond. You must be prepared to answer these core questions. You can find a complete suite of admissions FAQs on our website.
– Learn what the interviewing format of each school is and who your interviewer will be (student, admissions officer or alum). The style of the interview will vary depending on the type of interviewer you get. For instance, interviews with alumni usually will be longer and less formal. You will need to adjust to these differences in the interviewing style.
– Prepare in advance 5-7 stories which exemplify your achievements, leadership and teamwork experiences and can be used for answering a variety of behavioral questions. These usually start out as “Can you tell me about a time when…” or “Tell me about a time when you demonstrated…” Make sure to structure your answers to emphasize your actions and the results of those actions. We recommend using the SOAR framework (Situation, Obstacle/Opportunity, Action and Result).
– Research your target schools, their teaching methods, culture, values and what they are looking for in the applicants. Become familiar with the characteristics schools universally look for in all candidates (e.g. high GMAT scores, solid work experience) and characteristics that are unique strengths to you. You should tailor your answers to demonstrate fit with your target schools.
– Prepare 2-3 intelligent questions to be asked at the end in of the interview. Your questions should not be obvious, but at the same time not too complicated, so that even the interviewer will not know the answers. Your questions should show that you did your homework about the school and are genuinely interested in the program. This is a subtle way to impress your interviewer without trying to coming across as trying too hard.
Misha: So you’ve done your research, you crafted your story, you’ve watched the interviews videos, you learned about your schools… now, what’s next? Practice, practice, and more practice. That’s exactly what will bring you to the next level and will make you stand out during your admissions interviews. Many applicants find it useful to arrange mock practice interviews with their friends or with experienced MBA admissions consultants. It’s important not to misjudge your own performance, so anything from practicing in front of a mirror to Skype-ing with a friend or, even better, doing a mock interview with a professional admissions consultant, will benefit a lot here.
Accepted.com: What do you think is the overarching purpose of an admissions interview?
Alon: We believe that in the interviewing process business schools want to see that applicants’ paper applications are aligned with reality and that the applicant is a good fit with the school. Business schools want to be sure that they accept mature and socially adaptable individuals whose communication style and past behaviors will allow them to be successful in their studies and in the recruiting process. Interviewers also want to market their schools and have a chance to answer any questions which applicants may have.
Misha: Applicants can convey their candidacy through different aspects of their application, such as test scores, essays and their carefully chosen letters of recommendation, but it’s really in the admissions interview where schools have an opportunity to see how your personality shines through and if you will be a good fit for the school. It’s also your opportunity to show them why you’re a great fit for their program.
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